Thursday, November 7, 2013

It’s Hump Day!


Our middle son, Tyler, has been serving a mission in Peru for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He left for the Missionary Training Center on November 7, 2012.  Today is the half way point—it’s all downhill from here!

Except.  I don’t think he’s quite as excited about the prospect of coming home in a year.  This is what we said when we congratulated him on a year served:  “So it's not my year mark yet so you can't even say that yet.  Everyone just hold your horses, I'm still in the first half of my mission.”

Um. OK. Whatever. 

I was walking with my friend this morning—we’ve walked together for years—and I told her it was a year today since Tyler left.  I saw her think about it and I immediately cut her off:  “Don’t say, ‘It seems like he just left!’”  I could just see her thinking about it.  She smiled and said, “Ok, I won’t.”

In fact, we miss him more than we can say.  Missionaries can send and receive email once a week.  We live for those Monday emails!  Other than that, we get phonecalls (or Skype!) twice a year on Mother’s Day and Christmas.

When I share with other mothers not of my faith that my son is in Peru for two years and we only get to personally talk twice a year, the response is universally the same:

“I could never do that.”

But they could if they knew what I knew.  There was an interesting article I read this week (you can find it HERE).  I agree, but I think this is only part of it, at least for me, since I’m not quite as fully evolved and pesky practical matters always get into my head to join the party.  Anyway, that’s a post for another day. 

Today  I want to celebrate Tyler’s journey to date (the Bachelor/Bachelorette tv show has totally ruined the word “journey”.   Now it always just seems trite and cheesy.  Don’t ask me how I know that). 


Missionaries demonstrating their geography skills!


Peru! (December 11, 2012)


What it’s all about--this is the moment right here!  Making covenants to follow Christ.




Local Cuisine


Don’t look too closely…



Making friends. (Watch your hand, monkey! Someone might want to put it into soup)


Too cute for words.


Sometimes it rains.


Thumbs up! (the quintessential missionary pose)


Nueva Cajamarca


Old school baptism.


That your burden might be light.

It’s been a year of discovery, a year of faith, a year of service, a year of love.

Matthew 10:39 

He that findeth his life shall lose it:  and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Egads! It Might be Seafoam!

I’ve wanted to redo the downstairs bathroom nearly since the day after it was last painted in 2010.  I had picked out a moss green and let the painter paint the ceiling the same color.  The small half-bath was totally overwhelmed by the dark color.  The vanity was a natural maple color, very light by comparison.  Also, the painter, in his haste to complete the job in that airless space, used the outside trim color of white to touch up the baseboards that were clearly not white.   Swiss Coffee and white can not be more different!  (OK, I may be a little bitter about that little snafu, but I was done with the painters by the time they left.  If you want something done right, yada yada).   

It was not a happy place.

Lately I have been drawn to the colors in this placemat (minus the smear of guacamole or whatever that green smudge is):


I love the combination of turquoise blue and cocoa brown, so I decided to use those colors to redo the bathroom.  I spent weeks with paint chips on the wall.  I picked one (that incidentally no one else preferred) because it exactly matched the bottom left color in the placemat and would brighten up the space.

I started by righting a wrong and touching up the trim in the correct color:  Swiss Coffee.  I also repainted the ceiling in the same color.  Good thing it’s small, my arms got really tired!

Then I painted the walls.  Do you know how painful it is to paint a small bathroom?  There’s corners and edges and fixtures and….jeesh!  I had to be a contortionist to get some of the areas!

So then it was this:


And all of the sudden, my contemporary and trendy turquoise looked decidedly….


Yikes!  I had visions of bad 1990’s southwest decorating, the allure of which I admit I have previously succumbed to.

This is not my house, but I may or may not have had a living room decorated very similarly at one time.  Incidentally, this photo comes from a website named   Ouch. 

Could it be that my modern day turquoise harkens back to seafoam green? (Not to self: do not buy mauve towels!)

My family all nodded yes, assertively.  I dragged all my friends through that small bathroom to boost my confidence that the color was NOT, in fact, seafoam.  They asserted that the color was definitely turquoise and oh so beautiful and very NOW.  (My friends also tell me my butt doesn’t look big even though I know it does.  I think friends should do that for friends and I was kind of banking on that.  Just saying.)

Did I mention how painful it is to paint a half bathroom?

No choice in my mind but to continue on.

