Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Song for the Day

This is the song running through my crazy little brain today. It won't embed, so click on the link and enjoy!

I guess I'm anticipating the aging of my children with a little bit of melancholy today. I can age away, but for them, it's all bittersweet.

Dinner's On...Already

Since soccer season started,...let's see...that was....August, I have been a total slacker when it comes to getting dinner on the table. Some days we've taken picnic dinner with us. Some days we've had sandwiches or soup as we've run out the door. Some days we've picked up pizza or Taco Bell. And some days, we've just eaten after (that can be super late some nights). But today...yes today, when soccer season is more than halfway over, I have it TOGETHER!

I know...shocking!

I made dinner while I was getting A his lunch. T got up at 5:30am, so he's down for a nap for a little bit longer here. Here's what's for dinner in the Madhouse:

Pam's (my sister-in-law's) Teriyaki Chicken

In a crockpot, I put boneless, skinless chicken breasts, some minced garlic, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of low-sodium soy sauce, and 1 cup of water.

I set the crockpot on low for about 6 hours.

In my rice cooker, I put 2 cups of long grain brown rice (I have finally won my family over to brown rice from white), and 3 cups of water. It waits in the rice cooker until dinner's ready.


Pam also adds fresh minced ginger to it sometimes too. Makes it really yummy. I just never have that on hand. Oh, I have also seen this made with 7-up (you leave out the sugar and the water and just throw in soy sauce and 7-up). Never tried it myself, but I've had it before.

With this I will serve corn and probably some cut up apples.

Much too sane for the Madhouse.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This Week - What I'm Looking Forward To

Here's what lies ahead for this week:

  • Apples

I have a tree outside by bedroom window that is overflowing with apples. Before this window existed, I would forget about this tree because it was out the side of the house, and until last year, there were no windows there. Now, I love sleeping with the window open. I can hear the apples drop. Well, this is the week. Wednesday, I'm going to climb the tree and get as many apples as I can. It will then be time to make and can applesauce and pie filling. I wasn't raised by "pioneer" people. My mom was a convert to the church, I kind of figure canning is an LDS tradition from those who have learned generation after generation. So, it's still something I'm learning to do.

The only thing that scares me about this undertaking is that this same tree, many years ago, had a beehive somewhere near it. When B was about 18 months old, he was running out with the kids in the yard, got too close to the tree, and about seven bees stung him that day. It didn't help that he had a very sweet smelling dirty diaper on. They got down into the diaper and stung him on the rump a number of times. Poor little guy. I remember getting him up on the deck and yanking his clothes off him as fast as I could while trying to get the bees to back off. So, needless to say, I'm just a little nervous about the bees on Wednesday, so be praying for me, okay?

  • Girl Scouts

DJ has been waiting to get into a Girl Scout troop forever. I did Girl Scouts with Q, but we have just not been lucky enough to find the right troop for DJ...until now. This week, we get to venture out and get her vest and the beginning badges. I'm very excited for her. Sounds like this troop is very active with field trips etc. She's looking forward to a trip horseback riding on Halloween.

Team trophies

I am the team mom for B's soccer team. I've never done this before. I've planned an end of season party once. That wasn't a big deal, so I volunteered this year to do this. I've got to get over to the trophy shop and get something figured out for the boys.

  • VTing

With soccer season going on, we have practices every night of the week. It's hard to find a time to go visiting teaching. This Wednesday, after Mutual, we're going--October 1st. I really love going; it's just a challenge right now.

  • Coupon shopping

I had so much fun grocery shopping last week. I saved a bundle using coupons. I was excited to have the Sunday paper arrive at my house. I recycle all but the ads. I'm looking forward to clipping the little money savers and filing them in my notebook. Thanks again Rebecca for all of your help. I really don't know all the great secrets yet, but I'm hoping to get a good andle on this soon. It's just fun to watch the money drop off the subtotal as those coupons are scanned. So fun!

  • ComedySportz

G's birthday celebration is Friday night. He's a BLAST of a kid. So funny and smart and athletic. So like his dad. I just love him to pieces! He chose to go to ComedySportz for his birthday this year. So, G, Z, G's good friend and his parents and I get to go. Z and I went there for a date once. It was so fun. Can't wait to go again!

G's birthday

G's actual birthday is Saturday. With soccer games, General Conference and his kindness in letting his sister party with her friends on his night, we decided to celebrate a day early. I'm sure he's not sad about getting his gifts a day early. We will have two teenagers in the house. I think I'm good with this. They're good kids.

  • Conference
  • We have the same struggle every year. We have games that overlap the Saturday morning session of Conference and get done just as the afternoon session starts. Ugh! We still have our DirecTV set up until mid-October, so it will be no problem recording it. If I had my druthers, we'd skip soccer for Conference and have in years past. I'm looking forward to making donuts for Sunday morning and having the food fest that we normally do. Thanks Rory for the Conference ideas for kids! I'm happy to share what she's shared with me if anyone's interested.

Q's party

Q was invited to the Homecoming dance. She said no and explained that she can't date until she's 16. She shared the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet on her blog to help explain why. Instead, we decided to have a party with some of her friends. We're going to have pizza and a movie or games. We decided to go with "Penelope" (thanks for the ideas!) if we decide to do the movie but thought it might be more fun to get to know these kids a bit better. So, we might play games instead--"Do You Love Your Neighbor," "I've Never,".... If you have any other good game ideas, we're totally open and welcoming suggestions.

  • Clean carpets

In preparation for the party, I get to clean the carpets in my house. This has been a challenge--trying to find a time when the kids aren't going to be trooping all over them when they're still wet, but it has to happen. So after Wednesday's apple extravaganza, the carpets will get done. Wish me luck.

So, there you have it, the menial taks of my life. Other than these things, I look forward to hearing the new words Teagen comes up with; reading to Aedan while we wait for his bus to arrive; having my laundry all washed, folded and put away; watching my kids on the soccer field; listening to the wisdom of God as I watch Conference; walking my kids to school each day; and whatever else might come my way.

More About My Ward

You can tell when I'm feeling a bit low when I start to list tender mercies. It just makes me feel better.

I love when the Spirit whispers. I love when I look back and realize that it whispered so quietly that I didn't even know it was that that made me act but I'm grateful that sometimes I have the good sense to follow it.

Saturday evening was the Relief Society broadcast. After a busy day, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. But, of course I should go, I always feel better when I do, and why should I avoid something that makes me feel happy? Earlier in the day, I had spoken with a friend who said she was going to her in-laws and having a family get-together then all the women were going to the broadcast together while the men watched the children. Ahh! How blissful! Oh, how I wished for that.

There's a woman who has been inviting me to do a lot of things lately. I LOVE her for that, but I've had to turn her down so much, that I think she thinks I must be making up excuses. I really am not. It's just that life gets so darned busy. I decided that I'd invite her to go to the broadcast with me. She also was going with her mother-in-law. Okay, now I started feeling just a bit sorry for myself. Where was my mom? She would go with me? Did I take advantage of these opportunities as much as I should have when she was around? At that moment I missed her SO much, but in an attempt to squelch the creeping grief, I decided that I'd make my own family to go with me.

