Jan 26, 2012

Laughter

“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” ― Marjorie Pay Hinckley


We in the Benjamin household love to laugh.  Laughter can just brighten your day, and lift your spirits almost instantly.  It is for that reason that I got Tony and Jared tickets to go see Brian Regan for Christmas (and of course I had to go to to chaperone).  I have never seen him live, so I hoped that he was as clean as he was on the CD's I have heard, and he did not disappoint.  He was hilarious and completely clean.  We laughed so hard we cried.  I went to bed laughing, and am still smiling this morning thinking about different things he said and did.  Tony has been super stressed lately, and it was nice to see that genuinely happy smile on his face again.  It's an old saying, but laughter IS the best medicine.  Even the side effects are good.  So here's a shout out to Mr. Regan-thank you for entertaining me.  I am still laughing at your Christmas tree lights, your porridge, your uni-hair, your dancing, and next time I go to a hotel I just might tell them my name is Zippity DoDa. 
Here is one of his older jokes about poptarts-

Jan 23, 2012

Birthday wishes to an amazing 15 year old!



Jared had surgery when he was 9 mos. old to fix the muscle in his eye.

Jared was born on a snowy January day 15 years ago.  I checked into the hospital that morning and by 1:00pm I had a healthy 8 lb baby boy.  Since today is his birthday I thought I would dedicate this post to him.  Jared was an easy baby right from the start.  He rarely cried, and often only woke up to eat.  (Eating is still a big part of his life).  He started sleeping through the night after about a month.  Interestingly enough the only time he really cried was when there was contention in the home.  He hated yelling and fighting.  This really hasn't changed...he is absolutely the peacemaker in our family.  I don't think I have ever heard Jared yell.  He does get upset and frustrated and you can tell that he is, but he keeps it in check.  He reminds me a lot of my Dad in that respect.  In fact his personality is a lot like my Dad's in general I think.  He is my go to guy when I need something done, because I know he won't complain.  He never complains about being sick either.  One time he had a raging fever and when I asked him how he was doing, he said he was fine.



We took him to Brazil with us when he was 15 months old to visit my parents.  He slept the entire flight, without Benadryl.  Oh how the Brazilians loved him.  His white blonde hair and big blue eyes caused quite the stir everywhere we went.  The long halls of the MTC in Brazil were a new walkers paradise, as he would take off running every chance he got.  His pleasant disposition could be deceiving though.  He was a trouble maker.  In one week's time he wrote all over a new couch with marker and painted our living room carpet yellow.  One time he painted his little sister and the family room carpet with fingernail polish, and another time he poked holes in the wall while he was waiting for the rest of us to be ready for church.  He was a bit accident prone as well-three sets of stitches and a concussion all before he was five.  I guess I wouldn't really call him accident prone just always on the go.   He loved balls, bikes, blocks, dirt and anything active.  Once I asked him to take a doll upstairs when he was little, he picked it up by the toe and carried it out away from him. 



He is a good student, a respectful son, and he is thoughtful.  He rarely does anything without thinking it through first.  I used to call him my "thinker" (like the Rodin sculpture), because even as a young boy he would put his hand on his chin and think things through.  He has a healthy appetite and will eat anything-including frosty's out of the garbage can at school, and gatorade that was found in a window well (yes it had already been opened).  I tell him not to do that and discuss how many germs might be in and on them, and he says, "Mom when do I ever get sick?"  Yeah well he has a point I guess.  Funny thing is though, he is the first to tell his younger brother to wash his hands and he is very neat and fastidious with his appearance, he just can't stand to see good food go to waste.




He doesn't like to be the center of attention, and is actually embarrassed by people making a fuss over him, but I figure my blog won't cause him too much discomfort. So today I wish him a very happy birthday!  Jared you are amazing.  I love you!

Jan 22, 2012

Another Sunday Sampler

Jared and Tony and I went to the Seminary Commemoration Fireside tonight at the conference center.  It was great, I am so glad we made the effort to go.  Pres. Monson was there.  I just love being in the same room as the prophet (even if it is a really big room).  The spirit is tangible, and I notice it every time I have the opportunity. I am so grateful to be led by a prophet!  I love the seminary program too.  My Dad taught seminary and institute and worked for the Church Education System for 40+ years.  I even was the janitor of the seminary in Brigham City when I was in Junior High. (Yes Dad got me the job, and I don't think I was very grateful).  My Dad loved teaching Seminary, and I loved that he would share all that knowledge with us too.  I liked watching the new filmstrips and seeing the new pictures.  I loved the seminary music...Moroni's Promise still comes to my mind. Pres. Packer was my Dad's supervisor or whatever the appropriate term is.  He is also the one that encouraged my Dad to get his doctorate-which he did.  My kids have loved Seminary and now Institute too.  It has definitely been a blessing in my life.
Tony's Dad and Karen and their son on his wedding day.
 Last week Tony's Dad and Karen stayed with us  for a few days.  They enter the MTC tomorrow and then leave next week for the Manchester, New Hampshire mission (yes I am already planning a trip).  They have always wanted to serve a mission, but hadn't planned to go quite yet.  They felt prompted that they needed to go now.  I am grateful for their example of being willing to serve when the Lord needs them to serve. 

