Friday, November 27, 2009

Of Stargate and White Collars

Well, the new Stargate Universe is a big disappointment. This last episode (the last one Curtis and I will be watching) was one of those shows that had a lot of potential and you keep watching it hoping it will get better...and it doesn't...until finally the show is over and you feel icky inside and wished you'd turned it off at the first sign of trouble. Sigh...we will eventually get it! The episode had two bedroom scenes, an affair, a guy who found out he is the father of an illigitimate son and the mother is a dancer, and a gay couple kissing. The producers managed to pack all of that into a 45 minute show. Amazing...and disgusting.

On the upside, Devin (Curtis' brother) recommended a show that Curtis and I have both been thoroughly enjoying--"White Collar." It is basically about a criminal master forger who is let out of jail to help solve crimes. There is a fun side story about this fellow's girlfriend who supposedly left him, but she has left behind all these clues for him that lead up to...something... we don't know yet. Anyway, fun show.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Of Peeps and Turkeys was one of those days...I don't know why but I was bordering on irritable all day. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Maile, who in the past has been able to stay dry for a week at a time, for some reason the last couple of days can't be bothered to trot herself to the potty seat when she has to go. Cleaning up messes gets old REALLY fast, although I will count my blessings in that we have wood floors that are easy to mop!

In other, better news, I got most of Thanksgiving dinner ready this morning, so I should just have to pop it in the oven tomorrow. Curtis helped with the turkey. I am always nervous about doing turkeys, because they are such a big thing to mess up, and I've only ever done a couple of them. That's the great thing about having someone help you with it--then the other guy can take the blame if something goes wrong with it! Oh yeah, and what's up with the time you are supposed to cook it? Our turkey packaging said about 8 hours at 325 but the oven bag package said 4 hours at 350. Which one is right? Eeks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hello, Winter!

Well, they say there are a five or six life changing events that cause major stress in people's lives. Curtis and I are doing three of them within a year--having a kid, moving, and changing jobs. I think we are crazy. We have been busy, busy, getting the house spiffed up to sell. I am very grateful for this distraction, as I tend to get the winter blues and it has been chilly, chilly here! San Diego is lookin' so good right about now! Only one more winter of death, baby! (Don't I have a great attitude, though?!) Thank goodness for the holiday season. I don't know what I would do if there wasn't something like that to look forward to!

Life is good, though. I've got an amazing family, and a particularly wonderful husband.

In pregnancy news, things are looking pretty good, relatively speaking. I am 25 weeks along right now. Thus far the baby has only had to have one blood transfusion (thank goodness!), but they are going to start me on steroid shots this coming week to mature the baby's lungs in case she has to be delivered early. I already know Curtis is going to give me a hard time about the steroids. There will be no living with him after that! Hee!Hee!

Anyway, I have not been waxing particularly philosophical lately, so I don't have much to say at the moment. Mostly I am just tired and want to sleep...boring, I know! Wake me up when spring is here!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Of Killing Mockingbirds

I recently finished reading "To Kill A Mockingbird." I enjoyed it--finished it in one day, actually, but I don't know that it's one I would read a second time. (There are, in fact, very few books I read more then once, since there are so many delightful books out there just awaiting my perusal!)

Anyway, I had a few thoughts as I read the book. First of all, I am amazed at how "good Christians" can be so bigotted. Secondly, it blows my mind that bigotry is still even around! I remember when we lived in little Farmer City, IL, there was a black family that moved in on the outskirts of town. I remember Dad in particular went out of his way to make them feel welcome, and invited their kids to come over to our house and play, etc. Unfortunately, not every one in the town felt the same way Dad did, and a short time later, some one broke into their house and sprayed grafitti all over the place. I remember just being disgusted with whoever could be so narrow minded in our "age of enlightenment" that they would stoop to doing something like that. Part of it I imagine, is that many of the residents in Farmer City were uneducated, and/or had been living in the same place all their lives, and thus had a very narrow view of the world. (Not that it has to be that way--I know you can live in one place your whole life and still have a broad viewpoint of the world!) Anyway, as I think about it though...I guess it was only a relatively short time ago that desegregation took place. I watched a couple of documentaries several months ago about Martin Luther King and his movement of "peaceful rebellion." They were fascinating, and I have a great respect for him and the others involved in all of that. I guess before I watched those documentaries though, I didn't realize that all of that happened just shortly before I was born. It seems like it would have happened such a long time ago!

I have a few more thoughts on that book, but I will jot them down later if I get around to it.

Changing the subject...Curtis and I went to the hospital today again expecting another blood transfusion, but they did the ultrasound and the baby looked well enough that they decided they could hold off one more week. Good news. BTW, our doctor is an amazing person. He is from South Africa, and has an MD in a highly specialized field, and a PhD. He is a pilot and flies his own plane up here from Salt Lake once a week, and in his spare time he runs marathons. I think I heard from one of the nurses that his wife is a doctor as well, and he's got two kids, besides. WOW! These are things I have just picked up in passing...I'm curious what else he does! It makes me wonder if I am aiming too low with my life's ambitions. Maybe I need to step things up a notch!

In other news, I know probably nobody cares but me, but I'm going to write it anyway. Maile is just about there with her potty training! Hallelujah! She is still working on going #2 in the toilet, but she's pretty much got #1 down.

Speaking of Maile, she is such a tease. She definitely takes after her mom...and her Dad...and brother, for that matter! The other day we were sitting on the couch together. She had a little bottle of red juice in her hands. She looked at me out of the corner of her eye to see if I was paying attention to her (which I was, but she didn't know it!). She then stuck her finger in the juice, pulled it out, and said; "Mom, I'm bleeeeeding! I need a band-aid!" Hee hee! I love my kids. They make me smile!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Of Apples and Buckeyes

What a fantastic fall day! After being at the hospital for six hours yesterday (yech!) I was anxious to get out with the kids and enjoy the best season of the year in Rexburg. We took a walk over to the gardens at BYU-I (abslolutly beautiful--I want a yard like that someday!) and then moseyed up to the orchard, where we filled a bag with apples. After paying for our apples, we then moseyed back to the gardens, found a nice spot by a waterfall and munched on muffins and apples together. It was so pleasant, and the kids were fantastic.

While walking Arden to school afterwards, we found a buckeye tree! It brought back memories from when I was a kid. I remember Ben and Charity and I had found a bunch of buckeyes somewhere, and we each had our private stash which we kept carefully hidden from the others. I remember I hid mine in the closet in the bathroom one day, and I was so mad when Ben unlocked the door, sneaked in, and found my hidden buckeyes, all without me having a clue! Grrrrr! Anyway, fun times, fun times. Arden and Maile picked up quite a few. Arden wanted to set up a stand and charge people a buck for a buckeye. I convinced him that it would be a much better idea to just give them to his friends. (-:

After dropping Arden off at school, Maile and I went over to our neighbor's to do her hair and nails. She is the sweetest lady, but she has alzheimers, so she doesn't get out much. It was so fun to have Maile help me shampoo her hair and stuff--Maile also did a great job on the nails, as well. (Although I will admit it is a good thing we used clear polish!) I love my little sweetheart!

Anyway, it was a fun day, although I still have mounds of clean laundry to fold. Maybe I'll just do it tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Of New Babies and New Cars

Uh-oh...the guilt is starting to set in! I have so much been enjoying reading other people's blog postings, and I have sadly neglected to update my own as often as I should. Granted, August has been quite a busy month with Cherstin's wedding and various other things, so I guess I have a bit of an excuse...

In the most exciting news, I have a new niece on the Hardin side! She is a beautiful little thing, too. I am sad I don't live closer so I can do a better job of spoiling her! Oh well, I will take what I can get. We were lucky enough to be down in the Salt Lake area this past weekend buying a car, so I got to see the baby a couple of times, which was delightful. The first time we went over it was pretty late at night and the kids were quite wound up and jumping all over the place. Later, 3 year old Maile commented that Uncle Devin's baby (Every uncle is uncle Devin) seemed "nervous." Hmmm...I wonder why!

Oh yes, so we are now the proud owners of a new mini-van. Well, used, if you want to get technical. It is a 2008 Dodge Caravan. It is black with tinted windows. Ammon commented that if the mafia were to have a van, that would be it! We all love it, and think it will suit our growing family quite well for the next several years.

