Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Carved in Wood...

Remember our new Family Motto for 2012?
And remember when I said I needed to get ahold of Hallmark
n' see if they might have it on a plaque?
Leave it to my BFF, Nan to get the job done:

 I know, right?
Let us recite the mantra 
of the
"Don't Suck" motto:

1- I will do my part.
2- I will be a good example.
3- I will serve others.
4- I will do what other people who don't suck do.

While other families are probably making the same goals for 2012
and wrapping it all up in warm fuzzy words,
(remember, I wanted it to be "Bring 'em In")
we're apparently not having that warm n' fuzzy stuff
around here.
We're going for BOLD, BLUNT, To-The-Point.
Don't Suck.
SO let it be written,
so shall it be done.

What about your family's 2012 motto?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Once More With Feeling...

I totally forgot that I submitted this post for the MMB--
go over and leave a comment FCOL.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Family Motto for 2012

SO, I'm layin' in bed next to Mr. Wonderful,
whose watchin' football on the tube,
and I say,
"Hey. I have an idea. Open your ears and listen, k?"

(I had to say that, cause his eyes were focused on the New Orleans' Saints
kickin' some other teams' bahooey
and I really really wanted to share my BIG IDEA
before it escaped into the revolving door of my memory.)

"So, I was thinkin' about having a family motto this next year, right?"


"I was thinkin' we should call it, "BRING 'EM IN"--you know, invite more people into our home--
get to know more people so we can ya know, serve'em n' such. Whaddya think?"

Without taking his eyes off the TV, Mr. W says:

"I have a better idea. How 'bout 'DON'T SUCK' " ?

"Really? "Don't Suck"?  How does this look in practice? What's the inspiration?

"Don't Suck--Do your part, be a good example, serve others-- do what other people who don't suck do."

Anyone know where I can get a plaque made?
Hold On while I call Hallmark.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Flurries

You know my favorite kind of snowstorm?
The kind that I don't have to go out into.
We're having that kind of day here today
at the foothills of Pikes Peak.
My world is truly a winter wonderland here
and I'm loving it.

(our neighbor's house across the street--isn't it festive?)
This is my favorite Colorado--
snow fallin' like nobody's business,
the houses that line our street are covered in white
and the glow of Christmas tree lights twinkling
makes everything feel a bit magical.

This week, we baked a few dozens of our favorite cookies--
eaten as much as we've given away, truth be told here,
and enjoyed every little bit.

I am getting those tingly feelings inside
that began when I was just a little girl
on Christmas morning--
you know those feelings, right?
Tickle-y, nervous, anxious about what's-going-to-be- 
under-the-tree- kinda feelings?
Christmas flurries.
I've already got them.
Present planning and wrapping,
menu planning and making,
having most of our yahoos home
to share this holiday with--
all of it, 
adds to my Christmas flurries.

We're ready to go.
I've shared before that we observe 
The Four Gifts of Christmas--
but I'll share again what that is:

Each person receives FOUR gifts...

*Gold: Something Special, something asked for or truly needed. “worth gold” in sentiment. (wrap it in gold paper/bag!)
*Frankincense: Something Spiritual/Inspiring for the individual.
*Myrhh: Something to encourage the individual’s talents or hobby.
*Santa Claus: Something whimsical, fun, unexpected. (wrap it in cartoon paper/bag ie: santa, snowman; make it FUN!)

So that there are not disappointments on Christmas morning, I have the children write their letters to Santa, listing 5 different possible gifts in each category.  That way, there are still surprises, and I feel free to put a "twist" on certain gifts if I want to.  We adopted this tradition about 8 years ago, and I really like it. The oldest kids have continued it into their adulthood and families as well.  So that says something, I think.

Gift Ideas:
A year ago, we gave Diana her temple slippers for a Frankincense gift, with a personal handwritten note with the thought that "all roads lead to the temple" attached.
For a Myrhh gift: I ordered special art prints from the Victoria and Albert Museum. for both Dani and Diana.
As a Gold gift, we once surprised Dara with a new stereo.  It wasn't on her list at all, but she went wild opening it!
Last year, we gave Joseph and Arianna mountain climbing gear for their Myrhh gifts and they were surprised and excited.

Anyway, that's how we observe gift-giving in our family.

Christmas Eve has it's own traditions too--Mr. W brought some with him as he came into our family. One is to cook tritip steaks and crablegs. It's evolved so that we may or may not have tri-tip steak--we've made bechamel lasagna instead, but we almost always have crablegs, if we can help it.  The kids love that tradition for some reason.  And we allow one gift to be opened Christmas eve too--it won't be one of the Four, but usually it's the gift from the person who drew their name for a family gift. 

Man, I'm getting excited just thinking about what's coming the next few days, aren't you?!!

