Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, from the Kelly Family 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

With grateful hearts we review the past year:

Joseph still works as a regional purchasing agent for Ferguson Enterprises. Despite the recession's effects on the company, we are still thankful for his job. He also continues to serve faithfully as the Elder's Quorum President in our ward. This past year, he finished building a beautiful bunk bed for the boys, and is currently building a bunk bed for the girls. Joseph is also very fond of the 2nd amendment, and purchased Annalee a handgun for her birthday. He has been teaching her everything she needs to know about gun safety and shooting techniques.

Annalee continues to enjoy mothering four wonderful children who have endless energy. She has expanded her teaching studio to 37 students, which she miraculously teaches every school morning from 5:30-7:30 a.m. while the children sleep, as well as during the day before the oldest children get home from school. She also completed a life-long goal this fall by playing the famous Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Idaho Falls Symphony. She has also accepted invitations to play first violin with the Teton Chamber Orchestra in Idaho Falls as well, and enjoyed playing with the well-known violinist Jenny Oaks Baker, and CMA winner Collin Raye.

Josh will be 10 years old on Christmas Day, and continues to be the 'gift that keeps on giving.' He does well in school and loves science. He also enjoys scouts and going shooting with his Dad out on the desert. His favorite memory this past year was camping with his family in Missoula, Montana while visiting his great -grandparents. He endures his piano studies with his mother as his teacher, but hopes to move on to more exciting musical venues by someday learning the trombone.

Emma is 7 and thrives in her 2nd grade class. She was placed in a gifted reading program at school and can often be found with her nose in a Harry Potter book. Her parents recently caught her reading The Ensign in a corner, for some light, recreational reading. She loves soccer, and despite being very small for her age, was the quickest runner on her team. She is excelling in her violin studies and has been asked to perform at the Zions Bank 'Lights On' celebration.

Caleb is...well, Caleb. His mother's theory is that her sole purpose in this life is to keep this boy alive. He is energetic and naughty, although gratefully this year, we have had no arson incidents involving the toaster or matches. His prayers give us humor and joy. Here are a couple of recent examples: "Thank you that we could have blessings; thank you that we could get created. And thank you for potty treats." "...and thank you that I can say 'oopsies' after I spit on someone."

Elizabeth will be 3 in January and has been a patient, beautiful daughter. Unfortunately, she has been reluctant to get potty trained, but loves playing her 1/64th size violin whenever it's not hidden away. She loves playing with her babies and snuggling Mom and Dad.

May your families be blessed with an abundance of joy and love this coming year because of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Traditions, Part 2

Every night in December, as a family, we read a Christmas-related scripture and Christmas story (most are from The Friend magazines.) This mega white 3-ring binder contains a scripture for every day of the year, centered around a specific theme for each month. For November and December, there are also stories for each day of the month related to the month's theme. Here is Emma choosing which story we will read tonight. Lizzie's just along for the ride.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Traditions, by definition are practices that create positive feelings and are repeated at regular intervals. The purpose of family traditions is to help foster family closeness. It helps our family have something to look forward to, giving us a sense of reassurance in an ever changing, hectic world.

Christmastime is an excellent time of year to create or carry forth traditions. Hearts are naturally more inclined this time of year to serve others; and more importantly, we celebrate the birth of the central figure of our Faith, Jesus Christ.

I don't profess to be an expert on the subject of creating family cohesiveness. In fact, this looks really good on the screen right now, but we have managed over the years, to really ENJOY Christmas as a family.

Here's one of our sweet and meaningful traditions:

The Journey Dinner

When I was serving a full-time mission for our Church, one of the member families invited us over Christmas Eve for my first ever Journey Dinner. I have carried the idea on every year that we have had children.

For Christmas Eve, we had a dinner consisting of food items that Mary and Joseph might possibly have eaten on their journey to Bethlehem. We eat bread or baguettes, smoked or cured meat, cheeses, olives, dates/raisins, fruit and cookies. (I don't know how authentic we are, but hey, work with me.) We eat this by candlelight and then we read Luke 2, if possible, by candlelight. ~if the small people are cooperating and not blowing out the candles, recreating bodily function sounds, etc. Afterwards, the Mister and I bear simple testimony of the Savior and his purpose in our lives.

We look forward to this every year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lessons from Collin Raye

I had the opportunity to play with the Teton Chamber Orchestra Friday and Saturday night for a private concert sponsored for Melaleuca employees. The guest artist was country music star Collin Raye. It is a lot of fun paying in the backup orchestra for such a famous artist. I truly had a blast!

I love his voice and his music, and his gracious demeanor. He is very down-to-earth and humble. Also, his band was awesome. I sat right behind the drummer and loved every loud minute of it. Possibly the best part of the show for me was the fact that Collin did lots of Christ-themed traditional Christmas carols. By that I mean, he opened with "The First Noel" and closed with "O Holy Night", both of which convey the divinity of the Savior. Don't get me wrong, I love the other music about Santa Claus and White Christmas, etc., but loved that he did a bit of everything. This is refreshing considering many of these Christ-centered songs are being avoided all in the name of political correctness. (My kids' elementary school won't allow the kids to sing any religious Christmas songs...only Jingle Bells, Jolly Old St. Nicholas and the like.)

Collin shared an experience about writing a more recent song entitled, "She's With Me": He has a 9-year old granddaughter with a serious neurological condition that has been difficult for their family. He talked about how God inspired him to write that song; it took him 20 minutes to write the song down while he was on a plane traveling. He emphasized that it had to come from 'above' because he is normally a slow songwriter. I thought it was wonderful that he acknowledges God's hand in his life and in his music. (Not the Hollywood way, now is it?)

Anyhoo, for Collin's encore number, he sang "Don't Let the Sun Go Down". Note to self: Don't sing along at full volume WHILE playing my instrument. Stupid and embarrassing, self. I need to get out more.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Cheer

This is the Mister putting up Christmas lights. He was very frustrated. He said some special words. Who would think that putting up a strand of lights on a straight roof line could be so difficult? Who am I to judge. I'm afraid of ladders.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Challenge

November was gratitude month. The gratitude jar experiment was a sweet success. I thought that many of the older kid's contributions were insightful. I love what they teach us.

