Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Touching a Nerve

FlyLady day one was a success.  I stopped up both sides of my kitchen sink and filled both sides with hot bleach water.  I let it sit for an hour--right at lunch time (a bit challenging).  After the timer went off, I rinsed the sink and cleaned it with comet.  After rinsing again, I sprayed it with Windex and wiped it.  It looks gorgeous now.  The Warden said he's never seen the faucet sparkle like that before.  YAY!

So, I looked ahead to day two.  This is where I get rebellious.  Yep, that's right, I make it all the way to day number two before I start balking at things.  This about sums me up.  Darned rebellious streak.  I can tell you which side of my family to blame, but I won't.  Let's just say it's not my mom's side.

Here's the deal.  FlyLady wants me to wear my shoes all day.  Not just shoes but lace up shoes.  I have an aversion to shoes.  I always have.  Barefoot is the way to be for me.  Inside...outside...it just doesn't matter.  Wearing shoes in the house is icky.  I'm not saying that you're weird for wearing shoes in the house.  I'm just saying it's weird for me.

I like to be footloose and fancy free.  So, no, I'm not wearing shoes tomorrow.  Rebel that I am.  To be honest, I own a pair of running shoes--that is the extent of my lace up shoes.  All of my shoes slip on so I can get out of them quickly.  I'm just strange like that.  Clogs are my best friends.  I'm not big on showing off my toes either.

Wow!  Do you think I might have some hang ups?  FlyLady has touched a nerve.  So, wish me luck with tomorrow.  Darned rebellious streak!

Falling Apart

Things in life are not good right now.  That's as much as I'll say.  A lot of it has to do with the load of schoolwork I have right now.  I'm allowing it to overtake me.  Wish I didn't have the blasted deadline, but I do, so now I have to work and work to get it all done.

I have created some new goals for myself and am continually trying to find better ways to do it all.  Basically, I'm making myself crazy.

For today, I decided to go back to FlyLady.  Her system is a good one.  Her website, however, is not.  So, I just thought I'd share where to start for anyone who's not familiar with her system.  Hopefully, if you're feeling overwhelmed, it will at least take you down to just "whelmed."  This link is to the place where you begin, so you don't have to go to her overwhelming home page.  If you can somehow bypass the email list from which you receive too much clutter to your inbox, do it.  I'd love to hear if you come up with some other, more streamlined, system.

So, I'm off to clean my sink then it's time to hit the books.

Out of Order

We live in a very curious world....

Men marry men; women marry women and they WANT to have babies.

Men marry women; women marry men and they WANT to have dogs.

Does anyone else think this is strange?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Woman of Noble Character ~ Week 8

This is the last week for the Proverbs 31 Woman of Noble Character challenge.

Week 8:  Proverbs 31:30-31  Write a post about all your hopes and dreams.  Write about something you have always wanted to do or did do.  Write a list of all the things you love about your life.

 30Favour is deceitful, and abeauty is vain: but a woman that bfeareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
 31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Hopes and dreams, huh?  I feel like I write about these all the time.  I have funny things I want, but more than what I want to have and do is what I want to be.  I want to be the kind of person who can be trusted.  I want to be the kind of person who puts others ahead of myself--not in an enabling way, but in a compassionate, charitable way.  I want to be a "woman that feareth the Lord" (and not man)--not to be praised but because I know it will bless and enrich my life and the life of my family.

As for something I've always wanted to do....

I have wanted to go to and graduate from college and am very excited that that desire has almost come to fulfillment.  I'm glad that it didn't happen when it should have.  I'm thankful that the path of my life has led me to the point of doing this now.  Had it happened back when I was 21, I don't think I would have appreciated the road I've traveled to get here as much.  

As things have gotten more and more stressful these past few months, I have increasingly relied upon my children for many of the things that usually fall to me.  I am grateful for these kinds of experiences for my children.  There have been many such situations that have made my kids have to stretch--when I've been pregnant, when new babies have been born into our family, when I broke my leg.  These are some of these kinds of stretching opportunities for our family.  It's been wonderful to see them step up to the plate and build themselves in so many areas.  I believe these things make them more well-rounded and capable individuals.

In this particular situation, unlike those of the past, I am completely capable, so it becomes harder and harder to not jump in and do it myself.  It is also very difficult to know that the end is in sight and continue to do my best.  I want to slack off so bad.  I want to go play.  I don't want to study, but I know I have to.  My hope is to get it done sooner than that deadline, so I'm trying to work my tail off with the hope that the oppression will end (Could I have chosen a more dramatic word?).  Once it's over, then I'll get to play, and I am so looking forward to that.  Work before play, right?  But then there's the "all work and no play" situation that I seem to be in right now--not very in balance.

I sat down with the kids on Friday and we discussed the need for them to continue to help.  I told them how much I appreciated them stepping up.  I explained the situation the best that I could and told them why it was so important that they hang in there with me.  I realized during this conversation that my reasons for doing this were completely different than they would have been during my early 20s.  First of all, back then, no conversation like this would have been necessary or even possible.

I need to do this for my family.  If anything were to happen to the Warden, I'd be raising seven children by myself.  To have a college degree will make the chance of good employment much more possible; although, I know I'm going to need more than this bachelors degree, so I know that there is more education in my future, but I didn't tell them that; plus, it's so much farther in the future that it's not a necessary part of our conversation right now.  

