Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dezi, we hardly knew ye...

Sigh... yes, our fish Dezi died last night.
And, here I was amazed... and yes, even proud that we had kept her alive for almost 5 months (McKinley got Dezi for her birthday in Sept) - even when we totally forgot about her during Christmas in Richfield and she didn't have any food for almost 4 days. She was fine. So - why did she go now? I have to admit I have felt guilty, trying to think what I did or didn't do that could have caused it.

We were gone pretty much all day yesterday and Jason noticed she was "floating" in the afternoon. Luckily, McKinley didn't notice when we got home in the evening, but after she went to bed and Jason got home from school, I talked with him about what I was going to say or do this morning when McKinley would surely notice. I must be a dork, but I felt kind of worried about it. We had never dealt with this before.

Should I just go buy another one at Wal-mart & hope she doesn't notice?

Should I take care of Dezi now and tell McKinley in the morning that Dezi went to someone else's house?

Should I go into depth about death and life and fishie heaven and involve her in saying good-bye?

Jason went to school this morning, and when McKinley woke up, I sat her down and explained to her that animals die sometimes, and that Dezi had died last night.

She just kind of nodded her head and went with it, until we went and got Dezi to say good-bye. She broke down and cried "I want my Dezi back. I want my Dezi back!" I held her as she cried and maybe dropped a tear or two myself. Then my brave little McKinley told Dezi what a great fish she had been and we said good-bye. Dezi then took the porcelain highway straight to heaven. McKinley was worried she would be scared, but yes, I did talk a little bit about fishy heaven and her being happy and with Jesus.

Then I told her she could watch a movie. She said she wanted to watch a movie with a fishy in it, so Nemo is helping her to remember her sweet fish.

So...thanks Dezi.
Thanks for teaching a little girl about the ways of fishes.

Thanks for for laughs & smiles as we watched your shadows dance on our kitchen cabinets as the morning light streamed through the windows.

Thank you for bringing happiness.

Thank you for helping to teach responsibility.

Thank you for never complaining.

Thank you for just being there.

You will leave a hole in our hearts and on our kitchen island.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I made a deal with McKinley that if she would give me 1 hour of quiet time in her room, then she could come out and play. So - I only have an hour - I'd better get writing. These are just ramblings that come out once in a while when I have some time to stop and think. And I've been thinking about believing. Not necessarily WHAT do I believe, but do I believe enough? That sounds strange.
The thing is... I look at McKinley with her childlike faith. We tell her that there is a Santa Claus, an Easter Bunny, and that she will have to stay home if she doesn't hurry up and get her shoes on. And she whole-heartedly believes us. We tell her that Jesus will help her and He loves her and He lives. And she believes us.
How can she know the difference? She can't see Jesus or the Easter Bunny.
Still...I envy her faith so much. Even if much of what she believes in is not real, she believes. I generally fear instead of believe. She fears, too, but her fears are usually based on something imaginary - monsters, bad guys, Swiper. And yet... aren't most of mine as well? I have no basis to know for a fact that any one of my fears will come to pass, yet I spend so much time wondering, fearing...what if something happened to my sweetheart? what if something happened to my girls? what if we can't sell the house? what if we don't find a job in a small town? what if it's a small town that I don't like? how will we be able to stay out of debt?...
The list goes on and on, swirling in my mind,
and then... I read something like this:
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matt 21:22)
And then the swirling stops. And I pray. I pray for strength, I pray for my desires and dreams, and I pray that I may have the faith of my dear, sweet daughter. And the Lord calms the storm in my mind and and I can trust, as McKinley does, that my heavenly parents are extremely mindful of me, that they have a plan for my life, and they will NEVER forsake me.
...And, when I think about it, the Easter Bunny seems more plausible than many of the miracles I have seen in my own life.
So -here's to believing. Believing in things we can't see and even some things we can but have lost our hope in. It's not always easy in this world where no one seems to believe in anything anymore, but as I see things, once we stop believing, we stop living.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Duggars and Recovering Charles

I finished 2 books the past week or so and wanted to share my thoughts. I had put a hold on both of them - at different times - at the library, and ended up getting them both on the same day. So - needless to say, I was reading a lot, since I knew I wouldn't be able to renew them.