In other news, for posterity's sake, since this blog will eventually be printed out as a family journal, just a note on this pregnancy (#3). It has been the easiest by far in terms of morning sickness, but there are some complications that have arisen which necessitate weekly trips to the hospital (hence the need for a second vehicle), 2-3X per month blood transfusions to the baby, and a 30-40% chance of getting toxemia. Again. I was chuckling to myself, because after tomorrow, I will have been to the hospital four times in three days. Sigh... It's all good though. How grateful I am for good doctors...and medical insurance!

Anyway, life is good. I love this time of year.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Of Canoes, Kids, and Stuff

Arden's quote of the day; "I don't like this peach Mom. It's too fresh."

Maile's quote of the day (when told to pick up her own grape she had dropped on the floor); "No, you pick it up Mom, you have huge arms."

It's been a fun few days! Over the weekend Shawn and Heather's family came up, and we enjoyed a wonderful day of canoeing on the Snake River. This time I claimed the seat of power, and the canoe ride was much more enjoyable, despite the fact that Curtis decided sitting in the front entitled him to not have to paddle. He did a few token paddles here and there, but his main self-imposed duty was to pass out frosted animal cookies to everyone. That was fine with me, as I figured I got some good exercise (which I desperately need!).

Sunday, Cherstin and Jordan got back from Hawaii and their receptions in Colorado, and we enjoyed watching them open all their wedding gifts and hearing about Hawaii. How fun to see a newly wed couple begin their lives together! It brought back fun memories from when Curtis and I were first married! Good times, good times!

Monday morning we saw Shawn and Heather off then cleared all of Cherstin and Jordan's stuff out of our garage and helped them haul it over to their new apartment. I will be amazed if they can find spots for every thing! They had a LOT of stuff!

In other news, I don't think I have yet mentioned in my blog that we received some very exciting information from Dave and Charity a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, they are expecting their second kid! Supposedly they only had a 1/2 percent chance of conceiving, so this was very unexpected and exciting news for them and every one else! Hurray! Charity pointed out that of the five married couples, four of us are currently expecting. Anona, get busy! (-;

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Of Yummy Meats

This morning I made sausage for breakfast. "Hamburgers!," yelled Arden, excitedly. "Chicken!" exclaimed Maile. Apparently all meats are interchangeable.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Of Moldy Fragrance

Uuggghhh. I walked into my house the other day from exercising, and it smelled strongly of mold. My first thought was, "Oh no, what has died and rotted in one of my cupboards?!" Upon further investigation, it turned out that Maile had dumped a bottle of fragrance on the carpet in the study, which fragrance I remember I had wanted to get rid of because, well, it smelled like mold. That takes care of that, I guess! Thankfully, the smell didn't take too long to dissipate, although I know I need to shampoo the carpets soon anyway.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Of Natural Law and Middle-of-the-Night Lectures

I woke up the other morning at 3:45 am with a lecture running through my head about Natural Law, People's Rule and gays. This lecture was very distinct, and ran through my head about three times before I finally fell back asleep. I hope this is not a portent of things to come.

A little background--I have been reading Cleon Skousen's book "The 5000 Year Leap" lately (which in my humble opinion everyone should own a copy of and study it diligently!). In it, he talks about how when Thomas Jefferson was researching models for the U.S. Constitution, he was fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon's "People's Rule" (which our constitution is largely based on). Skousen mentioned that in their law there were only four things that were considered crimes against "the people" as a whole; treason, cowardice (refusing to fight), desertion, and homosexuality. I wondered why exactly it was that homosexuality was such a big deal to the Anglo-Saxons. I don't know what their reasons were, and Skousen didn't go into any more detail about the subject, but Curtis had a good point about it. If everyone were to practice homosexuality, our entire civilization would be wiped out in one generation. Now why would we as a nation want to condone something that has the potential to be so destructive? Just something to think about. As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they put great stock in what they termed "natural law"--it is all over their writings of the time. Another term for natural law was "God's Law," and they believed (as do I) that God's law was based on unalterable truths, and any nation that tried to alter natural law, would bring down the wrath of God upon themselves. That is one of the reasons why I believe homosexuality was such a big deal to them--part of natural law was "marriage between a man and a woman". It is interesting thinking about some of the issues that have come up in our nation recently, and how we have moved so much away from the original constitution--I would certainly say I can see how the the hand of the Lord is being withdrawn from our affairs, to the great detriment of our country. I am sure he is not pleased with the homosexual issue, the debilitating debt we have gotten ourselves into, the plague of pornography that has swept our nation, and the way we encourage laziness with our nation's welfare system. In short, I think we may be in for a storm, and we'd be smart to prepare ourselves physically and spiritually as best we can.

Just as an aside, Skousen pointed out that most of the rest of our constitution is based upon natural law as well: the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, no slaves, unalienable rights, right to own property, right to vote, every man created equal, and a host of others that I can't recall off the top of my head. Anyway, a very interesting book, and one which I would highly recommend. Skousen also has an interesting section I just read on how the separation of church and state deal has been misunderstood and misused--he gives a little of the history behind it--fascinating! I am learning some good things!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Sneaky Zuchinni Lady

This year I planted seven zuchinni plants. I like zuchinni, but I wasn't able to harvest any last year, so I wanted zuchini insurance this year! Curtis went out and picked 12 of them today. I have a feeling that this year I will be the stereotypical neighbor who tries to sneak zuchinni into the neighbor's cars while they are in church meetings.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Anal Canoeer

Today we went canoeing down the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. The scenery was beautiful. I discovered something though. I am very anal about how I canoe. I do not like to go sideways down the river, nor backwards. I do not like to canoe right next to the shore--I prefer to go straight down the middle. I do not like to be rocked or splashed--I prefer to canoe in companionable (and relatively peaceful) comraderie and reflect upon the beauties of nature around me. I like to paddle in unison with the other person in the canoe with me. I'm sure it comes from years of singing "Dip Dip, and Swing It Back..." at girl's camp.

In short, I don't think Curtis is my ideal canoeing companion (no offense, dear) and next time, I claim the captain's seat in the back!

Despite that, it was a wonderful trip, and the kids loved it. Sister-in-law Cherstin and her roommate Carrie came with us, and were our entertainment for the day. The got into such a heated water war with each other that they ended up swamping their boat. Ha! Ha!

Of Bustin' up the Party!

Last night we got a call from one of our former Sunday school attendees, who has since moved to Canada but was in town for a visit. He gave us a call and asked if "we" could come up and visit. Of course we were delighted to oblige. We didn't know until he knocked on the door and teenagers kept streaming through that "we" meant him and about seven other guys, most of whom we had never met before. It was a delightful visit, though--Curtis and I love teenagers. They are so full of life and exuberance!

Apparently, the new "thing" for teens to do around Rexburg is go around town looking for college kids who are making out and harass them. Sounds like a worthy (and amusing!) endeavor to me!

Note to self--never lend a family or personal vehicle to your teens--get them a two seater junker! Curtis and I were lucky to get the inside scoop on what happens if former advice is not heeded!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Of Maile and Haircuts

Maile came into my room first thing this morning, as she usually does, and snuggled down in the covers with me for a few minutes before the day started. I got to thinking how cute she looked, especially now that her hair had grown out from Arden's haircut a year or so ago. Wouldn't you know it, an hour later, she popped into the living room for some haircutting advice from Mom--after she had chopped off her own bangs with a pair of scissors she must have found in the computer room. Sigh....

Alex and Joseph (who are with us for the week) think she looks just like her cousin Evelyn.

Of Loving Babies

Well, I now know why I have been so tired lately. Yup! Kid number three will be joining our family. Expected due date; March 3rd, which is actually Charity's birthday as well. We are so excited to have another little one join our family!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Of Limos and Stolen Flowers

Today was the most awesome day ever. After Maile's preschool, we watched the Erickson kids for a couple of hours. We actually spent the time at the library, where they were in the midst of their summer reading program. They taught the kids the basic cha-cha in the tabernacle next door, then they had a limo parked outside that they let all the kids climb inside of. Very cool! Our little group actually got a half hour "VIP" tour of the limo--we had gone back outside to wait for the Erikson's mom, and the driver motioned us over and let just our group of kids crawl around inside--they loved it! I had a fun time visiting with the driver--he was a very friendly elderly man.

The rest of the day I spent cleaning, since we were having guests from Curtis' work over for dinner. Why is it I always feel like I have to have things pristine when people come over? Maybe if I didn't feel like I have to spend so much time cleaning, we'd have people over more often! Sigh...but, the evening was delightful, no thanks to Maile, who began dinner by promptly knocking over her vase of the flowers she had stolen from the neighbor's yard. Our guests were very gracious though, which I appreciated.

