Along with everyone else in the United States,
we "observed" Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
My first grader woke up very enthused about the day.
She learned all about Martin Luther King day at school and thought we should be exchanging gifts, lighting fireworks, going to a MLK Jr. parade or at the very least receive a MLK Jr. basket full of colorful candy coated eggs. Me too.
(by the way; a lady at Walmart told me that Walmart can't keep the Mini Cadbury Eggs in stock...that makes me want them all the more.)

Anyway, I said, "River...Martin Luther King Day is mostly just about remembering a great man, we don't really do anything to "celebrate."

She said..."since when?" 

I said "since 1968..."

Just kidding, I didn't say that but that would've been one of my finest comebacks ever.

She sulked a little and so I suggested we declare a FDO "family day out" to our 2nd favorite swimming hole and to our first favorite hamburger joint, THE TRAIN in Heber City.

(Here's our first favorite swimming hole...remember?)

Our second favorite (wintertime) swimming hole is here.

The South Summit Aquatic Center in Kamas Utah.

Anyway, I told River we could go only IF...she could talk her daddy into coming with us.

Dean had a rare day off and he said he would rather stay home and balance our checkbook, replace light bulbs, do some laundry and basically be responsible. ha ha ha ha
I said Since When?

He said...since the alternative activity was loading up the car full of kids, 
filling up tank of gas
driving 50 miles away
paying just to swim for an hour,
feeding seven hungry mouths
then driving another 50 miles home
wet, cold, tired and publicly humiliated.

I said...

So we had a game plan.
Nobody was helping me get ready, 
so I told them to dress themselves and meet me in the car.
Wade came out looking like this.

Since When did this kid become so gangsta?   

Since his mom is so Fly. obviously.

 After a more peaceful than usual drive up the canyon,
I said "Since When did our kids get along so well crammed together in the car?"

(bad cell phone picture...sorry)
Since they became iPod, DSi, DVD's and earphone zombies.

Since When does Dean ever offer to take my picture?
 Since he realized that all the pictures I take eventually end up on this blog.
and I've complained a lot I guess. Thanks darling.

And Since When does my baby go around in a onesie, in the middle of winter?
Since his body mass index is the same as that of a baby walrus in the middle of a frigid Antarctic winter.

Since When did my kids become such show offs?
 Since I told them that the Olympic Swim Team was watching them from the bleachers. Turns out they were just muscular high school kids with nothing better to do.   

But Since When did my four year old become so brave?
Since at one point Kal asked "mom, should I go off the high dive?"
I said..."sure" (not thinking he really would...)
Then my little four year old, Kal climbed out of the water...up the stairs with everyone watching him...walked out on to the board...with shaky knees and second thoughts on the edge...and then just jumped off! Everyone gasped.

 I was too astonished and proud to think about taking a picture.
Kal jumped two other times and then said "that's enough"

Every time Brett and Wade jumped off the high dive they would do something to draw the attention of the cute life guard. (whistle...do a cannonball, flips, kiss their biceps on the way down...etc)

But Since When did Wade's six pack look so red?

Since his 'flirting' turned into more of a 'flopping.'

And Since When does an adult woman need a life jacket in four feet of water?

Since the water was a freezing 15 degrees. I was wearing the jacket simply to retain any warmth left in my body. The kids told me I would get used to it. They lied.

Since When does it take the pool boy so long to clean the pool?

Since instead of just a 'cleaning'...it becomes a 'retrieval mission.'  yuck!

Each time we have been to this swimming pool,
we practically have the whole place to ourselves.
It's awesome.

After the swimming and a short drive down the mountains we hit up our favorite hamburger joint.

 yo, Since When did "the Train"(Dairy Keen) in Heber go all Hawaiian?  

Since they were obviously trying to distract us after we spent a fortune on a hamburger and a shake.

Then a quick, quiet drive home after dark.

and hey..Since When do my children go right to bed without complaint...not ask for a thing and fall asleep immediately...leaving Dean and I with a few precious moments of "free time"?
Since they were completely - tuckered - out.

money well spent.

The Kindness of Others

For the past few weeks I've had an inner dialogue going on in my head
that filled me with self doubt.

Not good.

I struggled to find purpose in my monotonous days.
I struggled to find order in my cluttered house.
I struggled to find a kind word to say to my husband.
I struggled to find a kind word between my children
I struggled to find the good in my parenting skills.
I struggled to find...heck, something to wear each day.

The more I wallowed in self doubt - the worse it became.

And then ....BOOM

Our WHOLE FAMILY was asked to speak
                in sacrament meeting this Sunday.

Cue the insecurities:

how can we...
there's no way we...
here's the thing, we...
what if we...

Time to re-evaluate ...EVERYTHING

And then like a divine Heavenly gesture....
I received a little note in the mail.

This sweet note sent by a kind neighbor brought tears to my eyes.

I read, then re-read and re-read and re-read the note.
One small, generous gesture made all the difference in the world to me.

A neighbor's thoughts about me and my family, although not all true,
made me want to be a better person.

(and made me pause - maybe I'm not as bad as I think I am)

And as I thought about it.
In just this past week...
I've had;
A phone call from a friend asking if I needed anything from the store.
A friend dropping by her old Martha Stewart magazines,
 Another neighbor brought this...
A jam and jelly gift basket.
For no reason at all...

