Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tennessee Trippin'

So - over 2 years ago some awesome friends of ours (The Bensons) moved away to Tennessee. Mindy Benson was my roommate at Snow College for 2 years. There's something about living with someone and knowing all their quirks that helps you get real close. By some twist of fate, our husbands also get along fantastically. If you could see us hang out, you might think we're more family than friends.
Anyway, we've been trying to get out to see them since they moved - waiting for the right availability of time and money to get out there. Well, Jason had a few weeks off school and also had gotten a couple deals in, so we thought, hey, lets try. It was such short notice, I didn't think we'd get tickets. I did find some cheap ones, but by the time Jason got home to decide on it with me, they were gone. We had pretty much given up hope, after checking Priceline almost every day and making numerous bids. So, last Tuesday, I put in the typical bid & walked away. When I came back it said that our price had been accepted - and it was for the next day! So, you can imagine that it was a pretty crazy couple days getting everything ready to stay in Tennessee for a full week.
Since they were the bid-get-what-you-get tickets, the times were not fun. We flew out of SLC @ 2:30 on the 22nd and after a 3-hour-layover in Chicago (they actually had a really awesome Children's Museum there), we arrived in Charlotte, NC just after midnight. Brent met us there & off we went to Johnson City, TN. We got to their home about 3:30am and after getting the kids adjusted and the bags in, we got a few hours of sleep.
The ensuing 7 days were full of fun and memories. Some highlights include:

  • Playing games (UNO, Phase 10, Scategories Cranium, charades, etc) EVERY night till 1 or 2 in the morning
  • Eating like 2 gallons of their halloween candy.
  • The Hands-On Museum with the kids
  • Date night when we went out to eat at FATZ (yes, that is why there's an overweight problem down south) and tried fried green tomatoes for the first time and Brent decided to "splurge" and get some lemonade (of the pink persuasion :) - we also went and played a hilarious game of miniature bowling (we decided to try some variations to regular bowling - backwards, eyes closed, spin around 3 times, left-handed etc - Jason & Mindy almost inflicted collatoral damage on the eyes-closed version) - girls won! (hey guys- you still owe us!)
  • Going to Pidgeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Spent about 3 hours at Ripley's Aquarium there - it was fun, huge, and amazing! Then we walked the streets in the freezing cold and got some shirts at a shop. There are some amazing things to see there!
  • Going to their ward - watching Zach in his primary program, sitting by a woman who was an investigator. Lots of sweet people in their ward. McKinley went w/ Zach to his primary party.
  • Driving up to a lookout point by Asheville & seeing the gorgeous fall colors.
  • Jason, Brent & McKinley went to the Bristol Motor Speedway to check it out.
  • Going to the Lollypop shop and reading the history of that store.
  • Carving pumpkins.
  • McKinley & Zach finally had a sleepover after about 4 tries.
  • Staying up and talking about the economy.
  • Fun to watch and play with their 5-year-old Zach, 10-month-old Sienna, and their dog, Trixie
  • McKinley & Zach playing with his toads
  • Games in the car to keep entertained on the long drives (especially Gatlinburg) - I SPY, WHO AM I?, ONE WORD MEMORY, and NAME THAT TUNE
  • Watching Brent's "I'll go" line in the award-winning Brokeback... I mean Handcart movie :)
  • Driving to Hickory & barely making it to the car rental place. Eating at O'Charly's.
  • McKinley & Zach's kisses good-bye.
  • Staying at "roach motel" that night - all sleeping in the same bed - waking up @ 5am the next morning for our flight.

Thanks for hosting us Bensons. Love you guys - We miss ya!

P.S. Brent - did you notice that your "check engine" light is on?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Here's a slideshow with some favorite pictures of things we've been up to.
Also, there's a video with an adorable movie of McKinley & Ireland.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Yesterday, my neighbor and good friend lost her twin babies at 20 weeks. Her baby girl was born first and as I understood, lived about an hour and a half. Then her precious baby boy came and he lived a little over an hour. My thoughts and prayers are SO much with their little family right now. I'm sure they could use your prayers as well. It's breaking my heart to hear this news.
It's times like this when I plead "Dear God - send her my angels." Surely, I do not need my guardian angels at a time like this, when she so desperately needs comfort, help, understanding. I wish SO much I could take away the pain and the loss and the why's. I feel so inadequate and helpless.

