Friday, February 25, 2005

Indeed Quite Perfect

I was sad to read today the Hugh Nibley has died , just before his 95th birthday. I suppose you can say that it's about time, but I will miss the idea of having him around. I suppose it is merciful for God to take him now, before his daughter's book is released next month. I used one of his quotes on my wedding annoucement, as you may recall. It's still one of my favorite ideas:

"We recognize what is lovely because we have seen it somewhere else, and...when we see an object or person that pleases us, it is like recognizing an old friend; it hits us in the solar plexus and we need no lecturing to tell us that it is indeed quite perfect. It is something we have long been looking for, memories of how things should be."

I have read only two of his books (Approaching Zion and Temple and Cosmos-- about a million pages!) and heard him lecture only twice at BYU (once at a peace day rally during the gulf war and another time at a Book of Mormon Conference in the Library with my friend Kevin). But his thoughts and insights into the bigness--the eternal nature of truth, its consistency in all dispensations--helped me to reconcile my testimony with everything I have seen and learned as an adult. I am grateful for his life and work.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

By the Way

For mom, Gramps, and any other new internet people, those words in my entries that are colored and underlined link to other web sites and information. If you click on the colored words, another window will open and you will see the thing that I am talking about in my paragraph. You can close the linked window( or just click the BACK button) and go back to my blog when you are done. Nifty.

The Lost Boys (and Girls)

I read an interesting article last night (thanks for the link, Jeanne!) that articulated a lot of my thoughts lately. It also reminded me of Neal A. Maxwell’s June 1995 address at BYU called “The Bitter Harvest,” wherein he talked about all the ways in which our society has drifted from “traditional values” (which are now—thankfully—outlined in the Proclamation) and what the fruits that drifting has produced. It’s heartbreaking, really, especially all the fatherlessness. Think about what a cycle it produces—boys with no role models, girls with no male attention who seek it in the wrong places and end up as single mothers, raising yet another generation of fatherless children. The word “lost” just echoes through my mind over and over again. These kids are lost, wandering, wondering. A sample:

Statistically speaking, of course, few latchkey children grow up to be murderers. Yet beneath the public anxiety provoked by every such savage who takes the stage, beneath even the ritual media cycle that follows the recorded-for-television atrocities, lies an element of unspoken truth about the link between these adolescent outcasts and the rest of society. This is the fear shared by much of the adult world that perhaps the kids aren’t all right after all — that perhaps the decades-long experiment in leaving more and more of them to fend for themselves, whether for the sake of material betterment, career fulfillment, marital satisfaction, or other deep adult desires, has finally run amok. What troubles the public mind about these killers is not that they seem anomalous, but precisely that they might be emblematic. And the reason for this apprehension is essentially correct — in important ways, their lives have been indistinguishable from those of many other American children. Most, in virtue of their times, are part of the same trend that has been building for decades now throughout American society — the trend of leaving children increasingly to their own and their peers’ devices, bereft of adult, and particularly parental, attention.

I also love her explanation of the “cultural code of silence” about children really needing their mothers. And I would add, not just as babies, but as middle-schoolers—maybe even more so as middle schoolers!

I was kinda proud of this sentence: “The reality of the situation, as David Gelernter observed in Commentary four years ago, is that ‘Except for a few benighted precincts (the Mormon church, parts of the Orthodox Jewish community, parts of the Christian Right), society from Left to Right is lined up in force behind the idea of mothers taking jobs.’” Yay, benighted precincts.

And this statement sums of so much of what women are doing when they work outside the home: “Hochschild observes that for many women, ‘The emotional magnets beneath home and workplace are in the process of being reversed.’… for many women (and men), [office life] partially or fully supplants the hearth, offering simpler emotional involvements, more solvable tasks, and often a more companionable and appreciative class of people than those waiting at home.” Duh. This is exactly what happened to me when I quit my job to be with Addie. All my shiny dreams of motherhood faded and it was hard—much harder than my desk job, and certainly more thankless. But, for me, infinitely more rewarding.

Why? Well, with most people, I don’t have to defend my decision to stay home with my girls. Some days I have to defend it to myself, but it only takes about an hour away from then for me to know I simply cannot be away for a workday. Perhaps I am a little more emotional that the average mom, but from the moment I held Addie and wouldn’t let the nurse take her away, I have been attached to my kids. I thought I should return to my job, but I just couldn’t do it. I kept telling myself we needed the money, but my heart wouldn’t let me go. So we had to scrimp and save and sacrifice and even go bankrupt to make it work, but all the THINGS I had to do away with can be replaced. Addie’s babyhood can’t be replaced. My love and my memories can’t be replaced. As much as I have struggled with the isolation, the humbling craziness, the numbing sleepless of stay-at-home-mothering, I could never give it up. If I am going to be held responsible for these girls and what they become, then I am going to raise them hands-on!

