Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You Know You're Married To An Engineer When...

He creates a spreadsheet to calculate more realistic "Bank Offers" while playing the Deal or No Deal card game.
  
I must admit, it made the game a whole lot more fun...until Olivia and I turned down an offer for $335,000 and ended up with $10 in our case.  Good thing it was just pretend...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Reflections

I can't believe another Christmas holiday is over...it happened much too quickly.

Here are a few of the highlights of the past week:

My version of holiday baking this year. These mixes are always a hit!


The annual Nativity re-enactment on Christmas Eve. This year, it was written and directed by Olivia. Grant played his part of Shepherd very well...his paper sheep behaved perfectly. Jack and Olivia then sang "When Joseph Went to Bethlehem" and I cried. 


Opening new jammies is a Christmas Eve tradition.


We went outside and sprinkled "Reindeer Food" on the lawn (a mixture of oatmeal and green glitter) so the reindeer would be able to find our house, and enjoy a little snack while Santa was taking care of business.


The wound caused by Grant tugging on a stocking...not realizing they were supported by solid brass stocking holders. Luckily, no emergency room visit was required.


Grant LOVED riding the new "quad" brought by Santa. He mastered steering pretty quick riding around the halls and kitchen of our house. Now we're placing bets on how long until he builds a ramp at the end of our steep driveway and takes his skills to the next level.


We all took turns opening presents, with Jack and Olivia taking turns playing 
"Santa" and handing out the gifts.


After all the presents were opened, we had a yummy breakfast. Then it was play time!  Lots of new things to occupy our time!


A new basketball hoop for the driveway will get lots of use. 
Jack & Grant are becoming pros already!


Olivia took this picture herself with her new camera! The dog & sunglasses are new too...


After playing outside, inside, and everywhere in between, a nap was in order.


Cooking Christmas dinner in my new "Heavenly Hostess" apron...a gift from my wonderful mother-in-law.  It was one of my favorite gifts this year!


My Christmas present - a new kitchen table. It seats more than 4 (necessary for a family of 5!) and is absolutely beautiful. I love it!

More than anything this Christmas season, I am thankful for my family.  We are healthy and happy.  We have a home, plenty of food, and all the luxuries that make life comfortable.  

I am thankful for Jesus Christ and for his life...a gift that makes all this pale in comparison.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why We Don't Give Birth To Two-Year-Olds

This has been a week where I'd consider trading my toddler in for a lump of coal. Between the fits of independence (everything from getting dressed to taking out the trash to buckling/unbuckling in the carseat warrants a scream of "I do it all by myself!"), potty-training accidents, and the messes he makes on a daily...no make that hourly...basis, my patience is worn thin.

I had a ball of yarn sitting on my stairs yesterday, just waiting for me to make a trip upstairs to put it away. Guess who found it...and  took it on a trip around the house...

Yep, you guessed it!



Through the kitchen, around the table...

across the hallway...

around the fireplace...

and back through the kitchen!

And then he smiled at me, hugged me and said "I yuv you mommy" and I thought "Terrible Two's?  What's that?"



Sunday, December 14, 2008

Olivia's Broadway Debut

Olivia is participating in StarStruck Theater's production of The Wizard of Oz.  She has a role as a munchkin and a poppy.  It has been an amazing experience for her, and we have seen her confidence and abilities increase greatly.

This past week, we received a call from a lady in our ward asking if Olivia would like to participate in our Christmas party program, singing a song from Wizard of Oz.  As a munchkin, she's singing "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead"...not exactly Christmas party fare.  But she also has learned "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".  Olivia was written into the script and given a dozen or so lines to memorize, which she did perfectly!  And when it was her time to sing, she rocked the house (I know, I sound like one of those obnoxious stage moms.  I can't help it.  I'm proud...and I thought she was amazing!)


video

The stage was decorated like an Arctic Wonderland, and the kids all did a great job.  After Olivia's singing, she was in costume as a penguin (she's the one in the red skirt, of course!)