This event also adds to my wondering about people we know have lost a child or almost lost a child:

- 1 family member and 3 friends lost their babies - all about or after 20 weeks.
- Our friends lost their little almost-2-year old little girl.
- 1 family member and 1 friend who had true scares with choking & had to go to the E.R. recently.

And so I can't help but ask myself why. Do we just happen to know more people that have lost children or is it that more children are actually dying? Is it that these sweet, beautiful spirits are too pure and righteous for this increasingly wicked world - and so they come to get bodies - for however brief a time? I can't help but wonder if I will have a trial that will utilize these amazing parent's wisdom and peace through trials.

Those reading this that have gone through such a trial, please help me know how I can help her and her family. It's so hard for me to imagine - to comprehend such a trial. And again, please pray for her.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where I Stand

I've never really been into politics. In fact, I'm VERY ashamed to say that 2004 was the first time I ever voted. Yes... I know. But this year I really do feel like this election is more than important - it's critical. I'm sure I'm not alone.
I have thought about this post and how I can say the things I need to say without offending anyone. Unfortunately, I don't think that is going to happen. Not that it's intentional, but I'm sure not everyone reading this will agree with me. And that's perfectly OK. That's why our country is so amazing. We have the right to our own opinions.
I don't want to offend anyone, while at the same time I don't want there to be any question where I stand. Or what I think is important. Or what my values are. Even if my children are too young to really understand, I want to write this for posterity.

I was somewhat surprised with my poll on this blog. Maybe I should have worded it differently. It probably should have read "What issue would make you vote for one presidential candidate over another?" As it is, there are NO votes for abortion. For me, this is the clincher. No - I have never had an abortion. I don't even know anyone that has. But I am against it. Our church is against it. Obama is not against it. There is a great, informative article about abortion in the Ensign this month. I encourage you to read it.

I did not list gay marriage as an issue. I should have. Again, I know only a few people who are gay. I love them as individuals, as family members, as children of God. I do not agree with their choice to act on temptation and give in to sin. I especially do not agree with changing the "traditional" definition of marriage. I put "traditional" in quotes because to me it goes beyond "traditional" - I would say more like sacred, eternal, true. I think this oft-quoted verse from Alexander Pope truly reflects our society's views on homosexual behavior: “Vice is a monster of so frightful face, as to be hated needs but to be seen; but seen too often, familiar with her face, we first endure, then tolerate, then embrace.”
Again, there is only one candidate that most encompasses my own and my church's beliefs. From John McCain's website: "The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation."

There are SO many important issues going on right now. Most people in my poll voted for the financial crisis. While I absolutely feel that it is a very important issue to deal with, I hope we don't overlook the CRITICAL ones.

The first video below is from I LOVED it. I am thankful that we are not the only church standing up for important, crucial issues that NEED a voice. The 2nd video is from our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). I believe it says all that needs to be said about gay marriage.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Striking Image

My sister Trisha has always loved doing hair - whether it is an inborn trait she has always possessed or it's the logical result of being the last of 4 girls (no one ever had time to fix her hair, so she had to learn to be creative), we do not know. What we do know, however, is that she is great at doing hair. She finished cosmetology school this past January and has since opened up a home salon in South Salt Lake - Striking Image Salon. She is looking for new clients and will offer 20% off for first visits!
Her website is -
Call her @ 801-759-2154!
Note to my Herriman neighbors: Trisha comes to my home to do my family's hair. If you have hair needs, let me know & we can coordinate!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Memory Retreat

I'm chuckling a little right now - because when I first started this blog 5 months ago, I really didn't think I'd post more than once a week at best. And now it's been not even a week and I feel like it's been ages since I posted.

Every year (note to female family - let's start making it twice - Tiff that includes YOU!) around conference time, my sisters, mom, grandma and I get together to work on memory stuff. It's the time that I usually print out a year's worth of pictures (this year was about 800 pictures) and put it in an album. I also work on transferring VHS tapes, making slideshows, backing up newsletters & photos, even some genealogy, etc. There's a lot to do, but it's a lot of fun, too. I hosted it at my house and I think we all had a great time - eating pizza, talking, watching movies, doing nails & hair (thanks Trish!), eating french toast the next morning - oh and the memory stuff, too. We actually stayed up till 3:30am on Friday. Yeesh - I don't think I'll be that again any time soon! I'm still feeling it. But - it was a lot of fun. Every time we have one of these, it makes me realize just how much TIME it takes to stay on top of memory stuff. I need to do more maintenance so I'm not so far behind.

