Monday, April 28, 2008

Manic Monday

Hola, amigos! We survived a very busy weekend and another week is under way. Is anybody besides me freaking out that its already MAY???? Where does the time go?

Last Thursday night I had Auxiliary Training meeting in Bozo, so I made a date of it with my friend, Jenn. The Girl Who Has/ Can Make Anything (Jenn) is hard to get "things" for, so I decided a dinner date would be a great way to celebrate her bday (which was March 18th, but she was traveling & we've been sick, alternately). We went to dinner at Johnny Carino's, then to our meeting at the Stake Center, then to Famous Dave's for a "nightcap"--bread pudding! It was lots of fun, although I ended up driving home in a blizzard and felt like I was driving through space a la Star Wars (I hate driving in snow at night--it totally freaks me out). It was almost 11pm by the time we got home because I drove about 40mph...but it was a lovely evening out.

Friday James and I had full-blown colds, so Rich had to take the girls to the Winans School Carnival. They had a blast, James and I had some rest, and we were graced with a visit from Matt & Amie on their way to the Billings Temple (HOORAY!!!!) That really made my day. So even though I felt like poo, I got all the laundry done and the kitchen clean in preparation for Super-Spring-Cleaning -Saturday, and Friday was a Good day.

Saturday morning we got up and started gutting our home office (aka "junk pile with computers") and picking up all the carpeted rooms so we could shampoo while the kids went to the Primary Activity day. Rich finished up in the nick of time, and we spent the rest of the day sorting through stuff (I threw away three garbage bags of papers and junk). I took a nap with the girls and then we got ready for Sunday.

Sunday was a truly warm and sunny day! Hallelujah (altough the snow is supposed to be back this week)! After church we ate some gourmet veggie pizza and we all took naps. Then out hometeachers came at 4:30 and we went across the street to the Gray's to celebrate Uncle Davey's 27th birthday. We had a yummy barbecued dinner with family and enjoyed the sunshine and our cousins. Rich had to leave for an Elders Quorum fireside called "Grow Your Own Gorceries," and Rosalie came and help me put the kids to bed around 7pm. They were so wound up they didn't fall asleep til 8:30 or 9pm, and Rich's fireside ran way-late. So we just put off any evening projects we had, snuggled up and watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition (a really great episode that inspired me to be a better example of service to my kids).

So this morning I feel like I have a pachyderm sitting on my face (gnarly sinus pressure), but I am carrying on with Spring cleaning and preparing for the Great Bedroom Swap of 2008. I have to work at the hotel tonight, so I need a nap and some drugs, so I better get my stuff done. I just wanted to say howdy and let you know we're alive and kicking!

PS: I found this CD single of The Innocence Mission's "Bright As Yellow" in my cleaning and I wanted to share the video with you because I LOOOOOOOVE this song. I was living in North Carolina in 1995 when my friend Lisa sent me that CD single with a note saying "This song reminds me of you." After learning (and loving) the song, I feel that's one of the best compliments I have ever received. Enjoy...

And you live your life with your arms reached out.
Eye to eye when speaking.
Enter rooms with great joy shouts,
happy to be meeting.

And bright, bright,
bright as yellow,
warm as yellow.

And I do not want to be a rose.
I do not wish to be pale pink,
but flower scarlet, flower gold.
And have no thorns to distance me,

but be bright, bright,
bright as yellow,
warm as yellow.

Even if I'm shining, even if I'm shouting here
Even if I'm shining, do you see that I'm wanting,
that I want to be so
bright, bright,
bright as yellow?
Warm as yellow.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Update and Random Pix

James loves brownie batter
Addie and Heidi had some after-school creative time in which they made these "monster trunks" and "monster toes."
James loves to look at our photos on the screen saver---he gets so excited to see his family and calls out our names as he sees us
This is James on Heidi's birthday--I had some things to do, so I turned on "Backyardigans" and gave him some popcorn and water. I heard him giggling, so I went to see what he was doing. He was just chillin' like this, laughing at the silly show.
It's the return of...

James is obsessed with this particular pair of Heidi's underwear. He loves to wear them over his clothes.


SHOUT OUT to Susan, my de-lurking old friend...welcome to the blogosphere!


Last Wednesday (the day after Heidi's birthday) I woke up with a dull throbbing headache. I tried to take it easy that day and do things around the house, but my headache got worse and worse until it woke me up at 1am Friday. The pain was so bad it made me throw up and I couldn't keep down another dose of Excedrin migraine. I tried to stretch, ice, heat, etc... and nothing worked. I eventually woke Rich up and asked him to help massage it out, but that didn't help either, so he drove me to the ER around 3am.

