Friday, April 21, 2017

GENTRI

Have you heard of GENTRI? It's short for The Gentlemen Trio and we are fans! We've been playing their music on repeat for the past week and can't get enough.

They also have some great videos to go along with their music. Here are just a few of my favorite songs...

Guide Me To Thee: I bought the sheet music for this one and I want my boys to learn it. So pretty.


Dare: We all love this one. It's also a sweet video. :)


Enough: This is a beautiful song, but the video is a total tear jerker. You might want to grab a tissue. Make sure you watch the whole thing, but don't say I didn't warn you!

I hope you love them as much as we do! :)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lip Sync Battle 2017

My boys were a hit at the Youth Lip Sync Battle on Saturday. Their number was a definite crowd pleaser and lots of fun! The competition was a little stiffer than last year so they didn't bring home the trophy, but from the many comments they received afterward, they should have! :) It was all in good fun so there were no hard feelings.

I love seeing what these three come up with. The choreography is all theirs and came together pretty quickly once they decided on a song. They were having a blast! Enjoy their performance of "Once There Was A Snowman," by Inside Out.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Prince of Peace

I'm home! :) I was gone for a week where I was able to spend time with Sam and Savannah out at BYU. Then my brother, Rob, and I drove down to spend time with my mom in Nevada. It was a great trip and I'm so happy I was able to go, even at this busy time of year, but it's always good to be home.

I don't want to wait another minute before sharing this beautiful Easter message from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is what I believe. Reflecting on the events of the past 6 months and everything that happened with my dad's illness and death, I don't know if I could have made it through without a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice. I can testify that the Savior really is the Prince of Peace.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

US Air Force Museum

Our Spring Break plans were foiled before they began.

We had arranged to drive to Washington DC on Monday to stay with friends and spend a couple of days seeing the sights. Coming home, we'd tour Gettysburg then stop to visit friends in Columbus. Last Saturday night we realized that we'd likely be driving in a snowstorm all the way there; the forecast was still awful for our only full-day of sight seeing. Both DC and Gettysburg looked like they might be buried by snow. Yuck! Driving on snowy, icy roads is bad enough around town. I didn't want to do it for 12 hours - that could easily turn into much longer - on the freeway, not to mention the conditions once we arrived. So we canceled our trip. Fortunately, the kids weren't devastated. We decided to make the best of our week together.

By Wednesday, we were ready to venture out for the day. Jeff and the boys were able to attend the temple in Indiana to do some work for extended family. From there we drove to Dayton, Ohio to visit the US Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

This museum was a favorite of our kids when they were small. We visited a few times when we lived in Columbus. It's been several years since we've been there so the kids were excited to explore it again. It was definitely worth the trip. The museum is HUGE! Four giant hangars display everything related to flight from the early days (Wright brothers) to space exploration and everything in between.


These missiles are HUGE!

Sadie and Soren loved exploring several former presidential "Air Force One" planes. We could actually walk through those and see the differences over the years. Spencer enjoyed seeing all the old war planes. They even have "The Bockscar" which dropped the final atomic bomb on Nagasaki to end WWII. Sterling liked the Cold War planes. That hangar housed an SR-71 Blackbird. My dad introduced my boys to the SR-71 years ago and they've loved it ever since.




We spent 3 1/2 hours at the museum before it closed. We could have easily spent twice that or more. In some parts we just did a quick walk-through to see what was there, but had to forgo all the cool displays and information. My feet, however, were happy to go. We did a LOT of walking. It was a great day and worth the four hour drive each way. By the way, the museum is free. :)

One of the smallest planes we saw.


A beautiful sunset for our drive home.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Beatboxing Battle

We attended a showcase performance of our high school's a cappella group last week. They had a beatboxing battle and invited audience members to volunteer to go against the group's vocal percussionist. Sterling was quick to volunteer. You can see his performance below. (We edited out most of the other not-so-serious contenders.)



Sterling is pretty reserved at school so a lot of people were surprised at his ability. Someone asked me, "Does he ever do this at home?" Only all the time.

After the competition, we learned that the audio techs were instructed to turn off the sub-woofers during Sterling's turn in an attempt to rig it against him. Nice try. :)

Sorry for the terrible video taping. That would be my fault...


Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Break

I've mentioned what amazing and unseasonably warm weather we've had. Sadie picked a jar full of hyacinths for her room from our flower bed this afternoon. Jeff took this picture on campus yesterday of a tree in full bloom.


Our weeping cherry is starting to bloom and the grass is green and ready to be mowed. Spring is bursting out all over the place.

That's why the snow in tomorrow's forecast is so disappointing. Instead of the 50 and 60 degree weather we've been enjoying over the past few weeks, today started a week in the 30's. So while the weather is taking a break from spring, we're officially starting our spring break.

Yep, school is out for a week and, come Monday, we are looking forward to some new adventures. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

As You Wish


We were all pretty taken with Moana when we watched it as a family over Christmas break, but none as much as Sadie. She LOVED it! She has been talking about it ever since and has tried to be patient while waiting for the DVD release.

This morning she said to me, "Mom, if I came home from school and found Moana on my bed, I'd be so happy!"

I was planning to buy it anyway and I couldn't resist making Sadie's day. It's fun to make wishes come true.




Monday, March 6, 2017

Great Aunt

I'm a great aunt. Yep. My niece on Jeff's side of the family had a baby last week and, just like that, I became a great aunt.

Doesn't that sound so old? Seriously. There's your grandma and then there's your ancient and grumpy great aunt. It reminds me of a scene from one of our favorite and most quotable movies, The Emperor's New Groove. Watch from 1:43 through 2:04.




I've had that scene running through my head all week. It cracks me up, especially when my kids imitate it. Yzma is only pretending to be the great aunt in this scene, but it works so much better than if she had pretended to be their grandma. She is the picture of old.

We're super happy for Briana and her new little guy, Liam, so I will try to dismiss my perceptions of the term "great aunt" and wear it as a badge of honor instead. :)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Praying for Sunshine

 

Remember Sam and Savannah's snowy drive to Provo back in January? Well, today was the sequel. Savannah went to Idaho for the weekend to see her cousin's new baby and spend time with friends and family. Somehow, today's weather forecast was misleading and she ended up in a blizzard before she was halfway home. (It's amazing how quickly my anxiety flares up when I learn one of my kids is in danger!!) Luckily or maybe miraculously, with about 2 hours to go, she found a friend she could stay with for the night and they'll drive the rest of the way together in the morning.

We're praying for sunshine!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Incoming Cougar

Rise and Shout! We got the good news this morning...

Spencer has been accepted to BYU this fall!! 


He's pretty excited...and relieved. It's the only school he applied to. :) We're super happy for him and can't wait to share his BYU experience. 


Friday, March 3, 2017

Seussical Success


I will do my best to get a sharper photo after tomorrow night's performance, but I didn't want the day to end without mentioning how much we enjoyed Seussical, Jr. this evening. Oh, it was SO good!! From the costumes to the props to the brand new sound system, everything came together tonight and these kids put on an amazing show. Really, top notch all the way!

We can't wait to see it again!

3/4/17 Update: Tonight's performance was every bit as good as the first. What a fun show! This is a great group of kids who really stepped up to the plate to pull off such an impressive play. (I'm sticking with last night's blurry photo because the ones I took tonight only have a few cast members.) 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

It Is Well with My Soul - BYU Vocal Point

It's always a good time for a new BYU Vocal Point video so I was excited when this arrived in my e-mail inbox this afternoon. This song is particularly beautiful and reverent. You may even notice that one of the lead singers gets a little teary at the end. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How To Change the World

It turns out changing the world isn't as daunting as it seems. Here's a quick tip to get you started in that direction.


I hope my kids are watching... ;)

{This message came from a longer commencement address with ten tips on how to change the world. The other tips can be found here.}

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Everyday

Last February I decided to post a blog entry every single day to help me focus on happy things during my least favorite month. Well I did it again. I didn't make a big deal about it because, honestly, I didn't know if I'd remember to do it. There have been several nights where I've been ready for bed before I remembered I still needed to post something. Argh! But somehow I pulled it off and it helped me find joy in the little things. I hope you've found many happy moments in your February, too. 

For this last day, I've got something that's sure to make you smile. This little donut was made entirely by Sadie. She got a little stitching kit for Christmas with patterns and supplies to make all sorts of mini food items. She hand stitched this adorable donut and made it entirely from scratch. Isn't it the cutest? 