We missed Tiff and Grandma. Thanks everyone for a fun weekend. Just looking over pictures makes me realize anew how truly, unconditionally, undeniably blessed I am.

A "work in progress shot." Just a note to anyone printing at Walmart. I ordered the "True Digital" prints which are supposed to make the photo just a bit smaller, but it won't cut off the top or bottom like regular ones do. Well, they don't tell you that to make it smaller they put a 1/2 inch white line on the left side. I spent probably 2 hours cutting them off. Ug. Won't do that again.

Cute toes that Trisha painted. You probably can't see too well, but mine have pumpkins on them, hers look like candy corn and my sister Cindy (not pictured) got butterflies. Thanks Trish!

Our projects that we were working on. Aren't we a cute bunch! I LOVE my family!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Slow Down - You're moving too fast

Don't know why (ok, ok - I do), but lately I feel like I've been getting messages everywhere that say SLOW DOWN! Here's the evidence:

1. I LOVED conference. No - there were no major "the church is moving to Missouri" or "We're reinstating the law of consecration" - but every talk was wonderful and powerful. I really loved the talk by President Monson about enjoying the journey. Sometimes it takes ALL my will to concentrate 100% on the moment. It seems my mind is 2, 3, 4 steps ahead of that moment - OK - I need to clean off Ireland & get her out of the high chair, then I need to help McKinley get down and help her put her plate in the dishwasher. After that I need to clean off the countertops... - and on and on it goes. His talk helped me again realize that I need to STOP and cherish, enjoy, treasure every moment.

2. I have many fond memories growing up of my mom playing the guitar - especially around the campfire. One of my favorite songs was "Feeling Groovy." It wasn't till MUCH later in life that I realized that it was Simon & Garfunkel who sang that song. It will play in my head at random times, reminding me again to enjoy life instead of getting caught up in the little things:

Slow down, you move too fast.

You got to make the morning last.

Just kicking down the cobble stones.

Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Ba da, Ba da, Ba da, Ba da...Feelin' Groovy.

Hello lamp-post,What cha knowin'?

I've come to watch your flowers growin'.

Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?

Doot-in' doo-doo,Feelin' groovy.

I've got no deeds to do,

No promises to keep.

I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.

Life, I love you, All is groovy.

3. There's that country song - If I could write a letter to me and send it back in time to myself when I was seventeen... I have thought about what I would tell myself back in high school. But then, I realized that there's not much good in that. What I REALLY need to do is look 10 or 20 years in the future and think about what I might learn in that time and what I would want to tell myself looking back to this moment in time. I'm PRETTY SURE that I would tell myself to slow down. To enjoy the breath-taking smiles that my 1-year-old flashes to me. To treasure the times my 3-year-old wants to cuddle with me and let me hug and kiss her. To cherish the silly quesions, the "help me!"s, and even the never-ending laundry and dirty floors. Because, like President Monson said - one day they will be gone. And I WILL miss them.

4. I was re-reading a birthday letter I had written to one of the girls. I tell her in the letter - as I tell her regularly - to not grow up so fast. And yet, as I read that, it hit me that she should really be telling me "Mom - look. I am going to grow up too fast. There's no changing it. No getting around it. It's YOU that needs to slow down and enjoy this time in my life.I can't slow down, but you can."

5. That other country song "You're gonna miss this" - pretty much sums it up.

And, so now that I've gotten the message, I have to find a way to incorporate it. To find more time to be with my kids and my spouse and less time doing all the other stuff that I could do. Living in the moment is so easy to say. Why is it SO HARD for me to do? No amount of blogging, journaling, picture taking, slideshows, etc can replace the actual HUG I can get from them TODAY.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hubby Tag

1. Where did you meet? We met at Snow College. He knocked on our door one Sept night because his step-dad told him to look up one of my roommates. Nice, huh? I don't think he remembered me, but we couldn't stop talking about HOT he was after he left - and an RM to boot!

2. How long did you date before you were married? Let's see - it's a bit complicated. We probably started "dating" (In Ephraim, you don't really "date" - you hang out) Dec of 98. We got engaged April of 99. We called it off about Oct of 99. Got back together Jan of 99, Married May of 2000. So - a year and a half - give or take a couple months.