It makes me happy to see her blossoming into a confident, talented, capable young woman. Even now, I don't know that I'd have the confidence or courage to stand up and sing in front of 200 people without a single waver in my voice.

Broadway, here she comes!

All Aboard!

The Niles Railway operates a Holiday Train each year at Christmas time. It's an old steam-run engine, and all the cars are decorated inside and out with holiday lights.



Friday night, with our good friends the Olsen's, we boarded the train for a ride.




Grant was mesmerized by the whole evening. He loved the lights, the whistle of the steam engine, the caroling, the hot chocolate...who could blame him? Hard not to get in the holiday spirit when surrounded by so much of it!



Jack made it just over halfway before drowsiness kicked in. It didn't matter that there was no real place to lay down, or that people were talking and singing all around him. That boy can sleep anywhere!



We had a great time...and were all ready for bed by the time we arrived back at the depot!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Conversations with a 5 year old




Yesterday while driving home, I had a conversation with Jack that went like this:

Jack:  Mom, if you and dad get divorced, I want to live with daddy.

Me:  Jack, daddy and I aren't getting divorced.  And if we did, and you lived with daddy, you'd have to go to day care all day every day, because daddy works really hard and is gone all day.

Jack:  Would I go to Eagle's Nest (the after school care program at his school)?

Me:  Well, if you lived with daddy, or mommy got a job, then you would have to go to Eagle's nest after school because I wouldn't be home to take care of you.

Jack:  Well, I think you should get a job then.

Me:  Why?

Jack:  Because I want to go to Eagle's Nest.

(then I pause for a minute while trying to figure out how to answer)

Jack:  Could you get a job by Friday?  Because they have movie day and popcorn on Friday at Eagle's Nest, and I want to go.  

On The First Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me...

An overpriced Noble Fir.


Growing up in Oregon, we had easy access to lush, beautiful Christmas trees, of every variety.  Each year in early December, we'd load into the family van and head out to one of several local Christmas tree farm.  We'd trek through the woods, looking for that perfect tree, which we'd then saw down, trudging back through the woods to our van to take it home.  And we usually paid under $30 for a huge tree!

After living through 13 Christmases in California, I've grown to appreciate those trees even more. When we go to our local tree lot, I always ask where the trees come from.  The answer is always the same...Oregon.  Only we pay more than double than what you'd pay to chop it down yourself!

Over the years, I've dragged Steve all over the place trying to capture that feeling of the "do-it-yourself" tree experience.  One year, when I was newly pregnant with Jack, we made the 3 hour drive to Apple Hill to a tree farm.  After over an hour of searching, we discovered that most of the trees bore more resemblance to a Charlie Brown tree than the Norman Rockwell I had in my mind.  So we settled for a halfway decent fir, tied it on the roof and headed back home.  
Olivia (4 years old) running down the aisles of a tree lot

I've finally realized that our local Home Depot or OSH Hardware store lots are the best bargains, and in the end, it doesn't really matter where we buy our tree, it's what we do with it that counts.


So after we untie it off the roof and bring it in the house, we lovingly adorn it with ornaments acquired through the years.  

Ornaments made by my mom when I was a little girl.
Made in 1979, this one is supposed to be me, with my favorite pastime...a book!

Ornaments bought commemorating a special event or occasion.  


Ornaments purchased each year for each child, which will be given to them 
as they fly the coop and start their own holiday traditions.

This is Jack's first ornament, bought when he was just a couple months old.

This year, we switched back to the retro-globe-lights of my childhood.  When they turn on, that's all you see...and it's beautiful.  


So while we may be missing out on the experience of trudging through the mud in search of the perfect tree to chop down, each year, as we add the ornaments that celebrate our lives, we watch the mediocre, overpriced tree from the hardware store transform into the Norman Rockwell of my dreams.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Match!

In June of 1996, I moved to San Bernardino, CA.  I was engaged to be married at the end of the month to a guy I met while on my mission to the Canary Islands.  We had a long distance relationship after we both got home, and based on our comfort and friendship with one another, I mistook that for something much deeper.