Added to that the fact that the classes I've taken have enriched my life as a mom.  Many classes have helped me learn skills that I've needed badly and wouldn't have obtained in any other way.  Going to school has been some much needed "me" time.  Most importantly, though, is the fact that it's been a great opportunity for my kids to see me study too.  I am hopeful that they've learned how important getting an education is. 

A list of all the things I love about my life?  Really?  All of them?  Okay, that's going to have to be a whole post of its own.

To be continued....

I Love You Because...

A comment from Lia in the past post made me think of this.

Every Monday night at Family Home Evening, we take a moment for "I love you because."  One person starts and chooses any other person in the family (except for #7 at this point) and tells that person 3 or 4 or 5 things that he/she loves about that family member.  One rule: you cannot use the words, "Most of the time."

The code words that you're done are "...and you're so cute."  This is because we started doing this when #4 was about two, and this is all he would say when it was his turn.  On one particular Monday, we decided that this would be each person's last words--just to be funny.

The second person chooses another person and it goes around the entire family circle with each person being chosen only once and ends when the last person goes back and tells the first person what he/she loves about him/her.

This has become one of our favorite parts of Family Home Evening.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back to the Awards

Eons ago, we had a little family dessert on Sunday evenings and would hold an awards ceremony.  At that time, we would give out a number of items.  There were things like a large T-shirt and a heart pillow.  The winner for that week would be handed a sharpie pen and would be allowed to write the date and his/her name on the item wherever he/she wanted to.  I recall that the shirt was given to the "hardest worker" and the pillow was given to the "peacemaker."

Each week, we'd all look forward to seeing who would be the winner for the week.

Today, I sat down with the kids, and we listed how we think our home should be.  We moved the qualities they came up with under four categories--peacemaker, hardworker, service and most respectful. 

Starting this next Sunday, we will award these after family council.  The winner will be given a tie-dyed T-shirt to wear whenever he/she wants to for that week.  The kids agreed today that writing their name on the item was a big reason why they wanted to win, so that will continue this time around.  It will probably end up being a night shirt because we are such an interesting range in sizes here.  It will be returned on Saturday to wash and then will be given to the next winner the next Sunday.

If someone sweeps it and ends up winning all four, there will be a bigger prize.  Most likely it will be a gift certificate to Dairy Queen or something along those lines.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Shoes

Don't you just love the joy of children?!

These are #7's new red shoes.  She brought them up with her when she came up to see us first thing this morning.  She wanted them on her feet right away, and once on, she did the happiest dance I've ever seen.

Who cares about those pink Mary Janes.  They are so yesterday.  Sometimes life brings you something even better.

Where Does it Go From Here?

While at my first board meeting for American Mothers, Inc., we discussed nominees for next year.  There was some talk about changing the timeline allowed for filling out a portfolio and introducing new nominees for Mother and Young Mother of the Year.

Since there are only two nominees for Young Mother for this year, I thought it might be a good idea to change it for this year--as compared with a year when they have five nominees and then have to add five more (doesn't that just make sense?).  As I shared my feelings on this, one of the women chimed in that because the other nominee for Young Mother's son is turning 18 in the next couple months, she might be out of the running.

That would make me the only candidate.  "Wait," I said, "My oldest turns 18 in November, I'm out too."

"She does?!"


So will Oregon have no Young Mother of the Year for 2012?

Duh.  Duh.  Duuuuuuhhhhhh.  Stay tuned....

I can just see you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Brothers

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just Sitting in the Library Minding My Own Business

#1 and I were at the library tonight.  I could tell she was done with her work because while I was sweating away over financial equations (they really blow my mind--very time consuming for me), I hear her giggling from the chair across from me.

I couldn't stand that she was having so much fun, so I ask her, "What are you doing?"  She replies, "Are you on facebook?" 

Huh?  Am I on facebook?  Does the anguished look on my face look like I'm on facebook?  Heavens NO!  I'm not on facebook. 

So, I replied, "No." 

She said, "Go to facebook.  I'll send it to you."

So, I drag myself out of the personal finance website and head over to facebook.  Here's what she sent me:
Annoying things to do on an elevator
1) STAND silent and motionless in the corner facing the wall without getting off.

2) GREET everyone with a warm handshake and ask him or her to call you Admiral.
3) MEOW occasionally.

4) STARE At another passenger for a while. Then announce in horror: "You're one of THEM" - and back away slowly

5) SAY -DING at each floor.

6) MAKE explosion noises when anyone presses a button.

7) STARE, grinning at another passenger for a while, then announce: "I have new socks on."

8) DRAW a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers: "This is my personal space."

9) WHEN there's only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder, then pretend it wasn't you.

10) DROP a pen and wail until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream: "That's mine!"

11) CALL out "Group hug" then enforce it

12.) talk on your cell phone in a Jersey Accent

This is what I was laughing about... I can imagine myself doing them :)
After reading this, I persuaded her that the library elevator would be a great place to try these out.  Only one problem, the library only has two floors.  Most of the people use the stairs.  We pushed the button, walked straight to the corner (each of us in our own) and proceeded down to the first floor facing the corners.  No one got in, and we weren't willing to wait around, so we got out.  DARN IT!

