Monday, February 28, 2011

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian"

The Native Americans in this photo are of the Spokane tribe.  My mother is to the far left and was twelve-years-old in this photo.  No, she didn't always dress like this.  Her dad is standing just to the right of her.  His wife is on the far right. This was taken in 1939.  My grandfather was very involved with the historical society in Spokane.  I'm sure this was some kind of gathering commemorating the settling of the Spokane valley.

The reason I post this photo here is because it was stuck in my mind the entire time I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007).  This was the second banned book I chose to read, and I truly enjoyed it.  It is the only book from this class so far that I've read in one day.  It happened to be the snow day we had, and the Warden has been very supportive of my education, so he held down the fort while I, the chief inmate, had some reading time.  It didn't take me long to get through.  The main reason I can see for its banned status is the language that is interjected from time to time.

It is the story of Junior, a Native American boy, who is raised on the "rez" in northeastern Washington state.  He is a Spokane Indian.  He is encouraged by a teacher to go to the white high school outside the reservation and get a better education.  He does so and has some very interesting experiences as he does so. 

This book was very bittersweet.  It contains many messages about racism, as you would expect, but Junior's greatest persecution comes from his own tribesmen.  Junior also struggles with the effect alcohol has on people around him.  This is a book that really makes you think.

As I look at the photo above, I see how the Native American girl on the top left is looking at, and I'm assuming, talking to my mom.  I wonder what her life was like.  I wonder what she thought as she spoke with my mom.  I am grateful that my mom had experiences like this as a child.  I'm grateful that my grandfather exposed her to people of different backgrounds.  My mother was always a very loving, caring, tolerant person.  She valued others for who they were.

Can you tell I miss her?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Plans

I come here first thing in the morning to get my playlist going.  It keeps me moving.  Somehow singing along with the songs there and doing it at the top of my lungs helps me stay happy.

Today, as all Saturdays, is going to be a busy one.  I have an apron to finish.  I'm making it for a friend of mine that I've never met.  I think I've blogged about this before.  I just have a few finishing touches to get to and then it's in the mail today.  I don't want to take photos of it yet because I want her to see it first.  After I know she's received it, then I'll post photos.

  • I need to get some grocery shopping done.
  • I plan on sending in some more recipes to our ward cookbook.  If I get them typed up, they'll show up here too.
  • I have laundry to do today.
  • I have a dress to return to the store and plan on buying some jewelry there.  I bought a necklace the other day, but when I got home and tried it on with the dress I purchased, it looked too big and bulky.  I bought it at a resale shop anyway, and they were having a half-off sale, so it was a bargain, and I'm sure I can wear it with something else in the future.  The friend I was with offered to sell me a set she has, but I'm too embarrassed to ask for it now that she watched me purchase others.  That's definitely me lately.
  • I also need to find my girls some Sunday clothes.  They're so hard to find.
  • The most exciting thing of the day happens at 4:00.  We get to go to a baptism.  Not just any baptism.  This is the baptism of a very AWESOME person.  His son will be baptized (by him) next month and then his wife and two other boys will follow later.  I just love these people.  There's something so amazing about watching a family enter the church.  We are all very excited!
  • I may make another pillowcase dress today.
  • I have to create a bio about myself and a guest list to hand in at the luncheon on Tuesday.
  • I have reading to do and papers to write.  That will probably be my Saturday night fun.  I know you wish you were me with such exciting Saturday plans.  I'm reading David Archuleta's biography.  I teach #1 that I'm reading about the life of my future son-in-law.  I am TOTALLY kidding here.

Hope you have a fun Saturday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Confessional

I'm in today.  Hoping if I confess a little bit, I might feel a bit happier.


Here goes:

I confess:
  I started this post early this morning.  It's now 9:42pm (Pacific Time)

I confess:
I'm on a self-destruction kick as far as eating goes--just not eating right.

I confess:
I had a dream last night that we had another baby, and I was very happy about it.

I confess:
I have four boxes of random stuff in my house that I need to get through, but I don't want to, so I haven't even touched them.  I'm more stubborn than anyone I know--except for one of my children.

I confess:
I love redoing my header and blog background.  I probably make people crazy with the frequent change.

I confess:
I feel like I've become really serious lately.  I'm not one to just gripe about something without trying to find the cause and thus the cure. So, I've decided that there are many factors that could be affecting this. It could be any or all of the following:
Lack of sunshine
Missing my mom
No time for me
Worried about Young Mother of the Year stuff
My calling

I confess:
I don't know when to use "affect" vs. "effect," and you know what, I don't really care to figure it out.

I confess:
I love the blinking yellow turn signals they've installed in Beaverton.  They make me happy.
I hate it when someone sits at a blinking yellow turn signal but stays behind the line instead of in the intersection.

I confess:
There are two people in particular that I'm trying my best to avoid lately--that's all I'm going to say about that. Why might need to be next week's confession.

I confess:
I've never read a book like the one I had to read for class this past week.  I always get to smutty parts and skip over it.  This one was mild, but I realized that I'm glad I'm a skipper.  That kind of stuff is just to personal.  It's like sitting in the corner of someone else's bedroom--EEEKKK!!!

    There are my deep, dark secrets for the week.  Are you surprised?  Not really, huh?  Kind of average, everyday, boring kind of stuff.  It was kind of fun to list it out, though.  I don't know that I've had stuff to confess before.  So, now that you know what's in my heart, be nice to me, okay?

    My Favorite!

    The disc arrived from the family photos today.  Wow!  What a wonderful job our photographer did.  Thank you Julia!!!

    THE Shoes


    are one sale today. Go here to find them.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011


    I am so SERIOUS lately!  UGH!!!  I'm making myself crazy.  Will I ever lighten up again?  Life was made to be laughed at, right?

    72 Hour Kits

    The Warden let me lay around this morning, so I finished An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  I will write a review of that one later.  As I lay there, I realized what precious time I was wasting.  It occured to me that today is the day!  The day we put together our 72-hour kits together.

