30 December 2009

Vegas Style

When the stomach flu rips through the whole family and ruins plans for a family trip to get out of Vegas, the next best thing to do is celebrate getting over it, Vegas style. And by Vegas style I mean taking the kids to the CASINOS!

Yes, the casinos...for bowling, and ice skating and movies. First the bowling alley where Gabby and Riley had their first REAL (non-Wii) bowling game. They did pretty well and actually had a lot of fun. Tyler bowled the first strike of the day and Gabby learned she likes Wii bowling better, since she usually beats everyone. Her rolls were so funny, we'd all stand there, waiting, and waiting for the ball to hit the pins. One time we heard crickets chirping.


Next we went to a different casino to go ice skating. At first they were a little nervous and hugged the sides.


After falling, Gabby was not liking it too much, but daddy made it better.


Until Corey almost wiped out with her attached and then she was unhappy again. Eventually she just took care of herself and had a really fun day. It was the first thing she asked to go do the next morning. Riley looks like she's about to de-pants Corey here.


My brother Shawn and my nephews Jared and Jeffrey skated circles around everyone else.


After a few hours, Ryan had fallen one too many times and had some nasty blisters so he joined me in my position as the official coat rack and photographer. (My ankles we hurting too badly to join them skating.) Tyler waved "hi" in every photo. It didn't take too long for Corey to let go of the sides either.


I'm really hoping they clean the glass often. Guess I shouldn't have been encouraging these photos then! These pictures reminded me of this picture in the bottom right corner, Gabby in Aug 08 when she flipped out in the wind tunnel at a childrens museum. The kids were even up for a movie after ice skating (at yet another casino). I thought for sure they'd sleep through it, but they didn't. Anyway, despite our trip to Salt Lake getting canceled, we made some fun memories and had a really great day.

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!!

17 December 2009

Corey's Going To Serve In The...


...Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission.

He reports on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 and it's an English speaking mission.

I can't believe Corey guessed exactly where he'd be going a month ago! We crammed 72 people in our house tonight. It was wonderful for him to be surrounded by so many people who love him. Thanks everyone for all the LOOOOOVVVVEEEEEE!!!!! :)

The girls also had a cute little mini dance recital tonight before Corey's big event. They did very well, all the little girls looked so cute up there on stage. Rob's mom brought Riley and Gabby flowers. They loved it!

16 December 2009

Wii Love It!

"Wii" got a VERY nice surprise in the mail about a week ago from Grandma and Grandpa Harris.



The kids were allowed to open it early so "wii" could all enjoy it over the break. Riley could not contain her excitement once it was opened!


(Doesn't Riley's hair look like a Pantene commercial?)

"Wii" all think it was a very generous and wonderful Christmas gift!



"Wii" THANK YOU!!!!!
("Wii" should have posted this a "wii"k ago but "wii" were having too much fun playing with the present "wii" received.)

14 December 2009

First Tooth



Another milestone reached...Gabby lost her first tooth. I know you're thinking, "but she's seven, shouldn't she have already lost some by now?" Well, my kids cut teeth late and lose teeth late. None of them had teeth before a year old. In fact Ryan only had four teeth at 18 months old and still has one baby tooth left now at 16. Gabby was terrified at first that it would hurt, but thrilled once she realized the tooth fairy would be paying her a visit. Plus her big brother Corey drove her to 7-Eleven and bought her a big gulp. That made all the tears disappear instantly!

12 December 2009

Corey's Mission Call



We want your guesses! His call has been sent and should arrive in a few days. Here is our list of Mission Call guesses by family and friends. PLEASE comment at the bottom of the post and I'll add you to the list. (To see a list of LDS Missions, click here.)

Immediate Family
Dad (Rob) - Spain
Mom (Michelle) - Austria or Ireland
Corey - Philadelphia or Atlanta
Tyler - Cairo, Egypt
Ryan - Australia
Riley - Africa/Australia/California/Germany
Gabby - (Pointed to South Africa on a map of the world.)

