I apologize for my lack of posts.  To be honest, my daily posts for November were all done ahead of time and scheduled to post.  So I didn’t even have to get on to blog at all that month.  And I think I just got out of the habit.  And then December came and I was crazy busy trying to get ready with shopping and decorating.  And the last 2 weeks I have been playing with my new phone.  I got the MyTouch 4G and it is so fast!  And then I discovered “Angry Birds.”  It’s a game on the phone and it is so addictive!  I have finished all the levels, and now I am going back to try and get three stars on each level.  I know, it’s a sickness.  But because of that, I have hardly even been on my laptop.  And when I do get on, it’s to try and get caught up on my journal.  I have been neglecting that too!

So these are all excuses.  I know I need to do better.  I have a ton of things that I want to talk about.  I can’t make a lot of promises though.  January starts W-2’s and quarterly taxes at work, and my two youngest are off track for the first 2 weeks of the month.  So hang in there.  I am still here and will be back soon.

Happy New Year!

Adversity will surface in some form in every life. How we prepare for it, how we meet it, makes the difference. We can be broken by adversity, or we can become stronger. The final result is up to the individual.

Marvin J. Ashton

Gather your kids and then click here.  It will keep them busy for about 5 minutes!

Have a great day and enjoy tomorrow!  I love you all!

When The Princess was born, she was nearly 6 years younger than The Chocoholic.  So it had been a while since I had been anywhere near the baby aisle.  And when she started eating baby food, I was amazed to see that the baby food now came in plastic containers.  With snap-on lids.  I was so excited!

I saved every single container that we used.  Washed them and kept them.  And used them.  What do I use them for? 

I keep my little packets of Sweet & Low/Equal/Splenda in them.  They are the perfect width and keep them organized in my cupboard.

I put The Princess' hair accessories in them...bobby pins, elastics, etc.

I use them to organize my scrapbooking accessories...eyelets, brads, buttons, etc.

We use them to keep screws and washers and such in perfect order.

Have you kept your old containers?  If so, what do you use them for?

P.S.  If anyone has formula cans, can you save a few and give them to me?  I use those for keeping bulk screws and nails in the garage.  Thanks!

Always be a first rate version of yourself, rather than a second rate version of someone else.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to me! 

I had to go into the office today. Again. For the third day in a row.  It was so hard to go. I left for home around 1:50. I got on the freeway and saw the traffic meters going, which isn’t a good thing. Then I remembered overhearing a client at the office saying there was a huge a accident at 7800 South. I was able to get right off the freeway at 114th, right where the traffic was backing up, but then discovered that the road doesn’t go all the way through yet. So I had to take the frontage road down to 106th South, and then head West with everyone else that was getting off the freeway there. I was on the phone with The Teenager, and then the call dropped. Then The Doctor called. Then The Teenager beeped in. And I was frustrated and just wanted to get home.

I was nearing an intersection and the light turned yellow and I sped up. I was talking to Tom and looked in my mirror and there was a cop and I was being pulled over. Crap. I pulled into a gas station and gave him my license and stuff. He asked if I was in hurry. I started to give excuses, but then I just apologized and said there wasn’t an excuse. I apologized several times, but I also pointed out to him that I really didn’t break the law. My sister had to go to traffic court, and they told her that if you are in the intersection before the light turns red, you are okay. The cop reminded me that the law is that if you have time to slow down, you should. I agreed and apologized again. He checked out my license, and then he let me go. I was so grateful to not get a ticket. I kept my speed down and was very careful the rest of the way home. I was so glad to pull into the garage. I breathed a big sigh of relief!

I helped The Teenager finish his project this afternoon, which meant I ignored all the other kids when they got home, which is never good for The Princess and she had a meltdown, and then I had a meltdown. I still had laundry to finish from yesterday, supper to make, The Teenager and The Chocoholic had activities tonight, The Artist had a choir concert tonight and I just lost it.

I don’t know how women work full time and do everything else. I just don’t know how.

The only time you cannot fail is the last time you try.

Kaleidoscope Table   This is so cool!  Dad, did you see this?  Dad?  Hint, hint!!!!!

5 minute Chocolate Mug Cake   I love this!  It’s so easy and so delicious!

Revelations   I read this every couple of weeks to remind me.  It is so relevant that I think every mom should read it!

Shoe Lacing Methods These look like so much fun!

Scripture Covers and Totes I want one of these!

Adapted by sk2

‘Twas the Night before Christmas
And all through the land
All the people were stirring,
The sight was so grand!

The prophet had said
That the night would be bright.*1
And folks all together looked
Up at the sight.

The children, excited–
No sleeping tonight.
The sun had gone down, but the
Skies were still bright.*2

And Ma in her study
And I at my books,
Had gone to the window
To take a good look.

While out on the lawn
In the mild, balmy weather,
Some Nephites had come
There to bring us together.

Away to the entry
We flew like a flash,
Pushed open the door,
Rushed out in a dash.

The light in the night
With the star all aglow
Gave a luster of mid-day*3
To objects below.

And there to our wondering* eyes
Did appear,
‘twas the new star that shined*4
And the time was now here.

Thus the prophet named Samuel
Had been so precise.
The five years were up*5—what
A glorious sight!

The prophets of old they
Predicted the same.
We remembered those prophets.
We called them by name.

There’s Samuel, and Nephi,
And Jacob, and Enos,
King Benjamin, Alma,
Isaiah, and Zenos.

They said Christ, He would come
And bless crippled and blind.*6
His birth would bring blessings to
All of mankind.

King Benjamin said
That an angel appeared*7
And he told him of Christ and His
Mother so dear.*8

And by revelation*9
Old Jacob did see*10
Our dear Savior, our Lord,
“Unto God ye must cleave.”11

“Your sins are forgiven,”
Said Jesus to Enos.*12
And Christ will show mercy
As He did for Zenos.*13

From the brass plates they read*14
Of Isaiah of old.
As a prophet from God, of Christ’s
Birth he foretold.*15

It was Nephi, the first,
Said His life He would give.*16
He would come to the Nephites
To prove that He lived.*17

“Redemption comes only
Through Christ’s sacrifice,”
Thus said Alma, the prophet,
“Christ would pay the price.”*18

I, Nephi, was praying
The sign would appear
When the voice of the Lord
Said to be of good cheer.*19

“Tonight is the night
That the sign will be given.
And prayers will be answered
As I come from heaven.”*20

Some Nephites believed it,
But those who did not,
Said, “Destroy the believers.
Destroy the whole lot.”*21

“Your faith has been vain,
‘cuz the time is now past and
We never will see
A new star in this vast land.”22

But their plan was now thwarted
The star had appeared.*23
Many came to me, Nephi,*24
But some fell in fear.*25

And those who did come,
Came believing within,*26
Came searching for God,
Came repenting of sin.*27

Came asking forgiveness,
Their sorrow sincere.
Came seeking baptism,*28
Their vision now clear.

Yes, prophets had spoken
Their words had come true.
If any had doubted,
The people now knew.

