Monday, May 21, 2012

31 of 30, not sure how that happened?

List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Here they are in order of importance

#1 My testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
#2 My love and devotion to my husband
#3 My love and nurturing of our children
#4 My ability to play the piano, and willingness to share this talent
#5 The service that I give to others
#6 Being a good friend, showing sincere interest and concern for friends
#7 Being a hard worker; getting many projects finished, having a clean/organized home, having a well maintained yard, etc.
#8 Being a good teacher; in piano, preschool, church and maybe someday grade school
#9 Being a fun person to be around; my love to laugh and be silly, my love to play all sorts of games, my love of holiday celebrations, and my efforts at organizing fun parties and get-togethers.
#10 My hobbies; love for travel, animals, nature, reading, scrapbooking, crafting, making cakes, etc.

If I am going to be remembered for some of these things, like; 5, 6 and 7 I need to work harder at them, much harder.

This "30 before 30" has been a fun experience; evaluating, reminiscing and sharing more about me.  It has been a good exercise, and a fun way to usher in my 30th birthday.  I would sure be happy if many other bloggers would do the 30 questions activity as well, regardless of birthday's because it is so fun for me and other readers to get to know others better.  I have other lists of questions that I might from time to time throw into the blog, because it is fun to figure out the answers and get to know myself better.

Now I am done, a day late and not at all according to the one a day schedule, but that is okay, I finished all 30 and now I am 30 :) yeah!

30 of 30

I'm not sure how, but I have managed to get off count, I am on 30 according to the blog, but I am on 29 according to the list, so look forward to one more. :)

What do you think people misunderstand most about you?

My confidence.  My whole life I have come across to people as very confident, social, outgoing and successful, but I am not without my insecurities.  I am naturally and easily reserved, so making new friends does not come easily for me, initiating a conversation is scary, and I had to work really hard to get moderate grades in school.  Unfortunately because people think I am confident and social, when I don't begin conversations, or act outgoing and friendly to others, they perceive me as being stuck-up, rude, or a brat.  In fact that is the first impression I gave to Jared and his friend Justin.  We all met in an institute class at the University of Utah.  I sat in the front row, they sat against the wall near the front, facing me.  Our teacher was tall, well over 6 feet, so I naturally had my head up to see him.  Apparently it looked like I had my nose in the air.  I didn't talk to them or really anyone, I was scared to death, just a little 18 year old girl fresh out of high school in a classroom with lots of "older", college students, yikes!  Jared and Justin were always cracking jokes, they were funny, but I was more often than not afraid to laugh, and so that came off as disapproval  for their behavior.  So the first impression I gave them was not great, fortunately for me, Jared didn't care and asked me out on a date anyways, to Justin's disbelief. :)  After a few more social activities with Justin and the rest of Jared's friends they realized that I wasn't too bad after all, and know we enjoy a great friendship.  I really wish I could just be confident, social, outgoing, and successful, then I wouldn't give off the wrong impressions to others so often.

29 of 30

What is your love language?

Words of Affirmation first, with Quality Time and Acts of Service tied for a close second.

For my birthday, Jared succeeded in giving great gifts that met each of my love languages and made the day special.  He compiled letters from several members of my family as well as some friends.  The letters shared memories, admiration, and expressions of gratitude.  I felt so loved by so many.  Then for my birthday we enjoyed spending the whole day together, going out to eat for every meal (YIKES, I know) going shopping, and working in the yard.  Jared also helped me with some projects in the yard that have been giving me trouble.  It was a GREAT birthday, and so wonderful to have a husband who understood my love languages and then followed through with them.  Thanks sweetie!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

28 of 30

What is your favorite part of your body and why?

My eyes

I like that they are green, with blue rings around them.  I like that I have thick, long eyelashes.  I like that people often comment about how beautiful Brandon and Grant's eyes are and then they say, "they have their mothers eyes".  I like that my eyes are healthy, 20/20 vision.  Yes, my eyes are my favorite part of my body.

27 of 30

What popular notion do you think the world has the most wrong.

The roles of women. 

