Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pencil Me In...

My lovely and talented niece, Ally, will be baptized next Saturday in Lehi, Utah. I am DYING that I have to miss it, but I wanted to do a little Ally tribute here so she knows that it’s killing us to miss her special day. No one from my family is going to be there except for my Dad and maybe my brother & his family. That makes me sooooooo sad/mad! I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to my kids, people, so get out your pens and your daytimers and MAKE A NOTE OF THIS:

Addie’s Baptism will be held on November 21st 2009, probably around 11am with a lunch to follow. It’s a Saturday, and I am pretty sure we can get all of you a place to stay or a very inexpensive room at the hotel where I work in the summers. So save the date!

Heidi’s Baptism will probably be on her birthday, Sunday, April 15, 2012—IF the world as we know it still exists, that is. We are prepared for Jesus to come in 2012, but we’re hoping the Mayans were right about December instead of it being in April. So pencil it in, just in case.

Since we’re pretty sure about Armageddon and all that, we really don’t have any plans for James’ baptism, but if you’re the plan-ahead/ just-in-case type, it’ll probably be Saturday, September 6, 2014. Be there or be black balled! (Hey, I learned where that word came from on The Secret History of the Freemasons!). It will probably be pretty cold on all of those dates, so pack accordingly and don’t forget your snow chains.


We Love Ally!

Christmas Day 2001: Ally & Uncle Rich
Larkin's Baptism 2001: Uncle Mike tickles Ally & Melanie
Our Provo House 2002: Ally Dressing Up
Dress Up Princess!
2002: Ally & Addie

Ally @ Home in 2002: BIG SHOES! Fall 2002 @ Gigi's: Ally & Addie in their "box maze"
Our Provo House 2002: Ally & Uncle Sam

Ally & Uncle Sam @ Janet's Summer 2003 in Montana: Addie & Ally in Aunt Jamie's Bed!
Summer 2003: Three cuties at CHICO

Labor Day 2003, Utah: Addie, Ally, Liam, & Melanie on Gigi's swing
March 2005, Utah: Ally picking up rocks in Uncle Willy's yard
2006, Montana: Ally & Addie with fancy hair

July 2006: Livingston Roundup Parade
July 2006: Montana Swim!
2006: Ally at the Ranch in Montana

March 2006: Ally at our house
April 2007: Melanie, Ally & Addie on teh Father-Daughter Campout in Moab

Winter 2007: Ally & Belle
First Day of Secodn Grade, 2007...
Congratulations on turning 8 and being baptized, Ally!
You are special to us!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Hi. It's a lazy Saturday and it's snowing really hard...that super-frozen, powdery Livingston snow that just blows away in the wind. I did a bunch of housework this morning and my niece and nephew, Summer and TJay came over, so we've been hangin'---laundry, Polly Pocket Princesses, dress ups, goldfish crackers and pears. And a bit of a headache. Maybe it's a holiday hangover...

I just wanted to post a couple of comments before I start posting the Christmas pix. First of all, I was adn still am pretty sad about Benazir Bhutto's assassination. It's hard to know just how honorable or corrupt her government really was, but I always admired her. She was elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan when I was a junior in High School (I think) and I remember talking about her in government class, how weird it was that in Israel and Pakistan they had female leaders and we still didn't have many in the US. And I thought she was so pretty! Anyway, I was just glued to CNN Thursday morning and have felt a lingering sadness for the enduring violence and determination of Al Quaeda, even after we have fought them for 6 years. Sometimes I just wish we could cut loose on them and get out...sigh. I think the climate in Pakistan is more significant to us than we know right now. I mean, she was killed mere miles from where bin Laden is supposed to be hiding (Brent, I watched a bunch of news reports given in Urdu this week! It's a real language useful you must be as an Urdu speaker!)

Also, I found this GREAT blog about Sister Beck's talk...I thought I should post the link because it's well done. CLICK HERE to get the crux of the argument and some sound reasoning and strong testifying. I know it's sounds so cheesy, but I find myself saying so often, "Why can't we all just get along?" It's still so weird to me that adult women still do junior-high-ish things to eachother, backstabbing and smack-talking, when sisterhood is SUCH a better and neccessary option! I am thankful that Heavenly Father has been teaching me how to look beyond words or behavior to understand intent and thoughts, and make friends rather than enemies. I want to get really good at that! I just wish ALL women could be teammates rather than competitors.

