Monday, July 27, 2009

Many Somebodys Love Us -

This came in a package this past week from Lily @ Lily's Life Is Great. Click on the name to get to her blog. She has a bunch of fab raffle items to raise money for Praying for Parker. Thanks for the teacup, Lily! It came from her Mom's teacup collection which makes it all the more special. Lily's Mom and I used to work together advocating for people with Down syndrome.

From my Cookie friend Chris back east. She was in an antique store and thought of
The Love Magnet when she saw these. They came as a very big surprise in the mail. The Love Magnet's response when she saw them? "Your Cookie sure does love you, Mom."
Yep, I think she does. Thanks, Auntie Cookie Chris!

From my BFF college friend, Sooz. Sooz is a Kindred Spirit. Writer of fine stories, illustrator extraordinaire (although she would beg to differ), spouter of trivia you never knew you needed to know. She is also a great supplier of............

sundry items we never knew we needed for a birthday tea party. We are so glad that Sooz is here to educate us. Notice the fabulous Swedish cookies, the cranberry-orange English tea scones, and the chocolate topped mushroom pretzel thingies. Sooz introduced me to chocolate-topped mushroom pretzel thingies on my last trip to visit her in the grand very-Northwest. I've dreamt about those ever since.

Apparently, though, Sooz held out during my last trip. She also sent me this:

Oh, rapture divine. Oh, swoon! Oh!

Oh 65% bittersweet chocolate with candied hazelnut pieces! Where have you been in the past 40 years of my existence?! I had to nibble even before I took a picture. I could not resist! (BTW, this confection pairs perfectly with song 503 from Angels and Demons on my play list. Scroll down and skip to that song. Then come back and gaze at all the chocolate goodness.....)

The Love Magnet came and saw me with this piece of Heaven in my hands. She asked if she could have some. I was a good mom and sent her back to finish her dinner first. (I was a bad Mom, because I meant to hide it and hope she would forget it. After all, what almost 7 year old could possibly fully appreciate Charles Chocolates?)

Not to worry. The Love Magnet remembered the Chocolate-topped mushroom pretzel thingies from my last trip to visit Sooz.

She has laid claim to them. I am not allowed to touch them until the birthday tea party.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just in time for her birthday next week.......

Uh, oh.
Apparently, cutting off your bangs 1 1/2 months ago is just not enough of a makeover when you are about to turn 7. After all, 7 is a big age. A new adjustment.
Turning 7 automatically creates a midlife crisis.
Must do something wild and crazy so you can feel young again!

Maybe she was going for the Mona Lisa eyebrow-less look.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shelf Reliance Giveaway

Shelf Reliance is giving away a 2-person 72 hour kit. For description and details, click here.

Sorry I have not posted recently. Life is crazy again with two weeks left of school, a professor who doesn't believe in giving out A's, and a birthday party in the works for The Love Magnet. I will post soon.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

This week I'm grateful that there were no injuries on our hike. I was a bit worried when I was trying to help The Love Magnet down a steep incline that we found out later was meant for mountain bikes. We almost slid down head first.

I started a youth choir in our ward today. There were six enthusiastic girls and three boys (two who were my own sons). A small group considering the amount of youth we have in our congregation. But it was a good start and they gamely plowed through the song. It was wild, rambunctious and, honestly, a bit frustrating considering how much practice time was lost due to joking around. But I was grateful that those kids were willing to sing. I hope we can get more to participate.

While we are at it, I am so very grateful that my boys know how to sing. And they sound great. I know, it's a pride thing. I'm allowed - I am the mom, after all.

This week I met the tutor who will be working with Thirdborn starting next week. I like her very much. Mrs. S is sweet and funny, a grandmotherly character with whom I think Thirdborn will bond instantly. She will be using a combination of homework, computers, and games using his favorite subjects such as science, dinosaurs, and weather. I am so eager for this to work for our son. I am grateful that we are putting Thirdborn through this learning center program. I pray that it helps. (Please keep us in your prayers, too.)

I made it through my English Technical writing class. Still waiting to know my grade on the final report, but I did earn 100 on my last exam. I did learn a lot from this class that will be useful when I am a speech therapist (oh, happy day when that comes!). I was surprised when I discovered that it would be one of the toughest classes I've had to date. I didn't always love the challenge but I was grateful for the experience. I definitely was given the chance to grow.

Yesterday, Mr. Wonderful and I went to the temple with two other couples from our ward. It was a chance to get to know them better. The temple was so peaceful. I needed that opportunity to shut out the outside world and to serve and to worship. Afterwards we had dinner together, lingering long after the meal was over, talking and laughing. It was a wonderfully relaxing date night. I am grateful new good friends. I'm sure we will be going out with them again.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I took my kids on a hike this week. The first hike I have ever initiated. Without Mr. Wonderful. What was I thinking? The things I do to try to keep my kids safe from boredom during summer vacation. We got lost before we even got there. I really should get a Garmin for my car. It would have been helpful.
With water bottles, sunscreen, and collapsible dog dish in a backpack, we took off on a two mile loop. Smith Nation would have been proud. Secondborn took point and insisted on carrying the backpack and hanging onto Doggie Girl's leash. He pointed out wildlife and kept an eye out for poison ivy (I really don't think poison ivy grows in that area). Thirdborn would yell whenever he saw anything and scared all the poor critters away before I got there. The Love Magnet did her best to keep up with the boys.

Hiking in the desert is fun. Hot. Dusty. Mosquito-y.

The kids and I were having a great time. The kids learned quickly that when I yelled "move to the side!" that they had better obey quickly or risk getting run over by mountain bikers. We found a part of the trail that was only open to hikers. Much safer. We stopped at a bridge for a photo. I love this pic, too bad it's blurry.

