Friday, December 31, 2010

Bringing In The New Year With A BANG!

Monday, December 27, 2010.
8:00 a.m.

I am scraping the thin layer of ice from the windows on our car. As usual, I am running late for my 8:00 a.m. doctor's visit. As I slide into the driver's seat my right foot slips a bit on the driveway. It's a slick one this morning, I think to myself.

8:50 a.m.

I am done with my 37 week doctor's visit and making an appointment to come back again next week. He has already agreed to induce me at 39 weeks - on January 11th. 1/11/11, I think to myself. Now that's a birthday I can remember!

9:10 a.m.

I pull into the driveway, ready to crawl back into bed. I notice that the trash truck has already been by and decide to pull the trash can up to the house. The second I exit the car my feet start to slip... and I go back and forth between sliding on the driveway, losing and then regaining my balance, until suddenly my right foot rolls the wrong way and I fall into the gutter with a snap! sound. I almost immediately know that my ankle is broken.

9:15 a.m.

I try calling Allen on my cell phone but, as luck would have it, my battery is all but dead. A sweet older gentleman is out walking his dog and he hurries over to ask how he can help. "I live in this house," I tell him, pointing. "Please go get my husband. I think I broke my ankle."

9:30 a.m.

Allen and Coolister have carried me into the house and called 9-1-1. The pain is excruciating. The paramedics come. I am reminding them over and over that I am 37 weeks pregnant and do not want any medications that could even possibly harm the baby. They stabilize my foot and load me in to the back of their ambulance for transport to the hospital.

9:45 a.m.

I am wheeled into a room in the ER where the damage is assessed by x-ray. I am hoping for a dislocation and yes, it is dislocated, but also broken. In two places. The tibia has a part of the end broken off, the fibula is a more obvious break. I am told they will set the ankle where it is dislocated and then the on-call orthopedic surgeon will come in to talk with me about the breaks.

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

This time period is something of a blur because the ER doctor has given me a medication that keeps me awake through the setting procedure but helps me forget what exactly has gone on. Is that confusing? It was for me. For example, one minute they are putting something in my IV and not long after I notice my ankle is bandaged up. I ask Allen when that happened and he tells me it was wrapped when it was set. I had no idea they had set my ankle already although he says I was very vocal about letting them know "my ankle hurts really bad" as they were doing it.

11:00 a.m.

My OB (that's my baby doctor for those who don't know) comes to visit us in the E.R. He reassures me that all will be well and that he and the surgeon are going to consult & let me know what will be the best plan of action.

11:30 a.m.

Word comes that they want to induce the baby ASAP and then perform surgery on my ankle. I am a bit incredulous that I am going to have my baby that day. I ask all of the typical questions - are his lungs well enough developed? Will he be more likely to have jaundice? Do we need to do an ultrasound to check that everything's fine before inducing labor? My OB tells me that 37 weeks is considered full term and that everything will be fine. All I can think of as we wait to be wheeled up to labor and delivery is the fact that we have not decided on a name for this baby yet. We did not bring a camera - unless you count the ones on our phones. I have not shopped for Princess' birthday on January 1st. I have not found Princess a dress to wear after her baptism this Saturday. We have not yet moved Little O out of the pack-and-play bed he has slept in his entire life - which will be the new baby's bed once we get him home. I have not clipped my toenails or shaved my legs. Plus... how do I deliver a baby with a broken foot?! I have never felt so unprepared in my life.

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

The Hospital Waiting Game. (This is not a fun game.) We use this time to talk some more about baby names.

2:10 p.m.

We arrive in Labor & Delivery. I am prepped for induction as the staff awaits instructions from my OB. I am already dilated to a 4 before induction begins - this gives me some hope that my baby may actually be ready to come.

2:30 p.m.

Pitocin (the labor-inducing drug) is administered through my IV.

2:45 p.m.

The orthopedic surgeon's PA (physician's assistant?) comes and tells me what to expect in surgery tomorrow. The time is yet to be determined... but I will have screws and a plate put in. I will have a soft cast for 10 days, then a hard cast for 5 weeks following. I will not be able to bear any weight on my ankle for 6 weeks. Allen and I discuss options for making this work. We can make it work.

3:00 p.m.

Contractions are painful enough that I am ready for an epidural. BONUS: The epidural takes away the pain in my foot. The doctor who administers the epidural is magical in that I do not feel any needle pricks or pain in the process of getting the epidural working.

4:00 p.m.

Not much progress. My OB breaks my water and chats with us for a bit while he watches my contractions.

4:45 p.m.

I tell my nurse that I'm feeling ready. She checks. I'm ready. They call the doctor back into the room.

4:55 p.m.

One push. They tell me not to push any more.

4:57 p.m.

Our baby is delivered and I am amazed at how well things have worked out. I am a mother for the 10th time. It is surreal. This beautiful little bundle of chub and squealy cries is mine. We look at him and decide on a name. It is perfect. He is 8 pounds, 4 ounces. 19 1/2 inches long. Not bad for 3 weeks early.

7:00 p.m.

Allen accompanies the nurses and our sweet little baby to the nursery while I am moved to the Mother/Baby floor. I have been fasting all day (unless you count the apple I ate on my way to the doctor's office this morning at 8:00 a.m.) but they order me dinner so that I'll have something to eat before I have to start my next fast at midnight. I will have surgery on my ankle in the morning but the time has not yet been determined. I am told it will likely be sometime between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., but maybe at 7:00 a.m. Well, okay then.

8:00 p.m.

Dinner. Hospital food is awesome - I'm totally not kidding.

9:00 p.m.

We await word on surgery and continue to work with the nurses to attempt to control the pain in my ankle.

10:00 p.m.

I order more food (crackers, cookies and pudding) to fill myself up before fasting again from midnight until who-knows-when. My kids come to visit. I have never heard the words, "Awww!" and "cute!" said so many times in a 45 minute period of time. They are all in love with their little brother, even Curly who, when asked, "What do you think about your little brother?" answers, "Fine. Can I have a cookie?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
12:00 a.m.

The fasting begins.

7:00 a.m.

After a night full of baby feedings and checking of vital signs and controlling pain and uncomfortable hospital bedding, I am ready to get this surgery over with. We ask the nurses if they have a time yet. No word, but they'll let us know ASAP.

7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

The Hospital Waiting Game. I can't help but think about how much we are paying to sit around in this room and do nothing while waiting for surgery.

1:30 p.m.

I ask my nurses, trying not to sound annoyed, when my surgery will be. They call the surgeon but he is unavailable. They call the surgeon's office but they are not helpful. They call the Operating Room and ask when I am on the schedule - I'm not. We are all becoming even more frustrated when word comes - they are ready for me.

2:00 p.m.

I am wheeled down to the OR waiting room. Allen bids me farewell and good luck as I head through the doors. As soon as he leaves my side I am nervous & anxious. I just want this over with. The reality of all that has happened in just over 24 hours is overwhelming and I find myself emotional. I sing the words to "Particle Man" over and over in my head as an attempt at distraction. I do not want to cry in front of all these strangers.

