Friday, December 26, 2008

Ahh...Christmas Eve!
The one night of the year when the kids actually want to go to bed early...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ode to Joan...

It took me awhile this year to feel the Christmas spirit. The first inkling came after I knocked on my neighbor, Joan's, front door. When she answered, her step ladder was in the front hall surrounded by burgeoning boxes of Christmas decorations and garlands. My inner child (complete with pigtails and skinned knees) came alive in a heartbeat. You one keeps Christmas like Joan. I have an exclusive invitation into "Christmas Central" when our book club winds up a year of good reads at her house. Her home is a visual Christmas card. Each year I expect a photo crew from Better Homes and Gardens to interrupt our festivities. I purposefully drive the long way out of the neighborhood at night to pass her house, complete with candy-colored lights and festooned wreaths. It's not hard to explain the appeal. It reminds me of my home in Missouri. My Mom did Christmas the way Joan does Christmas. Every year my brother and I eagerly waited for the day after Thanksgiving when the boxes would come out of storage and our home turned into something magical.

Thanks Joan!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
We got hit with an impressive snow storm today. When the first flakes started to fall I immediately thought of one of my best friends growing up, Wendy. Wendy doesn't care too much for snow. In fact, that is an understatement. During our teenage years (and she claims it's still true), she refused to drive at the merest suggestion of snow. So I'm posting these pictures for her benefit. She can sit at home all snug and warm and experience our frigid weather vicariously.

Sledding from the neighbors driveway to ours

What do you do when the shovel is actually bigger than you are?

No, her tongue didn't stick to the house...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

There is a moral to this story...

Sparky has been in desperate need of a haircut, but I have been short on free time. This morning I asked Ford to give J man's hair a trim with the clippers. This was the result. I tried to slick it to one side for church, but his hair (like the boy himself) has a will of it's own. We call him "Hamlet" now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Ok. I’m not ever really speechless. Those of you who are not politically minded, my apologies. I’m about to speak my mind…again.

Do I really live in a country where racial prejudice is still so strong that our newly elected President, just based on the color of his skin, is now the target of assassination plots and bigoted ridicule? I was raised in a family that taught me to be color blind. I was taught to form my opinions of people based on who they are and what they think, not on the color of their skin or their cultural background. I admit that I don’t agree with many (many) of President Elect Obama’s views, but that has nothing to do with his race.

Speaking of prejudice…how interesting to be a target of it.

I have been surprised and disappointed by the homosexual community’s reaction to the passing of Proposition 8. I saw last night, the latest assault on the Mormon Church in the form of a televised ad. I’m confused. What is the goal of this ad? Physical attacks against Mormons? Or how about discrimination based on religion? Thousands of people showed up to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The fact is members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in the sanctity of the family. They organized, got the word out and voted their conscience. Didn’t the homosexual community organize and vote as well? No one is trying to legislate homosexuality. LDS support of Proposition 8 was support of the definition of family.

Speaking of families…I’d better go take care of mine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to make turkey for Thanksgiving Katie

Last year we did it in the pot thingy, and we had to take out the blood. We put it in the sink to get it out. We put a lid on top of the pot thingy and we let it cook for I think it was like 6 or 7 hours. The pot thingy was in the kitchen on the counter. Use some mitt thingies to take it out. Cut it and cut the bone part too, and put it on a plate--I think with dessert and eat it. It tastes like a normal dead turkey.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bon Voyage Bec-ster!

Next week it's my turn to have a "significant" birthday. I'm not terribly thrilled with this one...especially since I thought that such a milestone year would be accompanied by some physical changes. No, I'm not talking about everything heading south (which it is). I'm talking about the injustice of having a face where acne and wrinkles coexist. Come on! There have to be some advantages to getting older. I guess the external breakouts are a manifestation of my internal adolescent mentality (which I will never outgrow I am sure).