Anyway, thought these were worth a good chuckle.  Hope they made you laugh like they did me.

Close to Bursting

I washed the handprints off the window on the front of my oven yesterday. As I did so, I was thankful for the yummy things that bake there, and more importantly, for the little hands that left the handprints in anticipation of eating those yummy things.

Today, in the car, my son's crazy ringtone went off. My heart became happy just knowing that I'd get to speak with him in the middle of the day. I realized just how joyful this boy makes me.

It's the little things that make me happy....They remind me of the bigger things that bring me joy.

Life...what a blessing!

I Couldn't Ask for Another

I'm putting this here, so I won't be the only one in this world with this CRAZY song stuck in her head.

PLEASE...make it go AWAY!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Caitlin Carter's Banana Bread

This may very well be THE most shared recipe in our ward.  I wrote about making it in my status on facebook, and it cracked me up how many women in the ward commented about how they make it and how yummy it is.  It really is!  Caitlin said I could share it here, so for your eating pleasure.....

 Banana Bread
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup banana (about 3 bananas)
Milk chocolate chips (optional-about half a bag)

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt together.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter and mix well.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well.  Add bananas and mix well.  Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and mix well.  Mix in chocolate chips, if desired.  Pour into greased bread pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Then cover lightly with foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

***Suggestion:  When counter-top bananas turn brown, freeze them.  Bananas defrost quite quickly and are ready for use in the bread.


Could I Have a Clone, Please?

Thursday night will be a big night at our house.

#1 is singing at a big school event.  Other than church activities, I don't know if she's ever sung in public.  She has a very nice voice, but she's always been in band and sports--never choir.  She had to try out for this, and from what I understand, she's singing with three other girls.  #1 was simply accompanying these same girls in another number they were doing, but when a fourth girl dropped out in the acapella number, she jumped in.  She has a short solo at the end of the song.  She is SO EXCITED.  I am too.

#3 is participating in the district track meet for middle schoolers Thursday.  We figured, at one point in the season, had she been competing with the high schoolers, she would have ranked 10th in the district for long jump.  She's in 7th grade.  Can't wait to see what the future holds for her.  She has come home with ribbons from each event she's competed in.  I think, at this point, she has eight blue ribbons and two white.  Yay for those long legs she inherited from her dad!

I share this, not to be braggy, but so that you can understand why I want to be there on Thursday night too.  How can I possibly be in two places at once?  Ugh!  Regardless, wherever I am, I will be one happy momma.  Looking forward to watching my girls shine.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


"Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out."  ~Thomas S. Monson

A number of weeks ago, I ran into a woman at church.  I immediately felt weird around her.  As I felt this, I realized that I always feel this way around her--very uneasy.  When I saw her today, I figured it out.  It's because I think she's perfect, and because she's "perfect" in my mind, I feel judged by her that I am less than she is; however, if she's a perfect as I think she is, then she'd never do that, would she?  If she's as wonderful as I think she is, then she lives the words of President Monson.  From what I've witnessed of this woman, she does.  I'm thankful that most of the people I rub shoulders with are the kind who are out to do good.  I love that I can freely give the benefit of the doubt and never have to be wary of their motives.  In this day and age, what a blessing that is.

As I made this discovery today, it kind of put everything right in my mind and heart with her (and any others that I feel this way about).

Now, believe me, I know no one's perfect.  We all struggle.  It's actually been very surprising to me,  as I've gotten to know them better, just how difficult the struggles of those, whom I previously thought perfect, have been and are.  It has given me an entirely new perspective on these individuals.

I also know that I shouldn't worry about whether anyone's judging me or not.  What it sums up to is that, in the eternal scheme of things, no one on this earth is going to be judging me in any way that matters anyway, so why should it matter one iota what they think.  God is the only true judge.  He's the one I'd better be living to please, and if that's the case, I'd better be living up to the words at the top of this post.

Here's the funny thing.  I've been doing a lot of pondering on this subject of judgment lately.  There is someone in my life who judges that I am judging him.  It's kind of funny because I very rarely, if ever, see or talk to this person.  Yet, isn't it a funny thing to judge that someone's judging you?  I think that's strange--kind of ironic.  I wonder if he sees me as "perfect."  I wonder if he thinks I have no problems I'm dealing with myself.  I wonder why he thinks I have time to sit around and judge him when I've got my own issues to deal with.

The bottom line is I think sometimes we feel guilty for something we did or didn't do.  We still judge ourselves harshly for these things and because of them (and maybe because in some odd way it makes us feel better), we think others think less of us and judge us for them.  This is silly. 

When it all comes down to it, who cares what I think?

But, to be honest, I didn't think anything at all.

Restless Heart

For the past two weeks, my heart has been taking off on its own.  This morning, I realized what it's like.  Have you ever heard of restless leg syndrome?  I had it just a couple brief times when I was pregnant, but it's when you're completely relaxed and your leg jerks involuntarily.  Some people get this where it does it all the time.  I can't imagine how annoying that would be.

Well, for me, it's my heart that's jerking involuntarily when I'm completely relaxed.  "Jerking's" not really the right descriptor.  It's like an adrenaline surge.