Uggg....I am exhausted, but I know I should go exercise before it gets too late....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Arden is just adorable! My little five year old is so, well, grown up! He lost his first two teeth last week, and greatly enjoyed the results of his visits from the tooth fairy! He's got a dollar burning a hole in his pocket!

My favorite thing though, is the cute little phrases he has been using lately..;"it appears____," or, "Certainly_____", or "Apparently_____." He sounds very sophisticated!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Of Bridal Showers and "Cute Pajamas"

I took the kids shopping with me yesterday for Cherstin's bridal shower gift. I wanted to buy her some fun underwear (I told the kids I was looking for "cute pajamas"). As we walked down the aisles looking, Arden announced, "I know just the thing, Mom," and pointed to a very large, very ugly bright pink bra. Needless to say, we passed that one up! He is definately his father's son. Curtis has been banned from buying me clothes, although I think it's sweet that he has tried. Anyway, after going to several stores without much luck, we finally opted (after consulting with Cherstin's fiancee) to get her some camping equipment, since they both love camping. I think it's better that way.

Wow! Cousin Kristin and Carrie did an amazing job on Cherstin's bridal shower. The food was wonderful!---chocolate fountain, cheese fondue...mmmmm!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Of Maile and GIMP little girl is just adorable if I do say so myself. (She takes after her Mom--heh! Heh!)

AND...I have found a new hobby! I stayed up 'til way past my bedtime last night messing around with GIMP. (The free version of Photoshop.) My triumph of last night was learning to put "catchlights" in eyes, which really makes them stand out and look really cool! (The photo I posted of Maile is unadulterated, but maybe as I learn more, I'll post some before and after pics.)

Of Lovely Kittens

*sniff sniff* We gave away our first two kittens today. I was surprised at how reluctant I was to see them part! Curtis wanted to keep all of the kittens, but I told him I didn't think that would be a good idea. I'm tempted to change my mind.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Of Temples and Pushups

What a fabulous day it has been. We babysat the Erikson kids this morning for a couple of hours--gave all the kids tractor rides and washed the tractor. It was fun.

This evening was my favorite, though. Our ward was asked to to baptisms for the dead this evening at the temple. Normally the youth take care of that, but girls camp started today, and I think the guys had something going on as well. Anyway, so the adults in our ward got to take over. It's been years since I've done baptisms, and I forgot how much I enjoy it! The best part though, is this afternoon I called all the cousins in town (and fiancees) and invited them to come as well. I was shocked when they were all able to make it, despite (I'm sure) busy college schedules. The only one who couldn't come was Jordan, but only because he was doing an endowment session with his stake president at the same time. Next time...Anyway, I was telling Cherstin that it adds a whole new dimension to doing temple work when you are able to be there with family and friends--people you love. Wonderful night.

In other news, we also had all the cousins up for dinner and games on Sunday night. We all decided we were going to do the 6 week, 100 pushup challenge together. Losers buy the winners a Jamba Juice. It will be nice to have some motivation! I can taste that Jamba now....(-;

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Of Sharks and Sisters

Can you believe Charity let her favorite sister (me,of course!) be eaten by a shark?! Where's the love?!

Of Gas Masks and "Little Sweethearts"

Last weekend...I went to Provo--without the kids--which was (no offense, lovely children of mine) absolutely wonderful! I had the rare and exciting privilege of writing in the Young's "TP" notebook. It is a small notebook they keep by the side of the toilet so when get the picture. I hope they occasionally sanitize the pen!

I also got to see Dad's "Little Sweethearts" as he calls them. The six molting chickens they bought. Mom was slightly peeved (with good reason I might add) that Dad also refers to her as his sweetheart. Hmmm....

Another exciting thing was getting to go to Uncle Parr's birthday party. We had quite the crew there, with several of the Whites visiting, Ammon Lott, and of course, the Young girls. After Parr blew out his 53 candles, he disappeared into his room, then re-emerged wearing a gas mask because of all the smoke. Cousin Kristin was quite perturbed that her father only owned one gas mask, yet there are nine in her family. Let's hope there will never be a need for the gas mask, though Becca assures me she is the most loved of the daughters, so of course, the gas mask will go to her.

Best of all though, at least to me, was the chance to visit with my brother, Ammon, which hasn't happened for quite some time. What a stud! Are sisters allowed to say their brothers are HOT?! Well, he is. I am also so excited that he is planning on a mission this year. Awesome!

Right now, we have Joseph with us, which has been quite fun. He is a good brother, and the kids adore him.

BTW, anyone want a kitten?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Busy, Busy

Wow! What a day! Here was my schedule for the day. Dentist appointments at 7:00. Drop Maile off at preschool. Errands. Pick up Maile. Assemble 50 snack bags for the kids' mailbox. Babysitting until noon followed by voice lessons. Start laundry. Go to Idaho Falls for groceries. Stall on my cleaning by playing with kittens. Madly deep clean in preparation for Mother-in-law coming. City meeting about farmer's market--skipped dinner and went out for ice cream with Arden. Came home. Finished cleaning. Welcomed mother-in-law and friend. Caught up on e-mails and facebook, wrote in blog, and soon, off to bed. My favorite time of day. I think my grammar is a little weird in this blog.

Arden's funny quote: (Our neighbors recently aerated.) "Mom, we can't go into their yard, it's a poop yard!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Of Wheat and Plants

Whew! Most of our 200+ trees and shrubs are in, thanks to Ben and Kayla's amazing help! I am just waiting on a few things I ordered in the mail, and our last two fruit trees that are sitting at the nursery. Then, it's bark on top of everything, and our winding flagstone path, and we are done for this year! Yeah! What a job!

Enrichment went well last week. I enjoyed teaching how to use one's wheat storage.

Maile started toddler lab at the college. She really enjoys it.

Not much time to blog nowadays.

Wish the wind would stop.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Of A Messy House

Why is it that on the rare day that I decide to put off my morning house cleanup that's when company always drops by unexpectedly?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Of Weddings and "Christiansen Shortcuts"

We spent this last weekend in Utah for Curtis' cousin's wedding. It was a lot of fun to visit with family members, and of course, it's always neat to see two people in love tie the knot. The ceremony took place at a lodge near Ogden. It was very nicely done, no thanks to my children. Curtis had told Arden that there would be food there, so the first thing Arden asked (very loudly) as we walked in to the wedding was; "Where's all the food?" Grrr....Then Maile chattered through most of the ceremony. Only by constant shushing did we succeed in not having to take her out. After the buffet began, she kind of wandered around picking up stray pieces of candy that people had dropped from off the floor and, of course, eating them as fast as she could.

The evening culminated with our little Saturn stuck in a snowdrift in the middle of a small dirt road (or a tiny river--it was hard to distinguish the difference at times) on the top of a nearby mountain with no cars for miles. (So much for our GPS' "quickest route!") Only through fervent prayer were we able to get unstuck from the snowdrift. When the road then turned into a solid 5 foot high mass of snow, we determined that was the end of the line for us, and our un-trustworthy GPS found us an alternate route to Grandma's house.

Fun adventures! Arden kept saying; "Wow! We are on Mt. Everest!" and Maile's comment on our snow adventure was "I'm only a little scared."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wow! Aren't these girls amazing?! Maddy and Kendall are friends of my cousin Alli (on piano) from Arkansas, and apparently they used to play together quite a lot. They were doing a bunch of hymns for us just off the top of their heads. Very talented!

We were then favored by some songs that Alli's boyfriend had composed on his guitar. He is (obviously from the video) very talented as well, and what's more, he is self taught. Cool! I love being surrounded by brilliant people. (-;

(Sorry the lighting is terrible.)

Of Tractor Rides and Walls

So, we attempted to build a small wall a couple of weeks ago. After an unfortunate building mishap back in college involving Curtis and measuring (which I have never let him live down), he is a stickler for making sure things are level and measured correctly. Hopefully our wall will stay straight. We'll find out how good of a job we did in a few years, I'm sure!

Here is our project in process.

When Curtis got out the tractor to take the stone to the back, I think every kid on the block came over for rides!

Here is our completed project. (It's more work then it looks like, I promise!)

The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One

Bob sent this linked video to Curtis and we watched it the other night as we were exercising. makes me so irritated. Following is the synopsis from the web page.

"The financial industry brought the economy to its knees, but how did they get away with it? With the nation wondering how to hold the bankers accountable, Bill Moyers sits down with William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Black offers his analysis of what went wrong and his critique of the bailout."

Of Population (not) Overcrowding

To all those of you who worry about population overcrowding, fear no longer. Economist Walter Williams from George Mason University figured out that we could fit the entire U.S. population in Texas. Not only that, but each family of four could live on 2.9 acres of land.

