Sunday, December 20, 2009

Minor Updates

Since time passes by at alarming rates these days, I thought I'd do a quick update with just a couple of things we are up to.

In the last two months all the boys in our family have had birthdays. L turned 1; A turned 4; and J turned 30! It's been a full, fun time of year.

L is finally gaining a little more confidence in walking and is also finally getting another tooth. That still only makes three. He's got another two or three on the verge of bursting through, though. He's been a little hard to handle because of all the discomfort. Last week the boys and I all got sick. The boys both had ear infections, A had a viral infection in his lungs and I had pink eye. Tell me. How does the mom get pink eye in both eyes if neither child has it. Oh well. We are finishing up our last doses of antibiotics today and hopefully everyone will stay relatively healthy through Christmas.

We're keeping busy trying to keep warm. It's been at least a week since we've seen above freezing temperatures. Gratefully we haven't had any ice storms like this time last year. We finished putting the next wood seal plate and new roof on the house earlier this year and hope that will keep us from getting the terrible leaking like last winter.

A is having a ball at preschool. He just loves his class of 14 boys and his two teachers. He is absolutely certain there are elves that live in the ceiling of the school (he says his teacher told them they live there and are watching to make sure they are good boys). Everyday he comes home with fun projects, games, stories and activities. He's so interested in letters, and sounds and reading and writing. Even though he'll be at the very youngest end of his class, he will be a happy kindergartner next year.

A few months ago I was approached about training to be a Weight Watchers leader. With in two weeks of training me, they offered me a job and my own meeting. It has been so much fun. A few weeks ago they also offered me another meeting. It is a fun way to stay connected to my health and wellness goals as well as help people to work through difficult things in their lives and reach their own goals. And it doesn't hurt that they pay me. Not much, but a little extra is nice. J says it is my running money: it supports my running habit. It's enough to pay for new shoes and entrance fees on a regular basis.

J has had a lot on his plate as of late. He switched from a rotating shift work schedule to a new position that allows more regular hours (though he still works a ton). He has been making up a lot of lost time with his responsibilities with the Elder's quorum in our ward that have sort of gone by the wayside over the last year or two with his previous exhausting work schedule. So, he's still gone quite a bit. But I see a new fire and light and energy in him. We've also been working like crazy to figure out what in the world is going on with his body. He can't seem to gain weight (this is only a problem if you are 6'2" and weigh less than 140 lbs. We think we've hit on something good and gratefully he has put gluten back in his diet. The biggest effort right now involves J applying to MBA school. We were going to wait another year, but had a pretty frank conversation a few weeks ago and decided that if this is what we know we want to do, we just need to go for it now. If we don't get in now because of the lateness of the application, we'll just do it again next year. But we feel like we've at least got to try. We don't exactly know what this is all going to look like just yet. The plan has been full time MBA program to get it done and finished, but we may pursue something more part-time. We don't know if it means staying here or going elsewhere. This is a big thing in our lives and once Christmas is over, it will probably consume most of our time for a little while. If you have suggestions on schools, programs, or other advise on career changes/moves, we are all ears. We're listening to everything right now to try to flesh out exactly what we want to have happen next. Happy thoughts and prayers are also always appreciated.

I promise we'll post pictures soon. It has been a long time, I know. Enjoy the holiday season and look for a Christmas card/New Year's card from us in the next few weeks. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Contents of My Small Brown Purse

My husband says that I should occasionally take everything out of my purse/bag and make a list of everything in it...for my they can see how much junk I carry. I think it is kind of a fun, clever way to capture a bit of my own personal history.

Since the contents of my diaper bag that I usually carry are extensive, to say the least, I thought I would record what's in my "kid-less" purse a/k/a the purse I carry when I have no children with me. It was the last bag I carried today.

