Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bits of News

I am back from a little vacation, cut short by a wicked Norwalk Virus (or something like that). Rich wanted to get some construction work done on the house and I wanted to visit my sister, so I went down to Sandy, UT on Wednesday morning and he stayed and made me a gorgeous new laundry room. I had planned on staying longer and he had planned on doing the bathroom, too, but I got super sick. So once I could hold my head up, I started the drive home (there is nothing worse than being sick away from your own bed). I was sad to miss out on some of the stuff I had planned with my sister, but I didn't want to stay and be a big puking, germ-infested burden, either. So we are home safe and sound. I still feel weak and icky, but I will post some photos of the house progress soon.

Three items of news:

1. You may remember this post in which I felt so sorry for Justice O'Connor...well, today is her lucky day! She can finally retire for reals because the dumb senate finally approved her replacement, Judge Samuel Alito. Although Alito is not a shiny super star like Roberts, I think he's qulaified and will not disappoint. I do not think he will lean too conservative--I hope all of the justices will act as justices and not politicians. Anyway, congratulations to my girl Sandra D.

2. I just saw that Coretta Scott King died today. That made me sad, but also happy for her. She was a dignified and lovely woman. I like to think, as I always do when a widow or widower dies, that there has been a sweet reunion, and that her husband is proud of the life she led without him for 37 years.

3. We are, again, expecting a baby. I wanted to wait until I had conclusive medical results that things are going well, but I am super-nauseated and tired, so that should tell me that things are at least more normal than last time. I am 51 days along today--7 weeks last Sunday, and due September 18th. Yay....

More later--the natives are restless.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

BACK TRACK: January 3, 2006

Since poor Heidi ahs never beent o a zoo, we thought we'd go to the Reid Park Zoo in the middle of Tucson on Tuesday morning. Addie & Heidi both loved watching the animals. We waited for the lions to wake up, watched the elephants eat, and heard some crazy monkeys singing a funny song. Heidi was really excited about the big orange fish we saw ("Nemo! Nemo!"), too. It was a really fun day. The girls couldn't get enough of the elephants; Heidi called them "Dup-dup-dee" because she has watched too much Pooh's Heffalump movie, where the elephant sings a song with his name and it goes "Lumpity-Dumpity-Dee."
Addie rides the bronze elephant
These polar bears were my absolute favorite thing when I was a little kid. I thought it was so cute how they played with their ball and rolled around in the water. Now they have added a new underground view where you can see them under water. It's really cool, and so fun to take my girls to see the exact things I loved when I was their age.
Rich & Heidi enjoy the wildlife...
My friend Susan was also home visiting from California, so she brought her nephew, Bailey, and joined us at the zoo. We also took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese for a while and they had a great time. It was really nice to see Sue again after several years, especially back in Tucson at our old "stomping grounds"--in fact, the Chuck E. Cheese place we went to used to be the dollar theatre where we hung out with our friends in high school. Anyway, it was good to see her--love ya, Sooz.

Monday, January 23, 2006


January 23, 1931 in Helper, Utah, My Grandma Lyn was born (Glena Lyn Marshall).
Happy 75th Birthday, Grandma! Gram & Gramp, August 1950

Four Generations of First-Born Girls: My Mom (1951), Grandma The Birthday Girl (1931), Baby Addie (2001), and Me (1971).

Grandpa Bill & the Birthday Girl at The Pop Stand on their last visit to Montana in April 2005.

Thanks for being you, Grandma! You've always been one of my very best friends and we're (all 4 of us) so glad you were born!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Captain Moroni and MLK: in which I give a U2 sermon

Last week I watched a pretty moving show on satellite about MLK on MLK day. The show played bits of speeches I have not heard and I really felt what he was saying. I have mixed feelings about what the civil rights movement became after Dr. King and Mother Parks (entitlement is one of my peeves), but the things they were fighting against were inherently wrong and his rhetoric in the speeches I heard last Monday was inherently right and true.