D&C 104:14 "...the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things..."

Now, if only we could get things distributed to those in need!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Of Gardening and Yardwork

This is Maile working on staining our redwood garden boxes. The kids were great helpers! (Ben, you would be appalled by how much we spent on the boxes and soil--we are calling it a landscaping feature to make ourselves feel better about them. I told Curtis if we ever move, those boxes are going with us!)

The garden boxes turned out beautifully. Picture to follow!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

So, happy week! I found out this week that another of my sister-in-laws is expecting her third child, so I will be an auntie again! Hurray!

Also, in wonderful news, my sister-in-law, Cherstin, got engaged. Yeah! We just love Jordan, her fiancee. He is such an amazing guy, and he will be a wonderful addition to our family. I was quite proud of myself...of course, I couldn't mention this to Cherstin before now, but I told Curtis the day after we met Jordan, that I thought he would be my new brother-in-law. I guess I was right!

Of March Madness and April Fools

Yeah...Curtis is home again! He has been traveling all over the place in the last month--Texas, Florida, California, midwest somewhere...I can't remember...

Anyway, it is nice to have him back. I had to tease him that the only reason he has been traveling so much lately is because he didn't want to miss March Madness and we don't have television service!

April Fools Day was nice this year. Char--thanks for the great ideas in the CCC! We managed to get Curtis a few times before he had to leave on his latest trip! (I gave him a hard time about leaving on my favorite holiday--I think he planned it on purpose!) Anyway, the kids and I taped newspaper over the door to the garage and filled it with paper wads, 2 liter bottles, and a couple of Crocs. We got him pretty good when he got back from the temple! For the kids, I had frozen water in their cereal bowls the night before...I put cereal and milk on top of the frozen water then served it to them. Hee! Heee! Arden quickly caught on to the idea of April Fools jokes, and ran and hid Curtis' work badge. Of course, I got blamed for that one, but it was all him! I shudder to think what he will be like when he is a teenager! That's when it gets dangerous! Another trick I did for our neighbors, the Williams, is my traditional stand-by...the donut holes made out of playdough and rolled in flour. The kids and I bought a box of real donut holes from the store, and I managed to open it without damaging the seal. (-: I swapped out the real ones for the fakies, resealed the box, then gave it to them. Karen said I got three of the kids. Yeah! I kept expecting them to come over, as I didn't figure they would let that joke pass without retribution, but according to Karen, the kids spent all day trying to think of a joke to play back on me, but they couldn't come up with anything. Oh well, there is always next year!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Of Daylight Savings and Bedtime in the world do you try to explain daylight savings to a four year old who insists it can't possibly be bedtime if it's light outside? Any suggestions? Anyone?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Of Paying Down Mortgages

So, I found this excerpt below in the Reader's Digest, and I thought I should post it and get the word out. It just goes to show--despite what the world may say, it is always best to follow the prophet's advice--in this case, the advice has always been to buy an affordable house and pay it off as quickly as possible. And guess what? As far as I know, you get the same tax breaks for charities you donate to, so lets pay off our houses folks, and donate that money to charity!

"Pay more on your mortgage. You may have heard that because the interest is tax deductible, a mortgage is a good debt. But even if you're getting a tax break, you're still paying interest—and the longer you've had the mortgage, the smaller the tax break (because you pay less interest each year). As with all debt, paying it off sooner is better. So once you've paid off your credit cards and other high-rate debt, go ahead and add an extra payment each year (or spread it out over 12 months). If you do that over the life of a 30-year fixed loan with a rate of 6 percent, you'll shave roughly 20 percent off the total interest you pay. On a $150,000 mortgage, that means saving about $26,000." ~RD

Of Blizzards and Plants

Well, it is now blizzarding outside. Will spring ever arrive?! Hopefully it will, because we've got a bunch of little plant starts in the study here. We've got a few tomatoes, a couple of eggplants, and a flat each (72) of dill, cilantro, parsley, oregano, chives, and basil. All the herbs are growing except the cilantro. We used peat pots (the expandable kind) so the kids had fun helping fill them with water and watching them expand. These herbs we will hopefully sell for a dollar a piece and put the proceeds towards Arden's mission fund. We'll see how this year goes--if well, maybe we will expand our operation next year! It is a nice little project Arden can help with, and will hopefully teach him a little about business and money management.

Speaking of gardening...Curtis and I have been re-reading the Square Foot Gardening book, and I think we are going to give it another whirl. I like the book because the author, Mel, looks like the Englishman on Mad, Mad World, minus the gap in his front teeth. It makes me smile whenever I see his picture in the book. Anyway, last year we tried one square foot garden, but it was a poorly done experiment, as we didn't quite follow the directions for the soil mix, and on top of that, our sprinklers to the garden were inadvertently left off for a month or two. Curtis will not live that one down for a while, especially since he assured me time and time again, after I kept mentioning that our garden looked dry, that he had for sure set the sprinklers on. Ha! Ha!

We also are hoping to make some significant progress with our landscaping. Mostly, we are limited by our budget! I can't believe how expensive trees and plants are. Bah.

Let spring arrive!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here is my latest project in kit form. Note the LARGE bottle of wood glue. (You'd be proud of me, Dad! (-;)

Here is my finished product. I love how it turned out! I just need a strip of LED lights to go in the top!

Of Promises from the Prophets

Yikes--I hope I am not sounding too preachy in my blogs! However, I would like to share the following in hopes that it might be of interest to others (especially with General Conference around the corner!). I thought it would be interesting to mark as I went through last session's conference talks, the challenges and corresponding promises that were given by the speakers. This is by no means a comprehensive list (as I may have inadvertently missed a few) and I am only including in my blog the challenges and promises of the 12 apostles and our beloved prophet, President Monson--otherwise the list just gets too long! So, enjoy!

President Monson
Challange--Pray for the opening [to the missionaries] of closed countries.
Promise--Miracle after miracle will occur.

C--Never assume people know how much we love them
C--May we fill our days as much as possible with those things which matter most
C--May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and deed.
P--We will never regret kind words spoken or affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.

L. Tom Perry
C--Follow the word of wisdom in D&C 89
P--We will gain the blessings of a healthy body, alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
C--Be modest in dress, grooming, and appearance.
C--Live within our income, stay out of debt, save for a rainy day, practice and increase habits of thrift, industry, economy, and frugality
C--Acquire knowledge of God's eternal plan and our role in it, then live righteously and surrender our will to the Lord
P--We will receive the promised blessings (a sufficient store of spiritual fuel--in reference to the 10 virgins story)

Dallin H. Oaks
C--Qualify for the cleansing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ by keeping his commandments to come to Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit, partake of the emblems of the sacrament, and make the covenants that qualify us for the precious promise that we will always have His spirit to be with us
P--The Spirit of the Lord can guide our choices so we remain unspotted from the world and on a safe path through mortality.

Joseph B. Worthlin
C--The next time you are tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead.
P--It will extend your life and make the lives of those around you more enjoyable.
C--God wants us to be successful. If we do our part...
P--He will step in.
C--As we look for humor seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation (any trials we may endure are compensated for many times over), and draw near to our Heavenly Father...
P--we can endure hardship and trials.

Jeffrey R. Holland
C--If we search [the scriptures] diligently, pray always, and be believing and filled with faith...
P--the Lord will fight our battles, our children's battles, and the battles of our children's children.

David A. Bednar
C--If we pray sincerely for that which is right and good and in accordance with God's will...
P--we can be blessed, protected, and directed.
C--As we ask in faith...
P--we can receive revelation upon revelation and knowledge upon knowledge, and come to know the mysteries and peaceable things that bring joy and eternal life.
C--Periodically offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude.
P--It will enlarge the conduit for personal revelation.
C--Pray for others with all the energy of our souls.
P--this will increase our capacity to hear and heed the voice of the Lord.
C--If those we love and serve have not heard and felt the influence of our earnest prayers in their behalf, the time to repent is now. As we emulate the example of the Savior...
P--our prayers truly will become more meaningful.

Henry B. Eyering
C--[In family night] Find a way to encourage someone to testify of the Savior and his mission.
P--We will feel our hearts being knit together as one.
C--Look for what is best in people's performance and character.
P--The Savior...will surely do that as he judges our performance. We will have a feeling of peace and joy when we speak generously of others in the light of Christ.
C--If we are united in sustaining [President Monson] with all our hearts, with willing obedience to do what God would have us do...
P--we will move together in power to go wherever God would have us go, and become what he wants us to be.