With just 3 weeks to go until the big day, all the preparations had been made.  I had a dress, the invitations were mailed, the reception planned completely.  Once I arrived in Southern California, my doubts began to increase exponentially.  At first, I assumed it was just normal jitters.  But it quickly became apparent that it was much more than that.  

As I was trying to figure out our relationship, I went to a temp agency to find a job.  I went on two interviews.  The first was to a Budweiser plant.  The second was to a small engineering office.  I interviewed with a man named Richard, the office leader.  Both interviews went very well.  I was qualified, personable and fit the job requirements perfectly.  Both offered me a position.  The jobs were nearly identical.  The pay was the same.  As a practicing Mormon, I felt I had a moral conflict with the beer plant.  So, I took the job with the engineering firm.

When I walked into the office the first morning, an incredibly handsome man was setting up a computer at what would become my desk.  I was momentarily speechless.  I quickly gathered my wits and introduced myself.  He stuck out his hand, and said "Hi, I'm Steve Whitaker."

(Steve, circa 1995)

Over the next few days, my engagement unraveled completely.  I was a wreck.  I didn't want to turn around and move back home - I was embarrassed to admit that I had called off my wedding.  But I didn't know a soul, other than my fiance and his family.  I found a girl in the single's ward who was looking for a roommate for 3 months.  I figured this would give me the chance to figure out what I wanted to do.

As I went to work each day, I found myself intrigued with this Steve guy.  I tried to listen closely to his office conversations.  Was he married?  Did he have a girlfriend?  I began to piece together an image of him in my mind.  He had a house in Huntington Beach.  He drove a Porche.  He was a surfer, and owned a 60's-era Harley.  

When I flew home to Portland for the weekend of my non-wedding, my parents asked me what my future plans were.  I had no idea.  I remember telling them "There's this guy at work that is extremely intriguing.  He's handsome, smart, successful, and I think he's a total player.  But I'd sort of like to find out more."  My parents FREAKED out...with good reason!

Over the next few weeks, another employee in the office named Wendy started befriending me.  She asked me questions about my broken relationship, and told me Steve was available.  She was persistent, and made it quite clear that she thought we'd be perfect for each other.  She quietly and subtly passed information to both Steve and me.  In mid-July, I found a folded note on my desk.  It said something like this:

"Alyson,
I'm not sure what the status is between you and your boyfriend.  But I know you're new in town, and probably don't have many friends.  I'd like to show you some of the sights, if you're interested.

Steve"

I was shocked.  I passed a note back to him in his office saying "That would be great!"

We had our first real date on July 11, 1996.  We went to El Torito for dinner.  It was the best first date of my life.  There were no lulls in conversation.  We had much in common, and many similar interests.

He brought me back to my apartment, walked me to the door, thanked me for a fun evening, and shook my hand.

I went inside, completely twitterpated.  And yet, absolutely terrified of getting into another  relationship so soon after calling off a wedding.

Over the next several weeks, we spent more and more time together.  We tried to keep things completely professional at work, which wasn't easy.  I remember one day going into his office to give him a message, and taking a couple steps backward as we smiled at each other.  I turned around to walk out of his office, and ran smack into the doorway.

About 6 weeks after we began dating, my temporary employment position was up for review to become permanent.  Steve and I had discussed the options, and both of us felt like it was in the best interest of our relationship for me to resign and look elsewhere for a job.  When I told Richard I was resigning, he smiled with a gleam in his eye that let me know he suspected the real reason behind me leaving.  He later told me that he knew what would happen from the moment he met me.

When we got married the next year, we invited both Richard (the boss) and Wendy (the matchmaker) to our reception.   

 Over the years, Steve and I have often talked about Wendy, and the influence she had on us and our early relationship.   She moved on to another company, and aside from the yearly holiday card, we lost contact. This past summer, she and Steve reconnected through work.

This past weekend while down in Southern California, we had dinner at Wendy's house. Richard and his wife were there as well. It was so much fun to see both of them, and to hear their sides of our love story. Wendy was so excited to see us happy together, and to meet our 3 little ones...a direct result of her matchmaking.


