Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Believe it or not, I did have some personal revelation at the Women's Broadcast last Saturday, and I came home and prayerfully put it into action. The general promptings I got were to do something each week, big or small, to celebrate the amazing sisterhood I have experienced here in our Relief Society. It could be paying an extra visit to a visiting teachee, writing a heartfelt note with a generous thought ("Never suppress a generous thought"-Camilla Kimball), inviting new friends over for lunch or scripture study or craft day...anything counts, but I want to do it weekly to show my gratitude for the blessing of being in this sisterhood. So I went right to work when I got home Monday. First mission: celebrate Debbie's birthday by gathering the sister-friends for a little autumn lunch. Mother nature cooperated by sending rain-mixed-with-snow as a backdrop to our peaking fall colors. It felt all the more cozy to gather for turkey chili, corn souffle, spinach salad, carrot cake & pumpkin bread when it was so cold outside. YAY, FALL! Not the best angle, but here are my sisterfriends Melissa (with baby Suzy), Jennifer, and Debbie.

Cute Debbie with her birthday cupcake (I love her smile in this picture--I'm happy when you're happy, Deb!)
I thought Melissa and Suzy were so cute looking on in this picture (we were singing Happy Birthday).
After lunch, we enjoyed said treats and Deb opened her cards and gifts.

How can you NOT have a happy birthday with this sweet face looking at you?!

James & Lydia had a wonderful time, too! BONUS!
Jenn & I were super busy last week and didn't get together for my birthday, so she brought my gift and card today. She always makes the most delightful handmade things--every little note from her is so beautiful--they're all just treasures!

She made me this cute little Mary Engelbreit picture and it brought tears to my eyes today. She had no idea how much it means to me.
And now, since I am in a personal history mood (remember when I told you about Lisa? well, here's more), I want to tell you about these sisterfriends. We'll go in chronological order of our meetings.
1. Debbie- I met Debbie the same day I met my in-laws, the same day I got engaged to Rich, because she lived next door to Rich's parents with her 4 little kids. I remember coming home from our little getting-engaged daytrip, and her daughter Jessica (11) and her friend Nicole were skating on the driveway. They hollered hello to us and Rich took me over to introduce me and said, "We're getting married!" and they jumped up and down and said, "that's so cool!" SO CUTE! (they're sophomores in college now--how time flies). Anyway, Debbie was always so friendly and always had such fun activities going on at her home when we would visit. I liked her instantly. When we moved here, she was my first visiting teaching companion and she did such an excellent job of kind of "teaching me the ropes" of the ward without ever saying anything negative about anyone. She was also a GENIUS at remembering special days and coming up with the most thoughtful little gifts. She was such an great example to me of how to stop being self-conscious and just get out there and show your love. She helped me to get to the point were I made my resolution to try have my own positive experience with every sister in my ward so I would have something genuinely good to say and think about each of them. She helped me to love and appreciate my mother-in-law and to be grateful for the blessing Rosalie has been in my life. She has taught me that anyone can overcome anything because NOBODY had a crazier childhood than Debbie (entire books have been written about what she lived through), and you would never know it. She has helped me to be both more patient with myself as a mother and also see the best ways to improve my mothering (and she has great kids, so I listen). Then of course, we have an AZ connection (her mom lives in Tucson and Deb lived in Mesa for 4 years), so we can cry on each other's shoulders in the March blizzards! I love you, Debbie.
2. Jenn--A couple of months after we moved here, I was shopping at the local paper/craft store (owned by a sister in our ward) and Jenn was working there. We got to chatting and she asked me how I knew the owner and I replied, "I go to her church." Jenn got all happy and said, "Oh, so do I! Well, I mean, I should. I am a member but I don't go much. I got baptized in California a couple of years ago and then moved here and I just haven't been able to get into it in this ward. But I miss it." I told her she should come back and we could be the new girls together! It took several months, but she did come back. I even offered a few paryers on behalf of her and her family, and I know they were answered quickly. Soon her husband was coming to church, and he baptized their sons, and Jenn held a calling. We were sitting in a leadership training meeting and I was feeling the Spirit really strong and I wrote her a note that said I was so glad to see her there and so glad for what had happened in her family. I told her I just knew the day we met that we would be friends, and she wrote back and said the same thing. I have tried to "be there" for Jenn, mostly, and also to discuss gospel principles as we grow our testimonies and she prepares to go to the temple. That's mostly what our friendship is--support (most of the time, it's me saying "WTF?" about her husband's shenannigans because that's one thing I'll never relate to, but at least I can listen, right?) with a little humor and craftiness mixed in! ;) Love ya, jenjen.
3. Melissa, aka brownleg--I prayed that girl here, so if she has any beef with winding up in Livingston, she can blame it on me! Where do I even start to explain my friendship with her? There are no words, really. And that's what makes Melissa special, I guess--we don't have to talk much to have a PERFECT understanding. Perhaps living parallel lives has helped (similar families of origin, same college at roughly the same time, love of MUSIC, similar interests, CES background, etc.). I think we first got acquainted through playgroup for our kids (she has 6, but 3 match up with mine) and it just grew from there. Ours is the most low-maintenance friendship of all, but somehow she's always at my door when I need her most and she always says the right thing to keep me thinking straight. Plus she teaches early morning seminary, so she's always got (a) great gospel insights and (b) crazy funny stories. Thank you, M, for every little thing. I love you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

