Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Oh, my--where to start??

My Dad Post just had emergency heart surgery yesterday--SIX bypasses--is that a sextuple bypass? It took a good 7 or 8 hours, but it seems to have gone well. The whole mess started on Thursday , I think , when he had been sick with a bronchitis-like virus for quite a while. He finally went to the doc with trouble breathing and was ambulanced from American Fork to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center with congestive heart failure. An angiogram on Friday afternoon showed six blockages to his heart and surgery was scheduled for Monday. This is all alarming since Dad has seemed to be in good health (although he mostly relies on herbs and hasn't been to the doctor for years--I suppose this could be a good advertisement for integrated medicine--use your herbs, but keep up on your annual physicals!). Everyone is in a little shock, especially his dear mother, my Grandma Sine, but we had a family fast Sunday and I have felt totally at peace ever since. I know Heavenly Father is aware of us and Dad is in HIS hands. My Sis Jill and nephew Jack, Papa Post, brother Matt and nephew Jake at the ranch, 2005 [those boys are 8 now!]

I was playing the piano for singing time in Primary (which is a great gig, if you can get it) and I was just drowned in The Comforter as the junior Primary kids (ages 3-7) sang "Choose the Right" and "I Am a Child of God" with all the joyful noise they could muster. It was AMAZING and I blinked back tears as I played. "Let wisdom mark the way before; in its light, choose the right, and God will bless you evermore" and "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me"--reminded me of THIS: "I will go before your face; I will be on your right hand and your left, and mine angels round about you to bear you up." I knew that those words were true for those precious babies, for me, and for my Dad. It's all good.


ANYHOOOO...here's what else we have done this month.

The month began with Dr. Seuss' birthday

Our version of green eggs and ham...Quiche Lorraine!

We read our favorite Seuss books all week...this one is MY favorite!!
"I meant what I said
and I said what I meant
An elephant's faithful,
100 per cent!"

Speaking of elephants, true to her Atkins-diet-since-birth nature, Heidi demanded green eggs and ham with NO CRUST ( aka scrambled eggs) for our Seuss Birthday dinner.

This is blurry evidence that Addie & James also celebrated.

On March 8th, I entered the orders for our PTO spring fundraiser (we sold locally made filled patries called butter braids)--we had a goal of $3K but we made $5K, so we celebrated with a family movie night watching Hugo. The boys tried out the girls old Princess chairs. They loved them, so I think I might re-upholster them with some less froofy fabric. We really loved Hugo, by the way.

March 10th was an exceptionally warm, sunny day, so the kids went to the park with Grandma. Earlier, we had gone thrifting and found this army costume for James. He LOVES it and thinks he looks just like Uncle Mark in Afghanistan ;)

Sans Hat

Heidi spotted a friend--what a fun spring-ish day!


Speaking of SPRING, today is the first day, the vernal equinox, the day when things take a turn for the brighter--YAY! Here's how my street looked at 8am (all that foggy looking stuff is snow blowing in the fierce March Winds)--pretty glorious, I say.

My girls made these yesterday...

And so, as is our tradition here at LIaNT, I give you the song of spring. And today it is dedicated to all my sibs who are keeping vigil with Dad, and Dad himself..."and I say, it's all right..."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mad Handsome Men

I recently watched all the Mad Men episodes on Netflix and look forward to a new season next week. I couldn't help noticing how much Don Draper (Jon Hamm) reminded me of old pictures of Grandpa Art (my great-grandfather, my Grampy Elrey's dad). Does anyone else see it?

Jon Hamm as Don Draper

Grandpa Art Elrey

Suave, no?

I know his foxy white legs are distracting here, but if you zoom in on his smile, that's a Don grin if I ever saw one. Besides, awesome picture (crabbing in Oregon, I think) , huh?

Sunday, March 18, 2012


My Hubs, The Dashing (albeit much younger) Richard Melin

Dear Hubs,

It’s been a month since our 11th anniversary, but you know how crazy the past month or two has been, so I don’t have to explain why I’m a month late wishing you a Happy Anniversary, right?

I’ve just been thinking about how when we got married, it was a huge act of faith, since I didn’t know you very well. Luckily, I’d learned to stop leaning to my own understanding and go with my gut most of the time, so I said YES. Best. Idea. EVER. I remember when we were engaged I told you that you were the first person I’d dated whom I liked more and more everyday rather than less and less (granted this has a lot to do with youthful idealism I was finally shedding at 29, but I digress…). I realize now, looking back on 11 years together that I was right, but I had NO IDEA how wonderful you are.

