John

2015
04.19

Eleven is a big year for this boy here.

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He got to perform at the Hope of America, which is a big program at BYU (part of the Freedom Festival) where 5th graders learn a bunch of great songs and get to go and perform them.

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You can’t tell, but there’s John over there in the yellow shirt on the left side.

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Also not John.

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The coolest is when they do this whole flashlight song and sing about how they are the light.

John doesn’t love to have his picture taken right now, but he is indeed a light to our family. Smart and Spunky (and stubborn). We love him.

The other day there was a HUGE windstorm. I hate windstorms. The sound of the wind shaking the windows and the bushes scraping the trees scares me, and I envision our roof being ripped off as I watch garbage cans and coolers and boxes blow down the street. As I was preparing to hunker down inside, I looked out the window, and I saw John on the trampoline. What in the world?
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He thought he would take advantage of the breeze and see if that affected his jumping. That boy loves to jump on the trampoline.

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The pictures aren’t the greatest quality because I took them from inside the house through a dirty window (because I wasn’t going outside, are you kidding?)but you get the idea.

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I actually had to call him inside when dinner was ready.

I love this boy.
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First Funeral

2015
04.17

Saturday we had a funeral. Our first as a RS presidency. Thankfully, we have Kristen, an amazing lady who is our compassionate service funeral team leader. She was so organized, so it made the day go quite smoothly.

I got a call on Friday from the daughter, who was helping coordinate the funeral for her dad. She said they wanted to have donuts to pass out after the funeral. Her dad lived on Coke and donuts, and all the grandkids knew that if they stayed over with their Grandparents, they would have coke and donuts for breakfast.

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So, on Saturday, one of the brothers brought in about 400 donuts from Lehi bakery.

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Once the funeral started, we set these up on both sides of the chapel, so that people could pick up a donut on the way out. It was just a fun reminder of Gary, a way of remembering a great man.

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And boy were they yummy donuts! I didn’t eat a donut, but I did in fact have several donut holes.

I’m thankful that things went smoothly that day. It was a long day, and hard work, but we were happy to serve.

Spring Break 2015

2015
04.08

For the first part of our spring break, we stayed home.

Friday night Megan came home and we went to dinner at the traditional birthday place, Los Hermanos. And we ate WAY too much. Darn chips and salsa.
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Saturday, Natalie and I baked about 25 loaves of bread and delivered them to the people who had ordered bread. It was a LONG day for both of us. We’ll bake more bread in the future, but we either need to charge more money, or not deliver.

We also listened to conference, or tried to, when the Bosch and the wheat grinder weren’t making too much noise. Ryan also took Megan bow shopping. Seems the girl has gotten into archery and she really really really wanted a compound bow for her birthday. Yep, she’s just like Catniss. Only she and her roommate Sarah shoot hay bales, not wild game. They found one she likes, and the guy at the shop took about 1/2 hour to help her adjust the draw length, and also instructed her on her stance and corrected her grip, so it was like a private lesson. All that matters is she is happy with her present.
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On Sunday, we all enjoyed the chance to sleep in and stay home.

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There was some looking for easter eggs and candy eating, as well as waffles for breakfast. As newly called Relief Society President, it was nice to not have to GO to church and do all the church responsibilities. The conference talks were AMAZING! I really felt the spirit. After the last session of conference, we hosted a family Easter dinner. Lots of food and fun. It was just my sister Amy’s family, our family, and mom and dad, but that’s still kind of a crowd.
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Monday I got the kids outside with me and we did about 45 minutes of weeding in the back yard. But it wasn’t all that warm, and there was of course much complaining. I had grand plans that we were going to weed EVERY day, but the weather didn’t cooperate so much. But at least we got that one weeding session in. Monday night we decided to take the kids bowling. It really is their favorite family thing to do. We had such a fun time bowling. The last time was with the Brazillian boys, and that was awkward, so it was good to go with just us, and with only 3 kids to pay for, it seemed almost a bargain.