We had a "date-day" today...Rich took a vacation day and we worked together and played together. We had to winterize the garden and the yard because it's supposed to freeze tonight, so all my little late-bloomer tomotoes are toast! :( I cleaned up and unpacked and baked lots of fall-ish treats for our Sisterfriend lunch tomorrow--pumpkin bread, pumpkin choc. chip cookies, and carrot cake (made with carrots from the ranch!). I started a three-bean turkey chili yesterday and it's been simmering in the crock pot since then, and Jennis bringing corn souffle. It's fun to have all the delicious scents and not be one bit hungry ( I hope they're good!). So anyway, I just wanted to express how much I love my hubs and appreciate his steadiness and right-thinking, not to mention his hilariousness. It has been a wonderful day and my heart is full of gratitude, that the Lord sent him to give me a wonderful life and bind up my broken heart!

Monday, September 28, 2009

the best jane siberry song of all...

how could i forget this one?

i dare you to watch this and sing along and see if you're not a puddle of tears when you're done.
cuz there's nothing, no NOTHING, like this song when your heart is broken.

or when life gets hard (I sang it to myself more than once during childbirth). go ahead, i dare ya.

a man is placed upon the steps, a baby cries, high abouve you can hear
the church bells start to ring
and the heaviness, the heaviness, the body settles in
somewhere you can hear a mother sing

then it's one foot, then the other as you step out on the road of hope
step out on the road--how much weight?
then it's how long and how far
and how many times before it's too late?

calling all angels
calling all angels
walk me through this one
don't leave me alone
calling all angels
calling all angels
we're trying
and we're hoping
but we're not sure how it goes.

oh, and every day you gaze upon the sunset
with such love and intensity
why, it's almost as if, if you could only crack the code
then you'd finally understand what this all means

but if you could do you think you would
trade it all, all the pain and suffering?
'cause then you'd miss the beauty of the light upon this earth
and the sweetness of the leaving

calling all angels
calling all angels
walk me through this one
don't leave me alone
calling all angels
calling all angels
we're trying
we're hoping
we;re hurting
we're loving
we're crying
we're calling
'cause we're not sure how this goes.
-jane siberry

Sifting Through

Mostly I've just been humming Jane Siberry songs in my head. On Thursday, it was Red High Heels (no, not that stupid trollop Kelli Pickler's song) and since Sunday, it's been The Walking. Maybe because they were the soundtrack of the worst years of my life, maybe because they made an impression when I was impressionable, I don't know. But today, it's all I have to say.

the walking and constantly
an endless stream of endless dreams
that wheel and roll just past my shoulder

the waiting and constantly
an endless shift of sifting through
the facts, the fey
you never know for sure

I was sure until they asked me
now I don't know
all I know is something touched me...