Anyway...I'm celebrating next weekend by escaping to a Marriott by myself for a scheduled nervous breakdown. Contrast this with my former roomie, Rebecca, who is celebrating her 40th year by departing on Saturday for CAMBODIA. Yes, my altruistic friend is traveling across the globe to help build homes and buy diapers for little Cambodian babies. My love, prayers and admiration go with you. I expect pictures and a lot of detail when you get back!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rebecca stole it from someone else's I stole it from hers!
a little cyber-sharing!

One of the reasons Halloween is not my favorite holiday...

Me (two months ago): Katie, what do you want to be for Halloween?

Katie: A butterfly!

Me (one month ago): Katie, do you still want to be a butterfly for Halloween?

Katie: Yes! A butterfly!

Me (two weeks ago): Katie, you can't wear the butterfly wings until Halloween.

Katie: I can hardly wait!

Me (last night, 1 hour before the Halloween party): Are you ready to put on your Butterfly costume?

Katie: I don't want to be a butterfly! I want to be a witch...

Me: @$#&^!*

Thursday, October 9, 2008


My oldest is eight years old today. Eight. I have an eight year old son. If I keep saying it, maybe it will be real. I knew this day would come. I’ve known it since the day he was born. But … here it is. Wow. That was fast.

I remember the day he was born—well, sort of. I’d been in the hospital for two and half days and was beginning to wonder if he’d ever get out! I think God lets women be pregnant for nine grueling months to make them desperate to have possession of their bodies again. Labor doesn't seems so daunting when that's the prize. Anyway...the day went on and on and on and all I could think about was how I didn’t get to eat. I saw the chocolate cake everyone else had with dinner. Did I get any? No. All I had was a dripping I.V. and a little button that delivered epidural relief whenever I wanted it. By late that evening I was coasting along in a drug induced haze. I was so relaxed, the chocolate cake ceased to matter. I sat there in a very Zen like state. Want me to push? Ok. Want me to turn on my side? Shuuuuure. If you like I’ll even bark like a dog or sing Queen at the top of my lungs. Then all of a sudden, monitors started beeping and my doctor disappeared. A few seconds passed and the room exploded into action. Nurses, more than I’d seen since I'd started my incarceration in Labor and Delivery were whirling around me, their scrubs creating a sort of kaleidoscope effect. Now there were two doctors. One of them said to me, “You win!” Really? What did I win? Some chocolate cake? Everyone was moving fast but saying nothing to me. I calmly asked, “So, am I having a c-section?” No response. Next time I sat up a little and raised my hand, “Excuse me, AM I HAVING A C-SECTION?” Evidently the large pregnant lady on the bed with messy hair and no make-up was invisible. I’d expended all my energy just trying to sit up. I couldn’t feel my legs. Who cared. I laid back and relaxed and was whisked into surgery. Yeah…I’m having a c-section. Post-op, I have some very unflattering video coverage of me laying in my sterile hospital bed, slacked mouthed and drooling. Baby? What baby? I didn’t regain consciousness until the next morning. But when I did, oh my! There was this absolutely gorgeous baby boy waiting for me, a warm bundle cocooned in flannel and smelling new. I was instantly in love...with this little life.

Eight years have passed. I'm not sure what I did with all that time. I spent a lot of it worrying unnecessarily. That's what moms do. But it's been a ride watching him learn and grow...learning to let go of him by degrees. I hope as time continues to pass that he won't question how much he is loved in our home. I hope we can infuse his life with as much joy and adventure as he has brought into ours.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul." Edith Wharton

Thanks to Joan for this quote. I've relected on it quite a bit this past week. I am blessed to have three such people in my life.

Carrie has been, of late, a disembodied anchor to my soul (owing to the magic of electronic communication). She is honesty on legs. She listens without judgement. She is kind. She is wise. And she is able to sooth my lagging spirits with amazingly few words.

Michelle is another kindred spirit who in times of distress, plants her feet firmly on the ground and volunteers her own strength to supplement mine. We share the same tendency to obsess over the topic du jour and is a comrade in all things French.

