Friday, March 30, 2012

10 of 30: Most Embarrassing Moment

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here

10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.

I must not get embarrassed very often, because I had a hard time coming up with anything in the past several years. The one embarrassing moment that has stuck with me through the years happened when I was about 13 or 14.

My brother, David, had gone on his mission to Brazil several months prior to this event. I wrote to him on a (fairly) regular basis. I was a budding poet at the time (I have since given up on most poetry) and sent him a copy of one of my poems. It was spiritually themed, so I thought it would be a good thing to share with a missionary.

David frequently sent audio tapes of messages to us along with personal letters. Usually, the messages were meant for the whole family, rather than write the same thing in multiple letters. It was good to hear his voice.

Some time after sending the poem, we got letters and a tape back. On the tape, David invited his mission companion to introduce himself and say a few things too. At some point, this Elder (I don't recall his name) spoke to me directly. I was surprised, but my surprise quickly turned to horror.

Elder Whatshisname explained that my brother had shared my poem with him. (Horror!) He thought it was pretty good. (Um... maybe this isn't so bad after all.) He thought it was so good that he said he would like to share a poem he wrote. (And, yes, the horror returns...)

I don't remember now how long the poem was, but it seemed interminable to me at the time. I was so mortified that I remember curling up my legs, putting my head on my knees and hiding my burning face. I don't think my face has ever felt hotter and tighter in my life. I was so embarrassed that my eyes were watering.

I think my family was amused by my reaction, thinking I was pleased by the attention, but all I wanted to do was get out of there. I do like attention, but there was something about that situation that became nightmarish for me.

And there you have it.

Next Time: Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

Until next time... ;)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

9 of 30: 10 People

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here.

9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how. (In no particular order.)

1. Stephenie Meyer - I read Twilight while I was pregnant with my first baby. It opened my eyes to how a very old legend can be made fresh, modern and different. It gave me the courage to continue with my novel which had been moldering in my computer.

2. There are several writers who made me want to become a writer. The first one that sent me on that path was Diana Wynne Jones. I loved her books when I was a child, and I still love her books now. It was on my bucket list to meet her someday, but I recently found out that she died last year on March 26th. I think I'll go cry by myself for a while.

3. My husband has been a huge influence in my life. He has made me want to be better, stronger and smarter. He is the greatest advocate for me and always encourages me to be confident in myself. He laughs at/with me when I'm being ridiculous and always "gets" my jokes. Recently, he has also been a sounding board for my writing. I love getting his feedback because he is answering from a reader's standpoint. I know if I can get him interested, I can feel good about writing something that will interest others.

4. Okay, I'll give the "church-y" response. Nephi, son of Lehi, is an inspiration for me. His writing speaks to me. He is a faithful man who, while tender and spiritual, could still be a strong leader. He had to reprimand his elder brothers several times and I'm sure that was not easy. We want to look up to our older brothers and sisters as our examples and it is a great disappointment when they fall far short of what they know to be right. 

5. My sister, Jen, has been influential in my life. She is a good and loving parent, a faithful woman and a strong person overall. She decided over a year ago that she was going to go through POST training and become a police officer. She graduates this Spring and has a conditional job offer with a department. I admire her because I know that what she wants to do is not an easy job and is often thankless. I am amazed at her strength and enthusiasm and that she is taking control of her life and doing what she really wants.

6. Ben and I are friends with another couple and their family. Brent and Amber have spent the last 5 months with their 7-year-old son at St. Jude's, and other hospitals, trying to cure the cancer raging through his body. Ben and I, though we cannot be with them in person to support them through this time, have followed their progress and prayed for them. I try to put myself in their place to understand what they must be going through and I find that I can't. The strength and faith that have kept them going through all of this is amazing to me. Watching them has made me want to be a better parent because our children are a gift.

7. My choir director, Gordon, is amazing. He has made music a huge part of his life and he obviously loves it. He has made my church choir a truly wonderful experience. I haven't been able to go for several weeks for various reasons and I know I love going because I miss it when I can't. I love singing and he always has something challenging for us to work on. I want to be a better singer because his musical selections demand it.