Well, bubby is crying and we are trying to decide what to do for dinner. I wish you all the happiest Sabbath! I'll work on posting photos this weekend.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from The Melins!
I don't understand why the videos below won't embed, but you can still click on the link and watch them on vimeo...have fun! We wish you a beautiful day!

Christmas Chaos

Christmas Morning from MelinFamily on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Season of Giving

I read this great story posted by Jessica today, and it reminded me of two random kindnesses I have received in recent history...I'll be back (after I get the kids to sleep) to write about them, but for now, leave a comment and tell me about some anonymous gift you have received!
(A) The Costco Fairy
A few years ago, when Heidi was a baby, I think, I went to Costco to get a few things--I remember I got 2 gallons of milk, shredded cheese, bananas, and some other stuff. I got in a fairly long line with my toddler and my baby and when I got to the checkstand, I didn't have my debit card with me! I was horrified, because I had no other method of payment and I had driven 25 miles to get this stuff--it was horrible. Before I even finished digging through my bag, a card was swiped, a receipt was printed and I was sent on my way. I looked at the woman behind me in line. She smiled and said, "Just let me take care of it." I protested and asked if I could have her address so I could pay her back, but she just said, "Let me do this...just pass it on when you can!" I was so embarassed, but then I thought I WOULD pass it on, and I would have done the same thing in her shoes. I hope it inspired all the people who watched our interaction as well!
(B) Money Mailbox
Our first Christmas in Livingston was a slim one because Richard had only been working three months after being laid off for three months. I had mixed feelings about EVERTHING then, but especially feeling like the ward charity case (I would soon learn that our entire ward was a huge family, overflowing with charity cases AND charity, adn I had nothing to be embarrassed about). The Relief Society President had come over to visit me, and then said she wanted to talk to me as a friend, not a RSP. She said she was grateful we had moved here and wanted to be sure I stayed. She and her husband gave us a gift card with considerable credit at Albertson's. That was amazing to me, and I remain grateful to this day for that and all of her kindnesses to me. BUT that was not the end of the random kindness! One day about that smae time, I opened up our mailbox and found an unmarked security envelope with $80 in it! What's even more of a mystery is how it got in there, since we had those locking apartment mailboxes down in our lobby. We were able to get some Christmas gifts for eachother and some decorations for our apartment, and we are so thankful for that anonymous, selfless act (Thanks to the giver is you're reading this!):)

Friday, December 21, 2007

I am the President of the Julie Beck Fan Club... least the Livingston chapter! So I was happy when I got this email from Jessica this morning, letting me know where to send my support for her conference address. I was going to forward it, but I figured I may as well make a post of it.

Did you know about the crazy backlash against her talk last October? The talk (that was in my top five--awesome!) definitely struck a (guilty?) chord in many sisters and I felt so sad about that. I LOVE Sister Beck, always have, and not just because her haircuts rock. Here is the text of the SUPPORT SISTER BECK email I got--please follow thae links if you agree. I think my own email list could fill the list of 2000 comments, and that would be a nice Christmas present for the GRSP :

An Answer to support: Tonight when President Hinckley said, "It's Christmastime. What can I do to lighten your burden?" I thought of Sister Julie Beck, General President of the Relief Society. I think her responsibilities as General President must be heavy indeed. Especially when recently, there was a lot of unfortunate and unnecessary controversy about Sister Beck's general conference talk It has bothered me that so many people have been so vocal about their displeasure with her talk. There have been websites and blogs dedicated to tearing her apart as well as her words of guidance and wisdom. It seems that sometimes liberal voices are the only ones that make themselves heard. We can change that!

Wouldn't it be great if we could get 2000 women to send their support to Sister Beck this Christmastime?

Like the 2000 mothers of the Stripling Warriors - we could stand united and strong and let Sister Beck know we stand beside her! If you would like to let your voice be heard, please send an email (or forward this email) to:

Put your name and city and state in the subject line. You can include a message to Sister Beck and her counselors if you'd like. Once we reach 2000 emails - from women or men - I'll send Sister Beck the password to the email account so she can see all those who support her and read the messages if she'd like. It's a quiet way to let your voice be heard. Please forward this on to all you know, who know.