I am sad that I went there because all they did was treat my dehydration, nausea, and pain, and they did NOTING to locate the source or the reason for the pain (this is why I HATE seeing MD's for pain! Pain is a message to fix something--I don't want to mask those messages until we know why they're there!). I got adjusted the next day and my chiro was furious that the ER doc hadn't even ordered an X-ray, so he did. He wrote up some notes for my regular doc and I told him I would meet with her the first week of May for my regular Grave's check up. The adjustment does help the pain--it's not excruciating, just chronic at this point. I haven't thrown up since last Sunday, but now I have some kind of cold that obviously involves a sinus infection. UGH!

SO's my plan. I am going to ask my doc to test for what ever other illnesses I may have that cause pain (MS, FM, RA, Lupus, etc). Meanwhile, I am going to ask for a physical therapy referral and I am going to find out what stretches and exercises I should be doing to strengthen what's hurting. Then I am going back to Curves where I will use the info from the PT to exercise properly (I know I will feel better if I exercise more, but lately all my efforts just cause more pain, so we gotta fix that). We'll see how it goes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Misses Dashwood

Jill called and told me to check out her new blog layout (love it) and take the Austen Girl quiz. I already knew that I AM Elinor Dashwood, but I took the quiz anyway...

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Jill, you should know how much "Sense and Sensibility" is/was a part of my life with Erin, Heidi and Jeanne. First Jeanne and I had a class where we had to read some Austen books and we cracked jokes about them all the time and caught ourselves talking like the characters all the time. And then the movie of Sense & Sensibility came out when Erin, Heidi and I were roommates and we would just turn in to Dashwoods at the drop of a hat.

Edward Ferrars: I hope I find you all well.

Marianne: Thank you, Edward, we are all very well.

Margaret: We've been enjoying very fine weather. [Marianne nudges her]

Margaret: Well, we have.

Edward Ferrars: I'm glad to hear it. The roads were very... dry.

Erin used to write me letters about the weather and the roads all the time (because that is polite conversation!) and invite me to "come stay a fortnight" was great fun!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Too Much Cuteness!!!

We love you, Sariah & Kaylee, and hope you had FUN birthday celebrations!
We're so glad you were born!

THANKS, Uncle Spam & Special K!

Yesterday right before I went to work, we got a package in the mail from Phoenix...Heidi & Addie were so excited!

(Addie and I were having a beauty day, so she was fresh from a bubble bath)

Look at the pretty shirt Uncle Sam & Aunt Kristen got for Heidi in Hawaii!


James sports his Jack Johnson look courtesy of S&K

This is Sam & Kristen in Laie(...I love that ukulele shirt!) SO CUTE!

All three kids say "THANK YOU!" Addie looks like a little surfer girl in her shirt...

We love our "Aloha" sign and the yummy chocolate macadamia nuts (that's what's all over the kids' faces in these pix). It was sentimental for us because Rich gave me chocolate macadamia nuts the night we met! Thanks for thinking of us!
Heidi wore the dress that Grandma Rosalie made her to church today. I dont' know why it looks shiny in this photos because it's cottony with just a little sateen sheen...she looked sweet!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Not That There's Anything Wrong With That..."

I have been listening to lots of discussion about the Texas raid on the FLDS-"YFZ"" Ranch, thinking about the legal/ civil liberties aspect of the case.

This is, of course, a touchy subject for me being a "mainstream" (REAL) LDS person--I think the general public has figured out that the LDS church is not like (and does not condone) these polygamist groups. Although I oppose polygamy and I HEART the Rule of Law (and obeying it per The Articles of Faith), I can't help but wonder at the hypocrisy of taking legal action against its practioners. And although I oppose polygamy, am descended from my great-great-grandfather's seventh wife, who was loved and well-cared for all her life.

I think it's unfair to other polygamists for the FLDS to get so much publicity focused on the polygamy when the problem is the underage marriage and sexual abuse, not the actual plural marriages. The FLDS do some scary, just-plain-wrong stuff (like bleeding the beast, not supporting their wives and children, etc). So I think it is important, as the Texas officials have said, to separate the abuse issues from the polygamy issues, because at this point, opostition to polygamy has no legal leg to stand on.