I finally went in to see the doctor (aren't you proud of me, Janiece?).  I went in because it started on Thursday night at about 8:30 and continued until the next morning.  In this case, it was beating like crazy, and I couldn't get it to slow down.

Of course, by the time I got in to see the doctor, it was back down to normal.  I had an EKG, and it was perfectly fine.  I had blood work done, and it was better than last time.  Nice to have that reassurance.

They're putting me on a heart monitor at the end of the month.  This probably means I'll have it with me on my trip, so I get to get the thing through airport security.  Fun times!

If I were wearing the monitor this morning, it would have already been pushed about ten times.  Just super annoying!

When I had this when I was pregnant, no one ever could tell me what it was.  I never had an episode while I was at the doctor.  It wasn't until I was in the hospital being monitored right before #7 was born that they had me hooked up to the blood pressure machine and I set the alarm off over and over again with a racing pulse.  Finally, they believed me.

Anyway, it's nice to know that I'm completely healthy except for this darned symptom of a crazed heart that no one can feel but me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

And the Award Goes to.....

 This has been VERY hard to decide, but here are my final 15.  Of course, I think EVERYONE on my sidebar deserves this award to, so please, take one.  I think you're all class bloggers.  The rules of this award are found here.

 Please make sure you grab your award.  Here it is:

  1. Janiece - my heroic friend.  Recipient of a heart transplant.  Upbeat, positive, fantastic!
  2. Devri - Hilarious.  She's been through A LOT lately.  Wonderful and fun.
  3. Seven Cherubs - What can I say?  Seven kids.  Her family sounds heavenly.  Love what she has to say.
  4. The Fitzwater Family - I go to this blog and feel instant connection.  Love the way she writes.
  5. The More the Merrier - This is a beautiful family.  I love reading about Diane's sweet kids.
  6. My Name is Not Molly - I love Annette.  She's real.
  7. Kati - This is KATI.  My dear friend from back before children.  She's lovely.
  8. aMAYzing:  Wonder Woman Taking on the World - Love Wonder Woman.  She's so creative.  I just love reading her.
  9. Julie - Julie and I are twins.  Except she's WAY MORE AWESOME.  She makes me laugh daily.
  10. Mormon Moms Who Blog - I had to put this one here because it is the blog I visit the most.  Since the bullying incident, this is where I go to find uplifting blogs to read.  Love that they provide this service.
  11. Mama's Thinking Corner - Lena's been through a lot.  She's brave and strong and wonderful.
  12. Kira - Janiece's daughter.  Love her perspective and real-ness.
  13. My Heart's Desire -Always uplifting.  Her life is all about giving and serving.
  14. Jen - Jen's been there from the beginning.  She's my kindred spirit.  I want to meet her someday.
  15. Pitterle Postings - Love the Five Minute Friday.  I haven't done it yet, but I'm going to...soon.
  16. Andrea   - the Warden's cousin.  I click with so many in the Warden's family.  Andrea is one of them.  Just love her.

So, I did 16--sue me.  Just couldn't decide who not to award.

Thank you for your patience in this.  I hope you get a chance to visit these blogs.  Thank you for ALL you share with my life.  It is better because of you.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Take the Pledge

    You can take the pledge here.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    For Me? Really?

    I was just casually trying to catch up on some blog reading tonight.  I try to go to those on my sidebar whenever I see there's an update, but things have been a little crazed lately, so I've been neglecting my sweet friends.  As I'm reading, I happen upon my friend, Corinne's blog, and there's a post about how she's been awarded the "Stylish Blogger Award."  I'm thinking, "Yes, very deserved."  She did this post a couple weeks ago that I just can't get out of my mind.  She's real and amazing and I love her.

    So, I'm reading down her award post, and she's supposed to pass the award on to other people and who's there but your's truly.  SHOCK!  I LOVE reading her blog, but wow!  She likes mine too?!  I feel so loved.  Thanks Corinne!

    So here are the rules of this award (You know you can't just get an award, you've gotta earn it, right?):

    The rules for the award are  -
    1. Link back the person who awarded you. Check!

    2. Tell us 7 things about yourself. 

    Okay, here goes:

    1.  I'm having weird heart palpitations frequently lately.  I dialed (is that the correct term these days since dial phones don't really exist any more?) the clinic three times yesterday but hung up after each time.  I just don't want to go in.  I've had these problems in each of my last four pregnancies (no, I'm not pregnant), and the doctors didn't seem too concerned.  I only mention this because it's doing it right now, and it's making me a bit crazy.  I will go in.  I just need to do it, I know.

    2.  I recently decided that crab or ice cream (notice I don't say "and" because that would be gross) are no longer my favorite foods, but monster cookie dough is.  Here's the recipe:

    Linda's Monster Cookies


    • 1 cup margarine
    • 1 cup butter
    • 2 cups light brown sugar
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 cups rolled oats
    • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
    2. In a very large bowl, cream together the margarine, butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and rolled oats; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in chocolate chips and candy-coated chocolate pieces. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
    3. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. If you like chewy cookies, take them out before they look done.

