Friday, May 23, 2008

My budding photographer

Diana loves to take pictures with my camera. She is actually getting quite good at it. A few weeks ago she had this photo shoot with our 3 year old friend Abby. And yes, Abby has a remarkable resemblance to Dakota Fanning. After taking the pictures, Diana figured out how to make them black and white, which is something I have not learned to do yet. What is it with kids and technology?
Here is a sweet pose. I am not sure if it was Abby's own idea or Diana's.
And here is the same shot in black and white.
This one is just too adorable.
And here is Abby's younger brother, Andrew. Nice job guys!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

A big Happy Birthday to my brother Andrew. Actually his birthday was yesterday. He is the baby in this cute picture. I am ten years older than him and can still remember quite well the day he was born. Also he is the first sibling I remember well as a baby. My mom was called to be primary president shortly after he was born. So I got to take care of him during primary. When he was seven, he got hit in the head with a rock while my parents were out of town. Hence, I took him to the emergency room for stitches. I have not even taken my own kids yet. I remember it was a Monday night of the final game of march madness. We watched the game in the waiting room. It would be hard to say who was more scared at the ER, Andrew or me. He graduated from High School ten years after me. Another great thing about Andrew is that he married someone from Southern California. We still lived there when they married. It was fun to help host that fun family get together. The other good thing is that Las Vegas is on the way to Southern California from Utah, so we get to see his family more than any of my other siblings. Another handy thing about Andrew is that he is an athletic trainer. This is useful when you have injuries that happen to the children at your house. Although it is next to impossible to diagnose something without seeing it, He has been able to give good ideas about things and when you really need to go to a doctor. So Andrew, I am glad that you are my brother and even better my friend. Hope you had a great day and that your Carmel apple cake was a success.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Just wanted to wish my mom a very happy birthday! Thanks for being such a great mom and grandma to my kids. We have certainly had some great times throughout the years. So I hope you will have a great special day. I wish we could be there.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Crazy work week!

Well this week was one of the weeks that I had to work. I put in some insane hours working 42 hours in just 4 days. This explains my lack of posting. And I have so much to post about. Coming soon - Mother's Day, Yard Sale Mania, Trent's Homecoming Dance, and soccer. I have to work again this afternoon. This morning I am tyring to get a few things done around the house, as my lack of doing any housework this week is glaringly obvious.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jog.

My mom and sisters all had to leave quite early on Saturday morning. I had a nice leisurely morning watching my sister in law be mauled by her four small children. Jessica you are amazing. That is all I can say. Meeting the needs of so many, by yourself most of the time. Keep up the good work. Finally I figured that I better get on the road myself. I got everything back into the car. I made a quick stop at Macy's and got some 5 gallon containers for food storage. You don't see those at the grocery store in Vegas.
Then I hit the road. I didn't even stop until I got to Beaver. You can't drive by Beaver without stopping at the cheese factory. Well you can, but that is not as much fun as stopping for squeaky cheese and an ice cream cone. So that is precisely what I did. For any of you who may be unaware of the joys of squeaky cheese, I am sorry for you and that is all I can say. What is not to love about cheese that squeaks. And I am not even a mouse. It is truly one of the good things in life. My Grandma Tanner would always make sure she had cheese curds in her fridge when we came to visit. Whenever I eat it, I think of her. It is yummy, get yourself some if you are ever near a cheese factory. Then I indulged myself in an ice cream waffle cone. None of the flavors sounded that good to me, and so I just got plain vanilla. Boy was it scrum-dilli-umptious. Yes that is another of my made up words, but it fits this situation, so I am using it. In fact this ice cream was so good that I almost ate it all gone before I thought to take a picture of it. It was so good, that had I not been almost to Cedar City, when I finished it, I would have gone back for seconds. I continued my trip home, stopping in St. George for lunch. I made it home by 4:00, part of that whole thing of it being faster to go back to Vegas. I walked in the door and up to my bed, without even unloading the car. I have been pretty tired all week, but am so glad that I went. Now I will have to change the count down on my blog for next year. Only about 360 days to go. Yippee!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The party continues!

After the spiritual feasting was over, it was time for packing up and heading over to my sister in laws for the night. First we had to take some more pictures. I realized that I had not taken many pictures with my sister Amie and my mom. This was due to the fact that we went to different classes. And look at the amazing back drop for our picture. This is what the view is like out of the front door of the house we stayed at. Talk about beautiful.

