Monday, January 30, 2012

forget me not

I think that somewhere, before I became a parent, I must have signed some sort of waiver that included among other things....

Your children will never (all) be happy at the same time (for more than 5 minutes).
You will be chronically sleep deprived.
You will have delusions of running off  to some deserted island to live for at least a month to escape the noise and the laundry.
You will be reminded of the Calgon commercial on especially crazy days.
You will wish homework was never invented.
You will have to feed those kids at least three times a day.
You will worry about who their friends are, who they'll date, who they'll marry and if they're eating enough veggies.
You will shed tears when they're sad and feel joy when they're happy.
You will have days when you want to ship them to China (occasionally) and days when you know you are the most blessed mom ever (usually).

I love Sundays.  Yesterday in church my friend Tresslee gave an amazing lesson based on a talk by President Uchtdorf..... Forget Me Not.  He has become one of my favorite speakers lately.  He just "gets it". He suggested 5 important things that we as women should never forget.

So, during my friend's lesson, I  thought a lot about my parent journey.  Let's be honest, some days are SO hard, SO frustrating, and SO exhausting.  I'm pretty sure that was part of our Heavenly Father's plan.  It's that whole "opposition in all things".  How else are we going to figure out how to be patient, kind, and love unconditionally the way our Father in heaven does?  So, I believe things are hard sometimes for a reason.  But, how do we get past the daily grind of  "have to's"?  President Uchtdorf made this great analogy using the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story...

"The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy."

Every day moments....I'm going to look for a few of those today and remember why I do love being a mom.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

people are funny

Tuesday's are "treat days" in our family.  So,  today I picked up the kids from school, and they decided on McDonald's ice-cream.  I arrived at McDonald's, pulled up to "the box",  gave my order, and pulled up to the window to pay.  I handed the guy my credit card, and then, there was a long wait.  Eventually, he sticks his head out the window and apologizes (their credit card machines were down).  I say "no problem" and continue to wait.  Another 5 minutes pass...I happen to look in my side rear-view and see the guy behind me glaring at me.  Another 5 minutes pass, and I'm feeling very uncomfortable at the front of what has become a very long line.  At this point, a car 2 or 3 back from us pulls around our car and parks.  A man gets out, gives me a horrible look and I believe a hand gesture, and heads into McDonald's.  I recognize him a manager of the Target I frequent.  Very nice.  So....I look in my rear-view and the guy behind me now looks like he's going to be moved to violence at any minute.  The McDonald's worker then opens the window again, hands me card and apologizes one more time.  Snap! The guy behind me can't take it anymore.  He guns his engine and peels out to move in front of me to the pick-up window.  Apparently someone there filled him in....because he didn't wait for his food, but instead gunned his engine again and sped out of the parking lot. Really?  My kids are sitting there shocked (so am I ).  So, I realize I've just been given a "teaching moment"....  
       So, is full of these kind of know, when you get so frustrated you can't take it?  But I want you to know we always have a choice to decide how we react.  And , it's really important to learn to be calm.  Cause other wise, you'll look like these people!
( I've always said my kids show more maturity than some adults I know).  
And, we still enjoyed our ice-cream.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


There is something inherently good about chocolate chip cookies (right from the oven) and cold milk.  That's how we ended our day today, and it was a good day.  Church, family, friends, warm baths, family prayers, tuck ins and songs for G.  And, although there are a million hard, sad things in the world, I was reminded tonight, of all that is good in the world.  Like chocolate chip cookies.
Gentry, 12 months

Friday, January 20, 2012

yes! i do have a brain.

For years I've known I needed to get on the "food storage" thing.  It's always overwhelmed me.  But, for some reason, I decided 2012 is my year (go me!).  Maybe it's the whole increase of random earthquakes, tsunamis, global warming yadda, yadda.  Honestly, not to make light of these events....I want to be able to take care of my family, no matter the circumstances.   I know preparing is important, but I'm also not an alarmist. So, food storage...where to begin.  I decided to start by stocking up on things my family will actually use/consume/eat.  But, since I'm kind of an organization freak, I first had to make organized charts to keep track of all of these  things.  Problem?  I am super challenged on the computer.  Learning to work my way around a blog was major.....trying to create a nice, colorful inventory chart...paramount.  But, after only a short two hours this morning, success. Don't laugh, I know in the eternal scheme things, it doesn't sound very impressive.  But, I was pleased that I do have a brain that can still learn and create something more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I was also reminded of a talk by Pres.Uchtdorf.  So, today I learned how to "create" some charts on my computer.  A small triumph for me, but it made me happy and feel capable.  

BTW...if your interested in doing the whole food storage thing,  there are a million resources, but here's one that I really like preparedldsfamily.