2:15 p.m.

I talk with the anesthesiologist about what's going to happen during surgery. He offers more options than I want to think about. I tell him that I want to be completely asleep during the procedure and that's all I care about. He goes on and on giving me details on why I should opt for a spinal block, etc. and have some pump put in my sciatic nerve to control the pain after. I already told him what I wanted and I just want him to leave now. He finally does.

2:45 p.m.

Still no sign of my surgeon. I sit and watch as person after person is brought in, meets with their surgeon and anesthesiologist and is taken to the OR for surgery. I try to fall asleep so that I can be distracted from thoughts of crying.

3:30 p.m.

WHERE IS MY SURGEON?! Another anesthesiologist comes and asks me to sign a consent form. I tell him that I have already signed one. He asks if I was told that he was my new anesthesiologist. No, I was not told. He apologizes, excuses himself for a moment (to go chew someone out?) and comes back. I actually like him better than the first guy - he's easy-going and down to earth.

3:45 p.m.

My surgeon shows up. I want to chew him out for making me lay there in the OR waiting area for AN HOUR AND FORTY FIVE MINUTES but I figure it's best to keep things amiable since he's about to cut my leg open and put some screws and plates in there. I just try not to cry and nod my head when he asks me questions. To his benefit, he IS being very sweet.

4:00 p.m.

The anesthesiologist puts something into my IV, says he'll see me later, and I start to feel tingly as I fall asleep to his singing of some classic rock.

7:20 p.m.

I wake up in the recovery room and immediately ask if anyone has called Allen. They tell me he should be in the waiting area. I tell them to call him. They say they will once we get to my room. I am starting to get frantic again. I somehow feel like everything will be fine if Allen is with me and I need him there NOW. As we walk outside the OR, he is there, waiting. I breathe a sigh of relief.

The details from here on out are insubstantial. So now, here I am at home, my humongously casted ankle resting on my bed in front of me, my 5 day old baby resting to my right, and my life is good.

There are so many tender mercies that have occurred in our lives over the last 5 days. Some things much too personal to share, some details which are overwhelming evidence of how blessed we are.

I love how my kids will sneak into my room just for a chance to hold their new baby brother. I am amazed by each tiny feature and contented half-grin on my newborn baby boy. Broken ankle? Sure, it's inconvenient. And a literal pain. But in the end, all is well.

Seriously, look at that face.

I am so, so blessed.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Coolister Outside

I wrote about my littlest munchkin and now I need to write about Coolister, the oldest. I think I've already written quite a bit about the range of emotions I am experiencing as I think about him being at the university next year, making his own choices and dictating his own schedule. I know he'll do well. He'll muddle through if he has to and figure things out because he's smart and he knows how to get by. I'm proud of him for all he's accomplished in his life so far in regards to school and sports, too - but I think that what I really want to focus on right now is his heart.

At first sight, Coolister is kind of a goofy, silly kid. He's extremely fun-loving and comes off as irresponsible (okay, sometimes he is) and self-centered at times. Pretty much your typical 17-year-old boy, really. But behind the scenes, as his mom, I get to see the side that many others don't. The kid has a heart of gold. He is quick to forgive, always one to help others feel included and filled with a light that comes from really knowing who he is and what he has the potential to become. Coolister is also a kid who has a willingness to help out whenever someone needs it.

Take today for instance.

Last night we had quite a snow storm. So much snow that this morning Coolister and his dad braved the cold at 6:00 a.m. to shovel our driveway, sidewalk and even a path around the suburban so that we could actually get into it without wading through snowdrifts to our knees. I sure do love those two!

After school as I was dropping off a couple of the kids in our carpool I noticed an elderly single woman (I'm pretty sure she's in her eighties) in our neighborhood out trying to shovel a path from her garage so that she could pull her car out. I called home on my cell phone and Coolister answered. All I had to say was, "Sister N. is out shoveling her driveway by herself..." before he answered, "I'm on it, Mom."

Coolister helped her shovel just enough to get her car out of the driveway and when she tried to pay him he told her that was not necessary and started to walk away. Once she was in her car and on her way he returned and finished shoveling her entire driveway and sidewalk.

After about an hour and a half I began to wonder where he had gotten off to. I drove over to Sister N's house and saw that he had finished shoveling at her house and and made his way next door to where another single lady in our church congregation lives. There he was with his jeans wet to his knees, almost finished with shoveling her driveway as well. No one had asked him. He just saw that it wasn't done and started doing it.

These are the things that make my mama heart swell with pride. These are the important things that his dad and I have hoped to instill in our kids' hearts and minds. Smarts at school are valuable and important but even more vital is the knowledge that serving others without any thought for yourself is the key to real happiness in life.

Oh, how I love my biggest boy and his huge heart.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ten Second Tales

As we were driving home from a shopping trip well past nap time the other day, Little O was restless and fussy. Curly took it upon herself to tell him some stories in an attempt to calm him down - and it worked.

I noticed she was saying "The End" about every 10 seconds so I decided to listen in on these quick tales she was fabricating for her little brother. It took everything in me to not laugh out loud as I marveled over her creative genius. At each stoplight I would quickly jot down what I could remember of her stories before it was time to drive again.

Here are the three I was able to capture on paper for your reading pleasure:

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was a very nice little girl. Then she fell off a cliff. The End.

Once upon a time there was a robot. It was a very ignoying little robot p-cuz it wanted to be a human. So every time he pretended to do human stuff, I just unplugged him. Someone had to teach him a lesson! The End.

Once upon a time there was a little tiny house. It was a house for a chick-munk family. They loved their cute little house. But one day they looked out the window and saw a bear! They got so scared! But really it was just a pretend bear that someone put up for a Christmas decoration. They never left their house again. The End.

I'm thinking she could publish a book of short stories and have her college fund all squared away before the age of five.

I could listen to these all day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Heart Is Heavy

photo from

I feel like I am about to write an obituary.

Really, it is just a building. However, it is a building which for many, myself included, holds many memories as well as a rich history.

This morning Allen showed me the breaking news story on KSL which told of the demise of our historic Provo Tabernacle. It was up in flames, smoke billowing from the collapsed roof and broken windows.

photo taken from the mayor's blog

Just a building? I suppose. It's the building where Allen and I went to a few Sunday firesides when we were dating. It's the place where we have attended almost every Stake Conference we've been to in our married life. My kids have been honored and received awards in assemblies held in this place. Some of them have even performed there. I have been uplifted and inspired while inside. My kids have played on the spiral staircases within the four corner towers. The architecture of this building was incredible. Every time we sat inside its walls we marveled over the intricate woodwork and beautiful stained glass windows.