Let me preface my little story here with this: I find soul-stirring inspiration and truth in lots of things—I quite like looking for it (like the Innocence Mission song that says, “I look for the good in everything—it hurts when I cannot find it.”)—but I still maintain that the only perfect man was Christ and the only perfect truth is contained in his gospel. But I find his qualities and his teachings scattered throughout everyday life because (a) we are all God’s children and have inherited some of His qualities, and (b) mankind cannot help but be attracted to light and truth.

So either I am way too hormonal, or I rediscovered some spirit-stirring beauty this morning. Probably both. At any rate, I was driving up to the church for a big 4-hour long Enrichment Day (that’s when the women get together to learn and make stuff while enjoying each other’s company and, sometimes, a yummy meal—I was teaching a mini-class on Celebrating Valentines Day as a family—fun traditions and some cute little gifts for kids, husbands and friends). I was listening to my U2’s greatest hits CD and “Pride (In the Name of Love)” is the first song. For some reason, the song just hit me in the gut, the same way it did when I saw the video on some Saturday morning show back in 1983, and I ran and scribbled the name of the band and song in one of my sixth grade notebooks. Back then I didn’t know the meaning of the words, but today I do and they touched me so much, I started to cry.

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come, he to justify
One man to overthrow
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resists
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss
In the name of love --What more in the name of love ?

(nobody like you...)
Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
In the name of love --What more in the name of love ?

The idea of dying for truth & justice, whether is be the infinite atonement of the Savior, or one of a million lives that have been given so that man may be what he was meant to be…well, it’s pretty heart wrenching. I thought of all the dear friends I have whose skin is darker than mine (well, that’s 99% of the human race) and tried to imagine them being treated as half a person, as another species, as not my equal. It hurts to imagine, and I thank God I was born in my time and place. But it breaks my heart, and I know it breaks God’s heart, too, to see what we still do to each other after all the lives and testimonies that have been given for what is right and true.

So before today, I hadn’t thought of Civil Rights in the gospel context, but I realize now that liberty and equality are always just causes. Heck, it’s the theme of the Book of Mormon—from Captain Moroni’s Title of Liberty to the description of the peaceful times, “conquer we must when our cause it is just, and this be our motto, In God is our Trust.” It’s a worthy fight; I’m just sorry it has cost us some of our brightest lives. I still cling to the ideal:

“And it came to pass… the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land… and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.”

-4 Nephi 1: 22-23

PS: I do realize that Bono, like Oprah, has a severe God complex, and I try to look past their enormous egos and admit that they have done some good. We just got the “Rattle and Hum” DVD and I watched it tonight with Rich with our pimped-out surround sound and I must say, it was almost as good as being there. And I WAS there in Sun Devil Stadium, two nights in December 1987 in the cold rain where they filmed Bono singing “MLK”—“Sleep tonight/ and may your dream be realized/ If the thunder cloud passes rain/ so let it rain down on me,” and it totally started raining. I never want to see U2 again because they will never be as good as they were on the Joshua Tree tour (nor will they be as cheap--$5 a ticket). Watching the DVD tonight made me feel all the same exact teenage feelings as I felt, standing there in the rain with my-love-of-that-year, Robert, knowing that we were watching something really amazing. Something new stood out to me this time, though—right before the footage of them singing “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” Bono gives a preface. He says he’s not sure that the song should even be in the film because there is no way the audience will appreciate the way they felt on stage the day of the concert. That same day there was a bombing in Ireland that killed 11 people and injured many others. They had been singing the song for, like, 6 years and still horrible acts of terrorism were still happening in Ireland. When Bono said we wouldn’t understand in 1987, he was right. But we most certainly understand after 2001. So THIS time, 19 years later, I understood what he was singing and why his voice cracked and why he screamed “no more!”

Friday, January 20, 2006

What's in YOUR ear?

So I was just finishing running through my tivoed shows last night, close to midnight (afterall, it was My Name is Earl and The Office, which I had to skip in the evening because I was feverishly finishing my darling Grandma's birthday present--she'll be 75 on Monday, people, so pay her some propers), when Adeline Rose Melin emerged from her bedroom all whiny and groggy and feverish.