Extended Family
Great Grandma Foster - Mexico
Grandma Sherrie - New England States
Grandpa Johnson - Korea
Shawn Johnson - Zimbabwe
Jared Johnson - Hungary/China/Kansas
Jeffrey Johnson - Panama
Joshua Johnson - Chile
Stacey Johnson - Russia
Wesley Johnson - Norway
Holly Johnson - Portugal
Hannah LeGrand - Africa
Ali Johnson - Africa
Craig Hammer - Croatia
Marcia Hammer - Peru
Ashley Harrington - Hawaii
Taylor Harrington - Germany
Alan Ludlow - India
Renee Wagner - Brazil
Angela Verry - US East Coast
Erica Meyer - Greece
Rick Homer - Ditto Riley's guesses
Grandma Kitty - Atlanta or Mexico
Erin Evans - Brazil/Venezuela/Peru
John Evans - Mexico
Lisa Evans - Ecuador
Kahlin Lindholm- Canada/New Zealand
Destiny Evans- Denmark
John Evans IV - Chicago
Linda Harris - South America



Friends
Brian Garcia - Mexico City, Mexico
Rebecca Garcia - Omaha or North Dakota
Melissa Garcia - Africa
Tom Wilson - Mongolia
Jolynn Wilson - Germany
Braeden Wilson-Venice, Italy/Austria
Katelynn Wilson - France
Collin Wilson - Henderson (LOL)
Caroline Wilson - France
Marissa Mousseau - Spain
Brionne Mousseau- Canada
Sharyn Mousseau - Spokane, Washington
Mike Mousseau - Russia
Jimmy Skinner - Europe
Shannon Skinner - Mexico ;)
Jessica Skinner - Taiwan/Korea
Jeana Skinner - New Zealand/Australia
Jordyn Skinner - Hawaii
Tristin Crouch - Somewhere stateside
Jill Mennig - South Africa
Kim Mills - South Africa
Morgan Mills - Florida
Padilla Mills - Tennessee
Esther Mills - Texas
Britt Allen - Chile
Leah Allen - Peru
Morgan Allen - Paraguay/Tokyo South
Trey Pictum - Stockholm Sweden
Elder Pyle - Honduras
Robert Locklear - Greece
Elder Ferreira -Germany
Pres. Christensen - Colorado
Bishop Urry - Illinois,Chicago
Salle Young - Texas
Heather Deborski - England, London
Erin Parker - Midwest
Jerry Browner - Stateside, NE
Tonia Browner - Dominican Republic
Gary Shafer - Mongolia
Michele Shafer - Washington State
Tammy Nigro - Illinois
Wendy Brown - Spain/Brazil/Chile
Michael Blackwell - Portugal
Anna Rial - Japan
Danica Simbulan - Brazil
Gerald Pineda - Italy or Kansas
Karen Stevens - Australia
Chelsea Upshaw - Stateside
Lise-Lotte Newell - Brazil
Heather Bigler - Knoxville, Tennessee
Lanice Dietz - Tennessee/Virginia/Florida
Kenyon Crouch - West Virginia
Dawna Crouch - Japan
Richard Crouch - Minnesota
David Ploehn - Draper, UT
Jana Anderson - Australia
Whitney Plummer - Alabama
Kimmy Courtright - Brazil
Marylin Kelley - Salt Lake City ;)
Jason and Lindsay Mann - Argentina or Texas (Spanish speaking)
Emily Yates - Japan
Aubrey Robertson - Boise, Idaho
Hance Hardy - New York City
Cyndi Hardy - Hong Kong or California
Trevor Hardy - Minnesota/New Hampshire
Linda Eliason - Minnesota
Christopher Eliason - Bronx
Taylor Jacobson - Brazil
Tom Keele - Texas
Rhonda Keele - Chile
Caroline Keele - Utah
Fernando Duran-Price - Japan
Tyler Kizzar - Sydney, Australia
Chase Amos - West Virginia
Kaiden Shakespeare - Austria
Lisa Sykes - Spain

11 December 2009

"Cord On Blue"

Yesterday on my way out the door to do a pinch of shopping, I asked Rob what he'd like for dinner. He said he didn't know and then he gave his standard answer when he's stumped for dinner ideas, "Cordon bleu."

I really almost never make cordon bleu, but it is mockingly requested frequently by my husband. Many moons ago, back when the boys were babies and the only things we ever had in the house in abundance were formula and diapers, Rob came home from work with the age old question, "What's for dinner."