Tomorrow is Saturday....take 15 minutes and "create" are capable!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Friday, the 13th

I am not a superstitious person.  If I was however, I may have attributed a weekend that started out so nicely, and then went very "south" to last Friday (the 13th). Soni and Kyle were visiting from Utah.  I love this little pic from their wedding almost two years ago...

      Saturday night we dined at Red Lobster with the family (all our kids), Soni and Kyle, and Gregg's mom and dad.  The crab was delish.  After, we engaged in one of our very favorite family card games, Wizard. If you need a new game, try this one.  I promise you'll love it.  Fun night....
      Sunday night Jenny and Tyler stopped by.  Tyler did this race on Saturday called the Tough Mudder.  Check out the video....craziest race ever.  Apparently Tyler even got electric shocked, not once, but three time at the end (resulting in him passing out cold, face down in the mud).  Don't worry, he woke up again, finished the race, and decided he wants to do it again next year.  And hey, I can understand that.  He picked up some bruises and this great, complimentary t-shirt.  Very cool.

So, you may be saying to yourself...When does the "south" part of the weekend start?  Well, if you asked Sadie, it began in the wee hours of the Saturday a.m. when she started throwing up (we thought she had food poisoning).  If you ask Drew, it started Monday morning when he came into our room, said he felt sick, and then  threw-up all over my bathroom (never mind that we have a couple more that he could have chosen).  If you were to ask Sierra, she'd tell you her weekend was fine, until Monday evening.  Gregg and Gentry...well they followed sometime thereafter.  Me...ok, I'm really not superstitious (but I don't want to jinx myself), so let's just say that miraculously enough, I've felt just fine enough to take care of everybody else.  And, if it wasn't nailed down this weekend, it took a trip in my washing machine.  And, if it was nailed down, every last inch was sanitized. So, through this little ordeal, I've come up with my "thankful list" when my family has the flu.....
1. My washer and dryer
2. Windex
3. Paper towels
4. Arizona weather in January (all my window open!)
5. Snuggle dryer sheets ( blue
6. Gatorade and Sprite 
7. Blockbuster (entertainment for the afflicted)
8. That so is still in commission!
And hopefully, working together, we filled our stomach flu "quota" for at least a year.  That's what this family is all about, teamwork.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Last night I was pulling through the "drive-thru" at Taco Bell.  I was listening to "the Big 80's" on Sirius. The song "Hold Me Now" came on and I had one of those sentimental/notalgic moments remembering back in the day.  I love that song.  Love it.  Loved the album (or was it a cassette tape my sophomore year?). Remember the Columbia Record and Tape club?  Twelve records or tapes for only 1 cent. Yeah, I was all over that.  Of course, I forgot to read the small print (something about having to purchase 6 more at regular price..blah, blah).   And then you had to send those cards in every month saying you didn't want to buy whatever they were featuring that month.  By the time I was done, I'd payed for those 12 cassette tapes in stamps. 
      After walking through those high school memories for just a moment, I picked up dinner for the kids and drove home.  And, I thought about that time before I had kids, when I was the kid.  And,  how it was a good time.  And I also thought about how I'm grateful to be in my "here and now" and how along the path I've gained patience and perspective. And, how I can still appreciate a really good song when I hear it. Ya know?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


 First of all, a big "thank you" to my friend Toni who noticed that on my post two days ago, I left out a very important ingredient in the "swiss toffee recipe".  Butter.  My apologies, and the recipe has been corrected. Apparently my blondishness has been a little dominant lately.
                    (case in point below)
Yesterday I picked Gentry up from school, drove home, got her a snack, and started to help her with her homework.  You've probably heard of the book "Flat Stanley".  Last month, Gentry sent "Flat Gentry" to her grandparents in WI. They were asked to take pictures of "Flat Gentry" and return them to her teacher. So, while she was doing homework, I was looking through the pictures and commented,
   I remember when Drew had this assignment. 
(Oh my gosh! Drew! I completely forgot to pick him up from school! We had been home for 45 minutes.)
So, I run out, hop in the car and head for school.  It's about 3 1/2 miles away. I'm thinking,
     Surely he's walking home by now?
I drive slowly, I don't see him anywhere.  I'm picturing us (earlier) driving past him on the way home, and him standing up and waving, and me totally oblivious.  By this time, I am almost to his school.  And sure enough, there is Drew sitting on the curb, leaning up against his backpack.  I pull in, and at this point, I am laughing so hard I'm crying.  He gets in the car, just looks at me shakes his head and smiles. Drew...
    I figured you'd remember me at some point, you drove right past me and I was waving!

    I though you'd be walking by now!