Laura J. is difficult to summarize. For years I've recognized her as another part of myself. We've often joked about the possibility that we might have been separated at birth. We are very similar but different enough that we don't get on each others nerves. She is non-judgemental, mostly because in her life's experiences she has, "been there...done that."

I feel fortunate indeed...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Birthday Letters...

I am reading Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes. I am not typically a reader of poetry (I do love Shakespeare and Yeats though), but I am finding this book completely amazing and evocative. I suppose it's a sort of rebuttal for the Plath-ivists (who have chiseled the name "Hughes" off of Sylvia's headstone so many times that it is now engraved in bronze) out there . It's been years since I've read Plath but I am finding Ted Hughes' account of their marriage fascinating. So far my favorite poem is Ouija and if you will forgive me, I'll copy some of it here.

More often serious. Once, as we bent there, I asked:
'Shall we be famous?' and you snatched your hand upwards
As if something had grabbed it from under.
Your tears flashed, your face was contorted,
Your voice cracked, it was thunder and flash together:
'And give yourself to the glare? Is that what you want?
Why should you want to be famous?
Don't you see - fame will ruin everything.'
I was stunned. I thought I had joined
Your association of ambition
To please you and your mother,
To fulfil your mother's ambition
That we be ambitious. Otherwise
I'd be fishing off a rock
In Western Australia. So it seemed suddenly. You wept,
You wouldn't go on with Ouija. Nothing
I could think of could explain
Your shock and crying. Only
Maybe you'd picked up a whisper that I could not,
Before our glass could stir, some still small voice:
'Fame will come. Fame especially for you.
Fame cannot be avoided. And when it comes
You will have paid for it with your happiness,
Your husband and your life.'

See what I mean?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday
I know! I know! I'm a day late (last time I said that, I was pregnant)
Top Ten Things a Husband Should Never Say to his WIFE!

1) You smell like my grandma.

2) Sure...I'll do the dishes (then eight hours later...)

3) You sound just like your mom.

4) (at 3:00 a.m.) Are you awake?

5) That shirt makes you look pregnant.

6) Hey, dinner actually tasted good tonight!

7) Packin' on the pounds--eh?

8) Can you get me her number? (referring to the chesty blond who just jogged by)

9) My sister is a better cook.

10) I want to build an ethanol still in our back yard.

Hands off ladies...he's mine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Into the woods...

Trying not to consider the cooler temperatures that facilitate the transformation of green to jewel tones...we marched into the woods Sunday afternoon and learned a few things:

1) There are no bathrooms in nature
2) You can read a book and hike without tripping
3) The wilderness may be a grasshopper's haven, but best beware the seven-year-old assassin!
4) Dogs and chocolate chip cookies don't mix well

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday

Sorry, folks…it’s been one of those weeks. But here it goes anyway...

Top Ten things I would spend money on if gas wasn’t so blinkin' high

1) Food
2) A facial
3) Highlights…or lowlights—some kind of “lights” so I wouldn’t look so mousy
4) New Shoes!
5) A renewable prescription for valium
6) A better attitude
7) Babysitters, babysitters, babysitters
8) Lunch with my sisters-in-law
9) A weekly massage
10) That straight jacket I’ve been so admiring…

Monday, September 15, 2008

One thing more and then I’ll shut up...

I really can’t recommend the Masterpiece Theater production of Jane Eyre enough. It overshadows past efforts where the acting was wooden and the portrayals of Rochester and Jane, cold and severe.

Ruth Wilson is an enigmatic Jane, brilliantly showing Jane’s progression from plain and obscure girl to a passionate, feeling woman. Toby Stephens is marvelous as Rochester. He’s handsome but not pretty. He’s moody and brooding but sensitive.

If you are looking for an interpretation that brings the passion of Jane Eyre to the screen…this is the one.

The link to the PBS website which gives some great information on the production of Jane Eyre, the locations (gorgeous!) and some history
Channeling Charlotte Bronte

I have had, for the past year now, a fear of books. I know, sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But I’m not one of those readers who can nibble on books--the type of person who can pick up a book and put it down again, change a diaper, fix a meal and then pick it back up again…not without major anxiety that is. No. I am a passionate reader. I devour books (unless the writing is awful…I can chuck one of those books at anytime). Last October a friend pushed the book Twilight into my hands and made me promise to read it on our road trip to California. I just couldn't do it. It gathered dust on the piano at home while we were on the Nemo Submarine ride at Disneyland.

