Friday, December 23, 2011

A Testimony

I feel like I need to share my testimony this week, but I don't know why. Since today is Joseph Smith's birthday, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about him.

In the Doctrine & Covenants, it is said that Joseph Smith did more for us than anyone except for Jesus Christ. I truly believe that. Unlike Christ, Joseph Smith was not a perfect man. He had his faults, just as we all do, yet he still accomplished great things. He translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God, for which I am very grateful. The Book of Mormon is a blessing to all those who read it and seek to find out if it's true. I know that it is, which means that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God.

I am grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which God organized through Joseph Smith. I cannot imagine what a large task it must have been to restore the truth to the earth. It is still rejected in many cases, but the Church has grown to fill the whole earth, as prophesied by Daniel in the Bible.

Because of Joseph Smith, I enjoy countless blessing from being a member of the Church. I couldn't possibly name them all. During this season, I'm especially grateful for eternal families and the sealing power that binds us together. Life has its ups and down, but our family stays strong because of the Gospel.

I could say a lot more. Needless to say, I am very grateful for all that Joseph Smith did in his life. I hope that my little Joseph can live up to his namesake (well, one of them!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Week

We move in a little over a week. Where did the time go? It doesn't look like we're moving, because we don't have enough stuff to pack up this far in advance. (Ha ha.) Therefore, absolutely nothing has been packed yet. Knowing that I will have to next week really makes me want to get started, but there is nowhere to put the boxes even if I were to pack them. I guess that's the dilemma of a tiny apartment. (Tiny = less than 500 square feet.)

I feel a little more peaceful about moving than I did, but I know I'm still going to miss Rexburg a ton. I've been here for 5 years now, with a few short months in North Carolina one summer and another summer in Alaska. I haven't really moved since I first started going to college, and I still remember how hard that 1st month was.

There is so much to do, but not really anything I can do yet! I guess I'd better figure out what our new address is so I can switch that stuff over...


I can't believe that Christmas is coming so soon. I'm very grateful that I got all the presents done and sent early, because this wouldn't have been a good week to do so. I'm excited for this weekend and even more so for the end of today. Joseph and I are about to embark on an epic journey of errands. It's not easy to lift him in and out of his carseat, and I can't just leave him in the car, even if the errands take 5 minutes inside. Despite that, we will survive somehow, because James is in Utah for the day. I can't wait until he gets home! Considering that he's done with school, I haven't seen him any more than I would have during school. He just doesn't have homework during the evenings.

Life is good. I just don't want to move next Christmas! (This is the 3rd year in a row. I think that's slightly worse than being in the military.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's amazing how one good night of sleep after a week of not-so-good sleep can really turn things around.

Last night, I thought that life was hard. It's not, really, or at least it doesn't have to be! Looking at what I wrote down is almost funny. Why was I so worried about such trivial things? Why do these things only come up when I'm sick, tired, or both? I guess that's just part of life: learning from these times when all seems lost and laughing about those moments a day later.

I will admit that I have a certain amount of trepidation about our upcoming move. It's not the move itself but rather what I feel that I'm losing from moving away from Rexburg. I've lived in this town for five years now and have grown quite comfortable. I'm comfortable in my current home as well. I have an exercise partner, a piano to use, and a wonderful shopping buddy. I know Rexburg better than I know my hometown in North Carolina. Rexburg doesn't change as quickly.

I worry a little about being on my own in a new ward. I don't feel that making fast friends is a talent I have, but perhaps it's one I should seek out this coming year. It's also a little scary to think of having two kids. I don't know why, but Joseph's illness this past week has probably made me a little more anxious about that. Now that he's getting better, he's back to his wonderful, cheerful self, and I couldn't be happier to welcome another little boy.

I look forward to having a 2-bedroom apartment. It almost feels like extravagance to have my own washer and dryer, a pool, and to live in town right behind a super Walmart. That will be so convenient.

I find comfort in knowing that the Gospel never changes. We will still be members of the same church. We will probably fit right in, because that's never been a problem before. Being a member of the Church is so awesome. Even a summer in Alaska where I knew two people was great, because we had an awesome branch to go to.

I'm so grateful to have gotten a good night of sleep for the first time in a week. I thought I had truly entered the horrible insomnia phase of pregnancy, but maybe not. I'm starting to feel fat and uncomfortable, since I can't breathe as well, but that will improve over the next few days when this cold is gone! I sort of have "restless leg" syndrome, but only mildly, in my right leg.

I'm grateful that James graduates tomorrow! Or pretends to, as he says. This is the end of his most demanding semester EVER. Hurray!

It's been an okay week, but it's so much better now. I've been able to read a lot, and James is giving me a new book for every "12 days of Christmas". We will also start our own "12 days of Christmas" for a family in the ward. We're not going every day, but every 3 so we don't get burnt out.

Life is good. I can't wait for James to have a "break" before we move. Holy cow. It's all going by too fast.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tender Mercies

The Lord's in charge, and I definitely noticed that this week. It's been tough, because Joseph has been acting a little strange. First of all, he had a few days where he ate a ton. Then, he decided that he was going to fall over a lot (stumbling a lot worse than his usual walking) and not walk at all for a day and a half. I actually took him to his "well baby" check yesterday, and he was acting fine, of course. Then, he woke up this morning completely grouchy and wouldn't walk again. It turns out that he has a hurt knee, which somehow I figured out while holding him on my lap. There was only one appointment available today, and James was able to take him at that time. That allowed me to get a much-needed nap, since both boys were very restless last night and kept me awake. (Ugh. I hate insomnia more than anything, but I especially dislike being kicked really hard from the inside!) By some miracle, I finished the laundry early while they were gone. Joseph got a few X-rays and there is some swelling in his knee. He was prescribed an expensive medication, but Walmart was out of it, so we got 10-dollar ibuprofen instead. Joseph has been much happier and took a great nap this afternoon. I'm hoping that he'll be back to normal pretty soon! I've felt like an awful, paranoid mom this week because I just couldn't figure out what was going on with this kid! However, I know that it will be all right. I had a chance to do some reading this week, which was really relaxing, despite all the craziness. I didn't even mention that he had his first tantrum (30 minutes long) due to his sore knee and that two doctor's appointments back-to-back yesterday took 3 hours! James has been such a lifesaver. He brought me a delicious snack yesterday when the appts. where over, because I was starving! Never doing that again, needless to say. It's not fun. Maybe tomorrow will be a more "fun" day...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Small Things

I feel like December has laughed in my face so far. All that I've really wanted is a simple month. It really hasn't been. It's been a month of working myself too hard, slight car trouble (especially lame when you only have one car!), and overall stress because of the end of the semester and our upcoming move.

I know that God wants me to be happy. I've been forgetting to "look up" from all that's been going on to realize the small and simple things that bless my life each day. The small and simple things are so easy to overlook, but I think they also bring the greatest happiness when we stop and realize how wonderful they are. My small and simple things for this crazy month...

1. The smell of baking bread. I've always loved that smell, but it was even better a few days ago, because I was making a loaf that would be given away. It made me feel good to have a decent "Plan B" Christmas gift after I'd run out of eggs!

2. Naptime all at once. For the most part, it's been a good transition for Joseph. It's somewhat more convenient, and I can get a lot done in 2 hours. I love my easygoing little guy. He's napping as I type.

3. Cups instead of bottles. I thought that taking away the bottle would be hard, but it really hasn't been bad. An added blessing is that Joseph drinks less milk, which I'm grateful for. I was planning on cutting him back anyway, so now I have less work to do!

4. Nursery. Primary lessons are much easier to plan now that James can help, and they are a lot less distracting without Joseph there. He doesn't cry much, and I love seeing his little smile when we pick him up at the end of church.

5. Crocheting. It was much easier to pick up than I thought, and though I still need practice, it was cool to do something new at the end of the year. Usually, I'm feeling kind of lazy by now.