   I would have except my backpack's really heavy today and it hurts my collarbone (mother of the year!)

   Didn't you have your cell phone?

   It died right as you drove past.  I thought about rubbing it on my head to make static electricity.

    Does that work to charge it?

     I don't know, but it seemed like it might be worth a shot.

I know, now Drew and I are both sounding a little blonde (we are),  but it was so funny!  And, of all my kids to forget, he was definitely the best sport.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

big, scary, hairy

Last night I'm standing in the kitchen,  making dinner,  and half listening to some t.v. program from the other room.  It had been a long week already (and it was only Monday).  So, I start listening a little more closely to the program.....apparently it's a show about finding Bigfoot and calling him out with a "squatch" (sasquatch) call. The monologue in my head...
     Seriously, a "squatch" call?? Why would someone video tape this and think that somebody else would watch this?    (Pause)  Wait a minute....

I turn around slowly to see my entire family lined up on the couch, closely following the finer points of "squatch" calling.  Very nice. So, just in case your interested....  Here's the Bigfoot hotline link...
At least I know my family has been properly trained in the art of "squatch" calling, should the need arise.

Monday, January 9, 2012

in case you needed one more way to have sugar

Before my mom and dad leave to go back home tomorrow, we had one final task today.  Make "Swiss Milk Toffee".  Not a toffee fan you say?  Me neither.  But this is NOT ordinary toffee.  This is a family recipe from my uncle Bill who grew up in Scotland. You have to try it to appreciate it.

1/2 c. regular milk
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1/2 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
pinch of salt
1 large Hershey's bar (7 oz) grated

Combine regular milk, sugar, butter, and pinch of salt in a medium sized pan.  Bring to low boil and then set timer and cook for 8 not stir.
After boiling for 8 minutes, remove pan from heat, add sweetened condensed milk (stir in quickly), return to heat, cook and stir continually for about 8 more minutes.

Then,  remove pan from heat and continue mixing toffee with an electric beater at medium speed. After a few minutes, the toffee will become thick, harder to beat and start to look like frosting (almost to "peak" stage).

Spread (using your hand to pat and shape into rectangle) mixture on a jelly roll pan (it will take up about half the pan).  While toffee is still hot, sprinkle grated chocolate on top.  Spread evenly with knife as it melts. Score into 1 inch squares (or larger!). When it has cooled completely, cut squares all the way through.  SO good!

Friday, January 6, 2012

i'm a survivor

What the cat dragged in.....literally. Sadie actually jumped on the cat (who had jumped on the bird) and pulled this guy from the "jaws of death".  It was very dramatic.  He actually looked like he wasn't going to make it.  But after his little birdie lungs and heart had recovered, 

 he perked up and flew away.  Don't you just love happy endings?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hieroglyphics Hike

The kids went back to school today. This morning was, well, let's be honest, kinda brutal!  The kids average wake-up time during the break (average= 4 kids wake-up times divided by 4)...maybe 11:30 am?  Yes, 6:15 am was painful this morning.  But, now I'm up, dressed, showered and it's only 9:00 am.  Nice.  Sierra started a new school this morning.  In perfect "third child" form, she wasn't even nervous.  

We did a fun 3 mile hike New Year's day.  I highly recommend this for the whole family.   Here's the link: Hieroglyphics Trail. Thanks to Gregg for the photography.

If you take this hike in early spring, it actually has a really nice waterfall/stream...but this was it for our hike.  Of course Sierra wanted to swim, but I told her we'd just leave that to this black lab.

The hike was followed by lunch at Firehouse (one of our favorites).  Do you see Gentry?  She was mad and choose to stay in the car.  She's the only one in our fam who doesn't like Firehouse. I actually offered to pick up something else, but by then she was so mad we'd chosen Firehouse that she refused that too.  Oh well, 5 out of 6 are still pretty good odds for this family.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Our 2011 came to a very sad close.  New Year's eve we attended the funeral of a close family friend who was an incredible man.  I'm always struck at funerals by the realization that we never really, fully appreciate another person until they're not with us anymore. Why is that?  I can't explain it.  I've often thought, after attending a funeral, "I need to love my family more, express more appreciation, stop worrying about the small things". It's so easy to take the people we care about for granted. My 2012 resolution...more appreciation for the most important people in my life.  More positive words, more hugs, more laughing together, more forgiveness, more selflessness.
   Another thing I thought about during the funeral is the huge amount of  gratitude I have to know that our families don't end here....that God loves us and that we can be together again after this life.  I can't imagine going through this life without that hope. 
   We spent the closing hours of 2012 together as a family (minus the senior  who was at a party).  My dad made his famous clam chowder and we ended the year with a few small fireworks.  
Farewell Darius, until we meet again.