Of all the people who have influenced the course of my life, I am most grateful to Richard for offering me a job, and to Wendy, who knew before we did that Steve and I were a match made in heaven.

First Kiss

(I'm the towhead on the left)

I was an exceptionally shy girl, when it came to boys. In 8th grade, a boy asked me to slow dance during a school dance, and told me I looked beautiful. I couldn’t go to school for a week after that, for fear I’d see him in the halls. My mom finally wised up to my morning illnesses and forced me to face my fears.

In 9th grade, Rob K. asked me to go with him to the 9th grade graduation dance. I made my dress. It was white, with a dropped waist and pleated skirt.  The neckline was lower than we had anticipated, and I remember being a little self conscious.  

We went as a group to Nona Amelia’s Italian Restaurant for dinner, then parents drove us to the dance. I remember slow dancing to the song “Lady in Red”, with Rob changing the words to the "Lady in White".  Oh so romantic... When his mom drove me home, Rob walked me into the house.  As we stood awkwardly in the entryway, he gave me a hug, a tentative kiss (my first) and asked me to “go with him”. I said yes.

The next week marked the end of the school year. I was leaving before the last day of school to go spend a few weeks in Arizona with my dad. On my last day, Rob walked me home. We got to within a block of our home, and stopped to say our goodbyes. When Rob leaned in to kiss me goodbye, he was a little more passionate and probing than I was. My sensitive gag reflex kicked in, and I proceeded to throw up. On him. I ran off, completely mortified and embarrassed. I wanted to die.

Rob called and wrote me at my dad’s house, I couldn’t/wouldn’t talk to him. About 2 weeks into my stay there, I finally got the nerve to write him a letter and “break up”.

When school started in September, I was terrified of seeing Rob again. I was at a big high school, starting my sophomore year. As luck would have it, Rob was in my geometry class, and sat right behind me. I couldn’t even acknowledge his existence until about midway through the second semester. We never discussed what had happened, and as far as I know, he never told a soul. I’m sure it was not his most proud moment either! Now, more than 20 years later, I just look back and laugh. I’ve come a long way…

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Start of Holiday Projects!

Two of our three nieces have birthdays the week of Thanksgiving. It's become tradition over the years for us to bring their birthday gifts (even the one with the September birthday) and celebrate when we're together over the Thanksgiving holiday.

As they've gotten older, it's become increasingly difficult to know what to get them. I don't have a clue what teenage girls are into now, at least those items that fall within the limits of birthday budgets!

The past few years, I've begun buying them Christmas pajamas as their birthday gifts. They have loved them (or at least pretended to!).

This year, I was feeling a little more creative. I decided to make Christmas pillowcases to go along with the lounge pants I found on sale at Old Navy. And it just so happens that the pants match the pillowcase fabric almost perfectly!



It's hard for me to remember what it was like to be 13, 16 or 17...my memory fades a bit more with each passing year. But I'm hoping that when they open the gift, they'll get just a glimpse of the love that went into putting them together.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Snowy Days


Mid-November marked the beginning of ski season growing up. My dad was a member of the volunteer Ski Patrol at Mt. Hood in Oregon. As such, he committed to 18 patrol days over the duration of the ski season. Since he worked a full-time job during the week, that meant that pretty much every weekend was a patrol day for him.

This had its benefits. We got free ski passes too. Since money was tight for several years after my dad finished dental school, ski passes were a luxury - not a necessity.

Early each Saturday morning, we'd load into the chilly blue van for the 2 hour drive to the mountain. It felt like the middle of the night, but it was probably more like 5:00am. I can still feel and smell the heater warming up in the van as we started the drive. My brothers and I were usually snuggled up in the back under blankets, trying to catch a few extra minutes of sleep.

Halfway up to the mountain, there is a little town called Sandy. Each week, we'd stop at Joe's Donuts in Sandy for a bathroom break and an apple fritter (I don't recall ever getting anything but an apple fritter...and it weighed about 4 pounds).