I had no idea what a wretched pregnant person I would be. I had no idea what kind of emotional rollercoasters our extended families and our children would send us on. I had no idea that that the world would change in an instant 7 months after our wedding, and with it the economy, our career paths, and all our future plans. I had no idea that I would swap my health for four wonderful kids and that I would have to lean on you so very much.

Fortunately, God DID know all that. He gave me you—my “helpmeet-and-exceed,” my rock, my constant, hilarious friend.

I knew you were good with kids, but I had no idea you’d almost be a better mom than I am. I love that you love our kids, that you can’t think of anything more fun than being with us, planning memories and experiences for us, being kind and calm when I am losing my patience, and being firm when I’m ready to cave. I feel so lucky that we are your only real hobby and priority. I love that you never ignore us for a TV show or a game or work. I love how excited you get about surprises. I love that you spend a little time with each kid every night and you’re happy to do it because, as you remind me regularly, “Soon they won’t want to talk and snuggle, and then they’ll be gone. I’ve gotta take every opportunity!” Best dad ever.

I knew you were tech-savvy and a handy man, but I had no idea that you could fix or build ANYTHING. I love that you built our house and half the furniture in it. I love that when I have a vision for the house, you find a way to make it happen. I love that, even on our tight budget, you are clever enough to find a way to give our family every comfort—organized craft supplies, more room to play wii, air conditioning, a functioning dryer for almost free, a convenient kitchen garden, a place to store bikes, a faster computer for free, a fast way to scan slides and store memories, spectacular family vacations on very little money, just to name a few. I had no idea you were such a genius, but I LOVE IT.

I knew you were a kind and gentle person, but I had no idea the depths of your patience. Nor did I imagine how incredibly silly you could be. As I mentioned before, we have been through the ringer in ways we could never have foreseen. I am not proud of the ways I dealt with the disappointments. But you never stooped to fighting or blaming or kicking against the pricks. You keep your eye on the prize, step over the mess, and keep on truckin’. Thank you for not engaging when I pick a fight. Thank you for forgiving me for being nutty as a fruitcake and still letting me raise our kids and run our home. You’re rubbing off on me, you know. I don’t know if it’s showing yet, but I do feel much more peaceful than a decade ago. And that’s mostly because you’ve shown me that every little thing is indeed gonna be all right.

Thank you for saving me from myself. I love you more everyday, still. I’m so glad I married you — good call.

Love, J

Monday, March 05, 2012

February in the rear-view mirror

Addie & Heidi came home from school and made up these yummy fruit kebabs on February 1st. They were good, especially because they cleaned up their mess. In school, they have Healthy Eaters Club sponsored by the food pantry and Albertson's. They try new foods each week and discuss healthy habits. I don't know how the program is doing overall, but it's working great on my kids! They love trying new fruits and veggies, which works great with all the interesting things we get from Bountiful Baskets.
Niles can eat neatly through his whole meal, and then, in one crazy head shake, he can make a cereal mask and be reeeeeally messy.


This was when Great-Grandma Lyn was feeding him on February 2nd.

On February 4th (Saturday), we drove to Billings to pick up a free piano. (We also took Grandma Lyn to HuHot, but she didn't love it as much as we do). The kids are more interested in practicing now that we have this piano and we are VERY grateful for it!

Here's Gram with her little buddy, Niles. She was so helpful, snuggling him and feeding him when Mama gets busy. We miss her so much!

Niles with Gram

On February 8th, we took off to Pocatello to take Gram to meet up with my mom & Mark. It had snowed the night before and Bozeman Hill was dusted so beautifully!

Addie came with me to help with Niles in the car. We drove 5 hours, ate lunch, then turned around and drove home. We miss Gram A LOT! Here we are saying goodbye at Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Poky.

Niles in his car seat at Five Guys.

Me, Gram, & Mom...3 generations of tired ;)

Me, Gram, Mom, and Addie...4 generations of first-born girls.

(1931, 1951, 1971, 2001! I broke the chain, but kept the right year)

Addie was THRILLED to see this hippy van outside of Five Guys, she took a picture to show her dad (a fellow VW freak).

A sticker on the van.


As you can see from the photos, it was starting to snow, and we once again drove home from Idaho in a blizzard (I think this is my 5th time this winter). But we were home in bed by 8pm and Gram got "home" safe to Eagle Mountain.
I snapped this pic because I just love this view. It's just a few blocks southwest of my house (one of the few ways out of my neighborhood) and this hill is also part of my 3-4 mile walks. I love when there is snow on the big mountains and when there are cows in the field.
The Friday after the Wednesday I drove to Idaho and back, I chaperoned an all-day field trip with Addie's class to the Museum of the Rockies and the Bozeman Symphony. I was so dang tired, but it was really fun.