Looking back now, I realize that Heavenly Father must have directed me because these thoughts were so out of the ordinary. Amazingly, the first talk by Sister Beck confirmed that to me when she spoke of her mother moving out of the country and her question, "Who will be my mother?" and her mother's words, "If I never come back, if youu never see me again, if I'm never able to teach you another thing, you tie yourself to Relief Society. Relief Society will be your mother."

When I started thinking of who I could go with, I had two sister's names pop into my head right away. One lived right down the street, but I'm embarrassed to say, I don't know her very well. I was so glad I called her. She accepted my invitation for which I was grateful. The other woman lives so close to the church that I second-guessed the inspiration I had received and almost didn't call her. When I did, she seemed so happy that I had. The third woman is rather quiet. She also lives in my neighborhood. She also accepted the offer of my ride.

After I picked them up, they each mentioned how glad they were to be there and to have come together. I am grateful for inspiration and for my ward family. As we entered the church, one of the women mentioned how she has no sisters, but she would be mine and I would be hers. I felt so honored to have her say this. I started to think of my role in my ward completely differently.

There is something that I must explain that I have started to write before but have been advised not to by a good friend. I feel that I need to write it because I don't want to give the impression that I live in a bad ward. Quite on the contrary, I live in a Zion-like ward. The people genuinely love each other. I feel the Spirit each Sunday. My problem with my ward is ME. I must explain this. It's driving me crazy, and I feel that if I can overcome it, I can get on with it and move onto other things, so I just need to vent for a few minutes.

Many years ago, I had a very negative experience with another sister in my ward. She came to me and said some very unkind things. She left no doubt about how she felt. From that time on, it affected how I interacted with others in my ward--especially her and her good friends. I won't go into great detail here. It wasn't that I was offended or unforgiving, it was just that I so wanted to be her friend, and it was clear that she didn't care for me at all. I wanted to know what I had done, so that I could make it right and move on. No matter what I did, I never figured it out.

She has since moved from our ward. Many of her friends are still here. I am now at a point where I feel that I need to mend these things in my heart. So, it really isn't the ward that I live in. It is a friendly ward. The first Sunday we were here, I was so touched by a woman who reached her arm past my husband to shake my hand and said, "Are you Sister Hess? We're glad you're here." I felt loved. This was how it all started out for me here.

I now feel that I have a lot of years to make up for. I feel foolish for having held myself back. All the activities I didn't attend because I felt unloveable. I allowed myself to be intimidated. My biggest challenge now is to learn from this and move on. I wish I had answers for anyone else who might be feeling this way, but I don't....yet.

I am grateful for those sisters who accepted my invitation on Saturday night. It was great to feel like I had a family again. It was wonderful to hear inspired words and to feel happy when I left.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Best Movies

Q is having some friends over Friday night. We're going to be watching a movie. Do you have any ideas of a movie that would be fun and appropriate for 14-15 year old kids?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

General Uplift Broadcast

Went to the General Relief Society broadcast at the church tonight. It was great! I took notes that I will summarize on another post in the near future. Just thought that if there was anyone who didn't get to go, I'd provide the link for you.

Stuff to Share

I saw this on the Yahoo buzz the other day. I'm intrigued by it. It looks like a lot of the info came from Flylady, whom I used to follow years ago, but I hate the amount of emails that she sends out (seems kind of ironic, that a person who preaches organization junks up my email inbox). Her website is also hard to navigate--too cluttered (go figure). Anyway, thought I'd share. I'm going to start doing this today and see if it really works like that. The one good thing that's come from Flylady is the idea that any amount of progress is better than no progress at all.

Also, wanted to share a new fave. Albertson's has Yoplait yogurt on sale this week--.50/yogurt. I bought the Light Thick & Creamy kind, which I didn't even know existed. It is YUMMY! I'm loving the key lime. If you haven't tried it, do. It's soooo good!


Thanks for the tag, Merrianne! I LOVE this kind of stuff. I love that I don't have to think about what to blog about. I left a post like this a long time ago, so now I have to think of more weird facts about myself.

1. I've found that if I keep my nails painted, I don't pick my hangnails and cuticles, so I keep my nails painted all the time--but I don't consider myself to be high maintenance.

2. I chose my husband over a job as an international flight attendant.

3. I taught myself how to cut my husband's hair in college, so I could afford to get my own hair cut.

4. I sang in my brother's band when I was in my early 20's.

5. I played the part of Anne Frank's mother in the high school play.

6. I was the only one in the room when my mother died--this is an interesting story that I'll share some time.

7. I LOVE eclairs! Not the frozen ones, the ones fresh from the bakery--good memories of times with my mom.
Okay, so I tag:

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Fine Line Between Chump and Charity

Z says this is the place where I spill my guts. I really just share what is foremost on my mind for the day, so here I go again....

What I need to blog about today seems to be an ongoing theme in my life, and I'm really searching for some answers. All I ask is that when you comment on this, you be completely honest. Don't worry about hurting my feelings; you won't.

To help explain, I will share two illustrations.

Three months before I was to finish my mission, we, my two Japanese companions and I, taught a 19-year-old girl the Gospel. She had come to the church and had asked to be taught. We taught her and she accepted everything quite excitedly until we got to the law of chastity. At this point, I realized that the vocabulary these women were using was way over my head; I sat through the rest with a look of utter confusion on my face. After the discussion, my companions took me aside and explained what they had been talking about. This young woman had been sold into prostitution by her father from about the age of six. She had no concept of chastity. She had been living in hell and didn't even know it.

This young woman, went ahead and joined the church, but her father was very, very angry. We knew we needed to protect her. In Japan, it wasn't an unusual thing to have people, young people especially, come and hang out at the church during the day, so this young woman did the same. She had many friends, but she would call me nightly to ask if I was going to be at the church that next day and if I would stay and hang out with her. She didn't ask my companions, it was always me--the American.

I knew I couldn't. I was on the Lord's errand, and I needed to be out among the people doing what I was sent there to do, so I denied her my company day after day. I always felt a little guilty as I did so, but I felt that I was doing the right thing.

After I got home, I went to one mission reunion. There, I met up with an old companion. She shared with me the fact that, the night I left Japan this young woman drowned in the bathtub at her home. I was shocked by the news, but along with that came the self-doubt. Did I do the right thing? Should I have stayed with her all those days she asked?

Second illustration, this past year a woman showed up in our lives who had been absent for a long time (years). She is a person who is very needy--welfare, no phone, no job, no skills to speak of, but because she has a young daughter, we did a lot for them. Not for the mother per se, but for that little girl. It seemed that the mother was trying very hard at that time to get her life back in order--going to church, taking classes to gain some skills.... There were a number of things we refused to do because we felt it was more appropriate for her to figure out for herself, but all that we felt was necessary and appropriate, we did. I felt really good about this....at first.

As time went on, there was just something not right. I started to feel that I was being taken advantage of--that I was being asked to do things that were taking away from the time I spent with my own family and the resources I needed to care for my own, so I started to refuse more frequently and started to refer her much more to the resources available to her in her own ward. For awhile she took what was available to her there, but then she started calling saying that she couldn't reach people in her ward. This, to me, was a big red flag. Knowing the reputation of kindness and love that that ward has, something was just not right. She started calling me more frequently.