In our stone broke condition, there was maybe a jar of peanut butter and a block of cheese (thank you WIC) in the house. I didn't have a clue what we were having for dinner! Rob actually asked me to just "whip something up"! I laugh now but back then I was furious. "Well, WHAT exactly should I whip up and from what, thin air?!" I'm sure, remembering the look on his face, that he couldn't understand why it would be hard to just make dinner. I impressed upon him again that there was nothing in the house with which to make a meal. He again suggested that it shouldn't be difficult to whip something up (ladies...he has since learned!) after all, he had just worked a long shift and was tired and hungry. So, calmly, a little too calmly actually as I remember being on the brink of psychosis, I asked him to suggest a recipe I could "whip up".

He said, "Cordon bleu."

I stared at him for a split second and sweetly replied, "Okay," and left the room.

I'm sure he thought I was insane but he'd gotten rid of me and I was dutifully, he thought, preparing his dinner.

Moments later I came back with...his supper. (Reenactment photo.)



Oh yes, an extension CORD ON a piece of BLUE construction paper. Rob burst out laughing and I satisfactorily proved that I could indeed whip up anything, but it may not be edible.

Last night we had a more palatable version of Cordon Bleu, a nice surprise for my dear hubby when he came home from a long shift of overtime. The look of awe on his face last night was as equally rewarding as the look on his face all those years ago, plus the kids got a kick out of hearing the story...again.

Your turn...share a standing joke from your family history.

14 November 2009

Smile-Worthy





Things that make me happy lately: (totally not all inclusive and certainly not in any particular order.)



A double-sized mug of chamomile tea with sugar and heavy cream.
Yum. Invokes feelings of being splendidly spoiled and perfectly relaxed.

A clean house. Okay, at this point in our busy lives with five kids, a single clean ROOM is enough to make me smile.

Good hair days. I mean actual good hair days, not the ones where I think it looks good and then catch a reflection later and discover it's really hideous. And so is my outfit...and skin.

Photo editing. Translation- cropping out the messy house and fixing the bad hair, skin and yes, sometimes cropping out the entire body from the neck down.

Silence. Self-explanatory.

A good book. I wish this was making me smile right now, I haven't read one in a LONG WHILE. (Sooo not like me, I know.)

Projects. Not only projects, but projects that turn out at least as good, if not better than how I've envisioned the final product.

Cute kid cuddles. Also self-explanatory.

My husband. Manly-man and teddy bear all-in-one. He makes me laugh when I shouldn't be able to. Mostly, I don't deserve how wonderful he is to me...especially on the days when he listens to me and get's me when I don't even get myself.

The thought of family visiting for the holidays. My brother and two adorable nephews get to come (hopefully) for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Very smile-worthy.

Totally free sheet music I can print from the internet.
Ah, I even found some Clint Mansell stuff.

Squeak-free brakes. The hubby just changed them this week. And we didn't need to replace the rotors. Yes!

My current church calling. I'm loving it.

Gardenia scented Salt City candles. In a word: heavenly.

My new nephew's impending arrival...hopefully TODAY! Rob's brother's wife, Lisa, is currently in labor with John Edward Evans IV. They've nicknamed him "Four". Can't wait to kiss his little baby cheeks!

What makes you smile?

11 November 2009

Honor Them

08 October 2009

Beauty Is


...holding Gabby's hand
...soaking in the sunshine
...laughing at silly jokes
...recognizing blessings
...listening
...making discoveries
...sifting memories
...being as excited as she is as she learns how to read
...surviving bad days
...the smell of autumn
...the blue of her eyes
...releasing fear
...memorizing moments
...being her mother
...gratitude.

"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart." ~Kahlil Gibran

09 June 2009

Predictions From 1991



Corey graduated high school this afternoon. We are so proud of him and the young man he has grown to be. I'll share more pictures later in the week but for now I wanted to post this old journal entry from Tuesday June 11, 1991 at 1:22pm. Corey was four months old at the time.

Corey — Right now I'm sitting here watching you roll over!!! Since I got my new job I haven't had much spare time - not to mention still trying to get everything moved into our new apartment (we did it, yay)! You are getting to be such a big boy and I miss you so much when I have to work. It's so hard for me to be away from you for that whole eight endless hours. Boy do you need a haircut! (Again.) Your hair grows so fast! I was just thinking about how you are already growing so fast — pretty soon you'll be graduating from high school and before I know it, married with a family of your own. I know it sounds unrealistic now but, time goes by so fast and as you get older it seems to slip through your fingers so easily. I like coming home and laying down beside you and staring at you. You are so precious to me, my little one. I love you—don't ever forget that! Love always, Your Mommy

I seriously cannot believe how fast it has gone by. It did slip right through our fingers. But we have beautiful memories to hang on to and millions more to make. What a wonderful son we have! He's still my precious little one.

