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Showing posts from 2010

Rediscovering Treasures

Moving is always a fun discovery process. You unpack the important things first then slowly get around to a box here and a box there. I have a general idea of what is in the remaining boxes and there's no real rush in getting to them, but one of my children needed a box for a school project so I grabbed one that I knew would be easy to reassign the resting place for its contents. It was a box of books. Unlike other boxes of books, this was a combination of a variety of genres, uses, and owners. The kids books I shoved onto a bookshelf that had just enough room. The Tai Chi manual went in my headboard with other self-improvement manuals. The books I picked up from the church bookstore were stored with other prospective Christmas presents. And the remaining books were journals.

One was still empty. Another was the one I used to write talks I had given in church. The third was actually complete, covering my college years. The last was a gratitude journal I started in 2005.…

Puppy Song

I really need to carry around a tape recorder to capture these moments. Yesterday afternoon Rachel and I were leaving to pick up the kids from school. While I fought with my front door, she waited by the car and watched as our across-the-street neighbor came home and two small dogs exited the car. As we got into our car, she explained to me how she needed a small dog who could ride in the suburban with her. I just nodded and tried to focus on driving. As I drove, I realized that she was very intent on getting this puppy wish. She was singing. The song was being made up as she went along but focused completely on her desire for a small dog who would do what she told it to. I was rather impressed by her ability to perform an impromptu aria and she has very good tone quality as well. Of course she is now embarrassed when I tell other people about her song and quickly hushes me up with the explanation that "It's a secret."

Week Ending 11/28/2010

This week was short and seemed to go by too quickly. With Thanksgiving on Thursday, the kids only had three days of school and then lazed about the rest of the weekend. I actually enjoy these types of weekends. The only downside was that Neil had to work both Friday and Saturday so we couldn't laze together.

Monday was just school. I cancelled Cub Scouts as the charter school had a field trip that day. Tuesday was more school and Rachel and I went by a half-price book store and sold a bunch of movies and books that we didn't need or have room for anymore. Not really a great sale as the 8 boxes of stuff only brought in $30.00. But that was enough to pay for the pies and whipped cream needed for Thanksgiving dinner.

Wednesday the high school had a half day and Aaron went to a friend's house and spent the night. I got a call from friends of ours needing Neil and I to go pick up a car for them from an auction lot. So when Neil got home from work we headed out to Tolles…

Getting Old is Not for the Weak or Weary

They say youth is wasted on the young. All that energy and excitement for life with no actual purpose. As we get older, we find purpose (hopefully) but seem to lose the energy needed to achieve everything that seems to be so important. Then the body starts to undermine our mind's desire for success. It starts with more noticeable aches and pains after limited exercise. The easy trek around the park leaves us gasping for breath while our little ones run circles around us. The eyesight also seems to be a favorite area which old age attacks. These glasses are just for reading ... road signs and billboards.

The evening news big story was about President Obama needing twelve stitches. Apparently he also was victimized by aging. A friendly family pick up game of basketball turned painful; I can't help but wonder if his trip to the emergency room today was just embarrassing as he realized that even fame and money can't protect you from getting older.

Last weekend Neil deci…

30 Days of Truth - Day 5

Something Which You Hope To Do

This I can't narrow down to just one thing. I have a lot of things I want to do that I haven't yet. Some are just dreams with a sense of maybe, some are actual goals I am working towards, and some are idealistic wants with no realistic sense of being able to accomplish. You can try to figure out which falls in which category :D

1. Complete my bachelor's degree.
2. Run for President of the United States.
3. Travel to the Greek Islands.
4. Visit Iceland with my husband.
5. Go sky diving.
6. Write a novel.
7. Learn to play the piano well.
8. Meet the Awesome Ones IRL.
9. Take my family to Disneyland.
10. Win the lottery.

Maybe if I can accomplish #10, I will turn fantasy to reality a lot quicker for some of the other nine.

