Friday, September 26, 2008

My Gardens

In front of house and in front of the drive way.

In order: cardboard lasanga layer, compost and mulch layer, finished bed with transplants, and my baby sprouts!

I finished planting my vegetable garden on Tuesday. I am grateful for Crystal's expertise and patience as I picked her brain at least once a day (sometimes twice). Ok, twist my arm, I admit maybe more than that on some days.

Today I finished the flower bed in the front. I put in wildflowers, freesia, and narcissus. I am so glad it's done and can't wait to see the flowers start to pop up! I also planted some bulbs (freesia) by the sage bushes in front of our living room window, just for fun.

I was just telling Shaun to go ahead and mow over the cantaloupe and watermelon vines because nothing was growing on them. The grass was so tall it was hard to even see the vines anyway. All the watermelons or cantaloupe that started to grow were quickly discovered and eaten by the birds. Needless to day, he un-twined the vines from the grass to go around them and lookie what we he found! We hid it again so the birds won't find it.

I have finished paying...

for the birth, delivery and hospital stay of my third and smallest baby, Owen. We now "own" him free and clear. No worrying about some bill baby collector coming in the middle of the night to reclaim my son because his payments have gone to collections. It only took a year!

Spiritual, developmental, academic, and many other areas in their life we are very influential and powerful. I can't imagine how hard it is going to be to allow my children to start making choices, and living with the consequences of those choices, when they are older. We need to be powerful enough to hold back our judgements and disapproval on actions and choices we may not pick for ourselves. We need to be influential enough to help them make the right choices now, so that when they get older, they won't have such a hard time making the choices for themselves. We need to be powerful enough to encourage, support, honor and love unconditionally.

Parenting is a divine gift from God. It comes with it's rewards, privileges and perks. It also comes with disappointment, heartbreak, and late nights. I feel honored to be able to have children. I also feel grateful to a Heavenly Father that trusts in me to love, protect, honor, lead, guide, teach, and enlighten the spirits chosen for my family.

I visit taught with one of my sisters lately. We talked about how the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches the eternal potential of the children of God. President John Taylor was quoted as saying, "our main object is eternal lives and exaltations; our main object is to prepare ourselves, our posterity and our progenitors for thrones, principalities and powers in the eternal worlds...; that...they might be prepared, having fulfilled the measure of our creation on the earth, to associate with intelligences that exist in the eternal worlds; be admitted again to the presence of our Father, whence we came, and participate in those eternal realities which mankind, without revelation, know nothing about.

Ladies and gentleman. It is that simple. Put it on a post-it where you can read it. Our whole purpose on earth is spelled out quite succinctly in that quote. We now know the responsibilities we have to ourselves, and to our children, and to the generations that come after us. We can and do make a difference. It doesn't matter what you make for dinner tonight. It doesn't matter what you wear or what you look like. It doesn't matter if your floors (or nails) are dirty. It doesn't matter what is coming on during Prime Time tonight. If it doesn't help you meet this goal, then it really isn't important. All are part of the grand scheme of life, but none should be above our main objective. Our minds should be turned to this thought often. Perspective.

Say Hello...

to my leetul (or lethal) frens.

On a hiking trip through the desert landscape today we came across these two beauties. One (yellowish one), no bigger than a penny. The other about an inch long. I didn't think we would see any wildlife on our short trek through the steaming oasis that is our back yard.

Yep, you heard right. My.Back.Yard.

I think they might both be babies. *GULP* Which means there are big ones out there.

We moved some toys to mow the lawn and came across the bigger one. The smaller fell out of the toy on the way to the dumpster. Needless to say, our friends have met untimely deaths.
Hmm, here I was thinking how strange it is that Jaylee found a lobster scorpion in her home, and then I find some. I was so hoping they followed us home from a camping trip. (You know, the dead ones we found in the shed and laundry room.) Alas, the oasis of innocence and denial is over.

I may never let my kids play in the backyard again. At least not before I black light the whole thing first!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Activities Day!!!