Last October, my friend Dana had me record a TV show called Miss Representation, she had heard about it on a news program and wanted to see what it was all about, we finally got together sometime in December and watched the program.  It was a hard show to watch, we fast forwarded a lot of it, and I mean A LOT, but there were some interesting insights and things to ponder.  If you are interested in the show this link will take you to the web site, otherwise this is the synopsis of the show to give you a little hint of what the show was about.
Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min; TV-14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.
In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.
Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.

When I finished watching the show I was upset, even angry, and I couldn't really explain why, or what it was that bugged me so much.  I have always been bothered by the way women, and men, are portrayed in the media, but the way the show suggested correction and improvement bothered me.  Then I read the synopsis from the show and figured out what it was about the show specifically, that bothered me so much, it was this line "The collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman's value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader", "in her capacity as a leader", that bothered me the most.  They are suggesting that woman's value is not in youth, beauty and sexuality, and I agree, but they are trying to impose that my value is in my capacity as a leader.  Well sure I would probably be a great world leader, I do pretty well in other leadership positions, but that is not where my value lies either.  Never once in the show did it mention my value as a wife, mother, nurturer or creator, and not that I thought it would, but it certainly never mentioned my value as a daughter of God. 

A few month latter I was preparing a lesson in Young Woman's about the divine roles of women and I came across a quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard which said,
"It is, unfortunately, all too easy to illustrate the confusion and distortion of womanhood in contemporary society. Immodest, immoral, intemperate women jam the airwaves, monopolize magazines, and slink across movie screens—all while being celebrated by the world. The Apostle Paul spoke prophetically of “perilous times” that will come in the last days and specifically referenced something that may have seemed particularly perilous to him: “silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts” (2 Timothy 3:1, 6). Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction—easily the most pervasively dangerous message the adversary sends to women about themselves.
And so, my dear young women, with all my heart I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors. Please look to your faithful mothers for a pattern to follow. Model yourselves after them, not after celebrities whose standards are not the Lord’s standards and whose values may not reflect an eternal perspective."
I thought, that was a much better explanation or possible synopsis for a show about "Miss Representation".  Lets not replace the idea of women's value as youth, beauty and sex, with power and positions of leadership, lets replace the misguided value of women with the Lord's standards to be wives, mothers, nurtures and creators.  I do not feel diminished because I am a stay at home mom,  I do not feel powerless, undervalued and worthless because I do not hold a title, or position of power, to the contrary, as a mother I know I can shape the future, I know that I have significant influence in many lives, not just my children.  As a daughter of God, a mother in Zion, and a member of Relief Society, I feel empowered, valued, and of worth.  I feel important.  I love this quote from President Joseph F. Smith saying: “It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the … women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and … purifying to the children of men".  That is what I hope to do everyday.  I also thought this quote from Elder Ballard was wonderful, he said: "Sisters, we, your brethren, cannot do what you were divinely designated to do from before the foundation of the world. We may try, but we cannot ever hope to replicate your unique gifts. There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman."  I am so grateful that although the world may be totally misguided about the roles of women, The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints know where my value lies.  I am represented by, and belong to a world wide group of women in the Relief Society, we are doing GREAT things, we are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him!  I wish all women in the world could know and feel what I do about the greatness and value of women, if they did, then we would see a great shift in the way media portrays women.

26 of 30

If you could have dinner with anyone in history who would it be and what would you eat.
Eve, Mary (the mother of Jesus), Mary (Joseph Smiths wife), Helen Keller, Sarah (Abraham's wife), Mother Teresa, My great-grandma Osborn, Lillywhite, Johnson, Winnie, and Holladay, and Jared's grandma Erma.  I could never choose just one person to have lunch with, but I would definitely want to visit with several mothers who influence history, particularly my history.  It would be so fun to visit about what it was like for them to be mothers and wives to some amazing people. 
Eve - what was it like to be the first mother and to not have another mother on earth to go to for advice?  Mary - what was it like to be the mother of the Savior, share some tender stories from his childhood, what were some of the challenges you faced?  Mary - I admire your strength to face so many challenges like the deaths of so many children, how did you do it, what are some of your happiest memories?  Helen, you faced some real challenges in life, I admire how positive and optimistic you were, what do you think was your greatest influence or accomplishment?  Sarah, did you know Abraham was taking Issac, did you know you would be the mother of all nations, what was it like being a mother at such a late time in your life, was it fun expecting a baby at the same time as Mary?  Teresa - you did so many wonderful things, blessed so many lives, and inspired so many people, what are your concerns about the world today, what do you think about religion- particularly the LDS church?  Great-grandma's - what was it like being a mother during your time, what were my grandparents like as children, how did you feel when my parents were born, do you remember when I was born, share your testimony of the gospel, what were some of your favorite childhood memories, what traits do you think I got from you, did you ever think about me and your posterity when you were growing up or raising a family?  And I would just like to meet Erma, everyone always talks about how wonderful she was, she was very talented with painting and design.  I have been told that I would have really liked her and she would have liked me.  For some reason I often think about her when I am doing various things and wonder, would she approve of who her grandson had married, would she approve of her great-grandsons and how they were being raised.  I hope she would, it sure would be fun to visit with her.