The Gift of Gratitude

I have noticed a number of my friends posting each day this month something for which they are grateful in their status. I think that is a wonderful way to start each day and I hope that once Thanksgiving is over, they will continue to give thanks each day.

In the October General Conference of the LDS Church, President Monson addressed the saints under the title "The Divine Gift of Gratitude." I wonder how many people consider gratitude a gift, much less one that is divine. Gratitude is generally thought of as a verb. An action we engage in to express in either words or actions our thanks for the actions, words, or gifts of another. However, when thought of as a noun, gratitude becomes a gift to us from God. President Monson expounded on this idea in his address and as I read over it earlier this week, I was struck by a couple of thoughts.

1. The story of the ten lepers. Those familiar with this biblical story remember that when Christ was on the earth, he was approac…

Mad Libs

If you aren't aware of what Mad Libs are, they are basically stories in which you fill in the blanks with the appropriate part of speech without actually seeing the story. What could be a story about a fun night out turns into an adventure involving dinosaurs and flying toasters. I loved them as a child and love that my own children are finding joy in their silliness now. We have a new family tradition.

Each day I write a mad lib. It's generally a paragraph long with 5-7 words to fill in. Sometimes I come up with my own ideas, sometimes I steal from the entertainment section or classified ads of the paper. What I love about it is that my kids want to do this, it's not me forcing fun upon them for my own entertainment.

30 Days of Truth - Day 4

Something for Which You Need to Forgive Someone

There is one person in my life whom I need to forgive. Unfortunately, I have not yet reached the point of being able to do so. Because this person is an intricate part of my life, and the hurt continues on a regular basis, I am fearful of forgiving because I do not know that it would be sincere at this point. I want to forgive and I want to be able to let my guard down around this person. I want to know that once I forgive, I will not have to be concerned of the hurt being repeated. I know that my forgiving is not requisite on the person asking for forgiveness, and I don't know that this person will ever take responsibility for the hurt caused. And right now, I'm not sure that I can truly forgive. Maybe because I've done so in the past and the hurt has continued. I don't hang onto the anger and pain caused, but each time the hurt occurs, all the past pain comes back and magnifies the current hurt. I am hopeful tha…

Week Ending 11/21/2010

Another week come and gone. I've not been 100% at posting every day, but I'm pretty close. I missed yesterday because I had some great ideas but by the time I settled on my topic, I was exhausted and went to bed early.

Monday was my day to help out at the middle school. I enjoy this time interacting with students and adults. Rachel stays with a friend who has two children at home then meets me at the charter school for scouts. While waiting with Daniel for the younger kids to get out of school, I chatted with the duty aide. She is LDS and a member of our ward. Daniel was surprised and asked why he never saw her there. She admitted to being inactive then shared with my her family history which led to her decision to not be involved actively with the church. She did marry an LDS man and they raised their children in the church. They are all active and try to get her to come back. She knows that her reasons really have nothing to do with the gospel, but with the cultur…

30 Days of Truth - Day 3

Something For Which You Need to Forgive Yourself

I've done some stupid things in my life. In immature moments I have hurt others for selfish reasons. For the most part I have tried to make amends where possible and can only hope that those who I've affected can forgive and, if not forget, at least move on. But there is one thing that comes back to haunt me every once in a while for which I cannot make amends and so I must forgive myself.

After graduating high school, I got a job at McDonald's. It became a secondary job as I worked to get myself through college. I was able to work at the Air Force Base during the day and McDonald's at night. Because I went out of state for college, I was lucky to have this job waiting for me at Christmas break and during the summers. After I graduated, I continued working at McDonald's. It was a fun job and throughout all my time I worked every shift available.

Those who remember me from way back when will agree that I was, for the mos…

The Conundrum of Christmas

I love Christmas. I love the music, the decorations, the baking, the traditions. I love how the world seems more giving and more forgiving. Society turns to service and goodwill to all men. Jesus Christ becomes more important and religion is more acceptable even to atheists.

