Jan 28, 2013

What You Can Learn on a Sunday

That magnets stick to braces, a fact we learned during Sacrament Meeting.

That the first flat tire on your 4WD would happen when you need it to drive to Bountiful in a blizzard. Luckily it was in the garage so we didn't have to fix it in said blizzard.

Our non-4WD small car can make it to Bountiful even in a blizzard, but may require alternate routes that have less steep hills.

My son thinks I am a walking fossil.  This same son has strange black curly hairs growing out of his mostly blonde head.

Both of my sons like to wear their sister's turquoise shoes.  Somewhat disturbing.

My son and my husband are both fine to fight over the last two pieces of cake that they were both trying to eat out of the pan at the same time.

It will probably take 45 minutes to have family prayer because no one will stop talking.

Jan 26, 2013

Is Winter Over?

This picture was taken on January 12th, pretty much the last time we saw the sun and clear blue sky.
 This has been a brutal January as far as weather goes. First we get the biggest snowstorm we have had since we moved here in 1998, and the first snow day my kids have ever had.  This whole month we have been experiencing the third coldest January on record, with the average daily temperature being well below freezing.  I have even resorted to wearing a coat, and that is saying something.  We have had icicles all over our house and on our front porch that we have repeatedly knocked down-wouldn't want anyone to be impaled by the killer icicle.  And because of said icicles on our front porch that drip during the day, we have created Home Alone stairs up to our door.  We finally bought our first container of Ice Melt ever.  We have never really had an issue with ice because our house faces southwest, and the sun has always done the trick before.  Then we have also had day after day of this wonderful thing they call an inversion.  I think that is way too nice of a name for it.  The air smells like exhaust, you can't see the mountains, it makes you cough and feel like you can't get a deep breath.  It blocks the sun from ever really shining and is just basically miserable, but I'm not complaining.  Then if all this wasn't enough, on Thursday morning we woke up to freezing rain.  Want to know how often we have freezing rain around here, almost never.  Last time was basically 30 years ago.  Solid sheet of ice everywhere.  It took my daughter just a little over an hour to get to school on the bus, and the school is ten minutes away.  My daughter got home from school saying she had fallen three times just getting home.  My youngest thought it was the coolest thing ever, skating everywhere without ice skates.  The icy roads caused school to start two hours late on Friday (Friday was nothing compared to Thursday though, should have started school late on Thursday instead.  Oh well can't expect people who never have seen freezing rain except for in Nebraska to know what to do with it.) The worst part of  the ice though was that my Dad fell while getting his garbage cans.  Now if it would have been me, I would have just left the garbage cans (I didn't even get the mail, I made Grant get it when he got home from school) but my Dad never leaves a job undone.  It's an amazing quality that he has.  If there is something to do, then you just do it.  He has always been that way.  I mention my peach tree needs pruning and the next day he shows up and prunes it, it's just the way he is.  But, I digress.  He went out to put his garbage cans away and slipped and fell on the ice.  Gratefully a nice man saw him and helped him get up and back into the house, but my Mom knew he was in bad shape because he was so pale.  Of course being the tough guy that my Dad is, he said he didn't need to go to the doctor, and refused to go the emergency room. (Understand that one, I go to great lengths to avoid doctors).  Tony took him and my Mom to the doctor Friday morning though where he learned that he had broken his collar bone and the upper part of his arm right by his shoulder. Gratefully no surgery is needed and it was his left arm, but he will be in a sling for a minimum of 6 weeks, probably 8. The other good news is that we are supposed to get a storm that will clear the inversion by Monday and in the forecast we have multiple days above 30! Woohoo!

Jan 21, 2013

Goals for 2013

Lexie and I at the Draper Temple last Friday
I read the other day that New Year's Resolutions are usually abandoned by the 17th of January.  How do  you make it past that date?  You don't set your goals until after the 17th.  I have been struggling deciding what I want to accomplish this year.  Goals should stretch you, but not kill you.  So I have been thinking this through when I contemplate a goal-is this something I can realistically accomplish? So, here is what I am thinking...

Will Do:
  • Read the Book of Mormon twice in 2013.  For the first time I am going to read it in 60 days.  Lexie is reading it all the way through one more time before her mission, so I thought I would join her.  
  • Attend the temple 4 times a month. (let's try it again)
  • Read the Doctrine and Covenants all the way through and do the reading each week for Gospel Doctrine. (I put these together because much of the reading for this year is the D&C)
  • Read Les Miserables.  Always wanted to read it, but almost 1500 pages has always held me back.  I am already on page 500 now though.  I will do it this time!!
  • Finish 2012 scrapbook.
  • Do Arches scrapbook. (Yeah that trip was 6 years ago, so many pictures so little time)
  • Do a family history project that is still in the planning stage. Finish planning and see if it is doable.
  • Fill up holes and touch up paint in the basement.
Would Like to Do:
  • Read two more classics after Les Mis.
  • Read last two volumes of the Mortal Messiah.
  • Read The Continuous Atonement
  • Do 2009 Scrapbook and finish Ashley's scrapbooks.
  • Paint the deck
  • Paint Jared's room
So there you go.  We'll see how it goes.  