  • Pink water bottle, half full
  • Package of Dentyne gum, spicy cinnamon (my favorite)
  • Package of cute striped note card from the $1 spot at Target. I think they are still there from a baby shower I went to last week that I never actually wrote a card for.
  • "Bright Tastiness" Weight Watchers coupon book
  • Check book with three checks left (the first check in the book was written almost a year ago for tithing; the last check was tonight for a weight watcher's meeting)
  • $20 bill
  • Weight Watchers pocket guide and daily food/activity tracker
  • Two napkins from Chipotle restaurant
  • Four receipts
  • Wallet including the following: driver's license, insurance card, credit card, debit card, "MasterInCharge" card, library card, blood donor card (B Positive), Sam's Club card, Borders Rewards card, New England Aquarium Membership card (expired), Price Chopper grocery store advantage card, current temple recommend
  • Cell phone (last phone call: my husband called me on his way to work the midnight shift looking for a phone number for someone in our ward)
So what stories does your purse tell?

Monday, July 27, 2009


Sunday morning I got a phone call from the ward organist saying she had a sick child and asking if I would fill in for her. I love to play the organ and readily agreed. The closing hymn was "Come, Come, Ye Saints." As I sat tucked behind my extra-large print hymn book playing that hopeful hymn, my heart was touched. I was overwhelmed by the spirit of those early saints and the sacrifices they made to live close to the Lord.

Tears come easily to me and this was no exception. With both my hands and feet busy and a corner of my eye committed to watching the music director keep the beat, I hardly had a second to compose myself. In the end, I couldn't. By the middle of the second verse the tears were hot and stinging and by the third verse they spilled over and streaked my face. By verse four I was lucky I could see the music at all for the abundance of tears and they began to drip down and splash onto my lap.

I suspect no one saw my moment of emotion. That moment, however, was one deep in my soul and long in the making. My pioneer heritage is one I've always treasured. I want to make sure my children know the stories that have most blessed me and have left such strong impressions on my faith. It is impossible to separate me from my forebarers. I thought I'd record a couple of my favorite stories and memories of important people in my life and family history. I'll probably do them one at a time as time and a little memory touch up allow. I am certain that one reason we are to do our family history work is that we might become more well rooted in who we are, understand where we came from and go forward armed with the knowledge of where our ancestors were going and how we, too, might get there. My stories hail from Norway, Wales, England and New Zealand and trecks West for the most part. But I think I'll also include some of those stories of my loved ones who have braved new roads in other ways. It is vital that I remember these people and their experiences.

Just this past Saturday I was sitting in the Celestial Room of the Palmyra Temple stuck in a moment of befuddlement when I quieted my mind and suddenly had the words, "all is well, all is well" enter my thoughts. I sense that recording these memories will help me sort out some of the things that are on my mind lately. So between peanut butter sandwiches, long swims in the pool, and the piles of laundry to do and floors that need mopping, strength will find me as I find the strength of those who have gone before.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oh to be Three

There is magic when my three-and-a-half-year-old son comes in the room. He is a delight to be around and everything he touches {or laughs at} just turns to gold. I thought with only a few short weeks before A starts his days as a preschooler and things will forever change, I'd pay a little photo tribute to my boy.

Photo above: A decided he wanted to be a magician one morning when we were folding laundry and he found his cape in the closet. He insisted that he needed a magician's hat and wand. We spent the rest of the morning looking at pictures online and in books until I had the exact picture that A wanted for his magician paraphernalia.

On a side note, the beautiful cape was made by my sister-in-law, Juli, who even in the mist of her own suffering with a loosing battle with cancer made this for A's birthday. We just got word that Juli is only anticipated to live a few more weeks. What a fitting tribute from my son that he should want everyday to wear that cape made by the aunt whom he prays for in every prayer.
The Smith Farm in Palmyra, NY.
Sacred Grove, Palmyra, NY
Cousins. West Lafayette, IN
Raspberries from our garden.
J sent A into the house to give me a big fat raspberry on the first day of picking. A promptly showed it to me and ran out of the house. When J asked A how I liked the berry, A just shrugged. J asked what happened to the berry. A's response: "I think it accidentally got into my tummy!"
Korean War helicopter at a local air museum.
Happy Hollow, IN
Father and Son Campout.
Cleaning the mess hall at the Father and Son Campout.
Avoiding the rain while hiding out inside the tiny pup tent at the Father and Son Campout.
Dancing on a Thursday night at a local concert in the park.
An geologist in the making: "take a picture of my rock, Mom."
Or and archeologist: "Take a picture of this piece of glass I found."
Blowing bubbles for Dad for Father's Day
Hoggle Zoo, April 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Child's Prayer

Getting A to pray can be a chore. He just doesn't want to sit still and calm down his little body. This morning he came into my bedroom while I was kneeling down to say my morning prayers. He has learned to be quite and save his questions for when I am done. Later he saw his father kneeling in the office saying his prayers as well.