    3.  I have been a TOTAL slacker for the past two weeks-ish (mostly just this week) because I'm rebelling against the fact that my family can leave the house in the morning after they've left stuff laying everywhere and think I'm going to clean up after them.  Dishes?  Okay.  Younger kids laundry?  Okay.  But I've even been rebelling against those.  I'm talking S-L-A-C-K-E-R.  Check the dictionary, you might just find my face next to the definition.  SO would not be surprised.

    4.  I love the smell of old things.  I inherited the trunk my great grandparents brought over to the U.S. when they immigrated in 1871, and darn!  It STINKS good!  I love to open it up just because of the old smell to it.

    5.  I am a stomach sleeper.

    6.  This is EXACTLY what my first car looked like (same color and everything--except not the pretty, sparkly wheels):
    Please try not to be too jealous.
    Wait!  Don't lose all respect for me and leave me, okay?  It was SO not my fault and it really built a lot of character.  I mean, I had to have something to help me build up to the point I'm at now.  A girl's got to have a whole darn bunch of character to drive one of these around:

    7.  I, a few years ago, broke my leg.  When people asked me how I did it, which was often, I had to confess that I broke it playing tag with a bunch of teenagers.


    3.  Award to 15 bloggers that you feel deserve the award.

    Wow!  How do I do this without offending?  The blogs down my sidebar deserve the award.  There are a couple who aren't listed there but should be.  They deserve it too.

    It's now super late, and I've got to get some rest, so I'll tell ya what I'm gonna do.  I'm going to sleep on it, and tomorrow (probably in the afternoon or evening) I'll have the list of recipients for you.  How's that for leaving you hanging?

    4.  Contact the recipients to let them know they've been awarded.

    Thanks again Corinne!

    A Woman of Noble Character ~ Week 7

    Week 7:  Proverbs 31:28-29  Has your husband and/or children done something or given you something you did not expect?  Write a post about how your family has blessed you.

     28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
     29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

    When I was a child, I pictured marriage as being somewhat confining.  I'm not sure why I thought that.  I guess I don't remember my mom ever really getting out with her girlfriends or anything.  She had close friends and they usually served in church callings together.  I remember her having presidency meetings at our kitchen table and she and her friends sitting around laughing.   Those meetings seemed to go on for hours--just a bunch of grown women laughing and having the time of their lives together.

    I don't believe that my mom didn't get out because of anything my dad did or didn't do.  It was simply because she didn't have anything she really wanted to do.  She was content to be home.  My sister, however, knew another mom--same woman with a different way of doing things.  She was younger, had fewer kids and was a bit more adventurous back in her day.  By the time I came around, my mom had six children (five at home).  I think she was worn out by the end of the day.
    I guess I pictured that that's how marriage would be.  That was my first thought when I read the questions for this post.  But it hasn't proven to be that way.  My husband has given me freedom.  First of all, he freed me from the poor self-esteem I had when we first met.  He lifted me up.

    One week in church, he shared with me that they'd had a lesson on how men could help their wives (or something like that).  The gentleman teaching the class turned to the Warden and asked him specifically  how he helps his wife.  He shared that he allowed me opportunities to be all that I can be (those are not his words, but that's the basic essence of what he said).  That is true.  He encourages me to stretch and fly.  Funny thing is, I don't always take him up on these opportunities.  My ability to get my degree and raise seven children and keep things in the home running are, in a huge degree, possible because of him.

    I only wish I could offer as much to him.

    I attribute much of this characteristic in him to his mother.  There are many things she did in his growing up years that taught him how to be a fair and loving husband.  She took her opportunities to learn and fly.  I think the Warden observed this as a child and it became part of what he hoped for in his wife.  He tries to make that possible for me.  I don't think she knows that she did this, and I am the direct beneficiary of her actions.  I am grateful for the woman she is.

    The Warden is not the kind of guy who comes in after a long day at work (and believe me, his days can be very long) and says, "Where's my dinner?" and "Why isn't this house clean?"  He's a jump in and get 'er done kind of guy.  I think he learned this silent service from his dad.

    As for my children, they have given me everything--many sweet moments of peace and satisfaction, but also opportunities to stretch and grow--stressful and uncomfortable situations--as I've participated in their growth.  I am grateful for these that I've been entrusted with.  I feel strongly that they're mine for a reason.  I am thankful for their forgiveness as I try to get this motherhood thing right.

    Never could I have imagined that my life would be like this.  It's far from perfect, but it sure has the potential for something great because of these wonderful people in my life.

    The Pink Shoes

    I opened the box of the next size up for #7 this morning.  The weather is finally turning warm, so I hoped I'd find a bunch of summer-ish things in there for her to wear.  No such luck.  If only I'd opened this box a few months ago.  I would have been perfect season-wise, but of course, she would have been too little to wear them.

    In the box, we found the CUTEST pair of pink Mary Jane's with bows on the toes (yes, I know I'm a poet).  #7 was SO excited about them and started carrying them around the house saying, "Shees.  Shees," and then, "Hep me.  Hep me."  The shoes were strapped together, so she couldn't just sit down and put them on.  She had to have help getting them apart first.

    In the same closet where the larger clothes are stored, are the photo and genealogy books, so while I was in there, I thought I'd better get out the next items to scan.  The entire time, I was followed around with "Shees....Hep me...."

    She was very patient.

