Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, E.M.M.A.!

In honor of Emma's 15th birth-o-ween today, here's a little acrostic poem I wrote about her....
Excellent at making good use of her time; working hard to challenge and improve herself
Masterful cook that has a knack for finding just the right combination of flavors
Million dollar smile that puts others at ease
A talented and hard-working musician

Happy Birthday, Emma!  We love you! 
Happy Halloween to the rest of you!   

Friday, October 30, 2015

We have a volunteer...

In addition to this volunteer tomato plant that randomly started growing right next to our front door...

I've got a few other volunteers that really want to be on the blog! 

Including this bevy of beautiful maidens...

A little turtle that crossed our path...

And Glen's cache of his favorite lip balm.   

Um....don't ask. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I love the autumn-time.   The milder weather, the changing leaves, the fresh apples, and even the change in routine  that autumn brings, are a breath of fresh air for me each year.  Even the sunshine seems to take on a warmer, more golden hue and I find myself drawn outdoors, trying to soak up as much of the season as I can.   To me, it doesn't get much better than a long walk on a mild autumn day.  Hearing the leaves crunch underneath my feet, getting a whiff of the pleasant smell of chimney smoke,  and watching the squirrels madly dashing about as they make their caches of nuts for the winter, all of it seems to enliven my senses and I often find myself yearning to freeze time right where it's at.

October, especially, with the leaves at their peak color and the corner pumpkin "patches" that seem to pop up overnight seems to really encapsulate the season for me.  It's right about mid-month that I can't seem to stop myself from baking up a few pumpkiny treats to celebrate the season.   Warm, freshly baked pumpkin muffins with oodles of chocolate chips are our favorite!   We used to spend every Monday in October baking treats to anonymously deliver to friends under cover of darkness, but at some point in the last couple of years, we grew weary of this tradition (and the extra treats it always left lying around our house) and we stopped.  The kids still talk about how much they enjoyed it though, and I think eventually we will start it up again in a modified form.

I don't love all the boat-load of sugar that overtakes our house at Halloween, but I do love how excited the kids get about it.  Halloween costumes sometimes stress me out, but this year the two youngest knew what they wanted to be a month in advance, and my only role was to help them procure the costume.    I wish I was more creative and frugal, but in my older age I've sworn off late-night sewing sessions,  and now I  shop around online  and just order their costumes for them...with a discount usually.     Emma's costume this year is a product of her and her friends' creativity and she is quite excited and proud of their matching costumes.

Of course, autumn isn't all costumes, treats, and long walks, but I'll take what I can get!   On today's docket include homeschool lessons, math class, piano/voice lessons, and soccer practice.   I got all three of the kids their music lessons at the same time, which means I have a built-in hour to spend outside enjoying the season.    

 Have a  beautiful day!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Accentuating the Positive

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ You've got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative...♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ 

I've been edgy and feeling a little negative lately, but rather than dwelling on those things, this post is following the advice of the  old-time song I quoted above and will be my effort to accentuate the positive!   

Things that I'm loving right now:
  •  Glen finally coming home from a business trip.  
  • Beautiful autumn weather that makes being outside downright irresistible. 
  • Scripture time--I just finished reading the Book of Mormon again!  I don't know how many times I've read it in my life, but I learn new things every time I read it.   
  • Good music.  This summer I got a few new cd's which we are loving now.    (This one , this one, and this one are our favorites) 
  • A Young Women's event that came together perfectly!   

So, accentuate the positive with me and share what's making you happy right now!    

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Rant About Pink

I'm not a very emotional person.  I get it from my mom, whom I've seen cry an entire two times in my life, both when people close to her had passed away.   My kids have definitely seen me cry more often than that, but it's still a very irregular occurrence.  

That's why when I got all teary eyed and upset at Emma's orthodontist appointment the other day, it took me totally off guard.    I went in there feeling just fine, but as I sat there looking at the entire office bedecked in pink for breast cancer awareness, something in me snapped.  
 Pink is everywhere this month--in the grocery stores, on the soccer fields, and now in the orthodontist office.  I have nothing against breast cancer awareness, in fact I think it's great that there's so much support out there for any type of cancer, but in that moment I became acutely sad that during the entire month of September, I barely saw any kind of acknowledgement that it was childhood cancer awareness month.      There were no gold ribbons bedecking anything other than the Facebook pages of other parents who belong to the same crappy club that I do of having had a kid face a very adult disease.  