After we managed to get everything loaded up, we headed to a great Mexican restaurant and met up with my sister in law, Jessica. I was still so full from lunch, that all I ordered was some guacamole. This was quite delicious. Of course we had to take more pictures. I am not quite sure why I am on the phone with my eyes closed. I think I am trying to check some messages from home. All in all I was pleasantly surprised at how infrequently I received calls from home. Of course there was the call from Jared on Thursday afternoon: "Hey I just found out I have to play at a concert tonight, where are my church pants?" But that is to be expected, right? And at least it was not my worry about getting him there on time at about the same time Diana had to be at her choir concert. So glad I missed that crisis. After dinner, we headed back to my brother's house. He was out of town, so we moved the party there so my sister law could join in. My other sister in law, Lisa also joined us at
this point of the festivities. Here is a picture of me with all of the goodies I had left for our final slumber party. I brought way to much junk, due to the fact that I made too many trips to the store and each time I kept thinking of new things that sounded good. Needless to say we had a lot of fun that evening. We laughed so hard, I almost peed my pants. That has to be a sign of a good time, right? We had fun reliving memories looking at a scrapbook that I made for my mom. We tried to date some of the pictures using the time tested technique of clothing identification. For those of you unaware of the procedure, let me enlighten you. See if the person in the picture can remember when they bought what they are wearing, you can precisely pin down the date of the picture. Apparently this actually can happen, as several of those present used this technique to help determine when certain things happened. We really have shared some special times. I should have taken more pictures of this mirth filled event, but I think I forgot. So basically what you had was nine women, lots of goodies, and a couple of hours. You do the math, any way to put it, it adds up to more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet!

So finally the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived. We did not get there early enough to get close seats, but that was OK. It turns out the spirit is in the top of the building as well as down close. It is so cool to be in the presence of a man of God. I love it, when everyone stands up and sings "We thank Thee O God, for a Prophet." just as the Prophet walks up to the stand. His wife was with him, although she did not speak. This may have been due to her recent back surgery and coma. It was nice to see her nonetheless. So even though I wasn't up close, I took these two pictures of the big screen. I think they turned out reasonably well. Probably better than what I would have gotten of him walking out. They did not allow him to shake any hands. He gave a wonderful talk, much like he always does. There is something so lyrical about his talks. Perhaps it is all the poetry he always quotes. And did you realize that his daughter Ann is the new counselor in the general YW presidency. I had not made that connection. The Prophet told us that "We are everything described by sensitive good hearts. Each of us is living a life with much to do, don't let important things pass us by. Do not procrastinate those things that matter most. Every day in your life is a special occasion. Keep the list of things you miss as short as possible. One day we will run out of tomorrows. Our mortal life was never meant to be easy. Each of us experience dark days. Shall I falter or finish? No pain that we suffer is wasted, it adds to our education, faith, and patience. We cannot avoid all the storms. Only the master knows our pain and trials. Weave in deeds of service into our daily lives." There was a wonderful spirit there, and I feel truly blessed to have been present for such an occasion. That is actually the third time I have heard President Monson speak in person. Here is a picture of him as he is leaving. Always ministering to the one, he stopped to shake hands with a woman in a wheel chair. Then he walked off the stand and stopped to wave to all of us. He turned in a circle so that he faced and waved to everyone there. After he finished the circle, he gave the thumbs up sign. It was so cute and memorable. The Prophet of the Lord gave me the thumbs up, telling me that things are going well and everything will be OK. What a tender mercy.

Waiting for the Prophet.

After John Bytheway, we hiked back up to the Marriot Center and got in line to get a fabulous Chicken Taco salad. We felt lucky because they ran out of food soon after we got ours. Here again, I failed to document with a picture the yummy food. You will just have to take my word for it. We also filled the time by taking pictures. So there is one with me and my sister Jen. Then there is one with us two and my sister Kris once she got there. I then left trying to get toasted almonds. I wish I had never tried those darn things. By then they had closed down all the food things inside the Center. I had to go out side. There were two lines and one seemed to be going pretty fast. So I thought good and got in that line. It was only a few minutes later when we were told that you had to stand in the fast line just to pay, then go over to the next slow line and wait for our nuts. When I say slow, imagine a snails pace and then take it down a notch. Sheesh louise. I took a picture of the view from the back of the line. Happily the girl in front of me said "here I'll pay for you and you go get in the other line for me." This was a brilliant plan, as it cut our time down drastically. We tried to laugh and joke while we were waiting, but time was ticking by. Were we prepared to miss the Prophet in order to get the nummy nuts? My new found friend said we should listen to Sheri Dew and just walk away from the world, but it smelled so good, we couldn't make ourselves leave. (I am sure this is a parable involving Satan's tactics or something.) And we had paid by then. So we watched the clock and prayed. Once we got close enough, we could see the problem. There was just one olderish lady sloooooowly filling each cone with nuts. Then she would have to weigh it and put a few more in or take a few out. Oh mylanta! It was torture to watch. We all kept saying, we could we just serve our selv
es or at the very least lend her a hand. Surely we could get the job done faster. Finally after standing there so long, I needed to trim my nails, I got to the front and left with my precious cargo. I am still not sure if I made the right choice, but those cinamon toasted almonds were scrumptious. And I did make it back in time. Here are some other random pictures. My sister Jen showing us her handiwork. She, my mom, and my sister Amie all crocheted a scarf for the Humanitarian center during the two days they were in classes. You go girls. My crocheting skills leave a lot to be desired, so I remained on the cheerleading team for mission Warm Neck. Sorry Mom and Amie, I did not get pictures of your handiwork.
Then I had to snap a shot of this cool Cosmo van. My football scrapbook will not be complete without it. So go Cougars! Finally it was time for the closing session to begin. What a fun way to spend the time waiting.

