Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Shopping with the Cuties and the Crazies

Yesterday was my first official Christmas shopping day. Mainly due to a major lack of ideas, my kids already have so much stuff, it is difficult to purchase a bunch more. With list in hand, I set out to accumulate more worldly goods.

Along the way, I ran into various fellow shoppers that had me say hmmm...

First off was the throw back to the 80's lady. If the holiday season were Halloween instead of Christmas, I would have guessed she was on her way to a costume party. She had the big bleached blond hair, blouse with a matchy-matchy vest, the ever so popular levi skirt ( straight of course ) brown socks to match the brown stitching in her blouse and clogs. What more could you ask for? A tad too much make-up? No worries, that was the frosting on the cake. It was such a flash from the past, she reminded me of my 9th grade Spanish teacher. I hope I didn't stare to much, but you really mush enjoy a leap back in time.

Then I moved onto the Sam's Club sampler seniors. Where else do you run into a sweet old man, wearing his dress pants and jacket, with a baseball cap to complete the outfit, all while he is handing out half of a cracker with immitation crab salad on it. Scoot down the aisle a bit and you can get a tiny little cup of an energy drink from what may be his wife. She has the hair net, the white smock and a bit of an attitude. She is the one that insists a parent be with every child before doling out her goods.

The other seniors at Sam's Club made me smile as well. One little group of three ladies in particular. They were amazed at the huge amount of goods offered in a single package. It is a wholesale store, but they seemed amazed at every turn. To think, you can buy 24 cans of peaches as well as 46 rolls of toilet paper. I wondered if they were amazed that anyone could go through so much... which my family can do quite easily... or amazed at the abundance. These are WW II, depression era survivors, it begs the question of what their perspective is, thankful I don't have some of their memories, but grateful for the lessons learned from them.

I still smile thinking about the jacket and baseball cap. Our seniors have so much more class than we do. When they go out, they are usually dressed to impress. How many times have you passed a sweet grandma in the grocery store with dress pants, nylons and pumps? Her hair and make-up are done, and she has matching gloves and purse. They are so appreciative and kind. They know where America has been and yet found joy in their everyday lives, even when it wasn't so joyuful. We have a lot to learn from their examples, in more ways than one.

Onto the bus full of children. Not the bratty ones pulling faces and jumping over seats while a poor bus driver is mentally in another place while trying to endure the eternal bus route. This was a tiny school bus, full of wheelchairs, holding special children. I looked over at a sweet little brown haired girl looking out her window. She had sparkly elastics holding her hair out of her face. She was trying to look out at the world, all the while smiling with a crooked smile. It made me think of the crooked smiles I look at everyday and I was immediatly grateful for the blessings of tiny trials compared to some. Grateful my children are healthy, happy and home with me everyday.

So, as I wade through the holiday season, trying to make everyones wish list a reality-- although I won't be buying Brandon a " lab-top", we will all have a Merry Christmas as we realize what our true blessings are.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fall '09 in Review

Time sure does pass by quickly. It may be midnight, and I may be a bit nostalgic, but here is a review of our wonderful fall. It would have been be
tter, if the kiosk at a certain warehouse club hadn't deleted all of my fall photos from my memory stick, you know Alex and Brandon's birthday parties, soccer games, etc. But I will try to fill you in the best I can. And yes, I have lamented the loss to no avail, so I might as well move on.

How can I describe fall if I didn't include sports, sports, sports. Kyle and Brandon both played competitive soccer this fall, Kyle a little more on the competitive end, Brandon a little more on the fun side of things. This required many a practice, and lots of Saturdays devoted to
our beloved sport.

Sadly, these are the few pictures I have left of either of the boys games, teams, or season. Brandon's team is on top. Probably the most entertaining of the two teams, especially when half way through the season, one of his teammates still didn't know where the goal was. It was always fun to watch them play with all of the intensity a 7 year old can muster.

This is Kyle's team. They were totally awesome this year. They were number one in the league and undefeated until the very last game. It was great to watch these boys play, they were a well oiled machine and had a great season. Kyle had some excellent plays and is a very fast defender. His team told him he had "wheels", I guess that is a compliment for a 13 year old.

We do have another sport to mention, namely football. This consumed Jeremy's fall schedule, with grueling practices everyday after school. It was great-- every second of it. Jeremy loved it and so did we. They had a winning season, and Jeremy had an awesome interception, from the defensive line. His coach played the film to all of his classes the following day. It was a great moment, one not easily forgotten. One of the few photos I have of him coming off of the field.

Where would we be without the never ending Eagle Scout project?? Yes, it is finally finished and we are all awaiting the wonderful day we get to celebrate Alex's great accomplishments. Long story short, these flower boxes took an enormous amount of dirt, but they will bless the lives of many senior citizens for years to come.