At one point during the summer, she called and asked for $5. Do I have $5? Well, yes, I do. But, what she wanted it for was assinine to me. Her mom had driven to her place in Hillsboro and didn't have enough gas to get back to Oregon City. Oh, COME ON! She was very unhappy with me when I didn't help her, and a new tactic was added--the guilt trip. At this point, I decided I was done...SO done.

I found out after these experiences with her that she had stopped going to her classes and stopped going to church a LONG time before. She was just waiting around for people to do for her while she did nothing to help herself or improve her station in life.

So, these situations have followed me around since I can remember. Certain things pop into my head as I deal with them.

Here are some of them:
Matthew 25:34-39
Matthew 5:39-42
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Abraham 3:25

and the one that reall makes me think:
Moroni 7:44-47

So my question for you is this. Is my responsibility to continue to do for people and serve them even though they are doing nothing to help themselves? Am I judging them, which I know is not my place and therefore denying myself of blessings in my life? I think of the church welfare system, and how many times I've heard my dad say that it's not a "dole" system like the United States welfare system is. The church welfare system requires work on the individual's part who is asking for assistance. Do I, as a member of the church, fall under these same requirements? Or, is my responsibility to give them my "coat" and my "cloak" and go with them a mile and twain without judging and placing requirements on those I serve? Do I have the Nephite disease, and it's my pride which keeps me from sharing all that I have? Does anyone else ever feel this way? Are there parameters to service? What do you think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Looking Forward to Tomorrow

Last week, before going grocery shopping, I had a little chat with Tonya on the phone. She asked me if I had spoken to a relatively new sister in our ward. I told her I sat next to her in Gospel Doctrine on Sunday, but we had only chatted briefly. She told me that this woman was AMAZING when it came to grocery shopping. She's a MAJOR coupon user. She encouraged me to call her, so I did.

Tomorrow I get to go over to this sister's house and learn her skills. I'm SOOO excited to do this! I can't wait to learn how to save money. Last week, since I had just spoken to her and knew such a thing was possible, it was a total drag to go to the grocery store knowing I would be spending more than I should. So, Thursday, when I go shopping this week, I'm hoping it will be a different ballgame.

By the way, I did use the coupons I had on hand last week, and I spent $88 and saved $72, so that was pretty good, I thought. I can't wait for it to be better.

Isaiah...A Meager Pondering

I really struggle with the Isaiah chapters of the Book of Mormon. I try very hard to glean something out of them because I know the Book of Mormon was written for our day, and a lot that Isaiah says is just plain scary if these things will come to pass again.

This morning, I found this scripture:

"Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood!" (2 Nephi 20:15)

As I was searching for help in understanding what I was reading in these chapters, Google, or should I say Heavenly Father, led me to this website.

Here was their commentary in regard to this verse:

"One of the greatest sins that a servant of the Lord can commit is the sin of ingratitude. This sin encompasses a spiritual blindness to the works of the Lord. In the latter days, the Lord has eloquently expressed this concept, ‘And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments’" (DC 59:21).

So, all this considered, what are you grateful for today?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Putting it into Perspective

I just ran across this on another blog. I felt it was worth reading.

"Somewhere in my Youth or Childhood...

...I must have done something good."

Woke this morning with a feeling of complete joy in my heart, and I feel completely undeserving. I read Heidi's blog and her adventures in Africa, and I feel just a bit guilty for feeling so happy. I know my life is blessed, but I also know from whom these blessings come, and I feel a fragility in it. My life is far from perfect, but these are some of the things I joy in:

  • dindarks and keets - This is two things in one.

First, I'm grateful for T's ever developing vocabulary and the funniness of it. I love that he says things that none of my other kids at almost two have said because of experiences with older siblings. "Dindarks" and "keets" are "shinguards" and "cleats."

Second, I love that my children love playing soccer. I love that I have developed a love for the game, and that I have watched my children become team players and have polished parts of their personalities while playing this sport.

Yesterday, I watched G play for the first time this season. He missed a couple tries at goal. His reaction was not what it used to be. I watched him turn from the attempts smiling. In the past, he would have shown his frustration physically. I used to hate watching it, but yesterday, I saw that my boy had matured.

At one point during the game, G got to the ball at the same time as a boy on the opposing team. That boy tripped over the ball and fell hard. G then tripped over the kid's foot. I watched G get up first. I thought he'd just start running after the ball again, but I watched him stop, turn to the boy still on the ground, grab his arm, and help him up, asking "You okay?" My heart just about burst! This is a boy who holds the priesthood of God.

Yes, soccer is a blessing in my life.

  • "You look mah-velous!"

Remember when Billy Crystal used to do his Lorenzo Lamas impersonation on Saturday Night Live? That's what came to my mind as I watched B play soccer yesterday. To be honest, as I watched, I got angrier and angrier, but I restrained myself from punching anyone, so I feel like I conquered something in myself (just kidding). B was playing goalie. B looks great in the purple goalie's jersey, so he looked mah-velous, but more than that, B was composed. He had no defenders, so the other team kept scoring on him. He went for every ball. He just kept going. He showed no sign of frustration. I realized who B takes after genetically. So, I guess what it all boils down to is that I'm grateful for goodly parents and those who have gone before me to make this kind of life available to my children.

B was born nine months after my mom passed away. The night he was born, I lifted the tiny blue hat he was wearing and marveled at his black hair. Where had this kid come from? All the others before and since have been blond or bald. As his eye color has developed, they are a brownish color that I can't describe. This was my mother's coloring. He also has a birthmark on the bottom of one of his feet--an "angel kiss." We have always told him that his grandmother kissed this foot as he jumped from heaven to come to us.

I believe that B is "kissed" by his grandmother more than we have even recognized. My mother was the most even-keeled person I've ever met. Nothing phased her. She let things just roll off her back, but it wasn't like she even had to try. This was B yesterday. On the way home, I expressed my pleasure at watching him to him. I told him that there would have been other kids who would get angry, those who would cry, those who would quit if put in his situation. B was none of these. How pleased I was.

  • GREAT people

Daily my life is blessed with wonderful people. I hate to make a list, but I'm going to because this is my blog, and I can do what I want with it, right? Wow! Does that sound bratty or what? See I am undeserving.

This past week, I've been blessed with catching up with an old neighbor. Emilie and her family lived three doors down from my family. We were the same age and went to school together. We found each other again a couple weeks ago on facebook. In her first message to me, she shared about her two boys and that while she was pregnant with son number two, they found cancer in her abdomen. I love Emilie's strength! She is amazing. She makes me grateful to know her. I discovered her blog this week. I feel like she still lives three doors down. Emilie, thank you! I pray for you in every prayer. Please know that I am grateful for the place you hold in my life.

Z and I also got the chance to have dinner with Darilyn and her husband Chris, whom neither of us had met before. Let me straighten that out. I've known Darilyn since Girls' Camp. I read her blog regularly. She makes me smile. But, neither Z nor I had met Chris before. A few posts ago, I mentioned our love of Thai food. Darilyn read it and proposed that we go out sometime to get Thai food. Wow! SHE wanted to go with me? Thank you Darilyn! I love you! You are an amazing person. I loved how the conversation just flowed. We felt like we were with old friends. For anyone who hasn't, you have to read Darilyn's blog. It will make you feel happy.