I'm not a scrooge, but I am beginning to dislike Christmas immensely. The store displays have skipped right over Thanksgiving (I guess not many people actually decorate for this holiday) and are already piping Christmas music to all departments. The infamous Black Friday has apparently started already. Retailers are doing all in their power to get people spending money right now. I get it. The economy has hurt them as much as it has affected individual lives. But I feel pushed into buying things I don't want or need. Gift giving has become an expectation rather than a delightful surprise.

I know I'm not the only one who is noticing this and I have a friend who is so discouraged that she has pu…

Hot Chocolate

I woke up with a sore throat so after getting all the kids to seminary and school, I came home and decided to make myself some hot chocolate. I always end up making the water too hot so I have it sitting on the end table cooling down as I stay busy with general housework. Rachel comes out and sees my cup sitting on the table.

Rachel: Can I have some of your hot chocolate?
Me: Sure.
Rachel: Did you put milk in it?
Me: Yes.
Rachel (after picking up the cup): I think it would be better with a straw. What kinds of straws do we have? (Note: I often pick up extra straws from various fast food restaurants and occassionally buy packs of straws from the store. Additionally, some cups we have purchased came with straws and those crazy straws always seem to come home from birthday parties.)
Me: I'm not sure we have any straws left.
Rachel: Of course we do!

30 Days of Truth Challenge - Day 2

Something I Love About Myself

I've had some time to consider this. There are many things I love about myself, but I felt the one I wanted to discuss was appropriate as we come into the season of gratitude and service. What I love about myself is my willingness to serve others. At times I think it goes beyond willingness and can be considered a desire. Those who truly know me, I feel, would be quick to agree that if there is something they need help with, I will do it if it is in my power. If it is not in my power, I will mull over the situation to figure out if I know of anybody who can help. I actually feel guilty if I am unable to provide assistance, even though I have a very good reason why I can't.

I have been blessed in my life to be in a financial position to help a friend in her quest to Walk for The Cure (Three Day Walk). I couldn't walk with her, but I funded the entire amount she needed to join a team. I have been blessed with owning vehicles which have bee…

James and Ernie

So Neil and I were channel surfing. We decided to get cable television service when we moved a month or so ago as we had been without any television since the rest of the world went digital back in June of '09. We had the service long enough to catch General Conference and to realize that we were quickly bogging down our children's minds with stupidity. Quite honestly, they do just fine on their own in that regard, they do not need outside help. So less than a month after subscribing, we cancelled our cable service. However, we had purchased a new television which has digital television capacity, meaning we can get the HD channels in the upper stratosphere of television offerings. Seriously, PBS is channel 103.5 and RTV is 7.2. We get the standard network channels, a couple of movie channels (ION and TBS), a smattering of shopping networks, and a few way, way off broadway cable access channels (MCTV and Pentagon). Needless to say, we have odd pickings particularly in t…

Week Ending 11/14/2010

Another busy week with not much accomplished. I kept the younger kids home from school on Monday because of their illness over the weekend. They seemed to be recuperating so was prepared to take them to the Den Meeting. Instead, Nicholas pitched a fit over belts and shoes so I left them all home and ended up almost 20 minutes late. We had a quick, but productive meeting.

Tuesday I don't recall much of so nothing must have really happened noteworthy. Wednesday was the Battle of Gettysburg reenactment for the 7th grade at Desert Shadows Middle School. I was excited about being able to go. Instead, Cierra climbed in bed running a high fever. I gave her some medicine followed by some water. She gave it all back. Neil had taken the day off so we loaded up Daniel's cannon and Neil got Daniel and the cannon to school. I later took Nick in then came home to baby my daughters.