President Hinckley's words will hopefully encourage us to band together and stand strong and immovable for what we know to be right. Sister Beck quoted him saying, " If [the women of the Church] will be united and speak with one voice, their strength will be incalculable... It is so tremendously important that the women of the Church stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord." Sister Beck said, "As a disciple of Jesus Christ, every woman in this Church is given the responsibility for upholding, nurturing and protecting families. Women find true happiness when they understand and delight in their unique role within the plan of salvation. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood."

PS: My top five conference talks, at least right now, are Good, Better, Best (Oaks), O Remember (Eyring), The Only True God (Holland), By Faith Not Fear (Cook), Mothers Who Know (Beck). All of these spoke to issues I 've had lately, especially defending my decision to strictly limit the activities in which my kids participate, just because I want our family and our time together and influence on eachother to remain foremost and strong.

Also, I have a hard time with the women arguing that Sister Beck's talk was insensitive to women who don't have children or have to work, etc...HELLO! The talk is called "Mothers who know"--implying it's addressed to Mothers. As in, IF you are a mother, and IF you want to raise sons (and I think it works for daughters, too! ;) like modern day stripling warriors (aka good missionaries, covenant-makers & keepers, etc.), THEN these are the things you know and do. It never said, "LDS women should..."--no shoulds, just knowing and doing. Believe me, after spending 12 years of my adulthood as a SINGLE, CHILDLESS member of the church, I know that there is a lot of focus on homemaking, motherhood, and wifehood in the church and it can get uncomfortable. But I knew for certain I was doing all I could do to live the gospel and I was at peace with my life and my decisions. I could speak up in lessons and conversations and find ways to apply the discussions to myself and other women who were not mothers or wives, but faithful LDS women all the same. These kinds of talks were not offensive to me because they are true--there are lots of good ways to do things, but there is a best and right way (like Elder Oaks said). I knew that I would strive to live those standards the best I could when I finally was in that situation (and I do). I also have a testimony that Heavenly Father will help us sift through the cultural expectations of Mothers and Wives and find our priorities. It's not one size fits all, but the church and mother/wifehood offer a smorgasbord of opportunities and ways for us to develop the essential attributes of Faith, Hope, and Charity. I think some detractors would benefit from Elder Bednar's "It Mattereth Not" talk from last year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

O Happy Day!

One of "my" former Young Women/ dearest friends, Sister Kimberly Larson, received her mission call today to the BRAZIL SAO PAULO EAST mission! I am soooo excited, I have been reading about Sao Paulo and looking at it on Google Earth for a while now...YAY KIM!

Also tonight, we went to see Addie's first School Christmas Program. It was surprisingly delightful and only 45 minutes long, featuring all the grades! Now that's my kind of show! She looked so cute (as did all the kids--it was great) and we had fun watching her. James was so excited, I thought he was having a seizure! He clapped and sang and had a ball. Sadly, I forgot my camera, but our neighbors sat in front of us and took pix for us, so maybe I'll have some to post!

We got our Christmas Bucks from Nana & Papa today and decided to let the kids buy something for EACHOTHER with the money, instead of going adn spending it on themselves. Addie went with Rich to get a treat for Heidi, James and Heidi came with me. Heidi bought a Fisher-Price pull-along puppy that barks when you walk it for James, and James bought some fun coloring posters, stickers, and stocking stuffers for Adeline. We had a fun night, and now everyone is asleep. I need to print pix for Jenn, but I think I will do that in the morning and go watch Arrested Development DVDs with Richard for now. Good Night, yall!

Recent Photos

Back on 12/7 at the Family Christmas Party...Getting our Ham Dinner ready in my kitchen
Sam & James "setting" the kids' table
The Dinner Table: Jamie, Laura, Gabriel (at the bar), Darrin, James, Amie, & Sam eating green beans, rolls, funeral potatoes, honey spice ham, and Martinelli's
"Aunt Jen" Claar stopped by toward the end of dinner...
And Sam hit the sauce.
We all piled downstairs to watch "The Polar Express"--Rich, Darrin, and Matt were on the computer at this point, I think, and Jake and Heidi were making mischief somewhere, too...

