Tuesday, June 30, 2015

An Old Fashioned Auction

This evening was spent in the company of some fabulous women in my ward/neighborhood.  Tonight was a Relief Society meeting (that's the name of the women's group in the Mormon church.) We gathered and held a service auction, meaning that the ladies each brought an item to auction off, or volunteered a service/ item that would be redeemed at a later date.  It was so much fun. I brought a copy of the book that I wrote, FEAST, and made peanut brownies to go with it.  In return, I walked away with a coupon for a home-made floral arrangement, a fab relaxation basket,  and finished the night by tying quilts for the hospital and with a slice of pie (actually several mini slices, but when you eat mini slices it's impossible to count how many slices you've actually eaten.) It was wonderful. 10 points to the gals who made this activity possible, and points to all those that donated auction items/fleece supplies.  It was a night well spent.

My auction paddle and a bag of M&M's. When we walked into the room, each woman was handed a bag filled with 1/4 c M&M's. On the table was a point system with differing values for each different color. I ended up having 1443 points, which was plenty!

Look at my winnings! The basket and the gift certificate.

Our auctioneer did an amazing job.  The activity was titled "Have I Done Any Good" which is the start of a song that continues... "in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?"... which is a great question to ask yourself at the end of the day.

Whilst I was at a churchy opportunity tonight, Ryan was with the kids watching the final performance of their musical.  They did well, and are sad that it's over.

Monday, June 29, 2015

5 Things

5 Things I'm grateful for tonight:

1. Family Night. Monday is fun day. 
2. My lovely stroller that was gifted to me for Norman's arrival.
3. My neighborhood in June. Specifically, going on walks in the evening in my neighborhood in June. There are always lovely people hanging out, ready for a chat.
4. Hummus.  With olives, pickles, carrots, cucumbers, pita chips, cheese cubes, etc.
5. Lilac Deodorant.  It's my favorite.

Time for Bed! I'm always grateful for bedtime.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rockets and Bombs

In church today we sang all four verses of the American National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. I've always loved this song, especially since I can hit the high note. However, in church today, as I sang through the very first verse something struck me.  First, here is a little bit of background. The song was written by Francis Scott key in 1814.  It describes how the American Flag could be seen flying all through the night of an attack, thus proving that they hadn't surrendered or been defeated. Anyways, I'm in church singing, and a particular part spoke to my heart. It's the line:

...And the Rockets Red Glare, 
the Bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night
that our flag was still there...

And I thought how interesting it was that in the middle of the night, it wasn't the gentle spotlight shining on the flag that let people know that they were still in the game... it was the light from rockets and bombs. Bad stuff. Hard stuff. Dangerous stuff.  And in my own life, its the rockets and bombs (trials) that really help me to see if my flag (conviction of Christ/testimony of the gospel) is still flying.  This might have already occurred to many of you, but it was a new insight to me today.  As we Americans start this week, looking forward to our longer 4th of July (Independence Day) weekend, I like the idea of contemplating the belief in God that our nation was founded on.  I thank our founding mothers and fathers, and will strive to hold on in the darkness of the night, knowing that as long as my flag is still flying, and I'm trying my best, the daylight will break.  "In God We Trust."

I would love to see more American currency with women on it..  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yeserday

It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday, sings one of my favorite Boyz II Men* songs. It's also really hard to say goodbye to Grooveshark.  If you have no idea what I'm writing about, you're still a good person, but you will never get the chance to experience it first hand.  It was a search engine for songs. I could pull up a line-up of favorite songs, by loads of various artists, get them in the queue, and then workout/ exercise. Really, that was my favorite time to use grooveshark.  And apparently, the whole thing was somewhat illegal, as manifest by the legal apology that can now be found on the grooveshark.com website. Apparently, they're very sorry for breaking the law. But I don't think they're as sorry as I am that I don't get to use them. I'm not really very internet song savvy. I know that there are probably loads of search engines and services that can pull up my favorites, but I don't know any, and don't really want to pay anything for the convenience that grooveshark has provided me these last few years. Boo.

It was so inviting.

Annie Joy performed on live TV this morning with her musical theatre group. SOoo fun!

Afternoon nap on my bed after nursing.  Darling.

We're all in this together!!!

* I totally love Boyz II Men.  For some reason I have never really wanted to embrace this fact, but it's true. I love them.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Passing the test!