So it was with more than a little anxiety that I picked up this months book club read, Jane Eyre. It's one of my favorites. I almost lost my job over this book years ago when a coworker and I were reading it at the same time and sat with our heads together discussing Jane and Mr. Rochester rather than working.

Last week I was immersed in Jane Eyre. Not content to merely read the novel, I watched as many dramatic interpretations as possible, the absolute best being the Masterpiece Theater production...sucked me in and still hasn't let me go. I think I managed pretty well, however. My son ran out of socks and my husband...underwear. We made do with grilled cheese for dinner a couple of nights but no one died.

Now...what shall I read next!?

Always happy to post a picture of a handsome man...the brooding and oh-so-sexy Mr. Rochester (a-la Toby Stephens)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday...
Top Ten Inappropriate Songs for Weddings and Funerals


The Rolling Stones: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Eurythmics: Thorn in My Side
The Rolling Stones: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Annie Lennox: Thin Line Between Love and Hate
Harry Connick, Jr.: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore


Simon and Garfunkel: Bye Bye Love
Judy Garland: Over the Rainbow
Charlie Daniels Band: The Devil Went Down to Georgia
The Temptations: I Can’t Get Next to You
Pet Shop Boys: What Have I Done to Deserve This?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday…on Saturday

This week a friend posted a “Top Ten Tuesday” list of movie quotes. I don’t doubt my ability to come up with ten movie quotes. If you know me then you know that my cup of trivia runneth over. However, I decided to put a twist on the list and do…

Top Ten Quotes from Everybody Loves Raymond

1) Ray (who is Italian): “I’m not really interested in other cultures,” after learning his mother has paid for a trip to Italy for the whole family.

2) Ray to Debra: “Just so ya know, you could have had sex tonight! And it was gonna be good…all new stuff!”

3) Frank to Robert after he’s accidentally sprayed Marie’s face with paint: “That’s gonna need another coat.”

4) Ray to Ally after Marie backs her car into their living room: “Grandma and Grandpa stopped by.”

5) Ray to Robert: “So let me get this straight, you’ve broadened the definition of the term “boogie” to include staying home by yourself, eating wheat thins?”

6) Marie to Frank: “If anyone looked inside you, all they’d find is meat.”

7) Frank: “Now what the hell am I? Just a list of cable channels and a big stinkin’ pile of bacon waiting to die!”

8) Ray: “I am someone who did not read Tom Sawyer, and yet I did not turn out to be a hobo.”

9) Debra to Ray: “You know, in the past your…dumbness…has gotten in the way of just a few things I’ve wanted to do: the book club… theater…having conversations—I just want to say this one thing and then we won’t have to discuss it again—You’re not blowing this for me pal!”

10) Ray to his brother Robert: “C’mon, when a man gets into bed with you…you put some pants on!”

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sunday in the chapel with Josh…

10:55 Arrive in church, sit down

11:01 Not liking the boundaries of the pew, Josh starts to voice his discontent…foyer

11:15 Back in the chapel

11:16 Discover that big sister ate all his snacks so there is nothing to stuff in his mouth to stop the screeching…foyer

11:25 Under the delusion that he’ll be quiet, I take him to the back of the chapel where he squirms out of my arms and begins pounding on the metal chairs of the overflow. He accompanies the drumming with deafening squeals of delight (convincing everyone I did not give birth to a child, but a howler monkey). foyer

11:42 Back into the chapel where I give my husband the skunk eye and tell him it’s his turn. I position myself as far away from Josh as I can

11:50 Josh toddles over to me with a big toothy grin. Who can resist that? Sits on my lap for 2.5 seconds before bouncing up to check the action on the pew behind us. They have magnetix, we do not. More discontent. Foy-errrr

11:59 Chapel again. Forcefully hand Josh to his dad and sit down, pretending to be from another country and don’t speak English. Ruckus. Dadoo takes Josh to the foyer.