Again in the land
Were the people united.
With glad exclamation
The Nephites all shouted,

“’Tis the Savior now born
In a land far away.
To our land He will come,
And will visit one day.”

1. Hel.14:3
2. 3 Nephi 1:15
3. 3 Nephi 1:19
4. Hel.14:5
5. Hel.14:2
6. Mosiah 3:5
7. Mosiah 3:2,3
8. Mosiah 3:8
9. Jacob 1:6
10. 2 Nephi 11:2,3
11. Jacob 6:5
12. Enos 1:5,6
13. Alma 33:3-13
14. Alma 33:2 and 63:12
15. 2 Nephi 17:3,14
16. 1 Nephi 19:10
17. 2 Nephi 26:1
18. Alma 7:10-13
19. 3 Nephi 1:10-13
20. 3 Nephi 1:12-14
21. 3 Nephi 1:9
22. 3 Nephi 1:6
23. 3 Nephi 1:16
24. 3 Nephi 1:22
25. 3 Nephi 1:16,18
26. 3 Nephi 1:22,23
27. 3 Nephi 1:23
28. 3 Nephi 1:23

*The word wondering used here is intended to describe the wonderment and beauty of the light coming from the new star; the star which made the skies bright, even though the sun had gone down. There was no wondering (questioning) in Nephi’s mind that the star would appear.

"There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience."

-- Thomas S. Monson

I am burned out from blogging.  They need to do NaBloPoMo after Christmas.  I am so busy right now, my blogging is going to be a little sporadic.  I apologize in advance. 

I did it!  Every day! Whoo Hoo!

Bring on Christmas!

60 is how many people I have in my birthday/anniversary calendar.  I love my calendar.  It took me quite a while to make, but I absolutely LOVE it! 

I bought a Rolodex and glued cute paper on the cards and embellished them, then put on names with dates and pictures of people.  I did not post any of the pictures, but if you look at the card, you can see the circle with their names. Next to that, on the other pattern of paper, I printed their pictures in black and white and then punched them out in a square. 

2010-10-27 20.52.31

All the girls I put flowers down on the bottom right, and all the boys I put a button on the top left.

2010-10-27 20.54.152010-10-27 20.53.48

I also made month dividers. 

2010-10-27 20.53.32

I also have quite a few blanks so I can add to it as more people join our families.

2010-10-27 20.53.10

This is what it looks like from the side.  There are a lot of cards there, but it is so fun. 

2010-10-27 20.53.18

The only two choices in any battle are to be a winner or a loser. You have to understand that sometimes in a marriage, the only way to win is to lose.

This is the number of haircuts that The Princess has had in her lifetime.  And she is 6 years old! 

Her first haircut was when she was 3 1/2 and we cut 10 inches off for “Locks of Love.”  When we got home from the haircut and showed her daddy, he cried. 

Her second haircut was one month ago at the age of 6 years and 2 months.  We cut off another 12 inches and donated it again.  When we got home from the haircut and showed her daddy, he smiled and told her how cute she looked.  I think he was expecting it this time! 

I love her in long hair, but when it gets that long, it just becomes hard to take care of.  It will grow back. 

It’s just hair.

The Doctor is 41 years old, but just like me, I think of him as 23, the age he was when we got married. Here are some reasons why I love him.

1.  He takes such good care of me.  My mom has gone so far as to say he spoils me.  And he does.  I have to be very careful because I can get him to buy me just about anything.  He just wants me to be happy.

2.  He is a hard worker.  Right now he is teaching full time in public education.  He teaches at 2 different high schools.  He also teaches part time for BYU-Idaho, teaching 2 online classes.  He is also a teaching group leader for some other online teachers, and he is helping to develop a drafting class to be taught online, which he will teach as well.  He is also teaching part time for Argosy University, teaching a class every Tuesday night.  He has also had several articles published in our local newspaper.  I don’t know how he does it.

3.  He is an awesome cook.  He can look through my fridge and create an amazing meal with ingredients that I didn’t even know I had in there!  And they are complete with vegetables, and they are pretty. 

4.  He has the same morals and values that I have.  We believe in the same things, and we feel the same way about things (raising children, obeying the prophet, etc.).  That makes marriage so much easier.

5.  He is a good kisser.  ‘Nuff said.

I look forward to spending the rest of eternity with him.

No, it’s not possible that my baby is 17.  And yet, his driver’s license says it’s true.  Here are some reasons why I love The Teenager.

1.  He has a very dry sense of humor.  He can really catch me off guard with it. 

2.  He has discovered what he wants to be when he grows up, and surprisingly, it is a scientist.  Marine biologist, to be specific.  He comes home from school all excited about what he has learned in his zoology class.  He can go on and on about spiders.  And as much as I don’t care about spiders, I listen because I love to see him enthusiastic about them!

3.  He is learning to save money.  He saved up enough money this year to buy and register both a scooter and a motorcycle.  Now he wants to save up for a car.  And I have no doubt that he will be able to do it.

4.  He is very generous.  If you need money, he will give it to you.  There have been times that I have been stressed about money, and he has tried to give me his money to help out.  That means a lot to me.

5.  He has a strong testimony, even if he doesn’t think he does.  He sometimes wants to be a rebel, but can’t do it for long because his faith and knowledge of the gospel is too strong.  He is going to make a great missionary.

I am so proud to call him my son.

The Artist just turned 14.  Here are some reasons why I love him.

1.  He has the cutest giggle.  He loves to laugh and be silly.  That keeps us light hearted and helps us not be so serious all the time.

2.  He is very spiritual.  A couple of years ago, he read The Book Of Mormon all the way through on his own and prayed about it and received a witness that it was true.  He cannot bear his testimony without crying.  It touches me that he feels the spirit so readily.

3.  He is passionate about so many things.  Art, astronomy, singing, drums, robots, and several more.  He is not locked into liking just one thing, so he is easy to buy for. 

4.  He has always been able to entertain himself.  From the time he was little, he would (and still will) lay down and play with a car for hours, driving it around.

5.  Along with #5, he likes to make sound effects.  I am constantly hearing sounds of cars driving and airplanes flying and motorcycles taking off.  Even when he is playing video games, he will create his own sound effects.

He is such a good young man. 

The Chocoholic is 11, but he will be 12 next week.  Here are some reasons why I love him.

1.  He loves chocolate.  It has been a very special thing between us, to share chocolate.  He doesn’t like white chocolate as much. 

2.  He loves to play games.  Mostly board games.  He doesn’t care if he wins or loses, as long as someone will play with him.

3.  He wants to grow up, but he doesn’t want to stop being a kid yet.  He loves to be goofy and silly and doesn’t care what people think.

4. He is so kind and caring to The Princess.  They have been close ever since she was born, and he is the best big brother to her.  He even lets her dress him up in the princess clothes and jewelry, and then lets me take pictures of him.

5. He is freakishly skinny.  If he sucks in his stomach, you can grab his lower rib!  It’s so weird!

I love him so much!

The Princess is 6 years old.  I thought I would tell you why I love her.