6. Lights. I love our solitary strand of lights draped across the bookcase. It brightens up the place and looks really awesome when the lights are off. Joseph loves them too.

7. A new apartment. I'm excited that I will finally have my own washer and dryer, a lot more space, and even a pool! It will be great to sit at a kitchen table again. I've really missed that.

8. Great friends. I think I enjoy grocery shopping more than the average person, because I have a good friend to go with. The drive to Idaho Falls seems very short, and we both save lots of money. :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Today would have been much better if I'd used the word no at least once.

Sometimes in life, you volunteer to serve. At other times, you are asked to serve. I'm okay with both of those.

I'm not okay with being volunteered to do something, just because someone is sure that I won't say no (which is generally true.). That's exactly what happened to me while I was trying to run errands with Joseph and an almost flat tire. (Or at least that's how it seemed. It turned out not to be the case, but still, I was pretty mad about it.) I also received the phone call right as I was paying for some stuff I laminated and trying to carry it all, plus Joseph, back to the car. In case you were wondering, there is no easy way to unlock the door of the car, hold your stuff, and keep your child from running out in the parking lot. I called them back, don't worry. But how could I refuse this opportunity when a) The person already assumed I'd say yes and b) I really had no good excuse? Lucky for me, I got the tire filled with air, and it was fine. Also, I had just enough time to eat lunch, even though 5 minutes of shoveling food in my mouth would usually not settle too well.

Thank goodness for James, who had lunch ready when I got home. And thank goodness the internet started working again! This really is an okay Saturday. I guess it just hasn't been as relaxing as I'd planned. I worked myself too hard yesterday already and didn't eat enough. Eating out for dinner did not help things. I've really lost my taste for anything but homemade pizza. The fast food stuff is either too salty, too meaty, or way too cheesy and/or greasy. Pizza Hut is all of the above!

I choose to do nothing productive the rest of the day. I'm just too tired.

On a positive note, working too hard yesterday yielded 3 very good things:
homemade toffee, which is delicious and almost gone
clean laundry, including the sheets, because I always forget them
a completed present for James, which I shall not reveal until after Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am Grateful, Really!

I woke up today with mixed feelings about the day. Truthfully, my past few days did not go exactly as planned. I'd thought that with my blanket project done, that I'd get a little r&r with James while we did nothing.

I was wrong.

The last few days have been challenging, partly from my high expectations, but also because the pregnancy insomnia seems to be kicking in. I can't seem to stay asleep at night, and I toss and turn from 5 a.m. on. I also have lots of weird anxiety dreams about things that don't make sense. It was hard for me to feel grateful about anything this morning, because I didn't fall asleep till 12:00, thanks to Joseph downstairs who was yelling for his mom and because of an overload on treats. It had been a pretty exhausting day as well, because I took Joseph shopping and he managed to whine and create a poopy diaper that I had to change at D.I.

Based on my poor choices in the last few days (too many sweets late at night!), I feel especially grateful for the Word of Wisdom and the principles of moderation that it teaches. The holidays are a little more challenging to get through now, because they encourage gluttony, not moderation. I just don't feel the same about pie, candy, and most other sweets. They really aren't as tasty as they used to be. Plus, my stomach is steadily shrinking, so I know I'll eat dinner, even after the "feast" at lunchtime. In some ways, I don't feel like I fit in with mainstream America's eating habits anymore, nor do I want to.

I am grateful that my health is better than ever before, despite my poor choices this week. This pregnancy has had only a fraction of the discomforts that I had with my first. Everything in the Gospel makes life so much better.

I am grateful for a wonderful husband who will cook me breakfast on days like this when I can't seem to drag myself out of bed. He is wonderful in too many ways to count.

I am grateful for good friends that lift me and inspire each day, especially in regards to my health. It's been a lot easier to change my habits since I've had support from "the outside" (Cindy!)

I am grateful for eternal families. It's been a wonderful year here in the Head "barn". We've grown closer together in many ways. It will be bittersweet to move, but I do hope to be closer to my own family in the future. I love my own little family so much and can't wait to have 2 little boys!

I am grateful for all that I was able to learn this year. I definitely wouldn't have thought that I'd ever play the piano at Church or enjoy sewing. I'm glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone in those areas with encouragement from friends, family, and Heavenly Father.

As always, I am grateful for every blessing that comes from following the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stake Conference

I really liked Stake Conference this year. The theme was on strengthening the family, which is always something I need to be working on! Our stake president gave a challenge for the new year: to choose one area a month in which we can grow closer to the Lord. That sounds like a really good challenge! Pres. (Elder) Clark was presiding at the conference, and one remark he made today really stood out. No matter what level of obedience we've reached now, it isn't enough. We need to continue to become more obedient and faithful in the Gospel, constantly improving ourselves. When we're not sure how to improve, the Lord will show us our weakness.

I am full of weakness, one thing in life that I'm sure about! I don't always like hearing about ways I can improve, because it's hard work, not to mention that I have to swallow my pride and admit that I need to change. This year has been a year of great change, and I look forward to the next year, because I know that it too will be full of change. I don't have a clue where I'll  live a year from now.

It's sad to think of leaving Rexburg, my home for the last 5 years. It's been a wonderful 5 years. I turned from a clueless teenager into a somewhat-less-clueless mom of 1 1/2, wife, and homemaker. It makes me wonder where I'll be 5 years from now.

We went to Craigo's for probably the last time yesterday. It was great, of course, though I ate way too much. I loved the chipotle chicken kind that they had, but it was sad that there was no pumpkin dessert pizza. Joseph had a ball, of course, because pizza is one of his favorite foods, even though he only eats the crust.

I put my nose to the grindstone and got Joseph's jean quilt done! I definitely spent too much time on sewing this past month, but I'm going to achieve some balance now that this monstrous project is done. It's so exciting to see the finished product.

almost the whole thing

a better look at the center pattern

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today, I Promise that...

I won't sew. I did a lot of that earlier in the week, but it melted my brain. Plus, it's hard for me to leave a project alone that isn't quite finished!

I won't organize anything. I carried in some boxes from storage the other day, and I probably shouldn't have. They were probably too heavy, and they made a normal day a little too stressful. There really isn't anything left to  organize in this house anyway!

I'll spend more time with Joseph. Because of the craziness I brought on myself this week, he's been dying for more attention. I can't miss this cute stage of life either! He's started saying "please" and "thank you", and I have no idea how that even happened.

I will read a book. Two weeks without reading has made me a very dull girl. Reading helps my brain not get fried by the end of the day. I need to read every day for fun, even if it's only for 10 minutes!

I will rest. I overworked myself this week, because I forgot that I have limitations. Getting enough sleep at night isn't enough! I'm going to put my feet up (on James's side of the chair, since mine is broken) and rest these sore arm muscles and worn-out mind.

Tomorrow is another day. It always feels good to "go back to work" after a day of rest. That makes me appreciate Sundays a lot, because I don't think I would slow down enough if it weren't a commandment. Physical rest is great, but being able to sit back and reflect on the week is even better.

This has been a good and productive week, but I can still do better...


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When My Books on Hold Take Forever...

...I have to fill up the time somehow!

First of all, my most exciting moment of the past week was definitely going to the stake "give and take". I got enough 3T clothes for Joseph so that I won't have to buy any, but even more exciting than that, I found the perfect material for both cloth napkins and Christmas stockings! I have one at my parents' house, but I think it's staying there, so I figured it'd be good for James and me to have our own.

Also, my sewing machine is functional once again! The new belt just slipped right on and I got right to work. Thank goodness I found that random website that explained sewing machine motor belts to me. :)

Angie's "boyfriend" pillow

Not a sewing project, but I did cut his hair! He
screamed bloody murder the whole time.

Napkins! I feel all fancy now.

Can't wait to use these!