    Jan 17, 2013

    Report on last years goals

    We are now 17 days into January, and I am still working out what goals I want to set.  You see once I commit them to paper then they become binding...well at least I have to try to do it.  I always use to view goals as deeply discouraging because it seemed I never fully accomplished them.  I see goals differently now.  For example let's say your goal was to read the scriptures every day for the year.  Instead of reading 365 days, you read 280.  You failed right?  NO!! You read 280 days.  I believe discouragement is one of Satan's biggest tools for so many of us.  If he can just get us focusing on all of our shortcomings, instead of focusing on the improvement we have made we could easily give up.  Just recently two people I care about have expressed discouragement over this very sort of thing.  If only they could see the massive amount of good they do and have accomplished. I think it is good to be a little dissatisfied with ourselves because we always want to be striving to be better, but caution is needed.  I have often been one to be too hard on myself, I am learning though.  I love this quote that I found last year on pinterest.  I am putting it here again, because I for one need reminding.
     So with that thought in mind, I set some goals for myself last year.  Here is my progress report-
     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
    • 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
    The ones crossed out I did.  Let me tell you about my goal to attend the temple 4 times a month.  I didn't make it 4 times.  I only averaged 3 times a month.  Did I fail?  I don't think so.  I went to the temple more times in 2012, than I ever have before in a single year.  That is an accomplishment.  Did I learn some things about myself? Yes.  I see where I can improve.

    I think life is always a strugglefest, but the trick is to keep fighting that natural man.  Most important though is to remember what it says in Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." I think of when my kids were little and my days were spent chasing them.  My goals had to be simple.  Like-keep the kids from hurting each other, mostly.  Keep the kids from burning down or destroying the house, mostly. Shower every day.  My personal goals were pretty limited as my personal time was limited. I tried to always make time for scripture reading and prayer, FHE and the like, but it was always short and simple.  I promised myself that when the kids were older I would use more of my time for study and learning.  Now my kids are older.  No time like the present to keep those promises! So as I set my goals for this year, my desire is to continue to fulfill that promise I made to myself. (And to finish up those stupid painting projects, because by next year I am sure there will be something else that needs to be painted!)

    Jan 13, 2013

    What snow is good for...

    So after all the snowing was done, at least for now, we had about 30 inches of snow.  That is a lot of snow for us here in this part of Farmington.  There are definitely some negatives to snow-like slick roads, icy parking lots where you almost fall multiple times, wet and dirty shoes coming in and out of your house all day, and snow clothes hanging everywhere.  But instead of dwelling on the possible negatives, let me share some positives that I saw.
    • Families out shoveling snow, it was not a one person job.  Neighbors helping other neighbors shovel.
    • Meetings and school cancelled allowing us to have a little extra, and sometimes unusual family time.
    • Snow covered roads that were plowed slower than normal around here, allowed for a lot of children to be pulled in sleds and on skis around the neighborhood.  Jared was almost surprised when Tony sad he would pull him around behind the car.  (Yes it was probably dangerous, and it might have made me a bit nervous, but it's a memory he likely won't forget.)
    • Sledding in the snow.  What fun to speed down a snow covered hill.  All three of my youngest enjoyed that yesterday.
    • Must mention the importance for snow in Utah, to give this mostly desert state water for the summer.  Last winter was awful, so it was crucial for this winter to be a good one.  So far so good.
    • The beauty of the snow.  I love it when the sun comes out and it looks like there are little diamonds sparkling everywhere.  It hurts your eyes, but you can't look away because the beauty is awe-inspiring. 
    • A new positive we learned last night was that big snow banks give you a good place to hide.  Jared will be 16 in 10 days!!  Heaven help us!  The Valentine's dance is coming up in February and last night he asked a girl to go with him.  She happened to live on a long straight street with no place to hide after ringing the doorbell.  Then he realized he could lay down on the sidewalk between the snow banks and no one could see him.  Who knew huge snow banks could be so useful.  Lexie and I were laughing watching him lying there on the sidewalk waiting for them to come to the door.  It probably helps to understand the humor knowing that the thermometer in our car was measuring between below 0 temps and ICE.  We were getting ice on the inside of the windows it was so cold.  So there was my son lying on a frozen sidewalk in only a sweatshirt and jeans.  It was great!
     Time has a tendency to remove the bad that happened, so my memories of the past are for the most part very pleasant.  When I look back on the Winter Storm of Jan 2013, I am pretty sure these things are what I will remember.