On Tuesday, the kids were doing an awful lot of tv watching, so I encouraged John to find a friend to play with, and I got out the hair dye for the girls. Natalie had been wanting to do a bright pink on the ends, and Jenna wanted red. SO, I got to play beautician. The natural henna rinse I had picked up for Jenna took FOREVER to process, and it looked like green/brown baby poo.
DSCN0798 It smelled AWFUL! Seriously. I nearly lost it several times as I was trying to comb it in to her hair. She put on a cap and got to sit for a time while I worked on Natalie.
DSCN0806 First we had to bleach, then wash and dry, then color the pink. It was a long process! Both girls are happy with their new looks, though, so that’s a good thing. Then it was time to take John to the Orthodontist, just to check and see if he needs anything. nope. He’s good for a couple years, at least. When we came home, I decided to take the kids to see a movie. Paddington was the best option at the cheap theater, so off we went. Ryan was going to do a bike ride, but he ended up not going because it was just too cold and windy.

Wednesday, I had plans to attend a workshop learning about and sewing with DAYS FOR GIRLS. We want to do a service project with them and they had invited me to come to a training session. Before I could do that, however, my phone rang, and it was the Bishop of our ward, calling from California. A member of our ward had died in the night, and we would be responsible for the funeral on Saturday. Oh, goody! A funeral! Just what I had been dreading. But, we have a wonderful compassionate service person, who has done lots of funerals. I got on the phone with her, called my counselors, asked a few questions of the former RS president, and we figured things out. I decided I’d better go to Costco and get the hams today, since we have plans to be out of town on Thursday and Friday. It took a while to call, set up the sign-up list, email back and forth, but I think we have things under control. The Bishop and I will both be back in town by Friday night, so we can take care of this funeral on Saturday.
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Oh, did I mention we are feeding the missionaries on Wed night? Yep.
It’s not Disneyland, but it’s still fun!

Busy little beavers, we are

2015
04.03

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This big ol’ white board now lives in my office. I’ve spent some time this morning figuring it out and rearranging a few things (just a few). It’s the visiting teaching board for our Relief Society. I have a feeling I’ll get to know that board very well. With sisters moving in and out, changes seem to be necessary almost constantly. I feel bad for our secretary.

I’m thankful for my supportive husband. Yesterday, as I looked at the website for substitute teachers, there were 36 available jobs listed for today and in the next week. I look at those open jobs and I feel guilty if I don’t accept one of them. But I didn’t want to. I mentioned it to Ryan and he said “You should NOT feel guilty for not subbing unless someone specifically asked for you.” I realized today that this morning is the only quite time I’ll have around here for about a week (spring break coming up) and I really needed to prayerfully consider the sisters and the changes that need to be made, so I’m glad I had this morning to do it.

Today we will start our breadmaking. I believe we need to make 26 loaves tonight and tomorrow for the first baking day of Natalie’s fund raiser. She needs to earn about $600 to pay for her Debate trip in June to Texas. But we’ve had a GREAT response to the bread idea, and I think she can earn that money in the time we have.

You’ve got something on your face

2015
04.01

On Saturday, the girls wanted to go to the festival of colors in Spanish fork. We had gone last year as a family and had fun, but I didn’t know if it was in the cards this year. I had a bells rehearsal in Salt Lake and wouldn’t be home until after noon, and John had a birthday party at 1 pm, but I told the girls I would go with them if they really wanted to go. They did. At least Natalie and Megan. Here we are on the bus to go to the temple BC (before colors).
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Jenna did not want to go, so she stayed home with Dad.

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I love how when you walk in, you see the WHITE people and the COLORED people. Talk about segregation.
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It was a beautiful and warm day. We didn’t purchase colors, but as soon as you walk on the grounds, people start to toss a bit of color on you, or even pat you on the back or the face with some color. Personal space? Not here.

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I like the shirts when they are colorful, but not TOTALLY covered in chalk.

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In trying to protect my camera, I kept it in a bag. I tried to take pictures through the bag, but this was the result, so I tried to just take it out and take a picture or two and then put it right back in the bag.