“The connection between empty homes on today’s scale and childhood problems on today’s scale cannot possibly be dismissed as a coincidence. For some time, the data have been there for all to see, the dots fairly demanding to be connected.”

My girls will be surrounded by lonely, virtually abandoned kids. I hope I give them all the security they need, and enough to share. Enough so that they can rise above the sadness and desperation their generation will be drowning in.

I mean, my generation—we children of divorce, the first generation after The Revolution—thought we had it bad (“Americans born and raised in the 1970s and 1980s were three to four times more likely to commit suicide as people that age had been at mid-century.”)! The little broken hearts have multiplied exponentially and the expressions of that hurt have grown increasingly violent and disturbing. I hope their mommies (and daddies) will listen—are the houses and cars and vacations worth the price your babies are paying?

It’s hard to stay home. But it’s even harder to watch your child suffer because of your absence---at least I hope it’s harder. If it’s not, as this article concludes, “what we are in for next may be worse than anyone has guessed.”

Addendum: May I just add that some people are just not good mothers and can't handle their kids; in this case, perhaps their children are in better hands in day care. It's sad, but true. Lots of girls my age weren't raised to be mothers and consequently are unprepared for the demands. They return to work, and, although it's not the ideal situation, their kids are probably better off. I just had to admit that one little thing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Who's the Only One Here Who Knows Illegal Ninja Moves From the Government?

The Young Women's President was sick tonight and the other couselor went into labor while we were at our activity tonight, so the secretary took her to the store to stock up in case she's REALLY in labor. That left me and the Young Mens Leaders (Happy Birthday Harry).

One of my Beehives (Hi, Lisa!) brought me the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack to "borrow" (read: download). It's hilarious.

Overheard just now:

Rich: Addie, what are you doing?!

Addie: (shrugging and sighing in exasperation) I'm just being naughty, dad.

At least she's honest. We value integrity in this family.

In Honor of Abe, George, and Ronnie

As mentioned previously, we had company over the long weekend. The fun started Friday when Matt and Amie arrived with Baby Jake from Helena around noon. We hung out all afternoon waiting for Cousin Brent to arrive from Utah--Matt and Rich unloaded our sheet rock at the house while Amie and I let the kiddies nap at home. Then at 5pm, still no Brent, we went to Fiesta en Jalisco (our local yummy Mexican restaurant) for dinner. Brent caught up with us there, and afterward, we went to have a drywalling lesson from Rich. He showed us how it's done and we got the whole guest room ceiling hung (of course, it's not that hard with 4 x 12' sheet rock). We went home and got to bed so we could get up early and work hard.

Saturday we ate breakfast at mom Melin's, then worked from 10am-1pm at Dave Young's house putting up siding. Amie's sister, Jenn, joined us at about noon. After that, we started hanging drywall at our house and we girls realized that we were "extra" (there are only 2 makeshift jacks to stand on and two screw guns--with Rich, Brent, Matt, and the missionaries, there was nothing for us to do) so we went and picked up the kids and got lunch ready. Everyone ate lunch and the boys went back to work while we cleaned up and put the babies down to nap.

At 5pm, we all drove out to check out the Melin ranch and go swimming at Chico Hot Springs. Heidi and Jake LOVED the warm water and we all enjoyed melting our aches and pains away. We ate salads and pizza for dinner at the grill at Chico, then went home to watch The Notebook at Melin's (aside: I really liked that movie and I didn't think I would--I mostly love the end).

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, the evil bug went to work and I got really sick by 5 am. Everybody went to church but I stayed home. In my little moments of strength I set the table and got lunch ready (Costco Lasagna and Parisienne Salad), then went back to bed. Rich came home at noon and told me everyone had left because they didn't want my germs, which made me cry (especially when I saw all the stuff they left behind), but Cousin Brent was still here and he and Rich ate some lunch and we all had a nice nap (for a change).

At about 5pm we got up and played with the girls--I was starting to feel better. Brent had to pack up and return home--his big cowboy rental truck was due back in Utah at 8am, and Rich wanted to take me to see what they had done on the house. So we said good bye to Brent (Addie whined for him--"I want my friend Uncle Brenty to come back"--he is THE BEST with kids) and I admired my almost-finished upstairs ceiling. I also made Rich take the mug they gave me at the hospital when I had Heidi and ask the nurses to refill it with soft ice so I could rehydrate. He took it into the hospital and they obliged--afterall, we probably paid $50 for it--it should come with some refills. The ice made me feel better and I had some toast before bed. I am still recovering, but it was still a wonderful weekend and we thank everyone for their help.