    In the past, I have taken this one on by myself.  In doing so, they have always been missing something.

    We got out the old ones and let the kids eat the food.  They were so excited.  Among all the food items, they all found that they each had a pack of gum.  You would have thought it was Christmas around here.

    If you're interested in doing this, here are some resources you might use:

    First thing you'd want is a first aid kit.  Here's list of contents for you.

    We purchased a number of these backpacks.  They work quite well.  Three water bottles fit well in the front pocket.  The fourth water bottle can go in the mesh pocket on the side of the pack.  I bought some rain ponchos at the dollar store--two in a package.  I put a poncho in the back of the pocket; between the water bottles and the main section of the backpack just in case a water bottle were to somehow leak.

    Previously, we had milk jugs to hold our food and followed this plan:

    Awhile ago we purchased wing stoves and some extra fuel.  Today, I bought some waterproof matches.  I also purchased these flashlights a number of months ago.  With some of these supplies, it's better to go with what you've got and then add or upgrade over time.

    I ran across this site today.  It seemed to be full of good ideas.  I love it when people share their skills and ideas so the wheel doesn't have to be reinvented over and over again.

    They look somewhat like this one.
    We have two large wheeled garbage cans that I bought at Lowe's.  We figure our shared supplies go in along with each individual's pack.  If we have to leave in a hurry, we wheel the cans out and go.

    We took a few minutes and discussed why we were doing this and decided on a family meeting place if something happened while we were all separated.

    Of course our hope is that we never have to use these, but it's nice to know that we're ready if we find ourselves in an emergency.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    The "Me" Generation - So worth reading!!!

    As the events of today unraveled, this came to mind.  It was great to re-read after all this time.  So profoundly important to people of any belief.  I hope you'll take the time to read it.  What I am posting here is only a portion of his words.  If you're interested in the entire speech, you can click here

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks

    "Unselfish Service," , (April 5, 2009)

    Dallin H. Oaks

    "Our Savior gave Himself in unselfish service. He taught that each of us should follow Him by denying ourselves of selfish interests in order to serve others.

    “If any man will come after me [He said], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24–25; see also Matthew 10:39).

    "We live in a time when sacrifice is definitely out of fashion, when the outside forces that taught our ancestors the need for unselfish cooperative service have diminished. Someone has called this the 'me' generation—a selfish time when everyone seems to be asking, what’s in it for me? Even some who should know better seem to be straining to win the praise of those who mock and scoff from the “great and spacious building” identified in vision as the pride of the world (see 1 Nephi 8:26–28; 11:35–36).

    "The worldly aspiration of our day is to get something for nothing. The ancient evil of greed shows its face in the assertion of entitlement: I am entitled to this or that because of who I am—a son or a daughter, a citizen, a victim, or a member of some other group. Entitlement is generally selfish. It demands much, and it gives little or nothing. Its very concept causes us to seek to elevate ourselves above those around us. This separates us from the divine, evenhanded standard of reward that when anyone obtains any blessing from God, it is by obedience to the law on which that blessing is predicated (see D&C 130:21).

    "The effects of greed and entitlement are evident in the multimillion-dollar bonuses of some corporate executives. But the examples are more widespread than that. Greed and ideas of entitlement have also fueled the careless and widespread borrowing and excessive consumerism behind the financial crises that threaten to engulf the world.

    "Gambling is another example of greed and selfishness. The gambler ventures a minimum amount in the hope of a huge return that comes by taking it away from others. No matter how it is disguised, getting something for nothing is contrary to the gospel law of the harvest: 'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap' (Galatians 6:7; see also 2 Corinthians 9:6).

    "The values of the world wrongly teach that “it’s all about me.” That corrupting attitude produces no change and no growth. It is contrary to eternal progress toward the destiny God has identified in His great plan for His children. The plan of the gospel of Jesus Christ lifts us above our selfish desires and teaches us that this life is all about what we can become.

    "A great example of unselfish service is the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose vow committed herself and her fellow workers to 'wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.' 9 She taught that 'one thing will always secure heaven for us—the acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives.' 10 'We can do no great things,' Mother Teresa maintained, 'only small things with great love.' 11 When this wonderful Catholic servant died, the First Presidency’s message of condolence declared, 'Her life of unselfish service is an inspiration to all the world, and her acts of Christian goodness will stand as a memorial for generations to come.' 12 That is what the Savior called losing our lives in service to others.

    "Each of us should apply that principle to our attitudes in attending church. Some say 'I didn’t learn anything today' or 'No one was friendly to me' or 'I was offended' or 'The Church is not filling my needs.' All those answers are self-centered, and all retard spiritual growth.

    "In contrast, a wise friend wrote:
    "'Years ago, I changed my attitude about going to church. No longer do I go to church for my sake, but to think of others. I make a point of saying hello to people who sit alone, to welcome visitors, … to volunteer for an assignment. …

    "'In short, I go to church each week with the intent of being active, not passive, and making a positive difference in people’s lives. Consequently, my attendance at Church meetings is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.' 13
    "All of this illustrates the eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get.

    "Our Savior teaches us to follow Him by making the sacrifices necessary to lose ourselves in unselfish service to others. If we do, He promises us eternal life, “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7)...."

    Pock Mark

    Today was a socially awkward day.  If you are a close facebook friend of mine, you know why.  I don't want to go too much into detail about what was going on...because, honestly, I don't know what was going on myself.  


    I just want to go so far as to say that I learned the value of keeping things positive.  Usually, on facebook, I find that, when I'm online, there is a continual stream of comments or some kind of communication. After a negative comment that was completely out of the blue, there was complete silence--for hours.  Wow!  Very awkward pregnant pause.  It was like having social leprosy.

    I think there's enough negative to be had everywhere we look.  I try to go at any online situation in a positive vein. There is good to be found in everything too.  I think my friends, who are also, for the most part, positive people, didn't quite know how to respond to this.


    To those of my friends, especially Deena who followed it up with positives, I cannot tell you how much I valued your comments and support.  Thank you!