Two headbands made out of scraps. I really
love the look of yo-yo flowers!
Thanks to Pinterest, I will always have a wealth of ideas at my fingertips. Aside from Joseph's quilt and a sock monkey that I plan to make him for Christmas, I think that will be all the sewing for the year, since I'm actually running low on scraps (for now). It's been super fun though, and I definitely plan to do a lot more sewing than I ever have in the coming year. I love owning my own machine! Hurray for D.I.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More than Sew Sew

I have finally found my niche in sewing. I realized that I can "fix" the few things that really bug me about sewing: following patterns, machine problems, having to buy expensive materials, and pinning, especially because I stick myself all the time! Solutions...

bean bags, knit blanket, and bag "ladies"
pillow and quilt pics to come when they're done!
1. Not using a pattern. Everything I've made recently is from leftovers or scraps, so I've been able to come up with my own designs along the way. It's fun. I'm no sewing genius, so I have ripped out a few seams here and there.

2. Machine problems? I learned that I can fix almost any minor issue as long as I have the user manual beside me. Suddenly, I feel like an expert on a machine that I haven't used very much (my mother-in-law's, since mine needs a part before it will work again!)

3. Free materials! So far, I've used up old shirts, jeans, and other random stuff to make Joseph's jean quilt, a "boyfriend" pillowcase, 2 bag "ladies", and some bean bags. I haven't had to pay a cent.

4. As for pinning, I can't always avoid that. However, the first few hours of sewing the jean quilt required no pinning whatsoever, so it made me like life just a little bit more. :) Getting stuck fingers is no fun!

I have to admit that I'm very pleased with the jean quilt so far. It's been quicker that I thought, the design looks cool, and I won't have to pay even a penny to make it, thanks to the box of old jeans, free thread I "inherited", and a flannel queen-size flat sheet that I'll use for the back. I'm so excited to keep working on it, and I think I can have it done for Christmas for my little guy!

Life is pretty good here. I did a quick "sweep through" to find stuff for the stake's "give and take" (aka free yard sale, but inside) on Saturday. I'm excited, because I got some really good stuff last time.

Culture shock: We attended a Latino wedding reception last Saturday. It went from (no joke) 4 to midnight. We stayed one hour and felt a little lame, but I was tired after eating such an amazing dinner. I want to learn how to make real refried beans like that.

It's a little sad that winter is here. I don't think I'd mind so much if it weren't so dark all the time. Short days make me grouchier than normal.

We find out the gender of our baby TOMORROW! I still really feel that it's a girl, but I guess we'll just have to see.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Things I Love Right Now

1. I went to a missionary homecoming yesterday, and my homemade salsa was very popular. Plus, I got to see Tanisha again! (and eat tons of yummy Mexican food)

2. It's Halloween, one of those holidays with zero "reverent" celebration. No one can blame me for not doing anything worshipful or serious today. (Not that I mind that, but it's nice not to get a lecture about not celebrating the "true" meaning of Halloween, you know? And no one is going to say a 10-minute prayer over dinner either.)

3. I don't have to worry about another piano recital until December. The one I did yesterday went well. We had delicious pie afterward too.

4. Joseph did not wake up in the middle of the night last night. He had 3 days in a row where he did, and that affected my sleep very negatively, because I have that crazy pregnancy can't-go-back-to-sleep insomnia if it's any time past 4:00. I slept 9 hours last night, and it was not too much.

5. Aunt Ruth's Halloween party tonight! She goes all out with crazy-named "gross" foods that are quite delicious. I'm taking monster eyes (deviled eggs) and dressing up my baby as a pumpkin. He is adorable!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Minutes

Teaching a Primary class really makes me wonder sometimes how much of a difference it really makes. I don't know why it's so difficult to teach five 8-year-olds when I should be able to handle twenty-five, but it is. I've realized that nobody has a perfect class. When my dad was visiting, he taught the class with James while I subbed for piano in Sr. Primary. His remark was that about five minutes of  total class time is spent making profound comments, because general chaos rules the rest of it.

God must feel that way about teaching us. How often are we too busy doing something else and not listening to a thing he's trying to tell us? During those "5 minutes" when we're actually paying attention, we can make great progress. If we're not paying attention, we miss out.

I know I could always be a better teacher, but the Holy Ghost already is a perfect teacher. Having a perfect teacher is still no guarantee that the "student" will learn anything.

Those "5 minutes" are worth the other 40 that I spend teaching those boys. They are learning the Gospel slowly, but surely. They know more about the truth than 99% of the world's adults.

Every calling, no matter how small (or unofficial), makes a difference. I'm glad to be a Primary teacher and part-time pianist. I've learned a lot this year, even though I should already know the stuff I'm teaching!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Uncle Mike's Funeral

We went to Utah and back today, so it was a long day! We left at 6:00 a.m. and got back around 8:00 p.m. The  funeral started at 11, but there was a family prayer meeting before that, led by Grandpa Head.

I hadn't been to a funeral since 2000 when my grandma died. I guess I didn't remember much. Mike's children gave very touching remarks about him. I learned a lot more about him, since I never knew him extremely well. He was a great guy. It was really great to meet the rest of his children, the only cousins that I hadn't met, since they live far and wide.

I have sort of mixed feelings about a day like this. It's completely heartbreaking for the close family, especially Aunt Derin. Yet at the same time, it felt like a family reunion, minus one person. We even got to eat a nice family dinner together (complete with funeral potatoes) and talk as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

I'm starting to get even more excited about having another baby after seeing all the babies there. It's not that I'm not already excited, but I don't show it very much, I don't think. I have my moments when I doubt if I'm ready for another newborn, but then I see one and am reminded of how amazing kids are. Joseph was a really good sport during our almost 8 hours of driving. I love that little guy. We are blessed to have such an even-tempered, smart little boy. When we got back, he went straight to the bookcase and started looking at his books. I can't wait to teach him to read!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Philosophy of Education

I have been thinking about homeschooling for a couple of years now. As a kid, I never liked the idea much, because I knew only a few "weird" homeschooled kids that couldn't read very well, even at the age of 10.  Then I came to college. Of my 4 closest friends, ALL of them were homeschooled for a significant amount of time. I think there's a reason that I married one of them.

I want to homeschool my kids. I didn't come to this conclusion because of the arguments I've heard about homeschooled kids being somehow better, smarter, or untainted from the world. Homeschooling is definitely not for everyone, but I do think that it's for my family. I have a degree in education, so I am well aware of the flaws of public school. Some part of that is due to a few bad teachers, true, but I know that most teachers work extremely hard at a job that is nearly impossible: educating 30 kids with parents who may or may not care at all if their children learn anything at school, while trying to please the government's poorly-written state tests and trying not to go crazy from not getting paid a lot.

I think that the idea of homeschool had to come to me slowly. It's a real paradigm shift for an education major that attended public school (and really good ones, at that.)

I want to give my children more than what I had. By more, I mean the Gospel, intermingled with every school subject. The only place I experienced that was at BYU-Idaho, which was my greatest time of learning. There is no room for teaching religion in public schools, and there's no denying that. There is also no better place than home to teach my children Gospel principles, so why not teach them everything together?

Joseph is a very intelligent boy. I feel that he could easily get bored in a public school setting. I was. When I had great teachers, I had fun, but the content was never challenging, not until high school.

I love to learn about everything. I've been reading a book about homeschooling that reflects on the philosophies of Charlotte Mason. It's what I've been looking for. It sort of scares me to think of teaching my kids everything on my own, but I really won't be. If this really is my calling, I will have plenty of help! I'm being prepared for it right now. I can feel that.

I finally have a real philosophy of education. Here it is.