Robert D. Hales
C--As true disciples seek guidance from the Spirit...
P--they receive inspiration tailored to each encounter, and in every encounter, true disciples respond in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord

Russell M. Nelson
C--Happiness can come to [married couples] only through their earnest and concentrated effort.
P--The effort will succeed if each partner will minimize personal demands and maximize actions of loving selflessness.
C--When one esteems the welfare of his or her spouse among the highest of priorities...
P--harmony in marriage will result.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Of Weight Gain and Exercise

I learned something interesting from Cherstin (sister-in-law) this month. (She just graduated from the nursing program, so she is now all-knowing and all-wise.) I asked her why people tend to gain weight after they start exercising. It is very discouraging for people trying to lose weight. Anyway, she explained to me that the first week or so after one begins an exercise program, one generally loses a little weight because one's body can't keep up with the increased caloric needs from your exercise. However, your body then decides it needs to store every spare calorie it can get a hold of, to keep up with the increased demand. BUT--if one sticks with the program through the weight gain, the body eventually readjusts itself, and decides, "Hey, it's o.k. I can do this," and you lose weight again. Besides which, your metabolism changes as well.

Anyway, I don't know if I explained that very well, but hopefully it made sense.

Of Happiness Amidst the Vicissitudes of Life

Oh, life is wonderful. I say this even after having had an interesting discussion on the state of affairs in our country with my backyard neighbor. I am reminded of Lehi's family in the wilderness. Nephi viewed their travels as a joyful time, where "they lived after the manner of happiness," whereas Jacob, his younger brother, thought that period of time was pretty miserable. He must have been a youngest child--a little spoiled!

Let me tell you some of the reasons why my life is wonderful.

First of all, I am going to be an Auntie again! YES! My sister-in-law, Kayla, announced that she is expecting a baby in September. It is particularly joyful news, especially considering that it was very unexpected.

Secondly, I have the greatest husband in the world--he is so patient and understanding, wise, and, well, I'd better stop there, as I could go on all night if I get started. Right now he is putting the kids to bed and telling them their nightly "Arden and Maile" story.

Thirdly, I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Love it. It is so amazing to me, and so perfect in its simplicity. I love knowing that we have a Father in Heaven who is mindful of us, and is still calling the shots in these troubling times. The silver lining to this dark economic cloud is that people all over the country are turning more to Christ. I love how Heavenly Father can turn bad situations to good. Speaking of which, I went to a stake meeting last night on Provident Living, and we talked a lot about how the Lord's welfare plan is supposed to work. It is so wonderful--everyone's needs are taken care of, while avoiding the evils of the dole. If only our government would adopt a similar plan.

Fourth, I got to spend a wonderful half a week with my beautiful mother-in-law and grandmother. I was also so happy to see a lot of Cherstin and her amazing boyfriend, Jordan. (He really is amazing--we all just love him!) They are a delight to be around, and keep us feeling young.

Fifth, I get a double bonus this month--my Mom and sister, Anona, (and maybe Kayla?) are coming down this weekend for an "education day" at the college, which I am very excited about. I have my class choices narrowed down to four per hour. Aarrghhh...the classes always sound so interesting, it is hard to choose!

Sixth, I am actually glad to live in Rexburg. Yes, I am glad to be here, Curtis. The economy is suffering all over the country, yet this is a little safe haven of sorts, amidst the chaos. People and businesses have seemed in general to manage their finances very well here, and so we have not been nearly as affected as the rest of the country....yet...I'm guessing we'll feel the hurt soon enough, but I feel like we can take care of each other here in Rexburg. Our stake president, in our meeting last night, said that we are a "breadbasket" of the church. After meeting the financial needs of the poor in our own area, we are able to send %70 of our stake's fast offering donations on to Salt Lake for distribution to others in need. What a blessing we have had such abundance, and I hope we as a community can live righteously enough to merit the continued blessings of our Savior.

So, those are a few of the many things I am grateful for. Mostly, I am grateful for the wonderful relationships in my life. How blessed I am.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Of Who Wears the Pants

Grrrrr...I am so un-techy. This is embarrassing to me to admit, but I spent an hour yesterday trying to remember how Curtis showed me to get pictures from our Picasa account to my blog...couldn't remember...sigh...I guess I'll wait for Curtis to get back from California! Or call Charity. She has enough techi-ness for the both of us and had her new blog spiffed out in no time!

Anyway, enough of that. I've been thinking recently about a question Dave asked me when I was down in Arizona. He asked which one of us wears the pants in our family--Curtis or myself. After thinking about it briefly, I concluded that neither of us do--we are both fairly equally yoked, as I see it. When I asked Curtis the same question on the phone later that night, he agreed with me. However, when I told my conclusion to Dave, I could tell he didn't believe me. I think most people who think they know us pretty well assume that I am the more domineering of the two of us. I was trying to figure out why people would get that assumption. I am not entirely sure, but here are my thoughts. First of all, Curtis is very non-judgemental. He always gives people the benefit of the doubt. He doesn't like to argue or debate, and back in our early relationship when I would try to debate issues with him, he would basically respond with; "That's nice" or "You're probably right" and change the subject. I, on the other hand, am usually up for a good debate just for the fun of it. Additionally, I do tend to jump to conclusions more quickly then Curtis (although I have been getting better!). I think because I am more vocal in my opinions then Curtis, people think I am "the boss" in our relationship, but I don't think that is a correct assumption. We both have a very deep respect for each other, and I think we do a really good job at gauging whether something is important to the other guy, and responding accordingly. Basically, if something matters more to one of us then the other, the person it matters to tends to get their way. Both of us are pretty easy going though, so it works out well. The one exception to all this is home projects and budgeting, and it makes me laugh! Curtis and I get so frustrated with each other because we both have very differing opinions on how projects and budgets should be done, and we're terrible at communicating our thoughts to each other in a way the other guy can understand. We've figured out the best way solution though, is to each be in charge of a certain aspect. That seems to work out pretty well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Of Nepal, Gay, and a Mad, Mad World

Well, I am home again. Other then the house smelling slightly funny (perhaps due to the 8 or 9 moldy items Curtis left in the fridge) and several of my houseplants dead, everything was pretty much in order. Curtis and our friends, the Williams, had made the kids and I some really cute "welcome home" signs, which were hung around the house to greet us. Good thing I have such an incredibly wonderful husband, or I would probably have not left the warmth of Arizona! It is good to be back with my Sweetheart again, though!

So, I have a bit to catch up on--I need to be more consistant with my writing, but here goes.

Cool news item. My amazing father-in-law, Bob, is off to Nepal again, this time for a medical mission. He is going with Randy Baker(of course), as well as a group of doctors. He is also bringing along 250 school kits that the ladies in the Longmont Relief Society assembled. Kudos to them, and yeah for Bob! You are an inspiration to us all, Bob. We love you! Here is the website if anyone wants to track their progress on the trip. Enjoy!

Since Bob will be gone until the 23rd of March, Gay decided to travel around a bit on her way to bring Grandma Veatch back to Logan. As of right now, the plan is that she and Grandma will be staying with us next week, which we are very excited about! Just as an aside, I have to comment on how blessed I am to have the in-laws I do. All the stereotypical in-law jokes? I just don't relate to them at all!

Speaking of Gay, last week was her birthday. I wrote her a poem, which I hope she doesn't mind if I post on my blog. (I have to brag about her a little!) I think she is the most amazing lady ever.

Ode to Gay

Now my husband is sweet, oh yes it's true,
But Gay? She's as amazing as the sky is blue.

She sews and makes beautiful quilts by the score,
Her cooking's unparalleled, need I say more?

She plays the piano like an angel above,
And her heart is filled with laughter and love.

She likes to go camping and hiking as well,
This mother of mine--she's really quite swell!

She's always exercising, so she's fit as a fiddle--
an inspiration to us who are stuck in the middle!

She's always out helping and serving someone,
and to be around Gay is always such fun!

To her children and grandkids she sends lovely clothes,
And packages and cards--her love really shows!

She's got five lovely children whom she's raised so well,
And her grandkids adore her, it's easy to tell.

Her triple Trio group is delightful to hear--
People come for her singing from far and from near.

The Spirit we feel when we enter her home
Is hard to find anywhere else we may roam.

In short, I'm so grateful and proud to know Gay
And I'd like to wish her a happy birthday.

Although I love Curtis and I'd have no other,
I married my sweetheart 'cuz I love his mother!


As you can see, she is a pretty special lady. One more thing, which I think is neat, is that she is taking Spanish classes at the local college. How cool is that?! I have been so thankful for both of my mothers for their example in their love of learning. I hope I can pass that on to my kids as well.