Thursday was Veterans Day and my Cub Scout Den went to a local museum featuring the history of the …

Gourd Dancing

Having grown up in the southwest, tribal dances are something I have long been aware of. Though I do not know all the background behind all the dances, I have witnessed enough of them to appreciate the artistry involved. Though I cannot claim any Indian blood in my veins, I do know the pulse of rhythm as my heart pumps to the beat of the drum. My feet want to shuffle in time to the shaking rattles.

I was searching for a Veterans Day celebration to attend with my den of cub scouts. The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park announced an event that was free to the public (score), didn't start until 11 (yay for sleeping in), and included a Gourd Dance. I have always wanted my children to be able to experience the tribal celebrations that I was privy to as a child. I saw this as a great opportunity for them to appreciate another culture, plus it passed off one of the Cub Scout Achievements.

I am not familiar with the Gourd Dance and my online search for information provided m…

30 Days of Truth Challenge - Day 1

Something I Hate About Myself

We all have areas for improvement. If given the opportunity to change a physical feature, most would opt to do a little bit of work on themself. If asked about our greatest character flaw, we could all come up with a top ten list. But to name something I hate about myself is not something I can do.

I do not hate myself. I have disappointed myself and others. I have done things which I have later regretted. I certainly do not think I am perfect. But there is just no way I can use the word hate to refer to myself in any way.

I have a very deep-seeded belief in a Heavenly Father who is the true, living father of my spirit. He created me. He knows me. He loves me. How could I ever hurt him by feeling hatred towards someone He loves so much? He has given me so much. My life is so incredibly blessed. Can I return such generosity with ingratitude?

Life is hard. We are human. We make mistakes and we feel resentful when others' decisions negatively…

Who Will Win the Civil War This Year?

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I've never been good at history. I don't remember dates of important events; I can't name the presidents in order; I have no idea when the UN came into being or why; I'm not sure who were the allies in WWI or WWII - I only know that a few changed sides. I do know that the Civil War was fought in the 1860s and it primarily had to do with the south wanting to secede from the United States due to President Lincoln's stand on slavery.

I wish I had a teacher in middle school as dedicated to teaching Social Studies as Ms. Marci Olsen at Desert Shadows Middle School in Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ. She developed a unit for all 7th grade students surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg. It has gotten more elaborate each year. I first experienced this unit 3 years ago with my oldest son. Each student spends weeks researching a person whom they will portray in the culminating event of this unit. They write letters home, they must do a project which involves either creating a replica o…

Week Ending 11/7/2010

This should have been posted yesterday, but it was a rough day. This weekend was the Four Peaks District Camporee and as usual, Neil was involved in helping out. He took the three older boys leaving me with the three little kids and Alyx. Alyx is old enough to fend for herself and had a busy weekend with community service.

Saturday morning I took the kids to a friend's baptism in our old stake. We arrived to find that a girl from our old ward was also getting baptized so we were able to catch up with a lot of friends. That afternoon we went to a school friend's birthday party. There was a bouncer, climbing wall, Star Wars performer, and lots of food. I finally convinced the kids that we needed to go when it started getting dark and bickering started up. Shortly after getting home, Aaron and Daniel showed up, having come home from the camporee with a friend. Aaron has been fighting a cough and sore throat for about a week and Daniel doesn't particularly like campin…

A Worthwhile Challenge?

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A friend of mine has taken on a challenge called 30 Days of Truth. I looked through the list of assignments for each day to determine whether or not I wanted to accept the challenge. While the topics were varied and meant for a person to truly assess oneself, I balked at committing myself to taking the challenge. It's not that I don't think that it is valuable to self-assess and hopefully improve oneself, I didn't feel that all of the assigned topics were either truly helpful or meant to be shared with the world - or at least one's followers which could be limited to the blog itself or imported into Facebook and perhaps other social sites as well. (I can't speak to more than Facebook as I spend too much time on that site as it is and it's hard enough breaking that addiction without adding to it with more sites.) Even though I am not taking on the challenge in whole, I did find some of the topics worthwhile and may use them during this month of NaBloPoMo to fill…

For the Sake of Posting

Nothing profound to say. I actually started a post about the BSA Scouting Program but felt like it might sound like I'm complaining and anyone who knows me, knows that I am a scouting fanatic. But I am suffering from a headache and don't have the wherewithal to edit anything appropriately. I wouldn't bother posting at all, but I suffer from a condition which makes inane things more important to me than they probably should be. So because it is NaBloPoMo, I post for the sake of posting.