1. The Gospel is the foundation of all knowledge, and all truth can be learned from the Holy Ghost. All earthly subjects are inseparably connected with spiritual ones.We are commanded to study them all. (D&C 88: 78-80)

2. No matter where children get their secular education, the home environment founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ is where the most important lessons are learned. Parents and other family members teach by example. The home should be a haven from the world. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

3. People learn about things that they love. They must be provided with opportunities to find out what those things are and spend their time building both talents and spiritual gifts. (Gospel Principles Ch. 22: The Gifts of the Spirit) and (Ch. 34: Developing Our Talents)

4. Parents should lead the way by continuing to learn themselves. They should take time to develop their own talents, but also to help their children discover and build on theirs.

5. Learning comes from "the best books". (D&C 88:118-119)

I don't know how all of this will work out, but I'm excited for the future.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I have been incredibly hungry these last few weeks, especially mid-afternoon. It's a good thing that I went grocery shopping today so we'll have some food these next few weeks. :)

This has been a great pregnancy so far. I'm 15 weeks along now, not showing yet, but steadily gaining weight whether I want to or not. The little nausea I do get is usually a result of eating something foolish, like Cheetos or fake brown gravy. I have an appointment today, and my next one (in 4 weeks) will be the ultrasound!

Joseph is walking all the time now. He got his 1st ear infection...poor little guy. Luckily, he only had one grouchy day before Grandpa diagnosed it and put him on antibiotics. Maybe I'd wait a few days if it wasn't a bad one, but Joseph's been fighting infection in general for a month. He got a cold a month ago and had finally stopped coughing last week, then now this ear infection. He's a trooper though, and he takes his medicine without complaint. He has almost 12 teeth now, so over halfway there! He's also started "flirting", and it's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I harvested my little garden patch and got 10 lbs. of carrots! They are quite tasty.

The Primary program is next Sunday. I'm glad that I'm not playing for it, because I want to sit with our class while James goes out with Joseph. My mother-in-law is making me do 2 recitals before the end of the year, one on Oct. 30th and the other in December. She is also going to start teaching me the organ. Hopefully I can learn something within 2 months that will let me continue learning on my own.

Other than that, not too much new is going on. Anything new I cook goes on the blog.

Once my sewing machine is fixed, I'm hopefully going to make a jean quilt. I have no idea how, but I have 100 squares ready with 9 pairs of jeans to go! I hope to make a quilt for Joseph's bed once he's in one.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I read a book this week called Faithful, Fit, & Fabulous that I borrowed from my mom-in-law. It's targeted at people who need revitalization in their lives, so I thought I might as well read it since it isn't too long.

I love to make goals. I am the person who always has some kind of checklist. It has to be on paper so I can cross things out with a pen. If I'm really glad to have gotten something done, I cross it off very thoroughly. :) Thanks to this month's General Conference and this book, I feel that I have some great things to work on till the end of the year.

Basically, the book has you make 8 goals in different areas of your life and accomplish one each week. Ironically, the hard part for me isn't making or achieving the goals. It's in rewarding myself. I guess I can be a harsh judge of myself sometimes, and I don't feel that I deserve rewards unless I'm doing perfectly. I'm okay with other people giving me stuff, but I have a hard time doing that for myself. (No "retail therapy" happens in this house.)

I'm cheating and doing two goals this week: limiting my intake of sweets and starting a scripture journal. So far, it's working great. I really love having a scripture journal, but I've been slacking for the past year. The Conference talk on scriptures really pushed me to make my study time more meaningful. I'm glad to say that there is something be learned from any passage of scripture, no matter how dull it is to read! Of course, I'm not trying to lose weight by limiting sweets, but I do feel a lot better than when I was eating them every day. My rewards will be to watch a chick flick and try a new, exciting recipe.

I'm glad for goals. I am glad that the Lord has such high expectations of me that I can always improve! Perfection is definitely a long way off.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hello, Monday

I woke up today with no motivation to do anything. Is is because it's Monday? Maybe, maybe not. I was a little discouraged to feel so out of breath while working out when it used to be so easy. Now, a few hours later, it's hard to feel glum when I have the smell of bread baking in the oven, a sleeping baby (even though it's probably the only nap today), and the hum of the dishwasher in the background.

I have to remind myself that it is okay to wake up tired after a good night's sleep, to eat lots of snacks, and to take a break. I'm now 14 weeks along, so in the 2nd trimester. I've felt great, just a tiny bit of nausea (and mostly from being carsick - yuck.) My other baby looks adorable as he toddles around. "Toddle" is really the only way to describe it. He puts his hands up in the air as if he is accomplishing some great victory. After 16 months, I would say that he is. Maybe it will be time for shoes soon. That boy has some tiny feet!

I really enjoyed Conference this weekend. I'll admit that it's taken me years to really appreciate all that is given to us during those wonderful hours of counsel. I've been feeling that my goals needed refreshing. Now, they have been. I have plenty of things to work on for the next 6 months. I'm already feeling good about it, too.

As a side note, I managed to stay awake during all of Conference somehow. I started a blanket and a scarf. I still have a goal to finish up all that white yarn by the time the year ends! We shall see.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Week

The week was busy, but all the essentials got done. What I'd really love to do is go to the temple with James. It would be a much-needed mental break from running someone else's household. Don't get me wrong: I love my job as a homemaker, but doing it for someone else has its challenges, like

1. Meeting the needs of teenagers (one with disabilities) and a toddler (who's recovering from a cold, but not quite there!)

2. Finding things in the kitchen. This led me to do some organizing, which I rather enjoyed. Now, I shall cook in peace (as long as I can find the utensils I need!)

3. Keeping a much bigger house clean. Joseph has had lots of time to explore and figure out new things, like how to climb on the kitchen table and dump out Grandma's sugar and flour drawers. Luckily, he's forgotten about those temporarily...

4. Authority. I really don't feel like I can boss around someone else's teenagers. My own siblings, sure, but I just don't want to be super picky about anything nonessential. The house is presentable, and everyone has been eating and sleeping. I consider that to be a success.

I can't wait to live in my apt. again!

I got to go harvest potatoes today. I had NO idea how many potatoes come out of one square foot of ground. Within 5 minutes, I probably had 20 lbs. in my box. Grandma and Grandpa Lee had invited me to go get these FREE potatoes from their stake president's field in Ririe. Awesome.

Life goes back to normal on Wednesday. That is awesome too. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How to Save a Peach's Life

Nap time is a beautiful time, but it has been even more so these past few days. Sick baby = long naps! My in-laws (and thankfully, their toddler) are in Ecuador for the next week and a half, which leaves me (and James, when he's here) in charge of the household. It's been an exciting few days so far. Joseph gave me his cold. Although a mild one, I haven't felt quite well enough to work out. I've used that morning time instead to tackle some projects that needed to be done, like defrosting the fridge and taking care of some fruit that was about to be no good. Well, on the bright side, I know exactly what's inside the fridge and should be able to find everything, especially the extreme moose tracks ice cream. (I'm also convinced never to buy a side-by-side. I feel like things get hopelessly lost much too easily.) Thanks to the almost-useless peaches, we now have fruit 10 big rolls of it. There still remains the question of what to do with all the sad-looking plums. I have no answers.

Maybe it's weird, but I find it exciting to take a "useless" food - overripe fruit, wilted spinach, random leftovers - and turn it into something delicious. I don't like for things to go to waste, but I don't want to eat gross food either (like really mushy peaches!) It sort of feels like saving someone's life and turning it into something useful.

We had a sweet rainstorm yesterday. Fall is here. The garden is happy, and so am I, because I don't have to water it. The laundry got done early, and the house was even clean for a while. Hopefully I can dissuade Joseph from further exploring Grandma's sugar drawer. ;)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Inner Peace

If you've seen Kung Fu Panda 2, then you know the reference of my title. Master Shifu tells Po that he must find inner peace in order to truly be happy in life. Like Po, my inner peace comes from knowing who I am and where I came from (and where I'm going!) On days that I forget, I don't feel quite as confident about life.

Today is a day of peace. I know that God is a part of my life every day. He knows what I need but blesses with me with so much more than that.

I am precious to Him.

My life has eternal consequences.

I only fail when I give up.