I tell everyone a different story
that way nothing's ever boring
even when they turn and say you lied
petals drifting past my shoulder
or maybe snow - I'm cold I'm not sure
someone yelled at me I don't know why

if you want someone to love you
just let me know
people pushing past me
if you want someone to love you
then don't just go
every now and then things become clear:
there's nothing that will bring you back
there's nothing that will change this fact
there's nothing that I will take back
your shoes you left your hat
it's on the bed or else the chair

the walking and constantly
and endless stream of endless dreams
that wheel and roll just past my shoulder.

While I was looking for a video of the walking I found this from the same album. A much sillier song, but a fun memory...siblings, do you remember singing the "yadee yadee yadee" part?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You Say It's Your Birthday? It's my birthday, too!

Happy Birthday, Auntie M and Abby!
Can't wait to party together tomorrow cuz I am so glad you were born! [Auntie's 18th & my 1st birthday...
we'll be reliving this moment tomorrow night!]
I could not sleep last night, and Heidi was sleeping on our floor with a little cold, so when we woke up at 6:30, we took a nice peppermint bubblebath while Daddy did some trip prep, and when I got out, there were gifts awaiting me! Hubs got me a great 2-gallon picnic cooler (cuz I never have enough water!) and an i-home for my i-pod! Now we can have family dances anytime, anywhere! You're gonna love the video of my kids rockin' out this morning while we got ready for school downstairs. THANKS, Hubs, for the great gifts, for a fabulous dinner date last night, and, oh yeah, for my wonderful life!
So yeah, we're 2 hours into it, and it's already been a pretty sweet birthday...
(I mean, it's hard to beat dinner at Monster Mash and a romantic stroll down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, but it's been pretty great!). More updates to come...(don't let me forget about Debbie's thoughtfulest gift and our commorative London dinner last night!). For now, we're off to Museum of the Rockies with a gaggle of 3-year-olds!

update:birthday dance!

Birthday Wake Up Dance! from MelinFamily on Vimeo.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Manic Monday

Well, it's been a crazy day!We hosted pre-school at our house today and it was so fun. I intended to upload and edit some new pix after I updated my online address lists, but now it's time to p/u the girls so the blog will have to wait another day. But just now James wanted to see a picture of baby Heidi, so I went to the blog archives and found this little cutie from Monday, 9/20/04... Look at my girls! They are BOTH younger than James is now in this picture! But they sure were sweetie bugs! It's time to fetch them from school, so I'm outta here!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Mommy is HOME!

I have a BIG post to compose later, but for now just wanted to say that my mom is home from the hospital, finally!

We had a lovely stake conference this weekend, and made some delicious apple cider out at the ranch yesterday with the primary kids.

Rich took us out for treats at the new Western Drug soda fountain, where we sat on saddled stools at a marble counter and ate ice cream (the kids), vanilla coke (me), and a root beer float (Rich).

We baked delicious pumpkin dump, cleaned the great room, and watched "Hoodwinked" (again) last night while Rich went to the adult session of Stake Conference ( we decided to take turns this year because we both needed some quiet time--he went to the adult session, I went to the family session).

It was raining this morning when I drove over to Bozeman, a little cooler than it has been (did I mention that summer finally showed up in September? It's been really annoying to have 80-degree weather in September when I am ready for 58-and-partly-cloudy) and touches of fall are showing up all over the canyon...I LOVE IT!!

Our meeting today was beautiful--absolute poetry, focusing on the Theology of the Family, that the family is not just a nice idea or a good lifstyle choice, but that Family IS the gospel, the great plan of happiness (or, as Boyd K, Packer taught in 1995, "The Great Plan of Happiness is the plan for a happy family"). President Heap (our stake president who is also a career CES worker and a GENIUS teacher) spoke, then two seniors in high school spoke about what they have learned in their families, then a mother, then our area authority spoke about extended families & teaching children in a way they understand. It was all just lovely.

Now we've had a little nap, the kids are playing Cookin' Mama on the wii and I am going to go sew some more and try out my cool new square ruler while watching (how appropos) History channel shows about free masons. Don't be jealous.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Go Bozeman Stake!

There is a great story about our stake in the Ensign this month. Don't get me started about how much we love President Heap... here's the link.