As for what we eat, who cares, the conversation is the whole point of a lunch date.  But it would be fun to eat some of their favorite foods, it would be another insight into who they were.  It would also be fun to take them to a wonderful buffet of some sort, so they could see how food has changed and try a great variate of new foods.

25 of 30

Describe the family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

I was the child and now I am the mom - that is the biggest difference between family dynamics, and it is a big difference.  Otherwise I would say the dynamics of both families are pretty much the same.  Both have a loving mother and father.  Both have a father who leaves for work in the morning, works hard, and returns home for dinner and family time.  Both have a mother who stays home, takes care of her children, maintains a clean home and prepares family activities.  Both parents are active in church callings, have strong testimonies and work hard on teaching the children the gospel.  Weekends are for family fun, and home projects.  Holiday traditions are similar.  Children get along well with each other as well.  Really my current family is very similar to my family as a child.  When you have a good thing why change it?

Friday, May 18, 2012

24 of 30

List your top five hobbies and why you love them.

#1 playing the piano and singing - I love it!  I wish so much I could spend many more hours a week playing the piano and singing, who am I kidding, I wish I could play for at least one hour a week.  I really wish my boys were willing to let me play, instead what usually happens is I begin playing, get one, maybe two pages into the song and one of my boys is fussing next to me, pulling on my arms and hands, crawling under me, pulling the chord for the piano from the wall, playing with the volume control, changing the settings on the piano, or turning the piano off.  It is really challenging to play while all this is going on, but I persist and continue playing until I finish the song, yes that means I have even played through an entire song with no sound.  (I really don't like stopping in the middle of a song for anything.)

#2 reading novels  I love the escape reading offers.  I love the way authors use words and so cleverly describe the scene in a book.  I love the way books make you think and question things.  There are so many wonderful books to read.  I have a pile of books which have been recommended to me by my mom, friends, or book club.  There is just never enough time to sit down and read.  It doesn't help that when I start a book I don't want to stop, so I neglect my family, home, and everything else until I have finished it.  As a result I don't start a new book very often.  I miss the good old days of sitting on the bank of the Provo river and reading while Jared was fly fishing.  Those were good times.

#3 scrapbooking and crafting.  I think a finished scrapbook page is a beautiful work of art.  The cute scrapbooking paper, the die cuts, the stickers, the fun fonts on the computer, the embellishments.  I could spend a fortune at craft stores on all the fun things they have to offer for crafts.  I like the sense of accomplishment that comes when I finish a craft project or a scrapbook.  I love the way my boys enjoy looking through their scrapbooks.  I enjoy looking through all the scrapbooks as well.

#4 blogging.  I enjoy reading everyone's blog.  It is so fun to see what everyone is up, particularly those who I don't get to see often (if ever).  I find it interesting what each blogger chooses to post about, how they go about sharing, and I really like the pictures.  I appreciate the window a blog is into others lives.  I like that blogging helps me feel like I am not the only mother with young children, that my children are not the only ones that make messes and do crazy things.  I really enjoy working on my own blog - obviously. :)  Journaling never came easily for me, I would go for months or even years without writing in my journal.  Knowing that other people are out there hoping for a new post motivates me to keep up with it.  It isn't the perfect journal, there are some things that I just don't feel belong on a blog for all to read about.  But the blog does provide a great time line so that when I do go to write in my journal I have something to fall back on and remind me of what was going on.