I am carried by my covenants. They keep me safe.

I influence the lives of others for good as often as they influence me (which is probably much more than they realize.)

My efforts are appreciated, even if they do not always succeed.

It's not easy to remember these things, but I know that they're true.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Yep, today was the 3rd wedding we've been to in the last 3 weeks. James's best friends (well, one of them) got married to a girl from Idaho Falls. I've already said how much I love temple weddings. This is still true.

It's been a great week. I felt really productive. Cindy and I picked TONS of apples. She got 55 lbs. (!) but I was a little slower and got only 28. :) I worked on dehydrating a bunch of them. Grandma Lee also gave me half a box of peaches. 3 days later, I ended up with 1 1/2 gallons of dried apples (with plenty left for eating and PIE), a bag of dried peaches, peach fruit leather, and very tired feet. (Not to mention cleaning that silly dehydrator!) However, I was very pleased with the results, especially because I'd never made fruit leather before.

Dad dropped Myles off at the MTC, so he is visiting until Tues. when he goes back to SLC for meetings. We went to the temple yesterday for initiatories. For dinner, we had Big Jud's. I made the mistake of taking a prenatal vitamin before dinner. NOT a good idea. I came really close to throwing up, but luckily, I didn't. Big Jud's is soo yummy, despite the fact that I ate about twice as much ice cream as I really wanted. Waffle cones are huge! To be truthful, I don't think I'd ever had one before yesterday, at least, not with 3 scoops of ice cream on it.

We walked up Cress Creek and looked at the beautiful valley. Hopefully the fires we've been seeing aren't causing too much damage. I don't remember there being so many any other year.

James is at the luncheon now. I came home to see Dad and Jojo, who was still asleep. The laundry is done, the house is clean, and life is good. All I have to do is make our yummy enchiladas and go to the wedding reception tonight. It's fun to hang out with Dad. I'm sad that James starts school on Monday, though! It's been so nice to have him here. Well, that's life, I guess. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Love Weddings

Is there anything more joyous than a temple wedding? I don't think so. The beauty of the sealing room, quiet whispers of smiling family members, and the peace that is felt make for a truly amazing experience.

My brother-in-law, Sam, got married to Jesse this past Saturday. They were both practically glowing with happiness. The feeling of joy at that moment when they became a new family stayed with me all day. Lunch 2 hours late? Who cares! I think we were all too happy to be annoyed. Plus, it was fun to reminisce with family members and see the newlyweds make lots of lovestruck faces at each other.

Their wedding reception was lovely as well. The most epic moment was definitely lighting lanterns and watching them float away in the night sky, just like on Tangled.

I think that heaven rejoices every time that a new family is created. My own wedding day wasn't that long ago, and it's definitely a day that I'll remember forever. The day that Joseph was born was another wonderful day. I will never get married again (!), so I'm looking forward to the birth of our next baby somewhat anxiously. Few days compare in emotion to those days where eternal families are created (or get bigger!)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Joseph, the Smart Cookie

I realize that I haven't said a whole lot about what Joseph's been up to. Unless you're around him every day, you've likely missed something! Our little boy is now 15 months old, and it's been a wonderful time to see him grow and change. He went from a calm, sleepy baby to a mellow, adventuresome toddler in the blink of an eye. Personality-wise, he reminds me of both myself and James. Like me, he's reserved and a little bit shy. He's very careful about getting things right. Part of the reason he can't walk yet is that he's been so careful not to let go of anything before he's sure that he won't fall. (Plus...the giant head, which makes him top heavy!) Starting today, he will finally stand up somewhere besides the bed! (which makes a very safe place to fall over--smart boy!) I'm not worried about him being behind. He just isn't quite ready. I'm the same way. I delay things until I'm sure that I can do them right, if I have the chance. Sometimes I need encouragement to get me to move along.

Like James, Joseph has a wonderful sense of humor. He knows when we're amused at something, and he will laugh too. He loves to be surprised (peek a boo, etc.), to bounce on the bed, and to climb on everything. He also loves to wrestle and snuggle at the same time. Don't ask me how that's possible.

Like both of us, Joseph likes to have his quiet time. He will sometimes sit and look at books, turning the pages none too carefully, or playing with his Duplos, which he's getting much better at putting together. Quiet time never lasts long though...

...Because this kid has tons to say! Everything I've read says that kids might have 5 words by now. Joseph can say 20. He knows how to ask for food or drink and recognizes when we use certain words (like nap time!) and can complain about it. It's super funny. These are all the words he knows, and I'll probably forget some...
Mama, his favorite horsey.

Night night
Bottle (baba)
Cracker (caca)
Cookie (ga-kee)
Plum (bum)
Grandma (mama)
Grandpa (papa)
Guy (what he calls his Duplo man)
Anna (Nana)
Goat (got)
Bye (!)
Hi (!)
Amen (men!)
No (shakes head too)

It's so exciting that he's learning to communicate with us! I laugh when he babbles questions (which you can tell by his voice inflection) or tries really hard to say a word but doesn't even come close. It's so cute. Anyway, we love this kid a lot. He's a smart little cookie. This past week he learned how to open our computer and to unlock my iPhone! It took me a few tries when I first got it! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Fear

Some days are just better than other when it comes to scripture study. However, I will say that this read-through of the Old Testament is not nearly as tedious as I remember past times. Yes, I've made it through almost all of Deuteronomy. I found a verse that I really like.

"For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." (Deut. 20:4)

Isn't that great? This verse really struck me during a quiet moment on my family vacation this weekend. Don't get me wrong, I love family time, but I need my own space as well. This verse me made think about one of my biggest enemies: fear.

Getting ready for a trip for my own little family and being pregnant in the first trimester makes for a lot of worries before the trip actually happens. How will I get enough sleep, and where will Joseph sleep in the hotel room? What food is actually going to taste good after sitting in the cooler? What if I feel terrible whole time and don't have fun because of it? What if I forget to pack something important, like diapers?

The Lord has helped me fight my enemy of fear. Now that I am home, those worries seem less important, yet still valid. I was very tired because I didn't sleep well, but I survived and had enough energy for the important things. Joseph was able to sleep just fine in the huge bathroom. The food I brought was reasonably palatable, though I still had plenty of nausea to deal with while riding in the car. Thankfully, I was inspired to bring my Zantac, and thank goodness I did. A headache was cured by a swim in the nice pool. I even brought twice as many diapers as Joseph ended up needing.

Where did we go? To Boise! James's cousin, Anna, got married on Friday in Twin Falls, since the Boise temple is being renovated. After a long car ride, being a part of a temple wedding is soothing for the soul. We then drove to Boise from there. James and I had a chance to look around Nampa to see what it's like, and we like what we see. There actually are places to avoid, but we found several good options for areas to live in. No more driving 30 min. to get groceries! The city is much easier to navigate than I.F. or Pocatello, even though it's almost twice as big as either of them. Even the drive to Boise isn't long, only about 20 min.

Anna's reception was Saturday night. They had shaved ice, cheesecake, Swedish meatballs...the works. I love wedding receptions. It's crazy how much work a wedding is, and how much people think that they have to be so extravagant. It's definitely the time to get married, I guess, because Sam's wedding is next weekend, and James's friend Nick's is the week after. Guess what I'll be doing on my next two weekends? I love weddings. It's pretty exciting to get a new sis-in-law as well, because that doesn't happen every day. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


There is power in being able to create things. It amazes me how limitless the opportunities are for me to create things, whether it's growing a tiny garden, cooking a meal, or discovering music theory on the piano. With all of these things, there are established rules and patterns to follow. Rules have to be there, but what about patterns/recipes/etc? All they are is someone else's creations that provide the example for us to follow. Once we know what we're doing, we don't really need them anymore. We can come up with our own, more suitable version or invention.

If that's what constitutes mastery of a talent, then I have a long way to go. That's okay, though, because I have a lifetime, however long that may be.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Don't you hate it when the rice burns?