"Mom, mom, this ear is hurting! It's hot! Help me!" Shucks! Those dang Melin eustachian tubes have done it again (actually, I am not complaining because she only gets like one ear infection a year). I knew she probably started with the same virus Heidi had and just got infected elsewhere. So I gave her some Tylenol and held her upright (I was upright because I was coughing too much laying down) and fell asleep that way. Then I took her to the doctor this morning.

Her right ear, the "hot" one, was indeed infected. The other ear, however, held a much more fun surprise. The doctor pulled out a little wad of green foil, covered in ear wax. It was a Hershey's Kiss wrapper! And it must have beenthere for a long time because we only had those in Arizona. EWWW! That's what I get for not cleaning her ears for a month. But then again, maybe it's good that I didn't--I could have pushed it in further since I certainly wouldn't have been watching out for FOIL in her EAR!

I had something else really urgent and funny to tell you, but it has gone away.

I do have a special wish: I wish that everyone could appreciate the insanely ingenious humor of the Christopher Guest mockumentary movies (This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind). Seriously--the world would be a better place if people only understood how smart and funny these shows are. Consider this:

They only write story lines and character sketches--no dialogue. So when you see those actors talking in those interviews, they are totally making up everything they say

All the goofy folk songs in "A Mighty Wind" are original pieces written by the cast members. I just can't believe how spot-on they are.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join the mockumentary fan club, and the world will live as one.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My Funny Adeline, Part 3

I looked in our photo archives to see what Addie looked like at 21 months (Heidi's Age). Here are some cute results: Addie & Liam playing at the Petersen's in Sandy, Utah- August 2003
Addie mugging for Daddy's camera - August 2003
Oh, man! How do they just grow up under our noses!?! Look at that little baby face!
Here are two Addie funnies for you reading pleasure:
1. Last night we did some fruitful post-Christmas shopping at Old Navy and she was looking at all the baby clothes and going, "How cute is THIS, mom? Oh my gosh," just like a little woman. And then she found a super cute newborn boy PJ set and said, "Mom, when we get my baby brother can I come back and get this for him? Please?...Promise?..."
2. Tonight during dinner we were listening to the Orrin Hatch music CD that Debbie gave us and the girls were sort of singing along (it's nice family/church music). During the song "No Empty Chairs at our table...", Addie ad libbed and SANG this: "Cuz we don't have chairs, we have benches..." She didn't even know she was being funny, but Rich and I almost choked on our food laughing so hard.
Man, we love her! All of us are feeling better, by the way, except Richard and I have a bad hacking cough (probably from lack of sleep), but we'll be up to par soon. Heidi is doing great--thanks for your prayers.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Down Time

We've been struggling all weekend with a very sick toddler (Heidi) who has come down with pneumonia. I have much to write about, but it'll have to wait until she's been snuggled back to health! Much love to all yall!

PS: I will say this bit: I watched a great PBS show on Saturday night called "Rasing Cain" about raising boys and dealing with their emotional life and ways of learning. It was interesting and heartwrenching. One statistic broke my heart: the U.S .leads the industrialized world in fatherlessness. That's so sad. There were many lost boys on this show, but it was cool to see the ways God provided them to learn to be men. It reminded me how important it is to serve with gusto in the church and community because for some kids, it's life or death. Read more by clicking here.


Sunday Night Play Time

One of our favorite Christmas toys in this set of Princess Mega Blocks. The girls have a great time building castles ofr Cinderella, Snow White, and Belle. These photos were taken the night after we got home from AZ--everyone has bed head because we took long naps.
Heidi & I play legos...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Back Track: December 30, 2005

Friday December 30th, we got up early and got dressed up to go to the Mesa Temple for my brother Sam’s wedding to Kristen Dever. We arrived at the stake center to drop off our kids at the family nursery at about 8:35am, then hustled across the street to the temple for the 9am ceremony.

