Monday, December 20, 2010


Get ready to go outside tonight. I don't care that it is freezing cold in your town. There is something amazing occurring tonight. Something that hasn't happened in about four hundred years. Something that won't happen again for another eighty years.

The show should start at 11:33 pm Arizona time.

Drag your kids out of bed! Drag yourself out of bed! It is sure to be amazing.  Just cross your fingers that the clouds don't block the view.

Seriously people! You have to get out of bed and see this. It will be such a wonderful experience to have. Rose is currently putting together her telescope so that we can get a better view when the moon turns red!

That's right...RED!

You absolutely do not want to miss this. So set your alarm clock.

We're going to start watching earlier than 11:33 pm. We want to see the entire shift from Full Moon to Red Moon and Back.

What a marvelous planet we live on!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Return to the Family

My dear sister, together with her partners, has launched the 2011 Blogging Campaign.

Okay, first of all I have to say, it sounds absolutely crazy saying that about my sister! I mean, she's my sister...a regular person. To the ordinary onlooker she appears to be only a Mom, crafter, and hair guru. But just like Clark Kent and Kara Zor-El, she has another side-a super side. It's a bit unreal sometimes to realize what a big name in blogging she is.

As I was saying, my sister has launched the 2011 Blogging Campaign.

The theme is "Return to the Family".

return to family medium

She introduces the Campaign by stating:

"In today’s world, the family unit is often discounted, and even overlooked, so we are calling for a revolution. We would like to invite you to return to YOUR family, by using these two steps: 1) having regular family dinners and 2) having uplifting art in your home."

I completely agree with these two principles!

I am a firm believer in having regular family meals. We eat breakfast and dinner together every day. It is a time to grow together as a family. We use this time to talk about our days. We listen as family members cheerfully tell of the good things that have happened that day. We talk about the trials they passed through and discuss ways to overcome them in the future. We plan for future activities. And sometimes we just try to see who can tell the funniest joke. No matter the topic, we grow together and strengthen our familial bonds.

And I have always felt that beautiful, uplifting art was an integral part in changing a house into a home. At some point, one of the general authorities had stated that every LDS home needed Five pictures to truly make it a Gospel-Centered Home:

1) A picture of Christ
2) A picture of the Temple
3) A picture of your Family, must include Children!
4) A picture of their Heritage: Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, etc.
5) A picture of the Prophet

I used to have one or more of all these pictures. In our last move my Temple picture broke and I have yet to replace it. And I still haven't hung my picture of President Monson. I love the man and support him as the prophet. It's just that putting up his picture requires taking down President Hinckley's picture. I just haven't been able to part with it yet. Maybe I'll just hang President Monson next to President Hinckley. Hmmm...  Decisions, Decisions.

As part of their campaign they teamed with artist Liz Lemon Swindle** to provide Christ-centered art for the project. I'm still going through all her paintings,trying to decide which one I want Hubby to get me for my birthday. ;)

Anyhoo, I think that this is a wonderful program! They're trying to get the word out to everyone. So I'm doing my part in this little corner of the blogosphere. I hope you'll take time to check it out.

**Isn't it great that her name is "Liz Lemon"! Haha! When I read that name my interest was sparked immediately. Of course,being the nerd I am, I was thinking more along the lines of Liz Lemon as played by Tina Fey in 30 Rock. I was quite surprised to see pictures of Christ when I followed the link.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sonic Screwdriver!

One of my favorite blogs to read was The Park Bench. It was a gathering place for nerds to go for all the latest news. The author has gotten busy with life and not posted for a while, which means I've had to troll the internet myself to keep abreast of all things science and sci-fi. I have to say, I am not anywhere near as good as Liz. Science news is often buried under the flashy celebrity gossip. And the Sci-fi nuggets I manage to find are, more often than not, fake. It can be quite discouraging. But as the true nerd that I am, I keep plugging along.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I came across this story! This story is the U.S. version of this story for the U.K.'s The Telegraph. They both report that a team of British engineers has created a gadget that can manipulate objects via ultrasonic sound waves! Can you believe it!  I am so excited! What a marvelous development! It will be fun to watch and see how their new tool develops.

Meanwhile, the Doctor Who Christmas Special is just weeks away. A trailer was released, but is "not available in my area". That's because I live in America and not the U.K. *sigh*

I really love America. It is a wonderful place to be. It truly is the greatest country. I'm happy to be here and wouldn't trade it for anything. But sometimes, when I know the Doctor is coming and I know that he'll arrive in the U.K. soon, but I'll still have to wait months to see him...well, sometimes I wish that I could live in the U.K. ;)

Luckily for me, though, some wonderful fan who feels sorry for us Americans will post the episode somewhere on the wide, wide web. Which takes me back to trolling the internet... Haha! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Lady with the Alligator Purse

Do you remember in elementary school singing about Ms. Suzy and her baby? Remember? His name was Tiny Tim. Ms. Suzy put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim. Instead of swimming, that goosey baby drank up all the water and he ate up all the soap. Then he tried to eat the bathtub, but it wouldn't fit down his throat.

Do you remember how Ms. Suzy called a Doctor to come help? Except the Doctor didn't know what to do. So the Doctor called a Nurse. That was a pretty smart move. Nurses know lots of stuff and are a great help to patients. However, in this case, the Nurse didn't know what to do either. So the Nurse called in the Lady with the Alligator Purse. Surely she would know what to do!

I don't know what qualified this gal. I don't know why the Nurse would think the Lady could help nor the nature of their relationship. That information is not relevant to the story. The pertinent piece of information is that where the Doctor and Nurse failed, the Lady with the Alligator Purse succeeded. She got all the water and soap out of Tiny Tim. She saved the day. We don't know what methods she used. What we do know is 1) it was painless to the baby, 2) was performed quickly, 3) had little, if any, recovery time, and 4) cost nothing.