What gives you Christmas flurries?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


“God does watch over us and does notice us, 
but it usually through someone else 
that he meets our needs.
~Spencer W. Kimball

Have you ever felt like,
no matter which way you look
there are blessings to be seen and felt
all around you?
And, even more than that,
those blessings are there because of the good people
that grace your life?

I'm feeling that way lately.
This December has been nearly "magical" for me--
mainly because of really awesome friends
who've shown me in a zillion different ways
that I matter to them.
That my family is important to them.

We have the most amazing home teacher,
he's also the Stake Patriarch.
And every time he comes into our home
we feel our Savior's love for us.
When he has obliged to give one of us a blessing,
it's like heaven itself is streaming
through his hands
and when he's finished
we are soaking wet with heavenly distillation.
We love him.
Lord knows, we've needed him
and he lets us need him.
Which is awesome.

My menu-sharing sisters are so wonderful--
I can't say enough about how much I appreciate being a part of their group.
There've been days when making dinner was the last thing on my mind
and it's okay because I knew a warm, delicious meal 
would still be served for my family.
I can't believe I've never done this before,
but I plan on doing this until I die.
We all got together last night,
at one gal's home 
with our families
and sat around eating and laughing
and getting to know one another.
We have more in common than being mothers
and it's made my life sweeter.

Since my accident,
I've gotten to know the staff at my chiropractor's office.
Sweet, kind women who are patient with me
when I forget my appointment time
and go the extra mile to make sure 
I don't miss out on my healing altogether.
They call, they write messages,
they smile when I am a few minutes late.
They don't know how much I appreciate their grace,
but I really do.

My one true consistent blessing is my friend, Nan.
She's the kind of friend that I can call for anything,
any time, any where.
I can show up at her house in my pj's,
and do crafts.
I can call her for any reason at all,
and if she can, she'll do whatever I need at that moment.
She saves her old magazines, Deseret News, and Church News
for me.
If I'm late picking up Arianna from school,
Ari knows she can walk to Sister J.'s house and wait.
And Ari knows she will be lovingly welcomed inside by the same sister
she used to sit upon her lap when she was in Nursery 10 years ago.
This past week, Nan and her husband Clay cut a ton of wooden ornaments
for each of my yahoos to sand and paint--
just because.
Dani, Nana, Daisie, Joseph and Ari
all of them--
have gone over and painted ornaments this past week.
My children asked me, just a minute ago,
if we're going back today.
Nan makes sure I keep my hair appointments,
she reminds to do all kinds of things
that I might mention in passing--
she doesn't forget or miss a thing.
She even mails me cards that say funny things like
"Friends are God's way of apologizing for the family we've been sent to."
I love you, Nan.
Thank you for letting me.

My Mr. Wonderful is the best man in the world
for me.
He speaks my "love language" fluently.
We went to his company Christmas party last weekend
and he made sure I had a great time.
Sucha a fun date!
As his team came over and introduced themselves to me,
they were gracious and lovely--
most of them are immigrants from Russia and Laos,
so their english is not very good,
but there was no mistaking their smiles.
I was proud to be at Mr. W's side, you know?
He's a good man.

Christmas is in 5 days.
Five! Can you even believe it?
I hope you can soak in as much joy and wonder
as the desert in a rainstorm
before the season is over.
I'm heading down to the kitchen, 
crankin' up my new Michael Buble Christmas cd,
 and start making a few dozen batches of cookies
with the yahoos.
This is my kind of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Blessing for Isaac

I almost forgot that we'd taken pics of Isaac's blessing
on Thanksgiving Day!

Mr. Idaho's family gathered from Idaho, Nebraska and Utah
with ours in Golden, Colorado
and we went to a little chapel there,
just our two little families,
and Mr. Idaho, Granpa Idaho, Brother Idaho,
and Mr. Wonderful
took that little baby boy in their arms and
gave him a name and a blessing.
 A name and a blessing explained:
It is not a baptism of the child, but an ordinance performed by (usually) the child's father who holds the Melchizedek Preisthood.  Other men are invited to join him in a circle--those men also hold the same priesthood--and the ordinance is actually a prayer to Heavenly Father, to bless the child according to the guidance given by the Holy Ghost.  It's not a set prayer and each blessing is as different and unique as each child.
 Most often, the child is blessed with physical and mental health and strength,
spiritual gifts and understanding,
and other blessings like a love for family and God.
 A "name" is given--it is always the child's legal name which he/she shall be known by through this mortal life and on the records of the Church, that has been chosen by the child's parents.

The blessings of babies usually occurs on the first Sunday of each month,
but as was the case here, it was delayed until Mr. Idaho's family could attend and participate in it.
A member of Dani's Bishopric made special arrangements to meet our families at the church to witness
the ordinance and then we all headed back to their place for dinner.