December is service month. Last night, we challenged the kids to pray for the Savior to show them people that they can serve this month--at school or in our family or neighborhood. I will try and post what the kids come up with and how it blesses our December.

Emma has a classmate who is autistic. He has significant behavioral & social issues, and as a result, doesn't have any friends at recess. Yesterday, Emma noticed this boy trying to swing by himself, but not being able to without a starter shove. Other kids find this classmate 'annoying.' We asked Emma what she says when they say that, and she responded, "He has troubles, so he can't control himself sometimes, but he still needs friends." She stood up for him and took a leadership role as she left the social comfort of her own friends, and pushed him on the swing for the remainder of recess.

We promised the kids that if they would pray for opportunities to see needs, the Lord will show them.

On a lighter note, this past week, Emma asked me if Santa brings any gifts to the President of the United States.

"Probably not this year."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gratitude Day 10?

1) Sheesh, that was a close one. I'm grateful that all of my four children still believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. Here's what happened:

My daughter Emma is rather small for her age. Apparently, growth in her mouth and jaw is also delayed, so she hadn't lost any teeth as of today at noon. She has diligently wiggled and wiggled for months. After lunch, she let the Mister pull it out. Sometime after that, she said, "Mom, Kelson (next-door neighbor boy in her 2nd grade class) said there is no tooth fairy. It's just your parents. Is that true?"

"What do you think, Emma?"

"I dunno."

"Go ask your father."

~a few minutes later~

"Well, what did Daddy say?"

"He asked if Santa Claus is real. I said, 'of course!' and then he said, 'then the Tooth Fairy is real too. And he doesn't come to Kelson's house, so his parents have to do it."

~several hours later~

As the Tooth Fairy gingerly placed the dollar underneath Emma's pillow, a folded piece of paper was found on top of the tooth. It reads:

'Dear Tooth Fairy,

Are you a fem (her brother Josh was trying to help her be anatomically/grammatically correct until she was frustrated and couldn't spell female/male and gave up...)

boy or a girl?

Are you big or tall?

Your friend Emma

Ladies and gentlemen, we are still go for launch. And for that, I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Belated Gratitude

1) Thankful I am for more funny things my kids come up with: Josh asked me (in front of Caleb) today, "When are we going to tell Caleb he's adopted?" (it was only funny because Caleb doesn't know what 'adopted' means.)

2) We got to see Joseph's brother David tonight as well as meet his new fiance. We miss him and don't get to see him enough.

3) Grateful for such a strong witness of Joseph Smith's mission. (Relief Society lesson preparation.)

4) I am so glad my kids have such great friends. Josh had 3 friends over, and they played Monopoly for hours. (Who needs video games???) And Emma loved having her friend "Princess Second Grader" over so they could plan a big Christmas party. On my dime, no less.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gratitude Day 9

I am grateful for the funny things my kids say.

1) Emma asked me last night, "Mom, is Santa Claus a member of the Church?"

2) I'm grateful for my wonderful grandparents, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year. Tonight is an open house for them in Missoula, MT. Wish we could be there.

3) I'm grateful for my sister Sarah. It is fun to spend some time with her this weekend. She is tons of fun and my kids are crazy about her.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gratitude Day 9

1) Caleb came in from playing at a friend's house yesterday and said to me, "You missed me, huh, Mom?" ~makes your heart swell.

2) Grateful for our friendship with Greenhalgh's and a delicious meal and conversation at their lovely home over the weekend.

3) yummy warm, soft snickerdoodles for FHE.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Visual Addiction: Pornography & The Brain

The CITIZENS FOR DECENCY group organized a workshop on the medical side-effects of pornography addiction. The keynote speaker was one of the country's most renowned neurosurgeons, Dr. Donald Hilton from San Antonio, Texas. It was fascinating. I wish I had the time and energy to share all of my notes on this blog, but the bottom line was that from a neurosurgeon's medical point of view, CT scans from active addiction vs. healthy non-addict's brain are astounding. The scans from the porn addict show the same damage to the frontal lobes of the brain as a meth or cocaine user. These brain scans show how the brain shrinks. Addiction actually causes injury to the brain. It shrinks the brain. He showed spent a great deal of time teaching us about the chemistry and dopamine's (our brain's excitatory transmitter or 'rocket fuel' if you will) role in the Nucleus Acumbus bonding. (He shared a lot of scientific/medical information that I can't articulate very well--my apologies!) In short, pornography is like heroin injected through the eyes straight to the brain. The only difference is, porn is protected by the constitution... If anybody defends the porn industry or it's harmful effects, they are either addicted to it or profiting from it.

Dr. Hilton has done extensive, EXTENSIVE studies on addiction's effects on the human brain, and another interesting point he made was that it takes 18 months of sobriety before the brain heals and is restored back to it's normal size with healthy white matter function. (I'm not sure what that is exactly???)

He also spoke of legislation efforts to create a bill for mandatory internet filters in public schools and libraries in our state. (you mean there isn't already? yikes!) State Senator Dean Mortimer gave introductory remarks with our legislature's progress on these efforts in Idaho. Also, Dr. Hilton and his wife emphasized the hope that comes through addiction recovery intervention.

For more info, go to or

If you know me, I never tire of raising my voice against this new drug of the millennium. Why is it so pervasive, you may wonder? Simply put, it's the 3 A's: Pornography and the Internet are Accessible (free if you have internet), Anonymous (addiction loves isolation), and Addictive (viewing porn & masturbating produce the same chemical reactions in your brain as using any hard street drug.) The Mister and I have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with it on both sides of our family. If you are reading this and you breathe a sigh of relief, thinking you are so grateful you don't know anyone with this addiction, you are mistaken. I can guarantee any reader that they know someone struggling with this addiction. You just don't know you do. So start a dialogue with your spouse, your children, and get involved in your schools and community. (Visit the Citizens for Decency website if you need ideas for volunteering and contributing in this fight against porn.)

Also, the Mister and I highly recommend Dr. Hilton's book, "He Restoreth My Soul", available at Deseret Book.

"There is nothing in nature as perfect or as powerful as the human nervous system--the nervous system fires every human act, drives every human moment."
~ David Noonan

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gratitude Day 8

1) I am grateful for Book Club. We just finished the third novel in the Tending Roses series: Language of the Sycamores by Lisa Wingate. I highly recommend them!