I also gave blood last week.  It really isn't my favorite thing to do, believe it or not I am not fond of needles.  My Dad always taught me to buck up though and do the right thing, and giving blood is the right thing.  Plus they call me all the time because they like my blood type. I am grateful to be healthy enough that it is an option. Did you know that my Dad is 80 and still gives blood?  His blood pressure is the same as mine.  They like his blood type too (also the same as mine).

I believe the ski resorts should send me royalty checks for the money they will make with all this new snow.  I finally broke down and washed my dirty cars about a week ago, and what happens? Over three new feet (not inches-FEET) of snow in the mountains.  I had not washed them all winter at all, then I did and look what happened.  I think I at least deserve a thank you note. (But then I guess you could say the terrible snow they have had previously was my fault for not washing my car...)

I also found out this week that King Edward III is my 19th great grandparent-assuming the genealogy is correct.  If it is, then perhaps that is why I feel such an attachment to England and want to go there.  More than likely it is because I love to travel, and history and old buildings are my favorite things to see.  England has a plethora of both.  I do feel a more than normal attachment to England though.  If I could pick anywhere to visit it would be there.  Most of my ancestors are from there.  In fact an ancestor from my Mom and Dad's side both lived in the same area of England.  It's fascinating stuff.

Love Sundays.  Too bad they always have to come to an end.  Here's to a good week-I plan to make it great!

Jan 18, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

What is it about a new year that makes you want to get your life in order?  Maybe it's the fresh start that a new year seems to bring, or maybe there are things that you want to change and a new year seems to be a great time to do that.  I used to make long lists of things I was going to work on.  Sometimes these lists would be on paper, sometimes just in my head, but usually I wouldn't accomplish much either way.  I realized with a young family, that my goals needed to be simple and few in number if I expected to accomplish them.  Now my kids are all in school, and I can accomplish more, but I still find that setting a lot of goals is rarely productive for me.  I have also learned to not feel discouraged if I don't accomplish all my goals.  Lets say I make a goal to read 20 books in a year, and I only read 5-isn't that better then nothing?  I always tell my kids to not give up on their scripture reading goals, because I would rather have them read 10 or 15 days in a month than not read at all.
So, I try to set a few goals that I WILL accomplish, and then a few goals that I would like to accomplish.  I have learned that even though I won't do everything on my "like to" list, I am better for trying.  Mostly I have realized though that setting goals is the way that I become a better person.  Without them I find myself wasting the precious time that I have been given.  So as I have been pondering what I would like to work on, these are a few of the things I have come up with.
WILL DO:
  • Read the Book of Mormon all the way through.  (This one is always on my list, the day is just better when I read from it's pages.)
  • Attend the temple 4 times a month 
  • Read at least two volumes of the Mortal Messiah
  • Finish Personal Progress and receive my second Young Women's medallion
  • Scrapbook pictures from 2011
LIKE TO DO:
  • Read at least 3 classics this year
  • Read Pres. Monson's biography
  • Finish Ashley's scrapbooks, Arches scrapbook, and another year of printed pictures
  • Paint Jared's room
  • Paint main floor bathroom/laundry room
  • Paint the deck
(Sometimes my like to do list includes things I have absolutely no desire to do, like paint anything.  However the painting projects should be done, even need to be done, so that is why they are on the list.)

Jan 11, 2012

What's going on in my head this Wednesday

Fred Astaire
Why is Wednesday spelled the way it is?  Why do we teach kids phonics, when we don't spell phonetically.  Or do we just say Wednesday wrong.  (Yeah obviously not much is going on in my head right now.)

Why does it take me over an hour to motivate myself to go exercise when I feel so good when I am done?