Somehow our society has made it acceptable to think about  women who end up losing their breasts to mastectomies, but heaven help us, don't you dare burst our bubbles and remind us that kids get cancer too!   Never mind that not only are these kids who die losing decades more off their lives than adults, but even the lucky ones who live often suffer with horrible  after-effects from their treatments that greatly diminish their quality of life.   

Take the ubiquitous "chemo brain" that you hear cancer survivors talk about.   Chemo brain is parr for the course for the average middle-age cancer survivor and they complain of not being able to remember people's names as well, or having to write things down that they can't remember.   Unpleasant and not convenient for sure, but try thinking the havoc that chemo wreaks  on a STILL DEVELOPING BRAIN!  

Now just imagine having chemo brain when you're 20 and trying to take a full load of college classes.  
IT SUCKS!!!!!     

The  nurses have to wear protective clothing to even administer the noxious chemo cocktails  that these have PUMPED INTO THEIR BODIES for month after month, until they either die or they're "cured".  And even when they're so called cured, their bodies are never the same.

My son was one of the lucky ones who survived, and I am forever grateful for that, but by golly don't get so lost in the pink that you  forget that kids get cancer too.   


   I used the opportunity  to talk to  the orthodontist about childhood cancer awareness month.   He was genuinely curious about Spencer and, in general, wanted to know more about the challenges that face childhood cancer patients.   He indicated that he would be interested to get the office involved in childhood cancer awareness month next September.  Now, I just need to gather a packet of information for him and follow up with him in about ten months! 

If you want to do something: 
Less than 5% of federal funding for cancer research goes to childhood cancers.   If you want to make a difference,  CureSearch and Alex's Lemonade Stand are both worthy charities who use a large percentage (with little overhead cost) of their donations to finding a cure for childhood cancers.   


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Okay, this is it!    
This is officially the final blogpost in our vacation to Utah series.    

On August 28, 2015 the time had finally come for us to leave Utah and drive back home.   (Yes, it took me a whole month and a half to finally wade my way through all the pictures.)  There were definitely some mixed emotions about the arrival of this moment.   

On the one hand, Cami couldn't have been more excited for this day to finally arrive...   

On the other hand, saying goodbye to a sibling, even one who is leaving for a happy reason, is not easy.  

We are happy that Cami is happy, but we miss her.  

We love you, Cami Rose!   


And for Part 2 of this post:  
Some pics of all the fun she's having at college (as found in our iCloud photo stream)

Monday, October 19, 2015

The End

WARNING:   I am hereby dumping all the rest of our pictures from Utah into this post, and there is nothing chronologic or interesting whatsoever about it.    


What trip to Utah would be complete without a visit to the ubiquitous LIGER found at the Monte L. Bean museum?  What is a liger, you ask?  This particular liger has an African lion for a father and a Siberian tiger for a mother.   Ligers do not occur naturally and they cannot reproduce,  but this beautiful one lived  at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City for 24-years.  

This is a zebra, not unlike the one Cami saw in Yellowstone. ;) 

Are you scared? 

Trying all sorts of ice cream on vacation is a tradition of ours, which made the BYU Creamery  a favorite stop whenever we were in Provo. 

The Salt Lake temple is beautiful and so distracting that the kids kept wanting to look at it instead of the camera! 

Weirdly I can't remember exactly what this building on Temple Square was.   Maybe the old tabernacle??  

We stopped at Cove Fort on the way home from St. George.  Don't laugh at my obnoxious hair that desperately needed to be dyed.  

We learned interesting facts about the cove...

and the kids enjoyed the old-fashioned activities.  

Park City--expensive, hot, and a my-stomach-hates-me-attack. 

In other words, the kids loved it, but you'd have to twist my arm... hard to go back.  

K and Nana

Nana and a few of her great grandchildren

Thanksgiving Point Gardens

Koi pond. 

Thanksgiving Point Natural Curiosity Museum.

Aunt H with Ellie and Adam. 

Ellie and Nana. 

Us with Nana.

Me and Mom. 

Ellie and Mom. 

Fancy hair-dos and trying on old formals. 

Granny's milkshakes in Heber

A random beautiful sunset one night. 

3/4 of the sisters. 

And this hereby concludes the travelogue.  The next post will be our saying-goodbye-to-Cami post and then I'll be on to blogging about life, the universe, and everything again!  

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