The Duggars: 20 and Counting!
I think I've only seen part of an eposide on TV about the Duggar family. I also caught a bit of a Today show where they were being interviewed. At any rate, if you don't know anything about the Duggar family, they live in Arkansas and they just had their 18th child (YES - ALL biological - 2 sets of twins). The first time I saw them, I was going YEAH, RIGHT! That's absolutely CRAZY! But they seemed like a really nice, NOT crazy, faithful family. I saw they had a book that came out and I was curious. And I figured if she had some ideas that helped with raising ALL of her children, maybe I could gain some wisdom that would help me with my 2.
It was a REALLY good book. I would recommend it to anyone. They are so faithful and they are not having children just willy-nilly & letting them run wild. I really think they do better with their 18 children than many of us do with our 2 or 3. I got some great ideas that I'm going to incorporate into my family, such as stressing OBEDIENCE, having a buddy system, managing chores, and staying out of debt. I took lots of notes. This book was also a huge faith-booster. They're Christian and most of what they do is based on Bible principles. They shared many miracles they've seen in their lives as they have tried to live Christlike lives and commit to staying out of debt and raising children the way God would.
Their website is here if you're curious!

Recovering Charles
This was a novel by Jason F. Wright, who also wrote The Wednesday Letters and Christmas Jars. I have read neither book. Honestly, I found it because I was going through YouTube trying to listen to some Cherie Call music while I cleaned and one of the YouTube videos had a song she sang for this book.
So - here's my review - it's good! It's goes into a lot of depth about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina back in 2005. It was good to read, because at the time of Katrina, I was in the "new-mommyhood-fog" and I really don't recall a lot. I knew it was a horrible time, but I really didn't know the details, so this book really takes you there and gives in-depth visuals. It was a good storyline. The only thing is that I guess I'm used to (and prefer) a woman's point of view - espeically when it comes to falling in love. Men..sigh...tend to be not as "intense" as women when it comes to falling in love. Anyway, it was a good book if you need a good read.

I'm on to find some more good books. Comment and let me know if you are reading something that you LOVE AND that is inspirational. My goal is to read at least 3 LDS books, 3 "self-help" books (this is where I would categorize the Duggars book), and 4 inspirational novels.

P.S. Thanks for everyone's thoughts on small towns! great input... we'll let you know what happens!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Small town, Utah

So, we have been busy lately. I've mentioned this in previous posts, but ever since we met, Jason and I have had the desire to raise our family in a small town. Jason was raised in small towns. We met and fell in love in a small town. Jobs and schooling have prevented this until now, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for schooling and are in the process of doing our "small town homework." We don't exactly agree on where we should move to, so for the past few weekends, we have been driving through the ones we have talked about off and on for the past 10 years.

Here's some pictures and details from our journeys. We have mostly just driven through the town, trying to see if it's a place we would want to live, work, and raise our children. Seeing what land is available and at what price. Seeing what kind of businesses are there.

If you have lived, worked, or know much about any of these places, please comment and tell me what you like and dislike. Given the current job market, there is always the possibility that we may not be able to move this year, but we intend to and all this homework will not be in vain.

Cache County
We drove up there on New Years day. We drove through Mantua, Hyrum, Providence, and down a bit to Paradise (HELLOO? Who wouldn't want to live in Paradise?). It was fun, and some of the towns were cute and freshly covered in snow. I really like it up there. Jason's biggest complaints are smog (apparently they're supposed to have the worst air in the nation) and the fact that he's so far from his family. But it was a fun trip and we enjoyed driving through the area.

Wasatch, Summit, Morgan Counties
January 3rd was our 2nd trip. We did a big loop - went up Provo Canyon, through Midway (and stopped to visit the Engmans there), Heber, Kamas, Oakley, (that's the one area we both agree would be great to live in. It's too bad land is so expensive and jobs are scarce) and then up through Coalville, Echo, and into Morgan. We spent more time in Morgan checking out some beautiful land on the West side of the freeway. It was really beautiful and just about what I had pictured as our eventual "homestead." We both really like Mountain Green as well. We came down Ogden canyon, into Ogden (we're not considering Ogden) and then into Layton to go to an open house for my foster sister who just moved into a new home. That was a BIG driving day! The girls did good for the most part, and, we really love the areas we drove through.

