Wednesday, June 25, 2008

10 things about the kids

I'm in need of some good news, so I decided to be proactive and create my own. Here are just a few little things about my kids that make me happy.

1) They love to play the 'quiet game' and play it with vigor. They will seriously be quiet in the car for 10+ minutes while we play the game. I love it!

2) They think that driving around town is the ultimate game of 'red light, green light'. :) It sure makes stoplights fun.

3) They like to make suprises for Dave and I. For instance, they made us smiley faces out of food (grapes, cheeze-its, pringles, etc).

4) I made thermometer charts for them to earn $30 each towards the Hannah Montana concert (Stadium of Fire) that we are going to up in Utah. They have dilligently been cleaning baseboards, doing homework (it is summer), babysitting Teya so I can get things done, picking up things in the backyard, etc. It has been a great incentive.

5) They will do almost anything for a popsicle or for a swim.

6) Family Home Evening is their favorite night of the week. They love to choose out a lesson, play games, and, of course, have a treat!

7) They actually are ASLEEP most nights by 7:45 or 8:00 p.m. Seriously.

8) Eden can now get everyone breakfast by herself -- get the cereal, bowls, pour the milk. It is great!

9) They can turn ordinary couch cushions and blankets into amazing forts, hideouts, and even silly dance stages. (see video).

10) They still want me to help them choose out their clothes, do their hair, etc. I know that will change!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I recently read my sister's blog about how productive she was in one day. I don't think I've ever been that productive -- ever. So, I got to thinking about why I'm not that productive. Here are a few reasons:

1) I will spend 5 minutes re-arranging dishes in the dishwasher to fit in that last cup instead of taking 15 seconds to just hand-wash that cup. (So, I'm down 4 minutes 45 seconds)

2) When given the option of doing ANYTHING productive or taking a nap, I opt for the latter. (Down another 1 1/2 hours) I justify this because I have never been able to sleep well at night, so I'm always tired by the time my 2 year old goes down for the afternoon.

3) I love to read and I get really into my books. I put off laundry, dishes, etc. by saying, "I'll get to all that as soon as I've finished this book". When I finish a book, I will get caught up on the necessities just enough to start a new book... (endless hours)

4) Tivo. Enough said. (The time 'saved' by not watching commercials is far outweighed by the number of shows I can now watch). (Down about 2 hours, though not every day)

5) Scrapbooking. As I've strived to 'improve' my scrapbooking ability, I find that I now spend twice as much time on any given layout -- thus getting half as much done! (down at least 30 extra minutes a page).

6) Cleaning. How, might you ask, is this not being productive? The way I 'clean' is. I will start into a pile of papers or stuff that needs to be put away. Hours later, I'm walking down memory lane or am completly side-tracked by something in the pile. (down a few hours, and a bigger mess than the one I started with).

7) Blogging. A few months ago, I barely knew this existed. Now, I love to check to see if anyone has commented on my blogs (hint-hint), and check out my friends and family. This has been so fun to feel a part of my far-away friends' lives, that I really shouldn't say this is counter-productive. But, I do spend more time on the internet than ever before... (10 minutes here, 15 minutes there...)

So, there are 7 reasons I lose out on about 8 hours each day! No wonder I'm not that productive. Speaking of productivity... I better sign off.


Okay, so WHILE I was typing away at not being productive, my two oldest kids surprised me by cleaning their bathroom without me even asking them! How's that for productivity!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Great Brain

Have you ever read this series? I remember reading them all and loving them as a child. So, during our latest trip to the library, we checked one out and I've been reading it to the kids. It's about a boy, Tom, who has a 'great brain' that is always solving things and finding out creative ways to make money. Maybe this is how I got interested in finance? Hopefully the kids are enjoying reading these as well.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Splash n Dash or Drown n Die

So, the Saturday after the Exodus (mind you, we were EXHAUSTED from the Exodus), we were roped into doing a biathlon/swim and run. Dave did it with me this time! Yeah! He should be writing this blog, since this is really his story.

Our race was a 1/2 mile swim, again in Tempe Town Lake, and then a 4K run. My friend Janae Samuelson did it -- she swam for BYU and is an excellent runner. Our friend Aaron Barrett also did it. Now, Dave and Aaron have never really swam long distances -- ever. They just thought they'd start out their swimming careers by swimming 1/2 mile in a big lake during a race. We all donned our bright orange swim caps and got in. Janae was off and we didn't see her again until she was almost done with the run portion. I struggled, as always during the swim, thinking I was one of the last ones out. When I was putting on my shoes, I noticed, with a bit of worry, that both Aaron's and Dave's shoes were still in our transition area.