Danielle shared her birth story here.

A Little Bit of Help

On the way to Church Sunday
the two youngest were going at each other 
with familiar jibes most of the way there
until I had had enough and said over my shoulder:
"Enough! You guys be quiet."
Then began the exchanges of
"[He/she] started it!"
I tossed over my shoulder,
"I said 'enough' and I mean it. Be nice!"


The Arianna turned to Joseph and said, 
in a very southern-drawl way,
"You is smaht. You is kiiiinnd. You is importahnt."

We laughed all the way to Church with tears rolling down our cheeks.

I love that yahoo.

Monday, December 12, 2011


A few years ago,
my friends Nan, Kelly, Marilyn and I
went to Denver to see Time Out for Women.
We stayed the night in a hotel up there too
and had such a great time together--
enjoying the conference and each other's company.
When it came time for bed though,
that's when I first learned that some of us were
experiencing menopause.
There were two beds in the bedroom,
and a sofa bed in the front room.
Marilyn had her own room.
SO I shared the bedroom with one of my friends,
who shall remain nameless,
and the other friend got the sofa bed, her choice.

The one in the front room had the a/c going,
while the one in my room was having a heat stroke
in the middle of the night,
as she sat on the edge of the bed sweating like popsicle in July.
I was alternately hot and cold and thought
there must be something wrong with the hotel's thermostat.

It's been three years since that night...
and I've learned it's not the thermostat on the wall that's calling the shots,
but my own internal thermostat that's ruled by my hormones.
My bedtime routine has become comical.
The other night,
as I put my cotton pj top on over my fleece pj bottoms--
(I can't wear the fleece top because it gets too warm)
then put on fuzzy socks,
then turned on a little fan next to my bed
that has a sheet, a matelasse cover, and a quilt,
as I was doing all of the this--
I looked over to my husband, Mr. Wonderful,
to see only his face from the nose up, was uncovered.
He looked like he was sleeping in the arctic wind tunnel.
I let out a chuckle,
and he said,
"You flashin' tonight?"
I knew he meant "hot flashes" and said with a laugh,
"Yeah, I guess I am."

Truth is, I'm like a bad Katy Perry song,
"I'm flashin' hot then I'm flashin' cold" all night long.
Some nights, I end up shedding the fleece pants;
others they're on 'til daylight.
The socks also come and go--
I mostly end up keeping one foot out side of the covers,
and one sock ends up on the floor,
but not the foot that's in the open air.
No, that foot has to keep a sock on it.
The covers themselves are ruled by my flashin' schizophrenia
all night long, travelling up and down my body hourly.
My poor husband ends up with whatever is left.
And he doesn't complain about it.
No kidding.
I have to keep the fan on,
for two reasons:
first, it keeps the flashin' night sweats (ew!) under control.
Secondly, I have found that white noise helps my flashin' insomnia
so I sleep better.
The temperature in our bedroom
that is built over the garage and is usually cooler anyway,
is certainly, at least, ten degrees cooler than the rest of the house.
If I had a little vent straight up from the garage bays
that I could open next to my bed,
I would probably try that.
Probably. Until I get too cold.

I've also noticed that my attitude is definitely affected by these flashin' hormones--
my usually warm and patient self
can be "testy" at times.
I revert back to my 13-year-old self I think,
where I do indeed wish the world revolved around me.
I know. I know. It's ridiculous. Preposterous, even.
But in my head, I hear the Willy Wonka girl, Veronka:
"Give it to me! Give it to me NOW!"

There's always seems to be a flood of tears just under the surface--
and I hate that. Hate it.
My recent car accident really affected those emotions too.
I have been an emotional boob to the nth degree.
It ain't pretty, sisters.

In a personal quest to find out more about menopause,
I've been surfing the www alot--
and while I'm not using all of my plumbing and am so so so ready for some of these parts
to hit their expiration date,
there's also the concern of wondering what my new post-flashin' self will end up like,
you get me?
The www isn't helping.
I have alot of questions!
Serious questions that need answers.
Like, how crazy will I end up?
Remember Aunt Esmerelda on "Bewitched"--
the bumbling, mumbling gray-haired witch who couldn't remember all the right words to spells?
She was nuts, right? Or maybe just menopausal, because I think I many be related to her.
Or how about Bernice Clifton, on "Designing Women" when she wore a Christmas tree skirt AS a skirt?
Was she crazy or just menopausal?
I look around at the older gals I know and this is what I noticed--
they're all much quieter than younger women...
I can't decide if it's because with age comes wisdom
and they're just happy watching the world go by
if they're quietly plotting a secret getaway and just gritting their teeth
at the stupidity around them!
Or, and here's where I am sorta thinking will be my case--
they' just aren't sure where they are or how they got there!