Kaylie and McKinley at the Engman's in Midway. We all had fun visiting, playing, and seeing their new baby girl.

We ended the day by going to Josie's house for some AMAZINGLY yummy homemade pizza! Thanks guys!

Sanpete & Iron Counties

Jason took last Friday off and we took off for the South end of the state. We went through our college stomping ground - Sanpete county - stopping in Fairview for lunch and a nice visit with a college roomie I hadn't seen for probably 5 years. We both have a soft spot for that area since that's where we met and fell in love, and we loved the open spaces and the inexpensive land, but jobs are even more scarce down there. We also went through Gunnison and then stayed the night in Richfield at his parents. Saturday morning we took off and went through Beaver, Parowan, and Cedar City. This was getting a little too far away from my family for me and I'm not as much of a fan of the red-rock-cedar-trees-sagebrush area, but there were a few lots I might consider. We kept going and stayed with his brother in St. George that night and headed back Sunday afternoon. It was a fun trip to see family and we even got to go on a triple date to Cafe Rio and Nielsons Frozen Custard. Yum! Thanks for hosting us Hamiltons!

Ireland cheesing it big-time @ Brook's house. Sorry Brook - I didn't take hardly any pictures of your cute house!

LOVIN' the St. George weather! Ireland & Daddy on Uncle Jeff's 4-wheeler.

Are they cute cousins or what? Ireland, McKinley, Sedona, Daken & Camri

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"I heart your husband"

Ha ha! Did I catch your attention with the title? I'll tell you, it caught my attention when I read it (it's the title of the article below) in Parents magazine as I was working out the other day. The article is about a single mom who's married friends call and sometimes complain about their husbands. She explains why we should all be more grateful to our hubbies - quirks and all. It made me realize (again) how thankful I am for my sweet, stellar, awesome, stud-of-a-man, who's never backed away from changing a dirty diaper, helping bathe the kids, or watch them while I work out. I LLOOOVVEEE YOU BABEEE!

"I heart your husband"
By Lori Gottlieb

Okay, maybe he isn't perfect. But as a single mom, I'll tell you why your guy is better than no guy at all.