O.K., changing the subject, Charity and I had a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World movie night while I was visiting her, and I have been dying to post some of my favorite quotes. (For those of my readers who are not familiar with the Christiansen side of the family, this movie could easily be called our family theme movie. In fact, I remember a couple of family reunions where some of the dinner entertainment was to have a Mad Mad World "quote off" competition!)

Alright. Here we go. For your maximum quote-reading enjoyment, I will put in parenthesis the accent you should use.

(Say this first quote in a bossy, naggy sort of voice.)
"English? You're English? You sound like some sort of un-American foreigner."

(British accent) "Have a care...that chap's run absolutely amuk!"
(Same) "No matter what the outcome of this day, I shall never forget that you hit me when I wasn't even looking."

(Say this in a slightly nasal voice) "Now look, we've figured this 17 different ways, and no matter how we figured it, somebody don't like the way we figured it. So now there's only one way to figure it,....and that's 'every man for himself, and every woman for himeself too!'--except for you lady, may you just drop dead!"
(Interjection) "Alright, alright, now we're all agreed on that."

(This is a "desperate father's" voice) "Listen to your mother, Billy Sue, listen to your mother!"

Well, I'd better stop for now. I'll post more if any other particularly funny quotes come to mind. The movie is full of them!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Of Cramming as Much as We Can Into Our Lovely Arizona Days!

What a great week my last week in Arizona has been. (As have all the other weeks!) Here are a few of the highlights.

First of all, Charity and I have been doing the 6 week 100 pushup challenge, and we finally made it to 100 pushups! Yeah! (To be completely honest, we don't do them all in one fell swoop--there are small breaks in between sets.) For some reason, Charity always likes to face mecca when she does the pushups...?!

Wednesday we went to a rodeo parade in honor of rodeo days here. There were a plethora of horses--not really any floats to speak of, but it was fun. (At least for the first hour or so--then it just got a little repetative!) My real parade entertainment was the black lady I sat next to from California. Apparently, this was her first parade, and she was quite fascinated by all the horses. Boy, she really got into those high school marching bands too; dancing, and was great!

Swimming on, but slightly chilly...

Friday we went to the Desert Museum. It was very cool! We got to hunt for minerals and cool rocks, go cave exploring, visit the hummingbird enclosure, the kids got to be archeologists, we got to see otters and a live bird show...

Yesterday we went to a little "Rodeo Roundup" event the homeowners association sponsors here. The kids got to ride horses, visit a petting zoo, go on a little train ride, enjoy the huge bounce toys...very fun. Then, in the evening, we had a fire and the kids enjoyed roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. The adults enjoyed Charity's steak, salad, mashed potatoes, and grilled brown sugar coconut pineapple, and a rousing game of Settlers of Catan after the kids were in bed!

Today we are going to take a drive through the Saguaro forest. I am excited about that!

Oh, I am going to miss all of this! Charity and Dave are wonderful hosts, and I have sure appreciated them letting us stay here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Of Stalling Children

I think most kids are masters at stalling (particularly at bedtime). Arden hollered down the stairs the other night (about an hour past his bedtime) that he couldn't sleep because he had dirt under his fingernails. Hmmm...and this is an hour and a half after his bath...?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Of Mice and Men

Yesterday Charity found a cute little mouse out in the garage. Dave captured it in a small box, and we let the kids enjoy it for a bit. Arden asked if we could let it run around the house for a while. Charity's response to that was a rather emphatic "no!." Unfortunately, after we transferred the mouse to a larger box so the kids could see it better, it escaped out of a tiny hole in the bottom. Maile burst into tears, repeating over and over, "I want a mouse, Mommy" in a very heartbroken way. Yeah Maile, I'm sure Haiku would love a mouse.

So, Dave will probably hate me for sharing this, but I have to say, I love teasing him. He is so gullible. Either that, or I am a really good liar (A rather dubious distinction, I will admit!). Perhaps it is a combination of both. Apparently Charity doesn't tease him much, so he is "fresh material," as she says.
A couple weeks ago, they had bought a strawberry plant to plant in their planter box. The plant had a few flowers on it, but that was about it. Anyway, Charity and I had purchased some ripe strawberries from the store, and I thought it would be fun to play a little joke. I poked a hole with a toothpick in the top of one of the strawberries and pushed a little stem from Dave and Char's strawberry plant into the toothpick hole, so it looked like the strawberry had grown there. We left it for a few days until finally Dave noticed it. He just couldn't get over how fast that strawberry had grown there, and kept commenting wonderingly, "That's just incredible!" until Charity and I could not contain ourselves any more and busted up laughing. Then, I worried Dave quite a bit yesterday, when I told him the the beautiful rose bouquet on the table had been sent to Charity by one of her old high school sweethearts. Charity's face turned bright red at this point, which seemed to confirm my tale. Yes, Dave did look quite concerned! In reality, I had bought the bouquet from the grocery store on their after Valentine's day special. Hee Hee! This is fun. I will miss Dave when I go back home. Curtis knows me too well--he doesn't fall for my pranks quite as easily!

Love you, Dave! You're the greatest!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Of Valentine's and Kids

Valentine's Day was nice. Since Charity and Dave were off on their "Sweetheart Adventure," we basically had our family celebration on Sunday after church. The kids had all made each other nice Valentines. My favorite, though, were the Valentines that Ellie and Arden gave to Dave and Char. They had each wrapped up several kumquats in pieces of construction paper and given these little packages to them. (We had gotten the kumquats from the experimental gardens at the extension service a few days previously--no one liked them.)

So, I have also been wanting to write down a couple of cute "kid things." Enjoy!

There are quite a few cattle guards in the area. I told the kids that when the car drives over them, they are supposed to lift up their feet so they don't fall in. Apparently they didn't quite understand what I was saying, because now they call them "camel guards" anytime they see one. Watch out for the roaming camels, folks!

Arden and Ellie have very much been enjoying the little preschool Charity and I do for them. They are both doing quite well at learning letters and their sounds. A few days before Curtis came to visit, we were going for a family walk around the lake and Arden commented, "I am so excited for 'D' to come!" (Meaning Dad, of course.)

Maile has had a cold for a while, so I have periodically been giving her medicine. She kept coming up to me and saying, "I need some medicine, Mom, I have the hiccoughs!"

Charity passed this next one on to me--I didn't hear it personally, but I thought it was way cute. The kids were all sitting down to breakfast the other day. Apparently little Ellie was getting tired of hearing whatever Arden had to say to her, so she remarked, "I don't want to hear it anymore. You guys are making me seasick almost!"

Ellie came downstairs in tears a few days ago, crying and carrying on about how Maile had hit her. She was sad and fussed for probably a good five minutes, until finally I asked her why Maile had hit her in the first place. Her tearful response? "We were playing war."

Oh, how I love my sweet kids and nieces and nephews. They truly bring so much joy and laughter to our lives.

Of Debt and the Economy

Dear Mr. President~
I know you have a difficult job, and you face decisions on a daily basis which can and do alter the course of our nation. I want you to know that I pray for you every day.

I love this wonderful country of ours with all my heart. I love what it stands for. I love the freedom that we are afforded which so many countries do not enjoy.

That being said, may I offer some thoughts on this second stimulus/bailout package that has been proposed? To put it in a nutshell, I am extremely disappointed that the government has decided to go through with it, and the results of this action worry me greatly. I didn't like the first one either, but to have two in nearly as many months? I am astounded that some of the top economists in our country have condoned this. Is there something I am missing? I feel like I have a decent grasp of basic economic principles, yet many of these principles are being blatently violated by those who should know them the best. May I share with you some of my concerns, Mr. President?

First and foremost, I make it a practice to occasionally read the constitution, and no where that I can find in that document, does it give the Federal government authority to implement anything like these bailout packages. FDR set an unfortunate precedent during the depression when he started the practice of spending government money on welfare. That being said, the measures he did take to get the country out of depression were supposed to be temporary. Look where we are now. Trillions of dollars in debt, with a huge population of welfare-dependent people. Mr. President, keep in mind that economies naturally fluctuate, but if left alone, a free market economy should always even things out eventually. Think a little more long-term here, Mr. President. What you are doing with this package is highly unsustainable, and very unwise.