1.  She is a girly girl.  She loves pink and flowers and butterfly’s and dresses.  She is not a tomboy at all and I am so glad of that!

2.  She lets me do her hair.  I have been doing her hair since she was 4 months old and I cherish that time together.  Sometimes she reads to me, and sometimes we just talk.  I don’t ever want to give that up.

3.  She loves to have cuddles with me.  That is when she climbs up in my lap and I just hold her and cuddle her.  We have been doing this for a long time.  She will come up to me say, “Mommy, can we have cuddles?” That just melts my heart!

4.  She loves to help me work in the kitchen.  She has her own apron (okay, 2 of them) and we will cook and clean and have all kinds of fun together.

5.  She is friendly to everyone.  She will look for those who are feeling left out and invite them and include them in her group of friends. 

How lucky I am to have her for my daughter!

Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.

The Chocoholic was 3 when I discovered his true love.

He turned to me one day and said, “Mommy, I need some chocolate.” 

Finally, a child after my own heart!

I was 18 when I got engaged, and I was 19 when I got married.  19 1/2 exactly.  I was born on December 19th, and I got married on June 19th.

Again, my poor parents.  I cannot even imagine what I would do if my daughter wants to get married when she is still a teenager!

Oh, my poor parents.  I don’t know what was going through their heads, but I know I would kill my daughter, or at least hide her for a couple years.

What, you don’t know what I am talking about?  Sorry.

I got engaged when I was only 18 years old.


To their credit, they never said a word to me about being too young. 

Or maybe they did, and I just didn’t listen!

I loved my ears double pierced.  I would wear a pair of small hoops in the top hole just about all the time. I know how weird it sounds, but I loved my second holes!

In October of 2000, President Gordon B. Hinckley, the Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon church, told the women of the church that we should only wear one pair of earrings.

I won’t lie.  I was devastated.  And then I tried to justify them by saying that I already had the holes, yadda, yadda, yadda.  And then I left them in. 

And then, a week or so later, I was talking to my mother-in-law.  She was in the Young Women Presidency in her ward at the time.  She told me that they were at the church watching conference when President Hinckley made that comment.  She saw a movement out of the corner of her eye and looked down the row at her young women.  She saw each and every one of them immediately reach up and take the second pair of earrings out of their ears.

I was so ashamed when I heard that.  I quickly took mine out and vowed from that point on I would always obey the prophet…the first time he tells me. 

This is the number of holes I have in my ears.  I got my ears pierced when I was 8.  When I was a teenager, I really wanted to get my ears double pierced, but my parents wouldn’t let me.  So when I went to college, one of the very first things I did was get one ear double pierced.  I loved it.  And a few months after I got married, I got the other done. I loved them!

Another number I am proud of.  This is the number of men that I have “had relations” with.  And not until after we were married. And that’s a good thing.

Learn what you should learn,
Do what you should do,
Be what you should be.

This is a number I am quite proud of.  I have never smoked or done drugs or even drunk alcohol. 

This is the number of houses I have lived in since I have been married.  7 houses in 18 years. 

1. When we first got married, we were supposed to move into a brand new apartment building.  But they weren’t finished yet.  So we moved into a temporary apartment.

2. We were concerned about how much the rent was going to be on the new apartment ($400) so we were able to get into a mobile home on campus for much less ($250, including utilities).

3. 4 months later, we changed schools and cities.

4. 3 months later, we were sick of the cigarette smoke smell in our non-smoking apartment, so we moved, losing our security deposit.  We had now been married 6 months. We lived in this apartment for 3 years, almost to the day. 

5. We moved to another apartment…3 blocks away. This duplex had it’s own fenced back yard, which was so nice.  I could send the kids out to play and not have to be there with them.  And it was only 3 houses away from my mom. We lived here for nearly 5 years.

6. Finally, we were able to buy our own house.  I have blogged about what a horrible house that was. We lived there for 3 1/2 years.

7. And now we live here.  We have been here for 6 1/2 years.  That is the longest I have lived anywhere.  Seriously.  I am itching to move so bad!  How else can I get my deep cleaning done?  Because I’ve never had to do it before.  We just moved!

This is the number of times I moved before I was married. 

The first question people ask me is if my family was in the military.  Nope.  My dad was an entrepreneur and really wanted to own his own business.  There were many problems, through no fault of his own, and the businesses just didn’t work out.

The hardest move, but the best one for me, was in the middle of my junior year.  I had a boyfriend and did not want to move.  But in hindsight, it was probably a good thing because we were way too close.  Which would have led to not good things.  Heavenly Father knows what He is doing.

Number of squares of toilet paper that I use.  I know, TMI.

That is the number of blogs that I subscribe to.  137.  Wow, I had no idea!  Now, they don’t all post everyday.  In fact some haven’t posted in months.  But they are still on my list. 

I read them in Google Reader, so I don’t have to click around on every blog.  I also have another 6 that are private blogs that I go to their blogs to read.  I like reading about other people’s lives.  I guess I am a little bit of a voyeur.

I am 37 years old.  I will be 38 next month. 

When I look in the mirror, it shocks me. I see an overweight woman who is starting to get wrinkles.  Surely, that can’t be me. 

I feel like I am still 19, the age I was when I got married.  That is the age that I hope to be when I am resurrected!

Two men can do anything as long as one of them is the Lord.

I have been married for 18 years.  It sounds like a really, really long time, but it feels like yesterday.  We have had our ups and our downs.  But we are happy, and we are together forever.  And that’s what matters.

We have 7 computers in our house.  We have our desktop computer which is the main computer that the whole family uses.  Then each family member has a laptop.  The boys each have an old laptop that my dad salvaged (he works as an STS in the elementary schools).  And The Princess has a Princess laptop.  Not a real one, but she loves that she has a laptop like everyone else!

My house number.  I like it.  It’s easy to remember.  Not as easy as my next door neighbor, 5770, but still…

If I only had 5 people in my family, it would be cheaper.

When we had to buy a new car, we had to buy a mini van or SUV because 6 people don’t fit in a sedan.  There are 2 seats in the front and 3 in the back.  They frown on the 6th person riding on others laps.

And when we went to Disneyland, in the hotel, we had to get a suite because we had 6 people.  If we had only had 5, we could have gotten a single, smaller room.  They tried to tell us that we would enjoy the bigger room, but not really.  We were in the hotel so little.  It was just a place to crash at night!

But I wouldn’t trade any of my children, so I guess we just pay more!

There are 6 people in my family…The Doctor, The Teenager, The Artist, The Chocoholic, The Princess, and me (The Mom).  I like that it’s a nice round number.  We fit around our kitchen table perfectly!

Well, here we go again.  I am going to try and blog every day in November.  I’m crazy, I know. 

I have a theme this year.  I am going by the numbers.  Every post (except the Sunday quotes) will be about numbers. 

So today’s post is “1.”  Today is the 1st day of November and my goal is to end the month with the number 30, meaning I have posted every day. 

Here we go!

The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.

I cannot believe it's only 2 months until Christmas.  I know, I know.  Here are some fun things to make for the season.