12:01 Five year old begins to have a melt down because I tell her she needs to sit up. Are you kidding me? FOYER

12:03 Hand off five year old to Dadoo and I take over with Josh who wants ME. I mentally wave a white flag and take him outside to walk around the church. He, naturally, wants to crawl in the parking lot. I pick him up and carry him around the church

12:20 Back in the church and sacrament meeting is over


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Living Vicariously Through Others...

I'm actually a frightening person. Ok, not too threatening. Just mildly psychotic. It's how I survive. My husband says I don't want real life, I want perfection. This, I suppose, explains my love for old movies and 1950's sitcoms.

When I was younger, a family friend thought I should be an actress when I grew up. When I asked her why, she said, "Because you are always pretending to be someone else." Hmmm. As a kid I had this picture on my dressing table…

…fine and dandy, except I used to pretend Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were my real parents. As a teenager I was fixated on Princess Diana and Gone with the Wind. In my early twenties, I'd walk around the track at BYU giving imaginary interviews to Barbara Walters about my "relationship" with JFK Jr. And up to a few days before my wedding, I had an ENORMOUS poster of Brad Pitt on my closet door.

But marriage and three kids have been a major reality check. In fact, nothing gets your feet on the ground faster than a mortgage, runny noses and homework deadlines. Oh, I'm still living vicariously through others. However, these days my fantasies revolve around things like a clean house, an empty laundry hamper and landscaping. I dream about developing Tanya's organizational skills, acquiring LJ's culinary sense, and I just plain covet Joan's beautiful front yard. But good things come to those who wait, right?

So, I’m not walking down the red carpet, I’m cleaning it. But real life, it turns out, suits me just fine. At the end of the day, I have three kids who wrap their arms around me and bestow the most delicious hugs. I love being a mom. And I'm pretty sure that's not just because some days I walk around pretending to be June Cleaver.

Waaaay cuter than Mr. Pitt...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Off and running...

Just like big brother and sister, fourteen months seems to be the time when my kids start to walk. He's a bit wobbly and starts off in the most hilarious crab crawl most of the time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Significant Birthday...
…that is what my former (notice I didn't say old) roommate is having this week. At least that is what she called it on her blog. I think it’s a handy euphemism. “significant” is much nicer than, say, “overwhelming,” “momentous,” “epic,” …you get the idea.

I, quite frankly, can’t believe she’s any older than when I last saw her. In the pictures I’ve seen, she looks exactly the same—even better. I can’t believe it’s been over 18 years. I don’t feel any older.

All those years ago, she was the mature one in the apartment. She had the full time job and the full time boyfriend. He became her full time husband in short order. I’d entertain you with some of the stories from those days, but I’d come off looking incredibly immature…and stupid.

So…HAPPY SIGNIFICANT BIRTHDAY BEC-STER! (I’ll be joining you in a few months…ahem).

After the pudding fight

( you guys still do this??)
It's the MOST wonderful time of the year...

My children's lives have been spared again by the very timely beginning of the school year. I think all of the mothers in my neighborhood gave a collective sigh of relief ( could hear its echo at about 9:20 on Monday morning). My neighbor across the street has been cheerfully shouting out the countdown for the past few weeks.

We had a fabulous summer...long hours spent in the sun, countless popsicles consumed, a steady stream of friends and cousins playing in the water and on the swingset. The kids did great, were great. But all good things must come to an end. And there was something in the air last week. Melt downs and arguments erupted to such a degree that I truly feared for my sanity. Then...TA DA! just in the nick-of-time...our school district delievered relief at 9:15 Monday morning! SO my kids were, literally, saved by the bell.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eight years ago today was LABOR DAY! for Aunt Yvette.
Happy Birthday, Ari! It's great to be EIGHT!

