Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mother's Day Gift

Sunday is Mother's Day.  I need to get on getting something for my mom and for Dawn, and probably something for Mikayla, and flowers for Merlynn and Grandma Hare.  I think I'll do that tomorrow.  What reminded me is a "thoughtful" gift Brandt gave me today.  He handed me a small piece of paper, about the size of a Post-It note, and said, "Here.  This is for you." 

"What is this?" I asked.

"Your Mother's Day gift," he replied.

So here it is.  My Mother's Day gift.  Should I even be grateful?  Touched by the sentiment?  Moved that at least my son thought about me? 

I'm not sure.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Brandt's Sixth Grade Class

Top row:  Matteo, Spencer, Kaylee, Josie, Dallin, Enrique, Jacob
2nd row:  Owen, Joseph, Lily, Francis, Amelia, Evelyn, Jackson
3rd row:  Ellie, Cooper, Andrea, Sage, Emma, Rebekah, Michael, Mrs. Neilson
bottom row: Johnny, Myra, Bridger, Brandt, Kate, Ella, Josef

Here is Brandt's sixth grade class.  We can hardly believe school is almost over.  Brandt will graduate from elementary school.  Where has the time gone?  He has had a great year, loved Mrs. Neilson who has seen all the good in him, and enjoyed his classmates.  All the sixth grade has a panoramic picture taken today, too, and I'll include that when we get the digital copy before school gets out.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Blythe is obsessed!!!! with taking selfies.  I find lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of pictures of Blythe on my phone.  I wonder when they get there because I don't let the kids play with my phone.  I obviously leave it unattended too often.  Wednesday, Blythe took all of these pictures: 

Today, Sunday, I found all of these.  Perspective unchanged from the way they were taken.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cora Comes Over

Cora was over today.  I tried really, really hard to keep her out of Blythe's bedroom, because Blythe doesn't like Cora in there messing with her precious things.  Cora disappeared from the main floor, so I went up looking for her.  I found her in Blythe's bed, clutching Arctic Tundra, a white tiger Beanie Boo, pretending to be asleep.  She was faker snoring.  When I tried to take her picture, she hid.  I brought her back downstairs where she remained for a bit, but then she disappeared again.  Again I found her in Blythe's bed.  She let me take a picture the second time.  I got her out of bed and locked Blythe's bedroom door as we went back downstairs.  That Cora is a real character.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


I love the recent change in the Church that does away with visiting and home teaching and now focuses on ministering.  While the Relief Society made that focus change at the beginning of the year, I appreciate that it has become a Church-wide initiative for all members.  Kent has always been good at ministering, I've tried to be good at ministering, and I'm wanting the children to learn early to be good ministers.

On Wednesday, I got ambitious and made bread.  I don't do it very often because it always seems like a production, but I pulled out the recipe from Camme Cox I've had for years, and gave it a go.  I mixed everything up in the Kitchen Aid, set it out to rise, did some other stuff as it sat on the counter, formed it into loaves after an hour or so, let it sit a bit more on the counter in loaf pans, then baked it.  It was all fairly simple and the results were terrific.  Four beautiful loaves of bread came out of the oven, one for us and three to give away.

Linda Pugmire had surgery on her shoulder on Monday, but she wouldn't let me bring her dinner.  What's the next best thing?  A warm loaf of bread.  Kent and Brandt had scouts, so Blythe and I wandered down to the Pugmire's house with our bread, to have a visit and see how surgery went.  Blythe likes the Pugmires, especially Taylor, so she came happily along.  We were with them for about half an hour, and then Blythe was ready to go.  

We had a second loaf to give to the Heiners whose two and a half year old granddaughter died last week and whose funeral was on a week ago Friday.  They had been in Michigan before the funeral, and I wanted to show them a bit of love.  The Heiners weren't home, but their daughter Kirsten, her husband Eric, and their three boys were home, outside playing in the yard.  We delivered bread to them and talked for a couple of minutes, then Blythe hit her talking tolerance level and asked if we could go.  We did.

As we began to walk home, Blythe asked, "Mom, why did we have to make visits tonight?  Couldn't you just have called people to talk to them?"

This is a great question and I wanted to give her a great answer.  "Blythe," I replied, "if you ever get the impression that you should give someone a call, you should do it.  That is a good way to keep in touch and see how people are doing.  But if you take time to put aside all the things you have on your To-Do list, it's even better.  Everyone is busy and everyone knows that everyone is busy.  We all have lots of things that need to be done.  So if you actually show up at someone's house to see them, they know that you are setting aside all your "to-dos" to be with them.  They know that you think they are more important than anything else you've got going on.  That's ministering in the way that Jesus did.  He made time for individual people, and we should, too."

We still had an extra loaf of bread sitting on the counter, and as we walked up the street, Blythe said, "What are we going to do with the last loaf of bread?  Can I give it to Sister Cutler?"  Elizabeth Cutler lives across the street from us, was Blythe's Primary teacher last year, and currently employs Blythe to help her dust and do other projects around her house once a week.  Elizabeth's mother is 97, in very poor health, but lives four hours away in Springdell.  Elizabeth has been spending every other week with her mother to give her sister some relief from caring for her mother.  It's been difficult for Elizabeth and Blythe recognized that.  I agreed that a loaf of bread to Sister Cutler would be wonderful, and she carried it over herself, making a little visit and doing her own ministering.  

Then this afternoon, Kent took Blythe for a scooter ride.  They were gone for quite a while, longer than I would have thought a scooter ride should last.  When they got back, Blythe came in and said, "Sorry we were so long.  Dad and I were ministering."

