Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm just a girl...

Zoe's Activity Day group was invited to do the Pinewood Derby with the Cub Scouts this year!
Is that cool or what? I loved seeing the designs the girls came up with --
WAY different than the boys.

Here's Zoe's "car":

Activity Day Girls (sorry for the blur... Beck was "helping"):
Zoe worked really hard and had a lot of fun! But she also learned a valuable lesson. Her car jumped the track on the second heat and somehow everyone (including the judges) thought she'd won. But she and Zeke knew she hadn't. She told the judges the truth and the other car won that heat. That car went on to win the whole race! The little girl that won was SO happy. I think Zoe will always remember this and smile. I am proud of you, sweetie. I know you did the right thing.
When I was 7 or 8, I had a T-shirt that said: "Anything boys can do, girls can do better!" Oh, how I loved that shirt! I wore it as much as I could (and I got in a lot of fights because of it too!) I always grew up believing that girls could do ANYTHING they wanted.

Maybe I appreciate boys a little more now that I'm older, but I still want my girls to feel like they can do great things. I'm so glad Zoe had the opportunity to participate in the Pinewood Derby. I hope Kaia can too.

I have another post I want to write later this week... and my friend, Stephanie, wrote a post today that I wanted to share with you. It talks a bit about what I've been thinking about too. :) Good Stuff!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spring Clinging

It's that time of year. The "Winter Blues/Blahs." I feel like that sometimes. On Monday, it was SO "warm"; the snow was all melted and the temperature was 38 degrees! Yeah, we were having a heat wave (for January in Logan really!) I went to the grocery store wearing flats WITHOUT any socks! Yeah, I'm a rebel.

I knew it wouldn't last. The weather is just a big tease here. In fact, it's a common saying in Logan that if you don't like the weather just wait 5 minutes. Winter can be very dark and dreary. And we have serious inversion to add to the yuck. Spring doesn't really come until April or May. In fact, I remember one year our Young Women got snowed on at girl's camp -- in JUNE!

On Tuesday the temperature had only gone down to 35, but I woke up to 2 or 3 inches of snow; somehow it seemed much colder. I was determined not to let it get me down!

As soon as I got the kids off to school, I reached for my therapy:
I've been reading my scriptures in the morning now for 5 days in a row! This new habit is really changing my perspective on the day. Really. I feel a little more happy, a little more patient, a little more loving, a little more energetic, a little more tolerant. It's only a little, but it's amazing how much better my day goes.

I'm reading in 1st Nephi right now about the Tree of Life. I really like the imagery in verse 24 of chapter 8: " And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree."

The mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil. The iron rod is the word of God: the scriptures. Notice the word clinging. Not just touching the iron rod or occasionally holding it or having someone else put our hand on the rod for us, but these people are CLINGING!

To me, clinging implies a "white-knuckled" holding on for dear life kind of holding! In the dictionary, clinging means: to adhere to as if glued firmly or to hold on tightly or tenaciously.

I think this means that living righteously can be hard, but the way has been prepared. Clinging to the rod of iron requires DAILY effort! DAILY scripture study. We can't afford to let go of the iron rod for even one moment! "The iron rod is the word of God; 'twill safely guide us through." (Hymns # 274) I hope my new habit will help me cling better. :)

After reading my scriptures and taking a shower, I took down my "Winter Magic" snowman wreath in protest. The magic is over for the season.
So I put up this:
Pretending it was Spring,
I painted my toenails and went barefoot in the house all day:
Yes, I know I have THE longest toes ever, but hey, don't you love the bright pink? I did a coat of Zoe's gold sparkly over the top just for fun :)
By the way, isn't Noira cute?

I have another ritual to lift my spirits. I change my shower curtain
(and rugs and towels) every 6 months or so, just to brighten things up.
Here's my "Fall/Winter" shower curtain:
And here's my "Spring/Summer" one:
Things are looking bright! Happy Spring Clinging!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Video Premiere!

So, here's my first video posted!
The girls and their friend, Collette, had a dance party Friday night.

Yes, those are underwear on their heads!
(That *crack!* sound you hear at the beginning right before
I say "ooh, be careful" is the Wii remotes smacking together! ouch!)