    Wordless Wednesday - At Long Last

    Pudding Chip Cookies

    I'm trying very hard to get the frequently-made recipes typed up here.  I'm hoping to make all of this into a book someday.  It's also nice to have the recipes all in one place, so all I have to do is sign in and find the recipe I want.

    Here's one from my mom.  It's in my cupboard written on the back of an envelope.  It's about time it was typed up.  It's another one I always double.

    Pudding Chip Cookies
      1 C. butter
      3/4 C. brown sugar
      1/4 C. sugar
      1 small pkg. vanilla or chocolate pudding
      2 eggs
      1 tsp vanilla
    Mix in:
      2 1/4 C. flour
      1 tsp. baking soda
    Stir in 1 pkg. chocolate chips and 1 C. nuts if desired.

    Bake at 350 for 10 mins.

    Today I made them with chocolate pudding and poured in 1 big bag of peanut butter M&Ms along with half the amount of chocolate chips.  You know this health food thing I got going on.  Eeek!

    Pistachio Salad Recipe

    This is a favorite at our house.

    1 can Mandarin oranges, drained
    1 small can crushed pineapple, undrained
    1 pkg. pistachio pudding (just the powder, don't make it into pudding)
    1 pkg. Cool Whip (the regular size container)
    1 C. mini marshmallows

    Fold ingredients together in a bowl.  Chill and serve.

    I double this one EVERY time. 

    Book Change

    Not THIS mamma!
    I started reading The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things, but it was just another one of those teenage girl drama things.  I couldn't stand it.  I got about a chapter in and had to stop.  Too much self-imposed dumb stuff.  UGH!!!

    I went to the library this morning and asked the librarian for a banned or challenged book published within the past ten years that has a male protagonist.  My hope was that I could get away from some of the drama.  She directed me to An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  It is an Oregon Battle of the Books book for 2011.  I'm actually looking forward to reading it.

    I must say, I am grateful to live my life with a minimum of drama in it.  For the most part, I'm raising drama-free young women in my home.  Life is just good.  Who needs the drama?

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    The Wins from Losing

    #2 has been on a basketball team this year that has lost every game they've played.  I don't mean just a little loss, I mean HUGE losses.  It's been a bit painful to watch.  My heart just breaks for those boys each time a game ends.  But none quite as much as this last game.

    Let me first share that the game before the last one was against the only team they truly felt they could win against.  They were all geared up.  They, like in most of their games, started out ahead.  As they fell behind, the wind went out of the sails, and the loss became, yet again, grotesque.  They felt they were just done for the season because there was NO WAY they were going to win against the last two teams (they play the last game this afternoon)--Southridge and Westview.

    This past game, the one against Southridge, we went into thinking the boys'd give it their best effort, and we'd lose, and it'd be done.  This was not so.

    They started out with Aloha scoring first and then they kind of held each other off.  Aloha was ahead but by the end of the quarter Southridge had scored 7 to our 5.

    Throughout the game, the two teams stayed neck and neck.  It was amazing to watch.  I yelled and hollered like never before.  So did the other parents.  It was so fun to watch.

    By the end of the game, Aloha was ahead, but Southridge snuck in three more points.  Ugh!  They were ahead by one point. 

    With about ten seconds left, #2 shot and made it, but just before the ball left his hands, the coach called a time out, so the refs called that and the shot didn't count.  With three seconds left, the other team called a time out.  Aloha was in possession of the ball, but we failed to make the shot, so Aloha lost by one point.

    The other coaches and parents, as we spoke with them, admitted that Aloha had out-played Southridge that afternoon.  It was an amazing game.  I was so proud of those boys.  They had proven something to themselves.  I was sad for their loss, but it was so overshadowed by the skills they'd learned from all of those losses.  The most important skill they had gained was how to lose gracefully.  They had been educated by their adversity.

    Today is their final game.  I don't expect a win.  Of course, I'd love to see that happen, but I expect to see the same team with a different attitude.  They now know they have it in themselves to win.  They, more than anything, deserve a win.

    So, yes, I expect to lose my voice today.  I expect to have my arms aching and shaking from all the clapping I plan on doing.  No matter what happens, these boys have proven to me that there are great things to be gained from bad outcomes; from what we don't want to have happen to us.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Check Out This Post from May 2009

    I was looking back for recipes of the ward cookbook and ran across this post, which totally cracks me up.  I don't even remember having seen this before.  Enjoy!

    What are You Going to Do with Your Day Off?

    Tomorrow is President's Day.  No school!!!  We knew we wanted to do something together as a family day but have to wait until #2's basketball practice is over.  I also have a little shopping for a fancy dress experience planned.

    Just like last time we had a day off, we drew some family activities from our little bowl during family council today.  I'm putting these here, so if you've come up with that quandary of what to do, you can use any of these ideas if you'd like.

    Each child picked one randomly with his/her eyes closed.  We ended up with family karaoke, hike to Council Crest, Skateworld, visit to Grandma's house (not possible), Valley Theatre, Voodoo Donuts, pictionary with playdough, and the Jantzen Beach Carousel.

    We all decided that the Valley Theatre was out because all that they're showing tomorrow that would be appropriate for our family was Yogi Bear.  Worth spending that much money on?  I don't think so.  That narrowed us down to six choices.  We could even do a combination of them.

    After voting, we decided on the carousel.  Here's the low-down on the Carousel.

    If we had decided to do the playdough thing, I was going to make playdough for us to use.  The store-bought stuff gives me a headache.  If you choose to do that one, here's my recipe (super easy, but that's what I'm all about):

    In a pan, mix:
      1 C. Flour
      1/2 C. salt
      2 Tbsp. cream of tartar
      2 Tbsp. oil
    Slowly add:
      1 C. water
      Food coloring as desired (optional)
    Cook over medium heat, stir til dough is stiff.  Turn onto wax paper and let cool.  Knead til proper consistency.

    Happy President's Day to you!  Hope you enjoy your time with your family.