That brings me to a second point. How in the world do you propose we pay this enormous debt off? As I see it, either we will become like some of the European countries where 2/3 of their income goes towards taxes, and/or our kids and grandkids will be paying their whole lives for this debt in which they had no involvement. Going to the first option, one of the basic principles of economics is that people respond to incentives. If one were to only receive 1/3 of one's salary, what incentive is there to get a good education and thus a traditionally higher salaried job, especially if you are distributing so many handouts to the poor? It seems like you are offering more of an incentive to remain in poverty.

Since we are on the topic of poverty, I hope I don't sound heartless with my next comment, but with all these handouts and benefits you are giving the poor, again, what is the incentive people have to get jobs and an education when they know they will be taken care of by the government and our taxes? We have created this suppressive culture of poverty in our country. Would you consider a radical change in our welfare system? I will preface this request by again saying that I do not believe welfare is the government's responsibility in the first place. It is the responsibility of individuals, families, churches, charities, etc. However, the idea of government assistance is so deeply entrenched in our society that I suppose it is wishful thinking on my part to want to do away with it. Back to the subject of welfare reform, Mr. President, from observations I have made of people in my own life, when one is not working, busy, and productive, one is not happy and content. When one is on the dole, one's self-esteem tends to plummett. Now, Mr. President, I do realize there are legitimate cases where people need assistance, but I believe that everybody can do something to earn what they receive. If you must give handouts, have people work for what they get. Have them assemble medical or humanitarian kits for people in third world countries, for example. Have them participate in planting a community garden, or beautifying their community. Have them do something, anything, that will allow them to contribute to society, rather then always be "takers." I will guarantee that, though it may be hard for people to adjust to at first, their overall happiness will increase, and I'll bet you anything that crime will significantly decrease as well. I believe this simple idea would bring about some very significant changes for good in our nation. Just a suggestion.

Speaking of poverty, I noticed in your proposed allocation of these stimulus funds, a very large chunk is earmarked for Medicaid. Just out of curiosity, how is this supposed to stimulate the economy, Mr. President?

Another thing: with all of this money being pumped into the system, and more money being printed to pay our nation's debt off, inflation is going to skyrocket down the road. Now Mr. President, I have always been taught that it is a wise thing to save--to set aside some money for a rainy day--but if inflation rapidly increases, what is the point? My dollar will be worth pennies. I remember studying about this in some of my classes in college. Specifically in South America--they did just what we are doing now, with printing off a bunch of money to try to meet their debt obligations. Short term, fine, but longer term? A loaf of bread costed the equivalent of $500! It DOES NOT WORK.

Now, this is all fine and dandy for you now, Mr. President. People love you. You are basically giving them free money. But what are you taking? You are taking away the possibility of a bright future for us and our posterity. You are leaving in it's place a legacy of debt and dependence, which the next leader of our country will have to try to clean up. Good luck with that.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Of Kids and Chefs

Today has been exhausting. Not bad, just exhausting, as I have had the three kids since bedtime last night. They really are great kids, but let's just say I was happy when their bedtime rolled around. Dave and I had done a bit of scheming a couple days back which resulted in him and Charity packing off to Mesa for some Valentine's R&R (I sent them off to "pick up something from the store," after I had secretly packed Charity's overnight bag, along with some cheesecake and Martinelli's in Dave's trunk--lovely, if I do say so myself!). Anyway, so I have been the nanny today. It really has been a nice day, and the kids and I had a fun time together building forts, having a pillow fight, playing outside, etc.

Anyway, changing the subject, I have yet to report on our "Iron Chef: Hamburger" competition from the other night, which was awesome, and great fun! Sadly though, my secret talisman (the cool Chef's hat) did not help me win. Curtis and I tied for second place. We were one point behind team Charity and Dave. )-; However, on the bright side, I did win first place in the "taste" category!

Here are the pictures of our finished creations. Curtis was at a bit of a disadvantage because he had never seen the show and we neglected to explain "plating" (sp?) to him, but nevertheless, he was very creative in his mountainscape presentation. All the food was so yummy, and this is definately something we plan to do again!

(In order--mine, Char and Dave's, Curtis')

Here are Dave and Charity with their victory pineapple! Congratulations!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Of Food and Victory

Tonight is our big "Iron Chef" competition. Curtis, myself, Dave, and Charity. Our (not so) secret ingredient is hamburger. We have all been carefully planning the dish we will prepare. (Yes, we are only doing one--not the five they have to do on the real show). The prize for the winner is a pineapple. I'm sure it will be delicious. (The pineapple, that is--and my food, for that matter!) I am confident that I will win, because I have a secret talisman. Charity is peeved that I won't tell her what it is, especially since it actually belongs to her, but if I tell her, I know she will want to use it, and thus win the victory. We can't let that happen, now, can we?!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On (not) Finding the Perfect Pair of Pants

Well, another day has come and gone.

So,which is better--to buy an expensive pair of pants that looks great on you, or buy three pairs for the same price that look decent?

Charity took me to the mall today on a quest for the perfect pair of pants (which we did not find). We are such funny mall shoppers, because we went into the one store we originally wanted to, then we pretty much spent the rest of the time (and all our money!) on books at Borders. Good times. (Curtis, I hope you properly appreciate the fact that I am not a clothes shopper!) Afterwards we went to TGIFridays and indulged in some vanilla bean cheesecake...heaven....(-:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Of Death and Destruction

So, Charity and I had an interesting, if somewhat morbid conversation over breakfast this morning. I was telling her about this dream I had a month or so ago, that has stuck with me because it was scary and quite vivid. Usually I don't remember my dreams, but this one I did. Here is the dream; One evening, about dusk, I heard these strange noises coming from the sky outside. When I went out to investigate, I was terrified to see that some huge aircraft, the likes of which I had never before seen, were parked over our community. They immediately started firing upon the houses at the far end of the neighborhood with some sort of laser. Since we were at the other end of the neighborhood from the flying machines, many of those who were left alive rushed over to our house in an attempt to escape. Then the scene in my dream flashed to our basement, where we were all huddled. I had Maile clutched in my arms, and I assumed that Curtis had Arden, although I had no idea where they were. The aircraft slowly came towards our end of the neighborhood, systematically firing on all the houses, and I knew it would soon come to our house. Sure enough, it did, and continued it's relentless firing. I don't ever remember feeling so scared, but I did have the presence of mind to notice that right before the laser hit, there was a small pinpoint of red light, indicating where the next laser was going to hit. I saw one centered on myself and Maile, and quickly scooted back under the stairwell as far as I could before the beam killed us. However, before the beam came down, I had several thoughts race through my mind, which, since my dream, have given me cause for reflection. First of all, I remember wondering if it would be better to go ahead and stand in the way of the beam and have Maile and I be killed intentionally, knowing that anyone who happened to survive this assault would most certainly be captured by obviously brutal people. That thought was appealing to me also, because I felt that I had lived my life in such a way that I had nothing to fear from the other side of the veil. On the flip side, another thought I had was that perhaps Heavenly Father would be displeased with me if I did that, not to mention there is an innate survival instinct that made me very much cringe from killing myself.

Anyway, so that is what Charity and I discussed this morning. Which decision would have been optimal? What would we have done in a similar but more realistic situation, say, in a third world country where terrorism is much more common? How would we have reacted knowing that our children would surely have been tortured and probably killed anyways? Knowing that Heavenly Father views suicide as a sin since one would be willfully destroying his greatest creation, besides which, it is often through great suffering that we grow the closest to far is that applicable before He would excuse one from committing suicide? What if, for example, you knew some secrets of the state and were caught by enemies who would torture you to find out information. In God's eyes, is there be a higher law where it would be better to commit suicide rather then risk divulging information that would endanger others' lives? Hmmmm...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Of Dalliences with Elderly Men

Well, despite turning 29 (and Charity soon to turn 26), it is nice to know that we have not lost "it" yet. Today was our shopping day, and Charity had run into one of the grocery stores while I stayed out in the car with our kids. Apparently as she was eyeballing the tangerines, an elderly gentleman with a cane in his cart came up to her an asked, "If I learn to walk again, would you run away with me?" Charity politely replied that she would consider it.

I guess it was just our day for compliments from old guys, because a few minutes later, I was pushing all three of the kids around in a cart at Wal-mart and another elderly guy came up to me and said, "No wonder you look so fit and slender!" Ahhhh, what a nice thing for someone to say after having just turned 29! I just love old people! They are delightful!

Of Fond Food Memories

Aunt Amy is compiling a family cookbook and asked us to send her "food" stories or memories to include. Following are a few of the memories I have e-mailed her and which I thought I would also post on my blog.