PS: Happy 55th Birthday, Dad Post! Sorry your card is late!

This is how the foundation of our house looked at the end of May---9 months ago, we had a hole in the ground!  Posted by Hello

The last time Brent and Matt visited the Melin ranch was last May, too--it was pretty and green then! This photo shows Brent with Melanie and Liam and my other brother, Willy, skipping stones on the Yellowstone River. Posted by Hello

Last time Matt and Brent were together at our new house was Last May. It was just a basement full of gravel, not even a house! Posted by Hello

Heidi has quite the reportoire of silly faces these days (as well as screams and yells for her screeching matches with Addie). Here is one of our favorite silly faces--she only does this when she is really wired and crazy--it cracks us up. If you look really close on the right, you can see her top teeth trying to get through. Posted by Hello

We had such a fun weekend, we took the camera everywhere but forgot to take pictures! Here is the one photo I have of Cousin Brent at my house. This is at our lunch on Saturday--the boys took a break from drywalling and came home for stew and fresh bread. Here Brent and Addie are entertaining Heidi while she waits for her lunch. We love Brenty Bobbins! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Free Mojtaba and Arash

Writng this blog is a freedom of expression I have obviously taken for granted. Read what Jessica and the committee have to say about Iranian bloggers imprisoned for writing about their worlds (and be grateful for our freedom of speech).

Monday, February 21, 2005


I am recovering today from a gastrointestinal bug that wreaked havoc on my guts all day Sunday. I feel wobbly and headachey today. We had a fun weekend with Cousin Brent, Matt, Amie, Jake and Amie's cute sister, Jenn. Details to come when my head stops throbbing.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Auntie Polka Dots

Me: Addie, quick--you have to get dressed! Uncle Matt and Aunt Amie are on the way!

Addie: [GASP!] My Unco Matt it my Amy with the polka dots on her?

Me: Yep!

[polka dots = freckles]


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Valentines Surprises

On Valentines morning, Rich woke up all of us girls with valentines surprises. I got the flowers and chocolate, Addie got a bear, and Heidi got a puppy. I thought these picutres of them were priceless. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The REAL Napoleon

Guess what I got for Valentine's Day? I mean, besides three beautiful Calla Lillies, Chocolate, whining, and and unusually high number of dirty diapers? You'll never guess. so I'll give you a hint..check out the following photo...

...Did you guess? No, sadly, Rich didn't get me Elvis Costello and lock him in our attic. But he DID get me tickets to SEE Elvis perform in Bozeman on April 12th. Yes, you're right, I do have the best sweetheart ever! Posted by Hello
Yeah, so that's great.

So much to look forward to! I was just thinking how fun the next few weeks and months are going to be. I mean, lots of insanely hard work, but lots of fun, too. Tomorrow is our little anniversary get-away, and when we come home, Cousin Brent will be on his way and Brother Matt & family will come for the weekend, too. And we will be DRY WALLING the house--that's exciting because it's almost OVER! And then there's lots of finish work on the house, clean up , move in, then our trip to Salt Lake City for conference, where we will celebrate my grandpa's 80th birthday (my super-duper fabulous excellent most-beloved grandpa). And I forgot Easter in there--Heidi's firstEaster, the cute dresses, the egg hunt--cool! And then we host our first house guests, then we go see Elvis, and then we celebrate wee Heidi's first birthday (where had the year gone? and why does my belly still look like this?), not to mention ringing in the spring and planting things in our very own yard. Be still my heart!

We just have to press on through the next 6 weeks and work our tails (and bellies) off. Yay that.

High Style

This is a photo from the real Napoleon's web site--no doubt his favorite store. Hey, that reminds me, I watched the movie, Ray, yesterday and I really liked it. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did--very well done, very PG, and very worthy of all the accolades. I never once thought, "Oh, Jamie Foxx does a great Ray Charles." I never once thought of Jamie Foxx at all---he was dead on Ray. Somebody give him an Oscar. Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pink Ladies

Here we are in the pink things Daddy bought us for Valentine's Day. I haven't worn pink in years, but it was fun to dress up sweetheart-ish with my girls. Posted by Hello

Silly Pink Ladies

I have to post this picture, too, because I think Heidi's expression is hilarious. Posted by Hello

Could We BE More Bored?