    When I finally emerged from the closet, I sat on the couch and she climbed up into my lap.  I undid the shoes and started to put one on her right foot.  I had to try three times to get it on.  I asked her if it hurt, and she said no.  We finally got it on and buckled, but I felt terrible about that snug shoe on that tiny foot.  I figured, as long as she wasn't complaining, I'd leave it and see how it went.

    Got the left shoe ready and from the moment I put her toes in it, she started to grunt and moan.  I knew this wasn't a good sign.  DARN it!  Those cute shoes that she was so excited about just weren't going to fit her.  We'd waited too long.  We didn't even know they existed until this morning.  I had clearly put them in the wrong box when I had sorted through the clothes.

    As I struggled with the little girl who was bound and determined to wear the too-tight shoes that she had anticipated for the ten minutes before, I got to thinking of the lesson being the pink Mary Janes....

    Am I too eager to jump into things that don't fit me just because they are something I've anticipated or think would make me look good?  Do I ask for my own trouble?  Am I smart enough to put those things that would hurt me away and not "put them on again?"  In short, do I do what's best for me?

    Yes, darn, those were such cute shoes, and oh, how I would have loved to have seen her wear them, but they were not the best thing for her.

    Thankfully, she's an easy-going child and had no problem with me taking them back off and putting them aside.  I wish I had that kind of personality.  For me, it seems, I have to wear the painful things (whether they be shoes or other kinds of things--choices, experiences, etc.) around for awhile before I decide that they're not for me.  I have a stubborn streak a mile long.

    Sometimes it seems like everyone else is wearing pink Mary Janes, but it isn't what you get.  Sometimes you get to go barefoot, but you know, it just feels right, and that, is how you do your best work.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Wordless Wednesday - Nameless

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Projects on My Shoulders

    I have some huge projects going on around here.  Here's what on my shoulders this week....

    Scanning ancestor photos
    Creating a budget for personal finance
    Reading Wish by Alexandra Bullen
    Writing assignments on censorship
    Streamlining the game closet (a very scary place in this house)

    I've been doing very little else.  I have a meeting at my house on Saturday to have the kids (age 8-11) from church over to plan a ward activity.  I also have a presidency meeting on Wednesday night.  Two friends just had babies, so there are blankets to make as well, but the kids'll jump in and do those without a problem.

    Oh, and the engine light went on this morning as I was driving the carpool this morning.  Fun stuff!  So, I get to take the van in to get checked out--with two kids in tow.  I think I'll take the stroller and take a little walk with the kids.

    For now, I just spent 20 minutes scanning and got much more done than I did yesterday.  I'm hoping to have this down to a science in the next few days.  I only have about seven photos left to scan from this particular book. 

    Anybody have hints for me on the best way to scan documents?  Is it just better to photocopy them?  That'll be the next beast I conquer.

    Next, I'm going up to tackle the closet for 10 minutes.  It's amazing what can be done in that short of time.  The other day, I emptied and organized two shelves.

    After I'm done with that, I get to write a short paper for my lit class and do some more on the budgeting project for personal finance.  My goal is to read 50 pages a day from whatever book I'm reading for lit, so I'll squeeze those 50 in throughout the day as I'm waiting for the kids for the carpool, etc.

    As for the house, well...it's definitely being neglected.  I didn't touch it yesterday except to pick up my own things and do the job that I'm assigned for this week.  #3 asked me why I was dressed so nicely today, and I told her I didn't have any jeans because I didn't do any laundry yesterday.  I think this was a real eye-opener for her.  I don't think she's ever seen me run out of clothes like she does when she doesn't do her laundry.

    The Family Home Evening lesson last night was about everybody pulling their own weight around here.  They all committed to do better, and I have to say this morning was MUCH smoother than yesterday.

    So, there you have it.  Will I be even crazier by the time I'm done with these things?  I think cutting them into baby steps helps a lot.  Now if I can just keep taking those steps without stopping--that'll be the trick.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Holz Photos - Please Sound Off On This One

    When I started this blog, with my first (and most boring) post (from the experience, I told myself I would never blog again. HaHa!), I was scanning the photos from my maternal grandfather's family to burn to discs for my family.  It was a very long process, and I don't know if any of them even look at them.

    I am now working on my mom's mom's side--the Holz's.  My mom kept many photos.  I only plan on giving these to those who really want them.

    My great grandparents:  William and Dorothea (Kluever) Holz - 1887

    As I started scanning this morning, there were a number of things on my mind.  First, I felt the joy again of becoming familiar with the names and faces of those who paved the way for me.  I feel an amazing amount of gratitude for these people I've never met but whose genetic code I carry.  Second, I felt close to my mom.  I appreciated her painstaking work in gathering the information and photos of these people. 

    I have to be honest that my next feelings weren't as great.  I found that this scanner takes MUCH longer than the old one did while I was doing the Stegner photos.  I have to manipulate the photos much more.  #7's taking her nap, so that's wonderful that she'll still do that, but I'm supposed to be studying.  I started to think...I want these to be available to anyone who wants them.  I think that's what my mom would want too.  I know she frequently photocopied these same pictures to send to people back in the day before scanners and email and compact discs.  I know she went out of her way to share her family with anyone who asked.