I remember when we were youngsters, canning with Mom when we lived in Farmer City. Mom would usually set up an assembly line and assign each child a particular task in the canning process. (Because of this, I am just now learning how to do the whole process--I'd only done parts before!) Anyway, one time a neighbor offered to let us pick her concord grapes to make grape juice. Mom, as usual, set up her assembly line in the kitchen, which included a board between two chairs. She had set a 3 gallon vat of juice on the board to finish straining, and then she sat down next to it. Unfortunately, the board broke, splashing dark purple grape juice all over Mom's newly painted (light blue and white) kitchen! We didn't can any grape juice after that that I can recall.

Another time, a farmer friend of the family invited us to come to his farm and pick up all the walnuts that had fallen from his trees. There were hundreds, so we spent a good several hours gathering walnuts and putting them in large trash bags. When we returned home, we dumped the nuts into a large kiddy pool, whereupon mom and dad proceeded to put us older kids to work hulling them. We probably spent a good couple of weeks on that project, and the resulting stains on our hands took weeks to come off! After that, of course, the nuts had to be shelled, which also took a ridiculous amount of time. Mom and Dad could tell us kids were becoming disgruntled with this task which we had never wanted to begin with, so in an attempt to motivate us, they carefully pried open a few of the nuts and inserted coins, then glued them back together for us to find when we cracked them open. By that point though, none of us cared how much money was in the nuts, but we knew we would have to finish the job anyway, so we carried on, until finally, all the nuts were hulled and shelled. There was one small problem. The farmer we had gotten the nuts from had neglected to tell us the walnuts were Black walnuts (very bitter) as opposed to the English walnuts which most of us are used too. Mom tried every way she could think of to make the nuts palatable, but to no avail. We ended up feeding all of them to the local squirrels.

I remember one of our favorite books to read when we were young was "Chancy and the Grand Rascal." Dad would read this to us as we sat by the fireplace cracking nuts or roasting hot dogs. At one part in the book, the Grand Rascal is floating down the river on a raft. The rule aboard the raft was that if you complained about any of the cooking, you inherited the despised job of being the raft's chef. One dinner, a bar of soap inadvertently fell into the pot of beans. As everyone ate, no one said anything for a while, until someone piped up and said "These beans are soapy!" Everyone turned to stare at him, sure they had their next cook lined up, until the fellow continued, "But I like soapy beans!" We were highly amused by this, and from that moment on, it became our family's rule as well, only we modified it to be that whoever complained about the food got to do cleanup for that meal. There was one time when we were in Wyoming visiting Grandma Christiansen, and one of the kids had cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast. Unfortunately, not everyone has my amazing scrambled egg cooking abilities, and the eggs turned out quite burnt. Nevertheless, in following Grandma's rule to not waste food, they were served. One of the kids, after taking a bite, and with a disgusted look on his face made the obvious statement, "These eggs are burnt!" Quickly realizing his mistake, he continued, "But I like burnt eggs!"

Another memory I have of the farm is when Heidi and Ben were asked to wash a bunch of potatoes for dinner. Rather then washing them normally in the sink, they decided they would have a little fun with the task and float them down the irrigation ditch to wash them. We were all quite impressed by their ingenuity (this was back in the days before germs were an issue) and wished we would of thought of that!

One of the things we loved to do as kids was to bring Mom breakfast in bed on special occasions such as her birthday and Mother's Day. I remember we thought it was so cool to color her milk with food coloring, and we would do so every time we brought her breakfast. In retrospect, I am sure the milk looked revolting, and I suspect she would dump it down the drain after we had left the room, since her glass was always empty!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Of Birthdays and Fake Flowers

Ahhhh....I am the big 29! At any rate, I will be tomorrow, but we celebrated today. What a delightful day it has been too, although I really wish Curtis was here! It just feels like he should be here, hanging out with us! Soon, though, soon!

Anyway, we took a picnic lunch out to a place called Madeira Canyon and hiked up the mountain with the kids (until we couldn't stand them whining about how tired their legs were anymore--even despite all the "power beans" I fed them!). The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the canyon, surprisingly for Arizona, was as well. (Sorry Arizona--I love your weather but your scenery in general is quite barren.)

When we got home, for my birthday dinner, Charity cooked this AMAZING pork recipe and coconut rice...mmmm...and then we had angel food cake for dessert, followed by presents. Earlier, Charity had taken the kids to the dollar store and let them pick out a present for me--so cute! My favorite was the hideous pink fabric roses that Arden gave me, which apparently he could not be talked out of once he saw. He is such a sweetheart. Ever since he was just a little guy, he has always picked little flowers he has found (usually weeds, actually) and given them to me as a little "I love you." What wonderful kids I have!

To end the night, Dave, Char, and I played a couple games of Settlers and jammed out to some great music. All in all, a fantastic end to a fantastic day.

Thanks Charity and Dave for a wonderful birthday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Of Warmth and, Well, Not Much Sunshine the Last Few Days

Well, here we are in warm Arizona! Hurray! It has rained the last several days and been a little chillier then I think people here are used to. (65-ish?) Char and I went shopping yesterday and it was so funny to see everyone dressed up in heavy sweatshirts and jackets, while there I was in my short sleeves, reveling in the warmth!
Long live Arizona!

I have to say, I am so impressed with how friendly people are here. What is wrong with Rexburg? It seems like unless you have lived there for 50 years, you are considered an outsider. Here, people all up and down the street seem to be really good friends, even in this newer development. Curtis' theory is that people in Rexburg get used to hibernating indoors for half the year, so they are not in the habit of neighborly visiting out on the street and such.

Speaking of Curtis, happy day! He told me yesterday that he was able to get plane tickets to come out here for a few days in February. What an awesome birthday present. I miss him so much I going to be able to stay here an entire six weeks? (I do love you too, Char and Dave, really I do!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Of Cereal and Songs

I have to say, I am impressed with myself. I must be doing something right in regards to teaching my kids good nutrition, because both of them chose All-Bran cereal over Cocoa-Crispies this morning. (-:

So, the other day, I was rocking Maile and singing to her. After I completed my rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," she responded, "Mama, I'm not a sunshine, I'm jus a girl!"

Later....I asked Arden what his favorite dinner is. His reply? "Wheat!" Where in the world did that come from?!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Of New Years Resolutions

So, it is now a new year, but this year, I refuse to succumb to the temptation to set 3,000 goals for myself, which I know I will not be able to accomplish. No, this year I have determined to only set one goal, and that is to have a weekly planning and personal evaluation session with myself. I have determined that so much of life is simply reacting to circumstances, rather then planning and acting on what you would like to see happen, and I believe this stunts our personal growth more then we realize and keeps us from reaching our full potential. In these planning sessions, I will set weekly goals in regards to exercise, plan activities with the kids, dates with Curtis, and other things of a more personal and religious nature I would like to improve on.

In looking back on the past year, I have to say that overall, I am pleased with the progress we have made as a family, and I have made as an individual, although the nature of life is that one can always do better. We have also made good progress with finishing our basement, and we have a good plan in place for what we would like to see happen with our landscaping. It is hard to be patient in finishing everything, but we are trying to be wise with our finances and not overextend ourselves!

In changing the subject, man, I am getting old! I went to bed at 9:30 on New Year's Eve! What is my problem?! To be fair, the night before I stayed up past midnight watching Stargate episodes with Curtis, and then during the day, we drove to Jackson Hole and went swimming at their rec center for three hours. (Which was AMAZING! Two waterslides, a waterfall, kiddie area, and best of all, the water was 92 degrees!) I guess that wears one out. We put the kids down as soon as we got home, then we played a couple of games of Mystery of the Abbey with Alli (which was thoroughly enjoyable!). That was our night, and I have to say, it was so relaxing.

I also have to say, I am so excited to go and visit Charity and Dave in Arizona for 6 weeks. It will be nice to get away from the dreariness of winter in Rexburg, and what better company could one have?! Char and I are planning to do a little preschool for Arden and Ellie, as well as lots of projects on their new house! They got a really good deal on a foreclosure in an upscale neighborhood, but apparently the previous owners trashed the place, so it sounds like their work will be cut out for them. I do love doing projects like that, though, so it should be fun!

Today, I used a coupon from Curtis that I got in my stocking a couple of years ago for "Mom's Time Off," so I have had the day to myself, while Curtis has taken care of the kids. What an awesome husband I have! I have gotten so much done--I love it! As soon as one of my current woodworking projects is completed, I will post pics on my blog. I also got to read my scriptures for an hour, sleep in until 8:00, work on a couple of sewing projects, arrange for several bids on the plumbing in our basement, clean my room, and watch a movie...and the night is still young! Oh, Curtis, I love you!