If the Supreme Court can repeal anti-sodomy laws because it's nobody's business what we do in the privacy of our homes as consenting adults, that argument can stretch to cover a myriad of activities ("rights"), the least bizarre of which is polygamy. I wondered if anyone else has noticed this weird hypocrisy, and I googled this article. Turns out the argument was made years ago. And, PS, how can California tell me how to educate my children when I am free to do what I want in my own home? (Well, they can't tell ME--I don't live there and never will--but I mean its citizens). It's really lame.

I guess the same argument can be made with the abortion issue--you either believe the government has no place in your personal business, or you believe they can tell you what to do. For the record I believe in the "Rape, Incest, Mother's Health" law, and I don't believe any public funds should be used to end human life under any other circumstances. But that just leaves so much open to interpretation. It's really hard to define all this stuff, but I am always in favor of judicial restraint--less government, less regulation is generally better when it comes to our homes, families, and income.

Also, another little strain of sympathy I have for polygamists comes from this thought: So, it's okay to be a Baby Daddy as may times as you want/ can afford (and by okay, I mean legal), but don't even think about marrying, housing, supporting, etc. your Baby Mama(s) because THAT would be illegal. HUH? I know we can jump in with lots of arguments about protecting the sanctity of marriage--one man + one woman in a religious context, married before God--and I happen to be all for that. In my mind, marriage is religious and civil unions can/ should be something outside of the religious union in the civil/legal arena. If you defend 'traditional' monogamous marriage, you have to condemn gay marriage AND polygamy. If you oppose traditonal marriage, then polygamy and gay marriage are fine. But you can't pick and choose, legally speaking.

So I'm trying to have as much integrity as possible in my views. I believe that my government should protect me and our constitution, promote my genereal welfare, and put up no road blocks in my pursuit of happiness (how I worship, educate my children, take care of my body, entertain myself, etc). I believe it should be up to me and my neighbors to care for those around us and meet the needs of the less fortunate--not up to the government. I believe we should be free to choose what goes on in our own homes as long as it upholds the constitution and doesn't impede others in their pursuit of happiness. We are free to choose the actions and accept the consequences without whining for a bail out or a special break. I wish the states and the Supreme Court would get all of this stuff in a straight line, too. Privacy, marriage, civil liberties, parental rights, etc...our governing principles have to be evenly and fairly applied; we cannot pick and choose to have government intervene against one lifestyle choice while supporting--or even promoting--another.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring School Pictures

We purchased portraits of all three kids from Addie's Elementary school since we have hardly any portraits of them. I was slightly horrified when I saw the backdrops, but they didn't turn out so bad. So check out my cuties and right click to download these pix to your computer...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yesterday in Bozeman

I forgot to mention that it was an almost-record 74 degrees and sunny on Monday, then on Tuesday we woke up to a high of 50-ish and THIS: Here's the snow in Bozeman pass...

...and here's the snow in downtown Bozo (this is where we had dinner, Lisaree--remember?)
Snowy trees on main Street
Snowy tree at Nova Cafe...

Gotta love spring time in Montana!

Pencil Me In

Heidi's birthday got crazy-busy yesterday! Even I was exhausted at the end of the day!

Here's the rough itinerary: 8am breakfast and gift with family, 8:30am Pre-school (where she had a little party with chocolate chip muffins and juice provided by mom), 11am Haircut at Root 66, 12noon Happy Meal lunch with Daddy, 12:30pm Date with Aunt Debbie Holm (shopped for bday treat), 2pm pick up Addie and Daddy to go to matinee in Bozeman, 2:45 visit bookstore while waiting for movie, 3:15-4:45 watched "Horton Hears a Who", 5:30pm dinner at Grandma's with Gray cousins, 6:30pm cake & presents, 7:30om phone date with Aunt Lisa, Uncle Will, and Uncle Sam who were all together in Phoenix, 7:45pm-CRASHED!

I am sad that I didn't take pictures of Heidi's haircut, lunch date, and treat date with Aunt Deb, but here are some pix of our other activities...
Birthday girl in the Hundred Acre Wood at the bookstore
Browsing for books
Melin Kids with the Horton Poster
Heidi loves Horton (This book was my favorite when I was a little girl, too--I loved the message). Daddy, Heidi, and Addie waiting forthe movie to start

Grandma Rosalie made this darling cake for Heidi--she's so sweet!
She also made Heidi a beautiful new dress for her birthday, but somehow I didn't get a picture of her holding it up...? I'll take one when she wears it.