At least, that was the version of the song I learned.

And today...I'm wishing for a Lady with an Alligator Purse.

Because I've been to see the Doctor.

And I've been to see the Nurse.

And they agree...I need surgery.


I have lovely polyps sitting in my sinuses. I'm such a lucky girl!

I wasn't surprised by the diagnosis. I've had polyps before and have undergone surgery twice to have the removed. Such is the plight of the asthmatic, allergy-ridden peoples of the world.

Truthfully, I'm looking forward to the surgery. My face has been hurting for several months now. The pain has spread to my neck, shoulders, and jaw. And my sinuses have been pulsating with their hatred of the polyps. Angry, pulsating sinuses are never fun.

Oh well.

I'm scheduled to go under the knife in just three weeks. So even though I won't get the Lady's magical no pain, quick recovery cure, at least I will be getting it FREE!

Why free? That is all thanks to the Baby Jim and already having met my deductible for the year. Hooray!

Thank You Baby Jim! And thank you good insurance with your reasonable cap. I really appreciate you!

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it. :S

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I've started a new tradition in my family. Whatever day Thanksgiving falls on, that is how many things you have to write in your journal that you are grateful for.

So this year, Thanksgiving is on November 25th. Meaning we all have to write down twenty-five things we are grateful for. We are waiting until we get back home from our Thanksgiving visit to write our lists down. I, however, also have this lovely blog to record the things I'm grateful for.

Here's my list:

1) A loving Heavenly Father
2) A courageous Older Brother & Savior
3) A comforting Holy Spirit
4) A wonderful Husband
5) Five Darling Children
6) Fantastic Parents and Parent-in-Law
7) Marvelous Siblings and Siblings-in-Law
8) Five Senses that Work
9) A (mostly) Healthy Body
10) A beautiful home
11) A soft bed
12) Warm clothes in the winter
13) Cool clothes in the summer
14) Quilts
15) Books
16) A living Prophet
17) Personal Revelation
18) Temples
19) Mountains to climb
20) Clouds to watch
21) The hummingbirds and roadrunner who visit my home
22) Trees to climb
23) Trees that bear fruit
24) Flowers
25) My energetic dog

Of course, there are many more things to be grateful for. These are the twenty-five that I most appreciate right now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

They're Out to Get Me

Rose and Hubby are trying to kill me.

I thought we were all getting along just fine. I thought we loved each other. I thought we even, occasionally, liked each other. But recent events have proven that Rose and Hubby are out to get me.

I have been battling a major sinus infection. The same infection that I battle every year around this time. I have been working hard trying to stay ahead of the uckiness and hopefully avoid further pollup infestations and tiresome surgeries. To aid me in my battle, every day I use a wonderful Sinus Rinse nasal wash. This consists of a cute little bottle filled with 8 oz. of warm water and mixed with their pre-packaged solution of salt and baking soda. Simple, yet so effective!

It can also be a huge mess. Remember the law of gravity? What goes up must come down. The same applies to liquids shot up one's nose. They come right back out, hopefully dislodging much nastiness in the process. 

Anyhoo, the other day Hubby offered to mix the wash for me. I was very grateful. It seemed like such a considerate thing to do! I really ought to have known better.

Hubby hands me the bottle and I promptly start pumping the wash up my nose. It burns!

I think, WHOA! I must have a serious infection. Or maybe the water went the wrong way. I shake it off and try the wash again. That water burned me again. It burned up my sinus, back behind my eyeballs, and down into my throat!!  It was awful!

I start spitting and snorting (yes, I know, very attractive) and calling for Hubby to help me. He comes rushing back in. I shout that my throat is an acid burn. And beg him to help me. And HE starts looking sheepish!  Turns out, he had added a whole capful of hydrogen peroxide to my nasal rinse. He thought that I wouldn't even notice. He thought it might help fry all the nastiness that has taken root in my sinuses. At least, that's what he claims...

But, I've got news for you Old Man! I don't believe that claim for an instance! There is no way that you could not have realized the dire consequences on the so-called love of your life's sinuses. NO WAY!  I know you were really trying to poison me! You can't fool me. And know this...I'm watching you! You won't have another chance to poison me. You should have gotten it right the first time. >:-(

And then the darling Rose.

A week ago the kids started talking about When We Have Another Baby!!!!

Excuse me? I just had a baby. You all have a little baby. Give your poor Mama some time to recover please. Aargh!

Despite my absolute shock at the topic they were discussing, I stayed quiet and just listened. It all seemed pretty harmless, until Rose confided that she has "been praying for Mom to have twins".


What did you just say?

I asked Rose when exactly she had prayed for twins.  Was it during her personal prayers?


Turns out that for the past two months, during our family prayers she has been praying for me to have twins. And all of us have said "Amen" to each of her prayers.

That sneaky, conniving little...

The way she did it was by saying that part really softly and kind of covering her mouth with her hand. I just thought she was stifling yawns. It just goes to show that you should NEVER say Amen to a prayer that you haven't heard in full. Holy Cow! 

I told Rose that twins would kill me. She laughed and said, "No, they wouldn't. They'd be fun. I'd even help with them." 

Not only is she trying to kill me, she's laughing about it! Talk about adding insult to injury.

I told her to Get Some Guts! If she was going to pray for me to die during family prayers, she at least needed to have the courtesy to pray loud enough so that all the family members can hear what she is actually saying and then decide if they want to say Amen or not.

And you know what she did tonight? She prayed for twins loud enough that her siblings could all hear. And you know what those rotten twerps did??? They all said "Amen". I guess they all want me dead.