2 Nephi 2: 25 "...and men are, that they might have joy."

This is what I did while I was waiting for the video to upload:
  • cleaned the kitchen
  • played Just Dance with Beck
  • swept the floor
  • played Just Dance with Beck
  • showered
  • played Just Dance with Beck
  • cleaned the litter box (eww!)
  • played Just Dance with Beck
  • loaded the dishwasher
Maybe I should upload videos more often!
(Do your videos take this long to upload? What am I doing wrong?)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Professor Babe and Procrastination Queen

Did I tell you that Zeke is teaching a class at the University this semester? I am SO proud of him and excited for him. The class is called: "Real Time Systems" and it has something to do with robotics and computers and that's about all I know about that... something something UML... sorry, honey, my mind just can't quite grasp it.

He's really great in front of people. (I'm not) He's one of those people that actually feels comfortable and even enjoys speaking in public. He's very articulate and funny and interesting to listen to. But I am his wife...

Anyway, he's always wanted to do this and a great friend of his asked him to teach the class with him. Good Luck, Babe! Can I call you Professor Babe? And Professor Babe gets paid too :)

I love this picture of him with Caspian and Pippin. He tries to pretend he doesn't like the cats, but he DOES. And the shirt. He loves this shirt! Oh boy, last weekend my Mom and I made the mistake of asking him what it means... yeah, our eyes glazed over in no time. Sorry, babe.
Here's Zeke playing Guitar Hero during Christmas:
And then there's me: I've had a sinus/ear infection thingy all week and I haven't felt very good. When I have been feeling good, I haven't been cleaning... check out my kitchen :( Blah...
Some days, I feel like a little kid playing house... all I want to do is play with the cats and my kids and bake cookies and make stuff. When I have been feeling good, I've been working on my Primary lesson. I love my little CTR 5 class! And I've been playing "Just Dance" on the Wii. It is so much fun! Good times :)

My brother, Jody, gave me a can of Green Curry sauce when we visited him on Monday. How cute is that? We both LOVE Thai food and he made sure I took it home with me. I can't wait to use it. Thanks, Jode, I love ya! Growing up, I remember watching Jody cook and tasting many of his creations. We always had a lot of fun together.
One of my most favorite quotes of all time is: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." ~ Albert Einstein

Really if you think about it... this quote is very profound. It applies to almost anything and has seriously changed my life. I've been feeling kinda bummed out this week and I know being sick doesn't help, but I thought about this quote and thought about something I should change.

Since school started in August, I've been getting up at 6:30 to get the kids ready and Beck wakes up too and I pretty much hit the ground running. I say a quick prayer while I'm in the shower trying to keep Beck from poking me with his toys and I try my best to get through the day. At night after the kids are in bed, I curl up in my bed with Zeke and attempt to read my scriptures for at least 10 minutes. Well, once my body is holding still and the house is quiet... I fall asleep in 2.7 minutes... so yeah, I'm not really getting enough personal scripture study.

By some miracle, Beck slept until 8:15 this morning. Today as soon as I got the kids off to school, I went upstairs in my room, knelt down and said my prayers and read my scriptures until Beck woke up. It was wonderful. I needed it.

I changed how I was doing things and I know I'll get a different result. I'm going to try my best to start the day off with my scriptures.

2 Nephi 32: 3-4 "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wonderful "Wii"-kend

We went to visit my parents over the weekend. It was really fun, but as usual, just as CRAZY! We adopted Noira on Thursday and I was worried she would run away since she doesn't really know us yet, so we took her with us! Yeah, have you ever traveled with a cat? Nope, we haven't either. But there was no way I was waiting any longer to see my Mom! Noira was actually really good and it ended up being a lot of fun to have her there.

My Dad really enjoyed Noira:
We finally exchanged Christmas presents:
The much awaited Pillow Pets!!

Ecclesiastes 3:4 "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to DANCE..." (Thank you, Kevin Bacon!)