Bytheway, did I mention I'm a stalker.

Friday morning came much too quickly. I slept better in part, due to the fact that I chose to sleep on my camp cot that I brought from home, instead of the slanty air mattress I had the night before. Also my sister Kris bought everyone ear plugs. This was to combat the few people who snore in our group. The snoring did not bother me very much, but the earplugs helped me sleep through most of everyone getting ready in the morning. Thankfully my sister shook me and woke me up or I think I would have slept through the morning session.

Sister Beck was the speaker Friday morning. She is great and I love to hear her speak. She said that sometimes we complicate the gospel while forgetting what it is all about - a testimony. Also sometimes we think only about the big events. She said we are accountable for our half of the plan and how will we account for what we did. She talked about thinking about nurturing as influencing. That seemed like a different way of thinking about nurturing than I had thought about it before. She said that influencing is more lasting than managing. Another thing she said is that there is no "they" only "you" to get things done. We can't just hope that "they" will do it. We need to daily do the things that show we know who we are. Also we should put our greatest resources where we are weakest. That is interesting to think about. This one was good for me - she said our own life should be our favorite reality TV show. All in all it was a great talk. I'm glad I got to hear it.

After the morning session my sister and I went down to the Smith field house with my Aunt Shauna. We went and heard a talk about strengthening marriage. This was also good because we got a seat for the next class that would be taught by John Bytheway. The marriage class was taught by a husband and wife who were both excellent speakers. The wife told a story about when she left her nine year old son to babysit her two year daughter as she went next door for a short meeting. She gave her son two rules, 1. he could not play video games and 2. he had to include his sister in his play. She left and when she came home twenty minutes later, there were several nine year old boys running out of her house. She came in and found that her son had turned his two year old sister into a video game. He did this by taking a permanent marker and drawing a round target on her diaper. Then he found all the toy dart guns in the house and charged his friends for the chance to shoot his sister and try to hit the bulls eye. Aside from being an entertaining story, she compared this to what Satan is doing to marriages today. He is shooting marriages with every weapon in his arsenal. So we have to battle to defend our marriages. Here is a picture of my two sisters and my aunt and cousin. We were kept busy during this class by winding yarn onto tongue depressors. This yarn will be used for service at EFY.

Like I said, aside from being interested in the class, I really wanted to be there to hear John Bytheway speak. He came in and started setting up for his class a half hour early. I recognized him and was astonished that no one mobbed the stage. I went down to get a close up picture from the stands. Then I dared to step down onto the floor in order to get just a few feet from the stand. When no one stopped me or even seemed to care, I got real brave. I thought "he doesn't seem to busy, so why not just see if he would take a picture with me." And guess what, he did. So yay for courage. I of course thought this was a very cool feather in my stalker's cap. He He He. John Bytheway spoke with his mother and they both spoke about the scripture "They that be with us, are more than they that be with them." Us being the Lord's people and them being Satan's team or the world as it were. I love that story in the old testament. This class was very good. He said that FEAR stands for:False Expectations Appearing Real. Faith and fear can not coexist. The only thing we have to fear is sin, and even that the Savior will save us from. Faith is not turning what we want into reality. We can not say "I only have faith, if it happens on my timetable." He shared with us the concept of having a "Hope Page" He started this when he was discouraged about not being married. His started with "What more can he say, than to you he hath said?" He then filled the page with scriptures that would strengthen his faith. Whenever he was discouraged he would read this page and never failed to have his faith strengthened. Funny how faith and hope are so intertwined. You can't really have one with out the other. This was a great talk to prepare to hear the prophet speak.

You can make the pathway bright!