On that note, I'll sign off and see you next month!

You know, February really isn't all that bad. ;)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Seussical Jr.

Imagesource
The middle school spring musical is coming up this weekend! Soren is in Seussical Jr. and we can't wait to see it. There are plenty of catchy tunes and many favorite Seuss characters. It's bound to be an hour well spent.

If you live in my little corner of the world, bring the fam! The show is this Friday and Saturday, March 3rd and 4th at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door or you can buy them from the middle school or high school office all week. $4 for students and seniors, $7 for adults.

(Sterling said I should have written this post in rhyme, to fit the Seuss theme. It's a great idea, but I'm just not feeling it. Feel free to leave your rhyme ideas in the comments. lol)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Daddy's Girl


I'm on my way to bed, but I wanted to post this sweet photo before I forget. This was taken a few days before Christmas and it shows just how much Sadie loves her dad. These two are fast friends. Jeff tucks her in every night and wakes her up every morning. Sadie is 100% daddy's girl. Don't get me wrong, she tolerates me just fine and we play a lot of games and make a lot of crafts together. But when she has the choice, it's daddy all the way. I'm okay with that. :)

Sweet Dreams!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Can of Worms

I've never been bitten by the genealogy bug... until now.

I just finished a four-day community course on the basics of genealogy. A lot of the material was review. I don't know a lot, but know just enough to be dangerous. I was given some good tips on narrowing down searches and various websites for getting information. On the last day of class, we had some time left at the end so I just started going through my family tree on FamilySearch.org. Oh boy. I had no idea when I identified my great grandma's youngest brother as a good place to start that I would end up so entrenched in his wife's family.

Flynn
The Flynn Family, ca. 1921
I dove in last night and ended up at times with way-too-many tabs open on my computer and a web of documents, dates and people. At first, there was really nothing to go by except a few census records, but from there I identified her parents and brother. Her dad was a pretty fascinating fellow who was born in Scotland and worked as a hairdresser on 5th Avenue in New York City. There are multiple source documents for her dad and it's so cool to piece his life together and learn parts of his life story from these pieces of paper. Her mom was born in Illinois so I feel a connection on both sides.

It's still in a mess and I have to sort through a lot of things to fill in some gaps in my information, but it's so fascinating! Every new discovery is so satisfying.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Drive Your Tractor To School Day

Today's the day! It's "Drive your tractor to school" day. This is what I saw when I dropped my boys off at the high school this morning. 


Ag classes are a big thing at the high school and many of these kids have been raised on the surrounding farms. It's in their blood, so it's nice that they let them bring their vehicle of choice to school once a year.

This phenomenon is new for me. I didn't see many, if any, tractors in my suburban Utah upbringing. But in Small Town, Illinois they are everywhere. This is where my kids come from and that makes me smile.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Top Down

February is usually a pretty grim month here in the Midwest. If it's not snowing, it's gray and dreary and cold. There isn't nearly enough sunshine and it's hard to put on a happy face. Just look at this picture from February 2014:


This year it's a different story. We've had the most amazing weather! It's been sunny and mild like a beautiful spring. This week the temperatures got up into the high 60's several times. We may have even hit 70º. I don't know that we've ever had a February where I could ride around in my little car with the top down before. I could get used to this!


Tomorrow should be nice, but then we're in for a week of cooler weather. I won't complain. February is almost over and it's been great!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My Wish

Maybe it's because Sam and Savannah are away at school, forging ahead toward a (hopefully) bright future. Maybe it's because Spencer will graduate from high school in 3 months. Maybe it's because life can be tricky at times and I want the best for my kids. Or maybe it's just because I'm feeling sentimental...

Whatever the reason, I've been listening to "My Wish," by Rascal Flatts on repeat. It's one of my favorites and does a great job expressing what I wish for my kids. If you're not familiar with it, listen to the lyrics. You'll see what I mean!

(I'd hoped to find an official music video by Rascal Flatts, but there isn't one. This one isn't bad--)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In For Repairs


It was bound to happen. After almost 22 years of marriage and 6 kids, Spencer has been awarded the "First Broken Bone" medal. We're feeling pretty blessed that we made it this far without prior visits to the Orthopedic Surgeon. That's not counting Jeff, of course, who broke the rod in his leg 11 years ago and had to endure several surgeries to make it right. His was a pre-existing condition from before our life together.

