Monday, May 30, 2005

Swimmin' Fools

To celebrate Matt's birthday, we all went to Chico Hot Springs on Friday night. That's Amie, Rich, Heidi (doesn't she look CUTE?) Addie, Summer, Kelli, TJay, Jake, and Matthew. Posted by Hello

Baby Jake in midair at Chico....more Chico pix to come! Posted by Hello

Addie with her froggy at Chico Posted by Hello

TJay and Summer (our niece and nephew) at Chico Posted by Hello

Heidi and Daddy at Chico Posted by Hello

Everybody swimmin' at Chico! Heidi, Rich, Addie, Summer, Kelli, TJay, Matt, Jake, and Amie. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005


On May 27, 1981 I got my third baby brother. He was a fair little cutie pie with reddish hair and a curious spirit. Now he has a mini-me! Happy Birthday, Matty!!! Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 26, 2005

When You're Here, You're Family

Due to the fact that I feel more like reading than writing tonight, you get to read something someone else wrote, taken from good ol' McSweeny's Lists Page. I dedicate this entry to my sister Dana, who used to be the Vice President or something of the Olive Garden.

By Matthew Rorem
The hostess never hints that she'd really like it if I went to law school.
The busboy is always very polite about denying my requests for money.
The waiter never hits me, pulls my hair, or tells on me for things I never did.
The manager never cheats on my dad.
The dishwashers don't like it when I hug them goodbye.

There's a lot more where that came from.

I just finished the audio book of Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated , but sadly I cannot recommend it. There are too many F-bombs and too much talk about sex for me to cheer for it. It was especially embarrassing because instead of quietly reading a book and skipping the naughty parts, I was listening to it full blast while I was working on the new house and couldn't get to the boom box and tear off my rubber gloves and skip the naughty parts fast enough!I love Jews, and especially smart little Jewish boys who publish their first novels at age 22 and write historical fiction about their trips to discover their roots in Ukraine, but not when they make up stories about their Grandpas being the gigilos of the shtetls and stuff like that. I am on the waiting list for his second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (a 9/11 mystery--??) and for Nick Hornby's 31 Songs (Livingston's Library has only one of everything-- lots of audiobooks which are useful when one is painting one's entire house on one's own), so I'll let you know if I like those better.

Okay, more later. Must. Sleep.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Rich's brother's wife, Kelli, is visiting us with their two kids, TJay and Summer. Jess is flying B52 Bombers out of Diego Garcia for the next few months, so Kelli is passing some of the time with us. Addie and Heidi love when TJay and Summer come to visit. Here is a picture of the girls playing "Bears" last night. Posted by Hello

We saw the geese taking their goslings across the street on our way to the park (You can see the roof of our aparment in the background of this photo, beyond the white pool house). Posted by Hello

Addie & TJay eat fruit snacks in the tunnel at Pompey's Playground Posted by Hello

Addie & Heidi and another little girl at the park this morning Posted by Hello

Addie going down the slide Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

Big Head Tori

It's just freaky.

I saw a commercial for an upcoming made for TV movie starring the darling Tori Spelling. Here's what Tori reminds me of:

When I was a little girl my sisters and I had a small collection of Barbies and lots of makeshift furniture and clothes. One Christmas, I got a Candie doll--remember her? She was like Barbie only bigger. Like in real life, she'd be 6'6" and 250 punds next to an average woman. So Candie didn't fit in the clothes or the house or the car. She was just an amazon. But sometimes I would take off her head and put it on a Barbie so she could have some fun, although she looked ridiculous. Well, Tori Spelling looks exactly like the Candie-headed Barbie.

Seriously--how her skinny neck holds up that enormous noggin just boggles my mind! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Somebody just emailed me and asked me if my stepmom was really 29 (like on Bill & Ted). Um, no--lucky for me and maybe too bad for her, but she is not 29. She's more than 36 but less than 55, and she kicks butt in the FBI. (Oops--I hope that doesn't get her fired or something).

You Know It's Been Too Long Since You Shaved Your Legs...