So I painted the vanity cocoa brown and added brown towels:


OK.  Much better.  It will have to do until the next trendy color comes along.  (Because, by then I will have forgotten how painful it is to paint a small bathroom).  Still could be slightly pastel.

I blame the Swiss Coffee.

Friday, October 25, 2013

School Pictures

Bryce_2011 9th

Back in the day…

We dressed up for school photos.

We ordered lots of wallet-sized photos.  We would sign the backs and trade them with our friends.  We kept them in our wallets.  Kind of a manual Facebook if you will.

My mom kept a book with all the 8X10s in chronological order of my brother and I.

Bryce_2002  K

Things have changed.

I was happy if the boys wore clean tshirts that did not have superheroes or monster trucks on them (elementary school) and that still had the sleeves intact (high school).

Bryce_2004 2ndBryce_2005 3rd

Bryce came home from school a few weeks ago and announced disgustedly that he was the ONLY one in his class that had ordered school pictures and how embarrassed he was.  He instructed that I was never again allowed to order school pictures.  His reputation just couldn’t take the hit.

Bryce_2013 11th

I think it’s a cumulative reaction.  I don’t think he’s quite over last year’s experience when the teacher snidely remarked that “Bryce must really like pictures” when he passed out photos.  There was some glitch and the photographer printed waaaaaay more than what I had ordered (or paid for).  And the packets kept coming.  And coming.

Bryce_2012 school  2Bryce_2012 school 3Bryce_2012 school 4Bryce_2012 school  5

Seriously, we could have wrapped all of our Christmas presents last year in Bryce’s photos.

I thought it was funny.

He did not. Oh humiliation.

Besides, I told him to chill.  He’s a junior this year.  It’s the last time he’ll have to endure such degradation.

Bryce_2010 8th

Plus, I have to finish my book of 8X10s.

Except all of those photos—17 years of school pictures-- are all still sitting on my desk.

Bryce_2008 6th

I’m sure I’ll get to it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Why Do I Do This?

It is common in our church to feed families when crisis hits.  Loss of job?  Illness?  New baby?  For all of those reasons and many more, we have a whole army ready to bring you food.  One time I mentioned that my son was home with the sniffles and later that afternoon my family was treated to the most delicious, homemade fried chicken dinner.  In most cases we can’t give any real help with the underlying problem, but we can express our love by nurturing your family and relieving you from one aspect of day to day tedium.  I’m sure this is common in other churches as well, but I do believe we may have elevated this act of service to Olympic proportions. We’ve got organizations and systems to accomplish this.

Our little congregation has recently been hard hit by many tragic circumstances—testicular cancer, leukemia, breast cancer, bicycling accident.  People we love are hurting--emotionally and physically.  Of course I would do my part!

This is where this post doesn’t make me look very good.  You see, I often sign up for bringing dinner to someone and, well, I almost always regret doing so.

I have grand intentions.  I plan what I’ll make and think, “Oh, I’ll just double what I was going to make for my family anyway.  It won’t be any bother at all!”  Except, it always ends up being a bother.  I’m always late getting started and things always take longer than I think.  I want it to be hot when it arrives to the other family but then I don’t want my family’s dinner to be ruined.  Timing it all to finish at the same time isn’t my strong suit anyway.

I’ll arrange a time to bring dinner and find that I’m rushing at the end for it to cook and then to package it (in things the family won’t have to worry about returning—like they need to be worried about THAT on top of everything else!).  Inevitably I’m 15-20 minutes late which means I’m hot, sweaty, rushed and usually have burns on at least two fingers by the time I arrive.  I woosh in and leave it all on the counter and get the heck out of there because I’m so embarrassed to be so late.  Truth be told, I’m also usually unsure of what to say in these instances so I hurry to leave.

Every time I think in my mad rush, “Why?  Why did I sign up for this?”  I think about all of the other sisters who are willing, happy and so much more capable to do this.  I imagine that I am the only one—IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD—that this is hard for.  I must make it too complex or it’s an internal fatal flaw that makes it especially difficult for me.

Why do I do this to myself?

I had this happen to me about a month ago.  I thought about never signing up to do dinners again.  And then I had the sweetest experience.  I brought dinner in and the mom and kids were so appreciative. They fawned over everything I brought and swore that they were all of their favorites.  THEY engaged ME in conversation—they shared their hopes and fears about what was going on.  THEY opened up to me and I felt loved and welcomed.  They did everything for me that I should have been doing for them (besides the food part).  I felt the SPIRIT so strongly in their home.