8. My friend Sarah is a great example to me. It seems from the moment she moved into our area and started coming to church, she has been actively involved in everything. She started a parent/child wiggle time for the winter months. She had lived in California prior to coming to Utah and could take her boys outside nearly every day. When she moved here, she found that the weather restricted outside time. Rather than suffer through the winter, she took the initiative and did something about it. She also started up a girl's night once a month for our area. I think more than anything else, I admire her ability to take a problem and actively pursue a solution. I want to do better with that in my own life.

9. My mother has always been an example to me. She is the voice of reason, wisdom, kindness and spiritual strength. I don't think I have ever met anyone with greater faith. She has said that others have called her "pious" in the attempt to hurt her, but I have never thought of her in that way. She humbly and quietly seeks out God and tries to emulate Him.

10. I'm going to throw a curve ball in here and, without naming any names at all, mention all those people who have been far from exemplary in my life. Those people who have hurt me or those I love, the ones who selfishly continue to do so, have influenced me too.  Their choices have made me want to run in the other direction, metaphorically speaking and even a little literally. Though I don't hate them, I want to have as little to do with them as possible. I want to learn from their mistakes and behavior so that I can be a better person. I also save a little hope that one day they will realize what damage they have done and make changes for the better.
On the flip side, there are also all those unnamed people; strangers, friends and family who have been a force for good in my life. Those people give me hope and strength as well.

Next Time: Describe your most embarrassing moment.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

8 of 30: 5 Passions

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here.

8. What are 5 passions you have?

1. Dragons. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I can talk about them for hours. A few people also know that when I watch movies that have dragons in them, I always root for the dragon, even if they're not the heroes. It also breaks my heart when movies or books show dragons being injured or abused. There is an extremely well-written series that I will never complete because it's too painful for me to read. (The only part of the last Harry Potter movie where I cried was during the scenes with the Gringot's dragon. The raw skin and blind eyes were torture for me.)

I'm also a dragon snob. I love to have dragon calendars, art and statuary around my house, but they have to be "right" for me to buy them. I spend a lot of time analyzing the style, appearance and intent of the artwork before I decide to take it home.

2. Reading. I used to read so much that I'd forgo sleep to finish a book. I don't do that anymore because I like to linger over good stories now.
It hurts my feelings when I meet people who say they hate reading. My response is usually something like, "You must not have ever read anything good." One thing I will always be grateful to J. K. Rowlings for is bringing the joy of reading to many of my nieces and nephews.

3. Writing. I love telling stories. I love inventing stories. I love imagination and creativity. I'm a far stretch from the best, but I'm not a bad writer, if I do say so myself. :)
I have several stories in my head and, eventually, they'll all find their way out onto paper.
To read more about that, see my last blog. ;)

4. Homeschooling. I was homeschooled and I believe it was the smartest thing my mother did for me. I essentially taught myself throughout high school (with help on a few subjects) and learned a lot about seeing things through. I believe that I got a better education than I would have had in the public schools that were available to me.
I'm still flip-flopping on whether to homeschool my kids. I guess my decision will be determined by where we are living when it is time for my eldest to head off to school. If I don't have any confidence in the local schools, I won't be sending her there.
Even if I don't homeschool my own kids, I am a great supporter of people who do. It's a huge responsibility requiring a phenomenal amount of time and effort and, despite what some people say, does not make your child socially retarded.

5. Family. I love my family and I want us to be loving and close. I want my children to be best friends that can count on each other when they need someone. I want my children to feel comfortable coming to my husband and me at any time. I want my home to be a haven for those who live there and those who visit. I believe families are forever and I want my family, immediate and extended, to be together as long as possible.
Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

7 of 30: Dream Job

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here.

7. What is your dream job, and why?

Easy: published author.

This has been a long-time dream of mine, even when I was talking about doing other things. I was writing stories in grade school at the same time I was telling everyone that I was going to be a veterinarian. 

I was still writing when I changed that goal and told everyone I wanted to be a radio DJ.

Actress, singer, model, photographer... the only thing that remained consistent was my love of telling stories.