This week was also filled with new feelings for the women of my ward. In a past post, I expressed concern for how I feel about my ward and where I fit. After the experience two days ago, I found that I am one of many (if not all) that struggle with this, and I also learned that I hold the key to freeing myself from these feelings. I felt such love for these women as I called them this past week. I realized that each of them is also reaching out and trying to find her place. Why do I worry so much about what others are thinking of me? Why don't I worry more about what I can do for them? That is my new focus. Isn't that what the Gospel's all about anyway? "Forget yourself and go to work."--to quote President Hinckley's dad.

My last thing is kind of silly, but I will explain why it's listed here.

  • Weight Watchers

I have been hung up about my weight for as long as I can remember. In high school, I was so thin at one point that I remember coming to dinner and finding a newspaper clipping about anorexia nervosa placed in front of my plate. I have had a very unhealthy obsession with my weight.

As a very young child of six, I started hearing "You're fat, ugly and stupid" nearly daily until I was about fourteen or fifteen. I believed it even though, now that I look back, I was average for girls my age. When I was sixteen, I started obsessing about my weight.

As an adult, I have struggled each time I've had a baby. It's not been a problem when I've been pregnant, but after the baby's born, I have looked in the mirror and cringed over what I've seen. The weight has always come off over time for which I've been grateful, but after the last two boys the weight didn't come off as much as I wanted it to, and after it hit a certain point, it started going up again. I have allowed it to control so many of my feelings for myself. I stopped taking care of myself.

I knew there had to be a change. I knew I had to do something. I knew the patterns I had taken before weren't healthy, and that I needed to arm myself with a healthy alternative to feel good about myself again. Weight Watchers has been my answer. I found out yesterday that I am within 1.4 pounds of my goal. The past two weeks, I have lost 1.4 pounds, so hopefully, by next week, I will have met my goal. I will be right in the middle of the BMI for my height. More importantly than this, I have learned to track what I eat--at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day, at least six glasses of water a day, oils, vitamins, exercise, portion size and variety. These are some of the concepts I have adhered to. I feel like I finally have control.

Yes, life is GREAT! Each day has its struggles, but each day has such great joys that those struggles seem so conquerable. I feel so grateful that God is aware of me on a daily basis. That He knows my name and my struggles and my personality. So, in my youth and childhood did I really do something good? I don't know, but I do know that He loves me more than I can conceive because I see and feel evidence of it daily.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


For the past week or so, T has been saying, "Ahgot." At this point, I had just figured out that "Aitoko," which made me think that my brillliant child was speaking Japanese, was "motorcycle" as he pointed one out to me, but this new word had me totally baffled. He couldn't seem to point it out.

Yesterday, he started in again saying it over and over as we walked home from dropping the kids at school. Try as I might, there was just no interpretation for this word.

Until today. G, A, T and I were walking back from dropping the kids and a VW beetle drove by. T suddenly chimed in with "Ahgot." I, at the same time, said, "Slug bug. I call it." The kids play this game frequently. They call out Mini Coopers, Hummers, and beetles, so it's not an uncommon thing to hear as we drive around. Right after I said 'I call it," T called out again with, "Ahgot!" This was it.

As today progressed, I would, from time to time, for no apparent reason, hear T say, "Uh bug! Ahgot!" Wow! The things they catch onto. He just wanted to be part of the game.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sad Reality

The Time Out for Women is coming to Portland. I've gone a few times in the past, and it's been so uplifting and enriching. I always feel invincible when I return home.

Although Z has to man four soccer games by himself that day, he is willing to make the sacrifice knowing how I am when I get back. Actually, Z's just that kind of guy. He spoils me good--when I want to do something he just makes it so; no matter how great his own sacrifice. I think his mother taught him well.

I received an email the day before yesterday, saying that the discount tickets would be sold until Sept. 18th. So, yesterday morning I knew I had to get on it, but I also knew I didn't want to go alone.

I thought about the women in my ward. There are so many I'd love to spend the day with, but I decided that there were many women who would probably love to know that I want to spend time with them. Not that it's ME that's the important part, but doesn't everybody like knowing that others find them of value and want to be with them? I started in making a list.

Our ward is FULL of amazing women from all walks of life. It was funny, but as I contemplated my list before making phone calls, I realized how much I love and admire these women. I didn't have a problem calling any of them.

I found a number of women that wanted to go. More than that, I think a lot of people have been waiting to be wanted. I could hear it in so many of their voices; they were thrilled to be asked. I feel like I did a good thing. I think it's something Heavenly Father wanted me to do.

Many of them couldn't go, but I think I'm going to be more brave in the future. I think we all have people that we're comfortable with--those who seem to be in the same place in life as we are, or think the same way we do, but yesterday I found that it's so rewarding to step outside of the comfort zone and reach out to others.

One woman I invited sent me an email last night thanking me for inviting her. One thing that occurred to me, as I read, was that she and I are not as different as it appears on the outside. I read and cried when I realized how excluded she has felt. As write this, I realize that I must have had something to do with her feelings of exclusion. Of course, I'm not the only one, but I can only take responsiblity for myself. The saddest thing of all is how WONDERFUL and talented this woman is, and I have allowed her to feel like that by doing nothing waiting around, feeling sorry for myself when no one is inviting me. I'm sure she can't be the only one.

So, I have a challenge for anyone who is reading this. I guess you can consider yourself "tagged." Find someone who needs you, and do something this next week. Even if it's only a chat on the telephone with someone you dont' know very well. Just do it. We all could use it. I would love to hear the results of your actions.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Okay, so I got my final grade from my child psych class this evening. After worrying about it so much, I got an A!!! I was soooo excited! This was the class I've loved the least so far, and that always worries me, so I'm feeling that this is a real miracle. Yeah!!!! Time to celebrate!

Facebook Again

Okay, so one day I'm singing the praises of facebook, and the next day I'm running in the other direction. So, just a little explanation...

A couple weeks ago, I ran into an old classmate on classmates.com. I didn't want to pay the money to open the email he sent, so I wrote a message on classmates for him to sign up for facebook. Well, to make a long story short, it was super fun catching up with him, idle chit-chat and banter via email messages. I signed onto facebook to chat with one of my young women to discuss tonight's activity (we tried texting, but my text limit is coming up here pretty soon), and before she could even sign in, a chat window opened and it was this friend. Well, like I said, before that time, we had just sent messages, not real-time chatting, so now, here he was.

The conversation started out really fun with talk about the old days and me correcting him on song lyrics during a class in 8th grade (what a jerk I was), but before the conversation was over, he was telling me how he'd always had a crush on me (and still did). Ugh! He could NOT be saying this! I'm a happily married woman with six kids! No WAY! I was flattered but knew this had to end.

When Z got home from meetings I told him what had happened. Z's so funny. He had no real response. No freaking out. No look of disbelief on his face. All he said was, "Well, drop him as a friend, or get off of facebook."

I decided that just dropping him as a friend wasn't enough. Although facebook has been a blast as far as connecting with all kinds of people, I know I can use the time I was spending there on better endeavors.

So, I'm very sad to end it, but I deleted an number of my contacts and kept those I wanted to stay in touch with and told them they could find me here. Thank goodness for the blogging world. My goal is to be done with facebook by Friday.

How's that for one extreme to the other?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Donut Holes

For Wednesday evening's joint YM/YW activity, the Mia Maids are in charge. We decided on Sunday at our presidency meeting that we'd probably better have some refreshments available, so I pulled out the old stand by--donut holes.