Super Cute Christmas Decorations  These look super easy and so cute!  I want to make the presents for sure!  If anyone wants to do them with me, let me know and we can make an afternoon of it.

Wooden Nativity  I want to make these too.  But I need my Dad to cut them out for me...hint, hint! 

Stocking Holders  If you have a mantle, this is such a cute idea.  Someday I will have a fireplace and mantle, and then I will definitely be doing this.

Dollar Store Ornament Wreath  I love this!  I am watching the dollar stores to find cute ornaments.

Cards that hold Cash  A cute way to give money.

Dollar Store Christmas Stocking  Here's a cute stocking to make to hang on your new holders.

I would love to see some of your cute ideas.  Share with me!

Monday, after our first snow storm of the season, we went out and picked the apples off our trees.  Our 2 little apple trees are only 3 years old, but we got 4 plastic grocery bags full of apples.  I was so excited.  I peeled and cored and sliced (using my peeler/corer/slicer..not by hand!) and bottled all morning. 

The house was warm and it smelled so good.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing rows of bottle all lined up the cupboard, and hearing them pop as they seal.  I ended up with 16 bottles of apples, and about 20 more apples that didn’t have worm holes that I saved out for the kids to eat. 

Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to put a Windfall Tax on all stock market profits, including retirement funds, 401(k)s and mutual funds. In other words, she wants to tax what you have invested toward your retirement as though it were a "windfall."

She needs it to help the 12 million illegal immigrants and other unemployed minorities.

This woman is frightening.

"We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income [didn't Marx say something like this?], in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest."

In other words, if you have a retirement account, you are rich and we need to tax it as if it were windfall income.

When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied "We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a long way to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as 'Americans'."

That means: lower your retirement income and give it to others who have not worked as you have for it.

This lady is out of her mind and she is the Speaker of the House!

Vote in November like your way of life depended on it - because it does!
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem."

--Theodore Rubin

Making jam when 8 months pregnant, working full time, no air conditioner, and it's 98 degrees at 9:00 at night is not a good idea. 

Let me elaborate.

It was 1993.  I was pregnant with The Teenager.  It was September and it was HOT!  That is one thing I miss about Idaho, it at least cools down at night there.  Here it just stays hot!  The particular night in question, it was 9:00 and still 98 degrees.  We had a 2 level apartment with a swamp cooler.  It didn't work all that well, and swamp coolers don't work when it's hot.  Just when it's warm.

The Doctor and I were both working full time and I would come home exhausted!  We had 2 bathrooms and when we got home, we would each hit one to do our business.  The Doctor would have to come in the bathroom and wake me up because I would fall asleep on the toilet. 

Some neighbors had a plum tree that had the most delicious plums, and they let us pick as many as we wanted.  So The Doctor had the idea to make jam.  And he decided this particular night that it had to be done that night.  I was less than thrilled, but he insisted.  So we started the jam.

It was before I learned to do freezer jam, so we were cooking it on the stove.  Come to think of it, this experience is the reason I don't do cooked jam!  Well, when jam starts to boil, it splatters.  And it's hot.

So there I am, tired, hot, pregnant, and mad that I have to make jam.  And then it splatters on me.  I freaked out and was yelling and crying and The Doctor was yelling and I told him to get out.

And he did.

He walked out and left me to finish the jam.  It was our first fight.  I had never yelled at him before.  I finished the jam and soon he came back.  We apologized to each other and we were okay, but it was bad at the time.

The lesson to be learned?  When you are pregnant and hot and tired, don't make jam!  And don't yell at your husband.  Nothing good comes from that.

The alarm rings at 5:25 and I groan.  My back is killing me, reminding me that I have only been asleep for 5 hours because I had to work until 12:15 last night.  I stumble into the bathroom, hating the glare of the bright light that early in the morning. 

I go downstairs and the house is dark and cold.  But I refuse to the heat on yet.  I'm not ready for that.  I turn on the music and try to wake up while ma.king lunches.  4 lunches this morning.  Every morning.  Day in and day out.  I miss hot lunch!

After breakfast, I try to get kids moving.  The Princess takes another 45 minutes to eat. I am telling her every 5 minutes to hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.  I feel the need to tape myself and just put it on a loop!  Because she takes so long, so we don't have time to do an elaborate hairdo, just a rolled braid.   

As soon as I get them out the door, I have to race out the door too.  I am taking my work to another coworker who lives nearby.  She will take it into the office so I don't have to drive all the way there.  I then go to the gym and work out.  That was frustrating because I'm still trying to learn how to use the complicated treadmill. 

When I get home, the house is dark and cold and quiet and lonely.  I open blinds and get in the shower, missing my family.  How many hours until my kids get home?

My eyes are really sensitive to the light.  In the summer, when I go outside, I can barely open my eyes sometimes because it hurts too bad.  This has always bothered me, and I wondered if there was something wrong with me.

I even have to wear sunglasses on some cloudy days because the light still hurts.  So if you see me wearing sunglasses and it’s raining, don’t laugh!

However, I recently read that blue eyes are more sensitive to the light than brown eyes.  I guess that means that I am a more sensitive person! 

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.

~Francesca Reigler

I hope to teach my daughter to be this kind and caring.  What an amazing group of Young Women!

So, I am constantly finding blog posts that excite me, give me inspiration, make me cry, and make me think.  I want to share these with all of you, but listing them one at a time would be annoying.  So I thought I would give something a try. 

Every so often, I will post a compilation of my favorite posts.  I hope you all enjoy.  Here we go.

A Shallow Immature Angry Rant.  This is an excellent explanation of why I hate camping.  This is written by one of my favorite bloggers, Braden Bell, who wrote "The Roadshow."  Excellent book.

On Women and Men: Can't We Just Get Along.  Another post by Braden Bell. I have to admit I have been guilty of this before, and I am going to try harder.

Healthy Halloween Party Food  Tis the season...for Halloween.  Here are some really fun ways to get your kids to be excited about vegetables! 

Halloween Ideas  More Halloween ideas! 

LDS ABC's Quiet Book  Finally, a quiet book that is so cute.  I am going to make one, even though my kids don't need it! 


When I download the pictures off my camera, I immediately back them up to a CD.  I learned my lesson in 2004 when I lost 4 months of pictures because I hadn't backed them up before my hard drive crashed.  Over the years, I have accumulated quite a stack of CD's.



I will not keep them exclusively on a hard drive because hard drives crash.  Even the expensive ones.  But they were starting to take up a lot of room and I needed a different option.  Then I remembered that DVD's hold more than CD's do.  So I took all my pictures and saved them onto DVD's instead.  I went from 48 CD's to 4 DVD's.


Very cool!

Back in June, my dishwasher stopped washing my dishes well.  It was leaving white stuff all over the dishes, and left a white film on my plastics that wouldn't come off.  I tried running an empty load with just vinegar, I took apart the drain and tried and clean it out, I did multiple things and it just wasn't working.  So we shut it and locked it and put it out of commission.  We didn't have the money to replace it so we went to strictly hand washing.  The children were not thrilled, and neither was I, but we didn't have any other options. 