2) Spicy dill pickles (home canned) from Chrishel. (I even drink the pickle juice until it's all gone. Shhh...don't tell anybody. And don't come any closer.)

3) the Mister's steadfastness...he went to the temple tonight with some other Elders in the ward, even though he had a headache.

4) the Mister surprised Emma with a happy meal at the school cafeteria. It's a great daddy-daughter date and it sure beats mom's jelly sandwiches.

5) the Mister called to pay a medical bill over the phone and the Sleep Institute took $200 off our bill! Saweeet!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gratitude Day 7

Thank you, Veterans...

"A veteran, whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve-- is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including my life'. That is honor and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand that."

~ Unknown

(thanks, Leslie, for posting that on FB)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gratitude Day 5

1) I love it when the Mister makes hot wings in the deep fryer.

2) Our neighbors, the Snowders, dropped by with a plateful of pink sugar cookies to announce their upcoming new arrival...

3) Reading Batman books to Caleb.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gratitude Day 4

1) I am thankful that every night at the dinner table, the Mister asks each of us, "What did you do for someone else today?"

2) Winco's 38 cent per pound turkeys

3) striking sunrises and sunsets recently (yes, I'm awake for both)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gratitude Day 3

1) princess stickers on the Mister's backside when I got home from Symphony

2) yummy eats in the green room before the concert

3) "good luck tonight" flowers delivered to me...from the Mister

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gratitude Day 2

Today I'm grateful for...
1) Pepperoncini's dipped in ranch. Mmm...finger lickin' good.

2) Beethoven's Ode to Joy. I'm in the thick of Beethoven dress rehearsals. Last night we rehearsed with the full chorus and soloists. It is sublime and powerful. It strengthens my knowledge that God lives, He inspired great composers and artists hundreds of years ago...because He loves us today. Most people of Beethoven's era didn't appreciate his music. So often it is--humanity is slow to embrace new beauty until after the artist dies. If you ever hear a live performance of this great Work, you will be changed. I guarantee it. I can't wait to meet Ludwig someday in the hereafter...and tug a lock of his fiercely wild hair.

~and I'm so thrilled the Mister is coming to hear it and see me play!
~tickets for the Idaho Falls performance can be purchased by calling 529-1080.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November = Gratitude

I'm going to try and post a simple 1 or 2 or 3 things I'm genuinely grateful for each day this month.
Let me preface by stating unequivocally that there isn't a day in my life that goes by that I'm not grateful for my life on the earth at this time, my divine role as a wife and mother in Zion, good health, my testimony and my temple covenants. Sooo, I will try to be more specific about daily tender mercies I experience.

1) This quote: "Adversity happens to all of us, but suffering is optional." (author???)
2) Beautiful fall weather--hello 60 degrees! And a couple of good friends to go on a walk with...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Let Me Get This Straight...

Obama's healthcare plan is being written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a congress who hasn't even read it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that is nearly broke.

What could possibly go wrong?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Week in Review...lessons learned

Me with Jenny Oaks Baker outside the Barrus Concert Hall in Rexburg. She had just performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto at BYU-I. (Spring 2009)
Jenny with us, the Teton Chamber Orchestra; Eric Wenstrom, quite possibly the planet's coolest conductor.
We had two dress rehearsals with Jenny: each about 3 hours long...lesson learned: Use half a bow and only play on 2 bow hairs if she is playing. She got after us several times about playing too loud. She said, "Guys, when I played with the NSO, I never played using more than 3/4 of a bow. Ever." If you've ever studied with Dr. Kevin Call at BYU-I, you never make that mistake. Soloists earn their title. Lesson learned: less is more.

It has been a wild ride this past week. Joseph got the H1N1 virus, affectionately referred to as the 'swine flu.' He was very ill for 5 days. It had me worried. Lesson learned: Never regret purchasing hand sanitizer by the gallon. And no smooching when the Mister complains of aches and pains...

Today was the ward primary program. Annually, in the fall sometime, the Primary children all over the world present a program in sacrament meeting. They sing all the songs they have learned the past year, and each child usually has a speaking part as well. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest meetings of the year. Unless you're the parents of a 4-year old tornado who had his hands down the front of his pants for half the program. On the front row. Of choir risers. Because he's a sunbeam. ~clear throat~ Ahem. It was wonderful, though. I cried through the last half of it. (And not because Caleb was playing with his unit.) Children singing songs with zeal about who they are and their knowledge of God's Plan for families. We had some non member families in the congregation as well. I hope they felt the Spirit. Lesson learned: The lifeblood of this Church rests with those little ones we love with every ounce of our hearts...and also: no elastic waist band pants for boys.

I just finished a performance with the Teton Chamber Orchestra and Jenny Oaks Baker last night. It was a great performance. She was talkative in between numbers and it was fun to hear her describe her love of the music. (And what her kids are going to be for Halloween.)

I wanted to describe the 2 grueling dress rehearsals with her...and the lessons I learned. I loved that she was direct and graciously demanding, and down-to-earth. (Not to mention passionate and gifted.)

The first night we were rehearsing an arrangement of "Come, Come Ye Saints" when the chorus finished singing, "...and should we die before our journey's through..."

She immediately cut the choir off and said, "Choir! You have just buried your baby in the ground. Now you are trying to find hope and joy by moving forward. Even though life is hard, we can and must still find joy! Please sing with that in your mind!"

Lesson learned: Everybody has heartache, but be of good cheer.

Then we were rehearsing Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Pie Jesu." Again, she cut off the choir and emphatically asked, "Choir, do you know what the text to this means??? Then please, please sing like you really believe He is what He says He is!" ("Sweet Jesus, who takes away the sins of the world, Lamb of God, grant them everlasting rest.")

Lesson learned: Even though a musician may be performing every note perfectly in rhythm and in tune, unless the musician is passionate about the text or subject matter, it is only 2-dimensional. Give it your all. Convey the real meaning of the music.