My parents got us "Just Dance" for our Wii. We "just happened" to bring our Wii with us. It is REALLY fun. My Mom was even doing it, but she refused to hold a controller. How funny! Zoe was doing better than anyone. Zeke took some pictures of us while we were dancing to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper. Yeah, I'm a nerd, but it was awesome:
The kids always love doing crafts at Grandma's House.
Thanks to my niece, Angee, for the great presents!
I love Zoe's tongue in this picture:
The boys had to engage in their traditional wrestling match
(or two or three):
What is it about wrestling at Grandma's house?
We watched the movie "Despicable Me" with Steve Carell. I have to tell you, I didn't think I would like it. Zeke and the kids really wanted to see it. My Mom got the DVD from my brother, Brady, for Christmas. Guess what? "Light bulb!" I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! Really, it was that good to warrant 9 exclamation points. It made me cry and laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy inside (the best kind of movies). I am definitely going to watch it again:

On the way home, we stopped at Jody's house (my brother). He and his wife, Kiersten, fed us some yummy dinner and we laughed so hard I thought I would choke. They are so fun! I'm just a sappy little sister I'm sure, but my brothers are SO cool. I just think they are AWESOME! Jody reminds me a lot of Zeke (and vice versa). They are so kind-hearted and generous. They're always making jokes and impersonating voices and not being too serious. It's so good for me. Kiersten is so spunky, I think she's the only person who could put up with Jody. I mean, Jody is great, but he and Zeke can be so exhausting with their silliness sometimes. Gabe thinks Jody is the coolest guy ever. Jody gave Gabe his old amp "just in case" Gabe gets an electric guitar for his birthday. Their kids are SO cute. And well, I left my camera in the car :(

But this is Oskar, Beck, Max, and Kaia when we visited them in August
(I could NOT get them to hold still!):
Here's my wonderful brother, Jody, with baby Samantha
(she's just 4 days old in this picture):

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zip, Zero, Zilch, Nada!

My Pap test results came back NEGATIVE for any cancer cells!! I am so relieved. I don't have to go back for a YEAR now. :) Thanks everyone for your prayers and love.

This is one of our family pictures from 2008
(I remember wondering if it might be my last):

Doctrine and Covenants 68:6 "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you..."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cat Baths

I have a great blog friend named Dedra. She is so funny, talented, amazing, and groovy. Just for the record, I have never actually met her. But I want to! I wish she could have her blog public so all of you could get to know her, but it's very important that she keeps it private right now. I feel so fortunate to have found her before she went private. Anyway, we seem to have a LOT in common except for one teensy little thing: she doesn't like cats.

It's okay, Dedra, I forgive you. But thanks for being happy for us and all our cats. I think people either like them or hate them. One of my dating criteria when looking for my future husband was they had to like cats. I'm serious!

Anyway, Dedra and I were blogging about cat baths and I remembered an email I got from another good friend, Loralee, way back when. Whenever I need a good laugh, I open this email and look at it.

Dedra, this is for you:

Seriously, if these pictures don't make any of you laugh, you must be a cat!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

and Noira makes three!

Here she is!
Well, you knew we'd get her, didn't you? I called on Thursday and no one had claimed her... so a quick drive to the Humane Society, $85 later, and she's OURS!

Zeke and I both agreed it was a LOT of money, but Zeke also said, "I can be easily swayed." Well, that's a YES in my book! I know it's silly. It's just a cat. But I am so thankful that Zeke got this new job in October so we could afford to adopt Noira. She is really sweet. It is SO worth every penny to see my children enjoying her; to see Gabe hold her and talk to her like she's a little baby. Thanks, honey, for giving in!

There was a sign at the Humane Society: "Cats are like potato chips, you can never have just one!" When I was a little girl, I had a "School Memories" scrapbook. Each page was for each school year. There were different sections of the page to fill in different things about you such as: friends, teacher's name, interests, favorite school subject, etc. There was also a section labeled: "When I grow up I want to be _________." When I was 10 years old, I wrote in the blank: "a person with 100 cats." Well, I won't get 100 or even 10, but I really enjoy having them in our home.

I'm quite surprised at how well Caspian and Pippin are handling the new addition. She's been growling at them tonight when they get too close, but that's about it. They just look at her and then at me like, "What's her problem?!"
Staring contest:
Pippin was showing off after we brought Noira home.
He was vying for some serious attention:
Caspian was bored with the whole ordeal and promptly went to sleep on top of Kaia's coat:

P.S. The Humane Society named her "Simone." So we decided that would be her middle name. "Noira Simone" sounds very French, doesn't it?