He came in and told me that he'd forgotten to say his morning prayers and told me he was going to go pray. I asked him if he needed help and with an excited little "no" he ran off to kneel by his bed. I listened from the kitchen as he offered the sweetest (and longest without-help) prayer. He asked Heavenly Father to help him feel the spirit at Church today, among other things.

For all the poking and prodding and reminding and asking and crying and laying prostrate rather than kneeling that happens, it is moments like this that make me think that maybe, just maybe I'm doing something right.

(Photo: Hoggle Zoo, Salt Lake City, UT April 2009)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Mother's Laundry

One of my favorite stories my mother tells is about a day when she was drowning in laundry. She had five or six children at the time and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. She thought to herself as she sat among the mounds of laundry, "what would the Savior think if he came into my house right now?" Immediately the impression came to her that he would just sit right down and help her fold laundry.

In many ways I take after my mother. I'm not a spotless house keeper. I have a somewhat short attention span for lengthy projects. I tend to have a bit of a temper sometimes. But, I also hope that I am as kind as she is. I hope that I love the Lord as much as she does. I hope that I will always be willing to do and serve in any capacity that is required of me, just as she has and continues to do. I hope that I can learn to listen to the spirit as carefully has she has though out her life.

My mother is a joy to have in my life. Growing up she used to always tell me how important it was to be well rounded. Mostly I'd roll my eyes and head off to another piano lesson, or tennis match, or to write a story for the school paper. She really believed that talents came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. She is my inspiration in many of the decisions I've made in my life. She encouraged me to do and be anything I wanted. There was no limit to my capacity. For the most part I've taken that philosophy and run with it. I hope that when I grow up I might be like my mom and be the same kind of inspiration to my family.

Thanks, Mom, for always seeing in me what I couldn't see in myself or could only just catch a glimpse of at the time.

Here's to you on this Mother's Day. Here's to all the laundry that never got folded. Here's to the moments that will be sweet in my memory because I let the laundry slide. Here's to the most noble calling a woman can have. And I learned it all from my mother.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You Might Need a Haircut When...

About six weeks ago I lost my favorite hairclip. It's torteous shell. It holds my hair well. I tried to buy some news ones and the Target I went to didn't have any. Then I went on vacation for a few weeks. I took a hairdryer and didn't even take it out of my suitcase. I rarely dry my hair. I don't usually need to because I like taking night showers and have naturally curly hair. Last Sunday I had to take a morning shower and got out the hairdryer to dry my hair for Church and found that the hairdry was broken. In that moment I realized that between my missing hairclip and my broken blowdryer, I have worn my hair in a ponytail every single day for nearly two months. It is probably time to get a haircut. I always say when all I ever do is put my hair in a ponytail, it is time to get it cut. Maybe that will motivate me to get a better start on my day and get my feet under me a little better so I feel a little more forward-looking on tackling the tasks of the day. Thanks, Tisha, for the reminder that doing your hair can make a big difference.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

13.1 in 2:24

The SLC Half Marathon was so much fun. I ran 13.1 miles in just over 2 hours and 24 minutes, a little slower than I had planned, but I finished. (That was the first question my primary class asked me today, "Did you finish?") I ended up running the 1/2 marathon with two sisters, one brother, one-brother-in-law, and one (and only) husband and, somewhere in the crowd, my good friend Maren who got me started in this whole business. My sister-in-law ran the 5K. My brother ran the 1K with five of my nieces and nephews. Two other sister and two other brother-in-laws along with my kids my parents and a few other nieces were fantastic cheerleaders throughout the race course. My Colorado sister planned on coming, but she got snowed in and couldn't get out of town due to the three feet of snow that fell.