Anyway.

Spencer's break happened last Thursday in P.E. when he was shoved during indoor soccer and went down hard on his hand. He broke his radius. He was in a temporary cast over the long weekend and received his real cast this morning. The good news is that this should be a quick fix. The doctor informed Spencer that, surprisingly, his growth plates haven't closed yet. His exact words were, "You have the growth plates of a 15-year old." Usually, by age 17, they would expect to see the growth plates closing. Bones heal faster in kids who are still growing so the doctor said he could graduate to a splint in less than 3 weeks if all goes well. :) Of course, Spencer was thrilled to know that he's still got some growing to do!

Fortunately, Spencer broke his right arm and he's left handed. There are many reasons why this could have been a lot worse. We're still counting our blessings!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ligretto

Images are from Amazon.com

Hands down, our game of choice these days is Ligretto. My brother introduced us to it last spring. It's similar to Solitaire, but you can have up to 12 players and it gets crazy!

A few things I love about it:

  • Everyone in our family can play. It's fun with two players and it's fun with eight players - and every number in between. (We have eight decks so that's our limit, but another box set would add four more decks.)
  • Anyone in our family can win. I used to win pretty consistently, but Sadie has gotten so good that I have gotten plenty of losing practice. Spencer beat me the other day and he has a broken arm. (I still haven't figured that one out. Having two hands is pretty crucial!)
  • It's fast. You can play one round in about 5 minutes. Or keep score and play to 100 which might take 30-45 minutes.
  • Every player is engaged the entire game. There is no waiting your turn. Get rid of your cards as fast as you can for the win.

Each box set contains four decks -- one player per deck. If you buy the Blue, Green and Red sets, you'll have 12 decks which would be total madness, but a really great time! We love it! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

On Failing and Finishing

BYU has a devotional each Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. mountain time. They are always worthwhile, but this past Tuesday's devotional was especially good. It was given by Cassy Budd, a faculty member in the School of Accountancy within BYU's Marriott School of Management.

I listened to the devotional after Sam recommended it. I listened again with Jeff as we drove to Indianapolis on Friday. Then I listened for a third time tonight with the kids. I could listen to it again. If you can take the time, you won't regret it. 


If you'd rather read it, the text will eventually be posted here. You can also access audio and video from the same site. This is definitely one I'll bookmark and keep for future reference. I loved it!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pixelated Ponys

What can you make with a shoebox full of pony beads, some wooden skewers and floral foam blocks? Pixelated pony bead art! Soren and Sadie made good use of their supplies this afternoon as they put them together to make these fun pictures. Sadie sketched out her design on graph paper first. Soren relied more on trial and error. I think they both did a great job and had a lot of fun in the process. 

Soren's mushroom and Sadie's emoji

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beauty Before Dark


We've had so many beautiful sunsets recently. Every night is a stunning display of color that fades from orange to pink to purple to a darker and darker blue until the light fades completely away. Breathtaking!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tulip Hearts


It's super early for tulips, but the weather here has been so mild that ours are starting to come up. Sadie has her own little bed of tulips. Today she pointed out how the unfolding leaves look like hearts. Aren't they cute? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Have A Nice Life

I attended my writing group again last night. What a great group of people! We laugh a lot and have a great time as we encourage each other and share our stories.

Each month, we bring a piece that we've written based on a prompt given to us at the previous meeting. But before we read those aloud, we are given a new prompt at the start of the meeting and we write for about 20 minutes. Then, if we choose, we share what we've written. Last night the prompt was a very general "gifts." That could mean a favorite or least favorite gift we've received or given. It could be a card or letter. It could be a birthday or Christmas or any other occasion. Whatever we thought of, we had twenty minutes to write. It took me a few minutes to get started, but here's what I came up with in the end.
It was 1988, my freshman year of college. I was at Ricks, a junior college in Idaho about 4 hours from my Utah home. I was still homesick when my 18th birthday rolled around just a few weeks after the start of the semester, so I was excited when a postcard arrived from my dad. I went to my room to read his note. 
"Dear Missy, Happy Birthday to you. ... Hope you have a great day, weekend, year, life, etc. I love you. Love, Dad"
As silly as it sounds, I sat down on my bed and cried. My dad had just told me to have a nice life. It sounded so...final
I've always been a daddy's girl, and his card reminded me that I was far from home, but I knew that my dad simply wanted me to be happy, not only on my birthday but always.
I still have that postcard, but I no longer have my dad. It's okay. Throughout my life he always made it clear that he wants the best for me.
He wants me to have a nice life.