23 May 2009

Balancing Act

The acquisition of balance seems curiously difficult. How can we discover our potential and play the roles we've been cast in when every scene seems to involve a formidable balancing act?

Balance between being a woman who is tender, delicate, and sweet while also being unbreakable, courageous and strong.

Balance between showing emotion when you hurt and not being emotional.

Balance between the conflicting messages of "Work hard, don't be lazy or idle," and "Take time for yourself and relax once in awhile."

Balance between being clean and organized without turning into a tyrannical overachieving Nazi maniac Mom.

Balance between living in the world and in relation to those who revel in it's ways, but resisting the influences of the world, being good and holy.

Balance between being a good friend and listener without being an enabler.

Balance between letting your kids exercise agency without letting them fall flat on their faces.

Balance between being able to forgive others without giving them license to walk all over you and repeatedly abuse your trust.

Balance between firmly take a stand when your conscience tells you that you must, and being courteous of the opinions that others have.

Balance between taking care of everyone else, and taking care of yourself.

Balance between being a toilet scrubbing, diaper changing, dish washing, laundry folding housewife, and being a hot goddess, put together, (showered) happy wife when that hard working hubby of yours walks through the door at night.

Balance between spoiling yourself or your family once in awhile, (especially when they are deserving) and being moderate and economical.

Balance between being able to enjoy your life as a whole, and sometimes barely just getting through today.

Balance between being "the mom" ─ you know, the disciplinarian, the teacher, the overseer, the manager, and being "the mommy" ─ the story teller, the praiser, the cuddler, the hero.

Balance between being chic, polished and gourmet, and being a good steward who is thrifty and can maximize that dollar store budget.

Balance between slowing down because we're moving so fast that every day speeds by in a blur, and not being stagnant and unproductive.

Balance between being humorous and whimsical without being tactless and irreverent.

Balance between handing our problems and worries over to God, and getting off of our knees and going to work to find solutions and answers.

Balance between being strong enough to lift our heavy burdens and being humble enough to ask the Lord to help us carry them.
Are you finding it hard to maintain balance? In what ways or areas?

16 May 2009

Precious




"Every child begins the world again."

~Henry David Thoreau





(My sweet niece Berlynn, 4 weeks old.)

14 May 2009

Corey's Senior Portraits



I had been putting off taking pictures of Corey for so long I was wondering if I was ever going to get them done. I grabbed my camera and drug Corey out for a quick photo session tonight and came back with several great shots. It helps to be shooting such a handsome young man.

Maybe now I can get those graduation announcements in the mail...



13 May 2009

Delightful Mermaids

"Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

11 May 2009

Wrong Scripture, Right Gift



Apparently I don't listen to my Mother very well. She has told the story (quite a few times) about her initial fear about childbirth and labor (ya, and then she had 7 kids) and a certain scripture that got her through it. I thought that scripture was Luke 1:37, "For with God, nothing shall be impossible." Honestly, I did doubt myself but I didn't want to call her and clue her in to the fact that I was making something for her, because she can always pick up on that when I start asking random questions.

Just before she opened her little Mother's Day present I asked her which scripture it was and without missing a beat she rattled off Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Whoops.

I asked her if there was another similar one that was one of her favorite scriptures and she recited two or three more in quick succession, none of which were Luke 1:37.

Okay, so I had to laugh. I told her I got it all wrong but I hoped she liked her gift anyway, which she assured me she would. Of course, once she opened it she absolutely loved it! I was trying to do one that went along with her becoming a mom...so I didn't quite get it right, but I am still glad she liked the sign anyway. She told me that when she saw me walk in with the gift she was hoping it was something I had painted for her and she was just thrilled that it was. I bet I could have painted her a frog or a rock and she wouldn't have cared.

My mom is so easy to make gifts for. Buying them for her is a pain, but she loves my homemade stuff. And isn't she gorgeous?! Can you believe she's 58?! Anyway, I loved making this little dot art sign so much that I already have a few ideas floating around my head for one of my own. Although, next time the teenie dots that make up the font will be a little bit bigger...those took forever!