Finally, one of the greatest things I admire about Jenny Oaks Baker is her priorities. (Read the quote on the last post by her father, Elder Dallin H. Oaks.) She left a prestigious post with the National Symphony Orchestra to have a family. Lesson learned: there is a time and a season for everything. She is probably sitting on the front row in her sacrament meeting cheering on her little ones in their primary program.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finding Balance

"Faithful Saints cannot afford to look upon children as an interference with what the world calls "self fulfillment." Our covenants with God and the ultimate purpose of life are tied up in those little ones who reach for our time, our love and our sacrifices."
~ Elder Dallin H. Oaks

When I was in college, as you may know, I studied music. Music is my passion. I played and performed and practiced constantly. I had some professional gigs and offers that were challenging and exciting. During my senior year of college, our first son Josh was born. I have not played professionally since then. (except for playing in church, nursing homes, etc.) I chose to put on a different hat and teach. I have been teaching privately for 10 years now, although I did have students prior to that in high school and and in college as well. Teaching private violin has been a GREAT blessing for our family, as it provides a good income from the comforts of our own home. Both of our mothers worked outside the home when we were young, and Joseph and I have always wanted something different for our children. Luckily, teaching accomodates our financial needs, and our children's emotional needs. I have however, missed performing...

I have been contacted many times by the Idaho Falls Symphony conductor over the years, and good ol' George had all but given up on me. It seems to me that I either have energy for teaching or rehearsing/playing with an ensemble, but generally not both while I have a young family to take care of.

Then I saw the 2009-2010 concert season for the Idaho Falls Symphony: Beethoven's 9th Symphony. It's one of Beethoven's greatest works, if not one of the greatest symphony masterpieces of all time: "Ode to Joy" with full chorus and symphony. When would another opportunity come along again in my lifetime? The Mister and I discussed it, and we thought it would be a great opportunity, so I'm back in the thick of rehearsals. As if that weren't enough, I also committed to play with the Teton Chamber Orchestra as well. Jenny Oaks Baker is coming to perform with the TCO, and I have enjoyed following her career over the last several years, so...I am rehearsing with two great community orchestras and I have felt like an important, yet dormant piece of my heart has been revived again. It's been great. However, I couldn't do it if I didn't have such a stellar husband who also happens to be a tremendous father. The kids don't seem to notice much that Mom is gone a couple of nights a week. *He took all 4kids to Home Depot last night to purchase supplies to build the girls a bunk bed. Wow. I thought it was a feat to take all 4 to Super Wal-Mart where I at least have a shopping cart with straps...

However, I must say that I am exhausted, but with performances Oct. 24 for TCO and Nov. 6 and 7 for IFSymphony, it will all be over for this washed-up old player soon enough. I told both conductors to let me sit in the back of the sections, as I can't commit to every rehearsal on the schedule. It's been great so far. (Although I'm still faking some rough passages in the Beethoven! Sorry, Ludwig. Love ya, man.)

What I can't figure out is this: All week long, I dread rehearsals because it means I'm away from my family in the evening. And I get home late and have to get up for 5:30 a.m. students...I'm just plain tired. However, when I'm playing in the rehearsals, I love it. What does this mean?

I recognize that there is a season to everything, and the Lord who loves music perfectly, just as he loves the good women of the world who bear and rear His spirit children, will inspire me to know when the time is right to pursue other interests and hobbies. For now, one concert agenda is enough. And I feel whole.

For anyone interested in an enriching musical experience, but with different styles of music, here is the ticket info:

Jenny Oaks Baker and the Teton Chamber Orchestra will perform at the Civic Auditorium Oct. 24 @ 7:30. Tickets available at Dale Jewelers in Idaho Falls for $12 each.

Idaho Falls Symphony and ISU Collegiate Chorus will perform the Beethoven 9th Symphony on Friday, November 6 in the new Stevens Performing Art Center at ISU @ 7:30, and again Saturday night at the Civic Auditorium in Idaho Falls. (Contact the Idaho Falls Symphony ticket office for more info).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I have two best friends from high school that are still my best friends. This is Danielle Crosby. You know the kind of girlfriend you can go weeks or months without seeing or talking to, but somehow when you reconnect, you can carry on the conversation right where you left off previously? That's my Danielle. We've been through it all together-- cool boyfriends, not-so-cool boyfriends, college, full-time missions (she served a ASL mission in San Diego and Washington D.C. at the same time I was serving in Kentucky), marriage, child-bearing years, and of course in those pre-mission days, summers working and camping in Jackson Hole and college years working for her parents at Zina's Sandwich Shop. It's funny how we still laugh at the same things in between changing diapers as opposed to the summer nights on the banks of the Snake River 18 years ago. She helped me find my testimony and I helped her...well, let's just say I introduced her to 'life less structured.' She has an amazing life story, and I have so much admiration for her. Through thick and thin, as the saying goes, she's in it with me.

She was in Idaho visiting her family over Conference weekend and they graciously stopped by to visit. (I still want those chicken eggs, girl!)
This is the infamous Randy and Zina Peterson. You know, any of you acquainted with Rexburg, theee Zina Peterson of Zina's Sandwiches. Randy and Zina hired me through college to work at their sandwich shop. Danielle and I had way too much fun when we were scheduled to work together. No need to get into specifics here. I love them like family.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

3-Ingredient Sweet 'n Sour Chicken

My very favorite sweet & sour chicken recipe:

Place boneless chicken breasts or tenders in 9 x 13" baking pan.
In separate bowl, mix 1 small Catalina dressing bottle, 1 can crushed pineapple (slightly drained), and 1 C. brown sugar. Mix thoroughly and pour over chicken. Bake @ 350 for 45-60 minutes. Serve over rice! And don't forget to savor the baking smell in your cozy house...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"What a Character!"

My son, age 4, gets dressed by himself every morning. Trouble is, he wears his underwear on the outside of his pants. (Pants is indeed plural, as you can see.) I ask him why he does this and he says he is "Nacho Libre." Nice.

He always sleeps on his floor. I can't figure out why. We obviously don't need his bed.

Here are some memorable quotes from Nacho this past week:

(Praying) "And thank you that I can say "oopsies" after I spit on somebody."

"Hey Mom! I remember that Joseph Smith was handsome!"

(Praying) "Thank you that we could have blessings; thank you that we could get created. And thank you for potty treats."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quote of the Day...