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Be Mine, Valentine

While the drawing for this clever Valentine is my own, the cute idea is not. I love turtles so when I saw this idea on the internet, I knew it would be the perfect valentine for my kids.

Happy Valentine's Day! XO



Monday, February 13, 2017

A Private Showing


Our family enjoyed our own private screening of The Lego Batman Movie tonight. The kids have been super excited to see it, but we were worried it might be busy just three days after the opening. We decided to chance it and were pleasantly surprised to find that we had the theater all to ourselves. I don't know whether to chalk that up to life in a small town or the fact that it's a school night. ;)

The movie has several laugh-out-loud funny moments and references. There are even a few 80's music clips. (Gotta love 80's music!) The kids didn't love the show as much as they love The Lego Movie, but that's one of their favorites so it'll be hard to beat.

I had a hard time staying awake (it's been a LONG day!), but it was fun to see Batman as a family, on a school night, just for fun. I'm glad we went!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Seek Sunlight

This quote came up in one of our lessons today at church. It's a great way to live and a good reminder to look for the good things in life. Good or bad, you find what you are looking for!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Makeover

Sadie is a funny girl. I know this picture isn't great, but can you see her "sunburn?" I put that in quotes because she's not sunburned. It's makeup. She was just playing around with her collected stash of makeup and gave herself a pretty convincing sunburn. For the record, it was almost 70º today - which is crazy for February, by the way - and she spent a good chunk of time outside so she could have convinced us the sunburn was real.


It immediately reminded me of another picture of my Sadie after she gave herself a little makeover several years ago. It's not so different from the first with a little red makeup smeared on the bridge of her nose. :) Of course, this one looks less like a sunburn and more like attack of the killer lipstick.


We've come a long way. :)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Funny

SCENE: A teenage daughter and her dad in the car.

Lauren: Dad, do you know what the most commonly used letter in a girl's name is?

Me: Hmm, is it a consonant or a vowel? (Silence.) Please tell me you know what consonants and vowels are.

Lauren: You're no fun, Dad. Forget it.

Me: What is a vowel?

Lauren: OK, OK. A vowel is ... ahh ... eh ... well, oh ... uh ...

Me: Close enough.


--by Robert Alvarez, author of Blonde Moments: Life with a Blonde Teenage Daughter.
Found in the Reader's Digest.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Boy Soprano

Three years ago, while in the sixth grade, Sterling sang a solo with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra. Usually he's sitting in the violin section with the orchestra, but his sweet voice was just right for the "boy soprano" solo. Something reminded me about this the other day and it took a few minutes to find it so I wanted to post it here for safekeeping. :)

Sterling is like a little angel with his innocent face and pure sound. He'd probably be embarrassed that I'm posting this because he was way more nervous than he expected so there were a few hiccups near the start. Overall, it was beautiful with the choir and orchestra. What a great opportunity for my sweet Sterling.

The video below is the entire symphony program that night. Forward to 52:50 to get to Sterling's part. It goes through 59:00.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Let People Repent


I've been thinking about this quote a lot this week. I said something I shouldn't have said. I really thought it would help a situation, but it had the exact opposite effect. Now I feel like the people involved have forgotten every good thing I've ever done and define me by this one unfortunate moment. I'd go back and erase the whole thing if I could, but what's done is done. I may have permanently damaged some relationships despite my quick and sincere apology. I hope I'm wrong and it all blows over quickly. But it's the what if I'm not wrong that worries me. 

That's why this quote has been on my mind. It's caused me to reflect on how I treat others. Do I let others repent? Do I define people by their worst moments? Or do I give people the benefit of the doubt? Do I let people change and become better? Believe me, after seeing it from the side I'm on right now, I'll be much more gentle toward others in the future. It has helped me to see charity in a new and needed light.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Missing Scotland

One of Sam's friends got home from his mission tonight. He's been in Italy for the past 2 years. He looks great and we had a nice visit with his family.