Two weeks ago, The Doctor was listening to the local news radio and they mentioned that recently phosphates had been regulated in dishwasher soap, going from as much as 8.7% to 0.5%.  This was causing a lot of people to complain that their dishes weren't getting clean and it was leaving a white film on their dishes. 

Sound familiar? 

When he told me about it, I immediately got online and started researching it, and found a lot of people who were complaining about it.  Some had even gone out and bought new dishwashers, to no avail.  A lot of people had resorted to crossing state lines and buying dishwasher soap in states where it hadn't been regulated yet! 

I wondered about my dishwasher soap, so I went and read the box.  "Contains no phosphates."  Ah-ha!

So I did more research and found the solution.  I went to Lowe's and bought a box of TSP - trisodium phosphate, which cost less than $5.  I added one tablespoon of it to my dishwasher, and 1 tablespoon of my dishwasher soap, then loaded the dishwasher and prayed.

Ta-daa!!!!!! It worked!  My dishes came out clean and sparkly!  I was so excited, but not anywhere near as excited as my children were!  It was The Chocoholic's week to do dishes, and when I told him he could use the dishwasher, he squealed with excitement!  He had so much fun doing the dishes that night!  If only that would last!

So if you are struggling with your dishwasher, try this out.  It worked for us!  And saved us a lot of money!

Adversity is a friend, but the Adversary is not.

Now, I know this is going to seem a little silly to some, but I am so excited by the new Coke machine at our Chevron station. 

When I drink soda, which isn't very often, I try to drink only diet.  But I don't drink caffeine, so that really limits my options.  Our Chevron station carried caffeine-free Diet Coke, which is what I always got.  I never complained because it was better than drinking lemonade all the time.

But now, there is this new machine that has so many diet options!  First, look at how cool and futuristic the machine is!


Now, look at the touch screen with all the options of drinks.  Notice there is Dasani water, water with carbonation, caffeine-free diet Coke, light lemonade, Fanta free (diet), and Sprite Zero.  That is 6 different diet options without caffeine!


But wait, it get's better!  When you choose the drink you want, you can then choose different flavorings to mix with it.  And it's perfectly mixed and tastes great!  Below are all the options for the caffeine-free diet Coke.  There is cherry, lime, orange, vanilla, and raspberry.


Check out the Fanta Zero!  There is fruit punch, lime, grape, strawberry, peach, raspberry, and cherry.  How cool is that?  And you could have part of different flavors, so you could have cherry lime, or strawberry grape, etc. 


As you can tell, I am slightly pumped about this!  It's the little things that thrill me!

The alarm rings at 5:25, waking me from my slumber. My back aches, as it does every morning. I sit up and pause in the dark while saying my prayers. Finally, I stumble into the bathroom, squinting in the bright light and saying good morning to my sweet husband, who gets up at 5:00.

I go downstairs, and the house is dark and quiet. I turn on lights and music to help wake the children up. I start making lunches while singing “Puppy Love” with Donny Osmond. My youngest two are off track, so I only have 2 lunches to make this morning. And it’s even easier because we have leftovers from supper last night. My teenagers love leftovers. They love cold lunch in general because they get more food and more time to eat than when they have hot lunch. The Doctor makes his own lunch because he likes to make a salad.

Lunches are done, and we have all made our way to the living room. It’s 5:50, time for family prayer. My heart swells with joy as I look around at my family kneeling in a circle. When we are finished, we kiss each other and hug. How I love this time of the morning.

The Doctor leaves, taking The Teenager with him and dropping him off at early morning Seminary, then going on his 50 minute commute to teach high school. How he does it every day is beyond me, but how grateful I am for his willingness.

The rest of the children sit down at the table and we begin reading from the Book of Mormon while I make breakfast. We finished reading it yesterday, so today we begin on 1 Nephi again. “I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents…” There is something comforting about that verse. This begins the 9th time of reading through The Book of Mormon since I started keeping track in 2005. It gives me sense of fulfillment knowing that I am teaching my children to read the scriptures. The Princess can now read a verse nearly by herself. Joy fills my heart again.

When scriptures and breakfast are over, The Artist goes to shower while The Chocoholic and The Princess go crawl back into bed. I sit on the couch and do my personal scripture reading. I am in Isaiah and struggling. I want to understand, but why so many metaphors? But I know that by reading, someday I will move on to understanding.

The Artist is back, ready for school. It is sprinkling outside, so I offer to give him a ride, but he declines. He enjoys being alone, always has, and even the rain doesn’t bother him. I send him off, and then I get in the shower. The hot water relaxes my back and I feel ready for the day.

I dress and come downstairs. The house is quiet as I walk around opening the blinds, letting the sunlight fill the dark corners. It is supposed to rain most of the day, but for now the sun is shining and I thank my Heavenly Father for my blessings. Joy fills my heart to overflowing as I thank Him for all that I have been given. It is 8:15 and what a wonderful start to my day.

General Conference was so amazing this weekend.   I have been struggling with a few things and I got all my questions answered and a lot of reassurances that I am doing right with my family.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and cares about me. 

I was so amazed that two different speakers quoted the following during conference.  And, knowing that the talks are reviewed beforehand, it must be pretty important for them to be left in both talks. 

"Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet"

First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

Sixth: The prophet does not have to say "Thus saith the Lord" to give us scripture.

Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men's reasoning.

Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.

Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.

Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency-- the highest quorum in the Church.

Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency--the living prophet and the First Presidency--follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

"10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react."

Steven Covey

If George W. Bush had doubled the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved? If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had criticized a state law that he admitted he never even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot head? If George W. Bush joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on?

If George W. Bush had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one company had an accident would you have agreed? If George W. Bush had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87,000 American workers unemployed would you support him?

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a TelePrompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had stated that there were 57 states in the United States, would you have said that he is clueless?

If George W.. Bush would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out his front door in Texas, would you have thought he was a self important, conceited, egotistical jerk?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had misspelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoes as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown  Manhattan  causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America , would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

Singing in the choir for the General Relief Society Meeting was so amazing.  To sing for our prophet and for all the women of the world.  It was so emotional and spiritual. I wish everyone could have that experience.  I know it took a lot of time for the practices (every Sunday night from 6:30-9:00 for 6 weeks).  But it was so worth it!

This is a panoramic shot of the choir.  360 women strong.  What an inspiring group!


Now a couple of gratuitous shots of me.  LOL  I am humbled to be numbered among these women.  Starting from the top row, count down 4 rows and I am the second person to the left.


See the woman with the orange hair?  I am right above her head.  I loved the variety of women that were represented in the choir: young and old, fat and thin, blonde, brunette, red, orange and black hair.  But we are all Sisters in Zion.


This is Sister Jolley, our amazing director.  She is so funny and inspiring.  I love her.


During the broadcast, I tried to keep smiling because you never know when the cameras will be on you.  There were some women who counted and were bragging that they were shown more than others, but it wasn't about how many times we were shown on TV.  It was about sharing our testimonies through song.  And to me, that is the best way to share it!