In the morning, we had our white elephant gift exchange...
Darrin got a nice pair of Christmas socks!
Heidi and Jake gobbled up a bunch of tangerines!
(Our breakfast was biscuits, sausage & gravy, fruit, milk, juice, and Wheat Montana sweet rolls! Wheat Montana is a tradition because the Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery are about half way between here and Helena--yummy!)
We had so much fun with our cousins and family! Thanks for coming and contributing, guys! Let's do it again next year!

Saturday 12/15...Ward Christmas BreakfastAddie & Mom building a candy house
Heidi helphing the Elders (Boatman & Hansen) build their gingerbread temple
Melin Kids wiht Santa & Mrs. Claus (The Rusts).

On Monday, we got our fun animals from Nana...thanks, Nana! (see James' cups on the floor?)
Tuesday night we had a quick pre-bed bath with all three kids
Rich caught James eyeing the tree after we put the girls to sweet!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On This Date in History... crazy sisters, aka "The Twins", were born. I have been trying all day to upload pix, but I can't! It either gets stuck or says "service not available; try again later"--well, it is later! VERY LATER and your birthday is almost over, so I just had to say HAPPY 33rd BIRTHDAY to the best Christmas presents I ever got! ;) Love you, Laura & Lisa (Roola and Lisa Mariesa)...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nest Egg

Our new, super deluxe Fisher Price Nativity (it also includes two shepherds with lambs on a hill)--the star shines and plays "Away in a Manger" (and I wish it played "Far' Far Away on Judea's Plains", too, for the shepherds) !

I am still busy getting ready for Christmas and chillin' with my posse of short peeps. I have nothing really to say, but here's a Heidi funny for you:

At breakfast on Sunday, we were talking about why the angels were singing and why everyone was so happy that baby Jesus was born. Rich asked Addie what Jesus did after he was born, and she gave a pretty good answer---something like, "he grew up and learned things at the temple and helped people, and then he died and came back."

Rich filled in with some things that he taught, and that he was baptized and healed people and that all the things he did were to help us get back to Heavenly Father.

Heidi chimed in, through bites of cereal, "Yep, Baby Jesus got up out of his nest and he growed and growed and he did nice things to everybody!"

We almost choked on our food laughing so hard.

I guess that manger in our Nativity set does look like a nest....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Favorite Cowgirls

I've been on hiatus, snuggling up with my kids watching Christmas shows, eating the treats that friends bring by, baking gingerbread, caroling, having Christmas dance parties to Brian Setzer Orchestra's Christmas album, and wrapping/ sealing/mailing, etc.

I've spent a bit of the last few days soaking up the beauty that is Brandi Carlile's heartbroken cowgirl/rockabilly sandpaper/silk voice from her newest album, The Story (to me, she's Patsy cline, Emmylou, Juice Newton, Nancy Wilson, all frappe'ed together). I know, it came out forever ago, but I just found some time to keep up. Listen to/ watch this, the most beautiful song I've heard in a long time...

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you
I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do
I was made for you
You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess
No, they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what
I've been through like you do
And I was made for you...
All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you


Could you just die? I love it, and I know that I am a Johnny-come-lately with this, since her album was released last spring. I heard snippets of this song, but I actually didn't feel like I had the emotional fortitude to listen to it! I've been feeling more in touch with that part of me and I even dug out Maria McKee's You Gotta Sin to Get Saved last week to listen to while I drove to Springdale and back. MMMM, I LOVE that album! This Brandi Carlile song reminded me of the following Maria song:

"My girlhood among the outlaws was salty, bittersweet
The things I did, ah I could just kick myself now
Through nights of lousy dreams
As visions gather in my head
I find it hard to live with the things I did and said
But for you my friend, I’d live it all again
And love you in the end

"Anything for you baby anything for you
If it took those years to get me here
I’d do it again for you

"Took a leap of faith and I stumbled
Tried to live outside grace and I was humbled
But I’d like to bet if I’d lived to fear regret
Then we never would’ve met

"Anything for you baby anything for you
If it took those years to get me here
I’d do it again for you

"So here we are and I don’t know what we call it
‘Cause love is such a funny promise
They say commitment is impossible
and forever is a lie
But that still leaves you and I..."

Ahh. So pretty. There is no video available for that song, but the song that made me worship MAria can be seen and heard HERE. I miss playing car karaoke now that I have three kids watching DVDs in my backseat. They don't think car karaoke is very fun.