My parents were at the bottom of one giant hill at about about mile 11. I was about ready to walk the rest of the way and then I saw them with my two boys and that got me motivated to push through and keep going. By that point my arms of all things were just aching. Next time I'll work on upper body training.

All the way up the hill I just kept thinking that when I turned the corner onto South Temple I'd be right there at the Salt Lake Temple. When I saw the temple I started to cry. For anyone who has read my previous blog entries about running when I cry, you'll remember that I tend to hyperventilate. This was no exception. I had to calm my self down and just breath. I was about a half a mile from the finish line and felt so grateful that I'd come so far and was almost there. It was like this great metaphor for life. We work hard, we prepare and we pass through difficult moments, but, seeing the temple reminded me that, just like in the race, life is so worth the effort.

J and I crossed the finish line together and it was so great to finish with him (he hardly broke a sweat, by the way). I thought I might die for the hour following. But I think it was just lack of sleep and eating the wrong food before I ran (and the night before, and well frankly, the whole week before). It was amazing. It was a stretch physically and mentally. I learned a lot and will do a few things differently next time... and yes I plan on there being a next time. Who wants to do it next year? Hopefully there will be other chances for races later this summer and fall that are closer to home.

I am so sorry to those of you we planned on seeing and didn't get a chance to see. Having the two boys by myself for two weeks turned out to be way more stressful and exhausting than I imagined. We do love you and hope you will still be our friends anyway.

I feel a little like Paul when he wrote to Timothy, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Whatcha' Reading?

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think that decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." -Anna Quindlen

In my free time lately I've been doing a lot of reading (that amounts to about twenty minutes or so a day, by the way). I've just read and am reading two books that have compelled me to take a deeper look at how I'm doing to truly live my religion as a practicing Christian. I just finished Three Cups of Tea and am currently reading The Robe.

Three Cups of Tea
is a true story of one man who fights poverty, illiteracy, and terrorism by building schools and doing other humanitarian projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The book focuses on educating girls in particular. We must never underestimate the role a bright and confidant woman can have in the lives of her children and those around her. More than anything the book has made me take a hard look at this war that we are fighting. I think I've all but ignored it mostly out of habit. I took and interest to it when I read the fantastic book A Thousand Splenid Suns and then the interest waned. This story, however, is true and really give me hope that good will prevail. It also forces me to face the idea that I do very little community service. I tell myself that my family and my church responsibilities keep me busy enough. But I feel like those are just excuses some times. There is more to me and I would do well is get out of my comfort zone.

The Robe is an entirely different book. It is the fictitious story of the Roman soldier that got Jesus Christ's robe after the Savior's death. I'm still working through this book, but so far I'm intrigued by what Christianity must look like to one who has not been raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The philosophical exchanges between characters show how there are questions and problems like who we are, where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going that resonate with every religious, and irreligious, tradition and culture.

The book also makes me think about my outward oblations as they compare to my inward commitments and covenants. The church to which I belong has a number of rites and rituals that are a physical outward reminder of our personal covenants. This was a way of life--to the extreme--for the Jews 2,000 years ago. I often find my mind wandering and wondering about the sincerity of my outward worship. As do most people, I believe that my actions are sincere. I avoid hypocrisy, but also acknowledge that I am far from perfect and too often give in to my lesser human nature (like the way I just polished off half a package of cinnamon graham crackers while writing this blog entry). The author paints a remarkably ugly picture of the Sanhedrin in particular. They embody and define hypocrisy. On the other hand, Christ is a real and super-read being in this book. People can identify with him, yet he is so much more than a leader and a king. I think I forget what a personal connection that is well maintained with Christ himself can do for my soul.

