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!