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Here it looks like Natalie is trying to eat our heads.

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The bandanas are to protect your mouth and nose from the chalk in the air. When it’s the official THROW at the top of the hour, you can be sure we had our faces covered.

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There are a ton of people there, so parking and traffic is a problem, but we didn’t mind waiting for the bus to take us back to our car at Salem Hills High school.
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The important thing was that we all had fun. Yes, we had to shower, wash everything, even vacuum out the car afterward, but it was a fun experience!

Happy Spring!

I would have been fine to be the runner up

2015
03.30

I’ve never been the president of anything. In high school I ran for Senior Class Vice president (I think it was VP), but I lost. To Mike Crosland. The Football player. Not that I’m bitter or anything, but I still think I would have done a way better job.

Moving on.

I was also secretary of the Drama Club. I know, right? I’m kind of a big deal.

In my adult life, I’ve had a few “presidency” callings. I’ve been in a YW presidency, a Primary Presidency, and even a Relief Society presidency, but I’ve always been a counselor, and the jobs didn’t turn out to be terribly hard.

Well, now I get the opportunity to be in a presidency again. Only this time, I’ll be the president. (eek) Say hello to the new RS pres of my ward (double eek).

I’ve known about this for a few weeks, actually, but it wasn’t official until yesterday. At first I didn’t think I could do this job because I already have a hefty calling with the Bells on Temple Square. But after talking with my director and the president of the choir (and a LOT of praying), we have come to the conclusion that it is possible to do both. I have to let a couple things go, and my counselors will have to take over when I can’t be to certain ward things because I have bell things. I guess the bishop knew I would need some convincing before I could feel calm, so I’ve had quite a bit of time to work this out. And I did feel calm, alternating with panic. Then I would shove that panic down, and feel calm again.

Yesterday, as I was sitting in church, working on my personal progress (SO close, people!), I read this scripture in John 14:26-27. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

I need to recite that scripture every single morning, I guess.

Yesterday was kind of an exhausting day, anyway. I got to play in a bell quartet in my friend Linda’s ward in Spanish fork at 9:00. Left there and came right to our ward at 11:00. After church we were set apart and that was really a wonderful experience. It was almost 3:00 by the time we ate anything. Then I had a little nap. Woke up at 5:00, got ready, and then went to Provo where I played two bell numbers in a wonderful Easter fireside. I realized about halfway through that I was really hungry again. Thank goodness they had refreshments after the fireside. Long day. Great day, but long.

Well, anyway, I’ve been RS president for 24 whole hours and nothing terrible has happened, so I guess that’s good. We have a presidency meeting tomorrow and I honestly have no idea what we will talk about. Hmmmm. But, I spent about an hour looking through the RS president’s binder, spoke with the RS secretary for about an hour, and questioned the previous RS president for over an hour, so really I should have some clue. Not really.

But honestly, I am humbled and….well, humbled to have this calling. I will do my best.

Arizona Roadtrip

2015
03.26

Megan and I took off on a roadtrip on Friday to Arizona.
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She has spring break this week, and I really wanted to go and see my dear friend Robin. So, it was just the two of us.

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Megan had a nice camera from school again, so she was the designated photographer, but I don’t have her pictures uploaded yet, so we’ll have to make do with pictures from my not so nice camera. We stopped in Kanab for the night, which is a cute little town. We even ate at the Three Bear’s Cafe, which my mom recommended.

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It was nice that Megan could drive some of the way, since this was my first trip driving without Ryan.

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We used our phone GPS, and sometimes they gave us differing directions, but we made it there ok. Well, most of the time. I had to call Robin twice because I was seriously like 3 blocks away from the destination, but had gotten lost. Darn Arizona neighborhoods–everything looks the same and I can’t really tell what direction I’m going.

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Robin was one of my roommates at BYU.
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Saturday night we met up with Jenny, who was also a roommate of ours my sophomore year. Jenny was kind enough to offer her house for us to stay this trip.