Why Moms Complain
A month after my son was born, my friend Julia called. Uh-oh, I thought. She's calling to whine about her husband again -- her kind, funny, and, let me add, incredibly hot hubby -- and I wasn't in the mood. With the phone in one arm and my baby in another, I was trying to maneuver his blankie, the Boppy, and my exhausted body over to a nursing chair for what seemed like the gazillionth feeding of the day.
Within seconds, Julia launched into it. "You wouldn't believe what Paul did," she sighed. I was about to give her my new-mommy-get-off-the-phone excuse -- whoops, the baby puked! -- but Julia was already complaining about how, when her husband changed a diaper, he used the wrong diaper cream. Or forgot to use any diaper cream at all. Or something.
Is Your Husband Really So Bad?
"How are you ever going to forgive him?" I said dramatically, thinking Julia would laugh, but she was on to her next complaint: "Now, he's supposed to be watching Emma, but I can hear the football game on. I know he isn't paying any attention to her!"
I didn't know what to say. To me, Julia's husband sounded like a dream come true. I guess I should mention that most of my friends' husbands sound like a dream come true because I'm a single mom. With my biological clock ticking, I chose to have a baby on my own. No regrets on that score: I was fully aware of the enormity of the challenge I took on and I'm as hopelessly in love with my child as any married mom could be. Still, solo parenting means that the bad-dad bar has to be pretty high to get my sympathy. Unless the baby sucked down the entire tube of diaper cream, I'd pretty much forgive any miscues on the changing table. And if a man came over to my house and cared for my baby for two hours -- even if he woke the baby by screaming "Touchdown!" -- I'd be elated. Especially if this man happens to be someone I love and who adores my child.
He's More Helpful Than You Realize
Julia isn't the only mom who calls me to vent about her husband on a regular basis. I hear similar complaints all the time, and although I can imagine my friends' frustration, I also want to shake them and say, "Excuse me, do you realize how much worse it could be?" I'm not trying to excuse husbands from parenting duties, but while so many new moms focus on what their husbands aren't doing (or are doing wrong), I see how helpful their husbands actually are. So before you pick up the phone and rag on the man who lifted your baby up in the air without supporting his head properly, here's a reminder of why you should really appreciate your guy.
He Lets You Have a Chance to Sleep
Let's not even talk about that blurry period of new motherhood when my newborn was waking up every two hours around the clock while many of my friends' husbands were sharing the night shift. Here's the thing about toddlers: They have a strange habit of waking up at 6:30 every morning, even on weekends! Which means that I haven't slept past the crack of dawn, much less read the Sunday newspaper, since I was pregnant.
So I shook my head in disbelief when my friend Susan, whose husband takes care of their 2-year-old son on Saturday mornings, complained that under Dad's watch, their son hit his head on the bookshelf. How does she know this? Because -- get this -- her husband actually told her!
"Your husband does the morning shift, and tells the truth?" I said. "Do you know how lucky you are?" Susan started to object, but I gave her a skeptical glare. Sure, her toddler got a tiny scratch, but would she really have traded the extra sleep to prevent that? Besides, I reminded her, who's to say that something wouldn't have happened to her energetic kid on her own watch, like that time at the park when he jumped off the slide? Susan's reply: "Shut up, okay?"
He Sets Up the Baby Gear
I know: It's annoying enough when a man won't ask for driving directions and more annoying when he refuses to read the assembly instructions that come in those huge boxes. But even if it takes him hours of tinkering to set up the swing (during which time you're left pacing from room to room with your colicky infant, with no break), how great is it that when he's done, your baby instantly falls asleep in it and you didn't have to figure out the difference between a regular screwdriver and a Phillips head? Plus, you didn't have to crush the box and lug it out to the trash -- not to mention foot the entire bill for the swing yourself.
He Helps Things Run Smoothly
Okay, so maybe you're the one who does the brunt of the potty training, feeding, and schlepping the kids to daycare and doctor appointments, not to mention tending to bruised knees and bruised egos. And, yes, you sometimes feel that your husband isn't doing his fair share. But let me ask you this: When was the last time you replaced the house's air filters, repaired the leaky faucet, mowed the lawn, and hauled in a 10-foot ladder to change the lightbulbs in the chandelier? Can't remember? Hmmm. So when your husband comes home late and you give him that sourpuss face because you needed help getting dinner on the table, remember that he has a lot on his to-do list too.
He's Crazy About Your Kid
Is there anything more heartwarming than a grown man cooing in a high-pitched falsetto to a giggling baby? So what if he shrank the laundry, forgot to buy toilet paper, riled the kids up at bedtime, and pretended not to hear when your toddler woke up the minute you'd fallen asleep. None of that matters to your child, who lights up at the sight of Daddy's face. I realize this doesn't erase all your gripes about sharing the workload and trying to create a consistent discipline style and dealing with a million other parenting issues. But once in a while, you should look at your husband the way other people do. Maybe you'll see him in a new light. On the other hand, if you still feel the need to complain about your guy, here's an idea: Send him over to my house! Believe me, I could use the help.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mommy & McKinley

Here's a little quiz I've seen floating around in the blog world. I think I'll ask again next year & see what she says. Here are the results:
What does mommy always say to you?
Be good (that's true - I usually say that as I'm leaving)
What makes mommy happy?
When I'm quiet (true enough - especially during naptime/quiet time)
What makes mommy sad?
When I was banging on the door (she nailed this one! This is probably my biggest frustration - at bedtime when she bangs on the door - last Sat she did it for over an hour! that definitely made me sad)
How does mommy make you laugh?
What was mommy like when she was little?
happy - you were like my baby (doll)
How old is mommy?
She held up 5 fingers
How tall is mommy?
She used her hand to show up to my head
What does mommy like to do?
tell me stories (true as well. I love our story times. I can't wait till she doesn't need pictures and I can read her Anne of Green Gables, Chronicles of Narnia, and Little Women)
What is something mommy doesn't like to do?
Play with my babies (? ?)
What does mommy do for a job?
Make her house pretty (Yes, I guess that counts)
What is mom's favorite food?
chicken nuggets (hmmm - I think she might have gotten confused with HER favorite food)
What do mommy and McKinley like to do together?
Have mommy & McKinley time (we try to spend 15 min together - just me & her - doing whatever she wants)
How do you know mom loves you?
Because you are being nice.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What Heaven Sees in You