I don't get this stage of life.
Just when I've figured life out--
you know, what's important,
what counts,
how many calories are in a Snickers bar, etc.--
just when I've found my strengths,
my dang hormones get to flashin' and ruins my stride!
I've always welcomed my birthdays--every one--
I like the idea of getting older,
but the reality is precarious.

Okay, that's all I got.
Time to make my bed and look for the sock I lost last night.

Enjoy this:

Monday, December 5, 2011

If You Give A Boy An Axe: A Christmas Tree Story

Lessons come along all the time, even when you're just busy living life
and don't see 'em coming...

Last Saturday, we piled the whole family into the Sub
layered with winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves
bundled up for the wintry weather, with the temperatures in the low teens
and a few inches of snow on the ground and still falling
then headed out to cut our own Christmas tree at a local tree farm.

Where we walked and walked and walked around
several acres looking for the perfect tree.
See every one's faces?
Cold and frozen, but happy!
The problem was evident for me
as soon as we got to the tree farm--
these were not the kind of trees
I was expecting--
most were easily over 20' high.
But, we were hoping to find
just one
to claim as our own.
After a half hour in the below-freezing temps,
the oldest kids took the babies and headed back to the car...
I was ready to go too,
as I realized there simply wasn't a tree there
that would fit.
There was just one problem--
when you give a 12 year old boy an axe
in a forest of trees,
he's going to want to use it.
Ain't that the truth?
It's hard to tell an axe-carrying boy
that he can't use it.
even if he might not understand that a 20' tree in nature isn't going to look like--
a Christmas Tree at home.
I told him we could go to Home Depot and get one there,
but he didn't want that choice--
not when he's got a perfectly good axe in his hand.
Mr W and I stayed in the forest and walked around
until we came across one that seemed the best choice
and I was too frozen and tired to keep looking:
We gave Joseph the "go ahead"
and he was thrilled!
Chop, Chop, Chopping with the axe at first
Then the little saw,
provided by the tree farm guy:
It was tricky for a novice lumberjack:

This is the tree as it stood in the earth:
Same tree, cut in half, as it stood in our dining room,
because it was too huge to fit in the family room, after we'd added lights:
It was pretty awful.
we'd just watched
"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
the night before,
so we put on our thinking caps
and decided we'd make do with our
"Charlie Brown Tree"--
I was determined to make it beautiful!

But, we only had 3 strands of lights that worked,
because until this year, we had a pre-lit artificial tree
and didn't really know how many strands of lights we own.
I had a can of "snow" that I thought would add "something"--
I didn't know what that something might be,
but something.
Nope, still awful, pitiful, even.
There were so few branches
and so many "holes"
we thought adding some fabric garland might fill it in,
so I got some out and Dani and Nana and I began ripping it into shreds
and tying it in knots
going for a "primitive country" look:
We sang and laughed our guts out
and put on happy "who-cares" kinda faces.

Poor Joseph,
realizing that his desire to cut a tree
overshadowed what the tree's purpose was,
felt awful.
"Mom, can we please go to Home Depot and get a different tree?"
He asked several times.
I shook my head and said,
"No, this is what we have and we'll make do."
Diana added, "It doesn't matter how ugly the tree is,
there's still going to be presents under it."
The girls and I kept adding ornaments to it
until there was nothing more left to do.
I stood back,
shrugged my shoulders
"it is what it is"
and started cleaning up.

Joseph had gone to his room feeling disappointed.

So did Mr. W and I.

I kept my thoughts to my self overnight
wondering what to do.
Christmas is a celebration and
this was not going to add to the celebration
at all.
Not the way I wanted to start it,
at least.

in the morning,
when Mr W and I were lying in bed awake,
I suggested that he take Joseph to Home Depot
and the two of them choose a better tree for the family
to help Joseph sort of redeem himself.
Mr W agreed.

Last night they did just that
and brought home a beautiful tree that we'll decorate tonight
after dinner.

The lessons have been learned.
Keep the big picture in mind.
Don't be blinded by what's in front of you,
when you've got an axe in your hand.
Respect nature--
it's not going to change once you get your hands on it,
no matter what.
Charlie Brown's tree was magic.
Thank goodness for do-overs!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tell it From the RoofTops!

It's back!
My brain is back in town!
The fog has been lifted three whole days
and man! what a feelin'!
I can think whole thoughts again
and as Diana put it to our home teachers,
"speak in full sentences".


I have things to do!
Tonight is our ward's Relief Society Christmas party
and I'm helping to set-up for that
and even participate in the little program too.

I'm really happy,
can you tell?
Am I using enough exclamation marks??!!!