These memories are not only mine- they have been the same memories of others who have lived in Provo and been a part of all of the same things I have mentioned. The same meetings, firesides and assemblies have been held here for years. This structure has been a part of our community and our lives since the late 1800's. It is one of the oldest buildings in the state.

All of that is gone now. All that remains is an empty outside shell. All that the walls contained is destroyed.

As I drove Thumbelina to school this morning I passed our Provo Tabernacle. Smoke still poured from every available opening as firefighters continued to douse the building with water. It was a heartbreaking sight.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

How does one describe the feelings associated with the demise of a structure? Words fail me. It was more than just a building, it was a part of our community. It will be a sad thing to drive past this corner of our city and see only the walls remaining.

Today is a sad day for Provo.

Picture This

(This picture might work... it is only a year old and somewhat festive.)

(I have also debated just sending this picture out because almost all of us are in it, it is current and mostly not blurry.)

It's official: I am a total Christmas card slacker this year.

I can't even blame it on the fact that we don't have a picture (although we don't) since our amazing picture-taking friend has mentioned more than once that he's ready and willing to do a photo shoot.

I had completely decided to bypass the whole tradition this year but the guilt (and inquiring children: When are we getting family pictures done, Mom?) is making me do it anyway.

I think I have come up with something of a solution.

I am going to call our amazing picture-taking friend and ask when (or, at this point: if?) he's available for a photo shoot.

I am not going to try to coordinate outfits. I am going to either:

a) tell each of the kids to wear whatever they want, including princess crowns, jedi robes, velvety elf pants and superman capes if they so desire

b) have everyone wear something resembling a sweater


c) just put winter coats and beanies on everyone (no hair to do! GENIUS!).

As for the letter, I am thinking of just inserting a little card with the photo which reads:

Our theme for this year was SIMPLIFY. It was awesome. Merry Christmas!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Secret Santa

As I stepped outside to grab my shoes last week I found this hanging on my doorknob.

When I opened it up, I found an envelope with my name written across the front and a cute holiday card inside.

And then the best part of all...

A whole new set of socks!! Someone knows me well.

The card was simply signed, "From Someone Who Loves You".

Surprise socks? Even better. A big, huge thank you from my feet and I to the mystery sock-giver.

Now I just need to find a skirt or some elf-ish capris to really show off those stripey fur-topped holiday socks. You think I could pull it off?

Without the monkey pajamas, I mean.

To whoever you are, you mysterious bearer of fantastical footwear, thank you. You made my day - and you are awesome.

Want to read more? Well, alrighty! If you'd like to read about a Christmas tradition in my family, click over to 4P today.


One of the greatest things about melding two families together in marriage is that each side brings different customs and traditions to the table. This is especially true for us when it comes to Christmas.

What is even more awesome is being able to weed out the traditions that you didn't much care for growing up - like each person taking their turn opening one gift at a time while everyone sits around watching. That one's from my family and it only lasted one year as a passed-along tradition with our kids. Now we open gifts wild banshee style and it's much more exciting and messy - the way Christmas morning should be.

Christmas traditions in Allen's family included delivering homemade treats to neighbors and friends while Christmas caroling. In my family Christmas cookies have always been a big deal (snickerdoodles made with green and red colored sprinkles and chocolate crinkles were the two you could always count on) but there was never any singing involved. We have carried on a blend of these two traditions throughout our marriage - but this year it's going to change just a bit.

And here's why:

I was amazed by the number of people who were making disparaging comments on Facebook a few weeks ago regarding the delivery of homemade treats at Christmas time. One person even said something to the extent of: If you bring my family a plate of Christmas treats they come in my front door and straight out the back door and into the garbage can. Ouch! Others mentioned that it's the sugar overload all at one time that's hard to handle. So this year we've decided to save ourselves the time and effort of making homemade treats and go with store bought for our neighbors and friends instead - something they can enjoy right away or put in the pantry for a month or two down the road.

I've actually been keeping a list over the years of fun (and almost always cheesily-clever) little sayings to pair with store-bought Christmas goodies. Lest you think I am the Chuck Norris of puns and cheesy sayings, I must confess that these were all either given to us at some point or something I've seen somewhere.

In case you're interested, here are a few ideas:

Wishing you a souper holiday season! (with a bag of soup mix)

Hope this adds a little spice to your holidays. (tied to a jar of salsa & bag of chips)

Just popping by with a holiday 'hi'! (microwave popcorn)

Have a FANTAstic holiday. (attached to a bottle of Fanta soda)

We wish you a Merry SwissMiss! (box or can of Swiss Miss brand hot chocolate)

My personal favorites, which I would probably not have the guts to actually give to anyone because it would reveal too much of my sick sense of humor and possibly reflect negatively on the rest of my family are:

You've been bad, so here's the scoop; all you get is snowman poop. (A cellophane bag filled with yogurt covered peanuts or anything round dipped in white chocolate)

Or, the same poem but with 'reindeer poop'. (Small box of Whoppers candy or any chocolate covered morsels in a cellophane bag would work)

So for this year, these are the gifts we've decided to give as we share a Christmas song or two:

We WHISK you a merry KISSmas and a happy ROOT BEER! (Wire whisk filled with chocolate kisses attached to a bottle of A&W)


You're gettin' MUFFIN for Christmas! (muffin mix tied to a muffin pan)

If you're one of my neighbors, please pretend to be surprised when we bring you these clever gifts of the season.

If you have the time, I would love to hear what your favorite neighbor gifts have been over the years. Do you like getting a plate filled with homemade goodness or do your prefer the store bought variety? Maybe you prefer non-food items (my favorite in this category is a kitchen towel and washcloth with a tag that declares: A new washer and dryer!) or nothing at all.

Talk to me.

(I'm hoping someone will have a fabulous idea for me to use next year.)

By the way, if the title of this post make you start singing a song from Fiddler on the Roof at the top of your lungs, you're my kind of person.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stocking Is Underrated

Last month my eldest daughter, ElemenoB, turned the magical age of 16. The magic has nothing to do with becoming the age for acquiring a driver's license (no, we had to force her into finally getting her driving permit last week). The magic has everything to do with reaching the age that we allow our children to date.

Well, ElemenoB jumped right on that. She hasn't been asked out yet (unless you count already being asked to next year's homecoming dance) but she has taken matters into her own hands.

The school hosts a 'girl's choice' Christmas dance in December. She and some friends brainstormed unique ways to ask someone to this dance using a Christmasy-type theme. She decided to load up a Christmas stocking full of treats and attach the following note:

I promise I'm not
I just wanted to ask you
to the Christmas dance.
From ElemenoB

ElemenoB then sent the stocking with a friend who is on a school trip to California (along with the guy she is asking) so that he could find it outside of his hotel room door one morning.

As one who basically stalked my husband across state lines to get him to notice me (and, eventually, marry me), this form of asking is close to my heart as well as - in my humble opinion - pure genius.