Have you seen or heard this song? I just came across it on YouTube and I LOVE it! I love it because it goes right along with my first resolution - to see myself and others as Jesus sees - and I love it because I see my daughters those girls and it reminds me how sacred, beautiful, and full of hope and promise they are. Enjoy...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

December Newsletter & Slideshow

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this posted. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r (think Sandlot) to put together. We were just seriously so busy last month - fun busy - but busy.
You know the drill: to the right - newsletter (the entire first page is the stuff just the family has been doing), below - slideshow (it's super-long, but I hope you'll watch it!), and below that - McKinley & Ireland-isms

-After preschool one day, mom let McKinley push Ireland’s stroller. She kept running into the grass, but never gave up. She said “I’m doing great!”
-McKinley LOVES to play on her computer and would all day if we let her. So – we set a timer and when it beeps, she’s done. Mom was working on the computer and McKinley came in and said “I’m setting this timer, and when it beeps, you have to be done on the computer!”
-McKinley loved all the Christmas music this season – especially Frosty, Rudolf, Jingle Bells and whenever a song came on that said “Hallelujah” McKinley thought it was “I’m Alulia. That’s her name mom!”
-At dinner, McKinley said she had to go potty, so she hopped down. As she passed Ireland’s high chair, she said “Be nice to my sister Swiper! She’s a sweet girl. Do you have a sister Swiper?” After she went potty, she came running back and said “Mom – Swiper went potty too! And he wiped!”
-We watched the new Tinkerbell movie the other day and we all thought it was cute. The next day mom asked McKinley what the tinker fairies do. McKinley said “Go to Disneyland!”
-It was snowing hard and mom asked if everyone was ready to go to the library. McKinley said “We need a sleigh mom!”
-McKinley is into favorites lately. Her favorite color, however, changes daily.
-We hadn’t see 101 Dalmations in over a month, but mom walked into the kitchen & McKinley was singing “Cruella DeDile, Cruella DeDile…if she doesn’t scare you… Cruella DeDille!”
-We wish we would have video taped it, but we’ll just have to describe it. McKinley saw a bag of cranberries in the fridge that we were going to use for Christmas decorations. She wanted some. Mom warned her that they were not very good to eat, but she wanted them anyway. She took a bite and said she liked them. And then she made this awful face and started spitting them out - “I DON’T like them mom!”
- McKinley loves the “Shout for Joy” song from the My Turn on Earth soundtrack, but she sings it “Scout, scout, scout for joy!”
-Mom asked McKinley what shows she liked on TV. McKinley said “Hannah Montana!” (we were puzzled. She’s never seen it)
-McKinley has been changing her outfits for no reason 2-3 times a day. More laundry. Hooray!
-McKinley watched an “Elmo’s World” where it was Dorothy’s birthday, so McKinley decided it was her fish, Dezi’s, birthday, too. She decorated a paper, wrapped it up in tape and even sang to her. She said “Happy Birthday Dezi! Now, please don’t die.”
-McKinley loves Polar Express. She calls it the jingle bell movie.
-McKinley is constantly asking how to spell things now. We have come up with little songs to help her remember how to spell her name and her sister’s name.
-McKinley got so many fun things for Christmas, including a scooter bike, lots and lots of puzzles and books, a letter writer, a Dora couch, a new shirt, a new dress, Tinkerbell writing stuff, and games.
-The bed we slept in at Grandma Devenish’s house was a bit squeaky. Whenever we’d move it would squeak. McKinley said “Mom- I think there’s a bird in here!”
-Sedona, Camri, Keeley & mom were playing truth or dare and having fun. We tried to get McKinley to play but she wouldn’t . Later mommy asked why she didn’t want to play. She said “Because it’s dangerous for little girls.”
-McKinley got Sleeping Beauty for Christmas. She loves it, but when the evil witch turned into a dragon, she put her blanket over her head. Then she would peek out every once in a while to see what was going on.
-McKinley has been missing preschool during the Christmas break. Mom found her downstairs, sitting on a chair and “reading” her scriptures to her “preschool pals.” She also wanted to play preschool for mommy & McKinley time.
-McKinley has been wanting to call people more on the phone. We called her cousin Michael one day. She was talking to him, saying “Ohhh… that’s interesting Michael…”