I hope you were able to watch and hear the messages of hope and inspiration.  If not, go HERE and you can read the talks or watch the meeting.  I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me this experience. 

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

Saturday night, I have the privilege of singing in the Women's Choir for the General Relief Society Meeting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this choir.  Not many people get to sing in the Conference Center for our prophet.  What a blessing.

If you have cable, you can watch it live on BYU-TV.  You can also watch it HERE.  You can watch it live, or watch it later. 

So, how are you going to know where to find me?  I could say that I will be the one in the white shirt, but so will all the other 339 women!  LOL 

This is a picture of the Mormon Tabernacle choir.  I have circled the spot where I will be sitting.


I hope you will be watching Saturday night.  Not just for me, but hear messages of inspiration and to have your cup filled.  I know mine is getting low, and this will be just what I need. 

We all have tons of plastic bags.  We call them Wal-mart bags here because we go there a lot, so most of our bags are from there!  I was raised to use and reuse all kinds of bags.  So I always keep these bags and reuse them for garbage bags and carrying things and such.  But they take up so much space.  This picture is of 5 bags.


See, even wadded up, they would take up a lot of space.  Well, my mil taught me a cool way to store them so they take up minimal space.  I will walk you through it.

First, lay your bag down and flatten it out.


Fold it in half,


and then in half again.


Starting at the bottom, start rolling it up.


Keep rolling,


and rolling until you get to the handles.


Open up the handles to form a loop,


twist the loop,


and fold it back over the bag.


There you go.  It takes some time, but now look at how much space those 5 bags take up!  I keep these all in a bag in my pantry, and I never run out of bags!


Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

I want to talk today about work ethics because I need to get some things off my chest.

I was raised to work hard.  When you have something to do, dig in and get it done.  Don't play around because that just puts off the inevitable (and makes your dad really mad!).  Do it right the first time because if you try to cut corners, you will just have to go back and do it right eventually (and you will make your mom really mad!).

When I am working, I am very proud of the fact that I put in my full time.  I work hard and I work fast.  In the office, there are others who are not so concerned with their time.  They like to talk.  A lot.  Now, remember there is a reason why I became an accountant.  I am not a talker.  I like sitting alone and working.  These women will talk for a full half hour after they get to work.  It drives me nuts.  They also have to take care of their farms on Farmville. 

And then at 10:30 they start talking about lunch.  Where are they going to go and who is going to go and get it (don't get me started on the fact that they are eating out every single day.  How can they afford it?).  Finally around noon they go and get the food and go down to the conference room and eat lunch and talk some more for about 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, I eat my lunch that I brought from home at my desk in about 10 minutes.  I have too much work to do to take 45 minutes off. 

This all drives me absolutely nuts.  They all complain about how much work they have to do, but I don't see them doing much about it. 

Thank you.  I am very carefully stepping down off my soap box now.

Speaking of swimsuits and "exposing" ourselves, I am white.

And I don't just mean Caucasian, I mean I am white!  I have a farmer tan on my arms, but I am pale and blonde and I don't tan.  I burn.  Then I peel.  Then I am white again.

For years I let that also keep me out of a swimsuit.  But really, who cares?  When I go to the pool, I see lots of women that are pale. 

My kids don't care.  Well, The Teenager might, but he doesn't count.  He's, well, a teenager.  But the little ones don't.  They just want me there playing with them. 

So I do.  I don't care anymore.  I am who I am.

Yes, they are uncomfortable.  Yes, I'm putting myself on display, so to speak.  I did find a swimsuit that has a higher neckline so I'm not revealing cleavage, and it comes down to mid thigh so I don't have to worry about shaving.

But I still am fat.  I don't look good in a swimsuit.  But I grew up with my mom never wearing a swimsuit.  She didn't like how she looked.  I didn't want that for my kids.  I wanted them to have memories of me at the swimming pool too. 

So when I go to the pool, (and this is kind of awful) but I look around at all the women and as long as there is at least one other woman there who looks worse in her swimming suit than I do, then I'm okay. 

And you know what? 

There always is. 

Actually, there are usually quite a few that look worse than I do.  I'm amazed at how heavy some of these women are and how little fabric they have covering them (just because you can wear a bikini doesn't mean you should!).  But as long as they look worse than I do, then I'm okay being there.  Maybe that's a mean attitude to have, but if it gets me into a swimsuit and gets me to the pool with my kids, then they are happy and that's what it's all about.

It's a lot easier to avoid temptation than to resist temptation.

Wow.  This video blew me away.  I guess I am feeling a theme this week.

I wish I could go back and raise my kids with the knowledge I have now.  To spend more time just playing with them.  I was always too concerned with keeping the house clean and getting supper ready or scrapbooking or a million other excuses.  I never felt like I was a "fun mom".  I also wish that I had taken more pride in my appearance.  I used being pregnant and having kids as an excuse to let myself go and eat whatever I wanted.  And now I regret it because the habits are ingrained in me.  I wish I could go back and change how I took care of myself and how I took care of my kids.  I just wish I could go back.  But I can't.  I need to let that go.  I did the best I could.

We all are doing the best we can.  And that's okay.

I'm loving this time in my life.  This stage of my life.  My kids are older and I have more freedom.  I'm busy, but it's a different kind of busy.  During the day they are all at school.  I do have work, but even that is flexible.  It is a slower pace than what I used to have. 

But once they get home, the house comes alive.  I am looking at papers and helping with homework and running them places and getting supper ready.  It's not like when they were little and I was busy all day changing diapers and wiping noses and feeding them.  But in a weird kind of way, I miss that.  My kids don't need me anymore.  Well, they need me, but they don't rely on me to help them with everything. 

But now I am envious of the young mom's in my neighborhood.  When I had young children, the neighborhood we lived in had a lot of teenagers, but no little kids.  I felt very isolated.  And now I feel isolated because we are in a neighborhood that has a lot of little kids, but very few teenagers.  My son is 16 and there are no 16-17 year old girls that go to our ward.  There are very few people my age that have kids my age.  It's a very odd feeling. 

It's a different stage of life and there are pros and cons to it, but there are pros and cons to every stage of life.  For instance, I no longer own a stroller.  And that's a good thing!  I just have to adjust.

When my children were little, I never missed them. I was fortunate enough to be a Stay-at-Home-Mom.  It was the best job, but the hardest job in the world.  I was around them 24/7.  I rarely got a break.  There were a few times that The Doctor and I got away alone, but money was scarce.  So when I did get away, it was never long enough.  I was never ready to come home. 

One time we got away for a whole week.  I thought about my kids and called them every day, but I enjoyed being away and wasn't ready to go home when the week was over.

Last week, all my children were in school all day long.  It was lovely.  This week was okay.  Friday the three youngest ones went with my parents camping.  The Teenager stayed home, but he had to work and go to his motorcycle class (that's another post). So for all intents and purposes, we were alone.