How many girls does it take to make a four course, restaurant style meal? 4

Today the girls came over to make dinner for the Hopkin's, who had their baby about a week and a half ago. I tried to think of what I could have them make that would take time, cooperation, and be fun. We I decided on lasagna, a salad and bread sticks. We did have dessert, but seeing as how it was a carton of ice cream, we didn't really "make it.

I was a little nervous on the girls' kitchen skills...I mean, I have insurance, but I didn't want anyone suing me because a finger ended up in the salad. I had no need to worry. It was obvious the girls had been in the kitchen before, voluntarily or by force. Granted, a mess was made, and clean-up wasn't nearly as fun as the preparation and cooking.

They each got to try the salad they made and made their own bread sticks to enjoy. They really did do everything by themselves with little direction from me. I was impressed and proud of them. I told them who the dinner was for, and they were all like, "this is for Chase?""I can't believe I am making dinner for Chase!" I guess when you are the same age as someone in the family of the person you are making dinner for, you kind of dwell on that.

They did great. They felt accomplished and had fun serving others. I would have loved for them to come with me to drop it off, but I thought the Hopkin's might want to eat before 8.

I love my calling as the Activities Day Leader. I love the girls and all the insight they give to me on what it means to be a Child of God, and what it means to be a kid. To look at things from a different perspective. To slow down. To feel more and think less.

Nothing like the smell...

of compost in the morning. The day after you garden. After showering and washing your hands multiple times. I still smell. My fingernails looks absolutely disgusting. I will get around to trimming them (easier than trying to scrub under them and I can't find that useless nail brush anywhere!)...unless taking showers and doing dishes (yes, I still hand wash) gets them clean before I get around to it. Plus, a disgusting, but kinda weird science-y cool bonus...when you blow your nose after gardening (and digging in your garden) you blow out slimy mud boogers. It's a wonder I could breathe with half the garden up my nose! Let's you know those nose hairs are doing there job and keeping those foreign objects clear of the all important lungs.

It has been one of those weeks. I am so busy trying to figure out what I am doing and where I am going. My head is going in 5 different directions thinking of five things that are all equally important (at least in my mind) to be working on.

I have to get the bed done in the front. My poor potted flowers are looking droopy. Personally, I don't do well with things on my to do list that are there longer than a day or two. I like to get things done pronto. Anyone that knows me, knows I am a scheduled, organized person...and it is hard to fit in the extras!

I know, I know. Anyone want to come over for my pity party? I plan on throwing it after I finish my front bed, do another load of laundry, have the Activities Day girls over to make dinner for a service project, get my kids to bathe and brush their teeth. All of this will be accomplished between breathing treatments every 4 hours.

So, what do you say? Party at my house at 12 AM. On second thought, I need the sleep. But, don't let that hinder you from dropping off "thinking of you" gifts at my doorstep. I could use your leaves, grass clippings and other trimmings to put in my front bed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Always Mondays...

I spent most of this afternoon working on the garden. Owen fell asleep around 11:30 so I wanted to get in what work I could.

Ember came and told me that Owen was awake around 2:30. I went in and check on him. There he was just laying there on the living room floor looking sad. He has been a little under the weather lately, fighting a cough and runny nose.

I picked him up only to notice that he was really heaving in shallow breaths. He was practically panting and you could here a bit of a wheeze. His chest and whole body heaved with each breath. He wasn't like that when I laid him down. He gave me this help me look. I immediately called his doctor's office and scheduled an appointment.

He was given two rounds of breathing treatments and we had to wait until his pulse ox was in normal range before we could leave. Two hours later we left with four prescriptions. One for steroids to help his lungs, one for a nebulizer, one for the breathing treatment med, and one for penicillin (because life wouldn't be fair without the bonus of an ear infection).

The sickness made it's way into his lungs. He was a much more happier camper after the treatments. We have a follow up appointment on Friday to see how everything is clearing up.

Oh ya, Happy Anniversary to us! :)

P.S. Garden pictures to come.

Friday, September 19, 2008


It is such an amazing thing. I have had the rare opportunity to participate in the birth of 8 children. Three being my own, of course, and five being those of friends and family.