The answer is pending... but really, how could he say no?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


(The view out my back door this morning)

In honor of Thanksgiving this week I wanted to share a few of the things I've been thankful for lately. I compiled a list of 30 things; one for each day of this month. It's sort of like doing the whole Blog Everyday In November deal, but in one concise post. (Yeah, it's the easy way. Call me a cheater if you want, I'm cool with it.)

In no particular order, here are the first 30 things that come to mind when I'm feeling grateful this month:

1. The amazing sunrises and sunsets I can see from my house each morning and night. The mixture of various hues of pink, orange, red and purple serving as a backdrop to the clouds, mountains and trees is breathtakingly beautiful.

2. My amazing family. This whole process of being a good mother and wife is ongoing and I'm thankful that they are patient with me as I continue to work at being the best I can. They make me laugh and cry. They teach me to love unconditionally and deeply. They make me proud. I am one blessed lady when it comes to my family.

3. This talk. It serves as a wonderful reminder of making the things that are really important my priorities - and without making me feel guilty.

4. Living in a place that has 4 seasons. I'll admit that I wish autumn was a bit longer and that winter was much shorter, but this is where I chose to live so there's really no point in being a whiner about the snow. Besides, the snow is really quite beautiful to watch outside my window from inside my warm, cozy house. I love watching the seasons change on the mountains and in the giant tree at the end of our road.

5. My health. Despite the various maladies of pregnancy that I've been experiencing this time around, I am so thankful to be in good health. I can see. I can hear. I can walk (okay, sometimes I waddle) and talk and dance and sing and drive and eat and sleep and... the list is endless.

6. I am so thankful for the family that I married into! I have a whole second family that loves me, quirks and all, as a daughter and sister. Being compared to my mother-in-law is one of the greatest compliments I can receive because she is AWESOME. I'll admit that sometimes I get gripey about dumb little things - but when it comes to things that really matter, my in-law siblings and parents are an amazing support system and some of my truest friends.

7. Writing. I love being able to express myself and use a whole variety of adjectives and descriptions to try to put my thoughts in some concrete form onto paper (or, more commonly, the computer screen). At times I have even had people suggest that I write a book - this makes me happy.

8. Being almost completely debt-free. The only debt we have is our home! We don't own any credit cards and we are able, with patience and saving, to pay cash for our purchases. Allen's company sponsored a program for their employees a few years ago to encourage debt-free living and we have lived it and loved it.

9. Having a marketable skill. If anything were ever to happen which made it necessary for me to help support our family, I could jump back into being a sign language interpreter anytime. It is something I love to do and it pays well. What a blessing to have been born into a family where ASL was my first language!

10. Awesome friends. If tried to name them all individually - from casual acquaintances to those friends that feel more like family - I'd have the rest of my list filled in no time. There are those who have been around since my childhood, people I've met as a married woman and some who have only been a part of my life for a short time. Regardless, I am thankful for such a dynamic group of people who I am lucky enough to call my friends.

11. Socks! If I see a unique pair for a reasonable cost I have a hard time passing them by. If I see a pair that screams my name then I come up with some reason to justify their purchase despite the cost. Knee-high socks are my favorite but anything at least calf-length is good. Flowers, stripes, skulls, plaid, argyle, polka dots - even socks made to look like shoes are in my collection. I am thankful that socks allow me to express myself in sort of a quiet, hidden way that makes me happy.

12. I am thankful for photographs. The ones I take and the ones I see. They allow me to capture moments that words can sometimes not adequately describe. They let me peek into the lives of others - their families, their adventures, their perspectives of nature and architecture and so on. Pictures allow me to vicariously travel to places I have so far only dreamed about going (Australia, Europe, New York and Disney World to name a few) and to enjoy the beauty that others enjoy.

13. My crock pot! I am so thankful on busy days when I am not sure if I will have time to make a decent dinner that I have my trusty crock pot. I just set it on the counter in the morning, fill it with the required ingredients, then enjoy the delicious smell of my house all day. I periodically look over at that little kitchen miracle and think, I love you, Crock Pot. Because I do.

14. Laughter. My kids know a secret about me. If they start laughing, I must laugh as well. I can not remember when this started but my children's laughter is contagious. Even at inappropriate times, like during maturation class in the 5th grade. Even at times when I am angry and want to stay in that miserable state. Laughter always has a way of bringing me out of a funk and making my heart a little lighter.

15. My siblings and parents. I would not be who I am without their influence in my life. The things we experienced together had a huge impact on what has shaped me into the person I am today. I think it is safe to say that I would not even change some of the tougher times we had as a family because the memory of those trials have taught me some lessons in compassion, generosity and kindness.

16. MUSIC. It can transport me to places in my past. It often expresses my thoughts and feelings better than I can myself. Over the years music has held the power to transform my thoughts, my attitudes, my emotions and even my clothing choices. I think there are certain people who are very moved by music and I count myself as one of them. Music has the ability to work its way into places in me that words alone can not reach. Music is powerful and I am thankful to have it in my life.

17. Star Wars. Kind of strange to see on a thankful list? Not for our family. Everyone, from my teenage kids on down to Little O, can not get enough of it. Just mention Star Wars to Little O and he'll start singing you the theme song. The kids even suggested dressing as Star Wars characters for a family picture this year - but where can you find an authentic looking Chewbacca costume at a decent cost? Star Wars just makes me smile.

18. The good in people. It seems that the best in others comes out during the holiday season more than any other time of year and I love reading and hearing about random acts of kindness and charity and brotherly love. These kind of news stories are so much more uplifting than the kind we usually see. I am thankful for kind, generous people who give unselfishly of themselves.

19. Thrift stores. I am glad to have quite a few stores nearby which offer secondhand goods for sale. I love shopping for and finding amazing bargains. It makes my day to discover the perfect clothes or books or serving dishes or toys at a fraction of the actual cost in the aisles of one of my favorite thrift stores.

20. My metabolism. I always tell people that this is one of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me. When someone asks how I am able to bounce back to my pre-pregnancy size so quickly or how I've stayed so thin while having a whole passel of kids, I always credit my awesome metabolism.

21. Teaching and teachers. I really miss being a Sunday School teacher at church. I still get sweet little notes from my cute class with hand-drawn pictures and phonetically spelled words. I am also thankful to be able to teach my own kids the things that I think are important. On that same note, I am thankful for great teachers. The ones who really 'get' my kids and their quirks. The ones who go out of their way to present my kids with a challenge. The teachers who love my kids enough to overlook their shortcomings. The ones who are not afraid to contact me when one of my children needs some parental involvement. They are not paid nearly enough but I am thankful that these exceptional teachers choose to continue to teach.

22. The internet. I can remember life before the internet. It consisted of many trips to the library to look things up in encyclopedias and other books of knowledge. But now? Just this morning while still in my pajamas I typed in 'How to keep apple slices from turning brown' (because I forgot, okay?) and learned about some ways to accomplish this that I had never heard of before. (Lemon juice was what I was looking for - but did you know you can also use any lemon-lime soda or apple juice? You're welcome.)