    Homemade Waffles with Pumpkin Pie Syrup

    Got a bit adventurous this morning.  We had waffles:

    3 1/2 C. flour
    4 Tbsp. sugar
    2 Tbsp. baking powder
    4 eggs
    3 1/2 C. milk
    1 C. oil
    2 tsp. vanilla

    Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl.  Slightly beat the eggs in another bowl and add the milk, oil and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until all is moist.  The batter will be lumpy.  Cook in a waffle iron.  Should make about 16 waffles, but it depends on the size of your iron.

    I have posted this syrup recipe before, and I really lean on what I've put in this blog to find my recipes, but my search thingy doesn't work (very frustrating), so I couldn't find it.  If anyone knows how to change my setting so it'll work, please advise.  Anyway, I LOVE this syrup recipe.  Very easy and oh, so yummy!  It's really a cinnamon syrup, but today I put in pumpkin pie spice instead, so thus the title of this post.

    Cinnamon Syrup
    1 C. sugar
    1 C. brown sugar
    4 Tbsp. flour
    1 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (I also bought apple pie spice, I'm thinking that might be fun to have on top of some apple waffles or put some apples in the syrup and cook them just until they're a bit soft)
    2 tsp. vanilla
    2 C. water

    Stir all together in a saucepan over heat.  Cook to a boil and keep stirring until thickened.

    Oh SOOOO yummy!  Enjoy!

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    A Mormon Girl's Perspective

    I'm at the point in my class where I'm diving into the banned books section.

    I had such a hard time finding a banned book.  Not because they're not in the library due to their banned status, but because they're all checked out.  I mean between all ten or so libraries in the area, they're all gone.  I even had to ask a librarian to help me dive back far enough in the annals of banned-ness to help me find one to fit the criteria--within the past ten years or so and something I hadn't already read.

    Pretty close to being tied with Harry Potter for it's challenged status is the "Alice" series.  I chose to read one of those.

    Of the books I've read for this class, this has been my hardest one to read yet.  I'm dragging myself through it.  Even the last dragger I read, didn't make me suffer like this one does.  I actually ended up enjoying the last dragger. 

    The "Alice" books are about a girl and all of her self-created drama.  It isn't creatively written.  It's just dull, boring, teen drama. 

    Last night I read a portion of the book where Alice goes to a fancy school dance.  Her date is a total player.  She doesn't even really like him and really wanted to go to the dance with another guy that she genuinely likes, but this kid asked her right in front of her whole class, so she couldn't really say no.  She was kind of eh about the whole situation.

    They went to the dance with another couple.  Halfway through the dance, the guy wants to take her and go to a party.  She talks him into staying until the end of the dance, so she doesn't have to explain to her dad why they weren't at the dance, then they take the other couple to their homes, and oh look, a whole half hour until Alice has to be home.  What do you know?  It's all pretty predictable.

    Of course, the player finds a place to park and....  Thus the banned status.

    Things get a bit steamy.  Not full on sauna, but steamy enough. 

    Here's what bothered me.  I have to say, I see the world from an LDS standpoint.  Anyone who knows me pretty much knows that and can expect my responses to many, many things.  What bothered me was the fact that this young girl had no limits.  There was no point where she felt to stop--that what she was doing was wrong.  Is the LDS world the only one that considers this wrong?  The only thing that saved her from giving everything to this young man, who she didn't really care that much for, was that it was time to get home.

    Is this really how it is?  I have to ask this.  I know no different.  I have to assert that I'm happy I had the limits I did and was taught from a very young age.  I believe it saved me from a lot of really bad choices and their possible consequences--things that could have changed my life in ways I couldn't control.  But, how is it for the rest of the non-LDS world?  Do people know their limits?  Is there a limit, or is it "anything goes?"  I guess I had never thought about this before.  What stops someone when they haven't been taught where to draw the line?

    Makes Total Sense

    Woke up bluer than blue today.  Maybe even more down than I've ever been.  I think genetically I have a propensity toward this.  Not depression, per se, but just the occasional emotional "recession" let's say.  It's usually short-lived, thankfully.

    My feelings surprised me so much (I really don't have a reason to be down) that I spoke with the Warden about it.  Poor guy.  He doesn't know what to do when I feel like this, and he told me as much this morning.

    As I finally got myself dressed, I just felt like I could fall into a heap and cry for absolutely no reason.  Maybe I'm just over-hydrated and need to release some extra fluid.

    Today is my volunteer day at the school.  Part of me really felt like canceling, but I went anyway and am really glad I did.

    I dropped #7 off at my dear friend's house.  As I left I mentioned to her what a hard time I was having this morning.  She, who has known me better than pretty much anybody for about the last seven or so years, said, "It is that time of year, isn't it?"

    Sure enough.  Every year between the beginning of February and mid-March, I go through this funk.

    This is the time of year when my mom was dying.  Ah.  That explains it a little bit.  Doesn't make it right, but at least it makes sense.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Code Silver

    #5 started complaining of ear pain yesterday.  I don't mean just complaining, I should have said crying.  We gave him some Tylenol and put some drops of warm olive oil and a piece of cotton ball in it.  I think these things helped a little, but it was a very tear-filled evening.  Even in the middle of the night, he woke and cried to tell us how much it hurt.

    We got in to see a nurse practitioner at Kaiser just before 11am.  She looked and sure enough--an ear infection.  She said it was as red as the red on his shoes--candy apple red.

    So, I'm just now seeing the tender mercy in this whole thing....

    When she checked his record at the beginning of the appointment, the nurse practitioner noticed that #5 hadn't had his flu shot yet.  Would he like to have one?  I replied with yes; although, I got to thinking, "What's the point?  Flu season's almost over," but all she heard was "Yes."

    When the appointment was over, she gave us our prescription papers and I started to head out to the upstairs lobby, but the nurse practitioner quickly came out and said, "Oh, we forgot to give him his flu shot.  Why don't you go down and start the process.  Turn it in, and come back up."  The pharmacy is near the main lobby where everyone checks in when they first enter the clinic.