09 May 2009

I Am A Mother

Have any of you ever read the email where a woman describes herself as a "Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations" instead of just calling herself a "housewife"?

Some days, I really mull over my career choice of being a mom.

Some days I love my job. Some days it gets pretty mundane. Some days I smile triumphantly. Some days I want to run away. Some days I need to pray a little harder than others. Some days I over think everything. Most days, though, I over simplify just what it means to be a mom.

As mom's we do so many jobs: Taxi Driver, Gourmet Chef, Maid, Laundress, Beautician, Interior Decorator, Painter, Plumber, Teacher, Secretary, Banker, Driver's Ed Instructor, Proof Reader, Party Planner, Counselor, Activities Coordinator, Nurse, Accident and Crime Scene Investigator, Warden, Photographer, Professional Bargain Hunter, Religious Instructor,...etc...not to mention, Worry-er, Hope-er, Pray-er.

As moms, most of the time we're lucky to get a "thank you" for our efforts. A hug means we must have really gone above and beyond. And a complement like, "Mommy I want to be just like you when I grow up," is the ultimate praise for all our hard work.

I think, before this earth life, I probably expressed my desire to be a mother to my Heavenly Father. I think I probably made Him a few promises about the kind of mother I'd try to be. I'm sure I promised Him that I'd teach my children who they are. That they are His children. That He loves them. That their lives have meaning! I'm certain I promised Him that I'd teach my children about agency. That agency is more valuable than anything, even peace. I know I promised to teach them the pray and to fast, so that they can have a transcendent connection to Heaven. That I would teach them of truth, of righteousness, of faith, of love. I unquestionably promised Him that my home would be a refuge from the world.

I wonder, though, if I really knew how challenging my career would be. I wonder if I was so busy daydreaming about being crowned with glory and honor that I missed the part of the job description that said there'd be sleepless nights rocking a gassy three-month-old. The part that said I'd need to be on call 24/7. The part that said attending sacrament meetings with a one-year-old would feel more like a wrestling smack down than a sacred renewal of covenants. That I'd clean up more spilled milk and soggy Cocoa Krispies than I'd care to remember. That once I finally got through the "up with toddlers during the night" phase, that I'd be introduced to the "waiting up for teenagers" phase. The part about providing about 20,000 meals, creatively, over the course of 18 years. The part where I'd drop everything to go trade cars with my son who just got in a car accident so he could enjoy the rest of his prom. The part that said I'd eventually send each of my sons away, for a two year church mission, only speaking to them on Mother's Day and Christmas and wondering and worrying if he was eating or if he was happy, but knowing he'd be on the Lord's errand. The part the said one day I'd tearfully kiss my daughter on the cheek on her wedding day and wonder where in the world the time has gone. The part of the job description that said I'd be required to perform millions of acts of service, compassion, patience and endurance as I nurtured my children and nudged them towards exaltation.

Motherhood is indeed a glorious career! Joseph F. Smith said, "The love of a true mother comes nearer to being like the love of God than any other kind of love."

We are not alone in our careers as mothers...our callings as mothers. We are entitled to strength and direction from above. D&C 84:88 says, "...I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

No, I don't think we are ever alone in our callings as mothers. If ever we feel like the burden is too great or the challenge too daunting, we are never more than a whispered prayer away from the greatest source of strength.

"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?" (Neal A Maxwell, "The Women of God," 10–11).

To those of you who are mothers, answer me that question. Do you really know how influential you are? Do you really know what's at stake? Can you really grasp how far reaching of an effect a phenomenal mother can have?

06 May 2009

The End of an Era



Corey's last high school sporting event is today. His final volleyball game. It's strange to reflect on all the football games, wrestling meets, track meets, basketball games, and volleyball matches we have attended over the last four years. I can't believe it will all be over today. The school celebrates "Senior Night" so if you're in our neck of the woods, er...uh, I mean, desert, around 6 o'clock, drop on over to Eldorado's gym and watch my sports nut kiddo have some fun playing his last high school game.

28 April 2009

Fear




"I have often been afraid, but I would not give in to it. I made myself act as though I was not afraid and gradually my fear disappeared." ~Theodore Roosevelt

24 April 2009

X is for...

X-ray's of course.