My mom used to make these for us when we were kids. We make them every year when General Conference rolls around. Z loves them. The kids love them. I'm almost embarrassed by how easy they are. They are a real WINNER!

Tonya asked me to share my "recipe" with her, so she could help me make them for the activity. I've actually had quite a few people ask for the recipe when I've brought them to firesides and other activities over the years, so here it is for all of you.

You get a package of homestyle biscuits--the ones in the round tubes, in the refrigerated section in the store, that pop when you peel back the paper from the outside. You separated the pieces and cut them into fourths. We've also flattened out the dough for "scones." As you're cutting the dough, you get a few cups of oil heating on the stove. Just to be a little healthier, I use canola oil.

--Here's a little tip from my mother by marriage: In the oil, put about five kernals of unpoped popcorn. When the kernals pop, the oil is warm enough, and you can turn the stove down to medium. Oh yeah, don't forget to remove the popcorn.--

After the oil is ready, drop a few of the pieces of dough into the oil and let them cook until golden brown. If the heat is too hot, the outside of the dough will brown too quickly and the inside will stay doughy, so be careful. Adjust the heat accordingly. I've noticed that sometimes the donuts will turn themselves over, if they're not too crowded in the pan, when one side gets done cooking; if not, watch them and turn as needed.

Move the donut holes from the oil to a plate covered with a double layer of paper towels to drain the oil. Let them cool just enough so that they won't burn your hands. When they've cooled, place a number of them in a large, gallon-size ziploc bag with a cup or so of either powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar, zip it up, and shake away. When they're coated with the yummy stuff, place them on a plate and serve.
These are also great for a quick Family Home Evening treat. Give 'em a try, and let me know what you think.

The Ultimate Clique

I love to blog. It's so therpeutic. I realized that other day that if my mom were alive, this is the time of day when I'd give her a call, and we'd sit and chat, so most of the things I write here are what I would talk to her about.

A few months ago, I received an email inviting me to join facebook. I have to be honest, I'm a bit leery about anything that comes to my hotmail address. It is where most of my junk mail comes, and I know I had received facebook invitations there before, but I had just ignored them. I don't know what caused me to join when I did, but it's been so fun.

I went from having one friend back then to 291 now. Mind you, many of them are just people whose names I know from various activities I've been involved in over time, but they all accepted me as their friend, so I must not smell too bad. I have friends from my mission, from high school, even from elementary school on facebook now.

When I took the trip to Utah with Z last March, I was able to connect with friends at BYU and in other areas of the state and meet up with them. I know when people's birthdays are. I can send messages to people and just silly little greetings.

But last week, I may have done the funnest thing of all. I decided that I'd look up how many women there were there by the name of Julie Hess. There were 58! Every one of the Julie Hesses looked like fun, enthusiastic people--the kind of people I want to be acquainted with. So, I spent friend requests to every one of them. From there, I realized that I could create my own group. If you're not acquainted with facebook, anyone can make a group about anything he/she wants to. I entitled my group "It's GREAT to be Julie Hess!" I made it an exclusive group that only people with the name of Julie Hess, now or in the past, could join. Z calls it the "ultimate clique," and laughs while he says it.

At this point, there are ten Julie Hesses from all over the United States--Kansas, Washington D.C., California, Ohio, Massachusetts....

It's been funny to contemplate that each of these women is called the same thing I am everyday. Their mail is addressed to the same name as mine. When they married, most of them, dropped their maiden name and took the same one I did. It's just such a strange feeling, but it's also funny how it brings a solidarity to us. I've never met one of them in person, but we all respond when called by the same name. These are my instant friends.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Motivate Me

I'm finding that I bought the wrong kind of house ten years ago. I wanted the self-cleaning model, but considering our current economy, my chance is past, and I now can't afford that kind. *Sigh* So, to deal with the disappointment, I've been sitting around eating a lot of chocolate (don't I wish) and thinking a whole lot about it.

When my brother and his wife were here this past weekend, they talked about getting their house ready to sell. I saw pictures of it on his facebook page, and it looks GORGEOUS! He told me of all the loads of stuff they took to D.I. I'm thinking one of the things I have to do is pretend I'm going to move and start in.

I figure there are three things that are preventing my house from being as orderly and clean as I'd like it to be, and I really want to overcome these things. This is where I could really use some ideas.

  • My first stumbling block is motivation. What is it you do to be motivated to clean? What's in the back of your mind that keeps you going?

  • Second is my almost two-year-old. He is into EVERYTHING and has to be watched all the time. He does take a good nap during the day, so I figure I can get things done then, but when you've got time to yourself, is that really what you want to do?

  • Third, I really do believe that my house could in some degree or another "clean itself" if there wasn't so much stuff to clean up. Part of the problem is the stuff the other part is the people who leave the stuff laying around. I know how to get rid of stuff, I just have this weird mentality that thinks that it all has to happen right now.

I really believe there are so many of us in the same boat. So, what works? I've tried many things in the past, and I have to admit I'm an instant gratification kind of woman, but I know that in so many areas of life, that's just not realistic. I also know my personality well enough to say that I'm not a put on a front kind of person. If my house is going to be clean, it's going to be the entire thing or not at all. I'm not the kind that's going to have my most visible rooms clean for guests and the rest be a sty.

In August, I cleaned out two of the areas in my house that were getting out of control, and they still look pretty good. One was the linen closet, the other was the game closet. I was ruthless with the game closet. It, most of the time we've lived in this house, has been piled high with games and quiet toys the kids could play while younger siblings were napping. So much of it had small pieces. These pieces would get dropped on the floor of the closet until it was a TERRIBLE mess. For the most part, I threw these away this last time I cleaned. It feels so much better.

There was also one day in August that I woke up so motivated. I just had the feeling that something great was going to happen that day, so I made it work for me. I cleaned out half of the garage. This kind of feeling isn't common. It seems that often my days run me.

I was frustrated and grumpy this morning because I had pushed snooze too many times then T and A got up early. I had to battle for the chance to get dressed against T's pleas for "Pain-cake. Pain-cake." I picked him up at one point as he said, "Hod you. Hod you. Hugging. Hugging," I mean, who can say no to those requests? As soon as I got him into my still pajamaed arms, he pointed down the stairs saying, "Food!" Once downstairs, he got a hold of the gallon-sized jug of syrup (or what's left of it) and started drinking it when my back was turned. A bath ensued. Well, you get the picture. This is what I'm up against. I really could use some ideas.

I just took these photos so you could see the closets. I didn't clean or doctor these closets or photos before shooting or posting. They still look pretty good considering the time that has passed. This is what I mean by self-cleaning. There's just enough stuff in the closets that there's room for more, but nothing more to put in those spaces. This is what I want for my entire house. I know it's just a matter of doing it. So, when it comes right down to it, the motivation is where I'm lacking more than anything else.

Dating Decisions

Tonya and I are going to be working on an activity for our Mia Maids about dating decisions. We're in need of some fairly realistic dating situations that we can give the girls, so they can respond with some kind of decision if faced with that situation. Do you have any dating experiences from back in the day that you'd be willing to share? They can be good or bad or both. We were thinking we'd make them into cards and have some random guy's face on one side and a situation on the other side, so they'll pick the guy's face and then find what happens.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This Week's Photos

Here's my little rundown of the week.