Talking with them got me thinking about my mission and so many of the things I miss: Horlicks, the hills purple with heather, the Scottish accent (I watched a documentary the other day that was filmed in Scotland and I LOVED listening to them!), so many yummy and unique sweets, bagpipes.... I could go on and on.

It is one of the most beautiful places. I've said for the past 23 years that someday I'll go back, but I've never been. It's about time, don't you think?

Imagesource




Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday

It's been that kind of a Monday. Somehow, this cute saying in fun lettering makes it laughable.

I stumbled upon the blog radandhappy.com a couple days ago and I'm in love. Her lettering and her style are inspiring.

Monday is all but over for me. Tomorrow will be better! :)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Change


Isn't this just the best news you've heard all day? :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rebecca Burdick Winters

Jeff's fourth great grandma was Rebecca Burdick Winters. She passed away in 1852 during her westward journey with the Mormon pioneers. The historical marker shown below tells a little bit about her, including how the railroad was rerouted so that this pioneer mother's grave wouldn't be disturbed. 

We stopped to see the tribute marker last summer on our way through Nebraska. It's located on a little sort-of-street off the beaten path, appropriately named "Rebecca Winters Drive." 



In front of the granite marker is the original iron wagon tire
that marked Rebecca's initial resting place. 
Rebecca's father, Gideon Burdick, was a 14-year old drummer boy in George Washington's Army during the American Revolution. Gideon also joined the Mormon church and settled in Illinois, but he passed away a few years before Rebecca and her family began their trek west. 
 

We've driven across Nebraska so many times, just plowing through on our way to Utah or Idaho. I'm glad we finally took the time to visit Rebecca's resting place. It was worth the trip.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Lego Files


I know it doesn't look like much, but welcome to the Lego files. (Maybe I'll replace this with a better photo someday or maybe I won't. You get the idea.)

We have a LOT of Legos. Many of them are various colored bricks in buckets that the kids can use to build whatever their imaginations come up with. It was the sets that had me baffled. What do you do with the sets? The boys wanted to display them, fully assembled, on shelves, but we ran out of shelf space long ago. So we disassembled many of them and put them in big ziplock bags and stored them in tubs, but the tubs took up so much space and then it was "out of sight, out of mind" so they were basically forgotten.

One day, after the kids got some free pizza "kits" as a prize from our local library, I was looking at the small pizza boxes they came in and had an aha moment.

I ordered a bunch of 10" craft "pizza" boxes and a 9-cube storage shelf and put the kids to work. Each lego set was broken down and put in boxes. The biggest sets fill up two boxes each while some boxes contain 2 or 3 of the smaller sets. We labeled each box and indicated who it belongs to and stacked them up on the shelves. Now it's easy for the kids to find specific sets, plus they get the fun of rebuilding them whenever they want. The "Lego Room" stays cleaner and mom stays happier. It's a win/win. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cheer Up

I was hoping for an early spring, but if the groundhog's prediction proves correct, we're in for a long winter. (I hope he's wrong. We're just coming off of an unseasonably warm January and my tulips think it's time to wake up...)

If you need a little cheering up, this might help. It's a great sketch that brought lots of laughs from my crowd. Enjoy!



(Happy Groundhog Day!)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Friends on Display

About half of our Christmas card wall.
I love our Christmas card display. In the weeks after Thanksgiving, it makes me so happy to check the mail and clip all the incoming Christmas cards to a wire that stretches the width of our dining room. While I don't really keep track from year to year, it feels like we got more cards than ever in 2016. Rather than overlapping and trying to fit them all in a row, this year after a row was full we just clipped additional cards in new rows beneath the first so they are all visible at once.

I know it's February, but I'm not ready to take the cards down quite yet. These are family and friends - most of them far away - and I like having them close to remind me how blessed we are!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mom Trophy

Motherhood isn't always a thankless job. Sometimes the validation comes in strange ways, but I'll take what I can get. :)


Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Message Meant For Me

Dad - the tall, handsome one in the back row - with his family.