Getting to the mountain long before the lifts opened at 9, we would usually hang out in the lodge or ski patrol room, trying to stay warm.

I was never an expert skier. I probably could have been, if I had had more confidence and courage. I liked to go down the blue and green runs, just cruising along. My brothers were far more adventuresome, and surpassed my abilities very quickly. My mom would bribe my youngest brother Shepard with M&M's on the chairlift if he wouldn't give up when he fell. Before long, she couldn't keep up with him. Even now, when I eat an M&M, it reminds me of the chairlift. They were just a little warm and soft, from being in her pocket, and they melted almost immediately when we popped them in our mouth.

Lunchtime came early - we were ready for a break by 10:30 or 11:00. There was always a cafeteria in the lodge, but we rarely ate the food there. My mom almost always packed a lunch for us - all kinds of yummy foods. Typically it was some sort of cheese, salami & crackers, along with fruit, usually oranges. Even the smell of orange peel on my hands takes me back in time. I remember how badly I wanted to be able to buy a greasy hamburger or bowl of chili from the cafeteria. But with 5 people in our family, that just didn't fit the budget. I was a little embarrassed when friends came along and brought money to buy their lunch, because we would always eat our food from home.

My dad didn't get to pick the days to patrol based on weather...so there were some days that were just plain miserable. I can remember being stuck on a stalled chairlift for hours one Saturday during a sleet storm. The power went out and shut down the chairlift, while I was on it. It took about 2 hours for the ski patrol to get everyone safely off. My fingers were numb, and I cried the whole way down the mountain because I was so miserable. My dad was amazingly patient. I don't remember him telling me to toughen up or yelling at me to hurry. We just took it one turn at a time, and made it down to the lodge. And he bought me a hot chocolate from the cafeteria. I don't know if a cup of hot chocolate has ever tasted better.

My parents had a difficult marriage. There was a lot of tension in the house, and a lot of unhappiness at times. I didn't really realize what was going on until I was much older. But I can look back now and identify some of those tense moments, or months. It's funny now, looking back at these Saturday excursions. I appreciate the efforts that went into making it a family event. My dad was the one with the commitment to the ski patrol. But for most of his "on" days, it was a family adventure. And in spite of the early mornings, cold days, wet clothes and home-packed lunches, it was also a time for us to be together. And that made it all worthwhile.

Storytelling

I signed up for an online class called "Stories In Hand" through Jessica Sprague's website.  It started on Monday.  The first few days were spent creating an adorable binder, full of memory "sparks", intended to jog my memory and help me capture and recount the stories of my life.  More than just the remarkable ones, many of the prompts are for the everyday events that helped shape me into the person I am today.  



Just in reading the prompts, I have recalled things I had nearly forgotten. Many good memories. Some not so good. This is an emotional journey - there are parts of my life that I would prefer to leave alone.  And yet those experiences also molded me and prepared me for the life I now lead.

Since I don't keep a handwritten journal, my blog is sort of my every day record of what's happening in my life.  And at some point, I intend to have it printed into a book (I'm sure it will be a bestseller...)

So now begins a new chapter of my blog: the storytelling one.  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Battery Charging


My mom's husband David believes there are two types of people in this world:  Battery Chargers and Battery Drainers.  

Battery Chargers are those people who leave you feeling full, content, uplifted and joyful.  They are the ones you call when you're feeling down because even though they can't fix it all, they will help you see that things really aren't that bad.

Battery Chargers are the opposite - they drain your emotional tank and leave you feeling empty.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  In my everyday life, I come across both types on an almost daily basis.

I attended a "focus group" on Tuesday night, where I participated in a discussion about our utility service.  How can that be an emotional situation, you're asking yourself, right?  Of the 7 of us in the room, plus the moderator, there were two people there who were obvious battery drainers.  Every topic that was brought to the table was met with resistance and negativity.  The most interesting part of the 90 minutes (aside from the $85 they paid me) was watching the group dynamics.  And not letting it get to me.