That never happened to me until I started using brown rice. Since it takes twice as long as white, I forget about it. So it runs out of water and burns. Or, at least it has yesterday and today.

No, I don't think I'm going to buy a rice cooker. If there's a magical one that can cook brown and white rice together, then fine. Maybe I'll get it one day. I resent the fact that most people cannot cook rice without freaking out unless there's a rice cooker involved.

But life goes on.

I have eaten far too many sweets this week, though not every day. I have not eaten ramen every day either. That's what counts, right? I'm still surprised and delighted at how good I feel for being first-trimester pregnant. I haven't needed any saltines to get me out of bed, though I've got plenty of fatigue. I fall asleep easily at 9:30, and Joseph, bless his heart, has been sleeping until 7. That is not too much sleep! 9.5 hours? I bet I could sleep for 12.

James and I gave a little tour of BYU-I to the Gibsons (from Apex Ward). Funny how Sis. Gibson was James's aunt's roommate in college. It's a small world. We stopped by the fair and looked around. Ha. Free chocolate milk. (Now tell me the point in having fat-free chocolate milk?) It's one of those nutritional paradoxes or something. Make fat-free, watery milk. Then, since it tastes like water, make it all sugary and add some seaweed to thicken it. Seriously. That's what carrageenan is. But I will get off of my soapbox about that. It sufficeth me to say that I am a die-hard whole milk fan. Nothing else will do. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's Official

We're having another baby!

My calculations say that my due date is Mar. 25th, my birthday. At my ultrasound today, the baby measured a week younger than that, so they calculated a due date of Apr. 2nd. As cool as it would be to have my bday be my due date, I will go with the later one, since James will actually be done with student teaching by then! I'd rather not have him still in school (and the very last week of it, too) when the baby's born.

So far, I feel great! I don't think that many pregnant women say that. I've had almost no nausea unless I go 3-4 hours without eating or if I wake up and don't eat right away (or if I eat junk on an empty stomach). So far, I have NOT had to depend on saltines to make it through the day. :) My cravings so far? Cornbread. And beans. That's pretty weird. I still crave ramen, just like last time, which is also weird. No fear, I know I'll never crave pickles and ice cream. I think pickles are disgusting, and that will NEVER change. :)

We are very happy to be having another baby. In some ways, it's like, "What? Didn't I just do all of this?" Seriously, the time has really flown by. Walking into the dr. office felt like seeing a bunch of old friends. Haha. Anyway, time to go pay attention to my other baby!

Friday, August 12, 2011


I've never been one to keep my own secrets (though I will for others, don't worry!). It's tough. There's always that moment when a good friend tells you something, then says, "Oh...and don't tell anyone else!" Doesn't that just make it more tempting to tell?

I guess it depends on the secret. There are the deep, dark, secrets that maybe you've never shared with anyone. Maybe they are past sins, or maybe they're irrational fears. I feel like I share everything with James. He hears about all of those silly things, which don't really surface unless I'm having a very emotional day. I've had friends share those things with me as well. They aren't tempting to share with other people. I have no reason to discuss pieces of my friends' souls with anyone else.

As for good news, that's a different story altogether. It's extremely hard not to share good news, whether it's mine or someone else's. Needless to say, I do have some good news.

But I'm going to wait until Tues. to share. Is that horrible of me? Maybe. But I think we will survive until then. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Starting Over

Do you ever have days that you wish you could start over?

Today is one of those.

I feel (and I'm sure this is just my perception) that everyone is just pushing me to side, like they don't care because they've got more important things to do. It's like that feeling when you have a best friend that doesn't consider you their best friend, and upon discovering this, you feel really lame. So yes, I feel lame today. I know that I'm not actually lame, but I'm temporarily thinking it.

Tomorrow will be better. And it won't be Monday anymore.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

We're Back

I love being home.

The more I travel, the more I love NOT going anywhere.

A summary of this week so far...

Mon. We went to NC State for James to look around a little at the history building. He talked to a person about grad school and got a pamphlet on how it all works. It was hotter than Hades, so we didn't end up walking around much outside. The campus is probably 3-4 times bigger than BYU-I's, plus, half of it was walking uphill. No thanks. We went swimming at the pool and then to a movie with Brinson and Myles, Captain America. It was a little on the violent side, though no worse than LOTR. I really enjoyed the movie. I think that Capt. America probably has the best personality out of any superhero.

Tues. We went to the temple with Myles. It was really nice. Brinson and Sarah stopped by to say goodbye. I got all of our stuff packed up.

Wed. was another travel day. I've already said how I feel about that. I had Panda Express again. Our last flight got delayed, so we didn't get home till midnight. I was grouchy.

Today has been great for getting back into my normal, quiet life. It's quite a good life. Being around so many people is wearing on me. I have no idea what I'll do once I have several children begging for my attention, but I'm sure that I'll figure something out. As for now, I'm enjoying the sound of my AC and otherwise, silence, as my grouchy baby takes a nap. Poor little guy went to bed 1.5 hours late but didn't sleep in quite enough to make up for it. We are really blessed to have such a good traveler. He kept turning around and saying, "Hi!" to the people behind us on the plane. They definitely thought that he was a hoot. I love that kid.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Whole Lotta Family!

Well, it's been a mostly great vacation so far. I guess I'll just do a summary by days.

Wed. We went to the pool. Joseph had a blast! We swam for an hour, and he didn't want to get out when it was time to leave.

Thu. Joseph threw up in the morning and didn't want to eat much the rest of the day. He was happy, but a little clingy. He'd only go to Myles or me, not anyone else. I went to the store with Mom, got my workout in, and did my normal, daily stuff. I hung out with all my siblings and went to YW with Mara and Carmel. I took the opportunity to use the piano at the church too, because the one here is extremely out of tune!

Fri. Joseph was still sick, but he started feeling much better and got his appetite back by dinner time. He also started to warm up to more family members. We went out to eat at Danny's, where Sarah works. I had an amazing catfish sandwich. My night later on was not so amazing. I felt sick and threw up in the middle of the night. To top that off, I couldn't sleep worth a darn. I did finally get a project started that I've wanted to for a long time! After failing to install 2 different scanners, we finally got it all figured out. Mara helped me scan in all of Dad's old photos of ancestors. When I get back to ID, I'm going to turn them into a photo book.

Sat. I spent the whole day in bed. I felt exhausted and weak, so I lived on chicken noodle soup and toast and water. I read a little and dozed, but mostly just felt horrible (along with half of the family.)

playing with the seat belt

He loves his Uncle Myles.

epic chess tournament

baby Lars, who really isn't a baby anymore!

deciding to like Uncle Brinson

fun times with a straw

Sun. I recovered 100%! We went to church, Joseph had a nap, and now I'm here blogging. Joseph was an angel at church (for the most part) because it actually was NOT during one of his naps. Brinson and Sarah are coming over for dinner today. We're going to have some biscuits and gravy. YUM! Though we're going to eat them with noodles, because I'm not in the mood to make biscuits today...

I miss my kitchen! Even though I've been able to cook here, I just can't find anything. I think I own a lot more knives and cutting boards, because they seem to be in short supply here. They are seriously always dirty. I also miss my real eggs, milk, and homemade bread. Here, there are just regular grocery store eggs and low-fat versions of everything. I grew up on that, yes, but it doesn't taste good anymore. Oh well. I'm working on convincing everyone to change over to the real versions, but no luck so far.

The sound of a real thunderstorm is really nice. We don't get that in Idaho.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Travel Time

I really hate the process of travel. I love routine, but travel throws everything off. It's not that I don't enjoy being in a different place; it's the "getting there" that can really stink. However, our trip yesterday went well. We made it to Utah with no (further) problems from our faithful Corolla. Joseph took a nap in the car. Our flights were smooth and on time. Joseph took his second nap after 20 minutes of fussing. He was an angel (though an energetic one) on the second flight. By the time we got to Atlanta, it was 9:00 Idaho time, so Joseph sacked out on the flight from Atlanta to RDU. Wow, it was hot in Atlanta! Still 90 degrees at 11:00 p.m. So glad I don't live there!