Preston Edward Albert Smith has officially passed his drivers test. Now all he needs to do is wait till he turns 16 to get his license.  He was all confidence on the way to the exam, but confessed when I picked him up that he was a little worried that he wouldn't pass. I, however, having risen in the car with him, knew he would do just fine. Well done, son!

Preston with his pal. They took drovers ed together, and passed together.
Thumbs up.

This is what your son looks like when you pick him up after he has just passed his drivers test... and you take him to the library with all of his siblings.

Simon headed out camping.

With his fellow campers.

Annie giving attitude in the play tonight, hand on her hip, sass in her heart. Perfect for the part.

Simon dancing with the group.  He is super fun to watch... because he waves to me when he's on stage.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shiver Me Timbers!

Today marked the end of my pirate cooking class, aargh matey's.  With three of the student's being my children, one teen-on-the-cusp-of-driving as my assistant, and a baby that slept through the entire class, it finished up with a bang.  Today we made pirate pepperoni pizza and finished up with a treasure hunt.  All in all, it was a smashing success. I truly love cooking with kids, and am grateful to all the moms who signed up their pirates to join me this week.  As a bonus, just as the class was starting, a fab friend from long ago swung by the house to drip off her favorite allergy eye medicine, which worked like a charm all day.  All in all, today was a winner.

I finished the day by helping out at the dress rehearsal for the play that Simon and Annie are in, High School Musical. Annie is a Sharpeh groupie, aka "Sharpette." What fun!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Bummer

I think getting sick in the summer is totally lame. I'm currently rocking both a cold and wicked allergies.  My eyes itch, my throat itches, my nose is runny, I can barely keep my eyes open and i'm exceptionally tired and excessively cranky. Boo.  One of the drawbacks of living in a place with four seasons, is that summer never lasts long enough, but right now, I feel like summer is mocking me, not allowing me to enjoy the warm weather, but still dreading the inevitability of snow season.  Boo. Pollen, I hate you.

This is what I look like right now, but without makeup, and the carefree wilderness girl hippie top. And my eyes are swollen, and my heart is hard.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Time With Cousins!!!

So wonderful to see Ryan's sister and her family today. Calvin went with her older kids to do some work in the SLC temple, We gather din the afternoon to play, pizza at the park, and then the new "emotions" movie. Half way through the pirate kids cooking camp this week too.

Pirate pancakes. Love the sword!

Aaaargh mateys!

Jenna holding baby Norman.

The Bowmans have rented an RV and are about to hit Yellowstone, 

Lots of seats in the movie. i would give it a 7 out of ten, with some of the group loving it and others, not so much.

Outside shot. What a group!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

John Deere Father's Day

As past of our Father's Day Weekend Festivities, Ryan wanted to go to a car show here in town.  It was loads of fun checking out all of the old fashioned/ totally sweet rides. I left my camera at home which means that I didn't take any pics of Ryan.  However, we did come across a John Deere tractor. I love John Deere, simply because there is a country song that is ro.man.tic, which sings of a boy who points a heart for the girl he loves in the color "John Deere Green." Even funner, Ryan found a John Deere t-shirt a while ago, and wears it on a regular basis.  This Father's Day is now a John Deere tribute.

I really do love the color of this tractor.

Ryan with Preston.

Ryan with Annie.

Ryan with Owen.

Ryan with Calvin.

Ryan with Simon.

Ryan with Norman.

All Ryan wanted to do was go to temple square and take some pics of the kids.
Done. It takes a brave man to parent 6 silly children, and Ryan does it with patience, kindness, and love.  I'm so grateful that he's the father of my kids.

Now here are some of the lyrics to "John Deere Green."
He climbed upon the water tower
Stood on the rail and painted a ten-foot heart

In John Deere green
On a hot summer night 
He wrote "Billy Bob loves Charlene"
In letters three-foot high
And the whole town said that he should have used red
But it looked good to Charlene 
In John Deere green

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Baby Banker

I took Preston to the bank today to get a debit card.  Annie and Owen wanted to come. Norman also really wanted to come.  It took waaaay longer than it should have. When the banker hopped up, Annie snuck behind her desk (doesn't this sound like Annie?!) and pretended that Norman was helping us.  

Wouldn't it be funny if he did eventually work for a bank?! 

Bath time is the best.

Gotta love it when bath helpers climb into the tub to help.

Ryan took this photo of me and my sweet sleeping son.  Odd angle.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Finally, Finalamente!