23. My religion. What can I say, really? Words can not express the gratitude I feel to be a member of my church. It has helped define who I am and what kind of choices I make. I am a better person because I try to live what is taught and do what is right. It makes me think deeper. It makes me a part of something bigger than myself. It teaches me to love and serve others. I will forever be thankful to the missionaries who taught my family 30 years ago and introduced us to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

24. My church congregation. Once I left the congregation where I grew up I never really felt like any other congregation that I attended was like 'home' - until now. The people are not perfect (they never are) but we care for each other and look out for each other. Our congregation has become an extension of our family.

25. Allen's job. Allen has worked for the same company for ten years now. It was a company started by our next door neighbor and Allen was hired as one of their first full-time employees. I love that Allen is happy with his work environment and enjoys what he does for a living. The company is family-friendly and loyal to its employees. They put out a magazine which featured an article this month about Allen and 2 others who hired on 10 years ago. I love this company so much that the article made me cry. I know, I'm a total sentimental baby. But as I read I couldn't help but think of all the ways this company has blessed our family over the years and how thankful I am that our neighbor saw potential in Allen and offered him the job.

26. Our home. I am often asked when we are moving because of the size of our family in comparison to the size of our house. The truth is that if circumstances allow, we will be content to live here forever. Our neighborhood is awesome. The location is perfect. Where else can you live within a 5 minute drive of a shopping mall, schools, and grocery stores but still see mountains out every window and be surrounded by pastures and farms? There are goats and horses next door. Cows and chickens down the street. Mules and sheep around the corner. Our neighbors share their fresh eggs and garden produce often. And none of that even accounts for the actual structure which we live in but I am thankful for it, too - for the protection and comfort it offers us.

27. Good books. I am thankful for books that are well written and engaging. I love getting to know the characters and feeling like they are my friends by the time I turn the last page. I am thankful for stories that make me think and change my attitude and perspective. I love the books that create mind-pictures as each scene unfolds. I am also thankful that my kids love books as much as I do.

28. My naturally curly hair. Most people I know who have curly hair complain about it but I really love my hair. All it takes is a little spritz of water to get the curl back if it's going frizzy or flat. It can be worn in a variety of ways - although I am pretty much a creature of habit when it comes to my hair. The other great thing is that I can straighten my hair if I ever want a change. I never do this on my own, but every time I go to get my hair done Raylene (call her, you won't be sorry) straightens it for me and I feel like Giselle when she gets made over in Enchanted (minus the dress and shoes).

29. Unique restaurants. My favorite kind of food is the kind I don't have to make myself. Well, most of the time that's true. But when I find an all-around great restaurant (food, service, atmosphere) that is quirky or offers something different from the norm I quickly become a loyal customer. I love it when people tell me about a great place they've tried, too - so feel free to share the love.

30. Packages. All packages are awesome, but unexpected ones are the best. There is nothing that makes my day quite like getting a package on my doorstep or in the mail! And it's not necessarily about what's inside - it's the idea that someone was thinking of me and put those thoughts into a concrete way of showing me that they were thinking of me. And the most amazing packages are those that remain completely anonymous. I am usually pretty good about discovering who the giver was, but someone once left a box which contained several pair of new, unique, high-quality socks on my doorstep and I am still guessing on that one. Another someone left me a box of donuts once. Long story, short: I am thankful for packages and the happiness they bring.

There's my 30. But I guess I could add here that I'm thankful you would take the time to read my list through to the end.

Thanks for being who you are - and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saying Thanks

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone." ~G.B. Stern

I love Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays because it reminds me to recognize the many things I have to be thankful for.

And, well, the pumpkin pie doesn't hurt, either.

Come join me at Four Perspectives and share what it is that you're grateful for today.

A Day of Gratitude

photo found at

Despite the fact that the retail market and radio stations have once again forgotten one of my favorite holidays, I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving. I love wearing sweaters, the crispness in the air, the leaves blanketing the ground and the plentiful supply of pumpkin-infused treats that become available in the autumn. Most of all, though, I love the time spent with family and friends over this holiday as well as the personal reflection on things that I am thankful for.

This time of personal reflection has brought about a bit of a problem, however - every thought seems to be laced with emotion. And I'm not talking pregnancy hormones. I have just been overwhelmed with thankfulness for how amazing my life is. What's the problem with that? you may be wondering. The only way I can think to describe it is to say that these thoughts and feelings are something for me alone - they are personal and even sacred to me and they are all I can think about. This makes for scarce blogging - because I don't really want to share how awesome my husband and kids are. I'm afraid it will come across the wrong way and those who read will roll their eyes and think I'm seeing through rose-colored glasses. (I'm not.)

It makes me feel braggy but I have a grateful heart nonetheless. Let me give you the gist of it...

Every time I look at my husband or any of my children lately I am overcome with a mixture of pride, happiness and emotion. I am constantly amazed and humbled by the gift I have been given in being able to bring another little one into our family. We are immensely blessed to have Allen love his steady job at an incredible company that is supportive of families. We live in a wonderful neighborhood - not only for the location but especially for the good people that we are lucky enough to call our friends. My family is in good health. Honestly, I could go on. And on. This is not bragging. The simple fact is that my life is awesome.

I have noticed that quite a few other bloggers use this month to write every day about something they are thankful for. I think that is a great idea and something I may even try one of these years. However, for now, instead of writing more about me and my blessings I would love to hear from you. Let's take time to recognize and focus on the great things that are happening in our lives. If you have to, go ahead and put on those rose-colored glasses. It's time to remember what we have to be thankful for...

Even if it's Christmas music playing 24/7 on the airwaves.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For Your Reading Pleasure

Sorry I've been so quiet lately. We've been cleaning up the Halloween aftermath, among other things.

I forgot to mention that I did post on Four Perspectives last week - and all from my cell phone. (Are you impressed? I was.)

And I just posted over at 4P again about 7 minutes ago. Better late than never, I always say!

Generation Gap

Coolister (the tall guy) and some of his awesome (and also smart) friends.

When I was in high school my friends were all much more intelligent than I. It's not that I wasn't smart - I just didn't have any expectations to meet so I suppose you could say I didn't care about what grades I would get as long as I was going to graduate. High school graduation was as far as my parents got and it was as far as they expected me to go.

Fast forward to my senior year...

All of my friends were getting acceptance letters to colleges and universities before I even knew what the ACT Test was. I found out that my long-distance friend in Washington was accepted to a junior college in Idaho called Ricks with a whopping ACT score of 17. I didn't even know what the ACT was, but I signed up to take it so I could apply to Ricks and be roommates with her.

A score of something close to 17 became my goal.

Actually, the term goal is used loosely in that last sentence since I showed up the morning of the ACT armed with a pencil and my driver's license. I didn't even think about studying because I didn't know exactly what the ACT was or what I would be tested on. A few weeks later I got my score: 25! I was ecstatic.