-In the car, Ireland loves to say “STOP!” and “GO!”
-Ireland loves to say night-night to things before she goes to bed. She said night-night to snow, cars, her boots, and the snowman in our yard.
-Ireland says A, B, C and 1, 2, 3
-Ireland is starting her terrible twos early with tantrums. She will throw her head back and lay on the floor and cry.
-One day, Ireland decided she was done going down the stairs feet first. She went forward much to the worry of her mom, but she’s doing great now!
-Ireland is getting better at her prayers and will repeat most of the last words of every phrase and she is so good at saying “AMEN!” at the end of every prayer.
-For a few days, mommy went in to get Ireland in the morning and she was signing and saying “Happy! Happy!” It was so cute!
-Ireland LOVES to go outside, look up and say “Sky!” “Clouds” “Moon!”
-Ireland has been a big helper lately and will put cereal, bowls and spoons on the table in the morning when her mommy helps her a bit.
-Poor Ireland has been so constipated all month. She is having a really hard time.
-Whenever she hears anything even close to the sound, Ireland looks up and says “Airplane!”
-Ireland STILL is infatuated with the toilet. She likes to take the toilet paper and unroll it and put it in the toilet.
-Ireland does say “potty” a lot.
-She knows where her head, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, cheeks, chin, belly button, fingers, & toes are.
-Ireland had a great Christmas with a little 4-wheeler (so far she hasn’t really warmed up to it), a magnetic doll set, lots & lots of clothes, some books and puzzles, and a mini piano.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I had to post this because it's kind of making me crazy. I had a dream last night that I have dreamed repeatedly in one way or another for quite a while. It goes something like this: I am in school again. For some reason or another, I suddenly realize that I am wayyyy behind in a class and I get really panicky. It's like I've just enjoyed things too long, got complacent and forgotten what I was there for. And when I realize it - it's too late! I am too far behind. Last night I dreamt that I was taking 4 or 5 classes, but only attending 2. I called the "principle" or whatever of the college I was going to and asked if I could still get credit for the classes. She asked me why I hadn't gone to them. I told her I wasn't sure, but there were a lot of things going on in my life and I just forgot - spaced it. She acted like there was a way to get credit for the classes, but my excuses weren't good enough. I was out of luck. I wasn't freaked out because I'd lost money on the classes. I was freaked out because it meant I was going to get terrible grades that would affect my GPA forever and that I was disappointing myself and everyone else.

About 2 nights before that one, I had a dream that it was my turn to teach preschool. I had the stuff sort of figured out, but I hadn't put anything together. The kids and actually a few parents came. I was just scrambling all over the place. I didn't really have anything totally prepared and I was trying to print out this and tape that and of course the kids were running around wild and I could hear a parent in the background asking when we were going to actually have a lesson.

Last night's dream about school has really stuck with me all day long. Just before dinner, I was thinking about it again & I'm realizing 2 things:

1. In all these dreams, the most common feeling is panic that I am not prepared. I am disappointing myself, my parents, and my teacher. So - the lesson I think I'm supposed to get is to prepare myself - spiritually, mentally, food storage-y, etc for whatever "test" is to come, so that I am ready and don't disappoint myself, my loved ones, or my teacher (Jesus).
2. As I typed this out, I also realized that there is something else there. This life is a series of classes. Am I just skimming along - loafing off - and getting behind on the lessons I'm supposed to learn here? Am I getting the full educational experience that I am meant to have? No. I'm not applying myself, I'm not listening to the teacher, I'm not "getting" the lessons.

I've heard it said that God's microphone is repetition. I've had these dreams so much in the last few years that I hope I've gotten the message right - and I start learning the lessons I'm supposed to be learning in this mortal classroom. You'd better believe I'm going to work on preparedness this year as well. Maybe then my dreams will be of peace instead of panic.