According to Dave, this is what happened. He swam about 20 yards, realized he was going to drown and die, so he swam over to the edge of the lake and sat on the concrete siding. He looked up about 20 feet to see Aaron doing the same thing. People on the side were shouting all sorts of comments about how he needed to swim. He ignored them all and just got back in and tried to breast stroke or back stroke the rest of the way. Every so often, both he and Aaron had to rest on the side. For most of the race, the ASU kayak was following Dave. He was on his back, taking his sweet time getting through the water, and asked, "Am I last? Is that why you are following me?" They looked around and simply nodded. At the last turn, Dave made a push for it and passed Aaron and a 78 year old Grandma.

Aaron, who is a runner, passed Dave and a few others on the run. Dave stuck with it, and never let the grandma pass him. He finished the race second to last! Afterwards, both Aaron and Dave were in awe of those of us who had done the triathlon. They have new-found respect for swimming. I am SO happy that we did this race. It was a fun memory -- and to hear Dave tell the story, with hand motions, and facial expressions is just priceless!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Exodus

Dave and I were asked several months ago to be parents for our stake youth Exodus (essentially a trek). We accepted not knowing quite what we were getting into. Our bishop kept saying how it was a life-changing experience, no words can describe it, etc. And, he was right. But, I'm going to try to describe lots of it, as best as I can.

We started out with a fireside Sunday night where the music and words spoken were so full of the spirit. We went home excited to be a part of the adventure.

4:30 a.m. Monday came too soon. We showered for the last time for a few days, and got dressed in our Old Testament garb -- regular clothes with a tunic covering them, a sash, and a headdress. We all met at the parking lot at 5:15 and were assigned our 'families'. Dave and I had 12 wonderful kids; 6 boys and 6 girls. We loaded our stuff on the bus and soon we were off for the 3 hour drive up into the mountains.

Our handcarts were 6X8 feet with two huge steel wheels. Once we had it all loaded with the tarp covering it and tied down, we were off. The trails were very rocky and muddy from the recent rain/snow. The wind was cold, but the physical effort kept us warm. We had been going about 2 miles when a stake helper tracked us down and told us we were going the wrong way. So, we turned around and went back and went a different, much more rocky path. After about 1 1/2 miles on this new trail, another stake leader came riding up on a horse and told us we were really lost and off the trail. Turns out we had been on the right trail to begin with and the other helper was simply misinformed. (It wasn't part of the 40 years wandering, it was a mistake). So, we all got to add a few miles to the first days' allotment. No one was happy about that! But, that is how life goes sometimes.

Mt. Sinai was incredible. It was this mountain -- about a 60 degree incline with pretty much boulders. They had a belay rope at the top that they tied onto our handcart so it wouldn't fall down. It required most of our ward to get each cart up. We would all help to get one cart up, then go back down the hill, and help with the next cart. I was on wheel duty one of the times and would be lucky to help it turn inches at a time.

We stopped to drink from water out of the rock and later some of us were biten by fiery serpents (in the form of candy as temptation).The only other thing I remember about Monday is how tired I was at the end of the day. I yearned for sleep during the evening fireside -- longed for my sleeping bag. It got down around 26 degrees that first night. Fortunately, my friend had lent me a really warm sleeping bag.

Tuesday was the most incredible day. We just had classes and a few activities right there at the campsite. But each class was so wonderful. We learned straight from the Old Testament all about the law of sacrifice, obedience, about the temples and tabernacles and about how leprosy is a parallel to spiritual sin. My favorite class was about the cleansing process of a leper. It made the atonement more personal and real for me than any other experience has.

That night we had a dance -- DJ and all. Dave impressed leaders and kids alike with his dancing skills. I just tried to keep up.

Wednesday came too soon -- after dancing til almost midnight! We got up and packed our handcarts and we ready to go when a man came and took away all the men to go fight against the Midionites. So, me and my six daughters headed out up another LONG hill (about 1/2 mile), not as steep as Mt. Sinai, but just as rocky. It was TOUGH. My girls did great. I was in the middle behind the cart just pushing with all my might, oblivious to what was going on around me. I was so focused on the ground and getting over each rock, that I didn't realize when all of sudden it got much easier to push. I thought angels were literally helping us. I looked up and it was the men in our group who had come to help us. They truly were angels!

The rest of the day was wonderful -- listening to counsel from our Stake President, participating in a life-changing testimony meeting with the youth, and pulling into the 'promised land'.

We didn't get home till about 6:30 p.m. that night and my shower never felt so heavenly! This was truly a great experience that I'm so grateful I got to share with Dave.
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