Now fast forward to the present...

Not only do I want my kids to receive a college education - they desire this for themselves. It started with reading books and learning colors and letters with them as wee ones and continued throughout elementary, middle and high school. Education has always been a priority and they know it. Learning happened as much at home as it did at school and there have always been expectations.

My eldest child is a senior in high school. Not only did he study for the ACT well in advance, he took it his junior year. He got a score of 32 and was disappointed. He took it again last month and found out that he increased his score by one point. He was pleased, but still wished for at least a 34. For those of you who may not know, a 36 is the highest score you can get. I love that he sets such high expectations of himself.

I try not to brag too often in the blog world about how awesome my kids are, although I am tempted to do it all the time because they make me so dang proud. In fact, about 10 things just ran through my mind that I could gush on and on about, but I will refrain. The point of this post is this:

I love how a major, positive change in a family pattern can happen in just one generation.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Now My Thumbs Hurt

Just so you know, I am totally writing this delinquent post from my cell phone as I sit in the outpatient lab of my local hospital. I have been fasting since last night so that I could come here and drink 10 ounces of syrupy-sweet orange nastiness in order to be tested for gestational diabetes.

This is the definition of misery for me...

Today is Allen's birthday. As is tradition for our family, the kids and I woke up early to make a hearty breakfast-in-bed for him. Wheat and honey pancakes with fresh-whipped cream and raspberries, eggs, sausage and a tall glass of cold orange juice. Just writing all of that out was painful. Did I mention that I am fasting?

This is the definition of torture for me...

However. As my sleepy-eyed crew and I delivered our breakfast creation to our much loved and appreciated husband/father while singing "Happy birthday to you!" I had an overwhelming feeling of indescribable joy and appreciation for this family that I am blessed to call mine. The fact that we are able to add to this happiness by adding to our brood makes the misery and torture bearable.

So, despite my queasy stomach this morning, I would have to say that today has really been my definition of bliss.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Neighbors Would Probably Hate Me If They Knew

photo from

Tomorrow is voting day. I'm not generally too political, but I do have a strong opinion on my city's proposition this time around.

Signs started showing up around my neighborhood in support of our city's Proposition 1 almost a month ago. Like, seriously, all over my neighborhood. I had never heard of Proposition 1 so I looked it up in order to make an informed vote. The gist of it is this: my city would like to build a new, updated recreation center to replace 3 existing facilities; the much older existing recreation center, senior center and the old armory where community classes and events occur.

And here's my deal. I am not against a new recreation center. But I will NOT be voting for it, and here are my reasons why:

1) I am against raising property taxes. We already had our property taxes raised not too many years back in order to build a newer public library. Here is the information sent to me by the city regarding the increase in property taxes I can expect if this Proposition is passed:

The owner of an average $195,000 home would pay $2.61 more per month, or $31.32 more per year, in property tax. Together with the portion of property taxes that is currently paying for the library bond, that would come to $6.37 per month or $76.45 per year. (In three years, after the library bond is paid off, the full $76.45 would go towards paying for the recreation center for the remaining 17 years of the bond.)

So, if I understand this correctly, they are going to continue charging us (via property taxes) the same money I am paying for the library bond after it is paid off in 3 years but use that money instead for the new recreation center in addition to the extra $30 or so per year that the vote would approve.

What are they going to build after the recreation center? All I see is a continued increase in my property taxes with no end in sight. I'm not cool with that. Once the library bond is paid off, that should be the end of that tax. It's not right to tack that existing expense on to a new project.

2) I am irritated that the location of the new recreation center (the baseball fields for my kids' high school) is already being cleared out for building. The new ball fields are already being set up just down the street from my house as if the vote has already been won and the bond approved. Sort of makes me feel like my vote isn't going to matter since they've already got things in the works. That doesn't seem right to me.

3) I think that if property owners are the ones who will be paying for this new recreation center, we should be the only ones who get to vote for or against it. I don't understand how it is fair for those who will not be taxed (non-property owners) to be allowed to vote in favor of this. Basically anyone who is registered to vote can approve an increase in my taxes while they get to enjoy the new recreation center without having to pay for the bond. In addition, I would be even happier with this if only those who approve of the bond are charged for it. If they don't get enough votes to collect the money that is needed, then too bad.

4) My family would not use the new facility. The only thing my family does through the city's recreation center is take swimming lessons at the city's outdoor pool and it is more than adequate.

I would love to hear your opinions on this, especially if you live in my city.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Heart Halloween

I wish I had time to write a blog post today, but life is crazy at the moment.

If I had time to write I would tell you all about how much I love Halloween, but I have roughly 45 pumpkins to gut and carve.

I could go on and on about how this is my favorite holiday, how I am that crazy neighbor that you don't understand because our family gets so into our Halloween decor, but I have a clown costume to fix and one more clown mask to find.

I'd tell you about how we transform our house and yard into the Cemetery Hotel and how this year is the off year when we throw in a spook alley, but I need to get to making the food for the disgusting dining room.

I'd love to tell you about how huge it's become this year with a cast of almost 30 teenage spooks and creepers from the neighborhood, but we're getting our haunted corn maze put back together after the continuous rain and wind that all but destroyed it a couple of nights ago.

I wanted to write about how fun it has been decorating the interior of the top floor of my house in preparation for having hundreds of strangers wander through it this weekend, but I still have to measure, cut and lay carpet remnants in the walking areas.

I wish I had time to tell you about the additions this year - the haunted lobby and creepy laundry room, the catacombs and south cemetery where the zombies come out at night, the forested tunnel and honeymoon suite... but the spider's lair is not yet complete and, well, someone's got to do it.

What I will tell you is that if you live anywhere near me and would like to come, we had tickets printed for both Friday and Saturday nights and we'd love to have you see what we've been putting together for the past few weeks in anticipation of this weekend.

For us, the real treat is having our friends and neighbors come through and enjoy a bit of a scare on Halloween weekend.

If you'd like a ticket, just let me know in the comments or send me an email at gerbdonna at gmail dot com. If I can't get one to you before this weekend then we can put one on hold for you with the lady who'll be passing out candy in front of the Cemetery Hotel.

I hope you can make it... we're dyyyyyyying to see you. (insert evil laugh)

Crazy: Up Close And Personal

I wish I had time to write a blog post today, but life is crazy at the moment.

If I had time to write I would tell you all about how much I love Halloween, but I have roughly 45 pumpkins to gut and carve.

I could go on and on about how this is my favorite holiday, how I am that crazy neighbor that you don't understand because our family gets so into our Halloween decor, but I have a clown costume to fix and one more clown mask to find.

I'd tell you about how we transform our house and yard into the Cemetery Hotel and how this year is the off year when we throw in a spook alley, but I need to get to making the food for the disgusting dining room.