I'm sure your kids are saints during church on Sunday. Mine need a little coaxing in that department. Below are some links that save me on a weekly basis. The Highlights page has printable hidden kids love 'em. The Family Fun site has mazes, word searches and puzzles that are good for kids that can read.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A couple of days ago I unearthed a box of old video tapes--old movies I had taped years and years and years ago. I was kind of excited. So last night I popped one in. My husband was in the same room on the computer, deeply involved in what surely must have been an intellectually challenging game of hearts. About 10 minutes into the movie, he stopped playing and swung around in the chair to watch. After a few more minutes I heard kind of a grunty, "Hmm." He kept watching. After a few more minutes he said, "Hey, this seems like it has quality. What's this called again?" Boom Town. Pretty soon he'd moved over to sit next to me on the couch, remarking on the cleverness of the dialogue.

I like old movies, especially comedies from the 1940's and 50's. There is clever dialogue and innuendo that relies on skillful writing and timing rather than bare skin and marathon lip locks. And the people are just so beautiful. One of my absolute favorites is The Philadelphia Story, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn--which combines all the elements listed above.

Anyway--we enjoyed the movie and it brought my husband out of his computer induced coma.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

On My Soap Box Again...

I've cooled down a bit. I started composing a fire-and-brimstone-pulpit-pounding post about the evils of the media after hearing that the major television networks released a statement in opposition to ALL indecency laws (oh, I can feel the fire rising again!). So instead of lecturing you, I'll just direct you to the website for the Parents Television excellent resource for any thinking person who doesn't want an electronic box in the family room teaching your kids values. Their website contains great information and very easy ways to contact your legislative representatives, network presidents and ADVERTISING executives (you know...those folks who fund the garbage on TV--if you are still watching).

Warning: this information is useless unless you use it. Yes...that is a challenge.
(their link is to the right if you want to just click and go)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I came upstairs the other day and heard the rustling of pages and Katie intermittently muttering words like, "Hmmm...Ewww!...Ick...Mmmm." I turned the corner to find her kicking back on our bed with her nose in a cook book. It was Ina Garten: Barefoot Contessa Parties! Maybe I'm raising a foodie! This was the conversation we had...

Me: What are you doing?

Katie: Planning my birthday party.

Me: Really? What are we having?

Katie: This...(furrows her brow) Mom, what is this?

Me (looking at the page): Rugelach (I'm sure I slaughtered the pronunciation)

Katie: Not cim-a-nun rolls?

Me: Nope. They're called Rugelach.

Katie stopped to think for a minute.

Kate: Mom... I think you're wrong.

What else is new?


Monday, August 4, 2008

A Pox upon YE, er, me

It started with a little pink dot on his neck. Then there were two. Then there were five. In my mother’s zeal I ripped apart Josh’s room and attacked it with Ortho’s Home Defense. I was intent on annihilating the offending spider that had the nerve to bite my baby. The next morning, Josh had a few more bites. I tore apart his bed, turned the mattress and washed everything in hot water…twice. After a restless night, where I more or less shared a twin bed with him, Josh woke up covered in angry red spots and I had none. Bug bites? Nope. Saturday morning we got the diagnoses. My little guy has the chicken pox!

We’ve been stymied as to how he could have contracted it. Jared and Katie have been immunized…isn’t everybody these days? Then Saturday evening we were talking. About a month ago I tore apart Jared’s room, intent on annihilating the offending spider that had the nerve to bite my boy. A few more bites showed up and I washed everything in hot water…twice. Hmm, I’m seeing a pattern here. We figure Jared must have had them first at the beginning of July. Josh has been incubating ever since. Jared’s case was very mild and everything cleared up quickly. Josh hasn’t had his immunization yet and is covered head to toe.

He’s doing ok, all things considered. He’s as active as ever (why does God program kids that way? Doesn’t He know mom’s need some down time—especially when kids are sick?) but a little grouchy and clingy thanks to what must be very itchy skin. His fever is down and some of the dots are starting to fade. He looks fabulous in calamine lotion and sleeps pretty well after those midnight shots of benadryl. Ain't motherhood grand?