Why do so many people complain or criticize the honor code at BYU?  Alexis, who is a student at BYU, says that students complain and bad mouth it all the time.  I hear it frequently as well.  Her comment was that the honor code is the same as the commandments and counsel in the Strength of Youth, so what's the big deal?  Isn't it right to expect a code of conduct when the church supplements the cost of education for those that go there?  Perhaps this is wrong of me, but if students don't want to live the honor code shouldn't they have chosen a university that didn't have one.  Isn't it kind of like me complaining about the freeway being so close to my house, when I chose to build my house by it? 

Why would a grown man be wearing a top hat (you know like what Fred Astaire wears) in my neighborhood this morning.  It didn't look like a costume...was it an expression of individuality?  Is it a new style trend that I have missed?  It made me smile as I was leaving at least.

And last thought-A shout out to my daughter for auditioning and making Latter Day Voices at Utah State.  I think she is going to be insanely busy, but I think she will love it. 

Jan 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Tony!

Today is Tony's birthday.  Since he is a year older than me, I obviously was not around when he was born, but I have spent the last 22 with him-so I think I might be a Tony expert. Anyway I thought for his birthday I would make a list of the things that I love about him (in no particular order)...
1. His sense of humor.  He loves to laugh.  If you don't know that about him, then you probably don't know him very well.
2. Good listener.  He will listen to me babble on forever.  And has even mastered the art of just listening, not trying to solve my problems.
3. Committed to the gospel.  The Lord comes first in his life, and was one of the first things that attracted me to him.
4. He loves me even though he know all of my flaws.  No one else knows me the way he does, and he still loves me.
5. Good provider.  He works so hard for our family.  He even went to school and worked full time so that I could stay home with Ashley when she was born.
6. Honest.  He risked losing a job once by refusing to do something that his superior told him to do that was dishonest.
7. Thoughtful.  He writes me poems or notes (not as often as he used to, but he still does it some).
8. Gentleman. He always opens the door for me, and has taught/is teaching our sons to do the same.  When we are out walking/running, he always walks on the outside.  (I guess so the car would hit him and not me)
9. Passionately opinionated.  I love that he is passionate about what he believes in.  Yes sometimes it might be a little strong, but I love that you always know exactly how he feels about things.  (It works too because usually we share the same opinions.)
10. His blue eyes.
11. Our shared passion for football and BYU sports in general.  Some of my favorite times with him have been at sporting events. (BYU vs. Miami and BYU vs. San Diego State in basketball last year, to name just a couple).
12. Listening to him sing.  I wish he did it more.
13.  His love for music.  His music interests are varied, and he can name just about any song and who sings it from the 70's, 80's and 90's.  He is a walking music trivia machine. (He does not like Justin Bieber, just FYI)
14. The way he smacks his lips together when he is talking.
15. His OCD behaviors about certain things.
16. His enthusiasm for life in general.  He's willing to go and do just about anything.  He'll let me drag him to art museums and historical buildings and just about everything else in between.
17.  His love and support of our children.  He goes to every game, recital or meet.  He'll rearrange his schedule if necessary.
18.  His ability and willingness to follow the promptings of the spirit.
19. His service to others.  He is a great example for our children of service.
20. He irons everything.  I hate ironing, and he is always willing to iron anything for me or the kids.
21. His computer geekiness.  He loves learning about the latest technologies, can fix our computer, or answer my questions and our kids questions.  He is like our own personal customer support without the accent.
22. His determination to stay fit.  A while ago he had put on quite a bit of weight, decided that was not what he wanted, and lost it.  11 years later he is still trim and exercises faithfully to keep it off.
23. and so much more...
Happy Birthday Tony!!

Jan 7, 2012

Snow! Finally!


December was the driest on record. Not one of the driest or the 4th driest-THE DRIEST.  What does that mean-no white Christmas, almost no end to the hazy days, and some of the worst skiing conditions for the annual family ski trip the last week of December.  It has not felt like winter either.  We have had day after day of warm weather.  One day this week it was almost 60 degrees.  I do not like frigid temperatures, or so much snow that it makes it impossible to get around, but I do like some winter!  Last night they said it might snow, but not really enough to even measure, so I wasn't expecting anything.  I was pleasantly surprised to wake up this morning to 4 inches of snow.  Beautiful white blanketing the ground and sticking to the trees.  The kids and I quickly ate breakfast and went outside to build a snowman.  It was perfect snowman building snow (or snowball fight snow, if you are so inclined).  Who knows how much longer I will have kids who still like to build snowmen?  Had to take advantage of it while I could.  As we were outside I couldn't help humming to myself this song from my favorite Christmas movie...

Other noteworthy things from this week:
Ashley helped Breanna clean out her room.  Five garbage bags later, her room has never looked better.  Thank you Ashley for doing a job that I have been avoiding. 