Saturday morning, I got The Teenager off to class and I didn't want to wake up my hubby, so I stayed downstairs and watched TV in my robe.  Alone.  No phone calls, no cartoons, no arguing.  Just peace and quiet. 

And loneliness.

I missed my kids so much!  I couldn't believe it!  After 18 years, I finally missed my kids.  I wanted to see them, to hug them, and to bring them home.  If I didn't hate camping and bugs so much, I would have gone up to see them.  Finally today they came home and it felt so good. As we sat around the dinner table, my family was complete again and I felt at peace.

So for those of you moms who can't comprehend what I am talking about, I understand.  I was there.  But it will come.  It has for me.  It's a good feeling.

"There are too many of us who put question marks instead of periods after what the Lord says. Just trust the Lord. We shouldn't try to spend time explaining what the Lord didn't see fit to explain. We spend useless time."

Harold B. Lee

1. Do you speak any foreign languages? Are there any you'd like to learn?

I can finger spell in Sign Language, so I could get by, albeit slowly.  But that’s it.  I took 1 semester of French in high school and absolutely hated it! 

2. Who is your personal hero?

My mom.  She has been through so much and it has made her stronger.  I really look up to that.  I hope someday my testimony can be as strong as hers.

3. What is one holiday food that you find extremely difficult to resist over- indulging in?

Well, there is chocolate at Valentine’s Day, chocolate at Easter, chocolate at Halloween, and my clam chowder at Christmas. 

4. Tell me about a Christmas decoration that has special meaning or sentimental value.

I love my candy chainsLook here too.

5. How do you feel about snow?

I love it…in December.  The rest of the year it should go away and it should be warm!

6. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night?

Six hours.  I usually go to sleep around 11:30 and I get up at 5:30.  It’s not enough sleep, but I just can’t force myself to bed earlier.

7. You're stuck in a room for 2 hours with only a chalkboard and chalk. What will you write/draw?

I would take the chalk and turn it on it’s side and cover the whole board.  Then I would erase it in patterns.

8. Do you dress for the current temp or for the day's forecast?

I dress for how I feel.  If I feel like wearing capris and flip flops, that’s what I wear.  Even if it’s winter and I have to wear a sweater to stay warm! 

9. Do you prefer to print or write cursive?

I like cursive.  It’s pretty.

10. What is the scariest movie you've ever seen? Not horror flicks but ones where the tension or suspense is killer.

“Wait Until Dark” with Audrey Hepburn.  She plays a blink woman and it is terrifying!  “What Lies Beneath” is also scary, as is “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “Watcher in the Woods.”  All good movies!

11. Now what is the scariest real-life moment you've had?

When I was pregnant with The Chocoholic and he was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis

12. Name something you like to do but are not really talented or good at?

Everything.  I think I am okay at a lot of things (playing the piano, singing, scrapbooking, cooking, etc.), but I don’t really excel at anything.  Except getting stains out.

13. Do you get your emotional/mental batteries recharged by being around people or by having alone time?

Definitely alone time.  I am not a people person.  There is a reason I became an accountant and not a teacher!

14. Apple or pumpkin pie?


15. What lesson do you have to keep re-learning?

Patience and tolerance when I am driving.  I get terrible road rage when I am behind the wheel.  But I am trying every day.  I have found that if I drive the speed limit, I can let people go around me and I don’t get stressed out.

I cannot wait to be resurrected and discover more about this wonderful world of ours!  Watch this video with your kids.  It’s amazing!

I think I'm a little off today.

First, after I showered, I dried the left leg first. 

I NEVER dry the left leg first! 

I always dry the right leg first!  It completely threw me off. 

Then when I did laundry, I did darks first, then my towels, and then my whites. 

I NEVER do darks first! 

I always do whites, then darks, then towels. 

I think my day is ruined!  I feel completely out of sorts! 
When things go wrong, don't go with them.

Starting next week, I will be going into the office 2 days a week.  I am not looking forward to it, but it’s something that needs to be done.  And with no kids at home, I don’t have an excuse not to.  I have also been going over to our church to exercise with a group of women 3 mornings a week.  Which means I will not have a morning to myself.

So this morning I decided that I wanted to stay home and enjoy being alone in the quiet for one last morning.  I chose to not go over to exercise.  I was going to crawl back into bed after the kids left for school and take a long nap, then soak in the tub when I woke up. 

But as I was standing by the side of my bed, I looked around at the mess.  Now don’t get me wrong, my house isn’t filthy.  But there was stuff sitting around that needed to be put away.  So I decided to do a quick pick-up and put-away session while I called my mom.  I did that and we were still talking, and I noticed that I hadn’t dusted in a while.  So I grabbed my Swiffer cloth and dusted while were talking. 

When I got off the phone, I decided that my whole house needed a good cleaning.  I could have (and should have) waited for my children to get home and help me, but when I get the motivation to clean, I try not to ignore it!  Plus I was feeling really guilty for not exercising, so I thought I would make this my exercise for the day. 

I have loaded all my CD’s on my computer, and I used Windows Media Player to create a cleaning playlist.  Fast moving music that I can sing to and keeps me moving.  I put it on super loud (SUPER loud!) and went to work.  I finished dusting, then vacuumed all the carpet, swept all the floors, mopped all the floors, shook all the rugs, and cleaned both bathrooms.  It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes, and I was exhausted when I was done.  I had worked fast and hard and my face was bright red.  I felt like I had just worked out for 2 hours. 

Wait, I had!  Exercise doesn’t have to be aerobics or yoga.  I was up and down and moving my arms and legs and squatting and reaching and bending.  And even if I had to take a cool shower to try and cool down when I was done, I felt good. You know, that feeling that you accomplished something.  And I had it doubly good because I also had a super clean house when I was done!

I may skip exercising once a week and just focus on cleaning that day.  I love how my house looks! 

I just ironed.

Gasp!  I know!  Me?  Ironing?  Will wonders never cease?

I hate to iron.  I think it stems back 12 years ago when I was putting the iron away on a shelf and it fell and landed on my pinky toe and broke it.  Ever since then, I have had a hate/hate relationship with the iron.  I don’t buy 100% cotton shirts.  #1, they shrink in the wash, even if you are careful.  And #2, they have to ironed.  So I just avoid them.

But…(and here’s the really cool news, the whole reason why you are reading this post)…

I get to sing in the choir for the General Relief Society Meeting in the Conference Center on September 25th!  I am so excited!  We have to wear a white, button up shirt for the choir.  So I had to go buy one.  Now, I know I am going to get a lot of you saying, “You could have borrowed one from me,” and my mom has already offered and I know I would fit in hers.  But I was thinking about it and I came to the conclusion that I need to have one.  It is a little dressier than what I have been wearing and I guess, I just felt like it was time to own one.  I know, it sounds stupid.  Let’s move on.

So I bought one and I ironed it.  It looks nice.  But my biggest gripe with white shirts is that they generally aren’t made with the thickest of fabrics.  Which means you can see more through them than I am EVER comfortable with.  So in addition to buying the shirt, I also had to buy a camisole to go under it to hide my, well, you know, goodies.