I try and surround myself with battery chargers.  As I do so, I feel my emotional tank swell to overflowing capacity.  And when a friend calls and wants to talk, or needs advice, or needs help, or just needs to "be", I do my best to respond in such a way that I can fill their battery in return.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Operation "Get-My-Life-Under-Control"

I grew up in a chaotic household.  My mom was always going in 100 different directions, with 100 different projects and responsibilities all in various stages of completion.  In her defense, much of it was her coping mechanism...how she dealt with the emotional chaos that existed at that time in our lives.

When I moved out and was on my own, I did well at keeping things relatively organized.  When Steve and I got married, and it was just the two of us, it wasn't too tough to pick up after ourselves. It was apparent early on that he did not do well in a chaotic environment, so I have done my best over the years to try and keep our house organized, at least the visible parts.

With three growing kids, my life is becoming increasingly chaotic.  I'm torn between wanting to give my kids experiences and opportunities for growth, and needing down time at home.  I volunteer at their school - something I feel is important for me to do right now.  I have responsibilities at church.  I have all the responsibilities that come with maintaining and nurturing a household of 5 people.  And I have dreams of my own, waiting to be pursued.

I have various places that are my "stuffing" grounds. Places that I stick things that I don't know what to do with, or don't have time to deal with right at the moment. I always tell myself that I'll go back and put it away, or find a "home" for it, and won't let it pile up. That doesn't always happen.

In order for me to feel okay about spending time on myself, on my own interests, I feel like I first need to make it a priority to establish a little more order in the house.  Today, I tackled a "stuffing ground" that has been piling up for months.

We have a little closet in our downstairs bathroom, which houses our file cabinets, along with towels, the vacuum, mop, and various other household items (including 50 pounds of food storage wheat that doesn't fit anywhere else!).  For the past several months, every time I pay bills, review bank statements, etc., I have been piling it on to the filing cabinet, or shoving it in the closet.  


This afternoon, I turned on a movie for the boys and dug in.  It didn't really take that long to get it all filed and straightened up.  I finished before the movie was over.  And yet it has felt like such a burden for so long...


Now my task is to keep it looking this way.  If I file the papers as they come, they don't pile up.  A few minutes on a daily basis to maintain order is far better than hours of creating it.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Now let's see if I can stick to it!


What Does The Cow Say?

Grant is a charmer, and knows how to make people laugh.  He's recently discovered how funny it is to mix up the animal sounds.  His rooster impression is my favorite!

video

Small Successes

Friday marked the end of my 10-week online weight loss challenge.  I went into it thinking I could win.   Enough hours spent at the gym and running, coupled with watching my diet would do the trick.  3500 calories burned = 1 pound lost, right? 


In the end, I lost 7.5 pounds, and 3.63% of my body weight.   Not quite the 15-20 pounds I had hoped for, but I'm happy.  I was far from being the winner - she lost 14% of her body weight. Good for her!  

Along the way, I realized that this is a lifestyle thing - not just a 10 week contest.  I think I'm ready to commit to a more healthy all-the-time way of living.  

I have a tendency to sabotage myself, losing a couple of pounds, then eating something just for the sake of eating it, like an entire bag of peanut butter M&M's.  And telling myself I can work out extra tomorrow to make up for it.  Not the healthiest habit, I'm aware.  I know that I have to have splurges - treats to look forward to - in order to make life livable.  So from here on out, I'm going to TRY to make the splurges my rewards for a week of eating healthy.  And I'm NOT going to gain back that 7.5 pounds.  They're gone for good.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Winds of Change


Last night as I sat glued to my seat watching the election results unfold, I was grateful to be alive at this time, and grateful for the opportunity to live in a democracy.

This was my 5th time voting in a Presidential Election.  The first time was when Clinton ran and won.  I remember being excited at that time to be able to participate in electing a president.  I don't remember who I voted for (shows you what an impact that vote had on me!), but I remember waiting in the poll line in Provo with a bunch of my friends, thinking it was the coolest thing to be able to vote.