#5 the great outdoors.  I don't spend nearly enough time outside, certainly not as much as I would like.  I do enjoy working in my yard - though it doesn't show.  I like the smells, feels, and sounds of the outdoors.  I like getting my hands dirty.  I think Heavenly Father's creations are amazing, truly remarkable.  I like to observe nature, photograph nature, work in the yard, go on gentle hikes through nature, throw rocks in bodies of water, watch for animals, and camp.

23 of 30

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years?
5 years - I will be the mother of a 9 year old - wow! and a 7 year old.  I will hopefully also be the mother of a 3-4 year old and a new born.  I hope we will be in a new, larger home, although it makes me sad to think of leaving our current home.  I hope in five years I will finally have a real, baby grand piano, although I will likely not be teaching piano anymore.  I also hope for Jared's sake as well as our whole family that he will have either a substantial raise, or a better job.

10 years - I will be the mother of a 14 year old and a 12 year old - I will have two more priesthood holders at home.  If things go according to plan in the first five years I will also be a mother to a 8-9 year old and a 5 year old.  I can't say for certain, but I think we will stop at four children.  With four children I will probably be crazy busy with sports, music, school, youth activities, scouting, etc. things will be active - hopefully not too active!  We should be well established in our home, I imagine it will be beautiful, we will hopefully be able to afford nice decorations, storage, and other necessities within the home.  Jared will be established in his career.  With all the children in school I will hopefully be able to return to school and work on getting my degree.  I also hope that Jared and I will have been able to go on a few more exciting vacations, maybe even outside of the country. :)

15 years - I will be the mother of a 19 year old hopefully serving a mission - the mother of a missionary - wow!  I will also have a 17 year old and maybe a 14 year old and 10 year old - that doesn't seem possible!?!?  That sounds really busy, I will probably be one of those mothers living from her car as I run from one place to another with my children.  Depending on the house we buy within the next five years we will either remain comfortably and make more exciting improvements, or need to move again, hmm?  Jared will hopefully still be moving forward with work and enjoying it.  With all the children in school and a new degree in hand I will probably start to work part time as a kindergarten teacher, preschool teacher, music specialist in the grade schools, or substitute teacher.  I may or may not start teaching piano again, with children in school and only at home in the afternoons when students would need their lessons, it isn't ideal, so I don't think I will start yet, but who knows?  Jared and I will have been married for 26 years - that's cool!  I am sure Jared will have planned and taken us on many more vacations, can't wait to see where we go. :)

It is fun to look at women, who are at each stage of life that I look forward to, and imagine myself doing similar things. In many ways it doesn't seem possible that I will ever be that old or progressed in life, but I am certainly excited about what the future holds, there is so much potential, and lots of hope.  I am sure there will be challenges as well, but that is okay, growth follows challenges, I don't look forward to the challenges, but I do look forward to the growth that will follow.

I love daydreaming about the future, so exciting. :)

22 of 30

If you could have one super-power, what would it be, and what would you do with it?First thing that comes to mind is flying - wouldn't that be wonderful to fly, but really, what would I do with that?

I love the Goose Girl series by Shannon Hale, in fact I just got them yesterday for my birthday.  There are four books in the series.  In each book one of the character discovers and develops a "speaking" skill.  Each character learns to speak to and as a result command or influence certain elements like; water, fire, birds, wind, trees, other animals, and even people.  After reading these books I wondered, what language would I like to be able to speak?  Originally I thought, trees and plants would be great.  I would use that super-power to work wonders in my garden and yard, as it is, my only talent seems to be a great skill in killing things I want to live and giving life to things I wish would die.  Now, however, I think I would like to speak to animals and command or influence their behavior, that could be a very useful super-power.  Then my dogs would be so well behaved, never barking when they shouldn't, never having accidents in the house, always contributing to the happiness and well being of our family and home.  I would also know better what to do for the fish in our tank so they would stop dieing.  I am sure there are other great ways to use this power, but I haven't thought of them all yet. 

If you have not yet read the Goose Girl books by Shannon Hale, I would encourage you and all teenage girls to read them, they are great!!!!  (Much better than the twilight books!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

21 of 30

Describe three significant memories from your childhood.