I left food, but I was the one who was fed.

Why do I do this?

I do it because I’m selfish.  I need to have that feeling.  I need to sacrifice.  Sacrifice is the very essence of service.  I don’t want to float through life always being comfortable.  I want to dig in and leave myself open to frustration because then I can truly know joy. 

It’s such a little thing.  Dinner.  But by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Scenes from Teaching Bryce to Drive

Yep, that most favorite of parenting chores…driver’s training.

First Drive 021713

Oh, how I dread that first month!

But it’s all good, we’re nearing the home stretch.

One time, he was making a left hand turn across traffic and he says:

“Sometimes I feel like I’m in a game of Frogger”

Yes, yes it does…

Dirty Laundry

I love doing laundry.


I think it may have started when our laundry room moved upstairs.  My washer and dryer used to be in the garage (not exactly a laundry ROOM).  I used to collect the clothes from the hampers upstairs and just throw the clothes over the banister to land with a *PLOP* in the entry way where I would then separate the piles.  There they would stay all day until I got through all the piles.  Not a good day to receive visitors.


{bannister, back in the day}


{present day entry way}

And don’t even get me started on getting the clean clothes (did I mention that the clothes were being washed in the GARAGE??) back up the stairs and folded, etc. etc.

It was a good day when we created an actual room INSIDE THE HOUSE where laundry could be processed in a bright and clean room, right next to where the clothes are!

Picture 013

It was an even better day when the hubster gave me a little tv for the laundry room on Mother’s Day one year.  Guilt free viewing.  Suddenly, everything was getting folded right away.  I can’t explain it.  Genius on his part, I think.

Anyway.  I know I may have ranted on occasion about laundry: HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE {um, I guess this is a theme for me, maybe counseling is in order}.  I really do love the whole process.  The gathering, the sorting, the spot removing, the processing, the folding, the stacking.  BUT NOT the putting away.  I don’t love that part, I don’t know why.

I love that it can all be done in a day and for a brief moment, everything can be CLEAN.  It’s a very orderly process.   And, I can immediately see progress!  At the end there is this bar graph of clothing and linen stacks.  It’s better than a crossed out “To-Do” list (which I also love, by the way).

It takes little thought to do the laundry, so it’s a great time to think and process and plan for the week (and to watch the Bachelorette without snide comments from the peanut gallery—GIVE LOVE A CHANCE!  Sheesh). 

I’ve talked about football laundry, and it is truly gross.  But today when I’m only doing laundry for Jeff and I (Bryce is in Utah with his brother), I must say I wouldn’t mind a little football laundry to do.

One time when Tyler was home from school, I gathered his laundry as usual and began washing it.  He told me, “Mom, I can do that.  You don’t have to do that for me.”  He didn’t understand that I actually wanted to do his laundry for him.  It’s an act of love for me.  I love to take care of my boys.* 

*Disclaimer:  I don’t love cleaning their pee off the toilets.  True story.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mayhem on the 2nd Floor


This is Zoey.

2012-01-23 16.41.45

She hangs out with this guy a lot.


For some reason she likes Sparky even though he rules with in iron paw.  He bosses her around constantly.


Here he is guarding the door to “his” room.  If she attempts to cross the border he’ll snarl and bark at her.


Despite that, she is sunny and optimistic.

Sometimes she’ll mind him and sometimes she’ll just toss her head and do whatever she wants anyway. 

But she always acknowledges his dominance.


It’s hard being on the bottom of the food chain.

But she has discovered there are some in our household that are lower than her.


This is Teddy and Bear. 

They live in the room where boys used to live.  It’s directly above my office.

Zoey doesn’t like them.  Can’t stand them.

Sometimes I can hear what sounds like herds of elephants galloping (do elephants gallop?) through the rooms and hallways upstairs.

It will go on for several minutes and cross from one side of the upstairs to the other and back again.  And again.

Later, when I go upstairs, this is what I’ll inevitably find:


I imagine her going in and staring them down.

“Waddaya lookin’ at?”

“Oh yeah?”

“Oh YEAH?”

They rumble and then, POW! before they know it, they’re flat on their backs.

She takes them down daily.

She seems all innocent when we’re in the room together, sitting them back in their chair, like they don’t bug her at all.


But she can’t leave them alone.  They never stay in their chair for very long.

It’s kind of a game that we play.

Today was especially bad.  This is what I found.



Poor Labrador.  This isn’t his fight.  He never even saw her coming.