    We went downstairs and turned it in then we went back upstairs.  The physicians assistant didn't see us return, so we were waiting for a little while.  As we waited, I started hearing, "Code silver.  Main check in.  Special check in required."  I heard it repeated a number of times over the P.A. system.  I didn't think much of it.  Just like in the hospital, when you hear "code blue" or "code red" it means someone's having a heart attack or some other kind of emergency.  I just knew someone was having a problem.

    The physician's assistant walked past our room, saw us in it and said, "Oh, I didn't know you were back.  I'll get that ready for you," and walked out again.

    Within a few minutes, both physician's assistants came into the hallway.  One looked a little shaken up.  I said, "You know, I've got to go pick up my son, so I think we'll not do the flu shot."  The unshaken one said, "You can't go now, we're in lock down."  Just then, the shaken one locked the door to the hallway.

    The shaken one explained that they had just been "yelled at" my their manager to get behind the door.  They then looked up the code.  It meant there was someone with a weapon in the building.

    While we waited, not knowing what exactly was going on--there were no loud noises.  From time to time, there were various people called over the intercom system.  They were told to call various extensions.  That was about it.  I called my friend who had picked #6 up from preschool to tell her what was going on.  Her reaction was classic, kind of a nervous, "Man, Julie, never a dull moment, huh?"  How true!

    When all was clear, after about five to ten minutes, I went down to get our prescription.  I can't say I was feeling completely safe, as I walked down the stairs. As I walked into the pharmacy, I wondered about the people there and how they'd hidden.  They were so close to the scene of the action.  I know there are doors on one side of the pharmacy but not on the other, and there is kind of a smokey glass that runs around the entire room.  I'm so thankful we weren't there when this all happened.

    I'm thankful for the mix up about the flu shot so that I didn't have to be scared for my little kids (I had #s 5 and 7 with me).  Where we were, the nurses got out crayons and coloring books for the kids to keep them entertained.  We were in the best possible place we could have been.

    Not knowing what the weapon was, I got to thinking that it could even have been a bomb.  So glad to be home this afternoon.  Glad for Kaiser's ability to protect their patients.  Grateful that yet again, God has continued to take care of us--not just that we were safe, but that we were in a good place.  I don't know if my little ones even knew what was going on during all this.

    Funny, on the way into the clinic's parking lot, we were listening to the Beatles.  #5 asked me, "Are all the Beatles dead?"  I very briefly explained about John Lennon and how there are just some crazy people in this world.  During our "lock down" time, #5 once again asked about John Lennon.  Maybe he had more understanding than I think he did.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Alone Time

    For many years, the Warden had callings in church that kept him gone to meetings on Thursday nights.  The kids'd go to bed, and I'd be up watching E.R. and all the other great shows that Thursdays had to offer.  It was a fun time, and I kind of miss it, to be honest.

    Tonight, the three oldest kids are helping at a soup kitchen with the youth from church, #4 is at scouts, and the three youngest are bathed and in bed.  I am sitting here alone with nothing but time on my hands.  It's lovely!!!

    Today, I did coupons and got the grocery shopping organized.  I got most of it done--have to go back to Safeway tomorrow to finish, but that's okay cuz there's an eclair at the end of that rainbow.  Anyway, it took most of my time, and I only got one load of laundry done.  I've been such a slacker!

    After my last post, I received a facebook message from a friend in regard to vitamin D and its effect on mood.  I was taking some extra D with my daily multi-vitamin, but it ran out a few days ago.  I was wondering why I was lacking in motivation so much.  I'm wondering if that smaller amount of vitamin D might be causing my problem.  I think I'm going to have the Warden pick some p for me on his way home tonight.  I really don't like how life has been lately (not really "life" exactly, just me in life--just dragging).

    So, the other thing I used to do on Thursday evenings was, as the commercials came on during episodes, I would run and straighten a room as quickly as I could and get back to the show as soon as the ad was over.  I think I'm going to have to set myself a timer or something tonight.  I got the upstairs cleaned, so now to work on the kitchen, front room, and family room.

    I'm not the kind that can just bask in the alone-ness.  I'm just a bit too much of a spazz.  I can't seem to sit still and just drink it all in.  Too many things that need to be done run through my brain.

    What do you do when you have time like this?

    Vitamin D

    When I took my kids to the pediatrician a few months back, she told me about all the research that's being done on vitamin D and its effects on kids.

    I started that day to give supplements to my kids.

    In the past three weeks, one of my children, the one who struggles the most, has had amazing reports come home from his teacher.  He has had three stellar weeks.  Now, two things have happened in that time...1) his seating was changed in the classroom, and  he now sits next to his good friend who is an excellent student and great example for him, and 2) he has been taking vitamin D.

    So, now the big question.  Is my son growing up and becoming more responsible all on his own?  Is he being highly influenced to do good things by this friend?  Is he benefiting from taking additional vitamins?  Could it just be the results of all three working together?

    Has anyone else tried this with great results like this?

    Not only is this child succeeding at school, he is also really on top of things here at home.  He comes home and gets right on task.  He gets everything ready for the next day, so he's ready to leave the house.  He even has time to play and do the things he enjoys in the evening.  It's really a wonderful change!

    Wordless Wednesday - Nutella (her face matches my feelings)

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Family Photos

    Want to see our new family photos from this past weekend?  Go here!
    Thanks Julia!!!


    I SO called it!  The Warden is an "Acts of Service" kind of guy--big time.  Had the older kids do the Love Language assessment for kids last night.  Most of them (all but one) are highest and pretty balanced in "Quality Time" and "Words of Affirmation"--same as me.  But there is one that is "Physical Touch" and "Gifts."  Huh!  Figures.  These are my lowest two.  Those of you who know my children can probably guess which child this is.

    I'm now knowing that for this particular child to be truly happy and to feel that needs are met, I'm going to have to sacrifice and become comfortable being more affectionate and giving little things to this particular child more frequently.