After a spaghetti dinner, the kids gathered round to sing Happy Birthday...
Heidi LOVED her elephant cake!!!!
Hannah, Rosalie, Danny, Heidi, and Addie

TIME FOR PRESENTS! This cute elephant bench was Heidi's first gift from mom & dad...(isn't the summer stuff at Target ADORABLE!?! It took all my will power not to buy the lady bug garden clogs and umbrella!)
To go with the bench, here's an elephant sprinkler for summer fun!
And an elephant throw blanket from IKEA (click)--it goes with the bedding we have planned for Heidi's new room. (And here's Addie's)

The Grays gave Heidi this "vintage" elephant penny bank--it's really cute how the pennies drop down the trunk.
James likes Heidi's bench! (He's sitting on it right now watching Sesame Street)
James and Rosalie try out Heid's Bench.
What a fun day! Thanks everyone who helped celebrate our Sunshine Girl!
(and thanks for all the pre-birthday gifts from Aunt Amie -dance outfit, Nana-bag of fun elephant stuff, and Great-Grandma & pa Elrey-birthday card and dollar).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


FOUR years ago today, at ten minutes to ten in the evening, Miss Heidi Lynn took her first breath and lit up our lives! We began today's celebration with a banner, balloons, and breakfast for the birthday girl.
Her Royal Sleepiness donned her crown and opened a small gift from the fam and a darling baby doll from Aunt Jill before getting ready for pre-school and eating breakfast. Addie was, of course, coaching her from the sidelines...
...Here are my girls on 04/17/04...Sweet Sisters!
Happy Birthday, Heidi-Lynners!
Mom and Dad love you so much and we're so proud of how sweet and fun you are and all the good choices you have been making! We're so glad you were born to our family!
--More updates to come!--

Happy Birthday, Heidi Lynn

Aunt Lisa is sending you these fabulous "anamalz"--hope you have a fun day!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I was just listening to that one Genesis song that totally sounds like a Peter Gabriel song, but Peter Gabriel was out of Genesis when it came out--you know, the "Follow you, will you follow me?" song? It's so pretty and I was really surprised when I found out it WASN'T a PG song. Anywya, it warms my heart. It just now made me feel how lucky (no, blessed!) I am. I have a sweet and rich life because it is interwoven with some of the finest people to ever walk the earth. And my husband just plain ROCKS.

I was wondering the other day if I were weird for feeling so deeply about the death of someone else's child, a little girl I never met in person. And then I had this little "aha" moment. There are many great reasons for truly loving other people, for creating real and lasting relationships inside and outside of our families--there's the whole baptismal covenant of bearing one another's burdens, mourning with those who mourn and comforting eachother, etc., and there are all the obvious benefits of having awesome people to hang out with, to roadtrip with, to compare parenting tips and gospel insights with, to help you be better, to share your load, etc. But here's another thing I realized: when we love eachother deeply and unabashedly, we can experience so much more in life. Because we are empathizing and truly sharing one another's burdens, we gain experience not just from our own tribulations, but those of our loved ones. And the more people you love and share with, the more you learn and grow, and before you know it, you're on the path to perfect charity, the pure love of Christ which endureth forever. Thank you, friends, for sharing your joys and sorrows with me so I can grow.

I love the promise that the same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us There. What a wonderful party that will be!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

feliz cumpleanos

This is my beautiful and dear friend, Heidi
(holding James' future wife, Ruthie)...
This is Heidi's farm in upstate New York
(where she raises goats and chickens and four children wiht her chiropractor husband)

Today is her birthday

Happy Birthday, Amiga!

'Til We Meet...

The loss of little Kraven has haunted me all week, has caused me to ponder life, death, and family, and to pray fervently for the Smith and Carlisle families. So I hope it won't offend anyone if I share the following thoughts openly with my blog readers. Please read the following with the reverence the subject deserves...I just wanted to let you into my head this week.


Dear Jess,

I have been really shaken by the loss of Kraven, touched by your blogs, curious if 'they' found any rhyme or reason to her drowning...

I don't know if it's even appropriate, but I wanted to share this little experience I had at the Jordan River Temple on Friday morning. It's probably no secret that I have a bit of an anxiety problem, exacerbated three-fold now by mothering three precious children. I am almost always seeking encouragement and confirmation that I am on the right track in my mother- and wife-hood when I am at the temple. So we were doing some initiatory work and the words "til you have completed your work on the earth" kept standing out to me. The spirit then taught me so clearly that each of us has a work to accomplish and we go Home when it is done. That's just one more small bit of peace I can have in dealing with life and death and child-rearing. The first big lesson of motherhood was learning "They're My children, too, and I can be with them everywhere." The second is that, just like me, they will perform their work and they will go Home to Him. The time frame is different for all of us, but God bless Kraven for doing her work so efficiently, and God bless her family in her wake.