Anyway, there's a Christmas present for you...two beautiful songs about love, love, love!!! Go hug your loved one(s)! Now I need to go watch my tivoed "Secrets of the Freemasons" special on the Discovery Channel. Happy Sabbath to all and to all a good night!


PS: Speaking of Emmylou, here is footage of her duet-ing with Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits, and he did the Princess Bride soundtrack)--they are singing "Why Worry," the song that was 'OUR SONG' when I Aaron M. was my luv in 1986-ish. It was SHOCKING to hear that song again after so many years, and so COOL that Emmylou is singing it! We both know a good song when we hear it!

"Just when the world seems mean and cold

Our love comes shining red and gold

And all the rest is by-the way...

So why worry?

There should be laughter after pain

There should be sunshine after rain

These things have always been the same

So why worry now?"

Monday, December 10, 2007

Some Politics

Last Thursday night, I was falling asleep at about 11 pm after a busy evening whenI realized that I missed the Mitt Romney "Faith in America" address. I got up and went to see if I could watch it online. Luckily, it was on the first page of his web site, so I watched it and you can, too. It was refreshingly fundamental with little mention of Mormonism and a huge reminder about the separation of church and state that our coutry was founded on, and the freedom OF religion, not FROM religion.

Some favorite quotes:
I liked how he echoed JFK's speech about being a Catholic candidate. He said, "I am not a Mormon running for President, I am an Americn running for President."

Regarding the question of whether LDS authorities would control his actions in the White House: "[if I am elected] When I put my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath beccomes my highest committment to God."

Quoting someone else--I don't know the reference: "No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith, for if he becomes President, he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."


On another political note, I got this email today and it made me sigh. It reminds me of an email convo I had after Hurricane Katrina.

OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to k now why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?...

...Seven Crazy Cousins
Lookin' at Me!
Jacob-3, Heidi-3, Gabriel-13, Addie-6, James-1, Jared-6-1/2, & Sam, 1-1/2
Friday, Dec. 7th, we hosted a big family (two of my sibs live in Helena, so it was the 3 of us and our families) Christmas Party at our house, complete with team-effort Ham Dinner, Family portraits, hot cocoa bar, sugar cookies, candy canes, a screening of the Polar Express, a sleepover, a silly gift exchange in the morning, and a yummy breakfast.
Hooray for Families! Hooray for Christmas!

More Christmas Cuties
Heidi and Jacob--best pals!
Sweet Baby James in his old man jammies...

(we missed you, Nana!)


Thursday, December 06, 2007


...12/06/1999, my darling Lyndi Alice (Ally) Petersen was born! She was our "practice baby"--Rich and I took her everywhere before we had Addie! I miss her a lot, and I wish I could be there today, and on her baptism day.

Ally-Bug, I love you so much! I really miss you, and so do my kids and Uncle Rich. Since you're 8 years old now I can't wait for you to come stay with us for a couple of weeks! Anyway, in your honor, he's a Jonas Brothers band video...we love you!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh, My...

Last night we took our Christmas pictures, and it was crazy and fun. James did his last throwing up right before the pictures, and then Addie threw up in the middle. It was awesome!

Addie's self portrait
Heidi stealing her bear from Dad
My self-portrait
This picture cracked me up! I was trying to keep James happy while Rich messed with the camera, and apparently Heidi thought the floor needed a sweep. Look at James' face...not amused!

There are even more pix, including Addie's nausea and subsequent trip to the bathroom...good times! I'll keep the portrait under wraps until it goes out in the cards, but here's one for the road:

It's hard being adored.


Meanwhile, my hands are raw from sanitizing and here's a list of what I have laundered the past two days:
4 pillow shams
3 pillow cases
3 throw blankets
3 comforters (one of them twice--I'm glad we got the synthetic down!)
2 duvet covers
2 couch covers
1 micro-sueded couch cushion cover
3 sets of sheets
1 throw pillow
8+ towels
...and Rich has been shampooing the carpet with his new little green stain machine. Party on.

Addie just came in the office with a cow bell form the Christmas tree and a cup. She started ringing the bell, and when I didn't respond, she said, "Mom! Look!" I turned around and she was just ringing the bell and holding the cup. I told her to stop because it was giving me a headache, and she said, "But mom, all I want is money."

Crazy kid! Go back to bed!


Dear Loved Ones ,                                                                                We've enjoyed a great first week o...