My biggest challenge, besides getting Joseph to nap on that first flight, is not going crazy from having to eat yucky food. I was well-prepared, or so I thought, with 2 meals packed in our cooler, plus snacks. Too bad our pretzel dogs all got soaked with my water bottle that leaked everywhere. The tamales didn't get wet. Ironically, they all dried out somehow. Plus, they didn't taste too good cold. Basically, I give up trying to not buy anything in the airport. I got Panda Express in Denver and didn't feel guilty about it, because I tried. I guess I'm spoiled to have nice, hot meals every day of my life. I just can't stand the "cooler" taste by the end of the day. All the food I brought just didn't work out. Well, the snacks did, but you can only eat so many carrot sticks and apple slices. The only meal that I really like cold is sushi, so maybe I'll try it next time.

It's been a good day. Joseph is on Idaho time still, which I what I wanted. That means he sleeps at night from 10 to 9. Hurray! It works out great for everyone, since my family is notorious for staying up late. I cooked dinner tonight and plan to as much as I can while I'm here. My family started eating brown rice and whole wheat pasta! Awesome. I can't wait go to got to the pool soon. I also have some projects to work on. We will see how that goes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

This Week

I LOVE this goofball.
is a very happy week.

I saw Harry Potter 7.2. It's my new favorite movie, because it was epic and made me cry.

James is almost done with school and actually gets a break for 7 weeks!

We are going to NC next week.

I successfully made tamales and didn't take all day to do it.

Joseph has been sleeping in every day till 7 or 7:30. So nice! I've been less tired, since I've been getting 9 hours of sleep.

Our car only cost 63 dollars to fix.

The weather is nice and sunny. When it's hot, I have AC!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and the Family

We went to the Head family reunion this weekend Thurs. through Sat. It took place in the Bear River area near Preston, ID, which is beautiful. We were a few miles up a canyon.

I felt stressed from getting ready on Thursday without James being home, but I somehow got it all done with time to spare. The stress continued when Joseph screamed for half of the ride there and took a nap 2 hours late, and I didn't get a good night's sleep that night, thanks to the 3 year old who had a nightmare and the stuffy temperature in the room. Dinner was the highlight of the day, because I got to meet lots of new family members, including siblings of Grandpa Head and their families. And luckily, the next day got a lot better, despite my mental fog.

Friday was a tiring day, party due to lack of sleep and the fact that Joseph loves climbing staircases...and there were 2 of them! He was constantly finding new things to get into, and I didn't feel that I had the energy to run after him. Somehow, I did. I had a great time with the family touring a museum in Franklin, ID, that tells the history of the place. Some of the Head ancestors settled there in 1860. Cool, huh? We had a nice picnic lunch in the park. I went home a little early to put Joseph down for his afternoon nap and attempted to take one myself. No luck.

We had a family meeting about genealogy and memories of Nephi Head (Grandpa Head's dad). It was a great! James and Sam and Jesse got there in time for dinner, thank goodness, so I stopped feeling like a single mom. It was tough to spend the day without him, I'll admit. I'm really glad that he will have a profession that does not require travel. I depend on him a lot!

In the evenings, the cousins hung out and played games like Mafia and Smooching (so funny!). Those are some of my favorite times, even though I stayed up a little too late. James and I decided to sleep in the back of the van on a mattress, and it was perfect. We had a nice, cool breeze from outside...and peace and quiet! I slept in  Sat. morning until 7, because Jojo has ruined my ability to sleep in at all. He was an angel and slept his normal hours during the whole reunion. It was great. He had his own little closet, just like home. :)

Saturday was my favorite day. Even with the sleep, I was still tired, but I managed. We went to the historical site of the Bear River Massacre. It was really sad to read about, but it sounded like one of those typical Indian-settlers confrontations (though it wasn't the settlers, it was part of the army). We had another picnic, and it was blazing hot. I went home a little early to put Joseph down for his nap and finally used the computer. Amazing, technology is.

We went to church in Preston today. It was super fun to see things like the D.I., the Cuttin' Corral, and the chicken farm that are in Napoleon Dynamite. It's too bad that my iPhone died, so I have no pics. However, I know that my mother-in-law took lots, so I promise to get them from her.

Needless to say, I am SO glad to be home! The lack of privacy at the reunion was driving me bonkers. Maybe it's a selfish thing, but I absolutely have to have my own space to recharge away from people. It was in extremely short supply the last few days. When we got home today, I crashed for 2 hours. According to my calculations, that still leaves me about 2 hours short on sleep, but oh well.

My lingering impressions from the reunion are these:

I eat way too many chips when they're so readily available.

Cousins make some of the best friends in the world.

Joseph needs a haircut, because the number of times he's been called a girl now = 5.

I love family history! (Just ordered some 15-generation pedigrees that I'm going to fill out for James and me!)

I need solitude for at least at hour a day.

I need James.

I need sleep in order to be a successful mom. (Or at least a happy one!)

I'm go glad that families are eternal! James always says that heaven will be like one big family reunion. I like that. I have no worries either, because with glorified bodies, I won't need to worry about things like eating too many chips or getting enough sleep. :)

As a side note...I did not eat any treats! That took saying no to chocolate, brownies (2X) and cookies (2X), as well as the candy from the candy toss. Boo yeah! I think I'm going to do it till September and then take a little break to see how things go.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Swallow Your Pride

There are two sides to every sin. In Pres. Benson's talk, he references both the pride of "looking down" and the pride of those "looking up". I've wondered how the same sin can manifest itself in two completely different ways. Since all of our sins are caused by pride, what causes pride in the first place?

It comes back to our quest to subdue the natural man as we become saints. We have been commanded to keep the appetites and passions of the natural man in check, not to get rid of them or be controlled by them. When a person fails in this endeavor, he generally does one of two things.

1. Rebellion. Rebellion against God, according to Pres. Clark (BYU-I president), happens when a person follows neither the spirit nor the letter of God's laws. This person has a full knowledge of these laws but refuses to obey them. He doesn't want to. He does what he wants and lets appetite and passion control him. He is the man that "looks down", because he takes from others in order to puff himself up. Inside, he still feels empty. We look down on others to try to make ourselves feel better, but it doesn't work. In terms of physical nourishment, this is the man who eats to his heart's content all of the things that strike his fancy. He looks well-nourished (or even more than that), but he fails to supply his physical body with the things that it really needs.

2. Hypocrisy. Pres. Clark's talk defines a hypocrite as a person who obeys the letter of God's law but not the spirit. We don't want to be in the "rebellious" category, so we try a new tactic: belittling and comparing ourselves to others, because "they are much better people than we are." I've definitely been guilty of this, especially when I see others with their "lands and gold" and envy them for what they have. I also envy those who are further along in their talents, totally discounting what I've accomplished (because I'm not as good as "so and so"). These comparisons are prideful, because I've made the assumption that I deserve the same as what those people have. That's called entitlement, which is another sin in itself.

What does this accomplish? Instead of taking away from others to puff myself up, all I've done is to pretend that I'm taking away from myself to give to others. But I haven't done a thing for anyone else. All of these comparisons are still for my own self interest.

In terms of physical nourishment, these are the people on fad diets. They carefully control portions and absolutely hate anyone that can eat real food. They deny themselves nourishment in the name of good health and may look healthy, but they're never satisfied. They're always hungry for something that they feel they can't have and secretly hope that the people eating real food will somehow die young from heart disease.

Hypocrisy is a hard thing to spot. People on fad diets don't know that they don't work.

If pride is an appetite, just like hunger or thirst, then it's a necessary part of our lives. Pride results from a need to feel validated as a human being, just like malnourishment results from eating not enough of the right foods. We need something to feel satisfied so that we don't get too prideful -- on either end of the spectrum.