Alexis and Ashley are back at school.  Lexie already started classes and Ashley starts Monday.  Sadly the house is quiet again.

Jared put 100 gumballs in his mouth last night at a party.  I am so proud.


Jan 5, 2012

Love/Hate

There are just some things that you love, but also hate.  Not sure exactly how that works, but it does.  I experienced this last night.  I got home late from a presidency meeting last night, and Ashley and Jared were up talking.  I talked to them for a few minutes, and then I was going to go to bed.  They said, "Mom, stay up and talk to us."  I was tired, but what do you do?  I stayed up and talked to them until about 12:30.  It seems if you want to talk to your kids you have to do it late at night.  I thought not getting enough sleep with children ended when they were babies, but not so.  I think I lose just as much sleep talking to my older kids late at night.  Even though it makes me tired, I wouldn't miss it for the world.  I love, LOVE talking to them, and I am absolutely willing to lose sleep for it.  I remember one night I was up extremely late (or early) with Ashley.  Tony had to get up at 3:30 to go help with a race, and Ashley and I hadn't gone to bed yet. Thankfully this isn't a nightly occurrence or I would probably pass out from sleep deprivation, but occasionally it's a great way to build and strengthen your relationship with your kids.  Sometimes I have wondered why they don't feel the need to talk at 4 in the afternoon, but I guess it's because all good things seem to require some sacrifice.

Jan 2, 2012

2011-A Year in Review

Christmas Eve 2011
You know when you were a kid, and life moved at a snail's pace? One Christmas was an eternity away from the next one? Now I swear they come a couple weeks apart. 2011 was a good year for us overall, but definitely one that brought a few changes that rocked the boat a little. Here are some of the things that stand out about the past year for me.
  • Tony was called as the Bishop of our ward in February.  I believe this has been a harder change for Tony then for me...for the first few months he was gone a lot, and not necessarily home even when he was home. He still has some times when it is very hard for him, but we definitely see the blessings too.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord helps us to do all that He asks of us.
  • Watching Jimmer play!  Yes remember me the avid BYU fan?  Well we went to a few games in the Marriott Center this year, and it was a blast.  We got to go to the sold-out SDSU game.  The Marriott Center was electric.  That game is now on my list of top ten favorite BYU sports moments.
  • I was called to be the Beehive advisor, first time serving with the Young Women. (Later in the year I was called to the 2nd counselor in the YW presidency, and then in October I was called to be the 1st counselor.)
  • In April, Tony and I and the three youngest kids took a quick trip to Disneyland.  I thought Tony needed a little time away and the kids are always up for a trip to Disneyland.  We had a great time! I think it just might be the happiest place on earth-just like they say.
  • Lexie was accepted to BYU, making her dream to attend there a reality.  She graduated from high school the first week of June, and spent the summer taking a class at BYU and working as a lifeguard at Lagoon.  
  • Jared got his first real job at Lagoon also.  I had never wanted my kids to work at Lagoon because of it's crazy hours and being open on Sunday.  We found out that the waterparks hours are not so crazy, and my kids asked for Sunday off, and they gave it to them.  It was great.
  • We spent the 4th of July in Island Park at the cabin.  I love that place.  So peaceful, so beautiful.  Love it there!  Fun to be there with all 7 of us, and some of my family too.
  • Girl's Camp-I was the camp director, which was more fun than I expected it to be.  
  • Adult trip to the cabin in August to celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday.  So grateful for him!  Couldn't ask for a better Dad.
  • Breanna started junior high.  Only Grant is left at the elementary school.  
  • Ashley and Alexis both went to college.  Ashley started her junior year at Utah State, Alexis was a freshman at BYU.  This was a hard change for me.  The house was so quiet with them both gone.  I didn't like it one bit! 
  • In October we made a quick trip to Zion's National Park.  Loved that too!  I have really become quite the nature lover.  Still not much of a camper though.  I love to explore nature during the day, and then sleep in a bed at night and take a shower in the morning.  It is much easier to enjoy nature when you don't all smell!
  • Ashley struggled with carpal tunnel, and was not able to do her juries.  That was frustrating for her, but she was and is trying to deal with it all with patience and faith.  (Perhaps more faith then patience.)
  • Christmas was fantastic.  Everyone has been home, Tony took time off work, and we enjoyed being together watching movies, playing games and eating way too much. (Job for January-losing all the weight!) 
Who knows what changes will come in 2012, but it is probably best that I don't know!  Change is inevitable and out of my control.  My attitude is within my control though, so I plan to make 2012 a great one!