After the classes, we went back to the Marriot Center and listened to Bro and Sis Bateman give a talk. It was very good. Brother Bateman talked about making our homes a temple. He talked about how orderly the temple is and how everything is done with exactness. I think I have a long way to go before my home could measure up to that standard, but it was good to think about.
Next we moved on to dinner at La Dolce Vita. It is our favorite Italian place in Provo. The food was so yummy. And we didn't even have to wait to be seated.
After this we split into two group. My sisters and I went back to the evening of service titled "You can make the pathway bright!" We got a great parking space and went into the Smith field house. It was amazing how many people were working like crazy. You had to stand in a line and then they would say "We need two people over here" Then you would be sent to the assembly line that was putting together kits for the Humanitarian center. We ended up at the newborn kits. So we were in a line putting diapers, onsies, soap, pins, and a hat into zip lock bags. This was so much fun. Different tables would cheer when they finished a box of something. I guess all together we did like 9,000 newborn kits, 7,000 hygeine kits, and 12,000 school kits. How cool is that? So here are pictures of all of us in a service frenzy. I have a very strange look on my face in the closeup picture. I think I am feeling the pressure to keep up. The whole thing was kind of like that "I love Lucy" episode in the candy factory. It is amazing what mormon women can do when they put their minds and hands to work. I am so proud to belong to this sisterhood of service called Relief Society. My sister Amie is in the green sweatshirt next to me in line. Once we were done and needed to go, there were others waiting in line to take our places.
After serving we headed back up to the Marriot Center for an evening of entertainment. This was really good. Hilary Weeks was the MC and she is hilarious, if you didn't know. We heard Kenneth Cope, Eclipse, and Michael McClain along with others. It was a lot of fun and included in the price of our ticket. What a deal. The first year I went to Women's Conference, I didn't go to this part, but I am glad that I tried it last year. The only bad thing about it is that it doesn't end until 10 pm. That meant that we left the house at 8 that morning and didn't get home until 10:30 at night. Needless to say we all just fell into bed, so as to be ready to party for one more day. Hurray for exhaustion born of learning, service, and fun.

Next Installment

After the morning session was done and I had completed my mission to stalk, it was time to move on to the classes. My sister Jen and I decided to go to a class on balancing extracurricular activities for families. This was in a building right next to the Marriot Center. On our way out, we got some lunch. It was a yummy chicken salad on croissant. I also finally had one of the famous BYU mint brownies. For the past two years I heard the virtues of these confections extolled, but had resisted. Now I have gone over to the dark side. My only sadness is that I did not think to snap a picture of the delicious delicacy. Let me just say that it was perfectly fudgey and chewy, with a layer of minty, creamy frosting, topped by second frosting of chocolaty goodness. Ok enough about the food, onto the class.
This class was a little disappointing. I wanted to be told that it was OK to just sit at home instead of running around like a crazy women on a hamster wheel. Instead the speaker quoted from studies showing that children involved in extracurricular activities do better in school. Shucks. They did however caution that balance was needed. I suppose when you get right down to it, no one, not even a study, can make this choice but me. There are several factors that need to be evaluated. How my kids are doing with their act ivies, how our family is handling things both financially and time wise, and least of all how my own sanity is faring. My institute teacher is always saying that it doesn't really matter how many talents we develop in our kids, if they don't have a number 10 testimony. So I guess this was a good class because it made me think about those things. I still don't have all the answers but maybe thinking about a problem is the first step to solving it.
After that class we joined up with my sister Kris and listened to a talk while we sewed a blanket stitch around a fleece blanket for a baby. This is one of my favorite things to do. Here is a picture of us modeling our finished products. It is not very crowded and there is a lovely view outside the window. We even watched it snow for a few minutes, knowing we were dry and warm and serving. The class we listened to was about scripture study. The thing I remember from this class, is that we could text our children during the day and remind them about something we learned in scripture study that morning. I thought that was a good idea. Maybe I could even do that with my Laurels and our lesson from Sunday. The other good thing about this building is that you can go to the bathroom without waiting in line for 20 minutes. Not always a given in the Marriot Center.
After this class, my sister Jen and I met up with my mom for a family history class. This class was inspiring. One of the speakers was Julie Beck's mother, and another was Sis. Beck's daughter. This class was held in the new Hinckley Alumni building. This is a beautiful building. We took some pictures of us in front of the huge fireplace. Then there is a cute picture of Sister Hinkley and President Hinkley and it is next to Sister Hinkley's chair. So of course it was necessary to pose next to this chair. Then I took a picture of the building from the outside. My mom said it looks just like President Hinkley, and I have to agree. I think there is something kind of English about it. Anyway it was fun to be able to see this nice building that was still under construction last year.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