I just glared at them all. Even when they tried to kiss me good night.

And now I'm going to bed. I'm going to have to spend a lot of time praying tonight to try and counteract the prayers of my children. And I don't know that I'll win. My dear Father in Heaven has a soft spot for the prayers of children. 

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Eternal Family

This is a wonderful talk given in the October 1996 General Conference. I want to always remember this talk, especially the Fifteenth Paragraph. So I'm posting it here, where I can easily access it.

Elder Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
(included in the November 1996 Ensign, pg. 64)

I wish to speak to all those who would like to know about eternal families and about families being forever. One year ago the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a proclamation to the world concerning the family. It summarizes eternal gospel principles that have been taught since the beginning of recorded history and even before the earth was created.

The doctrine of the family begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them. The Apostle Paul taught that God is the father of our spirits (see Heb. 12:9). From the proclamation we read, “In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life.” The proclamation also reiterates to the world that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

From the earliest beginnings, God established the family and made it eternal. Adam and Eve were sealed in marriage for time and all eternity:

“And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof; and thus it was” (Moses 5:59).

“And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth” (Moses 5:2).

The Savior Himself spoke of this sacred marriage covenant and promise when He gave the authority to His disciples to bind in heaven sacred covenants made on earth:

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).

In this latter day the promise of eternal families was restored in 1829 when the powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood were restored to the earth. Seven years later, in the Kirtland Temple, the keys to perform the sealing ordinances were restored, as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants:

“Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:

“Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi— …

“… The keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands” (D&C 110:13–14, 16).

With the restoration of these keys and priesthood authority comes the opportunity for all who are worthy to receive the blessings of eternal families. “Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house” (D&C 110:9).

What is the promise of these sealings which are performed in the temples? The Lord outlines the promise and requirements in this sacred verse:

“And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life … and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever” (D&C 132:19).

As taught in this scripture, an eternal bond doesn’t just happen as a result of sealing covenants we make in the temple. How we conduct ourselves in this life will determine what we will be in all the eternities to come. To receive the blessings of the sealing that our Heavenly Father has given to us, we have to keep the commandments and conduct ourselves in such a way that our families will want to live with us in the eternities. The family relationships we have here on this earth are important, but they are much more important for their effect on our families for generations in mortality and throughout all eternity.

By divine commandment, spouses are required to love each other above all others. The Lord clearly declares, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). The proclamation states: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families [see D&C 83:2–4; 1 Tim. 5:8]. [By divine design,] mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” By divine design, husband and wife are equal partners in their marriage and parental responsibilities. By direct commandment of God, “parents have a sacred duty … to teach [their children] to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens [in the countries where they reside]” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102; emphasis added; see D&C 68:25–28; Mosiah 4:14–15).

Because of the importance of the family to the eternal plan of happiness, Satan makes a major effort to destroy the sanctity of the family, demean the importance of the role of men and women, encourage moral uncleanliness and violations of the sacred law of chastity, and to discourage parents from placing the bearing and rearing of children as one of their highest priorities.

So fundamental is the family unit to the plan of salvation that God has declared a warning that those “individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God [their maker]. … The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

While our individual salvation is based on our individual obedience, it is equally important that we understand that we are each an important and integral part of a family and the highest blessings can be received only within an eternal family. When families are functioning as designed by God, the relationships found therein are the most valued of mortality. The plan of the Father is that family love and companionship will continue into the eternities. Being one in a family carries a great responsibility of caring, loving, lifting, and strengthening each member of the family so that all can righteously endure to the end in mortality and dwell together throughout eternity. It is not enough just to save ourselves. It is equally important that parents, brothers, and sisters are saved in our families. If we return home alone to our Heavenly Father, we will be asked, “Where is the rest of the family?” This is why we teach that families are forever. The eternal nature of an individual becomes the eternal nature of the family.

The eternal nature of our body and our spirit is a question often pondered by those who live in mortality. All people who will ever live on earth are members of a human family and are eternal children of God, our loving Heavenly Father. After birth and tasting of death in mortality, all will be resurrected because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Father. Depending on our individual obedience to the laws, ordinances, and commandments of God, each mortal can have the blessing of attaining eternal life; that is, returning to live in the presence of their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, having eternal increase for all the eternities to come. Through making and keeping the sacred covenants found in the temple ordinances, individuals can return to the presence of God and will be reunited with their families eternally.

The home is where we are nurtured and where we prepare ourselves for living in mortality. It is also where we prepare ourselves for death and for immortality because of our belief and understanding that there is life after death, not only for the individual but also for the family.

Some of the greatest lessons of gospel principles about the eternal nature of the family are learned as we observe how members of the Church, when faced with adversity, apply gospel principles in their lives and in their homes. In the past year I have witnessed the blessings of joy which come to those who honor and revere the gospel teaching of the eternal family during times of adversity in their lives.

A few months ago I had the opportunity of visiting a man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. As a devoted priesthood holder, he was confronted with the realities of mortality. He found strength, however, in the example of the Savior, who said, in the Lord’s Prayer, “After this manner therefore pray ye: … Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9–10). My friend took courage in knowing that as Jesus was required to endure great pain and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane while completing the atoning sacrifice, He uttered the words, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42).

My friend came to accept the phrase “Thy will be done” as he faced his own poignant trials and tribulations. As a faithful member of the Church, he was now confronted with some sobering concerns. Particularly touching were his questions, “Have I done all that I need to do to faithfully endure to the end?” “What will death be like?” “Will my family be prepared to stand in faith and be self-reliant when I am gone?”