    As I think ahead to the discs and cases and labels, and the time this takes away from other things I need to be doing, I'm wondering, is it wrong and selfish of me to put a price on this project?  I don't want to do that to my family.  If there are people who really want them, they should have them, shouldn't they?  But, then again, what is my time and effort worth?  Am I really just being selfish?

    Please, I'd love to know your opinion.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Wow! Humbling

    I've been featured:

    Thanks Lynda!

    A Woman of Noble Character ~ Week 6

    Week 6:  Proverbs 31:25-27  Do you tend to let your emotions control your attitude?  Are there more kind words mixed with laughter coming from your lips, or are they harsh and demoralizing?  Write a post about something you have said or done that you need to forgive yourself for.  Is there someone you need to forgive or who has let you down?  Write about it.

     25Strength and honour are her aclothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
     26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of akindness.
     27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of aidleness.

    This is one of the main struggles of my life.  I have a tendency toward sarcasm (like I have to even tell you that here).  I was raised in a home where humor reigned supreme.  We were continually trying to be the one with the quick comeback.

    I have a terrible tendency to have my feet wet with my own saliva--foot in mouth disease.  I try hard to to think before I speak, but I frequently kick myself when leaving the presence of others.  I'm very careful about my humor now and try to be sensitive to those who just might not get it, but when I'm around others that do get it, life is good, and I let it all hang out.  I love it when this happens.

    My emotions take over when I'm stressed.  When my mom was dying, I was at my worst.  I was riding this terrible roller coaster of emotions, so you really had to watch out.  I think that's kind of the nature of the beast that is cancer--one day good, the next day horrendous.  Nineteen, ninety-eight was a very hard year.

    During this time, a member of my family happened to get in the line of fire at the worst possible time.  I was trying to do my best to keep the family involved and informed as to what was going on with my mom's care, but when other suggestions were offered as to how I could do better, I came a bit unglued.

    I honestly don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for this, but I'm fairly certain she has forgiven me.

    There are similar incidences with other family members, and I don't know how to overcome them.  It's funny, when these things happen with other people outside of my family, I can get over them and communicate pretty easily, but when it's family, it's just harder.  Why is this?

    Along the lines of the last question, yes, there is someone I need to forgive, but this individual won't admit that he/she's done anything wrong.  According to him/her, it's all me.  I tried to communicate the best that I could about what I was disappointed about, but my words were twisted back at me and some very personal information was shared with another person who approached me and asked for verification.  I quickly realized that I'd better leave this person alone.   I know it will heal over time.  For now, I have to be okay with the idea that I've done what I could to take care of my part of the situation.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    People I've Never Met

    I have planned a reunion for my mom's family.  I may have blogged about this a number of months ago, but as things progress toward it, I get more excited about it, so I have to post about it yet again.

    I have booked my flight.  I have yet to set up lodging, but I will get there.  I found a bed and breakfast that's just blocks from where my mom grew up, so that may be a good place.

    I need to paint a little picture for you, so you can understand why I'm so excited about this.

    My grandfather was married three times.  He had a daughter from his first marriage, which ended in divorce and my mother from his second marriage.  After my grandmother passed away, my grandfather married Eva Jones.  She raised my mother.  She was the only grandmother I knew.  She passed away when I was about 10; Eva was 97.

    Me at age 8-ish (center), Eva (front)

    My grandfather, J. Howard Stegner, was part of the Spokane Historical Society and kept a historical museum in the basement of his home. He passed away four years before I was born.  The last time I visited Spokane was before Eva passed away.

    My grandfather in the museum.

    I never knew this side of my family, but this is the connecting link with those I will get to meet:

    My great grandmother - Matilda Greenfield Johnson Stegner Narup

    Now, this is just half of the family that I'm getting together with.  The other side is my mom's mom's side--the Holz family.

    My grandmother, Esther Dorothea Holz, passed away when my mom was a month away from turning 6.  My mother was her only child. 

    These are her people:

    My great grandparents (back left), my great, great grandparents (front right)

    Through the joys of the internet, I now know two cousins from this line of my mom's family.  Today, another one verified that he was coming to Spokane for the reunion.  I can't wait to meet these people in real life.  I think my mother would be so happy!

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    For Naught

    The words "...sell themselves for naught" have been running through my brain for the past week or so.  I've been pondering on just what this means.  I mean, I've read them many times in the past, but my eyes have gone right over them.  Have you ever read something and certain words stick out to you so much that it's all you can remember?  That's how this has been.

    I remember the day last year, when #4 and I were in the grocery store.  He passed by the gift cards--it was near his birthday time.  He mentioned, quite excitedly, that they had gift cards for Club Penguin--a game he plays online (very rarely).  I asked him why they would sell gift cards as this is a free site.  He told me that you can buy clothes and accessories for your penguin.  Hmm.  Sounds like buying nothing to me.  Nothing you could put your hands on.  Nothing you could taste or feel.  Basically, buying air is what you'd be doing.  I tried to explain this to him.

    Sell yourself for naught--sell yourself for nothing.  I've heard a lot lately about people who are addicted to various substances.  They not only sell themselves for nothing, they sell themselves for worse than nothing--diseases, terrible sicknesses, early aging....They sell their very lives for things that destroy them.