(It looks more like a "buckling fracture" to me but I'm gonna go off what the Doc said.)

Riley had field day at school today. At one of the stations her favorite teacher told her and her friend to try running backwards for that particular race. She did. There was a pine cone. She tripped. Backwards...and came down hard on her left arm.

She went to the nurse, but Riley is the kind of child who LOATHES attention for anything that may be slightly embarrassing so she didn't let on how much it hurt. She got an ice pack, sat there for awhile and then when the nurse asked her, she said she was fine to go back out for field day. I think she really became aware of the severity of the situation when she later attempted a CRAB WALK! It hurt! So she tried to do it with one arm so no one would notice. But did she tell anyone? Nope. So did I get a phone call from the school telling me to come pick up my injured girlie? Nope.



Corey picked her up from school and, as I was laying down for a few minutes, I didn't even see her until 4 o'clock. I told her we were on our way to go see her cousin Berlynn, and she calmly said, "Oh, too bad I won't be able to hold her." Uh...okay...WHY NOT? "I hurt my arm at school today Mommy..." and then the tears started trickling down her cute sunburned cheeks. I glanced down and through her long sleeves I could see that one wrist was swollen. My first thought was -- oh dang, it's broken. We had to wait about 20 minutes for Corey to get back home with my truck and Rob was at work so I made her suffer through pictures while we waited to be able to leave.

After a 4 hour "Quick" Care (Riley thought that was so ironic) visit, it was confirmed to be a bow fracture. Not too bad. We'll see an orthopedic specialist next week. In the mean time, she has a nice splint and a sling and lots of Motrin. All she wanted on the way home was a Big Mac meal. Cute girl. I'm just glad it wasn't a lot worse. And so was she after we got home and started looking up different types of fractures on the internet! She's got her blanket and her huge stuffed puppy and she's camped out on the couch for the night, already feeling much better. (But she is concerned about how this will affect her dance recital at the end of May.)

21 April 2009

Seventeen


Hard to believe Tyler is already seventeen. The time has gone by so fast...except for those few years he was into throwing tantrums...well, those seven years he threw tantrums. (We've been done with that for 10 years now though.) Oh, I never thought either of us would make it through those years. Ha ha. :) Now Tyler is the most calm, most patient child you'll ever meet!

We spent the afternoon cheering at Tyler's track meet (he's a distance runner) and then hustled over to catch the last point of Corey's volleyball match. I knew we'd miss Ryan's but I was hoping to at least make Corey's last game. Oh well...I haven't been able to make any of Ty's meets this year yet so it was definitely worth it! And the whole distance team sang "Happy Birthday" to him out on the field while they were warming up. It was awesome!

Happy 17th birthday Ty! We love you! And now that we're all home...PRESENTS! :D

Discovery





"I write to discover what I know."
~ Flannery O'Connor

20 April 2009

Sorrows


"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."
~Victor Hugo

Near the Edge



"Avoid temptation: Remember, no one ever fell over a cliff without going near the edge."
~Unknown

18 April 2009

My NIECE is Finally Here!!!



Berlynn Noelle Johnson was born to proud parents Stacey and Joshua Johnson at 4:56am. 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches! What a beauty! Can't wait to go to the hospital and see her. Mommy and baby are doing awesome! (But, man, I sure wish I had gotten up to check my cell phone when I thought I heard my text ringtone at 1:30am. I was awake and could have headed over to the hospital waiting room!)

17 April 2009

Where's the Line?

How do you feel about your blog? What kinds of things do you write about? Your kids? Your struggles? Your triumphs? Your goals? Your travel log? Your mental peregrinations? Your embarrasing moments? Your secrets?

Is it an open book? A journal for the world to read, sort of like Terresa from the Chocolate Chip Waffle discusses in her post "Hi, nice to meet you, here's my underwear drawer"? Or are you really selective about what you write, carefully editing out all that may be embarrassing a month or a year from now? Do you tell on people? Hash through your issues all over the blogosphere? Set your blog to private readers only so you can be really open? Share your wisdom? Wow us with your whit? Make us jealous of how many times your husband vacuums in a week (did you know John Bytheway vacuums almost daily?) Teach us crafts? Share your favorite recipes? Mostly just post pictures? Lead us through your heart wrenching illnesses or lively romances?