We had the opportunity to discuss all three questions. They are clearly answered in the doctrine taught to us by our Savior. We discussed how he had spent his life striving to be faithful, to do what God asked of him, to be honest in his dealings with his fellowmen and all others, to care for and love his family. Isn’t that what is meant by enduring to the end? We talked about what happens immediately after death, about what God has taught us about the world of spirits. It is a place of paradise and happiness for those who have lived righteous lives. It is not something to fear.

After our conversation, he called together his wife and the extended family—children and grandchildren—to teach them again the doctrine of the Atonement that all will be resurrected. Everyone came to understand that just as the Lord has said, while there will be mourning at the temporary separation, there is no sorrow for those who die in the Lord (see Rev. 14:13; D&C 42:46). His blessing promised him comfort and reassurance that all would be well, that he would not have pain, that he would have additional time to prepare his family for his departure—even that he would know the time of his departure. The family related to me that on the night before he passed away, he said he would go on the morrow. He passed away the next afternoon at peace, with all his family at his side. This is the solace and comfort that comes to us when we understand the gospel plan and know that families are forever.

Contrast these events with an incident which happened to me when I was a young man in my early twenties. While serving in the Air Force, one of the pilots in my squadron crashed on a training mission and was killed. I was assigned to accompany my fallen comrade on his final journey home to be buried in Brooklyn. I had the honor of standing by his family during the viewing and funeral services and of representing our government in presenting the flag to his grieving widow at the graveside. The funeral service was dark and dismal. No mention was made of his goodness or his accomplishments. His name was never mentioned. At the conclusion of the services, his widow turned to me and asked, “Bob, what is really going to happen to Don?” I was then able to give her the sweet doctrine of the Resurrection and the reality that, if baptized and sealed in the temple for time and all eternity, they could be together eternally. The clergyman standing next to her said, “That is the most beautiful doctrine I have ever heard.”

The fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ brings great comfort in stressing times of mortality. It brings light where there is darkness and a calming influence where there is turmoil. It gives eternal hope where there is mortal despair. It is more than just beautiful doctrine. It is a reality in our lives that if we can be obedient and obtain the eternal rewards that God grants us, if we will draw nigh unto Him and embrace the eternal doctrine, we will be blessed.

Another incident that has touched my life recently happened when a young man with a terminal illness passed away. He knew that his illness would first take away his manual dexterity and his ability to walk, then its progression would take his ability to speak, and finally his respiratory system would cease to function. But he also had faith that families are forever. With this knowledge, he spoke to each of his children through video recordings for use when he was gone. He produced recordings to be given to his sons and daughters at important, sacred occasions in their lives, such as baptisms, priesthood ordinations, and weddings. He spoke to them with the tender love of a father who knew that while his family was forever, for a time he would not physically be able to be with them, but spiritually he would never leave their side.

The examples of faith shown by steadfast widows and widowers, along with that of their children, after the passing of a spouse or parent are an inspiration to all of us. Great lessons can be learned as we observe their faith and obedience as they strive to remain faithful so that they can once again be together as families through eternity.

The knowledge and understanding of the doctrine that God lives and Jesus is the Christ and that we have an opportunity to be resurrected and live in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, makes it possible to endure otherwise tragic events. This doctrine brings a brightness of hope into an otherwise dark and dreary world. It answers the simple questions of where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. These are truths that must be taught and practiced in our homes.

God lives. Jesus is the Christ. Through His Atonement we will all have the opportunity of being resurrected. This is not just an individual blessing; it is much more than that. It is a blessing to each one of us and to our families. That we may be eternally grateful, that we can live in the presence of God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ, that we may be together in the eternities to come, that we might understand the joy, and that we not only teach this doctrine but live true to it in our lives and in our families, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween 2010!

Halloween is one our favorite times of the year. We thoroughly enjoy dressing up, playing pretend, attending parties, hanging out with friends, and eating yummy treats.

Without further ado, our costumes & party log:

Our Friend's/Neighbor's Adult Party
Hubby & I attended. I dressed Goth and he dressed as a Biker. This was such a fun party. The couple who hosted it are some of the funnest people around. We ate a delicious dinner and played games along the line of Minute to Win It. We played Boys versus Girls. It was hilarious! At least, until is was my turn. And then I was a sore loser because not only did I lose, but I looked absolutely ridiculous while doing it. My task was to shake six ping-pong balls out of an empty box of Kleenex...except the box was tied around my waist and I had to shake my booty to get the stupid balls out. Ugh! I think it was unfair, because with my big booty, the Kleenex box was aimed straight up. Oh well. Hubby says that he very much enjoyed watching me shake my toush.

Party at Preschool
Cakes preschool teacher had everyone wear their costumes to class. Cakes was so excited to wear his "Hi-Yah!" to preschool. "Hi-Yah" is what he called his costume. They played Halloween games and learned more about the color black and orange. Fun! His teacher is such a fun and creative lady.

**The bigger kids had parties at their school too, but I didn't go so I don't have any pictures of those events. And I don't even care! Hahaha! I have plenty of other pictures of those darling kids. :)

Foster Family Halloween Bash
Everyone attended this activity. It was hosted by the agency who we are licensed through. They are a very nice agency with wonderful, compassionate, and competent workers. They had a hot dog dinner, games, contests, coloring activities, and a dance ring. Anne really got into the dancing. One of the workers showed her a bunch of dance moves. Cakes is a Ninja, Rose is a Devil Girl, Anne is an Egyptian Princess or Greek Goddess...depending on her mood, Joe is a Shadow Ninja, and Baby Jim is a Spider. I dressed Goth again and Hubby was lame and just came in regular clothes. The kids came home LOADED with candy. I came home with a new quilt! The agency regularly gets donations for children coming into care. One quilting group wanted to donate quilts for the Families who fostered. Isn't that kind! So we got a lovely baby-size quilt. 