I love this picture because my girls look utterly unamused and so much alike--same bored faces! They also look like church took a lot out of them--compared to the morning's bright faces. Posted by Hello

Big Sister

Heidi looks up to Addie! Posted by Hello

My Current Read Posted by Hello

Family History

Okay, I still have to tell you about the cool activities we have had getting ready for our July Pioneer Trek at Martin's Cove, but today I am studying some family history and wanted to tell you some stories from my reading.

In the month of March, all of our girls have to do some family history research and find a name and a story to take with them on the trek--in memoriam, per se. Even though I don't get to go on the actual trek, I am doing all the prep work with the girls. So I have been studying the life of my great-great grandfather, Christopher Layton--the Mormon Colonizer (as in Nevada, Utah, Albert, and Arizona).

The biography tells many stories of hard work and faith as the Laytons got settled in Nauvoo in 1843-1846. There were good times and a lot of bad times, too. Elizabeth Matthews Layton was born August 17, 1844, just a few weeks after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The next year in September, Mary Layton went to care for a sick elderly lady who lived on the Laytons’ farm. Mary caught typhoid fever from her and died in late September. Christopher Layton said,

“I walked three miles but could get no lumber and was obliged to take a log, and I helped hew a coffin out of that; then I carried it back on my shoulders; then with three teams, we went to Nauvoo and buried her. Thus I was left alone with my little girl of 13 months.

Among my neighbors were two good friends William B. Smith and his excellent wife, who had no children, and they took my baby and cared for her as tenderly as they could have done for their own; they learned to love her so dearly and she became so attached to them that they could not give her up, and she remained in their family until she was married in 1861.”

Most of CL’s bio is historical, but occasionally he told of some very emotional and spiritual experiences. One that touched me was this, the day he left with the Mormon Battalion.

“Some of the women, feeling sure they would never see their husbands again, said they would never live to be a soldier’s widow, and one lady remarked, “I would rather be a soldier’s widow than a coward’s wife;” and that was the feeling our brave women had when they had to part with their loved ones, each one being brave for another’s sake….The parting cannot be described which took place on the 16th of July, 1846. As we were marching past Sister Smith’s camp, she held up my little girl to see me and she shook her hand and said, “By-by.” My heart was full and IO waved my hand and marched on, leaving behind me all I had on earth—my baby daughter.”

As I read the book, I will post an outline and a few more quotes for the benefit of my siblings, nieces, nephews and kids. Christopher Layton at a glance, I guess. Enjoy.

More Melin tales to come--it's time for Game Night with the Rushtons and their so-so-so cute baby, Howie.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Saturday to us! It all starts at the lumber yard... Posted by Hello

This is the car I now drive, and just look at the versatility! Who needs a truck or SUV? I got a Villager! Posted by Hello

Friday, February 11, 2005

My sweethearts... Posted by Hello

Our Little Diva

Addie walks around the house pretending to talk on this sparkly pink play cell phone that used to be full of lip gloss. I wish I could send you a video because she is so animated and funny. Posted by Hello

"Look at my phone!" Posted by Hello

Head Above Water

I am still holding out for a quiet moment to write. I am reading the coolest stories in a book by my great-great-grandfather, I am working out everyday (except yesterday--fighting a horrible sinus cold), I am making Valentines, I am playing with my girls more and cleaning my house less. Writing has been squeezed out a bit, but it's a cycle, you know? Sometimes you gotta sort out things in writing and sometimes you gotta go act on your ideas.

I can comment on the weather, whcih was so nice today, Heidi had her first walk sitting up in the stroller. We walked around the Lagoon, which is still mostly ice, but the wind got too cold to walk more. We took a valentine to our friend Page and came home to eat lunch with Rich. My sinuses are still achy and full--my brain has been replaced with mucus! GROSS! Here's the weather...

46°FFeels Like39°F
UV Index: 0 Low--Wind:From SW at 16 mph--Humidity:16%--Pressure: 29.94 in. --Dew Point: 2°F--Visibility: 10.0 miles

And the evening news is playing that Howard Dean Primal Scream over and over. Scary. Another shovel-o-dirt out of the democrats' grave.

We are hosting several little girls for a little party tonight (babysitting) while their parents go to the adult stake dinner dance. Rich is working on our house with the missionaries--we figured we could skip the dinner dance since we are stealing away midweek to celebrate our anniversary. So much fun!

Gotta go make frosting for Valentines cookies. E mail me or leave a comment....hello...?! :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I am sorry for my week-long absence from this blog. My brain has suddenly been clouded by my busy-ness. I started going to the little gym down the street EVERYDAY and I had a big-ol' special Fast Sunday lesson to prepare and teach to the Young Women on Sunday. My next (COHERENT) entry will be about that and our preparations for the Trek--a reenactment of a bit of the Pioneers' trek across the plains, to take place near Martin's Cove, where the Martin and Willie handcart companies were rescued in November 1856.