I kinda feel like I just answered this question.  I suppose, however, that significant should be different than fond, so...

#1 When I was 10 years old one of my friends was hit by a drunk driver in St. George Utah while on a bike ride with her mom.  The accident took her life.  It wasn't my first experience loosing a loved one in death, my aunt and grandpa had both passed away previously, but it was the first unexpected death and the first time someone young had passed away.  I remember for some time afterword when I was sad and I couldn't explain it, I always said I was sad because of Chrissa.  This experience was hard to understand, it was sad, but I learned at an early age that death is not the end.  I remember singing "A Child's Prayer" with the primary at her funeral and feeling both sad and happy.  I knew that Chrissa was in heaven and she would be reunited with her family again some day.  I gained a testimony of eternal families.  I also gained a testimony of prayer because that song became one of my favorites and I knew the words in it were true.  I didn't realize it then but I also learned that the prophets counsel and the commandment of the word of wisdom is indeed wise.  If a life could be taken away so carelessly by drinking, than drinking was BAD!  I knew I would NEVER drink or disobey the word of wisdom.

#2  My best friend in grade school was Kelsey Blackwell.  We met in an unusual way.  We were having a block party, the kind where you park a car on each end of the road, everyone brings their grill onto the street, the tables and activities are in the street and all the neighbors bring a pot luck to share.  I was having a great time playing with the neighbor kids when I see a girl I had never met before riding MY bike down the road.  A few of my friends and I approached her (not so nicely) and accused her of stealing my bike.  Well Kelsey was just as feisty and insisted that this was her bike, how dare I accuse her of stealing, and why don't I find out if my bike is still at my house.  It was.  And then we were friends, after all we had the same bike, how cool is that.  It is funny to me that it did not matter that I was so rude, she didn't care.  It is also funny to me that a friendship could begin simply because we had matching bikes, but it did.  Kelsey was unlike anyone I had met.  I was a white Mormon in a white Mormon town and she was not a Mormon with an African-American father and a Caucasian mother.  She drank coffee on the way to school nearly every morning, I didn't.  I went to church every Sunday, she didn't.  But none of that mattered.  I liked how honest and open we could be about everything, we respected each other, even though we were just young kids who hadn't really learned what respect was.  The really significant memory came one day after school.  I don't know if we had been learning about black history, or if we had been reading a novel about it or what, but the "N" word came up in class, and our teacher explained what that word meant, she failed however to teach about how cruel it was and how it was not acceptable to use this word.  So after school I was feeling excited that I had learned something new that related to my friend and I told her what I learned by saying "Hey Kelsey, did you know that you are a "N".  She let me know real quick that I had crossed the line badly and she would not walk home with me that day.  I learned my lesson!  I apologized and she fortunately she forgave.  Through all of my memories with Kelsey and her family I learned that it is okay to be different, in fact, it is wonderful, and you don't have to be a white Mormon to be a good person, what a revelation. :)

#3  This last memory is a quick one, but it was significant.  I remember standing next to my dad by the kitchen counter.  I don't remember what we were doing, I don't remember what the conversation was regarding, but I do remember that I couldn't see above the counter, I remember my dad was to the right of me, and I remember that my mom was by the kitchen sink.  For some reason (maybe I had heard it on tv) I took the name of the Lord in vain and said "Oh my ...".  I will never forget how quickly and sternly my dad reacted.  His shock was apparent and his disappointment was clear.  I felt lower than an ant at the moment.  You have to understand, my dad is and was so mellow, calm, patient and quiet, he rarely reacted to anything, so when he reacted like he did, I knew what I had done was not okay.  I never made that mistake again!  There are a few other times (one for each four letter word) where I used a word that was not appropriate and every time I got the same reaction from my parents.  Which is why when my mom used an inappropriate word, Natalie and I were equally shocked, I am sure we pushed her to her limits, but we in turn made her feel like dirt when we looked at her with such horror.  I am grateful my parents taught me well, that kind of language is just tacky and it shows a lack of decorum.  However since I have become a mother and pet owner I find myself being pushed to limits where such language seems to be the only option to express how frustrated I am, fortunately I refrain and my children have no idea what language is in my head at that moment.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

20 of 30

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

I would live in the make believe land where, the best of Salt Lake City, Heber, San Diego, New York City, Portland, and Lake Oswego are all combined, thus allowing me to live near almost all of my family, I could live near my favorite parks, (Central Park in New York, Summer Lake Park near Portland, and Liberty Park in Salt Lake City) I could live near my favorite bridges, in New York and Portland, I could live near Time Square, the beach, the mountains, all my good friends, beautiful lakes, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Temple Square, and I would be near all of the places that I hold most dear.  If I could live in such a place I certainly would!  But I can't, which is why living right here in Heber is just right for me.  I love living here!