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

~Bill Cosby

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

Fresh flowers (thanks, Kim D.), cookies and chocolate (thanks Kim P.), foot cream (thanks Heather H.) and cards.
Dinner with the in-laws at Big Jud's...a MUST eat in southeast Idaho...featuring the famous one-pound burger and fries! Delish. Nevermind the fact that eating there lowers my life expectancy by 7 years. See the wall o' pictures behind us? That's anyone who has ever eaten a one-pounder by themselves. Ugh.
My favorite thing about my birthday...coming home to find a sweet surprise tucked in the door...(Thanks Cynthia and Heather!)
Caleb and me on the greenbelt earlier in the day.
Hungry, obstinate seagulls and ducks unsatisfied with our meager spread...
Elizabeth and Caleb at the river.
Some girlfriends out for a night on the town...Julie Meldrum and I celebrated a birthday last week and tried to get a few girls together for dinner. (Yikes, I look like I need a gym membership for my birthday in this photo!)

I had a great birthday. It fell on Friday before Labor Day and I had NOTHING scheduled. I woke up to the celestial scent of bacon frying. JP made me whole wheat pancakes with home maple syrup, bacon and juice.

It was beautiful weather, so I started out by taking my youngest two to the river to feed the ducks. The screeching seagulls were deafening, literally. I could not believe how loud they were, but it was great. Then the kids and I went to Pizza Hut for lunch, and then later that evening, we went with my in-laws to Big Jud's in Archer. (Just south of Rexburg in the cun-tree.) We had also invited my parents and my sister, but my sister was very ill, so they couldn't make it, and JP's sis Anne, who had to work. Sarah swears she has a Tres Leches cake for me still, however:) Right, Sarah? Later that night, JP rented "The Soloist" which we watched together. It was a hard movie to track down, but he did it, even though he didn't have a strong desire to watch the show. I love that man.

But my favorite thing was the random little treats, gifts and cards and phone calls I received throughout the day. (I miss you Danielle!) (Love to my brothers who called as well and sent gifts.) I feel so blessed to have so many caring friends, family and neighbors. Thank you, everyone. Turning 36 isn't so bad after all...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Day of School 2009

Josh is in 4th Grade and Emma is in 2nd grade this year. They are genuinely excited!
Josh and Emma ready for a great I?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

2nd Amendment Double Date

Charlie's Angels...
Joseph orienting me to Dan's AR-15

Dan and Shannon and the target...
Shannon rocks.

We had a great shootin' date with the Greenhalgh's. Over the weekend, I got an early birthday present--a Ruger LCP semi-automatic gun. It is so cute! (Forgive me for that choice of adjective). It fits easily in my pocket, but holy cow, it packs a punch! I was the rookie, as I have never before shot a gun. I've got to get used to that sucker. Greenhalgh's brought several of their guns and we shot them as well... Dan and Shannon are excellent teachers and shooters. I won't be missing anymore flossing. Ever.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

'Tis The Season...

My dear, eternal gardener planted four zucchini plants in late May. Four. Four. FOUR. We should be able to feed all of Uganda at this rate. Here are a few of our favorite zucchini recipes:


Slice a large zucchini into 1/2" or 3/4" slices. Place directly on grill (low setting) and you can top with either, but not together, lemon pepper or brown sugar. Turn after approx. 5 minutes and add topping again. Cook another 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.


1/2 c. margarine/butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. veg. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
2 T. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. buttermilk or sour milk
2 c. shredded zucchini
2 c. choco chips

Cream margarine, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk. Stir in zucchini. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.


1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 c. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. cocoa
3 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. grated zucchini
*1 c. raisins, nuts or choco chips optional

Mix together first 5 ingredients. Combine dry ingredients and mix into the above. Add zucchini; Pour into 2 large greased loaf pans and bake at 325 for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy

These little gems encompass my teenage sense of humor, and for some reason, I still find them hilarious. Enjoy a few of my favorites... I have to know, is it just me and my family, or does anyone else find them amusing??? Ode to my brother Paul...Voted Mr. Most Humorous at MHS, Class of 1990...

*Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?

*If you're a cowboy and you're dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet it would make you really mad if you looked back and the guy was reading a magazine.

*Playing dead not only comes in handy when face to face with a bear, but also at important business meetings.

*Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there, in the room, talking with you, which is why I don't like to read good books.

*I hope some animal never bores a hole in my head and lays its eggs in my brain, because later you might think you're having a good idea, but it's just eggs hatching.

*Children need encouragement. So if a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good lucky feeling.

*Whenever somebody asks me to define love, I usually think for a minute, then I spin around and pin the guys arms behind his back. NOW who's asking the questions?

*Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

*Laurie got offended that I used the word "puke." But to me, that's what her dinner tasted like.

*If you drop your keys in a river of molten lava, let 'em go. 'Cuz, man, they're gone.

*If God lives inside us like some people say, I hope he likes enchiladas, cause that's what he's getting.

*Most of the time it was probably real bad being stuck down in a dungeon. But some days, when there was a bad storm outside, you'd look out your little window and think, "Boy, am I glad I'm not out there in THAT!"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Utah Family Vacation, July 2009

We enjoyed a wonderful weekend with Paul and Becky's family (how did I not get a picture of beautiful Becky???) Bountiful Handcart Days: Joseph (my very own Charles Ingalls) and my wonderful older brother Paul pulling our family

Happy and hot kids...
Emma getting her face painted. It was pricey, but she BEGGED.
Fairy? Flower? No. Too predictable for Emma ... a dragon.
We went to Lagoon for the BYU-I Alumni trip. It was hot, but terrific! Discount tickets, free lunch and raffle prizes...we won a BYU-I t-shirt and hoody. Gotta love our alma mater...
Emma's challenged height prevented her from riding some of the more exciting rides, but she still had a great attitude!

Caleb was fearless on rides!
The new ride this year: The Jumping Dragon. I LOVED IT! (fearless Caleb)
Lizzie...not so fearless...
Daddy winning prizes for his kids... one of my favorite pictures!
Swimming at Paul and Becky's in Farmington. The kids didn't want to leave! Gotta love the HOA privileges...

Thanks again, Paul and Becky! We had a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Whose celebration is it, anyway?

Every time our son Caleb has a birthday, I secretly celebrate my own sanity on that date. On July 19, our third child turned 4.

Let me recount a few highlights of our life with the DESTROYING ANGEL.

April 2007.... While I was showering, he stuck a fingernail file in the ignition of our van and locked the tumblers so the car wouldn't start.