    Yes, in this day and age, we sell ourselves for nothing.

    These words also made me think about how I use my time.  Do I sell myself--my time and effort--for naught?  Yes, life is to be used for the betterment of yourself and others, but do I use it for that purpose?  Do I miss out on opportunities because I can't get past what I want?

    My dad, when the Warden and I were first married, would remind me to not forget to have fun--especially as we were so poor we felt we couldn't afford fun.  As long as we don't go overboard, fun is necessary.  It's part of striking a balance.

    So, we all have time wasters, but how do you come to a balancing point?  Are there some things that you spend your time on that bring nothing into your life?  I really enjoy facebook.  I love that it's connected me to so many others, but I have to share that too much time on anything is selling myself for naught.  I check in daily.  I try to uplift others.  I don't, however do the games.  That's right, I have no farm.  That, although entertaining, can be a huge time sucker, and what do you get out of it?  Naught.

    There are so many offerings out there that do nothing for us.  The word "sell" at this point in our world, with the economy being what it is, really stands out.   We, ourselves, are our most vital commodity.  What are we selling ourselves for?

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Personal Finance Resources

    I was surprised to find that all of the resources that are being used for the personal finance class I'm currently taking are available online--for FREE.  You can find them here.  Just click on the tabs across the top.  They are really great!  I'm working on the second beginning lesson--setting personal goals.  Today, I'm reading the optional readings.  So many good things found in them.  If you have a minute, take the chance to read a couple of these.  I really liked the first and second readings.  I haven't gotten to the last one yet, but I really love the perspective this class gives.

    I also love that Dave Ramsey has this little item for sale for 3-12 year olds; although, I quickly learned that one wasn't going to do for our crew, so I'd have to add two more kits.  That's not too bad.  Looks like a great product.  Has anyone tried this?  I'd like to know how it went before I got out and buy three of them.

    Can I also add that I appreciated what Dean L. Larsen article said about quantitative goals vs. qualitative goals.  Those that mean the most to us are things that can't be measured as S.M.A.R.T. goals.  They are things that influence how we feel and truly make us into who we are.  Anyway, this article is definitely worth a perusal.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Reluctant Readers

    I have a very distinct idea of what a Mother of the Year is like.  One thing I see is that she has amazing, beyond normal children.  They are a musical prodigies.  They are valedictorians of their class in school.  They play sports at professional level.  Along with all of that, they have perfect manners and are ALWAYS socially acceptable.  Does anyone else see them this way?

    I don't have any of these.  My kids are wonderful people, but none of them are beyond human.  Thank goodness, or I don't think I'd be able to keep up with them.

    Most of my kids love to read.  I mean to the point of can't put a book down.  But I have a couple reluctant readers under my roof too.  I work with them everyday, but it's just not clicking.  My hope is that if we continue to work at it, it will become easier and something they learn to love too.

    As I read the textbook for my class today, I found out about this site.  I didn't know such a thing existed, but as we prepare for summer break, this is definitely a site I'm going to use.  I hope that by sharing this someone else can benefit from this list as well.  It is a site for young adults, and I've been looking for a younger list.  I'll let you know when and if I find one.

    We will also use this one. We try to read the Battle of the Books books every summer.  They're great ones!

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    A Woman of Noble Character ~ Week 5

    I got my assignments done for today.  Now I have this great desire to get ahead.  I even had it done before my kids got home.  So, here I am blogging.  Yay!!!

    So, I will now continue with this....

    Week 5: Proverbs 31:22-24 Are you or a family member always hunting for a clean pair of socks? Does the laundry seem to be getting the best of you? Maybe you are always behind on doing the dishes. Write a post sharing how you deal with the never ending loads of laundry and dishes.

    Proverbs 31:22-24
     22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her aclothing is silk and purple.
     23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
     24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

    This is a good day to comment on this.  Monday is always laundry day at this house.  It's also garbage day.  By the time Monday is over, I'm a very happy woman--feeling like everything is clean and ready to go.  It's a good way to start the week.  I actually do laundry on Wednesday and Saturday too, but Monday is the big gung-ho washing day.

    With a family the size of ours, you probably think we have our washing machine, dryer and dishwasher going all the time.  We do--pretty much.  The beautiful thing is, I'm not the only one making them run.
    I have blogged about laundry before.  Here's the post for your perusal.  Things are going very well in that department.  I'm not sure when #4 will start having his own laundry day.  I'm thinking once you're done with school for the year, you're automatically the next grade up.  Would you agree with this?  If this is the case, he will start doing his own laundry in June.  This is probably a good idea, so he can get used to the routine while there's so much down time.

    As far as dishes go, we have a white board on our fridge that keeps a list of jobs that are rotated weekly.  I believe I've posted about this before too.  Every Monday morning the jobs change.  This week it's #3's job to do dishes.  I have one thing to add to this, though.  I have recently taken it upon myself to do one load of dishes a day.  I usually do a load after the kids head for school.  They just pile up so fast and if we don't run one in the morning, I get really grumpy.  I just don't like them sitting around all day waiting for the person with the job to get home.  I'm always relieved when it's my week to do dishes, which really only happens every seven weeks.  I know that for that week, I have control of the space I spend so much time in.  The dishes are put in as they get dirty when it's my week.

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