My sister stopped by one day to set up my new TiVo that she gave us. 
(insisting that she doesn't even want to think about
how I've survived this long without TiVo)

Many offers to pick up my kids from dance and ball practice and 4-H.
A half dozen or more unsolicited compliments.
And a mystery knock on our door one night surprised us with a "Heart Attack" tree and brownies.

The brownies were gone even before I could take a picture.

All of this happened just last week.

There is not enough time in a day to list all the kindnesses shown to me and my family over the months and years. You know who you are.

I read a quote on my friend Amy's, blog offering the following sage advice;

"Never suppress a generous thought" - Camilla Kimball

I admire such a simple, perfect ideal.

You, dear reader already do this and do it well.

I need to follow your lead.

I usually say to myself;

"I try."

Here is another bit of sage advice;

Do, or do not. There is no 'try'. -Jedi Master Yoda

Yes, master Yoda.

The kindness of others will change the world,
   One self-loathing housewife at a time.


Be My Valentine -

Even though we are such good friends, I still do not feel comfortable enough to disclose how much time I waste spend on this blog, on other people's blogs, editing my pictures, looking for mothering inspiration and creative knock-offs, and just wasting away on the computer in general.
It's bad.
I love to browse  Hulu,  Design Mom,  Nicole Hill,  Vimeo, V & Co.
and of course Picnik...don't you?
Just recently I upgraded to Picnik Premium.

It's really bad. And by bad, I mean good.
And with a quick roll of the eyes my teenager informs me no one says "bad" anymore...
now they say "sick."

Yo' Picnik is sick y'all!

If you are like me and love taking pictures, and looking at pictures...you will love Picnik.
Free to join. No need to upgrade to Premium, the regular Picnik is pretty good too.

I have purposely stayed away from Photoshop for the very reason that I hear it is so time consuming and addicting.
Also, my brother patted me on the head and told me that it was way too complicated for me. (meanwhile he is handmaking saddles, and procuring his art for a local show. Thanks Jared.

Picnik is simple enough for my simple mind.

It has ensnared me as I slip even deeper into the virtual abyss while World War III (aka: my children) wage destruction all around me.

But hey, look what I can do now...!

Here is the Valentine SUBWAY ART that I personalized for Dean and I.
(If you want me to personalize one for you...just e-mail me or facebook me your stats.)

This Valentine Subway Art  BELOW can be yours for....FREE!
(I omitted our names and marriage date)
The actual print is a deeper shade of red than the image below. (see the framed pix)
Just double click on the image below.
Right click and copy and save to your desktop, or your photo gallery.
Then you can print it out at home, or send to Walgreens or Costco.
I chose the 5x7 but, I think a 8x10 would look great too.

Thanks for your readership, your sweetness, your love, devotion and affection. 
I heart you...
be mine.
ur gr8!

longer letter later.
true love always.



Utah has the greatest snow on earth, right?

However, when Katie Couric opened her nightly news with talk of "Snowmageddon" back East,
I was frankly a little jealous.
It was as if Washington DC and Chicago were the popular, hip, cool kids on the weather map, and Utah had become the annoying little freshman and people said "utah who?"
Sure, New Hampshire might have it's "Snowpocalypse"...
But here in Utah our snow storms are so big we have;

And it's epic.
Last night a blizzard came roaring through,
winds howling, temperatures dropping, lights flickering off etc.

And this morning, we've got nothing but a light dusting of snow. 

It's like false labor all over again.

In my life, there are just a few mega snowstorms that stand out in my memory.

There was that one in 1984 that my mom still talks about.
She walked to our elementary school to pick us up.
(I guess the Station Wagon was in the shop.)
And then there was the snow storm of 1996. Dean brought home a bawling, brand new calf for me to bottle feed in our backroom. Yes, I remember that year. (shudder)
13.5 inches in 24 hours..I looked it up.

And sadly, it looks like there is just going to be one snowstorm this year that's worth remembering - it happened on the last day of school before Christmas break.

We woke up to a phone call from a kind neighbor telling us that the buses were not coming
and advising to just stay home and sleep in. 

And because Lauren had a test that she had studied for -
 And because Brett had a clever, white elephant gift for his teacher
 that he was sure would earn him an A...

...they talked me into driving them to school.

                                                         Still dark outside...still coming down...

See Lauren hiding a snowball in her hand?
Just as she giggled and raised her arm to throw it at me...
I gave her my "you don't want to mess with me this morning" look.
And she dropped it.
I use that look often, Dean is very familiar with it.

We picked up a few neighbor kids on the way. 
Lauren had to sit in the back by a ....
 ...a BOY

oh the horror!

 We settled in for a 45 minute drive to the school -
just five miles away
I entertained the youngsters with stories of my glory days at the Junior High.
They were riveted.  

We arrived at the school just in time to be met by the principal in the parking lot telling us that the district had closed all schools until the new year. YAHOO!

                  It's all over folks! Incredible! For the first time in this kid's young life...
                                              A SNOW DAY! 

Brett said cooly, "Now can we go back to bed?"

Have you seen this?
I want at least one more of these. And then I promise that will be enough.


(a two minute video of the girl who needs to be everything)       So far my hobby has been micro-managing my kids and as rewardi...