I decided that Zan's not getting his face in front of my camera enough, so he'll be appearing a bit more often now.

Teagen spent quite a bit of time in a hospital gown this week with a doctor's appointment on Monday and a trip to the E.R. on Wednesday.

Quinlan had a game against Central Catholic on Monday afternoon. They tied 4-4, but Aloha played beautifully and there was one goal that the ref didnt' count. I swear it was in.

The strangest thing about this game I caught in a few photos. I had to drop Brevin off at his practice, so I arrived a few minutes late. As I approached the field after parking the car, I saw Zan with his orange whistle in his mouth (the one he uses occasionally at school). He was out REFING the game?!! I guess the ref hadn't arrived and they were 15 minutes late starting the game, so Quinlan's coach, who is actually a teacher at Zan's school, approached Zan and asked if he'd ref. When I got to where the other parents were sitting, a few women turned to me and said, "Your husband wants you to go get him some appropriate clothes for refing." I got in the car and returned home to get a duffle full of clothes for him. All I could think as I was doing this was, "Thank goodness for the experience the church gives us."

When I arrived back at the game, the official ref had arrived, so Zan was off the hook.

Tuesday night I went in to check on the little boys nad foun Teagen had climbed out of his bed and went over to snuggle in with his brother. Such cute little guys. They sure like each other.

Wednesday morning, we received some hand-me-downs from a family in our ward. Aedan and Teagen went through the bag. That's when "Elder Hess" arrived at our home. There was a suit in the bag that Aedan just LOVED. Only problem was that it was just a bit too big for him. It fit Brevin like a glove. So, Brevin was told that he had to take perfect care of it, so that Aedan would get the chance to inherit it here in the next few months or so.

Teagen found a shirt with a skull and crossbones on it, so that was perfect for him, he thought.

Anyway, Elder Hess remained at our home all morning, and that was what I was required to call him if I needed him to do anything.

Wednesday was the day of the grunting boy and the day the nebulizer was pulled out of retirement. It was also the day of the E.R. visit.

Quinlan, Teagen and I went to Dierden's game. It was so fun and exciting. Dierden had some great plays. She was goalie for most of the first half and didn't let a ball in. There was one point where the other team was bringing the ball up the field toward the goal. Right as they got to the box, Dierden ran out of the goal, snagged the ball from all the girls that were chasing it and booted it halfway down the field. Our team's forwards were right there. They got the ball, took it down the field to the other team's goal, while the rest of that team were trying to catch up, and we scored. It was BEAUTIFUL!

Dierden also scored a goal.

Aedan scored a few times at his game as well. He played against Jared, a little boy whose sister has been on Dierden's team a few times in the past few years. It was funny because at one point during the game, as they were playing against each other, Jared grabbed Aedan as if to hug him. When the sisters were on the same team, Aedan and Jared would go off and play together at the playground where the practices were being held. Sad that they now play against each other, but maybe someday, they'll be on a team together too.

Zan and I went on our date on Saturday afternoon. We went to Original Thai in the old part of Beaverton. It was very nice. The food was good. The Beaverton Days Parade (or whatever it's called had just ended, but there were still some festivities going on down the street.

After lunch, we went to a few other shops in that neighborhood and then went and rented a "August Rush." I've been wanting to see that movie for a long time. I loved it!

My younger brother Matthew arrived Saturday afternoon with his family. He came for his 20 year high school reunion. The kids stayed with us while Matt and Janelle went. They all spent the night. It was so great getting to spend time with them all. I learned a lot as we talked. This is stuff I will blog about in another post.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, and by the way, could you give me an A?

Took my final for Psych 320 - Child Psychology - yesterday. I have to pay $15 and go to a testing center for someone to proctor my exams. This particular class was not one of my faves. The text was really great for my insomnia, though.

I didn't study as hard as I normally would. There's just been too much going on. Night before last, I sat on the couch and was just about to head up to bed (9:20pm) and Zan turned to Quinlan and said, "Okay, I'll help you study that map now." Up to this point, Zan had been working long and hard on some stuff for his school, so I knew he probably wanted a break. So, although I probably should have been doing my own studying, I took Q with me,and we worked on memorizing countries from all over the world--I think there were 60 of them.

We had a blast. We discussed the idea that just memorizing where the countries were and what their names were just wasn't going to work, so we worked out a strategy as we went along. We came up with things like:

UGANDA go to the lake, RWANDA - because there's a lake right near both of these countries.
SLOVAKIA was too slow to grab a lot of land, so they're the little country right in the midst of the big ones.
NEPAL was a fun one. If you've ever watched the movie "The Golden Child" (not one I recommend; it's one of Zan's favorites. This does not in any way mean it's one of mine--subject for a future post), there's a part of the movie where Eddie Murphy raises his hands and shouts, "VIVA NEPAL. VIVA NEPAL. VIVA NEPAL!" When I asked Quinlan what country it was on the map, we both shouted this at the same time. We then spent a good while cracking up.

So, this study time was time well spent. But, it ddn't fill my need, so I spent a good part of the day yesterday studying. Each chapter had a little study quiz online that you could take over and over again because it was ungraded. These are what I studied; that was it.

Before I left for the test, I prayed that I would know what the right answers were. Well, my prayer must have been heard because as I went to each question, they were, most of them, the same questions for the quizzes. The midterm was not this way, so I was expecting to get in there and feel completely lost. I think among the sixty questions, there were about six that I wasn't completely sure of.

The exam took me less than thirty minutes. When I was done, I had a course evaluation to fill out with such questions as, how useful was the information provided by this course, was the work load appropriate for the amount of credit hours earned, that kind of thing. They also asked me to mark what grade I was expecting from this course. I cringed and marked a "B." I had earned 5 A's and 3 A-'s and one C+ (on that one, I took the quiz before I read the chapter--I don't advise this).

At the very bottom of the evaluation was the question, "Is there anything else you'd like us to know." I couldn't resist. I wrote, "I know I marked that I expect a B out of this class, but if you'd like to give me an A, please feel free:)."

So, now we'll see what happens.

Doctor's Appointment

There's something I've really missed since my mom's been gone--that's nine and a half years now. It's that she used to be concerned and check in on me about things. She used to be really interested in my goings on. Not to sound pathetic, but I've missed having someone who cared like that--kind of marked me on their mental calendar or something. I have one or two really good friends in my ward who watch out for me, and that's a huge blessing! And somehow that's just different.

I've been very touched by those of you who have emailed me wondering how my doctor's appointment went. That you even remembered when it was, that means a lot to me. More than I can say. Thank you for being concerned for me.

First of all, I want to say, I haven't had any problems with it since the night before I wrote. I tried Heidi's remedy (always one arm down), and it seemed to work beautifully. Thank you to all of you who commiserated and offered solutions. Nice to know I wasn't alone.

So, I try very hard not to go into the doctor showing that I've self-diagnosed, so I went in with "just the facts."

She came up with everything that you all presented. Could be sleep apnea and could be panic attacks. To help be more conclusive, she asked that Zan watch me sleep some night to see if I stop breathing. She proposed that it be a weekend, so maybe tonight we'll find out. I really do think it was more of a panic attack thing. I was stressing a little bit more than normal that evening. I finally woke at about 1:30am and talked it all over with Zan. But, in hindsight that's all I could equate it with.