Ummm…my apologies to all the cousins we've likely exposed to the chicken pox at both of our family reunions this summer.

War Paint

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My niece, Aly, turned 16 on Monday. Aly is a very lovely, headstrong young lady...demonstrating a lot of the character traits her mother possesses. I've thought a lot about Aly lately and what it means to be growing up, a young woman, in this day. It's exciting and frightening at the same time. Below, I've written some things I'd tell Al if she was here with me right this moment. If you're a might not get it. Or you might argue with me. But who asked you anyway! So it is.

1)Ok, so boys aren’t all bad. But a lot of them are colossally stupid. They really do only have one thing on their minds at this age…want to guess what that is???

2)You are beautiful, but don’t let that be the only thing people see in you. You are also intelligent and gifted. You have a naturally happy nature. Now you need to believe that and make the most of what’s inside you and let that balance out the gorgeous babe you are.

3)Back to the boy thing…when dating someone, ask yourself if this person makes you want to be a better person. If the answer is “no” then move on babe.

4)If a guy wants you to make changes, or you feel you have to change to be with someone—dump ‘em. There are about 10,000,000 other guys out there who are more intelligent and can see you’re wonderful just the way you are.

5)You don’t know it all. You think you do. You don’t. In fact, in 16 more years you’ll think you were really stupid at this age. I know I did. It’s ok. Just don’t make any life altering decisions until you’ve lived a few more years.

6)Don’t drink, do drugs, smoke or sleep around. I know I don’t need to tell you this…but more people your age need to realize that an addiction, cancer and STD’s are baggage that last way beyond the teen years. And I don’t care what the world tries to tell you… a baby is a very real and permanent consequence of SEX (can I say that word?!?)

7)Women are born with a healthy dose of self doubt. It really sucks. So if that little voice in your head ever tells you that you are less than you are or that you aren’t good or you can’t do something, call me up and I’ll tell it to shut up.

8)Make college a goal. Education is important. Yes, you can do it. Yes…you…can—don’t listen to that stupid voice.

9)I know that right now friends, music, boys, clothes and hair all vie for your attention. But don’t forget about God. I’m serious. At some point everything I listed above will prove to be shallow and empty. You are going to have to find something to anchor your life on. If you place your faith in people you’ll be adrift all your life. People will fail you, God will not.

10)Uncle Ford and I love you. It’s been a pleasure watching you and your brother and sister grow up. You’re kind of like a beautiful flower that grew in a patch of thorns. Life hasn’t been easy for you or your family. At this point, only you can determine how your life will end up. You make your own choices. But know this…if anyone ever messes with you, you can call us up and we’ll duct tape them to the wall. You rock Aly. I’m excited to see what the next 16 years bring for you. We wish for you only happiness. Happy Birthday!

Aly's personality and attitude shine through...not much
has changed since this was taken!!!!!

That's the birthday girl on the left with her mom and sister

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How I spent my summer vacation...

We just returned from the Adams-Shelley reunion in Alton, Utah (aka little patch of heaven). We had a great time reconnecting with family and enjoying the amazing scenery of Southern Utah. The kids got acquainted with a new set of cousins (they bonded over a frog). Josh won everyone over with his friendly nature and ready smile. Here is a summary in pictures...

Wild women on the loose...if you see them, run in the other direction!

giving Aunt Gloria loves...

Bryce Canyon

Our little group near the base of Navajo Loop. Note: What goes down must come up...and coming up is a lot harder than going down!

Two of God's Masterpieces
(in my humble opinion)

What you see: Josh on his first ATV ride.

What you don't see: Me biting my nails the entire time he was gone

Katie: I found it and Jared caught it!

Me: What is it???

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bye-Bye buggie...