I've never been good at writing a journal and I think I know the reason why. I may or may not choose to admit it here. Okay, I'm going to admit it. I don't like being that open with myself. Weird huh. It's like, if I embrace the "whatever the emotion is for the day" and give it a voice, it may just stage a hostile takeover.

Does this make sense?

Okay, let me explain a little further...I know someone (we'll leave it at that) who writes songs. She is very talented. She is artistic and creative and amazing. BUT. Occasionally I think she embraces the melancholy just a bit too much to be able to write her sad sad, I mean really sad, lyrics and I just think...if she'd stop writing about it so much, she wouldn't feel it so much. You have to be in a really low place to be able to even get half of the stuff she writes. While she may call it her "release" I call it her "pity permit".

I tend to feel things very deeply, letting myself be affected completely by a situation or experience. When I have written about those things in my journal in the past, whether it be about abuse or ignorance or neglect or even good things like having my children or a great vacation, I feel it all over again whenever I reread it.

Is that supposed to be the point?

Is that why we write our life stories? To re-experience every situation? I know some things I write down so I won't forget but some things I REALLY WANT TO FORGET!

Am I being dishonest with myself?

There are some things I'd like to post about simply because I'd like to either get more info to help me get through a particular situation or share my coping strategies with someone who is currently experiencing what I have somehow made it out of. HOWEVER, I don't want to hurt other people who are involved in the experience. Do ya know what I mean?

So, the point of this post...where is the line? Is there a magic "DO NOT CROSS" line when blogging? Where is the line between being honest with yourself and handing some stranger a piece of your intimates? Where is the line between showing real emotion and embracing the manic? Where is the line between sharing life's wisdoms that you've gleaned through your own experiences and being on a soapbox that you had no business stepping up on in the first place?

16 April 2009

"The" Truth



"What you perceive, your observations, feelings, interpretations, are all your truth. Your truth is important. Yet it is not The Truth."
~Linda Ellinor

Submission



"Most forms of holding back are rooted in pride or are prompted by the mistaken notion that somehow we are diminished by submission to God. Actually, the greater the submission, the greater the expansion!"
~Neal A. Maxwell

13 April 2009

Understatements of the Week

1) Our feet and legs and backs and, well, everything...were SORE. Treadmill walking didn't fully prepare us for walking around 20 miles in gravel and sand...but I'm sure it helped.


2) I am thankful for my warm, soft, DRY bed. We did have rain the last night, and our tent door zipper broke. So the tarp used to cover the door, when whipped around by the wind, created a funnel to channel in the rain and I woke up at about 1am to discover about 18 inches all up the side of my sleeping bag was WET. At least I wasn't cold. I never did get back to sleep though.


3) We had the time of our lives on the trek! Good food, wonderful spiritual experiences, making new friends and adopting 6 new kids as our own, enjoying the break from cell phones, TV's, ipods, traffic and noise, strengthening our testimonies, learning to be more grateful, gaining more insight into the Law of Sacrifice, giggling and singing and walking and walking and walking...we had a blast! Caution: Don't use real babies for football. (See bottom right photo.)


4) We hope they ask us back again! Everyone I've heard from has said they hope they can go back again. Even the kids who are 18 and won't be able to are hoping to be married and be asked to be a ma and pa so they can come back! Riley will be 14 and old enough to go next time and has already asked me to start sewing her pioneer clothes! She can't wait! Boy I hope I get the chance to go back again one day. It really was wonderful!


P.S. So Daniel...what IS orange and blue and runs in circles?!? :)

05 April 2009

Paid For In Advance


"There is no credit buying on eternal things, none at all. Anything that is worthwhile has to be paid for in advance."
~Boyd K. Packer

01 April 2009

What Holds Us Back?



"We are set apart
We’ve been chosen now
We are children of God
So what holds us back

What’s holding us back"?

~Barlowgirl, Take My Chances

30 March 2009

Say It With Me Now...


...Awwwwww. Tommy Gunner LeGrand was born to proud parents Hannah and Jeffrey LeGrand at 3:08pm weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and measuring 20 inches long. Mother and baby are doing wonderful. (And Aunt Michelle is already totally smitten!)

She's in Labor!

I just got the phone call from my little sister, Hannah...her water broke and she's having contractions. I'm gonna be an aunt again really soon! Yay!

Isn't she so beautiful!?!