Here is a quote I like because the seven simple things are very important to our family:
Counsel from their stake president also helped the Tuckers. President David Heap asked stake members to do “seven small and simple things”: (1) Read the scriptures personally every day; (2) read the scriptures at least five days a week as a family; (3) have personal prayer every morning and night; (4) have family prayer every morning and night; (5) attend church every Sunday as a family; (6) hold family home evening every Monday night; and (7) attend the temple every month.

It has taken us five years to get a handle on the seven simple things, and we still have to make great effort to do them, but we strive because the blessings ROCK.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Mommy is Sick

My mom was admitted to the hopital yesterday with hemolytic anemia. She got a blood transfusion and stayed overnight in the ICU at American Fork hospital. After poking around on the internet I disovered that it is not uncommon for lymphoma patients or RA patients to get this illness, and someone would have caught it much sooner if she had still been in Washington with her oncologists following up. They will stabilize her, give her more dang corticosteroids, perhaps a new diet, perhaps a spleenectomy. I am sure that chemotherapy was hard on her whole body, and I am sure that even a small virus can send her body into all kinds of trouble with RA. I'm sad I am not there and hope everything goes okay today (my grandparents came to visit her for 2 weeks and arrived on Tuesday, so that will be comforting for her). Dang it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Death of a Salesman

We are not sales people at this house. I don't like sales people because I live by the theory that people know what they need and they know where to get it, and if they don't, they'll ASK for help. Also, we're in a recession and everyone is broke. And this is why I hate school fundraisers. This is Addie's third year at her school and it's the first time I have even bothered with the fall fundraiser. Maybe because I am more active in PTO this year or something--I dunno. But we need your help... Would you consider buying your holiday gift wrapping supplies
(and hey, maybe even a gift or two--chocolates or candles, anyone?)
from these two little darlings?

If so, please follow THIS link, click on "Out of town Family & Friends", then enter our school number (117997) and either girl's seller ID# (R168275F for Addie & R168285E for Heidi). Shop as you usually do online and your order will be delivered to you in a few weeks. I know that this stuff can be a bit of a racket, but I wanted to at least TRY this year, and maybe every other year or something. So if you can swing it, please make a purchase to help our school and to help our girls get their "points" can shop until 9/28 (also, if you don't want to pay shipping and you think you'll be seeing us before the holidays, you can order directly from the girls and we will deliver).

Here's what I'm ordering (and I must say, I've bought the gift wrap before and it IS really nice...). I'm sure you can find something you'll like and use. THANKS!

Monday, September 14, 2009

No News is Good News

I have nothing to say, except it's about time 4 me 2 take James 2 preschool, then come home and clean his room like crazy. I will also rotate laundry and do some work down in Santa's little workshop. Life is good.

I was called to be a Relief Society teacher yesterday, which will be fun. Teaching is a fun calling for me, so I am glad. The Presidency callings can be draining just because--at least for me--your stewardship is on your mind 24/7. I never feel like I do enough in those callings, but teaching? Just gotta keep the spirit and study and hope for the best. I can do that!

K, my little man and I are heading out. Have a great day, people.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Over The Weekend

Well, it's Thursday and we have had a WONDERFUL visit with Cousin Brent and The Sweetie (Autumn), but we have absolutely no photos to show for it! They are heading back to Utah this morning. We've just been hangin' out doing our regular weekday routines while Brent and Autumn have been exploring Livingston on foot as they are training for a half-marathon next month at Mt. Rushmore. Their endurance is inspiring...Mayberrys are runners fo' sho'! (Have you guys read THIS book? Looks super interesting!) They did some lazy stuff with us, too, like floating the Yellowstone with Rich yesterday, Autumn & I went to Enrichment meeting (Slow Cooker night), taking naps, and watching Glee last night. It has been so fun, and we are so happy that Autumn is going to be our cousin forever!

Now, as promised way back on Sunday, here are our camping photos...
The girls woke up so early on Saturday, I had to get upand find them stuff to do so Rich and James could sleep in, so we got some snacks and painted with water colors and decorated for James' birthday. When he woke up, we gave him his pictures and some birthday pancakes.
Here we are getting ready for pancakes.
And from another angle
(you can see James' favorite "big rig" in the background)

Our camp neighbors invited James to explore their tractor trailer...
he was in hog heaven, pretending to drive "Mack" and talk on the cb radio.