So, for now, no answer. Having not had any more problems, I'm not all that worried any more. Having good friends, I know I'm in good hands. Thanks again for watching out for me and helping bear my burdens.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The Saturday before my mom passed away, my older brother called me from her house and told me to come right away "Mom's dying."

"What?" I asked incredulously, "I was just there yesterday."
I realized when I got there, and most of my siblings (those that lived close by anyway) were gathered around her bedside, that the obvious had not been so obvious to me, as I had dealt with her needs and interacted with her a few times a week for the past number of months.
Yesterday I had another one of those experiences. We have three boys that have been diagnosed with asthma from very young ages--Gannon, Aedan and Teagen. At the first diagnosis, when Gannon was three weeks old, I tried to blame these genes on the Hess side. Boy, was I wrong. It was the Hamm's that had the asthma gene--for generations. It had just skipped mine and gone to my children. I don't know if any of my parents' other grandchildren have it. Kind of like the left-handedness half of my children inherited (from the Hamm's also).

We only seem to crack out the inhalers when the boys catch cold, and with Teagen, it is to be expected each and every time.

He started to show signs of a cold at church on Sunday afternoon. Yesterday morning (Wednesday), he woke up with full-blown asthma--his chest was working really hard, and he was grunting at every breath. This was a bit unusual as he usually wheezes--no grunting.

I tried the inhaler they gave us. Dumb thing, if you ask me, to give a child under the age of three an inhaler. You can't get him to hold his head still enough to take six breaths before removing it. The most I could get him to do was two, so it wasn't working, and I didn't want to brace his head and have him screaming to do so. I ended up trying four different times with absolutely no luck.

We walked the kids up to school. He grunted all the way.

When we got home, I decided to get out the nebulizer. This is kind of a big job--get the machine, its tubing and mask, mix the medicine, plug it in, turn it on, and then hold it up in front of his face for about ten minutes. Not a huge deal, but a lot more work than using a little inhaler.

This seemed to work immediately. It only lasted for about 30 minutes or so, and he was back at the grunting thing again.

I had my doctor's appointment yesterday about the sleep thing (more on that later). My friend Christy kept the boys while I went (thanks, Christy. You're the best!). She and I have been watching each other's kids for about the last six years. She's been through the asthma thing with the boys before; never a problem. But, yesterday, just as I was finishing up the appointment, she called to let me know that Teagen sounded bad. She was worried.

I assured her that I was on my way. When I got home with him, I nebulized him again. It didn't make much difference. I put him down for a nap. When he woke up, he was crying inconsolably--very odd for him. I hugged him against me and laid back with him, he said, "Hurts. Hurts," so I let him go. He laid down by himself on his belly and said it again. I decided to nebulize him again, but again, it did no good--still the grunting and the heaving chest.

I realized, at this point, that the doctor told me, with Aedan, that I am supposed to use his steroid inhaler when it gets to the point that I'm using the albuterol inhaler at a certain frequency. I don't have a steroid inhaler for Teagen, so I called Kaiser to find out what my best course of action was--just wanted advice, nothing else. When the nurse heard his symptoms she told me to "Go directly to the emergency room or call 9-1-1." I thought she was kidding. She asked if he was turning blue. He wasn't, but there was no color in his face.

I tried to call Zan at this point, but he had just gone out to help his students at the end of the school day, so I waited for his response, so he could tell me that the nurse was off her rocker, and I didn't have to go. I can always count on Zan to be the voice of reason.

When I finally reached him, he said, "If that's what they've said, then you'd better go." Ugh! Wrong answer. In the meantime, the nurse at Kaiser had called me two more times asking me why I hadn't gone yet and that she was putting it in Teagen's chart.

I waited for Gannon to get home to keep the kids, and I left. We arrived at about 4:15pm. They got us right into a room. They gave Teagen a double dose of albuterol in a nebulizer and some prednisone. After the prednisone, he was feeling darn good. Good enough to jump on the bed and all over the room. Suddenly, life was good.

They took us down to have his chest x-rayed. We got to wear matching lead aprons. Teagen thought that was very cool (just like when we make cookies). The x-ray revealed a little bit of cloudiness in one lung, but they assumed that to be viral. Don't you just love that word?--that's the word for ride it out and suffer silently.

They discharged us. Teagen seemed as good as new. So, for now, he gets nebulized every four hours and takes prednisone once a day for four days; that means four days of jumping all over the house--yeehaw! We'll go see his doctor on Monday. Strange thing was he'd just been in to see her for a well-child check on Monday.

So, as this all occurred, I wondered if I was really under-reacting. Did I not see the obvious because I deal with all the day-to-day care of these children?

Today, I was called by Kaiser employees three separate times to check on Teagen's status (I love Kaiser). As I got to chatting with one of them, I exposed the fact that I have six kids and three with asthma. She said, "Oh then, you know what you're doing."

I've realized that as I deal with many things at this point in life, I breathe deeply, grit my teeth and plunge forward, not getting too reactive about anything. But in doing so, I wonder, am I growing too numb?

Awake and Dreaming

Here's the song going through my head today.

A hefty post is on the horizon. So many things to blog about, but I'm studying for my psych final. Yippee! After that's done, I'll be here typing my little heart out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Unwell. Ummmmm... Well

Thought this was a good song/video for the ol' madhouse. This song came on the radio the other night as I waited for Gannon to finish his soccer practice. I wanted to get out of the car and dance in the middle of the road (It was dark; no one would have noticed). Song's been in my head ever since. Very bizarre video. Poor dog--seems he got the worst of it. Enjoy!

General Conference

The one thing I knew I was going to miss without a TV, and the only reason we got cable TV in the first place, was General Conference. Since Alyson brought it up in her comment to my last post, I thought I'd ask what do you do to "celebrate" General Conference?

Now that we'll be going to the church to watch it, I know our past traditions will go out the window, but it would just be fun to know what you do.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Heaven, I'm in Heaven

We proposed the idea of a TV-free home to our children a few weeks back and discussed a reward being handed out at the end of a year. We decided that September 1st would be our day to begin. The kids were all in agreement.

Our home has been so peaceful since. I was expecting major backlash and discomfort as they adjusted to it, but there has not been one moment of anxiety yet.

They've been playing outside a lot more and enjoying each others' company.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the rainy season begins and as school vacations come to pass. As for now, we are so busy with the school adjustment and the soccer schedules that I don't think anyone really has much time to think about entertainment. The Wii is still an option as long as they have permission (we have parental controls on the TV) and movies can be watched on weekend nights as a family as long as all work is done.

One of the greatest things I have seen is how much the kids want to be together as a family. They all want to go to each others' practices and games. No one asks, "Can I just stay home?" When the rest of us are running out the door. I LOVE it!!!

This is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I haven't been much of a TV watcher since I was probably in elementary or middle school, and I've resented what it's been doing to the relationships between my family members. I hope this good trend continues.

A Tribute to Dave

Today is my brother's birthday. In honor of this, here is a short slide show of mostly recent photos.