Trick or Treating at Dad's Workplace
Every year Hubby's work has a trick or treat activity at the office. All the employees' kids are invited. It is mostly a way to show off how much your kids have grown over the past year and to see how your co-workers kids have grown. It is hilarious to see grown-up men ooo and aaah over the little kids. I expect it from the ladies of the office, but not from some of these tougher guys.

6 year old Friend's Halloween Bash
Joe's friend, son of Cakes preschool teacher, invited Joe, Anne, and Rose to a Halloween bash at his house. They had a blast! They were fed a dinner of hot dogs and spooky sides and played spooky games. I have no pictures from this event either.

Elementary School's Fall Festival
Hubby and I had to divide and conquer to attend this event because it was the same night at Hubby's trick-or-treat at work and Joe's friend's party. Hubby and Rose went to the Festival first since they had volunteered to work some booths. It was important to Rose to be there and help. Her grade is raising money for a trip to Sea World. It was also important to Anne that her Dad attend, since her class was raising money for a trip to a local historical site. It's funny how the fifth graders are expected to do their own volunteer work, but third graders need their parents to do it.

I came later with Joe, Anne, Cakes, and Jim. Hence the picture with just those four kids. I tried to get a shot of Rose, but she was always moving!

Ward Trunk or Treat
This was a fun event. I have to make special mention of the Dinner. Most ward's just serve hot dogs (if anything). When we lived in Kansas, we always had a pot-luck first...since several people were driving an hour into town just to attend. Our new ward had hot dogs and they also had SLOPPY JOES!!!  And not just any sloppy joes, probably the bast sloppy joe I ever did eat in my entire life (no offense Dad). It was so delicious! Many-layered flavor, not-to-sweet, and very savory. I asked the gal who organized the event for the recipe. She says she'll have to make some modifications before she gives it to me because it is a recipe to serve 100! Hahaha! I told her to just give me the recipe as is.  I love recipes like that!

We invited two girls to attend the party with us. They are our neighbors and good friends to Anne and Rose. The best part about inviting them was when the older girl came back from getting her dinner.  She had Two hot dogs, One sloppy joe, a Huge slice of chocolate cake, several cookies, a couple of cupcakes, and a bit of salad. Hubby and I just stared at her! She looked at us and said, "What? I'm hungry. They said we could have as much as we want. And I haven't eaten since this morning." Then she proceed to eat EVERY BIT OF FOOD ON HER PLATE!!!  Well, not every bit. She did have a bit of cake left over. Hahaha!

Hubby decided not to dress like a biker for this event. I'm so glad he didn't! There was a woman who wore his exact costume. Hahaha! She had the biker hat, gloves, and even the fake tattoo sleeve. Hahaha!

Hubby came as a nasty ghoul of a thing. It was awful to look at it. Just plain old awful!

 The Actual Day of Halloween
Halloween fell on Sunday this year, so we spent the morning at church. That evening Hubby made us a fantastic hamburger dinner. I had gotten a pineapple at Bountiful Baskets the day before. Hubby sliced it up and grilled it. Plus we had crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, sweet teriyaki sauce, and some tangy cheese. Hubby put it all on the table so we could each make up our own "perfect hamburger". SO GOOD!!!  Hubby asked me to take a picture to document the goodness that he created, so he could always remember. Haha!

We spent the evening eating yummy hamburgers and handing out candy. My kids got such a kick out of handing out candy to our neighbors and friends. I truly believe that every kid ought to have the experience of handing out the candy. It is a wonderful feeling to be the one giving out the treats and making the little kids smile. We had great fun admiring the costumes of our neighbors, picking out candy to give out, and wishing them Happy Halloween. I had this experience many times as a kid due to my asthma. October is a bad month for me, even now. My Mom said that if I couldn't breathe right just sitting around, there was No Way she was allowing me to walk. Haha!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3DT (aka DDDT)

Have you noticed that most families have a "saying"? Some small phrase that is repeated often within the family. A saying that helps keep the family grounded and focused on their familial goals.

One saying popular with LDS families is "Return With Honor". This saying reminds family members that the things they do outside the home matter. It encourages them to do good and strive hard in the outside world, so that when they return home, they will return with honor.

A saying popular with Christian families is "What Would Jesus Do?". Family members, when faced with choosing between various options,  should ask themselves this question then proceed as Jesus would. This saying helps family members to mirror Jesus' actions, his charity and compassion.

Another saying used in Christian homes is "Wise Men Still Seek Him". This saying lets family members, and others know, that if they wish to be truly wise, they should seek for Christ.

A fun saying that I often seen adorning the walls of friends' homes is "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much". This saying encourages family members to truly enjoy their lives and live those lives to the fullest.

In my childhood home, the saying was  "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." My Mom had even cross-stitched this scripture, framed it, and hung it on the wall in plain sight of all. In our family, there was great focus on truly following the Lord and learning to serve his children here on earth.

I appreciate these sayings. I think there is great wisdom in each. However, none can compare to the effectiveness of the saying that Hubby grew up with. This saying was no mamby-pamby, feel-good phrase. There was no positive spin, no uplifting words...Just straight-forward commonsense.

Now, I have to admit, when I first heard this saying, I was shocked. I couldn't believe that Hubby's Dad had actually said what he said. I was appalled by his lack of compassion and his blatant disregard for other's feelings. But over the years, I have come to understand and appreciate the true wisdom of this simple phrase.

Don't Do Dumb Things

Hubby's family usually referred to this phrase by its acronym: 3DT (pronounced Three, Dee, Tee).