May 2007....Also while I was showering, he came and stood outside the shower door with a match lit. He blew it out with glee, and dropped the match on the floor and proceeded to clap. After I scurried out of the shower (no longer a privilege during waking hours), he showed me the pile he had lit and piled up in the corner.

Circa Spring 2007....Caleb pushed a kitchen chair over to the stove and turned the burners on. He also reorganized the spices and spilled a Mega-pack of toothpicks all over the stove. That was already hot.

June 2007....Caleb dumped sunscreen all over the sofa, dumped the sugar bowl all over the floor, spilled his scrambled eggs, danced in the eggs, and destroyed a pack of diaper wipes by pulling them out one by one around his room and dried them out. All before 9:30 a.m.

Also June 2007....Caleb got a fold up chair out, put it in the master closet, climbed on it, reached JP's keys, took them out to the garage and started up the 4-Wheeler.

July 2007....Caleb's diaper turned up the following objects in the past year:
1. 17 pieces of wintergreen gum (By the way, the stool smells...minty...and has the consistency of taffy)
2. a cigarette butt
3. firecracker remnant

August 2007....I had to call Poison Control twice for him during that month.

September 2007...Caleb disappeared on a Sunday afternoon and was unaccounted for for 30 minutes. 6 adult neighbors helped us canvas the area. He was found 2 blocks away in a construction site.

late September 2007....Caleb scoops butter in the toaster, turns it on and starts a fire.

November 2007....Caleb was found 'washing' Lizzie's hair in the toilet.

November 2007....JP found a naked Barbie with Desitin all over her bottom.

July 2009....Neighbor called to say she found Caleb and his nemesis urinating down her slide. And in her camping cooler. Not cool.

God bless our family for raising The Terror. 2007 gives new, deeper meaning to the child development phrase "The Terrible Two's".

Fortunately, we can't imagine life without him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm Pretty Much Disgusted By It All...

The life and death of Michael are a few of my thoughts:

My Answers:

No, there should not be a national holiday named after him.
Yes, his family should have to pay the millions of dollars to provide all the security surrounding his memorial services (not the state of California, which is in fiscal crisis as it is.)
Yes, he revolutionized the pop music and culture of our time, but I can think of other heroes worthy of our consideration.

My Questions:

Why are we eulogizing such a broken icon?
What good did he do if he wasn't comfortable in his own skin?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy 12th Anniversary

Today is July 11, our wedding anniversary. This is the story of how we met...

We had both finished serving LDS missions and were enrolled at Ricks College (now BYU-I) in the fall of 1996. I was serving as Assistant to the Studentbody President, Mark Gee. My stewardship was over the Ricks College Standards Committee, which is a student run organization helping promote, uphold, and enforce the Honor Code. My first responsibility was to find a chairperson for that Committee. President Gee highly recommended Joseph Kelly for this leadership position. He then introduced us to each other. Several days later, I organized our first Standards Committee meeting, which began with an "ice breaker." (get-to-know-you activity)

We met in the west ballroom of the Manwaring Center, and I had everyone sit on the floor in a large circle. Keep in mind, it is the beginning of the fall semester, and there was ample participation and interest in this organization. (Hence, there were 30-40 students involved at this point.) I passed around a roll of toilet paper, instructing the students to each take as many squares as they'd like, as I explained the purpose of our organization. When the roll of tp had made it's way around, I then gave more instruction: for every square of tp the person took, that student had to tell something about him/her. (Hi, I'm so-and-so from such-and-such, and I'm majoring in blah, blah, blah.) Mr. Joseph center-o-attention Kelly took about 30 squares. (Insert: normal people took 4 or 5 squares). I remember resisting the urge to roll my eyes and wonder where this guy got his sizeable self esteem.

(He was however, dang hot, for an annoying guy.)

(And he obviously knew it.)

(And he didn't care.)

I digress.

As it turns out, Joseph contacted me soon after to let me know his semester was too busy to include the Standards Committee. This was the last time I saw him for a few months. (He was probably too busy schmoozing Charmin girlie freshmen.)

Fast forward to December 31 of that same year. Mark Gee, our Studentbody President, was a 'local' from Sugar City, Idaho, a small farming community a few miles outside Rexburg. He organized a cross country skiing trip for New Year's Eve and invited any students who were left on campus during the holiday break. ***A couple of my old mission companions and a convert we taught had previously invited me to fly back with them, all expenses paid, to Lexington, KY where I served as a missionary. For some reason, I politely declined. This trip would have been during the holiday break as well.***

Joseph was also a 'local' from Idaho Falls (a sizeable city 25 miles south of Rexburg with it's very own Super Wal-Mart, a few democrats, and taxi cabs). He had been working in the Rec Ed Center located in the basement of the Hart building. Mark invited him to go along, and knew Joseph could get everybody's ski equipment checked out, etc.

So the group of 10 or so of us enjoyed a beautiful New Year's Eve day skiing up in Herrimann State Park, and afterwards, we all went out later that evening doing various activities . And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Dick Clark in this paragraph. Long live Dick.

The next morning, January 1, 1997, I was helping my mom put away Christmas decor when he called asking me out for that evening. That was date #1. We have been together every day since then. He proposed on date #3 (January 3.) We fasted the following Sunday, and the experience I had with that has been sacred and dear to my heart. Because I hope the Lord will give me more of those sweet experiences in my life, I will not post those details on this blog. It has been hand written in my journal for my children to read. If they live long enough. And stop urinating on neighbor's slides.

It's been quite a ride for us both. Bill Cosby once said, "The best gift you can give your children is for your husband to be your best friend." That's our goal...What a tender mercy the Mister has been in my life, and in our children's lives. I'm so grateful for these memories and hopeful for many more to sustain us through the years...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Independence Day 2009

"Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us." ~Covey

We had a great 4th of July, which started June 29 in the Agnes cul-de-sac... a few of us in the circle purchase fireworks and spread them out over the week. It is great fun!