Rachel's First Haircut

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This is a milestone event in any child's life. My mother kept clippings from my first haircut and saved them in my baby book. I'm not quite so sentimental with my own children, perhaps because I'm just not that organized. Cierra's first cut was a trim at the beginning of this school year and I figured that Rachel would have the same type of wait. It's not that I'm against cutting their hair, more that we couldn't stop referring to Cierra as bald until she was almost 3 years old. Both girls have fine, wispy hair. I have long been jealous of those mothers whose little girls come to church with braided, curled, and coifed hairdos. I'm lucky if I get my girls to sit long enough to run a brush through theirs before they tumble into the car undoing any efforts I might have made.

Last night Rachel came into my room asking "Who cut my hair?" Not really the questions a mother ever wants to hear. Since Rachel was doing the asking, I was quick to presume …

NaBloPoMo

I'm already behind. For those unfamiliar with the acronym (as I was), it stands for National Blog Posting Month. I was unaware that there was such a need for bloggers and already I've failed to post every day this month. Granted, I haven't posted a blog in 10 months - life gets busy and I believe there are more worthwhile pasttimes than making sure I blog every day or even every month. That's not to infer that I am involved in more worthwhile pasttimes, but I am aware that they exist.

For example, it is also National Epilepsy Awareness Month. I haven't personally been impacted by this condition, but I do consider it far more worthwhile to research causes and perhaps find cures for this condition. Although seizures are experienced by only 1% of the country's population, that still adds up to nearly 3 million people. Do you know how to help those who are experiencing a seizure? Get the facts at http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/.

Week Ending 2/28/10

This has been a rough week. We've all been fighting various strains of the cold. I've been tired, cranky, and moody. It's come to a point where I've decided I need to start prioritizing my life. We made the decision for me to go to work full time, though I'm still not completely sure it's the best decision right now. The suburban started to shoot smoke through the vents at me, the washing machine is making a bad, squeaky noise, and we still need to file our taxes. These are things that would just be easier to deal with if my schedule were more flexible. And the reality is that I have great bosses who allow me to be flexible. But my work ethic won't allow me to take advantage of that.

The highlights of this week were two birthdays. Nicholas turned 7 on Wednesday and Daniel celebrated his 12th birthday today. We had a combined birthday party on Friday after school. It was actually very nice. We had it at Peter Piper Pizza, the only thing I had to …

This Old House

I'm going to miss this house. It was the one that I thought we would raise our children in. The one that we would grow old in together. The one that would be filled on the holidays with the joyous sounds of children coming home from college, missions, and with families of their own. We talked about how when the kids got older and moved away, we would still sneak out to the pool for night swimming. We planned on what to do with all the extra rooms once they were gone. My own sewing room, an office, an exercise room - the possibilities were endless. Now the dreams have ended.

I guess they actually ended a year and a half ago when Neil lost his job and we watched our savings slowly drain away. When we realized we couldn't afford to live here so stopped making payments altogether. When we put the house on the market first at regular price, then as a short-sale. The past year has been hard. With the acceptance that we would eventually have to move, I pulled back emotionally…

Til Something Better Comes Along

As we approach Valentine's Day and the world around us is filled with heart-shaped balloons, cute stuffed animals, and flyers portraying a variety of jewelry, I can't help but reflect on the love lives of my close friends and other acquaintances. Relationships are difficult. Hopefully, the longer you are together, the more unified you become. Supposedly, marriage vows are meant to strengthen the relationship bonds by providing promises to have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, til death do us part or for time and all eternity.