As Hubby and his siblings were walking out the door to various activities, their Dad would call out, 3DT! Reminding them to, obviously, Not do dumb things.

This amazingly simple, yet powerful phrase has been employed in the Blue Household for the last few years. You would be astounded by the effectiveness! 

Now, I feel it important to note that in our home we never call a person dumb. There is a palpable distinction made between a person's actions and that person as a whole. My undergraduate degree focused on child development and psychology. I know how detrimental it can be to a child's fragile psyche to be called dumb, especially by their parents. That is part of the reason that I was so appalled when I first heard this saying.

We have emphasized through lecture, modeling, and role play the difference between a person and their actions. Hubby's parents made the distinction too. And it because of this distinction that the saying works.

Our kids know that we know they are super-intelligent. They know we love them and will love them no matter what. They know that they will make mistakes, lots of mistakes. They also know that their mistakes don't define them. We can learn from those dumb mistakes and do better in the future.

On a Side Note: Making the distinction between actions and a person's self-worth was one of the best things we did for our foster daughter, Miss Q. In previous homes she had been called dumb, stupid, retarded, slow, and so on. In our home she was called an intelligent, bright, loving, and wonderful girl who occasionally made mistakes. The change this distinction wrought in her psyche was PHENOMENAL!!

By now you are probably asking yourselves, why the long essay on sayings and 3DT?

Well, that is the background you need to truly appreciate Joe's story.

Papa (Hubby's Dad) came to visit a couple weeks ago during the kids' fall break from school. Papa has been very sad since his wife died. We tried to plan things that would take Papa's mind off Grandma and to do things that he liked.

One day, while Hubby was at work, I made Papa his favorite lunch...Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. He was so tickled! After lunch the kids and I were going to take him to a Mormon Battalion Memorial and show him our favorite park. When the kids finished eating, I instructed them to use the bathroom and get their shoes on because we were leaving in twenty minutes. Simple task, right?  WRONG!

After just a few minutes I hear a crash, followed by a wail. A minute later, a crying Joe enters the kitchen followed closely by Rose who is talking a mile a minute, trying to explain what happened and how it wasn't her fault.  The short story, Cakes and Joe were in the bathroom (yes, at the same time...apparently boys can pee at the same time if they stand on different sides of the toilet. please don't ask me to delve any further into that scenario as it usually involves me cleaning urine off the floor at a later time). The door was Wide Open. The boys had finished and were washing their hands. For some reason, Joe, who is tall enough to reach the sink without a stool, felt the need to stand on the toilet. Maybe it was the fact that Cakes was standing on a stool...I just don't know.

Anyhoo, Rose walked down the hall, past the open bathroom door. Seeing her two younger brothers, she made a split-second decision to scare them. She turned, made a scary face, and growled. I'm not sure what Cakes reaction was since I am still unable to fully decipher his sentences. But Joe's reaction was to attempt an escape by jumping from the toilet lid to the bathtub...The rim of the bathtub. Naturally, the rim was slippery and the boy slipped. He tried to catch himself with his right hand, which didn't work, and crashed into the tub, crushing his right forearm.

I wasn't sure how serious the injury was, but knew a sure fire way to find out. After a severe lecture to Rose on not trying to scare people in the bathroom and and a milder lecture to Joe on not standing on toilets and not trying to jump to bathtub rims (not once citing 3DT), I loaded everyone into the van and proceeded to the park as planned. A kid with a serious injury will nurse the area while a kid whose just bumped or bruised will forget everything as soon as they reach the slides.

Joe was nursing his injury. Gingerly holding it as he went down the slides and avoiding the monkey bars altogether. It was starting to look like he had a serious injury.

When we returned home, Joe and Cakes ran out back to play. Cakes, being the mischievous little punk that he is, turned on the hose and aimed directly for Joe. Joe leaped out of the way, tripped over his feet in the process, and landed on his already injured right arm. And then he turned into a pile of goo! He literally curled into a ball and sobbed!  Oh, my poor little guy!

I quickly put the baby down and rushed over to help Joe. I scooped the boy up, brought him inside, and laid him on the couch. When he had calmed down some, he turned to me and in between sniffs said:

"Mom, don't tell me 3DT about falling down 'cause that was a axe-dent and axe-dents aren't dumb their just axe-dents and if you say it was dumb then you're being mean. So don't be mean to me, 'cause I just don't feel good and my arm hurts and it was a axe-dent. Okay?"

I quickly agreed, gave him a kiss on the head, and high-tailed it out of the living room. As soon as I was out of his ear-shot I laughed and laughed and laughed.

That poor little guy. He was such a pitiful little mess of a kid at the moment, but he still had the wherewithal to recognize his own emotional needs and, in an attempt to avoid adding insult to injury, express those emotional needs to me in a way that showed he understood where he had done wrong earlier and to illustrate that no wrongs had occurred this time round. I was proud of him for voicing his concerns and asking for the things he needed. I was also proud of the depth of understanding he had shown. But, it was so unexpected and framed in such a poor, pitiful way that all I could do was laugh. Oh well, at least I didn't laugh where he could hear me.

It guess this just goes to show that the boy is paying attention as we try to teach least, sometimes. The ironic thing was that this all happened when Papa was there. But he didn't say 3DT either. Come on people! We're not cruel!! ;)

The diagnosis for the darling Joe, a buckle fracture in the distal radius. Translation: He a broken right arm. Poor guy. At least he's left-handed. :)

The darling boy sporting a cast in his favorite color.

A Close-Up of the Cast

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hello Again

It's been several weeks since my last post. I'm not the most consistent blogger. Many times, when I sit down to type, I feel guilty for not spending that time more productive ways. After all, I do have a big house to clean and maintain; five kids to feed, clothe, teach, and entertain; and a myriad of unfinished projects to complete.