I have been in a battle with my computer for the last few months.  Files would close unexpectedly, I could only download pictures when the stars were aligned, my startup disk would be too full, etc. Not fun. Today, like a big girl, I brought my mac into the store and took care of business. It was all very exciting.  In honor of this big event, I will be posting some pics. Yippee!

Mercy. 3 months of pure joy with my darling man cub... minus nursing, because I hate nursing.

He's just a piece of baby fudge.  I'm loving this.

Ryan is a Warriors fan. With the onset of cancer, he's thought long and hard about what he enjoys, and this man enjoys watching basketball.

My husband brought home flowers for me today. And chocolate.  What a trophy husband. 10 points for the man of my dreams and the yin to my yang.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Out of the Closet

Dear Everyone,
My oldest son, Preston decided that the time had finally come to share some important personal info. Here is a copy of his FB post:

"Yes. I am Gay. I am also a Mormon. No it's not ideal. No it's not a choice. Yes I am happy. Yes to any questions anyone has. Call me at (XXX) XXX-4113. I hate texting. Phone calls are much preferred. Yes, I talk about it openly, and will not be offended. Keep scrolling smile emoticon. Have a good day!"

I am grateful that he has arrived at a place where he can let people know who he is.  I am sure many people are in the "Why on earth would anyone declare something like this? Why does it matter?" 

Those are good questions. And here are my opinions. Whenever we, as human beings, feel like there is something different/ unique/ special about us, we tend to hide it for fear of rejection.  Anyone, le'st say for the sake of example, a fabulous gay teen growing up in an especially conservative Christian community (aka Utah) would understandably feel somewhat tentative at sharing something that could easily make him a target. So sharing takes courage. Sharing takes faith in humanity.  Sharing inevitably becomes a test of character for those who are told.  Once the secret is pulled out of the closet and into the light, will we spout off our political agendas? Express disbelief or sentiments that it's just a phase/ that they'll outgrow it? Share our version of what God has to say on the matter, naively assuming that the our LBGT friend hasn't been communicating with God all along? I hope and pray that all of my sons friends, teachers, classmates, neighbors, church members, and family will pass this test of character. That they will follow the example of our Savior, and keep the two great commandments, found in Matthew 22:

 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.   38 This is the first and great commandment.   39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
 The world would be a much better place if we try our best to treat each other as we want to be treated. The best news is that no one needs to figure out what Preston should do with his future.  He's gay, not stupid. He's on it. He just needs love and acceptance. Just like the rest of us. I absolutely love my son, with all of my heart.  I'm thankful every single day that I get to be his mom. 

The light is always better than the dark.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

17 Years!

Ryan and I celebrated our 17th anniversary on Friday, June 12th. We were hitched in Mesa, Arizona at the Mormon temple, at 9:45am.  It was one of the best decisions I have ever made, a decision that has been a blessing to me. We have lived in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Scotland. We have 6 children. We have been in college together, enjoyed various church assignments (aka "callings.") We have attended temples in multiple states and have driven each other nuts.  We have conquered cancer together (almost... final surgery in about a month) and we have done it all attractively.  10 points to my handsome husband.  Actually, make that 17 points.

Right here is where I normally post a picture, but my stink in computer is having a tantrum and won't behave. Boooooo.

Friday, June 12, 2015


Because my uncle is awesome, he is building a car (probably not for Nascar) but still, I think that's pretty sweet.  The highlight of today was a visit out to my aunts cabin in Kamas. We got to swim, eat some grilled cheese, and best of all, hang out with family.

Lesley and Benjamin are right in front of the inside of the car.

Annie and Owen are posing inside the shell.
I think when it's all built it will be a totally fab mini-van! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Take a Hike

We went on a lovely hike in Mueller Park today,

Cricket is  such fun pet for nature walks. She really enjoyed the fresh air, and we enjoyed seeing her hang out with the family.

The nature trail was complete with trash bags to pick up your dogs' foo.

Loved this sign that we saw at Mrs. Cavanaigh's

Ryan making Norman smile and laugh.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Matchy Matchy

Today was a lovely match match sort of fay,  Olivia and Calvin found matching phones, Lesley and I found matching dresses. Cousin time found the kids outside loads, inside playing games (and rotting their brains with approved video games) We hit the movie theatre and then the DI for the deals.  The finale of the night was winning my neighborhood cooking competition/ my brother in law fixing an oven that broke. 10 points for family, especially handy family!


Lesely and I weren't even trying to find matching dresses, we just ended up finding them.  Wowsers, do we look good!

Lesley, acting how I feel on the inside when a kitchen creation works out well.