3. How long have you been married? 8 & a half years!
4. What does he do that annoys you? Probably the most annoying thing is when his "in a minute" turns into many minutes and sometimes hours. I also really don't like going to sleep without him - whether it's because he's studying, playing a video game, or watching Lord of the Rings (extended version) for the umpteenth time.

5. What is your favorite feature of his? I have always loved his beautiful dark brown hair (I even think the gray sneaking in is sexy, too) and his gorgeous green eyes.

6. What is your favorite quality of his? So many, but probably his lack of defensiveness - which is totally opposite of me. He usually readily agrees when he's messed up. I appreciate that he is frugal. I also LOVE his laugh - his good, heartfelt, giddy laugh will lift my mood anytime.

7. Does he have a nickname for you? Babe usually - or sweetie. Or hun.

8. What is his favorite color? Maybe green? Yeah, I don't think he has a set favorite.

9. What is his favorite food? CHOCOLATE. His children inherited that gene as well. He loves Italian. He loves seafood (which I NEVER make so he has to eat it when we go out).

10. What is his favorite sport? Football -he played in high school - although he's not a die-hard fan of any one team.

11. When and where was your first kiss? Everyone will think less of me, but it was our first "date" (I say date again, but it was more like just hanging out at his apartment & watching a movie)

12. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? We are big cuddlers - always have been. I will lay by him and he will play with my hair as we watch a movie. I LOVE that. We do like to the theatre & see movies. We love camping and the mountains, although we haven't been much since the girls.

13. Do you have any children? Our girls McKinley (3) and Ireland (1). They make us laugh and cry and smile and grit our teeth and thoroughly enjoy life.

14. Does he have a hidden talent? Hmm - he is a GREAT pancake-maker!

15. How old is he? 31. Wow - yes, he's getting old! :)

16. Who said I love you first? Jason. We're on the phone only a couple weeks after we started hanging out. I was at my parents for Christmas. He was at his parents. At the end of the conversation, he blurts out "Ya know - I love your guts!" Hmm - how does a girl respond to that?

17. What's his favorite type of music? He grew up listening to Metallica. He loves them. But - maybe in his old age or through my discouragement with our young 'uns, he has listened to country more & more.

18. What do you most admire about him? SO MUCH! I admire and love that he will help a friend in need at any time. I love that he really cares more about his family than climbing any corporate ladder. He's not one of those dad's that retreats to the TV or back room when he gets home. He enjoys the kids and helps a lot. I admire his determination. In school, I was all about the shortcuts - gimme the Cliff Notes. He stays up reading ALL the chapters for school.

19. Do you think he will read this? Yeah - not because he always checks it, but I'll make sure he sees it!

Yup - I don't tag anyone specifically, but if you haven't done it - do it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September Newsletter & Slideshow

(DON'T FORGET TO PAUSE THE BLOG MUSIC - ON THE LEFT) Again, I'm sorry for the poor quality and small picture. It's the best I can do while still being able to burn my own DVDs on my home computer.

To the left is the newsletter and below are some highlights for the girls. Sorry there's so many, but that's how it is when you're a mom, right?