To Dew, or not to do, that is the question

On the Thursday morning of Women's Conference, we all arose bright eyed and bushy tailed. Well kind of. It is always hard to sleep in a strange place the first night. We were very blessed to be able to stay with the family of a friend from Seattle. They have a large family room downstairs and were able to make beds up for all six of us. This was fun to all be together. Sadly for me I was on an air mattress that had an attached pillow and I could not lay flat. Luckily I was exhausted from the drive up there and so I slept anyway. And it is always easier to wake up for something you are very excited about. So here is a picture of all of us in our seats waiting to hear Sheri Dew's talk. Sheri Dew is one of my favorite speakers to listen to. She is so inspiring. After listening to her, I feel as though I could slay a lion, build a ship, or maybe just be a good mom for one more day. You get the feeling you really can Go and Do. She is awesome. Her talk was about "Awake, arise, and come unto Christ." She talked about how we must wake up and do the things that the Lord needs us to do. I hope I can keep the feeling of optimism and encouragement with me for a while. If you can catch her talk on BYU tv, it is truly a must see. I managed to snap this shot of her after the talks. I also got a nice shot of Sister Thompson. Sadly the one I took of Sister Tanner is not very good. Then Sister Dalton was so cute. I took a picture of her and Sister Cook as they were walking in. Sister Dalton noticed me and asked if I got a good shot. She then posed for a better picture for me. How fun! Also as I was taking pictures of Sheri Dew, Mary Ellen Edmonds stopped right next to me. I congratulated her on her etiquette movie that they showed at the beginning of the conference. I was having fun talking to her and I didn't even think to snap her picture. Goodness I am falling down on my stalking job. So the super stalker or paparazzi pat strikes again! Let's just say that it is so fun to see these great women of faith up close and personal. I love all these women and all they do for Relief Society and Young Women's. So hurray for Women's Conference and the chance to hear these wonderful women.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happpy Birthday Trent!

So this is the very special day that Trent turns seventeen. Where has the time gone? It doesn't seem possible that many years have gone by so quickly. Trent and I went to Qdoba for lunch today and tonight he went to see a concert with some friends. I hope it was a good day. He is saving for a new bass amp and so we are contributing towards that, a rather boring birthday present. And so I have started this tradition of making videos, so here is what I could come up with for Trent. I used the same music as Jared's, but I think it is a great song that is fits well with a life history.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Joy in the Journey

I can't believe that I have been home for almost 3 days and I haven't managed to post anything. Well get ready, because there is a plethora of posts to come. As I wrote last week, I was a bit late getting out of town. In the end I just kept taking things to my car and throwing them in. This was not an organized way to pack, but it did the job. In the end the only thing I forgot was one bag of goodies/snacks. Dang, no Pringles for me in the car.
The trip up was very uneventful. I listened to a Sue Grafton mystery. One of my first. It was entertaining enough to make the time go by pretty fast. I stopped in Cedar City and ate lunch at Applebee's. Did I mention how much I love their Chinese Chicken Salad? Yummy. There was a table of five ladies eating lunch there, and I am pretty sure I recognized one of them. They were probably on their way to Provo from Vegas as well.

I can't understand why, but the trip TO Utah always seems longer than the trip BACK. Theoretically, it should be the same both ways. But I think because of the time change, it feels like it takes an hour longer to get there. There is something quite nice about being by yourself in the car. Everything is on your schedule. You get to eat when and where you want. If you don't want to stop for a bathroom break, you don't. It's a good thing.
Once I made it there, I met up with my 3 sisters and mom at my brother's house. It turns out that my other brother lives there also and he came over. Happy coincidence. That meant that 6 out of 8 of my siblings were together. That doesn't happen very often. So of course a photo shoot was in order. We had fabulous Mexican food compliments of Jessica's House of Tacos. Thanks Jess. And way yummy salsa, thanks to Andrew. This was the beginning of the five pounds I was to gain over the weekend. Yikes. What is it about family get togethers that spells weight gain? Oh it must be all the snacking. And maybe the 2 pound bag of peanut M&M's I brought had something to do with it as well. We all had a great time catching up on things and just generally being together. I suppose one of the benefits of living so far apart is that you get along really well on the few occasions that you get to be together. So we had the picture of the six siblings, one with my mom, and one of just the girls, including my two sisters in law. They have been in the family so long that they are really just one of us by now, whether they like it or not. All in all, it was the perfect start to a wonderful, fun filled, conference. Stay tuned for part two of my women's conference adventures.