On the morning of the 4th, we woke up at 6 a.m. to have our family ready to be in the parade on the Stake float. (Judging was at 7:00). Then we went to the ward breakfast and patriotic program, and then back to the parade, which began at 9 a.m. The parade theme was "The 4th of July Through a Child's Eyes", and our ward was in charge of the Stake float. The Wildings built the most amazing float which centered around the primary song, "Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime". We were the family that was 'watching fireworks' (we were given the choice of playing in the pool, but to see me in a swimming suit would have been offensive), drinking lemonade and trying to keep our kids from wrestling each other on the float. Kelson and Mary, our next door neighbors, were fishing off the side of the float, while some other families in the stake were shooting waterguns and swinging. Later in the evening, we had a family BBQ with family, more fireworks, and then over to the soccer field to watch the big Meleleuca Freedom Celebration firework show! And then more fireworks. Bedtime: midnight. It was a great day!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From the News Corner...

Emma, age 7, loves to pretend she is a news reporter. Here is her latest current event:


We have had burns, and also peopl have goten burnt. The burns are very very bad. The burns were so, so bad, that most peopl have goten burnt."

(spelling and punctuation has not been modernized)

I think there's some potential there...maybe?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dearest Joseph...

You make me laugh.

I love your cooking-especially your grilling meat skills, crepes and delish high fat breakfasts.

I think you are so handsome and aren't we glad you still
have all your hair?

Thank you for being the spiritual leader in our home and initiating family prayer, family council, PPI's with the kids, comp prayer with me, and scripture study.

Thanks for sharing your King Size Snickers bar during Sunday School was tasty.

I love that you ground me. I am a type A personality and have trouble slowing down sometimes. You are my calming respite.

I love all the hard work you do to maintain our yard, home improvement projects and the PIG PEN. Admit it, hon, you feel totally like Charles Ingalls when you work on that little composting project.

I genuinely believe this man is the most well rounded man I know. He has sophisticated tastes. He loves going to symphony concerts with me; he builds furniture, replaces toilets, reads "Treasure Island" with Josh, conducts Priesthood meetings and makes EQ visits on Sundays, fishes, takes us camping, and begs me to perform a Beethoven Sonata late at night after the chitlins go to bed...How many men work a 9-hour day and come home with energy to help wash dishes, grill meat for dinner, wrestle kids, and conduct an evening scripture devotional before bed?

Dosef, I love you. Happy Father's Day.
p.s. Sorry I didn't have the energy to bake you a spice cake with penuche frosting. Raincheck?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

They call me old-fashioned...and on my soapbox

I think kids should be kids with innocence intact as long as possible. I see a lot of my 7-year old daughter's friends who are growing up pretty fast. I think that danger is more pronounced with girls because their appearance is more alterable than boys. (Boys don't have as many possibilities to be immodest, wear earrings, makeup, etc.) Don't get me wrong--I love makeup and earrings, but I prefer to hold back on those rites of passage until our girls turn 12-ish. Another way kids grow up too fast is too much access to media. The kids spend too much time on computers or watching t.v./movies and cell phones. Specifically,the types of shows the kids watch escalate their tolerance for tween styles, language and behavior. Call me prudish, but I can't stand Hannah Montana or iCarly-type shows for little girls. First of all, these shows are marketed for the tween age, not early elementary age girls. The talk of juggling her career with her social life/boys, etc. is a threat to the innocence of young girls, but not if it's age appropriate. However, one other point that was made by one of our Stake Primary leaders, that I hadn't thought of concerning the Hannah Montana rage, is that this show, along with several other Disney channel shows, normalizes single parent homes. Unfortunately, that's the problem. It is becoming common to have single parent homes, and those parents do their best, but it should never be normalized. I don't like Hannah Montana's immodesty either. There are so many subtle messages that shows teach. I think that as parents, one of the greatest challenges we have raising this generation, is to filter what they watch, whether it's on the internet or in the home. One of the greatest detriments, I feel, is too much access to all this technology. I don't know that we're perfect in this area either, but we talk a lot about it and we try to set reasonable boundaries.

Research has found that "nearly 70% of young children have TVs in their bedrooms today; 49% have video game systems in their bedrooms; 46% have VCR' 37% have DVD players; 35% have cable or satellite service and 24% have PCs with 18% hooked up to the internet in their bedrooms." (Nickelodeon Survey, Associated Press, Nov. 20, 2005).

It seems very strange to me that we place deadbolt locks on our doors to prevent questionable people from entering our sacred homes and then we turn around and invite the same type of people in through television programming. As Michael Rudinski said, "The thing about young people is when they see things in the mass media and they think it's going on, they start doing it." (Washington Post, June 20, 2005). Not only can too much television produce negative consequences, it can also prevent positive behavior. Bottom line: not everything on Disney or Nickelodeon can or should be viewed as positive for our children.

We were doing some serious budget trimming a couple of years ago, and the first luxury to go was the cable. I was really reluctant to let go of my dvr...really reluctant to let go of some of the shows I liked, but you know what? I can honestly say we don't miss the cable at all. The kids can watch PBS and we still get our Jack Bauer fix. And we watch a whole lot of movies:) Bottom line:
society will push kids to grow up too quickly all by itself. Whatever we can externally cut out of that process, the better.

In case my thoughts and opinions haven't screamed 'prudish' yet, this one probably will: We don't do sleepovers except in case of emergencies. Why? Three reasons:
1) predators
3)same gender attraction experimentation

Let me first mention that growing up, I slept over at friends houses and had a blast. Heck, some of our best toilet-papering triumphs were a result of the late night sneak-outs with friends from our sleeping bags... but this is a different era. And frankly, it frightens us. As with predators, there are seemingly good, high-functioning homes where there is a family member with these issues. We found this out too late, as our neighbor across the street, in our LDS ward, had a son who was a pedophile growing up. It happens all around us. With porn, my brother and my husband both were exposed to porn magazines at LDS friends' sleepovers, unbeknownst to their families to this day. Imagine today all it would take for The Perfect Storm to get set in motion: parents go to bed, all the kids are in their designated sleeping arrangements, and the kids turn on the computer monitor. Whether looking for it or not, a few silent clicks away, some porn sites are accessed and nobody left the house or made a sound. I'm not saying my kids can't find it on their own without being at a sleepover, but yes, I am saying that. There are filters today that make Alcatraz look like an ice cream shoppe. We also don't allow our kids to play at other homes where parents aren't home. So we are hoping to cut down the risks and chances of exposure by setting up these strict boundaries. As for number 3, I read an interesting article with some statistics a few years ago about homosexuals first homosexual experience. The men interviewed for this study (done by some Christian Foundation), overwhelmingly stated that their first sexual contact was at a sleepover with other boys their age, unintentionally experimenting. It was interesting to read and I hadn't ever thought of it as a possible threat.