I'd love to tell you about how huge it's become this year with a cast of almost 30 teenage spooks and creepers from the neighborhood, but we're getting our haunted corn maze put back together after the continuous rain and wind that all but destroyed it a couple of nights ago.

I wanted to write about how fun it has been decorating the interior of the top floor of my house in preparation for having hundreds of strangers wander through it this weekend, but I still have to measure, cut and lay carpet remnants in the walking areas.

I wish I had time to tell you about the additions this year - the haunted lobby and creepy laundry room, the catacombs and south cemetery where the zombies come out at night, the forested tunnel and honeymoon suite... but the spider's lair is not yet complete and, well, someone's got to do it.

What I will tell you is that if you live anywhere near me and would like to come, we had tickets printed for both Friday and Saturday nights and we'd love to have you see what we've been putting together for the past few weeks in anticipation of this weekend.

For us, the real treat is having our friends and neighbors come through and enjoy a bit of a scare on Halloween weekend.

If you'd like a ticket, just let me know in the comments or send me an email at gerbdonna at gmail dot com. If I can't get one to you before this weekend then we can put one on hold for you with the lady who'll be passing out candy in front of the Cemetery Hotel.

I hope you can make it... we're dyyyyyyying to see you. (insert evil laugh)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Switching Perspective

Yesterday was one of those days.

For me, that means I've been coughing for 2 weeks straight and was able to sleep maybe a total of 2 hours at night because I woke repeatedly in various panicked half dream/half awake states and my body refused to cooperate when I attempted to get out of bed in the morning.

I lamely told my kids to pull out the cereal for breakfast and that I'd give them all money for school lunches then went back to sleep.

About 5 minutes before the elementary kids left my 11-year-old came in to report that they had all eaten cereal AND toast, brushed their teeth AND hair and that I could continue to sleep knowing all was taken care of for the day. I thanked him and drifted back to sleep.

I didn't give it a second thought until I went to pick my kids up after school.

My 6th and 4th graders turned out just fine, but when I saw my sweet little 2nd grader approaching the car, I about died.

She had very obviously done her own hair that morning...

Initially I was mortified. Because I have a large family I am self conscious about what others think of my kids appearances and do my best to be sure that none of my kids look neglected or orphaned. I guess I'm trying to avoid the whole stigma of oh, his pants are too short because he only wears hand-me-downs or her hair is always a mess because her mom has no time to get to it with all of the other kids to tend to.

When we got home I decided to talk to her about it. I asked, "Princess, did you do your own hair this morning?" "YES!" she answered, excited. "I did the ponytail all by myself so you could sleep! Isn't that awesome?"

Her response caught me off guard. She was so pleased with herself and what a big girl she was to have taken care of her own hair. She saw this as a gift to me, allowing me more time to rest that morning. What could I do? Besides, I am always trying to foster independence in my children. So I decided to change MY attitude. Was this any worse than allowing my 5-year-old to wear his long-sleeved skeleton pajama top all summer because it made him happy? Not really. And it certainly didn't hurt anyone - unless you count my silly pride.

"That IS awesome," I told her. "And it was so nice to sleep in this morning. Thank you, sweetheart."

"You're welcome!" she answered, beaming, as she skipped down the hall. Then she turned and added, "I love you, Mom!"


Monday, October 18, 2010

Guest Post: Stargirl

As part of my goal to reach every state in the United States before the end of the year I found myself in a college town in Utah. I was out for a walk, enjoying the sunshine with my pet rat, Cinnamon, when we came upon an elementary school. I couldn't resist going inside. I decided to make it a special unbirthday for some unsuspecting student, just to brighten their day. As we entered the school I set Cinnamon down on the floor and let her lead the way. She scampered and scurried until she came to the door of a fifth grade classroom. I placed Cinnamon inside the front pocket of my skirt and stepped inside.

Oh, this classroom was magical. You could just feel it through every part of your being the moment you walked through the doors. I knew why Cinnamon had led me here. This was a place where I could really feel like I belong.

Right away I spotted the student who I should serenade. It was a boy in the corner with dark hair and the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes to match. Something about him called to me so I pulled out my ukulele and began to sing a Happy Unbirthday song, just for him.
I could almost immediately tell that the other kids wished that they were the ones I had chosen to sing to. I decided without a second thought that I would share the ziplock baggie full of warm chocolate chip cookies which I had bought from the roadside table of some little kids on my way over. After all, it was everyone's unbirthday, really. It always is! There is reason to celebrate every day of our lives.
As they all enjoyed their cookies I told them my name was Stargirl and shared a few of my adventures; my short time as a cheerleader at Mica High, the names my parents allowed me to choose for myself, even the speech contest I won.
They were all so polite and attentive that I decided to ask their teacher if I could take his class to a magical and enchanting place. There was a buzz of excitement when he agreed. Little did they know that they were already there!

I taught them how to clear their minds until they were wrapped in nothingness and let them experience the wonderful feeling of it all.
It was right about then when I realized that Cinnamon must have slipped out of my pocket. I hated to have to leave, but I gave them a few parting words about never being afraid to just be themselves and off I went.
I would love to make my way back to that town in a few years and see what those kids have become. I can only hope that my short visit made some kind of impression upon their young minds. This I do know... that was a classroom which overflowed with untapped potential. Great things will come from that group of fifth graders - I just know it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Together We Can

The following conversation was overheard during dinner this week:

All-a-Boy: "The Reflections contest is coming up soon. I think I'm going to draw a picture for my entry. The theme is 'Together We Can' so I think I want to draw a clown fish and a sea anemone and title it 'Together We Can Be Safe'."

Cowgirl: "Want to know what I'm going to do?"

All-a-Boy: "No. You'll probably draw a clown fish and an anemone just to copy me."

Princess: "Or you could draw a cute puppy!"

Cowgirl: "No, I want to take a picture of you two with your arms around each other and call it 'Together We Can Do Anything.' "

Hubba: "Well, I'll draw a puppy. No, I'll draw TWO puppies. Two puppies POOPING! And I'll call it 'Together We Can Poop'!"

You've gotta love the mind of a 5-year-old boy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting On My Soap Box

photo from

I'm going to write today about a topic that can be a bit controversial because it's all I can think about right now. It's all my kids can think about (and talk to me about) right now because they just had an assembly all about it where big promises were made. I'm talking about school fundraisers.

I hate school fundraisers. With a passion. And my kids hate that I hate fundraisers because then they can't win the prizes and parties that motivate the students to participate in the fundraisers.

How many people honestly want to buy wrapping paper, cookie dough, magazines, jewelry and whatnot at a ridiculously inflated cost? I'll tell you this: I sure don't. But yes, I do. If a kid that I actually know comes to my door selling something then I almost always will because I'm a sucker for kids. My kids hate this, too. If I won't let them sell these things then why do I buy crap from their friends?