Both books have made me look more introspectively into how I spend my time, who I am helping and how I live what I know to be true. Both are good reads and worth the time and effort.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Last week J and I celebrated our seventh anniversary. We had a fantastic evening, thanks to a couple in the ward who came and watched out kids. We went dancing and had a private ballroom dance lesson at a local ballroom dance studio and then went out to dinner. The dancing was so much fun. We used to dance a lot, but it's been a while. I had to dust off at least two years of dust on my dancing shoes. It was so nice to just be with my husband and doing something that did not involve children, work, or money discussions.

So here's to another fantastic seven years.

Hyperventilating on The Treadmill

Saturday I was doing a five mile run and decided to load up my iPod with some new music. Almost as an afterthought, I put on a song by Hillary Weeks called "Come Take Your Place." (Thank you, thank you Jennie for giving me the Time Out for Women CD.) It isn't exactly fast-paced running music, however.

As I was pushing through at about mile 4.5 the song came on. Saturday's run had been very introspective and I had spent a lot of time thinking about where I'm going (I mean besides no where very quickly on my treadmill) and what I'm doing with my life. A was playing in the playroom next to me and I could see him coming in and out building things and, of course, crashing them down. As I listened to this song and watched my son, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the place I am right now in my life. I was meant to be here, now. I was meant to be the mother of these beautiful boys. I was meant to stand with my amazing, loving husband. This is my place, even that part where I teach occasionally unruly six, seven, and eight-year-old primary kids. I have no regrets about passing on grad or law school (for the time being). I have no regrets leaving a career I enjoyed to choose to be a full-time, stay-at-home mother. If anything I appreciate those choices more because I MADE the choice. I understand there are certain expectation as women of faith and I understand that I must find that path through my own faith and prayers. I have much to do and much to live up to.

So here's me, crying my eyes out as I'm touched by this song and suddenly I realize, "I'm running five miles an hour and, wait a second. I can't breath!" I was literally hyperventilating. That is not a good feeling. So I'm trying to get a hold of my self, because, silly me thinks, "But I'm not to five miles yet!" Eventually I got my emotions under control and could breath and of course, what did I do? I played the song AGAIN! Hyperventilating part II. Luckily I was a bit more prepared and quickly got my emotions in check. No passing out. No falling of the treadmill.

All in all, it was very worth the few tense moments of breathlessness to be remided how specific Heavenly Father's plan is for me and how I'm doing just fine because I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

650 Calories

Saturday night I needed to run 4 miles to be on track for my race training. J had all the extension chords in his car at work so I had to wait until after midnight to do my run when he came home and I could actually plug in the treadmill. J stayed up to keep me company while I did my death run during the middle of the night. Did you know that when you run 4 miles and then do some walking cool down you can burn 650 calories! I know. Crazy. It took me just over 55 minutes. I'm on track to run 10 miles this week.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Socks Make The Woman

I bought some new socks to wear while I run. They are heavenly. I just love them. They are Champion brand and have an extra moisture wicking property that keeps my feet from getting too hot. They also have this awesome support portion that wraps around my arches. They are so comfy. I'm now in the market for some new running shoes. Do you have a favorite brand/style?

Training update: Last week I ran six miles and cross trained on Tuesday and Thursday.

Yesterday the weather was almost 50 degrees and I got to run outside. I ran just over three miles. It is amazing how much faster I ran when I was just running sans treadmill. I had the thought when I was just finishing up that I had just run a 5K! Tomorrow I cross train and on Saturday I'll run 4 miles (on my treadmill, sigh... it will be too cold to run outside again).

My theme song for this half-marathon is the Kung Fu Panda version of Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting. Check out the lyrics below. They give you a real shot of adreniline!

Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting
Your mind becomes fast as lightning
Although the future is a little bit fright'ning
It's the book of your life that you're writing

You're a diamond in the rough
A brilliant ball of clay
You could be a work of art
If you just go all the way
Now what would it take to break
I believe that you can bend
Not only do you have to fight
But you have got to win

Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting
Your mind becomes fast as lightning
Although the future is a little bit fright'ning
It's the book of your life that you're writing


You are a natural
Why is it so hard to see
Maybe it's just because
You keep on looking at me
The journey's a lonely one
So much more than we know
But sometimes you've got to go
Go on and be your own hero

Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting
Your mind becomes fast as lightning
Although the future is a little bit fright'ning
It's the book of your life that you're writing

A Birthday Present for President Lincoln

Today is the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and A thinks that is fantastic. We've been reading a beautifully illustrated children's chapter book about Abe's childhood. When I told A that it was good ol' Abe's b-day, I asked him what we should do to celebrate.