19 of 30

What is one of the hardest things you have had to forgive.

This question has frustrated me all week, which is why I have yet to post.  This morning I finally figured out why.  I realize that the "Forgive and Forget" concept is not scriptural or even doctrinally based, but there is still wisdom in it, which, I think, is why it is so common.  I have found it to be most unpleasant to recall things that I have forgiven, because it only reminds me of the situation, and the pain, and then I feel hurt all over again.  There is no sense in reopening a wound that has healed, or cutting up a wound that is in the process of healing.  So with that in mind, I will not be answering this question, let the things which are in the past stay in the past, forgive and forget.  I did however find a wonderful video about forgiveness that I hoped to post on this blog, but it wont cooperate, so instead, here is the link.  I hope if you are able to take the time to watch it, you enjoy it, I found it inspiring.  I also found this quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley that I enjoyed and thought I would share.  "How much we need application of this God-given principle and its companion principle, repentance! We see the need for it in the homes of the people, where tiny molehills of misunderstanding are fanned into mountains of argument. We see it among neighbors, where insignificant differences lead to undying bitterness. We see it in business associates who quarrel and refuse to compromise and forgive when, in most instances, if there were a willingness to sit down together and speak quietly one to another, the matter could be resolved to the blessing of all. Rather, they spend their days nurturing grudges and planning retribution."  Last night Jared and I were able to sit down together and speak quietly one to another and the hurt feelings and frustrations that we had been feeling were resolved to the blessing of all.  It didn't used to work that way, I am very grateful that Jared and I are growing in our marriage.  I am very grateful that Jared continues to forgive me.  I am also eternally grateful that we have a loving Father in Heaven and Savior who will forgive us, if we will work for it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

18 of 30

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I am over analyzing the question - does this mean what animal would I choose to be, or what animal is most like who you are right now?  I'll answer both.

I would choose to be a horse - beautiful, graceful, social, helpful, hard working, loved by so many, strong, adaptable, forgiving, capable of great amounts of love, and loyal.

I think perhaps I am most like an elephant?  Protective of children, nurturing, strong bonds with other women, a leader, responsible, enjoys a good water fight, big, strong, capable of hard work and observant.

17 of 30

What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

MEMORY  I wish I could remember information better, much better.  I wish I could retain facts, and information when I am learning in a class settings or studying on my own.  I wish I could remember names and faces.  I wish I could memorize music - Oh how I wish I could memorize music!!!  I wish I could remember dates better, especially dates regarding church history, American history, and birthday's.  If I had a good memory I could then learn all the other skills I would like to learn, school would be easier, performing the piano would be more enjoyable and possible.  Everything else that I wish I could be great at would fall into place better if I could be great with my memory.  I have spent hours working on my memory, memorizing piano pieces, only to forget them entirely a few months later, memorizing scriptures, only to forget them a year later, or even memorizing poems and quotes, which are also quickly forgotten.  It is so frustrating!  Yes Memory is what I wish for!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

16 of 30 half way there :)

What are your five greatest accomplishments.

1. Getting married in the temple to a wonderful, righteous, priesthood holder whom I love!!!!  Of all my accomplishments in life this is the one that I will always be the most grateful for.  It is an eternal accomplishment with eternal rewards!  Love you Jared, thank you for taking me to the temple!!!
2. Brandon
3. Grant
I know that I can only share in part of this accomplishment, but I am still very proud of my boys, who they are and all their potential.  I often look at them with wonder.  How did I get such wonderful beautiful children?
4. Learning to play Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto and Grieg's Concerto in A minor on the piano.  I wish I could still play them the way I did when Paula would do the duet with me.
5. My home, it is still a work in progress and always will be, but within the walls of my home are where I feel my greatest sense of accomplishment whether it is with my children, husband or just homemaking.