The following three presidential elections were rather insignificant to me.  I didn't have strong views, or even really know and understand the candidates different perspectives.  I also didn't feel that my vote necessarily mattered that much.

This time around however, I felt deeply inclined to learn about the candidates, and try and make a truly informed decision.  Not just one that might personally benefit me, but that had the potential to improve our nation...our nation that has sunk deeper and deeper into peril the past 8 years.

I'm a registered Republican.  I have almost always voted along my party lines.  My parents were Republicans when I was growing up (I think my mom has now changed to Democrat).  My grandparents were Republicans.  The conservative views in the past have more closely aligned with my morals and values.  In some elections, I checked the box next to "Republican" just because I was Republican, not because I understood the platform the candidate was representing.

This time around however, I switched sides.  I voted for Barack Obama.  And I'm proud of it.  I'm optimistic that he has what it takes to inspire, motivate and challenge us to become better individuals, and as such, become a better nation.  I am proud that we as a country have pushed past the Black-White barriers that have prevailed for so many years, and have elected a man based on what he stands for rather than the color of his skin.  

As I listened to his acceptance speech last night, I was touched.  I actually teared up a couple of times (I know, no surprise).  I have faith that he will make good on his promises.  It is not an easy road that lies ahead.  And I do not expect him to be perfect, nor to wave a magic wand and make everything magically better.  But I have hope that we,  the democracy that has elected him (by a landslide, I might add) will step up to the plate and support him, and accept him, as the 44th President of the United States of America.  And together, I think we can accomplish greatness.

P.S.  I'm thrilled about Prop 8 passing, even if by a slim margin.  Once again proof that the Lord does indeed have a hand in what happens here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Re-Cap


It's the Monday after Halloween.  

Here's what I accomplished over the weekend:
  1. Took the kids Trick-or-Treating and didn't eat all their candy!
  2. Attended friends Halloween party, and managed to convince my hubby to come too.
  3. Halloween decorations boxed up and put away until next year.
  4. 5 loads of laundry, all folded and put away.
  5. Picked up the entire house and put things where they belong (I don't know why I bothered, because you already can't even tell).
  6. Spent 2 glorious hours alone with Olivia at the mall.  Shared pretzel & hot chocolate.  She helped me pick out lipstick.  I helped her pick out some new brown shoes and a darling sweater.
  7. Attended church and left feeling better than when I arrived.  My Primary lesson even came off without a hitch.
  8. Joined Facebook and re-discovered friends from all over the place.  Who knew?
  9. Sewed 5 "Poppy" capes for Olivia's play.
  10. Cooked dinner for my family, and made enough so I don't have to cook tonight.
  11. Got almost enough sleep.
There's a big list of things I didn't get done.  But I'm remaining optimistic that they'll get done before the end of the millenium.  That's all I can hope for.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eek! A Spider!

I am the room-mom in Jack's class, and as such, am partially responsible for the variety of class celebrations.  

Last night, I spent nearly 2 hours making 36 of these little darlings:


This morning, I cut up some fruit and got the games together, stashing everything in the hallway so I wouldn't forget anything, all while Grant was playing up in his room. Or so I thought.

When I went to load up the car, this is what I found:

Notice that the chocolate chips are missing off of nearly every single spider!

And look who was caught red-handed:

After severely chastising him, and sticking him in the bathroom, out of harms way (meaning out of my way), I hurried to the kitchen to throw some new spiders together before running out the door.

The party was a success - at least in the eyes of 30 5-year olds!

After the party, it was time to put on costumes and line up for the annual school Halloween Parade! Escorted by a real fire engine, and genuine motorcycle cops, all 230 students lined up, along with teachers and parents for the brief parade route through the town streets. We were accompanied by the middle school band, playing the same 3 songs over and over.

Jack is dressed as Captain America towards the back of the line.

Grant was adorable dressed as Elmo. 
He couldn't wait to get out of his costume.

Tonight we'll attend our church Halloween party, and then enjoy a candy-filled 3 day weekend. Can woman live on chocolate alone?  We shall see.