    I thought Inmate #1, being the eldest, would match with her father more, who is also an oldest child.  It was interesting to see that, for her, "Acts of Service" scored a 1.

    #3 was so fascinated by this whole exercise that she gathered everyone's scores and put them together in one place.  We're, most of us, very similar, but there are just a couple who are going to make me think a bit more about how I act.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Love Languages

    I'm not well versed on the Love Languages, but I read a book about it a few years ago and took a quiz.  The results were fascinating!  Here's a link for you if you want to take an assessment yourself.  I am a quality time kind of person--WAY quality time.  My second is words of affirmation.  I am not a gift person at all.  Stuff just doesn't mean a lot to me.

    When the Warden took this assessment a few years ago, he was an acts of service person.  I can't remember what his second was, but I think it was physical touch.  These two rank in the middle for me.

    Anyway, it was an interesting assessment and spoke volumes about how we communicate and can improve in our communication with each other.

    In my mind, there should be another love language, and I think both the Warden and I would agree on this one and it would rank the highest for both of us.  That would be humor.

    I feel loved when someone simply smiles at me.  It lifts my spirits and makes me feel connected to that person.  They don't have to tell me jokes or make me laugh even; although, those things are pretty great too.

    The people I love the most and feel connected to the most are those that are upbeat and happy.  Maybe that's the same for all of us.  I don't do serious very well.
    Yesterday, at church, I gave a talk, so I had to sit up on the stand (haha!  "Sit" on the "Stand"--sorry, dumb joke.  Some days everything's funny).  I got to sit next to my good friend's husband.  He is HILARIOUS!  I was so grateful to get to sit next to him.  He calls me "Jules Verne."  That's pretty great!  Anybody that can come up with a dumb nickname like that and pull it off is pretty super in my book.  I loved that I felt so at ease just because I knew if I screwed up too badly we'd both make a joke out of it and laugh about it, so it was all going to be okay.

    So, what do you think?  Is everyone else the same way?  Would you rather meet up with someone who makes you smile and laugh, or would you rather have quality time or some kind of service done for you in order to feel loved?

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Busy Day--If you don't want to read this entire post, at least read the last paragraph.

    Just got out of the bath.  Sitting here eating fresh pineapple.  Ahhh!  What a way to end a day.

    I woke at 3:45 this morning thinking it must be close to 6.  I even held a conversation with the Warden, I was so sure it must be morning.  When I looked at the clock, I was so embarrassed that I'd wakened him.  Not sure if he knew the time or not, but he was a good sport about it all.  I apologized, and he rolled over and went back to sleep.  I tried, but no way.

    I got up and got some things done for Primary.

    At 7am, the women I work with in Primary, and I had breakfast together.  We had a training at the church at 8am.  It, as usual, was wonderful.  I took pages and pages of notes.  One of the scriptures that was shared was particularly significant to me right now.  It was Doctrine & Covenants 84:85, "Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man."

    This was important because I've been asked to speak in church tomorrow.  Thoughts have been flowing through my mind all week.  I've even had experiences with the topic this week as well and know exactly what route I'm supposed to take with this one.  Tender mercies all over the place.  It's now just a matter of getting an outline made up, so I can be organized as I share what I need to.  I was impressed that this scripture was just an extra dose of encouragement from Heavenly Father to go with what the Spirit teaches.

    Another thing that was shared during the training was that the new church handbook is to be used to fortify families.  This idea has me intrigued.  When we received these new manuals, and I had a chance to read through it, the idea to run family council more like how a ward council is held kept coming back to me.  All we really use our family council for at this time is calendaring.  I know it can be used for so much more to help our family run smoother.  We just need to break tradition.  I'll probably blog more about this topic later as I start to get it figured out.  This, I'm sure, is another one of those line upon line lessons that I have yet to learn. 

    Immediately following the training, we had family pictures.  I have a number of good friends who are talented photographers.  Two, that I thought of asking to do these photos actually live about an hour away.  While I thought the decision was going to be super tough, I read in the blog of one of these women that she had decided to close her business.  I was sad to hear she was done.  She has a number of health issues and homeschools her kids, so she's got a lot on her plate, but I know photography brought her a lot of happiness. 

    My photographer friend was kind enough to drive up, and we went up to Jenkins Estate to take the photos.  It was so great to see her!  I have to say, I learn a lot from this woman

    I've been learning a lot about confidence lately.  I'm afraid that sometimes life's lessons are learned from making mistakes, changing and learning from the contrast between failure and success. 

    Right now, in so many areas in my life, I feel like a fish out of water.  Being in a leadership role and being on the front lines, so to speak, is a new experience for me.  This "young mother of the year" thing is also different.  That, thankfully, hasn't been much of an issue, but it does make me analyze the way I do things quite a bit these days.  Back to the post from a few days ago. 

    Anyway, I'm learning about being confident and cutting myself slack and being okay with me being me.  I'm learning not to limit the Lord in what He can do with me.  I'm particularly bad at putting myself down in front of others.

    Today's photo shoot was a BLAST!  This friend is truly talented in many, many ways.  I was feeling unsure in my abilities to choose appropriate clothing for the pictures, so I emailed her a few days ago.  I have very little experience in this area, and to choose something that all nine of us will look good together in is daunting to me.  Before going to bed last night, I had all the kids come in our room.  I had them each bring in a pair of jeans.  Nope--all different shades; not good.   I asked what they thought we should wear--blue, green and yellow (the high school colors).  Nope--the Warden was NOT going to wear that bright yellow sweatshirt the girls were picking off his shelves.  I may not know much about these things, but THAT I knew.

    It's a lot like this, but cuter.
    Then, like magic, I looked through Inmate #7's clothes and came across a plaid jumper--red, black, white, and khaki.  This was it!  I sent the kids to find things that matched these colors.  It was GREAT!  We matched enough to look like we belonged together, yet we were each our own individuals contributing to the group.