I am never short of amazed when someone asks me if I would like to be there for the birth of their baby. I consider it an honor to be a part of such a blessed event. From an outsiders perspective, it simply amazes me what women are capable of enduring. What our bodies are capable of creating (OK, with help), sustaining, and accomplishing. Heavenly Father knew what he was doing. Life. Created from "cells" that transform, in the span on months, into someone; someone who will forever change the way we view the world and live in it.

From my perspective, nothing could be more painful or trying then giving birth. Something inherent tells us to do it, over and over again. (Trust me, I still can't figure this one out...another one of the "loop holes"- something like a vale - Heavenly Father threw in there to be sure we keep procreating and populating the Earth).

Jeremiah's birth was amazing. Bridget wanted to go natural and not have any pain medication. I knew she could do it. She knew she could do it. But when you are down in the pits, your resolve fades fast, especially when your loved ones want to give you whatever you want because you are sobbing and hurting. No one likes to see a loved one hurting.

Bridget was able to focus and breath, and overall her labor was quick. She transitioned really fast and went from a 7 to pushing in less than a half an hour. I was so proud of her, and my emotions were all over the place. I was happy the delivery went well and she got the birthing experience she wanted.

I joked around and told her that this experience will either bring us closer or push us know, depending on how she took my "coaching". She didn't yell at me, and she still answers my calls, so I guess that is a good sign.

I think I take for granted that another woman (especially someone who has had a child/children) might want to see me (OK, maybe not me per se, more like someone) give birth. The experience is so phenomenal. It gives you perspective on what you did and how truly amazing it is. I guess not everyone would want to, but I think the majority, if given the opportunity, would be excited to participate in the birth experience of a close friend or relative.

So, consider this an open invitation. If, for some reason, Shaun and I get so crazy itch to expand the family even more, you can all come and watch me have a baby. I take RSVP's and we have limited space. No betting allowed. Cost - priceless. LOL

Thanks Bridget for the breathtaking experience. I am thankful you think enough of me that you were willing to let me in on an experience I will never forget.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nuggets of Truth

I can't remember the last time I have read a series of books that seem to have such profound words of wisdom. This particular book in the series started out dreadfully slow. I was starting to doubt I would make it past chapter 3. I did, and I am glad I hung in there! Here are but a few of the nuggets of truth bestowed on me as I partook of the book, The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis.


One of the worst results of...being forced to do things is that when there is no one there to force you anymore you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.

How true it is. I often think of the things we "make" our children do, attending church for instance. At least once every couple of weeks Jaxen or Ember complains that they don't want to go to church. Once realizing, that they are going, whether they like it or not, the comply and get ready. It never fails that after church they are all smiles and talking about what they did/learned and how much fun they had. Sometimes you just have to make them do it, because they will quickly lose the power to make themselves go (now and in the future).

This has a lot to do with the things we battle on a daily basis. I grew up doing my fair share of chores around the house. I was responsible for washing and drying the dishes (by hand), cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floor every Friday. Unlike most people, I don't harbor that grudge to do the same chores as an adult. Some people hate to do something because they always hated it growing up. Now that I am adult I don't have to do XYZ kind of attitude. This of course has it's place, but can be harmful in some aspects.


He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.

Ah, yes, yet another quote that is true to life. How often are we so good at something, or so reliable, that we are the first to be turned to? How often are we annoyed by this? How often do we wish that maybe we shouldn't have done such a good job...and then maybe we wouldn't be called upon so often?

Why can't we take this as a measure of our character and reliability? Why can't we be excited to be thought of in instances where our talents might be useful? Why should we be content with second grade work versus our very best each and every time?

I am going to try and look at this from a new perspective when called upon to do something for someone else.


" long as you know you're nobody special you'll be a very decent sort of [Human], on the whole, and taking one thing with another."

In context, this is being told to a horse who was very boastful and proud and thought he was better than others.

I read it to mean that nobody is special...or shall I say more important than another person. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. We all have the same value to Him. If we can get past the pride and out doing of others, we can be decent and human and loving to our fellow men. We can take the good with the bad, hand in hand.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dear Chef Brad,

I am writing today because I wanted to tell you how excited I was to attend one of your recent seminars. I was especially excited to try out a few of your ideas on how I can let/help food bring my family closer together. I must admit that I was rather pleased with myself and the progress I have done with my family so far. Prior to attending your seminar, we already ate together nightly as a family, so we were doing something right. Thanks for the confidence booster, you did a great job mentioning that at the beginning before you get into all the stuff we should be doing (you know, to do better).