Keep on Truckin'!
Addie and Daddy baked James a birthday cake in our new camping oven...
it turned out GREAT!
We let James open one gift in the morning...
it was a little Buzz Lightyear.
A view of our campsite from the big rig.

After breakfast and some games, we went into West Yellowstone (about 15 miles). Here's Addie posing with a Bison in West. Right before this photo, we had a sandwich picnic in the park. Right afterward, we went to see the IMAX "Alaska" movie. It was so fun!
At 4:30, we med Grandpa & Grandma Melin and Uncle Mike & Christina at Wild West Pizzeria (they had been in Yellowstone Park and were coming to see a play at the Playmill at 6pm). Daddy decorated James' cake at the pizzeria.

James got a super cool tool set from Grandma & Grandpa
Christina made him a cool scarf
Mommy got him some fireman boots and some new jeans.
Heidi enjoyed the pizza!
Everyone loves the birthday boy!
We made his candles read "Happy Birthday" the way HE says it:
"Happy Dirbay!"

After dinner, we went back to camp where James played with his tools and wore his boots
And the girls had a tea party with Sprite in the tea set Addie bought with her allowance in West.
Sunday morning we had a quick cereal breakfast and headed out to church at Mack's Inn.
(notice we camped right by the Arizona Flag)
As we drove down the highway, we couldn't get Fiona (our gps navigator) to tell us where the church building was. However, when we came over the hill to the Mack's Inn turn off, we didn't need directions anymore! There were rows of cars a quarter mile long and lines and lines of people just walking toward the church, so we just parked and walked along to the building for sacrament meeting. The count the clerk in the hall gave us was 1, 960. Nearly 2,000 saints gathered on a holiday weekend to take the sacrament and it was quite a sight (I whispered to Rich, "Is there a Rainbow Bread truck outside? This should totally be B.Y.O.B!"). I thought to myself, if I were scared of Mormons, this would be a horrifiying ants coming in from the woods, and then just disappearing 90 minutes later. Amazing, and a lovely place to think:
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Sunday night, Brent & Autumn joined us for s'mores, then came home with us on Monday...
But first we stopped at a "must-be-present-to-win" drawing for a new car at Ressler Motors (I was 1 of 200 finalists)
James waited patiently with me.

The girls were so excited...
but alas...I was 16th of 200, so I got a 12-pack of coke and a Tshirt.
But it was still a super fun day, a super fun weekend. I loved being with my hubs and kids for 3 days straight in such a beautiful setting!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Very Merry Birthday

I have 22 photos to post, but I am out of time for now. Trust us, Satuday was a very fun day, and a wonderful third birthday for James......from start... finish!

PS: We went to church today in Mack's Inn with 1,960 of our fellow saints. No joke. It took about 40 minutes to pass the sacrament! (Just imagine how many mormons are camping here and DIDN'T come to chuch!). I told Richit's just so crazy that 2,000 Mormons just crawled outta the woods for 90 minutes, and just as quickly disappeared back into the was pretty cool/freaky.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Photos, finally!

On Thursday Heidi got her kindergarten shots. She was fine all day, but woke up with a fever at 11pm and was kind of delirious and whiny for a couple of hours. This made us both tired on Friday (and put a kink in my camping prep--I tried to take her to school but she can't return until 24 hours after her fever breaks, even though they knew darn well it was a reaction to her MMR shot). So I had an extra helper all day, even while James was at preschool. When James got home, I let him open the package that came for him--a sweet little book from his great-grandparents! James opening his bday package
YAY! A new book about animals (he loves it!)
Heidi's cute self-portrait on her locker
(elem. kids have lockers here cuz there are copious amounts of winter gear!)

We picked up Addie from school an hour early and she was so excited to go camping!
Here we all are taking fun!

How the road to Henry's Lake looked...
perfect day!

After we set up camp, we drove down the highway to get some fish-n-chips at Island Park Lodge.
The moonrise was AMAZING...we watched it from many angles, but this one is from our campsite.
After s'mores, I blogged and my peeps watched a movie.

What a great day!
"Shine on, shine on Harvest Moon!"


Dear Loved Ones,               The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for us…and now we are 8! We got a new German daughter, Kristin...