The flowers and butterflies were gorgeous.

Thirborn wanted to explore every single creek we came across.

The Love Magnet grew tired and started working her magic. She had Secondborn wrapped around her finger. He lifted her up to sit on a fence so she could drink her water. She then asked if he would carry her the rest of the way (along with the backpack and excited dog.) I told her that she was perfectly capable of walking on her own. That didn't stop her from trying to convince him.

A two mile hike took almost two hours. We survived. We did not get lost. There were no injuries or poison ivy rashes or snake bites (Thirdborn was determined to find a snake). It was so much fun that the kids have voted that we go on a hike once a week for the rest of summer. Looks like I had better research day hikes.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

First of all I am grateful that my family had a safe and fun Independence Day celebration. Watching professional fireworks meant that no one had burned fingers this year. We had a great time being with my dear Auntie and Uncle who act as surrogate grandparents while ours are in the next state.

I'm grateful that I earned a 94/100 on my report rough draft in Technical Writing this past week. I only have minor changes to make before I submit it as my final report this weekend. There is no final exam. After this the class is done. While technical writing is not my favorite subject, I have enjoyed the learning process. Being able to go back to school has been such a blessing to me. This was my first Internet class and I missed the personal interaction between professor and students that comes with a regular classroom.

I'm thankful for the memories I've had this week of my grandparents. The smell from chopping up fresh dill for the potato salad reminded me of my Grandma S. In the grocery store parking lot I saw a gentleman who looked and dressed like my Grandpa S (all the way to the tractor ball cap) and was even driving the same make of Grandpa's old 'Hod truck (old Hod was Grandpa's nickname when he worked at Kennecott Copper). Standing at the barbecue reminded me of my Grandpa B who grilled the best steaks when he would come visit us when I was a child. I need to call my Grandma B and tell her how much I love her.

This week we found a huge sectional that worked for our house and fits everyone in our family. It is now in my family room. With our house in Utah finally sold, I can start decorating here. I'm grateful that we found a piece of furniture well within our price range. Now to start hanging art.

I am so thankful that we were able to get Medicaid for our daughter. Our insurance changed this month and doesn't cover nearly what it did before. Medicaid will enable us to continue her doctor visits to cardiology, rheumatology, get her yearly checks for leukemia and celiac, flu shots (at least I think it covers flu shots, I will have to see) and all the other medical things she requires. While her med issues are not nearly as great as Parker's, her insurance file in my file cabinet is more than twice as thick as the rest of the family put together.

I am grateful for this incredible country where my kids can go to school without the worry of affording tuition or uniforms. I'm grateful for clean water, garbage service, and reliable electricity. I'm thankful for medical services that have all the equipment and supplies they need. I'm thankful for police and fire departments. I am grateful that gas is affordable so I can drive to Utah to visit family without breaking the bank. I pray for our country every single day that our leaders will be wise and have integrity.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Celebrating the 4th of July in a small town

This year we decided not to go into the big city near us to attend the fair and festivities and to see the professional fireworks. We opted instead for hometown fun.

Barbecue Pork Tenderloin and Slaw Hoagies , Green Bean and Tomato salad, what I believe to be the Best potato salad , and Pineapple Coconut Cookies . Mmmmmmm, delish! Click on the titles to see the recipes. And then go and make them next week. Especially the Pineapple Coconut cookies. There are no pics because we INHALED them. That David Lebovitz is a very talented guy.
My boys tossed the football together. (Why, oh why can't they take off their socks or put on their shoes in the great outdoors? Why must they put grass stains and holes in every pair of socks they own?)

At least they were getting along. I have photographic proof.

Dear Doggie Girl wanted so badly to join in the fun. We didn't dare let her off her leash as there were two pit bulls just up the hill who wanted to tear her apart. Their owners kept them leashed and we did the same.

After our picnic we took off to.........

......the ol' swimming hole. (We have a neighborhood pool, but apparently swimming here is much more least that is what Thirdborn says.)

Doggie Girl loved swimming out to fetch her ball.

Secondborn and Thirdborn had races to see who could cross the pond the first.

Soon is was time to run home for a quick shower and change and to leave Doggie Girl at home. Then we traveled about 20 minutes to an even smaller town for a fireworks show. One of Mr. Wonderful's coworkers is a licensed pyromaniac (is that their official title?) and does firework shows around the valley. His hometown show is right next to an elementary school. Perfect for keeping kids busy on the playground while we're waiting for the sun to go down.

The Love Magnet swung with Mr. Wonderful......

...before trying a few Super Girl moves on her own.

The sky grew dark.

The Love Magnet does not like fireworks. She tried hiding between Mr. Wonderful and Firstborn before the fireworks show started. It didn't satisfy her criteria for safety so she cuddled in my arms and put my hands over her ears.

We oooohed. We ahhhhed.

The Love Magnet was very brave. She didn't cry this year and even watched the fireworks as long as I kept my hands over her ears. That made it difficult to juggle the camera for a few fireworks pics.

Halfway into the show, the school field sprinklers came on. Families grabbed their gear and dashed into the parking lot. Everyone was wet. No more firework photos from a damp camera. The show went on. The finale was great.
You'll have to trust me about that.

Friday, July 03, 2009

I've been in my hidey-hole.......

......trying to get an insanely wicked 12- page math problem sets (Marsenne Primes, anyone?)finished along with a big rough draft of my final report (which really is the entire final) done for my English Tech class. I know that math wouldn't be difficult for most of you but I am math-challenged. The good news - I received a 94 on my rough draft.

I will post tomorrow night. I'm planning a fab picnic to watch fireworks. Pictures of food and family will be forthcoming.

I've missed you all.

hugs and kisses and more hugs