    Jan 11, 2013

    Blizzards, books and birthdays

    So in all my life living in Utah, I remember one snow day (a day they close school because of snow).  This doesn't mean that it doesn't ever snow in Utah, it just means that for the most part we handle it well with plows and such.  Well yesterday afternoon, just as I was leaving the doctors office, it started snowing. Not just cute little peaceful flakes, but blizzard like snow.  You know the kind where you can only see a few feet in front of you? That kind.  Well it continued to snow like that all evening and into the night.  By 5:30am we had 18 or so inches of snow with it still coming down.  At 5:45 we got a call that school had been cancelled for the entire district.  It is now Friday evening as it continues to snow, although gratefully at a slower rate.  I would say we easily have 2 feet of snow out there.  The snow plow finally made it down our street this afternoon, so since work and school were cancelled we went off to the gym at Tony's work. (Lexie talked us into going, she is determined to be physically fit by the time March rolls around so it doesn't slow her down when she arrives in Australia.) We have lived in our house for over 14 years, and we have never had a snow storm like this one.  I think it's kind of fun, and it also brings sparkling clean air to breath deeply into my lungs.  Last year we never had winter and I missed it.  One of the reasons I love Utah is the 4 distinct seasons.  It truly is a winter wonderland right now.

    That would be our driveway, after opening the garage this morning.
    This week we also celebrated Tony's birthday.  We went to the Salt Lake Temple with Lexie and then took the whole family (minus Ashley-yes we missed you!) to Crown Burger.  You know how when your kids are little and half the food you order is wasted.  Well that doesn't happen anymore.  Everyone didn't finish their food, but Jared took care of everyone's leftovers after polishing off his own.  It is nice to be able to go to a restaurant now, and have all the kids stay in their seats and even be mostly appropriate.  I guess that happens when your youngest is 11.  After dinner we had Tony's favorite cake, which the kids insisted on putting all 45 candle on.  By the time they got them all lit, the cake had wax all over it.  Tony is a great father and husband, couldn't have asked for better.

    I am still trying to figure out my goals for this year.  I feel like I accomplished a lot last year by setting some specific goals.  One of my goals was to read three classics, and a few other books.  Which I did.  So although I haven't decided anything specific yet, I decided I might as well tackle the monstrous volume of Les Miserables.  It has been on my shelf for awhile, but I finally decided to pick it up.  I am about 400 pages into it so far (the unabridged version), and I love it.  Well most of it.  Victor Hugo does love to give detail.  Perhaps someday I will understand why we needed almost 60 pages to describe the battle of Waterloo which happened before the book took place.  It was interesting, but really don't we just want to know what happened after Jean ValJean escapes from Javert? Still trying to decide if I want to see the move...

    Jan 6, 2013

    Required Review of 2012

    It seems like at the start of a new year you naturally spend time reminiscing about the year that has just ended.  2012 was a great one, but also an interesting one.  There were some definite highs, but also some tough spots too. At the beginning of last year I said, "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!" It was a great one, even though the events of 2012 make 2013 more unpredictable than normal.  Some of the highlights of the past year for me (in no particular order)-

    Love these people! The time I spend with them will always be my top highlight!
    • Missionary age change, Lexie's mission call and taking her to the temple.  Wow!  It has been an incredible experience.  
    • Going to the Brigham City Temple open house.  I still call Brigham City home, or at least my part home. Loved watching it be built right across the street from my "ice cream" tabernacle. (When I was a kid I thought all the spires on the tabernacle looked like ice cream-just in case you were wondering)
    • Going to trek.  I don't really like camping, and I hate being dirty, but I love Trek.  What a spiritually uplifting experience it has been both times.  The youth are amazing! I also always come home with a renewed desire to be faithful just like my pioneer ancestors.
    • Watching my children grow and develop their testimonies.  What a blessing to have them share these life changing experiences with me. 
    • Girl's Camp-love the young woman and love the leaders that I have the privilege to work with.
    • Summer trip Back East-It was a fantastic experience from start to finish.  We haven't ever done this kind of family trip before, but I just felt so strongly that we should.  Now with the events of the last few months it makes a lot more sense as to why the timing was so important.  I have always wanted to take my kids to the Sacred Grove- to actually be able to do it was a dream come true.  
    • Celebrating my Mom's 80th Birthday-I feel blessed beyond measure to have my parents both still living and healthy to boot.  Their lives are not without challenges, but I am so grateful that all my kids have had the opportunity to form strong and memorable relationships with their grandparents, something I wasn't given the opportunity to do in this life.  (I look forward to making up for it later!)
    • Tony losing his job.  How is this a highlight you might ask?  Well...it is because through these experiences I can so clearly see the hand of God in my life.  Trials usually come to us because there is something we need to learn, so we always joke that we will try to learn whatever it is as quickly as possible! 
    • Jared finishing his Eagle Project.  Oh the weight that has been lifted to not have that constantly nagging at me.  Grateful for his effort and hard work to make it happen!
    I am sure there were many other highlights, but that is what comes to mind right now.  I wrote my first check of the new year, and I remembered to write 2013.  I think it's a sign that it will be a great year, even with the changes!