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She has a beautiful house and a lovely family and it was so great to meet them all. Unfortunately, all the pictures of Jenny are on MEGAN’s camera, so I don’t have one right now, but you can read all about her and her family’s adventures on her blog.

My favorite thing about Jenny’s house is the huge ice maker. Fill up those water bottles with ice, and you don’t even have to worry that you are taking all of the ice in the house.

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Sunday we went to church with my brother and his family, and had dinner with them. They even taught me how to index names for genealogy!

On Monday, I really wanted to make some meals for Robin and her family. So, we went shopping and picked up all the ingredients for 6 meals that they can just throw in the crockpot, and then there’s dinner. I got the recipes from here,, and it was very easy. I’m going to do some of these for my family. Robin also wanted some of my wheat bread, so while at Jenny’s house, we made a batch of bread. Unfortunately, her wheat grinder was funky and spewed forth flour all over the kitchen. Sorry! She was so nice to let me make a mess in her kitchen to prepare food! Don’t worry, I helped clean up.

While there, we also went to see Cinderella with Robin and her family.

We looked at wigs, went shopping for super comfy clothes that Robin can wear to chemo appointments, and debated about what to do with her hair. I think she should color it some funky bold color, and then if she doesn’t like it, she can cut it all off!
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Sadly, our trip ended so soon. We had to leave on Tuesday, but not before a nice brunch with Robin and Sarah. Sarah is like a cousin to Megan. They have known each other since they were tiny, and even though they only see each other once or twice a year, they really are great friends.
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And so cute!
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Of course we couldn’t leave without citrus. We picked grapefruits from Scott’s house and lemons from Robin’s house.
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Quick trip, but a great one. Good friends, some sunny weather, and lots of time in the car to talk with my girl.
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There may have even been some singing into that tiny microphone.

Making the appointment is half the battle

2015
03.13

I hate making doctor’s appointments. I put it off and put it off. Especially if it’s something for me that’s just kind of a nagging, non urgent thing. My mammogram gets later and later in the year every year, as I put it off.

Well, I’ve been having night sweats something terrible, lately. When I went to the doc earlier this year he wrote me an rx for estrogen, which my pharmacist cautioned me against taking this if my body wasn’t making progesterone, because it can cause cancer. So, I never took that. I also never took any of the pain med he prescribed for a stress headache I had at the time.

So, I gathered up my courage to call and make an appointment with an ob/gyn (I don’t have one currently, since I’m done having kids and all) and was rejected. Not taking new patients, only doing surgical consults, blah, blah, blah. It was like a slap in the face. Plus, I had just used all my gumption to call and make that appointment! Now I’ll have to wait 3 more months and stew about it before I can call again. Ok, not really. I summoned up the courage to call a DIFFERENT office and try to schedule an appointment, an they won’t even talk about making an appointment before April. FINE. But I made an appointment, at least.

Now I have to call the Orthodontist and CHANGE the appointment I made for the kids, because that turns out to not work very well. When you have to schedule so far in advance, things come up, I tell you.

But I can’t do that today because I’ve already called two doctor’s offices today. That will have to wait for another day.

Funeral

2015
03.03

Today was a funeral for a wonderful young man. The family used to be in our ward, but they haven’t been for 5 years or so. We still see them at school things and stake things. This boy was a senior at Lone Peak. A star student, great artist, talented pianist, and friend to all. Not the kind of person you would think would take his own life. A few of the sisters from our ward signed up to help with clean up after the funeral. It’s not much, but it’s a service I could do.

I wasn’t planning on going to the funeral.

But at 11:10, I got a text from a friend who said, “do you know anyone who could come and watch the two little siblings during the funeral.” They had planned on having people in the nursery during the meal, but hadn’t thought about during the funeral. Even though I wasn’t dressed in church clothes, I texted back that I could be there in a few minutes. I hurried and changed my clothes and got over there as quickly as I could.