15 of 30

Share 10 fond memories from your childhood.Okay - know that is just not a fair number, again, only ten.  One of our favorite family games was "Remember When".  How do you play?  You tell stories from your memories and you begin with, "remember when", that  forgoes to show how many wonderful memories we have as children.  So instead I will categorize the memories into groups.
1. Saturday's at the office with Dad and Natalie.  My dad owns his own business of automatic doors. (like the ones for hospitals and grocery stores)  His office was an old home that he converted into his office and behind the office he built a shed for assembling the doors.  Every Saturday he would take us to the office to play while he finished up some odds-n-ends.  Natalie and I LOVED going with him.  We would play secretary at the various desks (and mess up all the paper work in an effort to tidy up), we would draw on the large dry erase board and leave notes for dad's employees to find on Monday, we would hide in the various room of the office.  The shed was our favorite place to play, we loved giving and getting rides on the dollies or the wheel barrow, we played hide-n-seek among the large boxes filled with new doors waiting to be installed, we watched in fascination when dad tried to break a large piece of glass in the dumpster with a hammer and was unsuccessful until he used a special tool and a mallet which finally worked (we thought he was magic), we gathers old bricks, rocks and anything else we could find and built a "house" to play in, we filled it with flowers the business from next door was throwing away, we found snakes to play with, we found birds nest hiding in the roof of the shed, we put everything and anything in the vice and tried out all of dad's tools, we "helped" him scrap the aluminium from the doors and then take it to the dump.  On the way to the dump we rode in the back of his work van, (pre seat belt laws) rolling around with garbage cans and other construction junk while listening to dad's 60's-70's music, which we loved, the dump was a fascinating place, we especially loved watching the machine that crushed and then spit out cans.  After the dump dad would take us to 7-11 (next door to his office) (it is still there, I think dad keeps them in business :)) for lunch, a hot dog, Slurpee and treat of our choice (always from the bottom shelf which held the cheapest treats).  We would take lunch back to the office and eat it on the porch of the office while watching the traffic go by.  Dad has since made several improvements tot he office, which included tearing down our beloved shed and building a new and "better" shed.  I miss the old shed.  I would relive this memory over and over again if I could.

2. Sleep overs at Grandpa Osborn's house.  Of my parents children Natalie and I were the only ones who got to know Grandpa Osborn before he passed away.  I don't know how often, but I would guess nearly once a month, Grandpa invited us over for a sleep over at his duplex (the same duplex my parents lived in when they were first married and where I was born).  His duplex was in down town SLC walking distance to Liberty Park.  I was terrified of down town.  I felt certain someone was going to shoot us.  Grandpa had us sleep on the sofa bed in the front room and before we went to bed he would lock several locks and dead bolts all the way up and down the door, then we would try to fall asleep while watching the shadows and light from the busy street outside play across the window.  The next morning we would help grandpa make corn bread and then eat it at his round folding table.  We always poured warm milk over our buttered corn bread, I still insist on eating corn bread in milk, it is better that way!  After breakfast we would play Pac Man, the vintage version (which wasn't vintage at the time. :)), or we would ask him to pull down the stairs so we could play in the attic.  The attic was a mysterious place, full of terrifying hiding places.  We loved it.  We loved grandpa duplex in spite of and because of the fear it held for us little girls. :)