    I have to share, though, that the one thing that made the whole picture taking thing wonderful was our photographer.  She is upbeat and happy.  When it was just me and her taking my pictures, it hit me that we're both just little girls trying to be grown ups.  It was a funny thought.  The idea hit me that neither of us are perfect; both of us make mistakes and have our insecurities, but the way she conducts herself, you'd never know it.  She finds the best in everything that happens--even if it's a baby eating Cheerios out of the dirt.

    I learned a lot from her today.  Just another step on the ladder to another lesson I need to learn. 

    Here's the portion I learned today.  Even if you make mistakes, keep it to yourself.  Most likely, no one else noticed.  If it was glaring and everyone noticed, make the best of it.  Find the silver lining.  Find the fun or joy or whatever good there is from it.  Trudge forward with a smile on your face--just walk in such a way that no one else will know that internally you're trudging.  Be confident--it's a choice.  Make that choice everyday.  Assume that everyone thinks you're pretty darned great because darn it, you are.  There!  That's what I learned today from one very lovely friend that I love a whole bunch and think she was one of my special tender mercies today.  Shouldn't it be that everyone we have the joy of interacting with each day is a tender mercy to our lives?  I'm pretty sure they are.

    Who Do You Think You Are - Tim McGraw - Video -

    I'm putting this here because I'm SO watching this today. I can't wait! I LOVE this show. It gives me goose bumps just to think about watching it, but I don't have time right now. I have a breakfast appointment at 7am and a meeting at 8am. Family photos at 10:30am. Maybe after that. Yippeeee!!!

    Who Do You Think You Are - Tim McGraw - Video -

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Chicken Nuggets in the Crockpot

    A number of months ago, I decided to start using my crockpot more.  Actually, I was going to use it everyday.  There was one other time in my life when I did that.  It was after the spring break of three children ago.  I purchased this book (to the left) at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Gift Shop.

    What exactly do crockpots and sea creatures have to do with each other?  I don't know either, but that day I put a little extra money toward the aquarium's services, and I got jazzed about the recipes in the book.

    I spent most of my time in the car that day using little post-it notes to mark every recipe I wanted to try.  I scheduled in dinners for months.  It was GREAT! 

    So, to solve the problem of dinner stress this past fall, I decided that the crockpot was going to be my only chance at peace.  That it was!

    Last night, I decided to try chicken nuggets in the crockpot just because I was intrigued.  I found the recipe at this site.  If you're thinking of doing something in your crockpot, this is the site to use.

    They turned out SO GOOD!  As I was making them, I couldn't help thinking about buying a package of chicken nuggets at the store, throwing them on a pan and letting the cook away in the oven.  I thought, what the heck am I doing here?  It was pretty time consuming.  To save on time, I threw the chicken pieces (as many as would fit) into the egg mixture and then transferred the pieces into a ziploc bag with the breading mix in it.  I shook them around to coat them, poured them out and placed them in the crockpot .  I layered them with poked pieces of foil between the layers.  After all was said and done, I will TOTALLY do this one again.  So much healthier and yummier than those frozen jobbers.

    They practically melted in our mouths.  I used chicken tenders (no, I don't want to know what part of the chicken that is.  Hah.a) and cut them into bit-sized pieces.  I used seasoned bread crumbs and added a bit of garlic powder and a bit of seasoning salt to them, but I wish I would have added more.  The breading was kind of boring.  I didn't follow the recipe on the website.  Next time I will.

    It sounds like Stephanie (the owner of "A Year of Slow Cooking") likes her chicken nuggets crispy.  I don't mind mine a bit softer.  These were definitely worth the time and effort.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    What to Wear

    I am the first to admit that I am a walking fashion faux pas.  I haven't a clue what to wear.  If you saw the photos of my closet in the earlier post, you probably noticed that things are very monochromatic. 

    Yup!  Black shoes.
    I was teased in elementary school by some of the popular girls for what I wore.  It was at that point that I learned that black and white go with everything, so that's what I turned to--safety.  That's what I've stayed with.

    I've gotten to a point in life where I should probably start giving a rip.  I admire those who know just what to wear in every situation.  I would love to become one of those...someday.

    For now, here are my upcoming fashion ordeals opportunities:
    • Family and individual photo shoot on Saturday--what's best to wear for this kind of thing?
    • The luncheon for the mother of the year thingy (am I okay to call it that?)  I'm still a bit shy about it.
    • The gala for same said thingy.
    I know that many of you that read my babblings know SO much more about this kind of stuff.  Can you help me out?  I'd absolutely LOVE you for it.  Thanks!!!

    Chaos or Calm - It's a Choice

    It's 9:30am, and I'm still in my pajamas.  I don't have to run off and get #6, so I'm not in a big hurry.  No preschool on Wednesdays, so I keep him busy on my computer while I get the grocery list ready and coupons figured out.  Later we'll hit the library and get some grocery shopping done. 

    Tonight we're having this.  I tried this one from the same site the other night.  It was SO YUMMY!  We served it on  mashed potatoes, though.

    A pink one would be perfect!
    I also tried these yesterday.  I messed up on them a little bit--left out the egg, so I put it in after I'd already kneaded it.  I also don't have a fancy Kitchenaid on my counter, so I tried to use my mixer.  I killed it.  I had to knead the egg in by hand.   Eww, messy!  They were yummy, but I'm going to give this a try again.   Time to start saving money or begging for a Kitchenaid.

    The Warden's coming down with a cold--or something.  He doesn't dabble in just regular old germs like the rest of us.  If germs are going to go to the trouble of infecting his 6'6" body, they mean business.  So, rarely is it limited to just the sniffles. 

    As we went to bed last night, I could hear the furnace working.  I asked him if I could turn the thermostat down.  He asked if I'd "please" leave it turned up.  He thinks it will somehow help him not get sicker.  Hmm.  Not so sure if that's true.  I asked him how high he had it, and he had it higher than we have during the day.  I told him we'd be roasting in the middle of the night.  He went back downstairs and turned it down a few degrees.