But it’s frustrating to buy something that won’t even be fully seen.  Yes, I can wear it with other outfits, those that are just a little too low in the front.  But even then you will see about 1 square inch of this cami that cost $9!  And that was at 50% off.  But if that’s what it takes to make me feel comfortable in the white shirt, I will do it.

Now, if learning my alto part for the songs was as easy! 

Women are angels.

And when someone breaks our wings, our spirit, or our hearts...

we simply continue to fly on a broom stick.

We are flexible like that.
Age 4: Mom knows everything!

At 8: Mom knows a lot!

At 12: Mom doesn’t really know everything.

At 14: Mom doesn’t know anything.

At 16: Mom doesn’t exist.

At 18: Mom's just old fashioned.

At 25: Maybe Mom does know about this!

At 35: Before we decide, let’s ask Mom.

At 45: I wonder what Mom thinks about this?

At 65: I wish I could ask my Mom.

The Chocoholic and The Princess started school the last week of July.  That was nice, but not enough.  I still had The Doctor at home as well as my two oldest boys. 

The Doctor started going back to his classrooms last week to get it set up and ready.  That was nice, but not enough I still had the two oldest boys home.

Until today.

Finally it was the first day of school for The Artist and The Teenager.  The Artist is in 8th grade this year, and The Teenage is a junior.  A junior!  I remember being a junior in high school and I was so much older and more mature!  I am sure of that!  But I digress.

At 7:51 I was a free woman.  They were all gone to school and I let out a big “Whoo hoo” throughout the neighborhood.  The Chocoholic asked me what I was going to do all day.  He was very concerned that I would be bored.  He’s so cute!

So I was alone.  All. Day. Long.  It was quiet.  I just sat and listened to the silence. What a wonderful day!

How was your day?

Now is the most interesting time of all.
If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative reads this, he'll pass it along so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended."

A couple of weeks ago, in a house on the street behind us, the family was cooking dinner.  They had chicken out on the grill on their patio.  They went inside to check on something, and when they came back out, there were flames shooting from their propane tank to their house.  They quickly got everyone out of the house and made sure they were safe.  The fire department came and put out the fire, but they will be out of their house for 4 months while they get a whole new roof, new carpet, and wall board (from the water).  In a matter of minutes their lives changed drastically.

I came way too close to that 15 minutes ago. 

I was blow drying my hair when my dryer stopped for a few seconds then started going again.  I thought the power had flickered.  It did it again and I pulled it away from hair to look at it.  And then it sparked.  From the base of the blow dryer, a huge orange spark shot out and I heard it sizzle. 

Now, if I had been smart, I would have just dropped it.  No, I threw it…into the hall…onto the carpet.  Fortunately, nothing happened.  I quickly unplugged it and sat and stared at it while smelling the acrid smell of burnt wires.  My kids saw the spark and were freaked out as well.  After I was sure nothing was going to happen, I took the hair dryer and quickly threw it away. 

What would I have done if the carpet had caught fire?  I am seriously freaked out, thinking about all the “what if’s".  But for today, I am so grateful that nothing happened. 

Now I just have to figure out what to do with my wet hair!

Success is getting up one more time.

I blew off my boss yesterday because I had to take care of me (I went and exercised).  So this morning I had to do some work and it was a disaster. I couldn’t figure out where to classify things and I was frustrated that I had to work on Saturday, and then I was frustrated that I had to work at all and I finally got in the shower and had a good cry. But I was still in a bad mood the rest of the day. I tried really hard to snap out of it, but I just couldn’t shake it. It didn’t help that I am super stressed out about money right now.

I made sugar cookie dough and helped The Princess make cookies using her new cookie press. I didn’t want to make them, but I had promised her, so I was stuck doing it. I tried to make it fun for her, but I think I did a lousy job. When we were done, I went and laid down for a while.  We went over to the pool and I was able to just lay there and rest for a while. I also did some reading, and that helped my mood. Unfortunately, I kept thinking about all the things that I should have been doing. 

I also got The Teenager upset at me and the whole day was just shot.  I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed this morning.  Oh yeah, I wouldn’t have gotten up so early if the neighbors across the street hadn’t been out smoking and yelling and swearing up a storm.  I had to get up and shut the windows and blinds, but by then I was awake and thinking about the work that I had to do.

Yeah, here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day.

My children are growing up on me, and I can’t stop them. 

The Princess started 1st grade this year.  That means she is in school all day long.  She is loving it.  She comes home each day bursting with stories about the kids and things that have happened (I love it because the boys never tell me anything).  Her teacher said that she has a very unique quality, in that she is friendly to everyone.  Not just to her friends, but to all the kids in the class.  I am so proud of her, because that is something I have really talked to her about, and tried to teach her.  She is reading so well.  We read from the scriptures for 1/2 hour every morning, and then each child goes to their room for reading for one hour each night before bed.  Not only does it help their reading, but it gives them time to calm down and be ready for bed. 

The Chocoholic is in 6th grade.  He loves walking to school with The Princess because last year he had to walk alone.  He got a great teacher this year, and she is really going to challenge him.  I am thrilled about that.  He is an entrepreneur and loves to make money.  Right now he is selling Silly Bands before school.  He buys them at Wal-Mart where there are 12 in a package for $1.  Then he sells them for 25 cents each.  He said the kids know they can buy them cheaper at the store, but then they have a bunch that are the same.  This way, they buy just the ones they want.  He only takes one package at a time to sell and won’t open another package until the first one is gone.  It cracks me up, but he is making pretty good money!

The Artist is in 8th grade.  No longer will he be the bottom of the barrel at the junior high!  He loves art, singing, and drums.  His birthday isn’t until October, but we already gave him his birthday present.  We were treasure hunting, a.k.a. driving around looking at garage sales, when we saw a big drum set.  I got a killer deal on it, but it was too big to hide in the house.  So we had to give it to him.  He was so excited.  His voice is deep and now he is getting mistaken for his dad AND his older brother. 

The Teenager is working like mad to save money.  He has a scooter but it’s only 49.5cc and it barely goes 25 mph.  He wants to buy a motorcycle, which I am totally fine with.  Then he will start saving for a car.  He is working at an ice cream/grill shop and does dishwashing and bussing.  Yesterday he worked a double shift, so he left the house at 11:30 a.m. and didn’t get home until 12:30 a.m.  He is doing the same today and tomorrow.  This morning when he got home, I told him I wasn’t going to wake him up to read scriptures with us so he could get more sleep.  He said, “No, if I do that, the Lord won’t bless me.”  I was so proud of him.  He is going to be in 11th grade this year.  I think that sounds younger than saying he will be a Junior.  I remember being a Junior in high school.  Yikes!

I keep telling my children to stop growing up, and yet if they stop growing up, how will I ever get them to leave the house so I can be alone with The Doctor?  Because I am really looking forward to that!  I guess it’s the season of life I am at.  No more babies, just children getting older and preparing to leave the nest.  I hope I am doing a good job with them.  I don’t have much time.