Today I started to disassemble Katie's beloved "bug blankie." This thing is over 8 years old. I received it from an old neighbor (many thanks to Margaret Olpin!) as a gift to Jared before he was born. Katie took it over when she was about two and we've never looked back. It goes with her on trips and she will not sleep without it. is well loved. It's torn. The batting has lost it's stiffness (making it perfectly huggable according to Kate) and it's becoming a tattered mess. Frequently, Ford removes it from her slack arms at night with a pair of tongs and a gas mask...carrying it straight to the washing machine.

A neighborhood friend just went into the machine quilting business. I am going to offer Katie's blanket as a practice piece because, frankly, no matter how awkward the will be an improvement. The only problem lies with Katie-bug. I told her it would take well over a week before she'd get her beloved blanket back. I thought she understood this, until today when she saw me unpicking seams. She looked at the blanket, disintegrating in my lap and said, "Mom...that won't be done today, huh?" I said, "No." She shook her head and said, "That's ok. Tomorrow is fine."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Who are these cute people?

That would be Jerry and Tina. My Mom and Dad. I am thinking of posting spotlights of people in my life from time to time and why they are important to me. This seemed like a good place to start, because I suppose this is where I started. My dad told me once that he and mom were engaged for "a year, a month and a day." He then looked at me wryly and muttered, "It was too long."

I frequently tell people that I had a very Leave it to Beaver upbringing. By today's standards, I guess both my parents were pretty strict. Can I say how thankful I am for that now? As I get older I sound more and more like my parents. Sometimes that scares me. Most of the time I think it's ok. My parents taught me values. They taught me right from wrong and weren't afraid to back it up by walking the walk. They were committed to each other, to our family and to God. Not a bad way to grow up.

I miss my Dad every day. He was my biggest fan. My mom continues to support me. She's saved my life on more than one occasion. I count myself very blessed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I feel like a deflated balloon. And depending on who you ask, some may say I closely resemble one. We had another crazy week…but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why it was so crazy. I made my first attempt at exercising on Monday (I haven't been since before Josh’s birth--I'm creaky) and evidently unleashed all the latent pathogens in my body and got a cold. Who gets a cold in the middle of July? I mean really…

Josh took his first solo steps this week. They were wobbly at best, but adorable. He seemed pleased with himself. He hasn’t done much more with it, in spite of encouragement from his mom, dad, brother and sister. Maybe the attention is overwhelming? Nah. Ford hypothesizes that he has so many people willing to cart him around, he’d rather be picked up.

We spent Saturday afternoon on BYU campus. Ford entertained the kids with his story about winning the bed races one year. How sad that these tales are now ANCIENT HISTORY. It got really depressing when we started to calculate just how long ago we were students at BYU. No…it couldn’t have been that long ago…

Saturday, July 5, 2008

If you don't believe in Ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion~Ashleigh Brilliant

What is it about family reunions? I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories, but haven’t had quite the blood congealing experiences of some of my friends. I suppose I’m lucky. While Ford’s family is full of different types of personalities (a euphemism for nut cases), I like everyone very much. Don’t get me wrong, there are all kinds of hiccups in these familial relationships--and there was that one year I came back from the reunion with a twitch in my right eye that lasted 8 months--but I really, really appreciate how comfortable I feel around Ford’s family (maybe I should be panicked by that).

As you can probably tell, we just ended a week long family chaos insanity reunion, and the only ghosts present were in the form of memories. I really enjoyed this year’s reunion. It was a bit disjointed…we weren’t all staying right next to each other as in years past (Ford’s parents own time-share condo’s but we only use them every other year—the family keeps expanding…we’re kind of like rabbits). We started the week in Bear Lake. Afterwards we all dispersed to various locations in the valley, meeting each day to eat and play. It was a fun time, especially for our children. I think my kids suffered from withdrawals after everyone went home. Cousins are a great source of entertainment and daily excitement.

Los Tres Amigos

A quiet moment at Bear really... there
was a quiet moment

Yes...they let us into the Olive Garden. All
34 of us!

Note K's kool-aid mustache--always an indication
of a good BBQ

This reunion had a little bit of everything...
even a cow

The stop sign on the right is kind of ironic
if you consider the abundance of fireworks
we lit off that least the cops didn't
show up!