-Daddy & McKinley were looking at a book one evening & McKinley was just turning the pages. Daddy said “will you read out loud McKinley?” So, boy did she read LOUD!
-We were reading McKinley nursery rhymes one night. We said “there was an old lady who lived in a…” McKinley said “BOOT!” (she’s right – it did look more like a boot in the picture).
-McKinley is ever more sly in her bedtime aversions. Here are a few of her latest ploys: 1. One night she was crying & mom went in & asked her what was wrong. All her stuffed animals and dolls were in her bed. She said “I can’t go to sleep! There’s no room for me!” 2. She will go through all the blankets on her bed & ask who made each one (GG, Grandma Potts, Grandma Devenish, Aunt Cindy). 3. When we give her kisses and hugs, she’ll ask “do you want a big hug or a little hug?” then, “do you want a big kiss or a little kiss?”
-On her birthday, McKinley kept saying “I’m the birthday girl ____ (whoever was by her)! And “Happy Birthday to Me!”
-McKinley has loved her little doctor kit. She’ll follow Ireland around and try to listen to her heart and check her ears. Most of the time, Ireland isn’t really in the mood and she’ll yell “Ireland – you don’t feel good!”
-Mom said it was time for naps & McKinley said she wasn’t ready. Mom said “when will you be ready?” McKinley: “One day mom…”
-One rather annoying thing she’s been doing is saying “Huh? I can’t hear you!” Even after repeating multiple times, she will still say it.
-Dad’s been watching more football & McKinley says “Daddy – they’re hitting each other & hitting is NOT NICE!”
-When we sing I am a Child of God, McKinley sings “…with parents kind OF dear…” instead of kind AND dear.
-Mom was telling McKinley she needed to come to the table to eat breakfast & she came back with “Mom, that’s not a good idea.”
-McKinley has loved her new fish Dezi. In fact, she never calls her just Dezi. It’s always Dezi The Fish. She has had fun feeding her, “tickling” her and talking to her. One day she was getting a drink out of the fridge. Mom asked what she was doing. McKinley said “Getting Dezi some water!” The other funny thing was when she was watching her swim around and she said “Don’t worry Dezi – there’s no sharks in there!”
-For some reason, McKinley now thinks she hates tomatoes and whenever mom puts them in anything, she says “tomatoes – yuck!” and makes all kinds of disgusted sounds.
-Another frustrating thing she is doing is saying “____(whoever she is mad at), you’re rude!”
-Mommy heard McKinley come in from playing outside and looked over. McKinley sighed loudly and said seriously, “I’ve had a long day.”
-McKinley has been wanting more help with going potty and saying her prayers lately for some reason. One morning, she said “Will you please help me with the prayer? I’m not a mommy yet.”
-McKinley CONSTANTLY is saying “I don’t feel good.” Especially when we sit down to eat.
-McKinley came in from playing outside and was all dirty. She said “Mom, I’m not little dirty, I’m BIG dirty!”
-McKinley put on panties with cats on them one day. Mom was trying unsuccessfully to get her pants on. McKinley finally explained “The kitties don’t like pants on ‘em.”
-She has been big into writing letters to people. One day she wrote one to Alyssa Hook and cried and cried until we could take it to her in her house. She kept saying “Alyssa will be so excited! She really wants this letter!” She also wrote one to Jack Matthews and Grandma Potts.
-McKinley keeps asking who makes things – “Mom- who made this?” – even with things like car seats, computer monitors, and books.
-She is had her Barbie car shoes on one day and said “I talk to them all the time!” pointing to the barbies on her shoes.
-McKinley is VERY much into computer games now-days. The Matthews gave us their launchpad for the internet, which she loves. She will ask mom constantly if she can get on her computer. She also constantly asks to get on “PBS Kids dot KORG
-She asked one day out of the blue “Mommy, where does Jesus live?” and then “Mom – where does Christmas live?”
-Mom is in the kitchen and she hears the following conversation with Grandma Potts: Mc: “Grandma, do you like Swiper?” Grandma “Umm…I’m not sure what swiper is..?” Mc: “Grandma, Swiper is a bully!”

-Ireland has said a lot of words this month, including: Jesus, Nana (banana), Sydney, Tundra, Thank You, Grandma, Please (she can also sign all of these – except Tundra & Sydney) She is probably up to almost 30 signs and words.
-You can tell Ireland is REALLY tired when she stands by her crib and shakes the slats, trying to get in.
-Whenever Ireland is hungry and passes yummy food, she says “MMMMM
-Ireland likes to find any kind of paper (TP, paper towel, wipie) and wipe the floor and walls. It’s cute – except when they’re dirty.
-Ireland has a fascination with toilet water and T.P.
-There is a picture hanging in her room of the 2 great-grandmas she was named after (they have both passed away)– Grandma Hamilton and Grandma Potts. It’s right by her changing table and when we sit her up, she will point to the picture and say & sign “Grandma!” We without a doubt know she recognizes them and knows that they watch over her.
-Ireland is a BIG fan of shredded wheat. We are not big fans of changing shredded wheat diapers, but she likes it better than sugary cereal so what can we do.
-Irealand has been so cute during prayers. She will fold her little arms and then start talking like she’s saying a prayer in her cute little voice.
-The other day, mom was in the kitchen on her computer and Ireland comes into the kitchen dragging a big bag of cereal, saying & signing over and over “pease, pease.” It was right before dinner, but mom couldn’t resist. It was so cute.
-Ireland LOVES getting tickled from dad’s beard. She LAUGHS and LAUGHS.