...when your toddler keeps licking your legs because she likes that funny stubble feel.

Heidi is sooooo funny about hair and skin--you should have seen her biting Rich's [very hairy] arm in the pool! She was trying to get that weird soggy stuff off her daddy!

PS: After I worked out at lunchtime, I stopped in to check out a new gallery/shop thingy downtown (which means "2-tenths of a mile from our apartment"). It's called The Sparkling Dawg and it looks like fun. The owner, Lynn, is a writer/designer paper person like me! I agreed to attend a bookmaking class they are holding on June 29th...sounds fun. (If you go to their website, be sure to click the links to "shop" and "Calender Street"and see how cute Livingston is).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Trouble, Thy Name is HEIDI

I had turned the steps around so she'd stop climbing on them--fat chance. Posted by Hello

She actually said "cheese" when she saw the camera--no joke! Posted by Hello

Here is our mainfloor from the front door...ready for flooring! The area you see in the photo will be all wood laminate; the bedrooms (off to the left of this photo) will have light frieze carpet, as of May 26th. Posted by Hello

This is what our bathroom tile looked like on Sunday--our two mainfloor bathrooms are done (the other bathroom is bluish); we will use the same tile in the master bath downstairs around the jacuzzi tub and in the shower, like Willy's master bath.  Posted by Hello

Monday, May 16, 2005


Today is my step mom's birthday...Happy 29th Birthday, Becky! We love you! My cousin, Larkin (aka YARKIN) was also born on this date, TWENTY--veinte anos!!!--YEARS ago. Happy Birthday, Yarkin!

On a trip to Disneyland with Candace; Larkin's mom sent me this photo while I was on my mission. Posted by Hello

On the day I returned from my mission... Posted by Hello

ON THIS DATE IN HISTORY: No one can take place in my shoes

I found a box of old journals as I was cleaning up at the new house (they were in a box in the garage next to our brand new toilets!). I was excited because now I can play “On This Day in History” with my journals—won't that be fun!?

To start off, I was flipping through one journal from 1991-1992, but I found this letter from 1993 stuck in there. It happens to have been written on this date in history, so I am posting it.

It was written to me from a 15-year-old girl whom I taught as an LDS missionary in North Carolina—Rockingham, NC, to be exact. Her family was a little “Appalachian”—really kind, open people who lived in the hills outside of town. I have always loved this heart-felt letter with all its endearing typos and expressions. It is one of the things I treasure from my mission.

Dear Sister Post: 16 May 1993

Thanks you for all the stuff you gave! [
I gave her some of my clothes to wear to church—I was much smaller then!] I really love them. Right now there is kids that is really bugging me and I think I am going nutts!

I really enjoy all the lessons you have talt me and I really like to learn about all you have to share with all people amd I really am amazed how you guys are so calm and nice to everyone. I am really not too good in writing letters, but I am going to try to make a long one if I can. I can’t wait til I can go on a mission and meet many new people and learn their ways and most of all share the word of Jesus Christ to all the people who don’t know about him and his ways. I am going to try to type my testamoney. I spelt that wrong.

OK. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and I am thankful for having a family and friends. I know that this church is really true and that is shining in my heart and always will be. I am thankful for having life and that I can spend my life with a loving family and friends. I know that Jesus loves me and that he loves everyone on this planet even if they do something bad. I am really thankful that Jesus forgives people for ther sins and that he loves me and tells me that I am one of a kind and no one can take place in my shoes.

I will tell you now that you are very specil in my life and that I love you with all my heart and nothing can change that. When you leave, remember that we will se eachother again. Where, just look up and you will know. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Well, my fingers are hurting now and I still need to typ one for Sister Lee. Well, thank you again and again and again.

TTFN. Thank you,
Love, Darlene Henry

Write Back soon.