Your whole family is still on mind and in my prayers... Love, Jamie



Paige would love to hear all of that...I think you are so right about Kraven having finished her work. Because it was such an unexpected, peaceful slipping away I think we all feel that it was her time to go and for whatever reason Heavenly Father spared her from the troubles of this world... As for the reason she died, Paige is convinced that she died before she went under the water. The medical examiners have all said there is no sign that she drowned. Even if she was unconcious, her body would have struggled and there wasn't a mark or bruise to indicate that she struggled...[Paige has ]repeated her experience with seeing Kraven under the water, so peacefully asleep and then realizing that wasn't right and starting into action. She must have had super-mom strength because Kraven was nearly as tall as she is and 88 pounds. She immediatly started cpr and the police officer first on the scene helped her when he arrived. Then the paramedics came and were able to restart Kraven's heart. And Paige believes that Kraven was already gone by then...They think that Kraven had to recover circulation and be on the ventilator so she would be preserved to donate her organs... Paige said that when they took her off the ventilator last night (early this morning really) she looked so beautiful and peaceful. Death is an eternal event. Just like a birth, so I imagine that although its hard and very sad, it's just as beautiful to see a life go out of this world as it is to see one come in. Tim Hester is blessing his newest little baby girl this Sunday. Its a tough weekend for them because Tim and Julie's families are both just as heartbroken as all of us are about this. But I think its fitting to see these things together. He gives and He takes away. And we're all in this together... --Jessica


Thanks for this , Jessica...this email really felt like a hug from far away! I do feel less blue after reading it, and you can assure Shawna I am not freaking out about the tub! ;) Because (I know it sounds trite, but) you go when you go, and we need to live with faith, hope, and charity, and power--NOT fear!

Please do pass my thoughts and LOVE along to Paige. I have adored her since I met her 14 years ago, and my heart really goes out to her. She is amazing (like her mother).

...I love you, friend, and I love your extended families. I wish I could be there this week... a funeral and a baby the Maria McKee song says, "Life is sweet, life is sweet, bittersweet, and the days keep rollin' along..." --Love, Jamie

Good-bye, Kraven (click here).

On The Road, a week ago

Last Monday, after I blogged THIS, this is how Livingston looked:Where did all the mountains go!?!? We definitely needed a spring break!
So on Thursday, April 3rd at 3:32am, we got up, loaded up some stuff and the kids, and hit the road by 4:15am. Posties did the same thing and we met up at IHOP in Idaho Falls to celebrate Amie's 25th birthday (4/3) and Heidi's 4th birthday (early--4/15) with some Who Cakes!
Here's our IHOP table at 8:30-ish ...everybody got dressed up (not!).
Heidi and her Who Cakes
Addie and her Who Cakes

Jammie-Cousins at IHOP
Jake and Addie switched cars, so Heidi and Jake had lots of fun between IF and Draper!
Two Silly Cousin Pals!

Despite the racket, James went back to sleep for about an hour as we drove thru northern Utah.
When we got to the hotel, Amie offered to take Ad, Heidi, Jake & Sam swimming while I laid down with James, and Rich & Matt went suit shopping at the two-for one sale. Everyone came back around 3pm (and James did NOT nap) and we had a little food at IKEA. I chose some new bedding for the girls for The Great Bedroom Swap of 2008 and we headed over to Jill's for a little "Post dinner" with Matt's fam and Dad Post.
Cousins enjoying Aunt Jill's yummy Chicken Parmesan
(I'm sad I didn't get pix of my kids with thier grandparents!!!! Sorry Mom, Mark, Dad Post & Laytons!!!)

Addie & Ally were so excited that ALL FOUR girls had the same Easter dressed this year! Here they are playing "Hannah Montana." I think Ally was being Miley and Addie was being Hannah, but I am not sure.
Rich went over to Jeff Spalding's in Saratoga Springs, and Matt's fam went to Matt Bailey's where they stayed for the weekend. Iwatched TV with Jill and got the kids ready for bed. Jill decided they could stay over, so I said prayers with each of thekids and my nieces and tucked them in. James crashed with Uncel Drew and I left to p/u Rich for a quiet night at the hotel (YAY).


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...