Father of Ashton, Isaac, Jacob
Who needs an electric guitar, a storm trooper uniform, peace
Who loves his family, his music, serving others
Who sees the need for peace, the deeper meaning in things, through a storm trooper mask
Who hates contention, change, disharmony
Who fears illness, life without his family, lack of music
Who dreams of being with his family forever, playing his guitar 24/7, knowing all of life's mysteries
Resident of Scappoose, Oregon

When I was a kid, David and Matt were my playmates. Dave could always be counted on to have peace around him. He was constant. As an adult, this seems to continue. It's just part of who he is.

Dave picked up the electric guitar when we were kids. I've never asked him what brought him to this, but he was a natural. He never had lessons but played all the time--much to the consternation of our elderly nextdoor neighbors. He has played in a number of bands from alternative to rock-a-billy.

David is probably the most loyal person I know.

Dave, I wish you a very happy birthday! I love you!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Today...so far

Aedan caught the bus to school for the first time today. They moved us from morning Kindergarten to afternoon; they had to switch someone from afternoon to morning, so Aedan took that child's place. It's been very good because he's in with all of his buddies. I was kind of choked up today as he boarded the bus. I was also kicking myself that I didn't have my camera.

I also heard from the IRS today. Yippee! Normally, hearing from them would not be a cause for celebration, but we have not yet received our stimulus package and have contacted them about eight times trying to figure it all out. It seems that since we had more than four deductions on our taxes, we fall into the category of those who need to be put into the system by hand. The man I spoke with today said we should have it by the end of this month. We have a retaining wall that needs to go in where our new construction was done, or we could end up with our backyard falling down into our house. It's got to be done before the rain starts.

Teagen and Dierden went to the doctor this morning. Teagen's not feeling well. He has a cold that has just started. He was up about five times last night. Oh joy! Nothing is making him happy today. This may go down in the books as one of the least pleasant doctor's appointments I've ever been to.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Past Week

It's been a very full and fun week. Here are some of the highlights:

The photos themselves and the captions pretty much say it all, but I thought I'd add some commentary of my own.

I witnessed a small fender bender this past week. I left those photos off (kind of boring). But, I did learn the value of carrying a camera. The guy who did it denied it even though two of us saw it happen. He said he'd lose his license if anyone found out. Ugh!

Soccer games started yesterday. Brevin and Dierden both played goalie for part of their games. DJ was happy to report that she didn't let any balls get past her. She's such a funny mix of girly-girl and fearless tomboy.

This was the week of the Life-sized game of Life. It was fun! It was also a lot of work. I spent an entire day getting all the finishing touches on it. Thank goodness school is in. Teagen also took a very long nap that day.

Teagen has become quite the little adventurer. He helped me make cookies on Friday. He picked up the teaspoon measure and put it in his mouth. He quickly learned that baking soda doesn't taste very good. He learned that about vanilla too. I love it when lessons teach themselves. He has also learned that he can pull chairs over to the counters, where the chocolate chips are kept (oh so very yummy), and that if you open the backdoor and not the screen, it can be quite uncomfy when you go out and then close the door again. Hmm.

There is a great tree in the forest we get to walk through on our way to school. It's shaped like an "L." Just right for sitting or standing on. We call it the "bendy" tree. Funny thing is the word "benri" (pronounced a lot like "bendy") is the Japanese word for convenient. This tree is both of these things. It is frequently the meeting place if someone lags behind. You can tell from Aedan and Brevin in the slideshow, just who the slow poke was on the first day of school.

Aedan gets to spend every day of the week with his best bud. Life just doesn't get much better than that. He and Eli go to church together on Sunday, are in the same class together at school Monday through Friday and get to be on the same soccer team on Saturday. Wow! They even look a little alike. Nothing like those friends Heavenly Father blesses your life with.

It has been a blessed week. This coming week consists of lots of soccer, a couple of doctors appointments, Girl Scouts and Activity Days, Cub Scouts, Enrichment, Back to School night, and a final for my current class, so needless to say there will be lots of studying going on.

I haven't decided which class to take next. BYU was supposed to send me some info, which would affect this decision, but it hasn't arrived yet. It will either be Family Processes or Statistics. Family Processes sounds so much easier. Maybe that's the route I'll take, but if I do, I'm afraid I'll have all of my hard classes piled together here at the end. Hmm. What to do?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Feeling Anxious

For the past few months, as I'd fall asleep some nights, right as I'd get to that blissful place that is right between wakefulness and sleep, I'd wake with a start realizing I couldn't breathe. The adrenaline would pump for a few seconds and I'd turn my head and soon be off to sleep. Last night was different, it happened about five times in the matter of about ten minutes. I couldn't figure out what was going on. Has anyone ever had anything like this happen before?

This morning, I have knots in my stomach like I'm really nervous about something. No matter what I do, it doesn't go away. Any thoughts? I went ahead and made a dr's. appointment for next Wednesday, so we'll see what they say. I'm just wondering if it's all in my head.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Favorite 11-year-old!!!

Today DJ is 11! Where has the time gone? She is one wonderful girl! I'm so blessed to be her mom. Happy birthday DJ!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Tonight at dinner, Quinlan is explaining one of her new teachers to us. She says, "I swear she has ADHD..." To which I reply, "Well, you should be used to that because of me." I was laughing because I really am not ADHD (I'm just easily distracted), but it's a running thing in our family.

Aedan chimes in with, "She's female." I suddenly look up from my food not believing that those words just came out of my five (oh yah, and a half--that part is really important) year old's mouth. Zan high-fives him across the table.

He follows up a few seconds later with, "Well, she said 'she,' so she's a female." Said very innocently.

After he says this, we all have a good laugh while little Teagen gets up from his chair, heads to the head of the table and high-fives his dad.

Will any woman in her right mind ever want to marry any of my sons? Sheesh.

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words


Today was Aedan's first day of Kindergarten! What else needs to be said? I think the face says it all--even if it is one of those cheesy five-year-old grins.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Goal for a New School Year

"Prepare every needful thing; and establish a 'life', even a 'life of prayer, a life' of fasting, a 'life' of faith, a 'life' of learning, a life' of glory, a 'life' of order, a 'life' of God."

I was spending some time looking through the "Care to Prepare" blog and found this as the first entry. For some reason, this scripture--Doctrine & Covenants 109:8--when considered in this way has great meaning to me. Originally, this scripture spoke of the building of the Kirtland Temple, but it is clear that these words are intended for us in our lives.

As my kids head off to school each new year, I spend some time considering some goals I should work toward. This year, I would like to put my house in order, particularly in the area of emergency preparedness.

Soccer Season 2008 Officially Begins

This Saturday is the first day of soccer games for the new season. Actually, Quinlan has her first game on Friday. With five kids playing, we thought we'd be completely up a creek as far as getting them to and from games, not to mention sitting and watching, but I think we've been very blessed this season. Only a few overlap, so we can split up for those, but I'm very happy to say I don't think we'll have to get rides for kids and inconvenience anyone.

I thank any of you who have helped us in past years (Gold's, Read's, Grawrock's just to name a few). Thanks for helping us make this all possible for our kids. They love soccer.

If you have any desire to spend some time watching our kids play, just ask. I'd be happy to share their schedules with you. Quinlan will be playing for Aloha High School on their JV-2 team. It's a mostly freshman team. Her games are during the week.

The other kids are on Saturdays. Gannon has one Wednesday evening game in late October. Please feel free to join us. The kids'd love it! The season goes from this Saturday, September 6th to November 8th.

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