Fabulous Link

If you're done laughing yourself silly at the Baby Names Link I gave you a few weeks ago, it's time to go over and read the Open Letters at McSweeney's. Killer.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

An Issue of Gratitude or Perspective

There are so many things I want to write about, but my head is literally spinning and I am holding on by a thread. If you've ever had an experience--like, say, childbirth--where you have to walk yourself through each moment and encourage yourself to keep going, that's what I have been doing on and off for the past 5 months, and most recently for the past three weeks. Imagine being in labor for 6 months straight (and giving birth to a 5-bedroom house--heh, heh). Like holding my breath, or as they say in the south, losing my religion.

And it's not anything anyone else can help me with, really. Well, except for a really expensive therapist or a drug-happy psychiatrist--too bad I won't take drugs, though. I have thought about going on drugs, but I don't think I could be a mother and deal with the side effects. They affect everyone differently; for me, I become a dim-witted zombie. That might work when you're writing ad copy 50 hours a week, but it doesn't make for good parenting (no offense to all the zombie moms out there). Which begs the question, does life on the edge of sanity make for good parenting then? Well, no, but I like to think it's temporary. I like to think that someday soon I will return to normal and get a handle on my responsibilities, the sad thoughts that run through my head, and especially the awful things I say to myself about myself 24/7. So I shouldn't waste the month it takes to get on the drugs, only to need them for a few weeks and then suffer the getting off of the drugs for another three weeks. I fully believe the resources for survival are around me somewhere, I just have to tap into them. Somewhere. Hm.

I know I have to grow up and adjust to the future I have signed up for. That is what I KNOW. But what I feel (and fight) is that I want to be with "My People." People from where it's warm and sunny who are warm and sunny, too. People who GET ME. People who could look in my eyes and know when I am dying inside, and care. People who went to school and/or are doing what they love. People who believe that building relationships and understanding people are the most valuable pursuits in life. People who value life experience and education (not necessarily formal education, but a curiosity and desire to know and learn about the world and things that are different and sometimes hard to understand). It is so hard for me to live in a culture that celebrates ignorance as "the simple life"---I am all for simplicity, but it is NOT synonymous with ignorance. It's hard to live in a place where people are so bored and or dissatisfied with their lives that they literally drink (or drug) them away. The poor kids here--many of them don't finish school and don't ever plan on college. They just take lame jobs and stay here and the "brain drain" just keeps happening because the culture and the economy have nothing to offer a "brain." I have to strain to keep myself from saying to my Young Women (the class I teach at church), "RUN, GIRLS--RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"

And it's so weird because this is such a beautiful and inspiring place to live. I have the most wonderful husband ever. And my girls--oh, my girls! Aside from the attitude problems they've had lately due to having a crazy mother and an absent father, they are awesome--gorgeous and healthy and strong-willed and smart. I have everything to be grateful for. But perhaps it's not an issue of gratitude or perspective. Maybe it's chemical or maybe all the junk in all my life that I have "risen above" has finally caught up to me and in what should be a joyful time in my life, I am mourning all that I lost in my early life and all the things that I will never be because of all the scar tissue. One thing that I grieve daily is that motherhood just isn't natural for me, and that is partly because I am practically paralyzed by the fear that I will hurt these girls the way I was hurt and I will not be able to live with that. I can deal with almost any mistake, but not that. And so I am afraid for them to even love me because what if I let them down? It's nuts. And when all is said and done, it is they who have paid the highest price for this house we are building.

I know--it doesn't make any sense. Can you see why my head is spinning? It's not just the oven cleaner I used tonight, it's really spinning. Maybe I will feel better when Heidi is not teething and I am not PMS-ing (I'm not, by the way, at least not this week) and we are finally free from the crushing burden and agonizing experience that is mutual self help housing. If not, you can send that paddy wagon to take me to the funny farm.

Monday, May 09, 2005

My Baby Doll Posted by Hello

My girls exploring Grandma's garden on Mother's Day. Posted by Hello

Happy Mother's Day!