The dream part of this is actually getting published; that great barrier that I have yet to cross.

And actually making money? Wowzers, that would be awesome!

Making good money? Beyond my wildest dreams!

A movie deal? The Holy Grail!

Someday.. someday.

Next Time: What are 5 passions you have?

Monday, March 26, 2012

6 of 30: Hardest Thing I have Ever Experienced

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here.

6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

This one was really hard for me to write as you may have guessed. That's why it took so long.

The hardest thing for me to go through was the overwhelming feeling that I was unwanted, unaccepted and unloved. This left me thinking I was worthless and my confidence was nearly non-existent. Not many people would have known it when they met me. While I was happy and friendly on the outside, on the inside I was constantly curling up in shame.

I was the sixth child out of seven in my family. I was the fourth of five girls. By the time I was a teenager, I felt redundant, superfluous. I felt that I wasn't as good, smart or talented as my siblings. I was struggling with my own emotions and identity while trying to convince the world that I was normal. I can look back now and see that what I went through was not unusual, but, at the time, I felt alone and hopelessly freakish.

I struggled to find acceptance as an adult. I probably told myself a million times that true friends would love me for who I was, but it didn't make the rejection any easier. From the time I started dating until I met Ben, I can count my official dates on two hands. I can count the boyfriends I had on one. I know now that this wasn't a horrible tragedy, but, at the time, I felt cast out.

When I met Ben, I finally felt as though something had clicked. I had found someone who could value who I was and love even the strangest aspects of my personality. I felt blessed and truly amazed at my good fortune.

Lest you think that my feelings of worth are tied up in how other people feel about me... All the logic in the world can say that how you feel about yourself is more important than how others feel about you. However, my argument here is that you can feel completely awesome about yourself, and if it seems no one else wants to have anything to do with you, it wears you down after a while. So, imagine a young girl who already doesn't feel spectacular about herself and the effect of her ostracism is devastating.

I'm still working on this aspect of my life, but it is much better than it used to be. I no longer feel worthless. I feel human and flawed as all humans are but I also feel accepted. My best friend has done much for me and continues to do this for me. Through our acceptance of each other, we have fallen in love with each other all over again.

I won't claim to be perfectly satisfied with myself, but my desire to better myself is finally healthy. I highly recommend it. ;)

Next up: What is your dream job, and why?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 of 30: 5 Things

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here.

5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

1. My kids, when they play together, share and come up with cute, pretend games. Listening to them makes me smile.

2. The fact that Ben will be graduating in 7 weeks. Once he graduates, the rest of our lives are opening up to us. The grand new adventure is right around the corner! It's been a long time coming.

3. That both of my kids are potty-trained. No more diapers!

4. Being surrounded by family and friends. I don't know if I have ever had more demands on my time. It makes for a busy life, but also a happy one.

5. The future makes me happy. Strange as it is to say that because so much of it is uncertain. Audrey will be 5 and old enough to go to Kindergarten. Hank will be a preschooler. Ben will be in a career job. Routines will change, but it will give us new ways to grow. We will be back in our own place and, even though it hasn't been bad to live with my parents, having your own space is a great thing. I'm sure my parents are thinking the same thing. ;)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Clever Boy

While attending to my daily computer rituals (i.e. emailing, facebooking, CastleVille-ing, Pinterest-ing, etc), my dear, sweet boy called to me from his room.

"Mama! I madeitforyouuuu!!"



At that point, I got up to see what was causing my son to reach ultrasonic vocal frequencies.

Be prepared to "aww!"


Out of wooden train tracks! So sweet!

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

4 of 30: 16 Year-old Self

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here.

4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.

1.  Don't compare your body to other girl's. Big, small, curvy or straight, everyone is different and beautiful. Just care for yours well and it will take care of you.

2.  Date as much as you can now and stop trying to fall in love. Love will come in due time. Just relax, have fun and be yourself.

3.  Speaking of being yourself: Don't ever try to conform to what you believe others want you to be. Heavenly Father gave you a unique personality for a reason. There are people out there who will appreciate you for who you are.
Yeah... that's me on the right. I know.
4.  Teenagers are stupid, including you. Don't listen to what they say because they don't know what they're talking about 99% of the time.