P.P.S. Just for the record, Caspian's middle name is Blue (also from the Humane Society). And Pippin's middle name is Zucchini (from Kaia).

Doctrine and Covenants 59:18 "Yea all things which come of the earth are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart." Well, I think Heavenly Father created cats to gladden our hearts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"uphill and smiling" meets "mother of the wild boys"... and NOIRA

Doctrine and Covenants 122:9 "Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."

First of all, my checkup went really well. I am SO relieved to have it over with! I won't find out the test results until Friday. Thank you all SO much for your prayers and concern. It really brightened my day to hear all of your words of love and encouragement :) I've decided it's good for people to know so they can pray for me! I know there is great power in prayer and I'm so thankful for everyone that has prayed in my behalf.

Mercifully, my checkup went really fast. (waiting and all) Afterward, I ran over to Wal-Mart for a minute to get myself a prize for being such a good patient. (Yes, I was!) I felt so happy just to be done. I really felt the Spirit comforting me and telling me that everything will be okay. I also felt like my sister, Brenda, was there holding my hand and helping me be brave.

As I was coming into the store and getting a cart, I got a little teary-eyed just thinking of my sister and enjoying the peace of the Spirit. I looked up and saw my friend, Shauntae! I love this woman! We had such a good visit. Thanks, Shauntae, for letting me talk your ear off. You are a great friend. I think I hugged her at least 4 times! It was so fun to see someone I haven't seen for awhile and cheer me up after that nasty checkup. I'm so glad it was her.

I spoiled myself with an almond truffle (no picture, but just think CHOCOLATE), I'm a bad girl!

A new clock for the bathroom (our other one stopped working for good):
A 2011 calendar (I always get a funny cat one. Sorry, Dedra):
And a $20 wreath I've been wanting to buy since before Thanksgiving.
It was on clearance for $5! Yeah, by now, I was positively euphoric:
So I picked up Beck from Jessica's and talked her ear off as well. Thanks for listening to me vent, Jessica. I think you are "da bomb" and I love ya! I got her a truffle too. :)

As soon as I got home, I noticed a small black kitten on our deck. Today was just getting better and better! No, seriously, Zeke and I have talked and we decided two cats are enough. But this kitten was ca-yute! I wasn't going to make a big deal about it and I didn't want the kids to see it, but it looked so hungry. Before the kids got home from school, I just took a small bowl of food to the side of the house for it. That was all! I guess it's all my fault, but on Friday night it kept coming to the door and the kids were going crazy over it.
By Saturday morning, we talked/begged Zeke into letting us feed it on the deck. A few hours later, SHE was in the house! The kids were in heaven (I'm included in "the kids" you know). The funny thing was Caspian and Pippin hissed at her a few times and then they were like, "Okay, whatever!" (It's meant to be, right?) And we were all in the kitchen playing together. We spent most of the morning trying to come up with a name for her:
I wanted to keep tradition and go with the name of a character from a book. Luna (Harry Potter) or Piper (The Lost Hero) or Eilonwy (Chronicles of Prydain)... but the kids weren't going for it. They wanted to name her "Blackberry". So we decided to vote on it. Gabe is taking a French class at school and he told us that "noir" means black in French. So we came up with "Noira" and that was our final pick. This kitty is BLACK!
Here's the kicker, I was trying to be a good Samaritan and I called Animal Control to see if anyone had reported a missing cat. You know, if she belonged to someone, it wouldn't be right for us to keep her. Well, I got a surprise! They told me it is against city ordinance to "harbor a stray". I had no idea that would happen. They gave us until 4pm to find the owners or they would have to confiscate her. I was crushed! We finally talked/begged Zeke into keeping the cat and now we couldn't... isn't it ironic? (don't ya think)

We said a prayer that we could find Noira's owners and we called several people in our neighborhood and went to several houses. But no one claimed her. The officer came to get her and everyone was really SAD. He said we need to give the owners a chance to claim her and if no one does after 4 days we can adopt her. I think that's the right thing to do. Well, no one has claimed her yet, but it now costs $85 to adopt a cat from the Humane Society! We are so torn.

I had a dream last night that we went to the Humane Society and they told us we could have her for free because we were so honest and cooperative with Animal Control. It was a good dream until I looked down at Noira and she was just a plastic toy cat... hmm?
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