You mention that is was important to have your children help in the kitchen. Apparently, I missed the age requirement that you mentioned. I have been allowing my children to help cook and bake for quite sometime, but never pushed the issue. I decided, since taking your seminar to ask more often. Everything ran smoothly until last night.

While creating my masterpiece of a dinner last night, I had my lovely (and eager) four year old daughter help. Minus the hair dipping that occurred at the beginning, the ingredients went into the bowl nicely. We encountered the problem when it came time to mix the ingredients into something more than just a pile of potatoes and green beans.

My daughter, still eager, pleaded with me to stir. I allowed her, upon your suggestion, to stir. She dug that spoon deep down into the dish and tried with all her might. It wouldn't budge. A wedge adjustment later, and we have green beans and potato chunks catapulting through our kitchen.

You will be happy to know that although my daughter was quite distraught, I was calm as calm could be. Actually I was laughing pretty hysterically. My daughter's face went from worried to relieved and we proceeded to pick up the chunks that decorated the wall, counter, floor, and jacket rack (a nice one I might add). I thought to take a picture, but I figured I would probably gross people out, it did kind of look like someone didn't like dinner too much...if you know what I mean. The globs of cream of chicken didn't help.

So, in your next seminar you might want to warn parents that this is not an easy task (letting children help). Sometimes it is not in the best interest of you or the child. Your child, for instance, might want to lick the knife or touch and/or taste raw meat. (I would know!)

Sometimes, you just don't have the time to clean up the mess afterward. (Although, I guess you could have the kids do that...unless of course you want it clean, and then you are better off doing it yourself).

Overall, your advise is sound and I have taken it to heart.



P.S. Don't forget to mention the age requirement next time.

Am I strong enough?

"When people have been mean to you, why would you want to be good to them?"
"You wouldn't want to. That's what makes it hard. You do it anyway. Being good is hard. Much harder than being bad."
Lina wondered if she was strong enough to be good.

I read section in the book I just finished, The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau. I found it quite profound. In context it is referring to revenge being the beginnings of how wars and disasters are often started. Getting back at the person who hurt you. In order to reverse the direction and stop things from escalating, people need to be good to the other person, even if they don't want to.

That is life. People do and say things that can offend us, both intentionally and unintentionally. I like to think that if I am offended by someone that it is unintentional, maybe vent a bit, get over it and move on as if nothing has happened. Sometimes I stop and think that maybe that person is having a bad day. What if they got a phone call this morning with bad news? What if they were up all night with a sick child? I know I am not always nice, and most often when I am not, there is usually something going on in my life that is taking my focus away from the present.

How often are these little things (annoyances) the start of something more (bitterness and hatred)? How often do we let a comment from another person, known well or just met, taint our view of them?

Being good is hard...much harder than being bad. Being bad is easy...and in some cases can seem like a heck of a lot more fun then being good. Think about that. No wonder it is easy for Satan to tempt the natural man in us all.

Am I strong enough to be good? To choose the right? To give people the benefit of the doubt? I hope I am doing my best and strive to do better daily.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Ember started preschool last week. We didn't know what to expect her reaction to be. She can be rather shy when it comes to new people and places. She has been so excited to start school. Every day know she wants to know if today is a "school day" or not. The first day went off without a hitch and lets hope that she continues to be excited.

My little girl is growing up!

Washable Art

The usual Wednesday routine of cleaning the bathroom last week. Pull back the shower curtain to reveal this masterpiece. Can you name all 5 action figures?

Answers: Sandman, Green Goblin, Spiderman, Venom, and, the trickiest one, the Red Power Ranger.

I Did It!

The baby celebration is over and I think it was a rather big hit. I made way to much dessert, but now Shaun can be the cool guy at work who brings in stuff to share with his deprived co-workers.