5.  Keep writing. It will get you through a lot in your life and bring you great satisfaction and happiness.

6.  Don't be in such a big hurry to get all the "things" you think you should have. Wait until you can afford it without pinching your budget.

7.  If you think a doctor is wrong, do the research, figure it out. Take control of your health because it is more personal to you than anyone else in the world.

8.  One of the best things about you is your smile. Don't let anyone or anything take that away from you.

9.  Don't let anyone distract you from your education. There is only one man that might be worth it, and he'll encourage you to keep going.
10.  Dressing like a boy isn't winning you any awards. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being feminine or wearing pink. In fact, high heels and a flirty skirt will go a long way toward making you cute. Just speaking from experience. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Inspired Gifts

Henry is just like so many other boys. He loves trains. No.. No... he LOVES trains. A few Christmas' ago, I crafted nearly every Christmas gift. Among the things I made for the kids, I did a road/neighborhood play mat. Around the edge of the road map, there was a drawn-on train track. We got them some train engines and matchbox cars that year to go with it.

Of course, nothing can compare to having train tracks with bridges, tunnels, hills and little buildings. We knew if we started buying those little sets, we could quickly head into hundreds of dollars in the attempt to acquire a decent collection.

A sweet, sweet person, who shall remain anonymous recently gifted our family with their WHOLE collection. I was told that their kids had stopped playing with them and were now too old. I was completely blown away!

Of course, my husband, when he found out, was just as excited as my kids. He likes putting the tracks together in various ways and having the kids go to town.

Just a couple of the configurations he came up with. (And he didn't even use all the tracks we have.)

The kids have been absolutely thrilled with it and I (almost) don't mind the inevitable mess. Thank you again to my dear, sweet friend who bequeathed us with this amazing gift!

Happy Blogging!

Friday, March 16, 2012

3 of 30: Parents

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here.

3. Describe your relationship with your parents

My relationship with my parents is just about as good as one could hope, considering that I've been living in their basement for almost three years!

I can ask my father anything, especially about language or religion and get an serious, in depth answer. I usually end up getting more of an answer than I bargained for, too. When I was beta reading a novel for a friend, I went to him for grammatical input and clarification. I kept him up an hour or two past his normal bedtime, but he was happy to help.
I remember that, as a teenager, all my church teachers knew that my father was an authority on religion and would frequently look to me to answer the hard questions. In spite of having a fairly decent knowledge of religious topics due to the trickle-down effect of living with my father, I wasn't an encyclopedia of doctrine. I wish I had told them so. ;)
My father is a romantic, a poet and a short story writer. He's a jokester and when you get him laughing, his humor can be contagious.

My mother is the grounded one. I always knew that if I looked at my mother's face when my father was telling a story (or a tall tale), I would be able to tell if what he was saying was completely true by the expression on her face. She can tell a good joke too, but her humor is usually subtler and requires a bit more thought to "get it".
I can ask my mother questions about life, relationships, health as well as many other things and get a well thought out response that comes from years of experience and wisdom. My mother is an old-fashioned romantic; where men should always be gentlemen and women should be ever graceful, kind and tender. I think if she had been born in another time, she would have been in a Jane Austen novel.

I inherited several qualities from my parents. My long-windedness, I get from my father, as well as my love of fantasy and ridiculously impossible movies. From my mother I get a fondness for romantic movies, patience and a compulsive eye-roll at lame jokes.
Of course, there is so much more, but, in a nutshell, that's about it.

I love and respect my parents and am glad for the time I've had recently to get to know them better as an adult.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Musical Balloons inspired by Play at home mom

I'm not ashamed to admit it. I am obsessed with Pinterest. An online pinboard that allows you to organize all the amazing and creative and beautiful things you find on the internet; what's not to love?

It's because of Pinterest that I found one of my new favorite blogs: Play At Home Mom.
One of the most creative parenting sites I've seen in a long time, Play at Home Mom is an excellent resource for ideas on enriching your children's lives.