Grief is a funny thing. It has a tendency to blindside you when you least expect it. I really thought I'd be doing better by now. It's been over 2 months since my dad's death and I feel like I'm doing worse now than I was in the first weeks after he died. At the time, I was overcome by so many tender mercies that I felt so blessed! But now all I can think of is how much I miss him and how it's SO UNFAIR that he was taken from us. I have spent way too much time feeling sorry for myself.

Just the other day, something completely ironic and funny happened and I just knew my dad would get a kick out of it. But I couldn't tell him. That left me feeling empty and sad for the rest of the day.

My dad lost his mom when he was 21 and his dad at 32. I don't remember him ever crying over his losses or wondering what to do with himself. He was ever the optimist. He spoke matter-of-factly about losing his parents and I grew up understanding that death was just a normal part of life. I had my dad way longer than he had either of his parents, but I still feel like I've been cheated.

Fortunately, there are still tender mercies that confirm to me that Heavenly Father is aware of me and what I'm going through. For example, today's message on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word felt like it was just for me. Maybe my case isn't as hopeless as it seems.


The Absence of Someone We Love
From Music and the Spoken Word

One of life’s universal and unavoidable experiences is to lose someone we love. All who have lived and loved will lose cherished family and friends to death. Whether early or late, suddenly or gradually, dramatically or peacefully, death comes for everyone. And when it comes for a loved one, our whole world can change in an instant, and we may wonder how we can ever go on.

Death can be so difficult to cope with and so difficult to understand. Moving forward can seem almost impossible at first. But the only way to avoid such heartbreak would be to remove from life all loving relationships—so we do move forward, and little by little, as we attend to life’s daily demands, as we eat and work and sleep again, we begin to gain some understanding, even peace. We begin to gain strength.

And yet we never quite get back to normal; things won’t ever be just as they were—nor should they be. “Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love,” wrote the great theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first,” he acknowledged, “but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us . . . and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.”1

It’s this delicate balance between holding on and letting go that gives life some of its bitter sweetness. Because we know heartache and pain, we also know love and joy. And it just so happens that often the more our hearts are broken with pain, the more open they tend to be, and thus more able to receive and give love. Such love never dies. It goes on and on until the perfect day.2

1. Letter to Renate and Eberhard Bethge, Dec. 24, 1943, in Letters and Papers from Prison, ed. Eberhard Bethge (1971), np.
2. See Doctrine and Covenants 50:24.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gratefulness

These are the top grateful words from gratefulness.io since they started last year.

Need more gratitude in your life? (Don't we all?) Gratefulness.io is the solution.

I get a text from them every evening asking, "What are you grateful for today?" I simply text back my reply. Each Sunday I get an e-mail telling me what I was grateful for that week. Not only that, but I can access my gratitude journal on the website at any time and read through everything I've been grateful for.

I started logging my gratitude on June 2 last year and now have hundreds of little things recorded that I wouldn't have otherwise thought about, like Sadie getting so excited about shaving her legs for the first time or chocolate cinnamon bears from the BYU Bookstore. :)

It's a great way to focus on the little things and to always search for something to be grateful for, even on days when it's hard. I've had a lot of those hard days over the past few months so gratefulness.io has been a blessing.

And that's something to be grateful for! :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cabin Fever

Yes, we're all going a little stir crazy around here. We've been cooped up all weekend with the flu. We've run the gamut of chills, fevers, aches, coughs, and sore throats. This is the first time I've had the flu since 1993 and it's every bit as bad as I remember. And it spreads fast! It's gone from Sterling to Soren to me to Jeff (despite his flu shot) all in a few days and it just hangs on. Spencer seems to have gotten by with a very mild case and Sadie, lucky thing, hasn't had it at all. She's been our little nurse. On Saturday, I woke up to her disinfecting the house with Clorox wipes. :)


The good news is that it's a long weekend and we're over the worst of it. Sterling and Soren missed 2 days of school last week, but I'm hopeful that we'll all be well enough tomorrow to face whatever comes.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Snowy Nativity

Isn't this pretty? With the snow sprinkled mountains, sparse clouds, and the Provo temple as a beautiful backdrop to the Holy Family, it is the picture of calm. Thanks, Sam, for sharing a glimpse of your world.