We had 19 lovely ladies in my house last night. We started at 7 and ended close to 10. It was casual and very fun, but on that note, I will not be doing it again anytime soon. Jaylee asked me to, but since her kids are always 5 years apart, I have time to change my mind.

I wanted to take picture of the desserts so you could see how they turned out...but my camera died after taking two pictures. Hmm, and it isn't the kind of camera where I can grab two triple A's and call it good. It takes some sort of specialty battery. I guess I should have read the fine print on the box.

All I know is I did my part to help all those who attended gain two pounds that they can blame on me for a while.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cream Cheese Memories

In case you didn't know, Bridget is pregnant. She is going to have a baby. I am not. But I am going to have a party to eat nothing but sweets and celebrate someone else being knocked up (term of endearment BTW). Okay, and celebrate the baby, too. That, my friend, is a party!

Yesterday it hit me as I lay down to sleep that there will be a hoard of women coming to my house tomorrow night. (Is fifteen to twenty woman considered a hoard or a cackle?) I should probably trim down the sporadic jungle wilderness that is my front yard. Maybe weed-eat (hmm, that is the correct term, right?) around the nicely painted numbers that I paid some random guy with a can of spray paint to stencil outside my house on the curb so that people would know the number associated with our freshly painted abode. Oogle if you must, but know that the cactus was part of the package deal.

I have images to keep. I laugh as I write that, because, in all honesty, I really have no idea what image/s people have of me.

Suffice it to say that I woke up early this morning and took the time to mow my lawn...or at least the patches of grass that make up the desert quilt of dirt, dead leaves, weeds, grass, and feces from the annoying stray cat(s) that thinks my yard is it's own personal litter box. I ran out of gas 3/4 of the way through, so I might need someone to park in front of the side of my house so as to hide the only real lush tall green growth we have in the front yard. Lets not even talk about the back yard. My blinds will be shut, out of sight out of least for tomorrow night. No peeking!

I am planning on going out in the morning tomorrow to weed-eat. I guess I could probably assume that people will know where to go because it is the one house with all the cars parked in front, but sidewalks are a bit taken over as well. I can't get grass to grow in my yard, and I can't get it to stop growning onto the sidewalks and in the cracks. Go figure on that one.

Today I (okay, we)

I find it ironic that one spends so much time cooking/backing to watch the hard work be consumed within minutes. I think I might have everyone lick their cookies like suckers to make them last longer.

Today we made FHE cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, 4 cheesecakes, Heaven's Hair (maybe long as there isn't any real hair/hare in it) and Pumpkin Bars. Jaylee wonders where I get my perfectly golden tan. The secret is out of the bag. Nothing beats rotating around a hot oven for 6 hours...perfect height for perfect legs every time. Results may vary.

I think we could call this a cream cheese party because a lot of what I made had cream cheese in it. I bought 8 packages at the store. Speaking of the store, as I was checking out the lady was like baking? I fought back the urge to ask her what made her think that? Minus the 8 bars of cream cheese, sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and pudding galore, I really have no idea what would give her that impression. Yes. I like to bake. Usually not that much and not usually all in one day.

Tomorrow I have one chocolate on chocolate cake to make, fruit filled burritos (with chocolate of course), and a dip for fresh fruit and cookies. Most of these recipes I haven't tried before, and before I dare to try them myself I have to make sure someone else will eat them, hence the party so I hope that they taste as yummy as the beaters did. And if they don't, lie to me so you won't hurt my feelings. On second thought, you better not. I might have tried the same thing, secretly thought it tasted like cardboard, smiled, continued to shovel it in until I could find an opportunity to switch plates with someone or make it to the trash can without being spotted. So I would know that you know that such-and-such tasted like burnt rubber. Just kidding. It will all taste fantastic. I am getting it catered.

I hope I made enough. I doubled most everything. I figure a party with all women will mean a party where the woman don't have to worry about how much they eat. We stick together...and no one has to know that so-and-so had two pieces of cheesecake, 4 cookies, a pumpkin bar and a cup of milk to wash it down.


I need milk to wash it down! How could I forget an essential?! You know, if you throw a party and offer everyone dessert...someone is bound to ask for a glass of milk to go with it. (Good thing Milk is on sale at Fry's.)