Alex also spent a great deal of time with marching band. Beginning in the summer, and including 7:30 a.m. practices for a few months, he had a great time. No photos, but we do have video. His band placed well in all of their competitions. He is still involved in debate and scholar bowl. Mr. Smarty Pants indeed.

This strange picture of Mikenzie can easily be explained-- Halloween Orchestra Concert. She was a mad scientest, can't you tell? This was her coming off the stage of her first concert. She had a wonderful time and I was so proud of her. We also followed her teachers orders and went out for ice cream following the concert. Isn't she growing fast??

Speaking of Halloween, this is about it as far as pictures go... more pictures lost... very sad indeed. Baylie and Brandon had a great Halloween, this was taken just before their Book Character Day at school. We wouldn't want to use the word Halloween, now would we??

Well, that is our fall in a nutshell, more posts to follow, after I get some much needed sleep.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


Our little caboose has grown so quickly-- where did the time go? You are such a strong spirit and we feel so blessed to have you in our home. You have brought so many laughs and smiles, it has been a pleasure to be your parents.

Brandon's One Liners:

I know why the clouds are parting, it just Heavenly Father checking up on me.

Should I get out and push? ( Asked when the suburban was slipping on an icy driveway, when Brandon was 4 )

I love Grandpa's muscle car, the Lexus Mustang, it is so cool.

Current favorite questions:
Can't I have any freedom?
When am I going to have a real life?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


12th Birthday/Day he became a deacon

July 2006

We don't know where the time has gone. Our oldest child is 16?? It seems like just yesterday we held that little baby in our arms. Now, you are taller than both of us.

Funny moments?

Trying to hold yourself up against a wall of snow when you were 16 months old, only to find yourself completely covered in snow.

Biting Dad and telling him you were just trying to find out what he tasted like. That must be the scientist in you, performing your first experiment.

Asking why I was " making the potatoes naked " while I was peeling them.

Stealing one of Jeremy's toy trucks and convincing him you were taking it to the shop to get it fixed for a long, long time. He actually believed you too!!

I'm sitting here with ice cream on my face, what does it look like I'm doing???
( The answer to the question " Alex, what are you doing? " after you leaned all the way back and tried to eat an ice cream cone)

Looking down at the little smiley face on your hand as I left you at your new school in Pennsylvania. That little boy was so scared-- sometime we miss him.

Happy Birthday Alex-- We love you!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Burned Out Mamma

So here we are, 24 hours from Alex's 16th birthday and I am burned OUT!! Too much to do-- too little time to do it. Too many places to be, and only one mom to get everyone where they need to be. Laundry, dishes, dusting, bathrooms... they all call to me, along with my children.

The sad thing is, I am have just begun the teenage years, the most crucial years, and I am ready to buy a ticket and fly outta here.

James says it's a mid-life crisis, I say I am spread too thin-- only figuratively, I wish literally.

Is it poor me? Or am I overwhelmed? Who knows?

I do know that I must press on and remember the wonderful quote I will be using today in my lesson:

We should never complain, when we are living worthily, about what happens in our lives.

Onward I must go, ready or not, pressing forward.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

2009 Zoo Run
Run For The Chimps

My Official Race Chip

Ready to run!!

This morning was the annual zoo run. Last year I ran/walked it with my mom. This year, I was a lone woman, running all by myself. I actually looked forward to the challenge-- I have been training as much as my hectic schedule would allow and felt the most prepared for a race thus far.

It was a bright and beautiful morning, perfect race day. I must admit, it was humid, even for us mid-westerners. I have been spoiled by the A/C at the gym. I have also been using the treadmill as a crutch, otherwise, I felt ready.

I joined the crowd of about 800 people and anxiously awaited the start gun. I loaded my iPod with awesome music just for the race-- don't laugh, but it was mostly the Disney crew. I need a good beat, but no foul language please!!

The race began and I was off. The first thing you hit is a hill, so no easy start there. The race is mostly hilly, so it is a fun but challenging course. Other than being surrounded by Mr. Cologne and Mz. Perfume for the first few yards, I started off strong. I have a mild scent induced asthma, so I passed them quickly to free up the old bronchials.

It is enjoyable to run past the various animals throughout the zoo, strange odors and all. Our zoo has beautiful scenery, which makes it even more entertaining, especially in the morning.

All in all, I did great. I am not sure of my time. I thought I had beat my goal by three minutes, but realized later that my chip time will probably be a bit faster, as it takes time for us folks in the back a while to get to the start line.