I was able to throw one activity together in about five minutes as I had all the supplies on hand.

Musical Balloons kept my kids entertained for several hours, and that's really saying something. All it took was a few balloons filled with different sound-making items. In my case, I had the sand, pony beads, bells and marbles readily available.


A few days later, I tried glowsticks in the balloons. Those, strangely enough, were not as exciting for my kids. Hmm, back to the drawing board. :)

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rio Tinto Center - U of U Natural History Museum

Just over a year ago, we took our kids to the U of U Dinosaur Museum to meet Dr. Scott. It was a great experience for both of them, and Audrey still talks about it now and then.

We wanted to go back to the museum last fall only to find out it had been closed in anticipation of the brand new museum opening. As soon as it was open (and we got ourselves organized), we ran up to Salt Lake to check it out. My first reaction: This place is ginormous! There are five floors that encompass various natural history themes relating to Utah.

Of course, it was the dinosaurs that interested the kids the most.

Audrey stayed here until the entire dinosaur skull was assembled. (Mom helped.)

There were so many assembled dinosaur skeletons that I didn't know where to look most of the time. In true museum fashion, they were positioned in life-like poses; often in the act of attacking and eating each other! ;)

The tiny little dinosaurs were some of my favorites. They made me want to take them home!

This little guy was some sort of lemur. Again, want to take him home... preferably alive and with cuddly fur.

These were funny little flamingo-like birds, only very small.

This was another area we stayed at for quite some time. (Mainly because Ben was feeling compulsive about filling the tank as much as possible.)

The contained area was a model of the Salt Lake Valley. When you turned a crank, water would rain down from a little cloud. The valley would fill up, showing where the water levels were in various time periods. 

I think it took Ben about 15 minutes of steadily cranking out rain to get the water level this high. He went on for a little while after.

Henry lost interest after a while and found a little friend to sit with and look out the window. So cute!!

There was even a craft project going on a floor or two up. The kids made horses out of pipe cleaners. :)

Near the end of the tour, we ended up in a room set aside for learning about animals native to Utah. At that point, even Mom got in on the fun!

If you haven't been to the Rio Tinto Center and are in the Salt Lake area, I'd highly recommend checking it out. There was so much to see and do that we will definitely have to go back to do all the things we ended up passing over quickly because of worn out kids. Very worth the trip!

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Snow Day!

So, winter finally decided to come in March. We've not had much more than a dusting all season up until now. Than, BLAM! we get several inches overnight on the second day of March.
We haven't taken our kids out to play in the snow at all, so despite my complaining, we all went out. Because I, conveniently, do not have a snowsuit, I participated as a photographer at this event. ;)

I like Audrey's "Kenny" hood. You can barely see her face.

Henry is still so small and light that he easily went the fastest and farthest of anyone going down the hill. (Often with his feet up in the air.)

The sled is almost as big as he is. <3

Dad and Henry together.

Dad took a turn and then quickly took a tumble.

I wish I had been fast enough to catch him bailing off the sled!

Audrey also took a fall, her sled making it further than she did.

It was Henry's wipeout that amused me the most....

He was so light, his bum just scooted straight off the sled.


Dad set him straight in the end.

Audrey started the snow angels. She probably made about eight of them. She'd flop straight back in the snow, move her arms and legs around, get up, walk a few paces over and flop back down again. It's a shame I don't have video on my camera. It was very amusing.

Dad got in the game.

And finally Henry.

Most of the snow angels ended up with footprints all over them. But a few came out okay.

This is one of Audrey's

My wandering boy made me think of Family Circus.

Where everyone else's footprints in the snow followed a reasonably straight line, his often went astray. His path is the topmost one in this picture.

Poor Audrey got the short stick with her gloves. While we gave Henry the actual snow gloves. Audrey ended up with two layers of those one-size-fits-all magic stretch gloves. As it turns out they collect a LOT of snow. Here, Audrey is trying to wipe her face for some reason and ends up with a face full of snow.

Poor girl! 

We made up for it back at home with a nice mug of Hot Chocolate.
(Henry asked for "cold milk" instead.)

Happy Blogging!


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