4th graders at a 1930s gas station in the museum

Addie & Dakota exploring dino bones

Addie at the symphony. She went the next day, too, with Uncle Mike.

After the field trip, we hurried home for my first guitar lesson followed by Thai Food--what a great night!


Saturday 2/11, we went to Bozeman. Rich, Niles and I went to Costco while Mike took the 3 other kids to the symphony matinee. These pix of Niles are while we were waiting for them to come out.


The following Saturday, I took the girls to get their hair cut.

We sent the hair to Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for women with cancer at little or no cost to the patient. We chose them rather than Locks of Love this time because of minor controversy, although I think both are a good cause. I estimate I lost at least a third of my hair postpartum, and I don't recognize what's left as human hair, so I couldn't help wishing there were such a thing as hair transplants, especially between mothers and daughters. Cuz really, how fair is it that I lose what little hair I had because I gave these girls LIFE, and they get flowing manes of Barbie hair? Not very, I say! (kidding)

Also, earlier this same week we celebrated Valentines Day (see previous post) and Rich whisked me away on our anniversary temple trip to a NEW temple, in exotic Rexburg, Idaho (and we didn't take a single picture). We actually had a most relaxing, wonderful 2 days there 2/15-17, and now we've been married 11 years. Woohoo.

Niles loves to play the piano and Heidi is really good at making up songs.


Lastly, Niles.

Laura took this picture, which captures his deadpan face. Lately, he's taken it upon himself to be the straight man to the other three kids' comic antics. He is not amused, so stop trying. What a little character.

Yeah, Auntie Laura came to visit with Cousin Jared over Feb 24-25th. We had such a fun time--she even brought us matching jammies!--but we didn't take pictures together. Shucks. I love when she comes, and so do the kids. Now we just need to get our other punk sister to get her booty up here--Aunt Lisa, Niles said he won't smile again until you get here! Is school out yet? ;)

Little Renaisance Man

I just noticed I don't have many (any?) pictures of James this month. It's not because he's not adorable or not doing amazing things--he is. But he's definitely NOT a squeaky wheel or a camera hog, so I have to try harder to remember to take pictures of him and the sweet things he does/ makes. Like this:

I told him a couple of weeks ago that he could/should practice numbers games or sentence writing when the girls had homework. So this is the first sentence he wrote during said "homework time." I find it terribly cute (and hey, it starts with a capital and ends with a period!). He's so bookish and sweet, sometimes I am surprised at what an avid hunter and fisherman he is turning out to be. I think he'd rather go to Cabela's than Disneyland. This may have made me cringe or cry out, "Where did we go wrong?!" ten years ago, but somehow (I'm turning Montanan, turning Montanan, I really think so) it's okay with me because James is such a thoughtful, spiritually-minded, well-rounded kid, I'm not too worried about him becoming a killing machine or anything. He loves deer and elk, so it's pretty cool that they like to hang out at the ranch all winter long.

His parent-teacher conference was a glowing report last week. His teacher reiterated that she's never seen a kid do so well academically AND socially--usually if they're strong in one, they're weaker in the other, but James is strong in both (yay). She was also SHOCKED when I told her I was really glad I decided to send him to school even though he didn't turn five until a week into the year. "I thought he turned SIX!" Nope, he was four when he started kindergarten (you will never catch me "redshirting"--don't get me started, and don't start quoting Gladwell to me because I've seen him admit that most cumulative advantage disappears by middle school) and I knew he was ready. Now he's getting obsessed with music theory. I did flashcards with him twice and now he can name all the natural notes on the keyboard or the staff. And nothing seems hard for him. He is pleasant and happy 97% of the time. He's an anomaly, but he's MY anomaly. I am super grateful to be his mother.

UPDATE : Okay, here's a good one. This is my very favorite photo of my kids, snapped with my phone on the second day of 2012. We were in Billings having frozen yogurt and they were genuinely happy and I just love looking at it. I can't believe they're MINE!

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Wildest West Show Ever (0224-25)

Addie's School (3rd-5th grades) did a theater workshop and show last week. It was really fun! Here is some of the documentation, courtesy of Aunt Laura...


Addie singing with the other Canexican Bandits 02.23

(Canadian-Mexican Bandits, "it's a multi-national enterprise")

SHOW TIME! Director Dewey Kemp on Opening Night

The Bandits (Addie in the middle making a funny face)

These are the Tumblin' Tumbleweeds, the fiercest gang in the west.

More Bandits, singing their anthem, "O, Canada/La Cucaracha"

Main villain Snoodly and his minions

The finale.

We loved the show (more importantly, so did Addie) and are so grateful to have a program like Crazy Mountain's Outreach to give our kids these fun experiences!


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