Notice also what policies the Church has recently enforced that suggest they see potential dangers as well: the Scout program & primary with always 2 leaders of the same gender or a married couple for den leaders/teachers; youth sleep-overs (girls camp, scout camp, etc.) have to have youth sleeping separate from leaders; every meeting house in the Church, as far as I understand it, is to have classrooms with windows. Even the old buildings are having doors replaced if they don't meet this new standard.

Whew. That was a long post. Let me clarify the reason for these standards in our home: Because we felt impressed to do so for our family's needs. Maybe if you are reading this and you don't agree with some of these boundaries or our reasons for them, that's okay. That's the great thing about the Spirit: The Holy Ghost knows how to inspire our uniquely different families based on their circumstances. We don't judge others for having different standards; afterall, our parents growing up had entirely different standards for us. I'll leave this post with a wonderful quote:

"A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught, and ministered to the needs of a child. If you have done all of these, and your child is still wayward or troublesome, it could well be that you are, nevertheless, a successful parent. Perhaps there are children who have come into the world that would challenge any set of parents under any set of circumstances. Likewise, perhaps there are others who would bless the lives of, and be a joy to almost any father or mother." President Howard W. Hunter (Ensign, November 1983, p. 63)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

In the evening, we had our good friends and neighbors, the Meldrum's over for a BBQ. Later, the Hazekamp's joined us as well. Thanks for coming over, guys!

One of the things we love about Idaho Falls is all the family friendly activities. Year round the city offers worthwhile, inexpensive activities. One of my favorites is "The Title of Liberty" Foundation.
(I think that's what they're called?) Near our home, there is a huge empty plot of land which was donated to this organization. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the organization hoisted the U.S. flag, the Title of Liberty flag, and I'm assuming the yellow flag is the reminder of our armed forces currently serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. We really love that by July 4, the organization will have 1776 U.S. flags ready to post in the ground and families can volunteer to carry a flag down Broadway Street as part of the patriotic festivities leading up to the Fourth. On the morning of July 4, they have a simple Patriotic program at this same location. It was a wonderful non-denominational gathering celebrating our freedoms and our Constitution. When they get the 1776 flags planted, it is a striking scene and draws my mind to the majesty of this great land.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Things I'm Grateful For...this week

Life has been rather mundane at our house lately, so I haven't posted. But precisely because life has been mundane, merits a post. Here are some things specific to the past couple of weeks that I am grateful for:

01. Beautiful warm weather. Even better without wind.
02. Our first snow cones of the season...we are a black-raspberry- with -cream kind of family.
03. Steady income. Health insurance. Life insurance. Food storage in the basement.
04. Elder Bednar's CES fireside talk. If you haven't read it, do it immediately. It is the most direct talk of it's kind concerning the dangers of becoming distracted from "Things As They Really Are". It is truly an unprecedented talk. Read it for yourself and see what I mean! Wow. The Mr. and I snuggled one night in bed, read and discussed it. And re-read it and discussed it again. A friend of mine from the mission field taught an EQ lesson today from it using powerpoint images. Check it out on my FB page.
05. My kids are voracious readers. I love it. We read every night in bed, each of us in our own worlds...(Hardy Boys worlds, as it were:)
06. Cafe Rio food for lunch with good friends.
07. Emma's soccer games. They have been so fun! Mr. can't stay seated at these events. We are signing up the little power runner for fall soccer, too.
08. Growing things. We are planting a salsa garden in part of our garden. We have expanded the garden this year to include a sizeable square foot garden experiment as well. (It had better work--the soil alone cost us $100!) And, BTW, who ever heard of planting tomatoes in the window wells? Greenhalgh's gave us the idea, so here we go. Incubating the suckers. We enjoyed a family outing after the soccer game to the Farmer's Market on the greenbelt. We bought lots of flowers and veggies for the garden. Yum!
09. The RS lesson today was helpful for me. I'm going to try harder to find joy in the moment. All too often I choose to clean or cook instead of play with the kids. Lord, help me choose the better part!
10. Living in the shadow of a temple. Last night we did initiatory. I've never seen the temple so, well, sparse...It was so quiet and quick and spiritually intimate. I love LOVE LOVE doing initiatory. To me, it feels like a second baptism. Plus a whole lot more. The temple is literally where heaven and earth meet. I am so thankful for my temple covenants.
11. Meeting new friends from my sister blog "Apron Girls". It was a sweet gathering. I love making new friends. Never been a problem for me. I'm just kind of a people person I guess...
12. Funny prayers sans Kelly chitlins... Josh currently prays that his parent's hearts will soften and allow him to purchase a Venus Fly Trap. Caleb is grateful we went camping last summer with the neighbors.
13. Freedom. I have never lived anywhere else, so I truly don't know any different. However, if our country keeps flowing with the current political trend, we will lose many of these freedoms. It's already happening. At any rate, I am so thankful to live in this country. I am grateful for the service men and women who sacrifice so much to preserve our freedom and safety. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ever Having One of Those Days?

Some days just merit the "Crappy Mom Award". Yesterday was one of those days, no less. I won't bore you with the details, but the highlight of my day was Book Club last night. We discussed the book "The Continuous Atonement" which I mentioned in the earlier post. A truly enlightening read. We discussed this concept (feelings of inadequacy, spinning our wheels trying to keep it all together...anybody know how that feels?)

"Don't worry about if you have done enough. Rather, ask if what you have done is acceptable to God. In those anxious moments, the greatest comfort I have found is in knowing any effort is pleasing to God even if He and I both know it's not my all or my best. Elder Gerald N. Lund wrote: "Remember that one of Satan's strategies, especially with good people, is to whisper in their ears: 'if you are not perfect, you are failing.' This is one of his most effective deceptions...We should recognize that God is pleased with every effort we make--no matter how faltering--to better ourselves."

And then I found this beautiful picture: My naughty little 3-year old is peacefully enjoying his slumber. He is clean, content and asleep. I am enough, at least for today.