I'm also about five years behind in Memory Books. I've kept up with the births of my children, but not their birthdays, Christmas, Easter, or growth and development. And a nagging little voice always reminds me of these facts each time I sit down at my computer to update this blog.

As I sit here now, my kitchen is in shambles, clean laundry is piled high on the couches, dirty laundry lies in piles around my living room, my floor is covered in candy wrappers, and my bed is covered with Halloween costumes. There are so many things that I could be, probably should be doing. And yet here I sit.

Because I realized...I get more done when I think somebody cares about what I'm doing.

Yes, yes. I know that Hubby and the kids care. But it's not the same as having a girlfriend who cares and sympathizes and cheers one on. And let's face it, I am a slow one to make friends. It takes years for me to feel comfortable with others and to truly develop trust and friendship. Blogging helps me stay connected to those dear friends and family members that live far away.

This past month, I purposely avoided blogging. I listened to that nagging, guilt-filled voice. And you know what? My house isn't any cleaner and I've only made a teeny little dent in the projects galore. The only thing that changed was my heart...I have felt so lonely and isolated this past month. And instead of creating more time for myself, I felt as though I had less time and more work than ever!

Looking back, I've realized that I am most productive when I have someone to share with.

I started blogging so my Dear Sister could "stalk" me, as she so sweetly put it. We lived in different states and blogging provided the perfect way for us to stay connected. But, as the popularity of blogging grew, random people began reading my blog and, quite frankly, it weirded me out a bit. I started thinking I needed to write a certain way or only include certain topics. I began to over analyze everything I wrote, worried that someone who didn't know me and my dry, sarcastic sense of humor, might take offense. And for the people who do know me, Offending others is the last thing I would ever want to do. I became bogged down...taking weeks to write and edit a post that should have only taken thirty minutes to type up and post.

And I've decided that I'm done with that.

I am who I am. A nerdy, introverted, sarcastic, homemaking intellect.  And I am done worrying about what others think in regards to this blog. Especially when they are faceless names in the cyber-world.

I'm going back to the way I was when my blog was private. I am writing the way I speak. Nothing fancy. Just a nice conversation between sisters and friends.

I'm not vain. I'm not perfect. This blog is only a sliver of me. Reading it does not make you an expert on me or my way of thinking. It only provides a glimpse into my life. But for family and friends who truly know me, the sliver is all they need in order to catch up with my family and I.

People I don't know are welcome to read. Though I may be slow to make true friends, I am friendly to everyone I meet. But if you are going to judge negatively or get your feelings hurt by a person that you haven't even met (namely me), please move on. There are plenty of other blogs to read.

This blog is addressed to my Sisters and Friends.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Which Do You Want First?

The Good News?  Or the Bad News?

Go ahead. Think it over for a minute.

I'm guessing you would like to hear the Good News first...

GOOD NEWS! Paying Your Tithing Brings Blessings!

Hubby entered me into AAA's "We Know Disney" Sweepstakes. And I won. Really! I did. I won a Family Four Pack of 2-Day Park Hopper tickets to Disneyland and California Adventure. We had the option of getting the tickets now and using them by January 3, 2011 or getting the tickets in January and using them by May 31, 2011. We chose the latter.

Our kids are very excited. We started saving up for Disneyland a couple months ago. We were using the experience to teach our kids about working hard, budgeting their earnings, and saving for a long-term goal.  We made sure to pay tithing on all our earnings. We discussed with our children the Lord's words, given through the Prophet Malachi: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10)

My kids, remembering our discussion, are convinced that I won because we paid our tithing. Can't say I disagree. ;)

BAD NEWS...Fasting and Prayer Works

Today was Fast Sunday. Hubby and I chose to fast for his Momma to pass soon.  She has been slowly dying for four months now. It is not a good situation. The brain cancer is doing horrible things to her.

Our prayers were answered tonight. My dear Mother-In-Law passed on at 8:07 pm. She was only 65 years old.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Testing, Testing...

So...Blogger has an updated editor. With lots of cool new features. You may have noticed dots between my paragraphs in previous posts. I had to use them to keep the paragraphs separate. Otherwise, all my words and pictures ran together in a big, jumbled mess.

But that doesn't seem to be the case any longer. Wahoo!

Putting pictures in also seems to be easier. So without further ado, here's this week's update:

Rose has been growing her hair steadily for two years to donate to Locks of Love. Rose, Anne and I all donated hair in January 2008. We've all reestablished the length. Anne and I love our long hair. Rose was hating it. She wanted to wait a few more months before donating, but the maintenance just became to much. I took her down to get her hair chopped and styled. We mailed the locks and Rose is enjoying her new shorter do. I think it is quite becoming.

Anne and I have decided to be selfish. We are not donating our hair. We are keeping it. Sorry.  Although Anne says she will keep growing her hair down to her bum then chop off ten inches to donate. That way she keeps her long hair and still helps with wigs. We'll see how it goes.

Joe is a Dangerous Boy. As such, he is required to build a go-cart. The Iggulden brothers suggest going to the local dump to get the necessary supplies. Joe and Hubby opted to go to Harbor Freight and the local hardware store instead.  The purchased four wheelbarrow wheels, saddle straps, threaded 36 inch dowels, 2 x 4 x 8's, and a few other items.

They got busy putting the cart together. Joe kept calling it a "Goat-Cart". We're not sure where he thought the goats would fit.

Cakes helped too. Mostly he helped by demonstrating to Hubby and Joe that things were or were not put together sturdily enough not to be broken.