As I walked into the nursery, a little voice said, “Hi Mrs. E!” Yes, of course. His little sister is in the kindergarten class that I frequently substitute. She and her two year old brother seemed to be ok with me there. Of course, little brother didn’t want his diaper changed, but we got it taken care of. I feel like I was meant to be there to play with them. I could hear the talks from the chapel, but I wasn’t listening too intently, since I was playing with the kids. There weren’t a lot of toys in the nursery, since the toys were all locked in each wards closets, but we did have the kitchen, a few people and cars, and a rocking horse. They really loved getting snow from outside and playing with it in the kitchen.

I was glad I was there. The talks were so touching, and it was nice to be able to listen while playing with the kids.

About 12:40 someone else came to take over the watching of the kids, when the funeral was over, and I went home to make some lunch. Then I came back at 2:30 to help with the funeral luncheon clean up. What a sweet thing it is to be able to work with other sisters, some of them I know, some I don’t, and to offer service at this difficult time.

The other ward hasn’t had as many funerals as we have, and our current Relief Society President is pretty much a pro. She can pull off a funeral, a wedding, a party, probably in her sleep. She knows all the tricks. She brought over the styrafoam take out boxes to load up extra food to take to other families in the ward. She knows where the tablecloths come from, knows about the individually wrapped butters at Sams club, where to buy the best rolls, etc.

As I was leaving, I heard, “Bye, Mrs. E!”
“Bye, sweetie!” I called back.

Why I do theater

2015
03.01

Wow. Our show is over. 22 Shows is 3 weeks.

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The show was so popular that it sold out, so they asked us if we could all do an additional show on Thursday night, which we did.

It was really awesome to get to know the other 7 people in the cast.
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For the past four weeks we get there around 9 and start to do our makeup, hair, get out mics on and get in costume and warm up. A lot of mornings I was tired, or stressed, or really didn’t want to do JUST ONE MORE show. But once I got there, everyone was laughing, singing to whatever music we had on that day, and just having fun as we got ready. I mentioned to Ryan how much fun we were having, and he said, “this is the payoff. You did the 6 weeks of rehearsals and now you get to reap the pay off.”

Yep.

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And what great people. Our director is in his 80′s. He’s a wonderful man.
We have a 57 year old dynamo with tons of energy, and she was also our choreographer.
We have a retired cop, now stay at home dad,
A 19 year old chemical biology student (something super smart like that)
A couple of 28 year olds who love theater and have been doing it for years,
A mom of 3 who only did her first play last fall,
Our Pinkalicious, who is most often a behind the scenes gal, directing and stage managing so many shows, but she was AWESOME and full of energy in this role,
And me.

Everyone was so nice. We talked about relationships, theater, husbands, boyfriends, dating, kids, makeup, music, underwear, school… everything. This past week I came on Thursday and had just learned of a young man’s death in our stake, and I was very sad. But doing a show forces you to leave your sadness at the door. There is no time for sadness in a busy, high energy show like this. I felt love and support from these people.

In a small show like this, you get a chance to sing and dance (at the same time) even if that’s not your forte. Often, n big shows, I don’t get to dance at all because it’s obvious that I’m not a dancer. I LOVED having the chance to learn choreography and dance. No, I’m not the best, but I CAN do it, and it’s fun.

Yes, it was a ton of work. Each show took about 3 hours out of my day, with driving to Orem, getting ready, doing the show, changing, and then driving home. On 7 of those days, we did the show twice, so that was about 6 hours. But I LOVED doing it. Yes, my house is a mess, and I was quite exhausted.
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But it’s worth it to me.

Now the show is over and I have to go on with my regular life. I have a few sub jobs lined up already and I will continue with my chimes choir. I still have Bells, and we are entering a really busy season. I have enough to do, that I’m glad I won’t have to give up 3 or 6 hours of my day tomorrow. But a part of me is sad that I won’t get to see these friends every day. I hope to be able to do another show with each of them, and hope we keep in touch. Dr. Seuss said, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’ I will always smile when I think of this show.