Our former Stake President, AJ Busby, performed the sealing and it was really lovely. He talked a lot about the role of Jesus Christ in a marriage and family, and how a family fits into the Big Picture. As I mentioned before, Kris looked so pretty, I cried a little when she walked in. They really look great together. I think there is a special kind of magic at a wedding where everyone knows there is a good match being made and the union has been anticipated. I like to think it was that way at our wedding (although the celebration in no way rivaled that bash thrown by Kristen’s parents) because it seemed like people were just having fun and truly celebrating.

There was a luncheon at Matta’s just down the street form the temple in the barrio. Bad neighborhood but cute restaurant and great food. That was a good time. I think the highlight of the luncheon was my nephew Jake’s kilt-and-tam combo made by his mom. Sam is a Scotch/Irish-o-phile, and Jake looked like his little mascot.

I also talked about the nice reception at the Reflections place—the dinner, dancing, cake, d├ęcor, music, etc. was all wonderful and the new couple still looked great. Kristen’s bridesmaids greeted guests at the door and took digital pictures of them, which were quickly printed and put into a scrap-guest book in which you signed your picture as you left. That was a great idea and a really nice keepsake (and a security measure, too!).

I just wanted to write about two moments from the wedding day that still choke me up. The first was at Matta’s waiting for lunch. I was sitting across the room from Kristen’s mother, Susan, who was wrangling her granddaughter, Kyla. Kyla started touching some decorations and Susan started to reprimand her, “No, no—don’t touch, Krissy….,” and then she caught herself. “Oh, wait—you’re not Krissy! Krissy’s all grown up, silly grandma….” She picked up Kyla and her eyes welled up with tears. “Krissy’s all grown up and married….” She sort of rocked Kyla on her lap wistfully and wiped her tears and it made me cry, too. I think my grandma was sitting next to her, and Susan said to Gram, “They really do grow up too fast (sniffle)—thank heaven we get grandchildren!” Really, such a sweet little moment.

Let me preface the second moment by telling you that Sam does not dance. All his life he has made fun of people dancing. He would go to dances at the Institute in college to socialize, but he would sit in the back and mock people. Sam abhors dancing and board games as “stupid.” So I know he really, truly loves Kris because he danced with her at the reception! And not only did they look adorable out on the dance floor (well, Sam looked the whole day as if he were in a bit of a barbituate haze--mellow and happy), but Sam chose a beautiful, perfect song for her—“And I Love Her” by the Beatles. When the music began, the whole day and all the emotion caught up with me and I totally cried. And I don’t mean tear-and-sniffle-cry---it was turning into Ugly Cry. They were darling and dreamy out on the dance floor, and if I were Kristen, I would feel like a princess hearing those lyrics.

I give her all my love
That's all I do
And if you saw my love
You'd love her too
I love her
She gives me everything
And tenderly
The kiss my lover brings
She brings to me
And I love her
A love like ours
Could never die
As long as I
Have you near me
Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
And I love her

A beautiful song, a beautiful night, and –hopefully- the beginning of a really beautiful life. Congratulations, again, Sam & Kristen. I am really proud of you for finally taking the plunge, Sammy, and wish you both every blessing.
Jake in his kilt
Kristen's Mom & niece, Kyla
Kristen at the reception
Sam & Kristen--doesn't this picture look like it's 60 years old? Classic.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Neener, neener...

...Laura just posted about being jealous of Lisa's new log bed, so I thought I would brag on my husband a bit and post a picture of the log bed he made for Sam (one of three he made this fall).

You're right-- he IS amazing.

PS: Mom made the quilt as a wedding gift--isn't it lovely? Sam & Kris scored!

Holiday, Schmoliday

I am making some seasonal scrapbooks, looking up Christmas quotes, and I found this gem:

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'

~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"

I LOVE IT!!! Too bad I didn't find it in time for my rant last month....