A: I don't know. Maybe we could get him a present.
Me: Oh, really. Like what?
A: Maybe a bulldozer and a crane and a book about trucks.
Me: Hum, interesting idea. And anything else?
A: And a train.

Always thinking of others. I was thinking he'd say something like make a birthday cake or something like that. We built many Lincoln log buildings in Abe's honor today. Here is a cute pictures of the boys and the Lincoln log towers.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Making Progress..mostly

I ran six miles this week. Next week I will run seven miles to be on track in my training for the half marathon.

If only the other goals in my life where this easy to measure and have definite starting and ending points. (and to be honest, my goals are things like get up, change diapers, feed everyone--but not too much, and don't watch too much tv. I guess it's time to re-evaluate my long term goals)

If anyone has tips on how to get your three-year-old to sleep past 4:30 am, we're all ears. Baby is sleeping great, but I'm exhausted thanks to my early riser.

Also, I'm taking tips on how to get motivated to get my house clean and organized. I'm sure part of it is just this frustration with our leaky roof. The drips have definitely slowed down or stopped for the most part. However, Friday a new spot started leaking. Sigh. All in due time I guess. The insurance agent sounded hopeful.

On a bright note, we went to the temple this week and (thanks to Stella) actually got to do some sealings together. Additionally we feel like we got some much needed peace of mind with regards to some thing things that have been leaving us a bit unsettled. Remarkable how personal revelation works. How blessed we are to have that wisdom and knowledge. Anyone want to foot the bill for $20,000 a semester for J to go back to grad school to study, of all things, nuclear engineering?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Testimony of A Three-year-old

Our son has been asking to bear his testimony in church for the last couple of fast Sundays. We ascribe to the counsel that little children should be given a chance to share their testimonies at home until they are older. So, we've been having a little testimony meeting during family home evening the last few weeks. Tonight's testimony was classic: I know this Church is true. I know the temple has lots of doors. I'm thankful we get to have banana splits. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Salt Lake City Half Marathon Here I Come!

I'm putting together a team (a/k/a running buddies) to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 18. If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you. Two of my sisters are already on board and I've got another couple of people thinking about it. Here's the link to the website. They have a fantastic expert training program (for all levels from beginner to advanced) that helps you plan, track, and monitor your progress. It cost $60 for the half marathon. There is a 5k if you're looking for something more low key and a full marathon for those looking for a challenge.

Ask yourself: "Can I give more?". The answer is usually: "Yes".
Paul Tergat

Hope to see you in the top of the mountains come April!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Water Dripping from Everywhere

So, we have a leaky four different places! We have had so much snow and ice build up that that the bottom layer of ice closest to the roof started melting and getting under the shingles and running into the house and pooling up on the ceiling and finally came through. These are officially called ice dams. We've never had them before, so this is a new and crazy experience. Water dripping through one of the lights in the kitchen, water dripping in a spot in our office, water dripping between the walls of the laundry room, water dripping over A's bed. J accidentally put a hole through A's ceiling where the drywall was soaked and the insulation was also sopping wet.

We're doing everything we can to prevent heat from our house from escaping through the roof and cause more melting. Unfortunately there is not a whole lot we can do until the ice is completely gone (a/k/a when spring comes), even though I've been up there carefully chipping away what ice I can. Yesterday when we were saying family prayers, J asked Heavenly Father to heal our house.

We've spent everyday many hours a day for the last several days trying to deal with this. The insurance claims person will come this week and tell us what it will cost to clean, replace, and repair everything. For as overwhelming as it has been at times, I am not loosing sleep over it and know it will work out. We just keep working and trying to prevent more damage, clean up the exisiting mess and moving on. I'll post the great pictures when I have a few more minutes to catch my breath and upload them!