28 March 2009

Maternity Photos

Maternity photo shoot number one: my beautiful, due any second now, sister-in-law Stacey and my awesome little brother Josh (and their soon to be little girl). I am not at all skilled with my brand new camera, but my photo editor really helps make me look pretty good. I'm loving the shots we got today so I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite.

Tomorrow I take pictures of my sister Hannah and her hubby Jeff. She is also due any second but will be induced Monday night if she hasn't had him by then. Nothing like me procrastinating photos until the VERY LAST SECOND possible.

Woo hoo! I'm so excited to meet my new niece and nephew!

25 March 2009

Happiness


"Happiness is
never stopping to think
if you are."
~Palmer Sondreal

22 March 2009

"You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it."- Charles Buxton



"When we are unduly impatient with an omniscient God's timing, we are really suggesting that we know what is best. Strange, isn't it -we who wear wristwatches seek to counsel Him who oversees cosmic clocks and calendars." ~Neal A. Maxwell

21 March 2009


"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength." ~Eric Hoffer

20 March 2009

Atrocities

Last night we watched the movie, "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." It was very affecting, distressing and saddening.

As I was watching and wondering how anyone could have participated in the atrocities performed at the hands of those many soldiers, it struck me that, there are horrors, brutalities and vulgarities all around us that I, for one, choose not to think about because I don't think I can do anything about them. Of course they don't equal the acts of the Holocaust, but they are actions and states of existence that are still inhuman and barbaric.

I have always been equally captivated and horrified by the Holocaust of WWII. I always read everything I could find about it in middle and high school and did countless reports on the subject. My Grandpa Foster was a young American POW in a work camp somewhere in Germany. I saw photos taken of him when he was freed but he would never talk about it.

When Rob and I were living in Germany, Rob's sister flew in to Munich, about a four hour drive from where we were living and a place we hadn't yet visited. When we drove to pick her up, the only thing I wanted to do while we were there, was drive a little ways up to Dachau and view the museum exhibits. It was chilling.

That was 11 years ago. I have heard the exhibit changed somewhere around 2003 and I don't know what it's like now, but back in February of 1998, there were large poster sized black and white photographs hanging all around the former work camp. It was poignant. I recall two moments there vividly.

The first was in front of a display of a prisoner's uniform. A pair a "striped pajamas". Thin and tattered. Of course being February, we were all bundled up in our warmest clothing and jackets, and even on this unseasonably warm February day, we were quite cold. I could picture the camp prisoners, freezing, unable to complain or escape their situation. Suffering daily, endlessly.

The second occurred as we were standing in a room just past the crematorium and viewing a huge picture of a pile of human bodies, when it occurred to me to look at the room in the background of the photo. We were standing in the precise location. My immediate reaction was to back away, out of the room in horror. I began to weep. I wanted to leave. My mind could not then, and still cannot now, comprehend such malignity.



Colonel William W. Quinn of the U.S. 7th Army said of Dachau: "There our troops found sights, sounds, and stenches horrible beyond belief, cruelties so enormous as to be incomprehensible to the normal mind."

We live in a very different world, but it is still full of cruelty, inhumanity, barbarity, and horrific ignorance. Do we turn a blind eye to abuse and depravity?

What can we do about it?

What can I do about it?

19 March 2009

Learning

I got my new camera last Friday but I have been so busy that I hadn't been able to really play with it until yesterday at Corey and Ryan's volleyball games. I confess, most of Ryan's photos are blurry, so they aren't making the blog, but I did start to get the hang of it by Corey's games, which they won (yay!). (When I say 'get the hang of it', I really mean...I still have no clue what I'm doing as it's like reading a foreign language to me, but I was able to pretend like I knew what I was doing and snapped a bazillion pictures in the fully automatic mode.)

Now...just wait until I get to know some of the more awesome features of this new DSLR! And get more lenses! Man I wish I'd had this camera at Corey's football games instead of just my point and shoot. Oh, and it records movies. Awesome.

Some highlights of Corey's volleyball match yesterday:



I have always wanted to capture the color of Gabby's eyes with a camera. My old point and shoot wouldn't even come close to this. And admittedly this is not a great picture either but look at how it appears that a star has exploded in her eye. No, we still don't know where the blue eyes come from. We just joke that since she was 6 weeks early, she didn't bake long enough. (That's why she's so fair too...lol.)