Adeline, Mommy, & Heidi Posted by Hello


Last week flew by in a blur for me. Now that there is so much to do (that I can help with) at the new house, I am basically maintaining two homes. It's fun but exhausting. The entire main floor of the house is clean and ready for flooring (when we get the cabinets hung tonight, that is). Rich will also have to cut a bigger opening for the grate of our whole house fan--it's a tiny bit too small. The only thing major we need to do is build railings around the side and back decks and finish cleaning the basement.

Anyway, I was pretty busy when I just had this house to worry about. Now I am juggling the regular business of meals, laundry, housework, naps, and playtime/schooltime with the girls, trying to pack, clean and sort, and obsessing about what I can get done at the new house, too. I totally forgot to plan a nice Mother's Day lesson for my Beehives class on Sunday--hello!?-- so our very inspired prsident came through with a group lesson.

Mother's Day was nice for me. It began on Mother's Day Eve when I returned from working on the house for 8 hours with Rich. I showered and we had a yummy gourmet pizza with salad and watched National Treasure (which I highly recommend--I really enjoyed it since I love puzzles and free masons and American History). We made little Mother's Day cards and tied them to carnations for our neighbors (in the apartment AND the new house) and some mommy friends at church.

Sunday morning, Rich and Addie made me a delicious smoothie for breakfast with about 5 kinds of berries and bananas. They gave me a gift--nice new kitchen shears, flowers, and a cute card. We delivered our flowers and then went to church, where Addie got up in front of the congregation with all of the little kids and sang Mother's Day songs to me for the first time. She also got to say in the microphone something her mommy does to show her love. Addie said, "She gives me big hugs!" The next hour, she gave her first talk in Primary. She talked about Joseph Smith. It was really cute, and it made my Mother's Day. The Young Men gave me a little grape tomato plant for my new garden, too!

After church we had a nice pot roast dinner at Mom Melin's and Vivian Ellison (our adopted great grandma) came, too. We went home about 2:30pm, so I could collect on my best gift---a nice Sunday nap! It was sunny and breezy, so I slept with the window open and man, it was nice. I got up at 5pm and we drove out to the ranch to get our bikes and our trailer so I can start hauling junk to the thrift store.

We had a nice quiet night at home. Now the new week has begun and my to-do list is a mile long, so I will say adios now. Don't worry if you haven't heard from me--I am just knee-deep in pre-moving business here--it doesn't mean I don't love you!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

"More than know there's nothing more than this..." Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

On Wednesday

My brother Michael got his mission call on Wednesday! Like a lot of crazy Mormon families, we had been taking bets on where he'd be going (not real bets, sillies, because that would be very UN-Mormon, as if we had not listened to April conference AT ALL!). (Another aside: lots of LDS young people--19 year old boys and 21 year old girls--volunteer to serve missions; when you apply, you send in your papers and they can send you ANYWHERE out of like 350 missions in the world--it's just crazy opening that envelope to see where you will be for TWO WHOLE YEARS).

Enough parentheses--anyway, I placed my bet on Tacoma, Washington, and GUESS WHERE MIKE IS GOING?! You guessed it! Well, actually, I guessed it. Michael heads to the Empty Sea (MTC: Missionary Training Center) on August 31st to prepare to serve in WASHINGTON TACOMA.

So what did I win? Where's Ed McMahon?? Is it a car? A vacation? Oh, I could use a vacation...

Just kidding. Congratulations, Mike. Buckle your seatbelt; it's quite the ride.

PS: HAPPY CINCO de MAYO! We ate Mexican food all day to celebrate, and Heidi finally had her one year check-up. She's bright and healthy--she weighs 25 pound 10 ounces and she is 31 inches tall. That's like the 110th and 80th percentiles, respectively, so she has to go on a baby diet ("less milk and juice") and exercise ("she'll thin out when she learns to walk better") program. That's my roly poly girl!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Our Week in Pictures [4.25-5.01]

For family night this week, we PAINTED THE GIRLS' ROOM! Addie has been waiting for months to "paint her pink room," so she was way excited. We took them home and cleaned them up and I went back and painted more upstairs until midnight (no pix of that yet). Addie was a good painter! Posted by Hello


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...