Monday, January 09, 2006

BACKTRACK: December 29th

I have decided that each day I will backtrack and record days or moments from our trip since I didn't blog as I went. Today we remember Thursday, December 29th, spent with the Holm Family in East Mesa. The previous day we arrived at their house around 1pm and they greeted us so warmly! It was so good to see them again! Their Mesa house is beautiful (like their Livingston House was) and spacious and it was such a comfortable place to stay. When we arrived, Debbie and her kids had planned an afternoon picnic and playtime at the park for our kids while we slept off our all-night drive. So we visited a bit, then ate a delicious pasta lunch Debbie made us, then showered and hit the hay around 3pm. When we woke up at 6pm, our kids were being bathed and we all got dressed and went to a receptionin Chandler for Emily & Ilene Parry (another post for another day). We returned to the Holm's in East Mesa around 9:30pm and put the tired girls to bed. Rich soon joined them, but I stayed up so Debbie could teach me how to bead bracelets. Of course we got to talking and we couldn't believe when we looked at the clock and it was 3:21 am! Yes, we are crazy, but as Debbie said, we had 18 months of chat to catch up on!

Needless to say, we slept in on Thursday morning, but when I got up at 10am , our girls were beggin to swim n theHolm's VERY INVITING pool. Although it was around 70 degrees outside, it had been cold and the pool was only about 58 degrees, but the girls insisted so we let them put their feet in. SILLIES!
Addie & Heidi enjoy the sunshine out by the pool...
After hanging out for a while and making evening plans with my sister, Lisa, we decided to take the Holms up on their offer to take us to a fun play place (think jungle-themed Chuck E. Cheese, but less annoying) for lunch. We had a great time there, then headed over to my sister's house to deliver her Christmas gift--a custom log bed--and eat dinner and enjoy family. We spent one last night with the Holm family and said goodbye Friday morning as we headed to Sam's wedding at the Mesa Temple. We appreciated their hospitality so much--and Deb, it's been years since I had such a fun "Slumber party"--you are such a great girlfriend!
Makutu's Island, Tempe AZ
Even though Addie is crying in this picture (she was alredy getting really tired from traveling), we all had a great time at Makutu's Island on Thursday afternoon with the Holms. Haylee loves this place and couldn't wait to take Addie there, so after getting a late start, we went there to play on the enormous climbing equipment shaped like a big jungle tree, and all the slides, zip lines, and pizza, too! Again, Debbie treated us to a wonderful time and we sure appreciate it!Tired Addie and Haylee Holm

Fish Faces

Addie shows us her fish face...
Heidi & Addie loved the aquarium at Makutu's
Heidi couldn't tear herself away! Here she is looking with Daddy
...and here she is showing me what fishies say.
Addie & Haylee cross a very high bridge
Heidi crawls through a very dark tunnel
Heidi & Addie do a Makutu's Island Dance while Debbie looks on...it was sweltering in that place, but maybe that was for the authentic jungle atmosphere!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Back Home

Happy New Year!
We arrived home in Montana, safe and sound, about 1:30am. We spent Thursday driving from Tucson to SLC, UT (with a little 2-hour lunch at Ikea Tempe). We stayed at my brother Will's in Herriman UT and hung out with his family and my sister Jill's in Sandy, UT on Friday & Saturday. We even had a short visit with Cousin Brent and Amanda over at Jill's, too. We finally left town at 6pm and our girls crashed shortly thereafter. They slept the rest of the way home and it was a sweet trip. I watched "A Mighty Wind" on the mini DVD player and took a nap, then drove home from Whitehall, MT to Livingston. It was a nice ending to an awesome trip, and we were so happy to sleep in our own bed! Although...it sure was nice visiting our AZ family and we'll gladly sleep on the airbed anytime if it means some quality Elrey / Mayberry time!
Enjoy this fine photo of my sweet grandpa (Papa Bill to my girls) rocking Heidi to sleep. They (Papa & Heidi) had a fun time together and started a little game of making faces at eachother--it was really super cute and I could kick myself for not video taping them (and for taking so few pictures! We were really l"iving in the moment" down there and we forgot about the future family history aspect of the visit!). Thanks to everyone who made our trip so nice---the Holm Family, My sister Lisa, Sam & Kris for getting married, and Kristin's parents, Jim & Susan, for the wonderful celebration, Gram & Gramp for the bed & breakfast & company & oranges, Mom & Mark for the Christmas gifts and fun agenda, Mayberrys for hosting New Years Eve, Elreys for hosting Family Night (complete with deep fried turkey and raspberry chipotle dip, and a little sore throat homeopathy), My old and dear friend Susan for a fun kid-filled day, and to my other sibs for making the trip and hosting us on the way home. It was a busy trip but so much fun and I feel so grateful for everything and everyone we got to enjoy.