"Oh!" I replied.  "Who were you ministering to?"

"Saneh," Blythe said.  Saneh is a widow who lives around the corner with her somewhat mentally impaired son.  She loves Blythe and Blythe loves her.  "She was outside in the front yard," Blythe continued, "and we stopped to talk to her.  We invited her to come over and have mango ice cream with us tonight."  

We've been planning on having ice cream, so it was okay that she made the invitation.  In fact, it would have been okay even if I wasn't planning on making mango ice cream, because I love that she could see that Saneh needed an invitation to come to our house and visit.  She and Willy both came, along with the Pugmires, and we sat outside on the patio and talked as we enjoyed our ice cream.  It was a lovely evening, and I was delighted by our Blythe's sweet spirit.  She is learning she can be a positive influence on others and do good.  I'm going to continue having her minister with me so that when she turns fourteen and can be an official ministering sister, it will already be second nature to her.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Mountains to Climb

Today in spin, Amy Woffinden said, "Strength comes with mountains." I've been feeling the truth of this over the past several weeks as Kent and I have been struggling with mountains of adversity that are weighing us down. We've felt overwhelmed, stressed, and almost crushed. We recognize, however, that it is during these times of adversity and challenge that our faith in Jesus Christ can be strengthened if we will just turn to him. I read a wonderful talk by President Henry B. Eyring this morning called "Mountains to Climb." He quotes President Kimball who said,
“There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”
We have not asked for the challenges. They are mountains I don't want to be climbing, much like I don't enjoy climbing mountains on my bike. I look for ways to avoid them when I'm riding. But the road we travel is never always flat, and Kent and I are gaining wonderful experience and compassion for others who suffer. We are drawing great strength from each other, and from the temple. We have felt God's love and know that He will not forsake us. He never has. He never will.
Elder Eyring says, "Now, I wish to encourage those who are in the midst of hard trials, who feel their faith may be fading under the onslaught of troubles. Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith. If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word."
I know this is true. I don't love the mountain we're climbing, but I love the Lord, I love his son, Jesus Christ, and I will rely on them. Climbing a mountain is always better with someone by your side to climb with you, and there is no better companion than our Savior.


We've got a very busy day tomorrow, so we're cleaning the house today. The kids don't love it.  But I don't much care and I'm having them help.  I asked Brandt to vacuum, but wanted him to do a very thorough job.  I had him get down on the floor and vacuum under the couch, getting out all the dust bunnies and oochilas.  He didn't love it, but I loved seeing him work hard.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Our Big Boy

When I got home from spin this morning, I sat in the library and read my scriptures.  Brandt came down after his shower, and came in to say good morning.  He sat down on my lap for a cuddle.  He doesn't fit on my lap anymore.  He's a big boy.  In fact, sitting on my lap, he feels enormous.  His head was above mine, his legs hung down almost to the floor, and he was heavy!  But I love that he will still come sit on my lap and snuggle, even though it's painful.  I love our boy and hope he'll keep snuggling with me forever.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Silly Selfie

Found this picture on my phone.  
Brandt has bed head.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Shopping Production

It's spring break, we are going nowhere and doing nothing, but we did need groceries today, so we went to the store.  We went with Mikayla and her crew, meaning we were shopping with five children.  Five!  While my children can take care of themselves and don't run off down the aisles, they do ask me every aisle if they can have something they see.  Beef jerky, Gatorade, marshmallows, chips, cheese and crackers, candy bars, bacon, ice cream, popsicles, straws, miniature cars, Beanie Boos, new toothbrushes.  It never stops.  Drives me absolutely crazy.  It would have been much nicer if we could have left my children in charge of Mikayla's children, but they aren't quite old enough for that, so we all went.  We did get food purchased.  We did not get any of the items requested.  We came away with everyone we arrived with.  All in all, it was a successful expedition.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Iditarod Party

Blythe and Lily Bradford

Today was the culminating event of the Iditarod unit that Blythe has been doing in school.  Mrs. Harrington loves the Iditarod, so her class does all sorts of fun things while The Last Great Race is going on.  Each student is assigned a musher that they follow as they race.  They read stories about the race and watched videos and learned a super irritating song that sticks with you long after the unit is over, the chorus of which says, "I did, I did, I did the Iditarod trail."  So fun!  

Today was the Iditarod party.  The students went after school for a party in their classroom.  They could wear their pajamas and bring blankets, and then they partied.  Here is Blythe's report.
When we went in, we got to play in the halls.  We could either slide on the floor or we could get on a blanket and have someone pull us around the halls.  Then we ate pizza and got juice and chips.  When we were done eating we got to go back out and play a little bit.  Then we went back in our classroom, got cozy, and watched Snow Buddies.  The movie is about six golden retrievers who went into an ice cream truck and then got accidentally shipped to the Iditarod.  We got to eat gorp while we watched the movie.
There you have it.  A super fun evening with school friends, miles from Alaska, celebrating the adventuring spirit of people and their dogs.

Costco Run

Mikayla and I made a run to Costco today.  Brick was in school so we only had two children.  That's still plenty!  Cora likes to get a flatbed cart, but she isn't at all contained when she's riding on it.  In an effort to keep her close by, I had her help me push.  Sort of.  She spent most of the time away from the cart, marching down the aisles.

In looking at these pictures, I can't help but say,
"What the heck am I wearing?  What's up with the running shoes and skirt?"
How embarrassing!