Instead, what I witness is a cynical approach. The thought, if any, behind the promises is about tax write-offs, staying together for the kids, and staying together until it gets to hard or something different comes along. The first year is often the most difficult. You have come out of the honeymoon stage and realize that despite the best of intentions, you are not married to Prince Charming or Mrs. Ri…

Cute Stuff

Nick: Mom, is that stuff dad puts under his arms called yogurt?


The McDonald's has an air hockey table. Since the youngest three are a bit too short to reach the table adequately, we drag chairs over. Nick used the chair for better reach. Rachel used the chair to climb onto the table. She's the winner because not only does she have better control of the table, she effectively blocks her goal with her body.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

This classic story is the one chosen for this month's book club. Surprisingly, it is not one I had previously read. I suppose I thought it "too girly" as a child and it wasn't something I chose to read later in life. I am glad to have had a reason to add it to my "have read" list.

Anne of Green Gables highlights the life of a young orphan girl brought mistakenly to the home of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert - elderly siblings wanting a boy to help out with the farm. We first meet Anne at the train station, an 11 year old disgrace full of optimism. She is a realist full of fanciful notions, and though she is a bit too chatty and direct in her comments, she is a delightful child.

We follow Anne's progress through school, family life, and friends for the next five years. We rejoice in her triumphs and feel heartache through her sorrows, and we applaud her as we realize that she has developed into a bright young woman.

Although there is nothing magical or…

Week Ending 2/7/10

It has been a busy week with some triumphant moments. The biggest happened on Wednesday. Rachel turned 4 years old and, true to her promise, started wearing underwear. She had a couple of accidents, but has picked up on the urges pretty well and has been doing very well. I gave her the option of underwear or pull ups for church and she chose underwear. Yay Rachel!

Last night was our district Volunteer Recognition Dinner for scouts. I MCd again with the help of a 100 year scouter. Our Council CEO was present and commented to our district commissioner that this was the most entertaining dinner he had ever attended. I brought home a couple of plaques myself - one for the Tiger Den Leader of the Year and one for Scouting Spirit. I don't think anybody becomes a scout leader in hopes of getting a plaque or any other recognition, but it is nice to have your hard work acknowledged.

Other highlights of the week was Wednesday night's Pack Meeting, Thursday night's Roundtable …

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I admit, I love Dan Brown. Well, maybe not so much him as his books. Truth be told I've never actually met him, so yeah, it must be his writing I am so fond of. I read The DaVinci Code before it was a movie. I'm not sure it was even a popular book when I read it. It may have been and I just didn't know it. That happens a lot in my life. I'm actually more relevant than I realize because my eclectic taste in literature, music, movies, etc. means that at some point I will have already read, listened to, or watched something that is now mainstream popular.

I digress. The DaVinci Code intrigued me. I have a sort of interest in history. I like learning things that are put out there, but I really don't want to have to go delve to determine how much of what is put out there is actually true. This is fine as long as I don't spout off history learned in novels as actual historical fact. When Angels & Demons came out as a movie, I had to read the book. I sti…

So it's been awhile...

It surprised me that I hadn't posted in over a month. January has been a very busy month for us and yet, nothing major has actually happened. Neil has been working 6 day weeks and I've been trying to just keep everybody's schedules going on track. I've pulled back from a lot of my scouting involvement and focusing on my Tiger Den. We now have 7 boys in our Den and have a lot of interest from the kindergarten class. Looks like we'll be busy next year as well.

Neil and I will be on staff at a Wood Badge Course in March so we've had some staff development meetings. The kids all seem to be doing well in school other than Aaron. He receives poor marks during the interim weeks, but then buckles down and ends up passing his classes. He claims it's because not all the grades are actually in when the reports are sent out so don't reflect reality. I'll be talking to his teachers this week.

Rachel will be turning 4 on Wednesday. She knows this is when …