More pictures coming soon--I am trying not to get sick, so I need to rest!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Feliz Ano Nuevo!

What a happy start we have had to this new year! Seeing my brother Sam happily wed ito lovely Kristen in the Mesa Temple last Friday already made my year. We drove straight through from Livingston to Mesa, leaving Tuesday at 5pm adn arriving in Mesa at noon. The girls were good and it was a nice trip. Of course, hanging out with my grandparents and mom and stepdad in Tucson has been fun and we loooooved visiting the Holm Family in Mesa. Their house is our new favorite resort vacation! I said in a recent e-mail:

The wedding yesterday was beautiful. My former Stake Pres. performed the ceremony and Kristen looked so pretty that I cried when she walked into the sealing room--seriously, she looked like a gorgeous, glowing little angel! They were both just so sweet and tender all day long, my heart was happy to see my special brother finally sealed and happy. The reception last night at Reflections at the Buttes (near El Conquistador in Tucson) was gorgeous--one of the nicest I have attended--and there was dancing for 3 hours. People were totally getting down and celebrating and it was so fun. There were several kids under 10 years old who just danced all night and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen. I wish you had been with us! Rich took some beautiful pictures we will have to post. Part of me wants to fly Rich home and just stay here for a few weeks til winter goes away! I wasn't homesick until we drove across Tucson in Sunrise Road last night and I got a lump in my throat. I love it here, and I love my family so much! I am so grateful for growing up here and all the good people who helped me and loved me. The desert is so beautiful to me--I forgot how much I love it! But like you, my heart is firmly in two places now and the land and people in Livingston mean the world to me, too.

It has been a wonderful vacation and no one has gotten deathly ill, which is an accomplishment! We rang in the new year at my Aunt's house in Sierra Vista, AZ with a family party of games and yummy Mexican food and the best company (my new cousin in law Lacy ROCKS!). It was great. We will be home this coming weekend and I will resume posting. I plan to write a little more family and personal history here on this blog--it's kind of a resolution--so be prepared for that kind of stuff, along with my regular whining and venting and journaling. Enjoy the pictures of my cute bro and pretty new sister--they are beautiful people inside and out and I hope they are having fun in Scotland!

Again, Happy New Year to all y'all!

Congratulations, Sam & Kristen!

Mr & Mrs. Samuel Christopher Layton
December 30, 2005
Exiting the Mesa Temple Friday Morning
Spencer, Emily, Liam, Miriam, Addie, & Jacob--little cousins dance the night away at the reception.
Sam in his kilt at the reception-- Kristen didn't want him to wear it, but mom had to get a picture of it. If only he had played his pipes!
Kris & her bridemaids at the reception
Tired Mommy & Heidi at the luncheon...Heidi loves chips!
Addie & Liam at the luncheon
Sam + Kristen Forever

Sam's Family: back-Amie Post, Matt Post, Jake Post, Audrey Post, Willy, Post, Stepdad mark Drews, Stepdad Jim Post, Grandpa Elrey, Grandma Elrey, Heidi Melin, Dad Jim Layton; front-Rich Melin, Jamie Melin with Addie Melin, Kristen the bride, Sam the groom, Marshall & Abby Drews (my youngest siblings), Mom Lyndo Drews, and paternal Grandma Muriel Layton.


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...