    At 1a.m., I was absolutely sweating.  I went downstairs and turned it down a couple more degrees.  This morning, when I woke up, the house was perfect in warmth.  When I asked the Warden what he thought, he agreed.

    The one down point of this perfectly warm home is that none of us wanted to get out of bed--including Miss I've-Got-to-be-in-Class-at-6:30, so she missed class.  The Warden got all snazzy in his suit and headed out to a meeting, so I had to take the kids to the high school.  At this point, I'm still in my jammies.  I threw on a sweatshirt and headed out the door. 

    The windshield was frozen over--29 degrees fahrenheit, so we sat there and waited.  It was then that I realized that #1 wasn't in the car.  We left without her.  As I'm sitting on the main road to the high school, suddenly a flagger jumps out of nowhere and places a "stop" sign in front of me.  Timing is everything.  I'm at a stoplight anyway, so her sign in front of me really serves no purpose.  As the light changes, she waves me on to move in kind of a grumpy way, but the car in front of me hasn't moved, so I can't go.

    As this happened, I noticed that most of the time, if I was unshowered and in my pajamas at 7:30am, I'd be really put out, and the entire morning would be ruined.  As I saw how grumpy this woman was, in contrast, I realized how calm and happy I was feeling.

    I dropped #2 at the high school and took off for the elementary school with #s 4 and 5.  I, then, rounded back around to get #1.  Her missing the ride and causing me another trip just means that she gets to do extra work for me when she gets home, so I'm all good with that (see this post).

    Funny that I'm moving like a slug, and I'm perfectly okay with it.  I'm going to get the rest of the left half of my closet done too, but first, I'm getting a brownie in a mug--just to keep my happy mood going.  HeeHee.

    Wordless Wednesday - My Breakfast Buddy

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    A Closet Full of Valentine's Surprises

    Tackle It Tuesday Meme

    I started in on Saturday giving the master bedroom an overhaul.  I never let it get really bad, but it's kind of my go-to place when a project stands unfinished.  Yesterday I cleaned under my bed and a shelf in the laundry room.  It makes me so happy to have those things done.  So, today is my bedroom closet.  I can't believe I'm showing this to you....

    This is what I started today with.

    I'm continually putting things into the closet but taking nothing out, so I gave myself 15 minutes to get it done.  I knew it wouldn't get completely cleaned out, but even a little bit would help.  I set a timer for five minutes and took a photo or two when the timer went off.
    This is the stuff just from those shelves

    I only cleaned off the top shelf that housed my shoes, the one below that, and the top shelf to the left side.

    I found various strange items--my tool box, a blanket, three glass blocks from an unfinished craft project, a Christmas present that I still haven't delivered (oh, that's so me.  Ugh!), and a bunch of other mommy treasures (you know, the stuff you have to hide so no one destroys it?  I knew you'd know what I was talking about).  I also found a brown M&M--I wasn't even tempted.

    This is the closet after ten minutes.  All the shelf junk was on the floor.  All the remaining hanging clothes were on the bed behind me.  At this point, I'm feeling good about getting it back into place and tossing various items.

    I need to explain my tool box.  Just because I think it's so great.  A number of years ago, before Inmate #6 came into our family, we had to renovate our home to accomodate another little person.  As this was happening, the Warden would ask for various tools to get things done.  When he wasn't around, I had things to do too but could never find the right tool, so one day, I'd finally had it and went to Home Depot.  I went up to a guy in the tool department and asked him just what I would need for a starter tool box.  He set me up, and there you have it.  I keep it in my closet for safe keeping.  No one else is allowed to touch it, but if you ever need a tool, I'm the go to girl in this house.  With today's closet clean-up, it now sits on the highest shelf--you can barely see it in this photo.

    This is where I was at fifteen minutes.  Most of the things were put away, but there was still a various array of garbahj on the floor.  I found a deck of 47 cards and a stray individually wrapped chocolate chip cookie--untouched.

    I hung my clothes by what they were--jackets, skirts, blouses, etc. and inside those criteria, I hung them according to color.  Yes, there's a little bit of OCD in there.

    Those are ALL of my shoes on that one measly shelf.  I am not a shopper.  My shoes are black, black, black, and  I do have one pair of winter white sandals (like these legs'd ever be tan enough for those--ha!) and a pair of brown Mary Janes.  I need to branch out a bit, don't you think?

    I also found some real treasures along the way.  Funny how many of them had to do with the season....

     This has a cute little humorous note from my grandfather (who passed away when I was just a little girl) to my dad.  I tried to take a picture of the back, but the writing was too tiny.  I love the humor my family shares--grateful for the ol' Hamm gene pool.

    In the middle of this pile of jewelry (from the stuff that was from the top shelf to the far left side of the closet, you can see a metal heart.  It's in the center of this photo.  My dad gave me this pendant with a chain and matching pair of earrings on Valentine's Day when I was eighteen.  It was the first "real" Valentine's present I can remember ever getting--other than those nasty chalk-like conversation hearts that we woke to with a sweet note written on them from my mom.  I'd take those babies to school and give them away, but the note was always the best part of Valentine's Day.
    This is that shelf now.

    This is the Valentine's card I received from the inmates and the Warden last year.

    Also in the closet, I found the plastic bag that holds the Valentine's for the kids for this year.  No conversation hearts here; always chocolate!  Also attempting to follow in my mom's footsteps, there will be a card for each child and one for the Warden.  Speaking of the Warden, I haven't yet done anything for him, and to be honest, I'm kind of at a loss.  I'd better get thinking here pretty darned quick.
    Here was the biggest treasure of all.  I found this photo of my grandfather; his wife, Eva; and my mom.  On the back is says Spokane, 1939.  My mom was 12--that's her to the left.  Now, WHY did I put it on my closet shelf?  It is now in a frame.

    The finished (well, top shelves finished) closet

    So, here's the final photo.  I will tackle the shelves to the left tomorrow and get through all of those clothes.  I still have the entire right side to wallow through too, so that'll be the rest of the week.


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