I guess I'm sort of a hypocrite in that regard but I don't care. I'm the mom and I can do what I want - plus I don't think it's fair to lecture the neighborhood kids about what I think when their parents are obviously fine with it. That's not my place.

Well, push the wrapping paper and cookie dough sales aside because the latest trend in fundraisers seems to be more along the lines of Can you just give me some money for (insert school name here), please? In exchange for your donation, the kids will run a certain number of laps or shoot a basketball into the hoop a specified number of times in succession. I don't allow my kids to do these fundraisers either. Why? If the kid never ran one lap or if they missed a few baskets then the money is still collected. And even if they did run or make baskets, why should anyone be paying them to do this? Isn't that what kids do? Play?

I guess that what it comes down to is that I don't like the idea of teaching my kids to ask for something while giving back nothing in return.

I am not opposed to the idea of finding a way to generate money to donate to their schools, however. I have allowed my kids to do bake sales in our driveway, offer their babysitting or yard work services in exchange for payment, collect aluminum cans or even sell the clothing they have outgrown to a children's resale clothing store. I let them come up with their own ideas for fundraising, too - and sometimes these are awesome and sometimes they fail. But the point is that they are learning something. I will even take them to the dollar store and let them choose prizes if they earn the donation amount they were trying for. As long as they are learning to work for what they get.

It seems to me that many of the kids of today suffer from an entitlement syndrome. They feel that they are entitled to whatever they want and if they don't get it then all aytch-ee-double-hockey-sticks breaks loose. Fits are thrown. Tears are shed. This makes the new fundraising approach ideal for most kids. Collect money from friends and family, turn it over to the school and claim your prize. Easy.

My 5-year-old told me this week that if he did not bring any donations to the school for the current fundraiser then he would be the reason that the school did not get to have an ice cream party and he would not have any friends at recess. I am not cool with this type of motivation. It only makes me firmer in my position.

I hold on to some small glimmer of hope that my kids are learning something from all of this lesson I am trying to teach. I want them to learn the value in hard work. I suppose that only time will tell whether or not my methods are effective.


image from

There are many things I am not a fan of. I usually keep these things to myself because I am a pleaser kind of person and I just want everyone to get along and be happy. Today, though, I'm going to break out of my box and share a few of these things with you.

These are a few of my NOT favorite things...

Driving in snow.

The first frost of the season.

Mean people.

Leggings instead of nylons at church. (we can still be friends, though)

Snow skiing.

People who let their dogs poop in my yard.

Paying bills.

Not being able to find any maternity dresses that go past my knees.


The cashiers at our local Smith's grocery store.

Getting holes in my socks.

Feeling jealous or angry.


Kids who answer the door when I'm in the shower.




I had better stop there.

If you want to read all about one other thing that I really, really dislike you can click on over to Four Perspectives today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mystery Man

I found this drawing in Princess' room and I can't quite decide who it is. I've narrowed it down to:

A) Barack Obama
B) Martin Luther King
C) Will Smith

What's your vote?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lucky Day

image from

The spam folder for my Gmail account seems to accumulate quite a few letters from foreigners who really want to share millions of dollars with me. I generally delete these correspondences, but today's email was different. Why? It came from the FBI!

Rather than try to summarize I'll let you see for yourself how easily I'm going to become a multi-millionaire.

I present to you the very official sounding email I received this morning... along with a bit of commentary from me.

(I'm not sure they included enough references to FBI in this opening.)

Email: (right...because all FBI agents use hotmail accounts.)

ATTENTION: BENEFICIARY (very personalized!)


INTERNET (pretty sure they already mentioned this)

The federal bureau of investigation (FBI). (I SO appreciate the clarification.)

Through our intelligence-monitoring network has discovered that the transaction that the bank contacted you previously was legal. Recently the fund has been legally approved to be paid
via Central Bank of Ghana. (Huh? Was that in English?)

So, we, the federal bureau of investigation (FBI) Washington Dc, in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) financial department have investigated through our monitoring network noting that your transaction with the Central Bank of Nigeria legal. You have the legitimate right to
complete your transaction to claim your fund US$15.5,000,000.00 (Fifteen million five Hundred Thousand united states dollars) (again, the clarifications provided here are so helpful - especially amongst the abundant grammatical errors.)

Because of so much scam going on in Ghana. (Riiiiight. No scams going on here in my spam folder, though.)

We the federal bureau of investigation decided to contact the FedEx Courier Service Company in Ghana for them to give us their procedures on how to sent this money to you without any further complain or delay. (How thoughtful!) We just got an information from the Central Bank of Ghana and they have loaded your US$15.5,000,000.00 in ATM CARD and submit to the FedEx courier service company for immediate delivery to your doorstep. (Well. I just got an information from my common sense and it says 'are you kidding me?')

You are required to choose one option, which you will be able to pay and also convenient for you, for quick delivery of your parcel containing your ATM CARD and other two original back up documents. (Again, I am loving the wording here. Someone at the FBI needs to take an English refresher course.)

Service Type | Delivery Duration | Charges/Fees

------------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------
Premium Express (24hrs Delivery)
Mailing $200.00 00.00
Insurance $150.00 00.00
Vat $100.00 00.00
TOTAL $450.00
$450(Four Hundred and fifty US Dollars Only).

.............................. ..............................
Special Express (2 Days)
Mailing $180.00 00.00
Insurance $50.00 00.00
Vat $150.00 00.00
TOTAL $380.00 00.00
$380(Three Hundred and Eighty US Dollars Only).

.............................. ...............................
Economy Express (3Days)
Mailing $100.00 00.00
Insurance$?150.00 00.00
Vat (5%) $50.00 00.00
TOTAL $300.00 00.00
$300(Three Hundred US Dollars Only).
.............................. ..............................

(I love that they give me so many reasonably priced options to have my millions delivered to me. Thank you, federal bureau investigations (FBI) for the convenient for me!)

You are hereby required to advice us, on your parcel delivery option by filling in the required form stated above. Please note that the deadline for claiming your fund is exactly one week after the receipt of this email. After this period, your fund will be return back to the ordering costumer. That is the instruction given to us. So take note. (Note taken, thank you.)

We request that you reconfirm your mailing address to ensure conformity with our record for immediate dispatch of your parcel to you. Only valid residential/ Office address and postal address are certified OK. (Riiiiiiiiight.)

Delivery Terms: .............. .......International Delivery
Condition Of Delivery..............Priority Delivery
Consignment Note No: ........... MI 49866-2110
Color of Parcel: ..................... Brown. (definitely useful information)
Total Weight: ..........................36.2 kg
Total Net Weight: ...................1.7 kg

We are here to protect you from any problem till you receive your package. (And then what?)

Looking forward to hear from you as soon as you receive this message.

Best Regards,



SO?? What do you think? Should I go for it?

Okay. I'll tell you what. If you leave me a comment I'll send you $500,000,000 (Half A Million U.S. Dollars). I'm no hoarder. Just choose one of the delivery options above.