So, I will post my time later and keep you all updated-- but yay for me!! By the way-- I did cross the finish line listening to Party in The U.S.A. by Miley : )

Friday, September 4, 2009

Complete Looser

Some days, to be honest, that is how I truly feel. I look around at what others have accomplished, measure myself up to them and feel rather low on the ladder of life. No long CV to list my accomplishments, my cars are old and breaking down, my house is a mess, Brandon is missing a shoe, my waist line is not shrinking, no matter how many miles I run every week. Can't I do more with my life? Can't I be better?

But then... I gather my greatest blessings into my big old van and one by one say goodbye. Alex, already off to High School, Jeremy off to Junior High, where he is playing football, and I couldn't be more proud,regardless of how deep he is on the line. Kyle and Mikenzie are dropped off at middle school, where I realize how much Kyle has grown and beautiful my little princess is becoming. How grateful I am they have each other this year. Mikenzie is so much smaller than Kyle and I realize it will be a matter of months before she is the one who is growing up overnight.

Then I send my two last children out the door, with new shoes ( still can't find the lost shoe... a brand new I might add ) and colorful umbrellas, full of excitement for what the rain promises them for that one block walk to school. They just brighten my day and make me realize how truly blessed I am.

Last week in my RS lesson, I pointed out that most of our worries are over wanting a bigger house, faster car, prettier clothes ( or am I the only vain and worldly one? ) Really? Is that all I have to worry about in this world full of trouble? I can turn on any tap in my house and have clean, hot or cold water. I have indoor plumbing, A/C, heat. Freedom, education, food in my cupboards. That is more than 97% of the world can say. And, best of all, a wonderful family. Sibling rivalry, late work nights, and too little time, all rolled into one wonderful life.

So, am I really a looser? It seems to me, I am quite the winner.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Kyle has a soft spot for this little lady... I think we all do.

Look how much he has grown!!

Our soon to be soccer star!!

Happy Birthday to our strong willed, feisty, outgoing, busy, growing boy. You have brought many smiles to our home, even though they are usually unintended. We admire your determination, it is a great quality to have. Keep up the good work and be the best you can be!! Thank you for the blessing of being your parents.
Mom and Dad

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Adventure of 2009

Warming up at the indoor practice fields at BYU--awesome
Fun at The Ostler's

Visiting life long friends in WY

Meeting with friends from THS

A baby blessing--we love Summer!!

Teela Family Reunion at Lagoon

A birthday party for everyone!!
A visit with Great- Grandma Nielsen

Awesome BYU Soccer camp

A trip to Bridal Veil Falls

A really cool car show, after our Lavendar Days 5K

Girls day out... including getting ears pierced

Swimming lessons and lots and lots of swimming

Fireworks on the 4th of July


Thursday, July 2, 2009

THIS is what I have dealt with for the past week, read it and weep, that is what I did when I walked into my house.

My closet door? Or a cutting board? WHAT???

The horrific tile now adorning my kitchen countertops... my formica may have been cheap, but it looked A LOT better than this.

The grodies hanging from my fan in the front room... not fun to clean when you are looking up. You should have seen the vents!!

My stove... left abandoned in the garage... not even a tarp to keep it warm during the cold Wyoming winters, poor little stove.

still needs some cleaning, but MUCH BETTER!!

Strange bathroom paint and icky stuff on one of the walls... I don't have a picture of the sponged/dripping paint on all of the other walls.
and the after, bland but neutral and CLEAN once again, including more terrible tile on the floor, we just have to live with it for now. .

My front yard before...

... and after


Our Return To South Dakota

We had a wonderful time during our overnight return to our old stomping grounds. The four youngest and I cruised around Rapid City on our way to Wyoming. We enjoyed the Mongolian Grill, which was quite a treat for the kids, they have never been to such an exciting restaurant.

We stayed in an expensive, but nice hotel and had a wonderful time in the pool. It was nice to have room to splash and stretch and all that goes along with swimming.
The next morning we took the short but beautiful ride up to Mt. Rushmore. It was wonderful to see and smell the pine trees, go down memory lane and share the fun time we had at all of the tourist traps while we lived there-- Reptile Gardens was a favorite. Here are some photos of our trip to Rushmore...
One of the states we have lived in... we have a shot of each one.
Sparkly dirt the kids wanted to take home... I didn't think it would be a good idea to steal from a national monument, nor did I want to drive all across the country with two little hand fulls of dirt. So, we have a picture for memory sake.

A quick pose on the trail coming down from the mountain.

One of many flights of stairs Kyle ran up and down over and over and over again, while the rest of us plodded along. Well, I am a triathelete, so I ran up a few as well, just not repeatedly like Kyle, the superhuman.