But all is well here. Relatively. Our spring like weather has gone away and temps have plummeted back to highs in the 20's, but they are supposedly going to be 50 again soon. We are waiting to kick butt dry walling our house next week with brother Matt and Cousin Brent, after our little mid-week aniversary trip to Billings. Fun.

Heidi is wailing and my head hurts, so I'll write when things are better.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Secure the Blessings of Liberty

I had to watch the C-Span Replay because I was on a wacky scavenger hunt with my Young Women's group (which included driving around with the door of my mini-van open so they could jump in and out, A-Team style, and shining my headlights on the shore of the lagoon as they looked for goose feathers, white rocks, and snowballs). Afterward we ate triscuits, cheeses, and drank delicious apple-passion-mango juice (please--try this juice! it's so good, and I am not an apple juice fan), topped off with some gummi worms. Ahhh, I love my church job.

So the State of the Union was good. It started off with a bunch of yadda, yadda, yadda domestic policy that they are gonna fight over for the next 4 years. I wish thye'd stop making social security such an issue--um, hello, government!?! No matter what any of you say, we 20- and 30-somethings know that in 30 years, there won't be social security as we know it and anybody with half a brain has an IRA or some kind of alternative retirement program, so stop trying to spoon feed us your alternatives or sugar coat the future. Or--if your a stubborn ol' dem--it's okay--you don't have to be in denial. SS as we know it won't survive the baby boomers. Come on, you can say it--it won't hurt anybody to admit it.

Anyway, the good part was the last third or so (and the fact that --ding-dong, the Dachle's gone--Harry Reid gave the democratic response; He's more palatable). Here is the single most useful piece of information communicated tonight, in my opinion:

The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one of the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to impose and expand an empire of oppression, in which a tiny group of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every life. Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens, and reflect their own cultures. And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace. (Applause.)

Thanks for clarifying that, cuz this Judeo-Christian-ethical republic thing might not fly east of Europe.

And it may be the hormones, but I cried when Sefia held up her indigo finger, and then I cried even harder when she turned around and embraced Janet Norwood, mother of fallen marine, Byron Norwood. That one picture speaks the thousand words to explain why our military personnel are doing what they do (at least the ones I have talked to). I think of theatrical moments like "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" or the Von Trapps singing "Edelweiss" as they had to leave Austria. Think of tyrants violently taking over your homeland. Imagine your father being assassinated or your whole ethnic group or religious group being tortured, murdered, or exiled. Then imagine, decades later, returning to your homeland to vote in the first free election of your lifetime. I don't care what your political affiliations are--if the thought of those things doesn't stir your heart, you have no soul!

I just pray daily that, first, my beloved military brothers, cousins, and in-laws will be safe until this mission is through. I pray that our leaders will be inspired to lead us and protect us and get us home from Iraq ASAP. And I pray for the new leaders and people of Iraq and Afghanistan that they may be able to preserve their own liberty and create their own government.

Rich asked me the other day, "So what exactly is this assembly going to do?" I answered that they'd be like the Continental Congress --they'd draft the constitution and outline how the next "real" election would go. I said, "Remember the preamble?" and proceeded to perform the School House Rock Version (it's my favorite song, doncha know? Great lyrics): "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare [note--it doesn't say PROVIDE FOR the general welfare], and secure the belssings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity..." That pretty much sums up the duties of the assembly, if the silly sunni insurgents will let them do their job.

Enough. These comments are neither researched or greatly informed--just my reaction and opinions, off the cuff. Forgive my

Shall We Dance?

My husband is out of town and I am up late and COLD--I just finished watching the American version of Shall We Dance, and to my surprise it made me cry!

Maybe it was the Peter Gabriel song at the end (PG must have an extraordinary love life because how else would he be able to sing like that? This is a tangent, but seriously! You may or may not know the legend of "In Your Eyes," but suffice it to say my most indelibly romantic pre-marital moments were accompanied by that song. One time on my mission, I heard it just floating on the air as I was tracting in Durham and I literally had to sit down for a minute because it took my breath away).

Maybe it was the refreshing affirmation of marriage and fidelity, and that finding your personal joy always makes you r marriage better.

Maybe it was that it (the movie) reminded me of the precious, fabulous, prayed-for wonder that is my husband, who still surprises me with the things he thinks and learns and knows how to do--and with his bottomless wonderfulness as a father and partner and soother of my worries & furies.

I SO love you, hun...15 days til anniversary #4...what a ride!
Come home safe cuz your girls miss you.


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...