They took the cart out for a few test runs. The front wheels could pull a ninety-degree turn on a dime. The guys learned this when Joe, unknowingly, pulled hard on the strap and went flying. Hubby added a wood block to limit the turning degree. They are still working on it. Taking it for rides to test then making the necessary adjustments. It is Wonderful to watch Hubby, Cakes, and Joe work on this "dangerous" activity.

I have fattened up my baby. He now weighs a bit over 15 pounds. He doesn't look much fatter though because he is such a TALL baby. It will be interesting to see if his height follows him into adulthood or if he will just hit 5 foot in third grade and never grow again. Cross your fingers that he makes it to at least 6 feet before the growth spurt stops.

This little cutie is also starting to get teeth. His poor little gums are swollen and he is drooling up a storm-hence the bib. But do you think that would upset him or cause him to grumble? NO!! He is still as happy as ever. I sweat there is nothing that can get this kid upset. He laughs and smiles and coos, just happy as can be. And doesn't he have the prettiest mouth that you ever did see???  SO HANDSOME!!

I have finally figured out how to arrange my living room. I mapped everything out and Hubby is implementing my plans. The blue tape is a rough outline of a bookcase that Hubby is going to build for me. The yellow line represents the TV. The bookcase will be 11 3/4 inches deep and 98 inches tall by 72 inches wide. We purchased BEAUTIFUL solid-Poplar pieces. Poplar is my new Favorite wood. It is a gorgeous hardwood- creamy colors with streaks of green and gray. I LOVE Green and Gray!

I'm counting this as my Anniversary present from Hubby. Now I just have to get him something. He's easy though. He considers a date night with me (sans kids) to be the epitome of grand gifts. So that's what he's getting...except I am bringing the Baby Jim. Hubby agrees-we don't leave babies with sitters until they are one and the Baby Jim is only four months.

And that is the end of my testing. I just "Previewed" this post. Everything stayed in place! And my pictures corresponded perfectly with my text. Hooray for this new editor!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Counting is Off!

Once upon a time my family consisted of:  Me, Hubby, Rose, Anne, Joe, and Cakes.  Six people. Four children, two adults.  I am a counter. I count the kids when we get into the car, during activities, and when we leave. Counting ensures that I know where all kids are at all times, thereby ensuring their safety and my sanity.

A year ago, we added Miss Q to the count. Adding one was fine and I had a few months to get used to the new count of five children.

Then we added Mr. J and our count became six children. Again, adding this one was fine and I had a few months to get used it the new count.

Then came Baby Jim. We had known about his arrival for quite a while, so he was easy, easy to add. And my count was seven.

It was a large family. Nine people in total. Seven kids to keep track of. But I was fine. My count was spot on.

Then the first week of July Mr. J left. The first week of August Miss Q left. And my count was Off!

I kept counting five kids and thinking I'd left someone behind. I'd count and recount. Sometimes while I was driving I'd have the kids count off for me again, just to ensure that everyone was in the car, even though I had counted them getting in.  It was ridiculous.

The foster kids left in such rapid succession that it took a while for my brain and count to acclimate themselves to the new number. I now have five children. Only five. Once my count readjusted I was fine. Absolutely fine.

A stranger, on hearing that I had five kids, asked how I managed with "so many children". I laughed and told her Five was easy when compared to Seven...I just had to adjust my count. ;)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quick Update

The kids have returned to school. Rose is in 5th Grade, Anne in 3rd Grade, and Joe in 1st grade. Can I just tell you what a relief (and joy) it is to not have to worry about keeping these kids entertained, busy, and not fighting!

Now it's just Cakes, Jim, and I at home during the week. They are fun and silly little boys. We are working on Memory Books. I am only four years behind. :S
Jim had his four-month check this week. He is 27 1/2 inches long and weighed 14 lb. 11 oz. That puts him in the 98th percentile for height, but only the 45th percentile for weight. My doctor likes the percentages to be closer, but wasn't overly concerned because the Jim-boy looked super-healthy. My Mom and Hubby, on the other hand, think we need to fatten the boy up. Wish me luck!

I am completely flunking on my diet and exercise plan. The Hubby bought me an entire box of Mars Bars! That was my favorite candy bar when I was fifteen. But they stopped making them when Snickers decided to court almond lovers. That was fine by me. I haven't eaten a candy bar in about 13 years (the two bite-size bars my kids share with me at Halloween don't count. I only eat those to show the kids that we are polite and share. most of the time I will sneakily pocket them, while pretending to chew, and pass them to Hubby later.).
Hubby has, off and on, been tracking the candy bars on my behalf. That was always hilarious to me, because I really don't have a sweet tooth. I much prefer savory foods. For example, when we used to go to his parents' house for dinner, I would opt for an extra roll rather than eat cake and ice cream.
As often happens, my tastes changed with this pregnancy and they have yet to bounce back. I have serious cravings for chocolate that cannot be met! It is quite infuriating to me! I am doing my best to not cave in to the cravings. I was doing so well...
And then Hubby brings home an entire box of Mars! Turns out they never went out of production, they were still being made and sold in England. Only the U.S. stopped selling them. But now they are coming back, exclusively at Wal-mart. I laughed when Hubby unveiled the box. He was so proud of himself. He knew I had been craving chocolate and thought this would be a good remedy.
I was very proud of myself that I didn't spit in his eye.
After much cajoling, I agreed to try one, to see if it tasted as good as I remembered.
I wish I had just spit in his eye. :(
Oh. My. Stars!!
It was delicious!
And I couldn't stop at just one!
That rotten old man! Why did I ever marry him? Ugh!
I do not know what the Baby Jim did to my body, but it was something truly wicked to produce such intense cravings!
Someone please kill me now.