The only way to nourish this need is through truly giving to others in service. We've got a great antidote for pride right at home: our families. Where is there a better place to feel loved? I can't think of one. As the world  gets more individualistic, the amount of pride will skyrocket.

Serving others reminds us that our gifts and talents are useful. Without use, they wither away and die. There is no joy in having a gift that only blesses oneself. There is also no greater joy than seeing how our God-given talents can bless others.

Am I guilty of pride? Sure I am. But I'm working to create a nourishing, nurturing environment at home where no one will need pride in order to feel of worth.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Burning Bush

I have a goal to read all of the scriptures by  the end of 2012, which gives me a year and half. Right now I'm in Exodus, and the story of Moses is just fascinating. What struck me today was the symbolism in the burning bush.

The trials we go through are often likened to fire. Moses communicated with the Lord, whose presence was manifest by the burning bush that, although on fire, did not burn up.

Don't trials feel like that sometimes? When something hard comes along, we literally feel like we're going to burn up. But we don't. We grow. Maybe we should liken these "fires" to having the presence of the Lord in our lives. He is definitely in mine. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I remember reading about Yellowstone and the huge fire in the 4th grade. Since then, I've always wanted to visit. Since we live so close, I told James that we HAD to visit before we moved away, so we made a day trip for our 2nd anniversary.

I was not disappointed! The trip went by really fast until the afternoon when we started having a tiny bit of car trouble. Luckily, we know what the problem is (radiator leak) and how to fix it, so we made it home in one piece!

We started our trip in West Yellowstone and made our way to Old Faithful, then through Jackson Hole and back to Idaho. It was gorgeous.
hot spring with lots of colorful bacteria

foul-smelling steam

a bison right by the road!

Old Faithful going off.

really cool clock in the Old Faithful Inn

gorgeous view of Yellowstone Lake

the Tetons from the WY side
It was a very exciting day! I sure missed my little guy.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Yesterday was a great day from start to finish.

1. Baptisms at the temple with James. There's nothing like having time to sit and ponder.

2. Eating lunch with James. He's not home most days for lunch. It makes my day so much better when I get to see him!

3. Amazing, not too hot weather. Out apartment didn't feel like Hades, unlike the day before!

4. Pupusas for dinner. James helped me make them, and I think they're one of my new favorite foods. They're simple, yet so satisfying to eat.

5. Sense & Sensibility. I love movies made from old books. They're awesome. I find this movie to be particularly emotional in a wonderful way. I'd like to think that I'm more "sense" than "sensibility"...but who knows? Maybe I'm somewhere in between.

The aforementioned hot day inspired us to try out Rexburg Rapids.


Joseph did not agree, because it was slightly breezy, so he was soon too cold. I love the lazy river. That was definitely my favorite part.

I almost bought one of the sewing machines at D.I., but I chickened out. Perhaps I will send James for me, and then he can call it an anniversary present. :) I don't know why it's so hard to spend money on myself. Maybe it's because I will feel obligated to learn how to sew!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Things I Just Don't Get

1. Competition. Someone always ends up feeling like a loser. In P.E., that was always me. Out of 3 classes, I'd always be the next to last to finish the mile. I could tell lots of embarrassing stories about P.E., but I think I'll spare myself the humiliation.

2. Reality TV. James jokes that I'll have my own cooking show one day. I doubt it. I hate being the center of attention. I don't like the fact that even cooking shows on TV are competitive, and the criticism is just cruel at times.

3. Why do some people think it's cool to be weird? I don't mean just a little bit, I mean too weird to function around most people. Um, if you don't get along with 99% of people, shouldn't you change instead of spending your whole life defending your weirdness?

4. Why do some people think it's cool to avoid everything popular? Just because it's popular, it doesn't mean that it's not of value. Not to say that I like everything that's popular, but I wouldn't say that I'm "proud" of the things that I dislike.

5. Running. I love to exercise...usually...but I can't see why running is so great. I was forced to do it for a semester and learned to tolerate it, but I never got a wonderful feeling out of it, even though I tried. And by the end of the semester, I was still slow!

6. PB & J. First off, I don't understand why most jams have more sugar than fruit. Also, who decided to combine the two? As tasty as they are, aren't they more of a dessert? I'd rather eat Nutella and just call it a snack.

How about you? What's something that just don't get?

Traditions, Traditions

I love traditions.

Before having my own family, I had no idea how much traditions are the life and soul of a family. There are  spiritual traditions that we've been commanded to have, like prayer and scriptures, but there's still a ton of leeway in how we can get those things done. Most of our traditions have to do with food, but I think I'll share them. (Though for anyone who knows me, it shouldn't surprise you that our traditions revolve around food!)

Valentine's Day: going to a dance
Anniversary (coming up this weekend!): eating the breakfast buffet at JB's
Halloween: dinner in a pumpkin
Christmas Eve: clam chowder in bread bowls
New Year's Day: black-eyed peas

I guess if you think about it, traditions have to do with nourishment. Whether spiritually or physically, they nourish a family. Once we have more (older) kids, I look forward to establishing even more traditions!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I've often wondered about the meaning of success. For my life to have been successful, this is what I want to do/have (in no particular order) by the time I die...

1. Really good health. Basically, I'll eat my vegetables so I don't become one.

2. Raise happy kids. When they leave home, I hope that it's a place that they'll miss.

3. Be a good wife and homemaker.

4. Live the Gospel to the best of my ability and teach my kids by my example.

5. Develop as many talents as I have time for, and use them to bless others. I've learned the hard way that talents left unshared really do get "buried".

I think that the world's definition of success is nice, but so much less fulfilling than what I've been sent here for.  I'm grateful that the Lord has taken care of our family in so many ways.

Families are forever!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I survived playing the piano in Sacrament meeting for the Primary children's song! They were so quiet when they sang that I could barely hear them!

As I've said on FB, we will be moving for James's student teaching at the end of the year/early January. It makes me feel so sad. I thought we'd be here for a year and a half and not have to move at Christmas time for the 3rd year in a row, but I think that the Lord has other plans for us. I just wish that I knew what exactly those plans were. :) Then again, I never thought I'd live here either, but it's been such a great blessing.

Fathers are so wonderful. I never realized how important they are until I saw children who'd grown up without fathers. It's not enough to just feed, clothe, and nurture a child. Families need patriarchs to lead and guide their spiritual well-being.

I've always known that my dad has a testimony. I remember discussing scripture mastery cards before school as early as 2nd grade. I remember that he took the opportunity to teach us small lessons here and there about the Gospel, always using tough questions to make us think. Bedtime stories were almost always mission stories or scripture stories, and Dad knew every story ever written in the scriptures. Many times still, I am astounded by how little members of the Church know about these stories, simply because they've only read the children's book versions of the Bible.

Dad taught us how to work together. We got to help with the garden every year. I still think that there's nothing better than gathering bags full of produce from the garden, then bringing it in for Mom to cook and can. I can't wait to have my own huge garden one day.

Dad is also known for his sense of humor. I don't think it's necessary to explain that, because I think I inherited it. Needless to say, I love to be in a room of Phenixes. Humor make life so much more enjoyable.

Dad got me into family history through his mom. He still reminds me to keep going on that when I get really bored with it. I don't tend to think of it as a big accomplishment, but Dad gets the pretty charts ready and reminds me that the fruits of my labors are very much worth it.

At least until I was 11, Dad knew everything. Then, he started telling me to look it up. I still do. I'm grateful for that iPhone for when I don't have the computer at home. I love to learn about random things. I hope that my kids will think that I know least until they're 11.

My dad is an inspiration to me. I am so glad that he's my dad. :)

I'm also grateful for my Heavenly Father, and, of course, James. James is an excellent dad to our excellent little boy. I'm pretty glad that I found him...or he found me. :)