3. Road Trips.  We always drove for all of our trips and to this day I am convinced that the best family vacations happen on the road on the way to your destination.  Mom would put together fantastic activity bags to keep us entertained, complete with paper games, like tic-tac-toe, pencil box games, draw funny faces, word searches, etc.  We had fluorescent cards with phrases to show to other cars like, "have a great day", "your blinker is on", "honk your horn", "smile" or "wave", we loved to see the other drivers and passengers respond to our signs, the big trucks honking their horn's was the best!  She would wrap small presents like, gum, crayons, stickers, etc. and then we would have to earn the presents by finding so many red cars, or so many different licence plates.  Dad always mixed a tape or later on a cd specifically for the drive, one of our favorite songs was "Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby"  the whole song had one word over and over again, guess what word. :) another favorite song was "you put the lime in the coconut". :) 
My three favorite trips with the family were Yellowstone - where we would earn a certain sum of money for each animal we found - $1.00 for a bear or moose, $.50 for bison, elk or eagle $.25 for squirrels, etc.  Each time we visited Yellowstone we would see a bear up close and doing something interesting, like sitting on a buried carcass of an elk, chasing ducks down the river, or walking around with cubs. Second favorite was the Great North West trip.  A ten day drive through California, Oregon, Washington, Canada and Idaho.  Highlights of the trip include, my brother Taylor getting locked in a prepay self cleaning bathroom, having a bison, and zebra put their heads in our car at the wild animal park, meeting a movie star bear named Michelle, watching illegal immigrants quickly pack up their blankets with shirts for sell and run away from police at the Golden Gate Bridge, dad catching pigeon after pigeon at the fine arts museum near the Golden Gate Bridge, watching the lock system, playing in the fountain under the Space Needle in Seattle, riding a ferry, crossing one amazing bridge after another in Washington, and visiting parts of dad's mission in Washington.  The third favorite trip was one that only my dad, Natalie and I went on, to Dinosaur Land in Vernal UT.  Dad had to do some work there, so he put all his tools in the back of the van, and then covered the tools with a large piece of particle board.  Mom then covered the board with blankets and pillows and that is where we rode for the whole three hour drive there.  We once again had our great travel bags full of toys, activities and treats to keep us busy there.  Those pre-seat belt days were wonderful!  One other memorable road trip was when we packed 20+ of the Osborn family into a small motor home and drove to AZ.  My Aunt doesn't like chocolate so the only snack we were offered was gummy bears; she must have purchased a ten pound bag before the trip and anytime we wanted something to eat - gummy bears, I can't eat them anymore, YUCK! :)

4. Neighborhood Gatherings.  Every Sunday night, even now, all the neighbors gather on my parents driveway to visit, while the children ran around the neighborhood playing night games, princess and robbers, baseball, or having water fights.  It was a bring your own chair and treat and visit till the sun sets kind of gathering.  We had the best neighborhood.  As a child I loved playing the great games and as a pre-teen and teen I loved ease-dropping on the adult conversations.  The only neighbors we ever had problems with were the ones who for a short time lived right next door to us.  They had a dump truck, limo, and several other trucks and cars parked in their driveway and on the road, which blocked our view.  They also had a large storage box on their driveway that as kids we were convinced held dead bodies.  They smoked ALL THE TIME and it came through our swamp cooler, and worst of all they kept several pigs in the back yard.  We were mean kids and had a great time one day throwing rotten apricot bombs at the pigs, our aim was pretty good and got much better, until mom found us and made us hop the fence and clean up the whole mess.  As children in the neighborhood we had a terrible habit of throwing things we shouldn't, like when some different neighbors lived in the same house and through unripened apricots into our open window (Natalie and I took the screen out), we saved the apricots in our nightstands.  There was also the tradition of hiding in the trees in the front yard and throwing pine cones at Ruby the Ripoff Ice Cream Man, any time the ice cream man came to our neighborhood we learned not to ask mom for money, because he was a "rip off" so instead we hid in the trees and pelted him with pine cones when he drove by, I am not sure why he kept coming day after day or why he didn't tell our parents.  We tried the same stunt with the mail man, he told on us!

5. Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's house.  Natalie and I had cousins in between our age, Jennifer a year older than me and Carolyn in between Natalie and I.  We would have sleep overs at Grandma's house and the next day we would play at Great-Grandma Winnie house.  She had very large pine tree in her back yard that was big enough for all of us to stand under, we explored the creek out back and the other homes for "treasures" and found a few large tires, tree stumps, large pieces of heavy duty plastic, pieces of carpet and more and created a playhouse under the tree, right next to the tree was an irrigation ditch which occasionally had water running through it.  we became modern day boxcar children under that tree.  Grandma Winnie also had a large outdoor brick oven, a large swinging bench that would swing right over the creek, a bridge crossing the creek, a large patio of stone next to the creek and rows of hedges separating big spaces of grass, all of this did wonders for our imagination, which we had in spades.  The best time to sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa's house was the night before Independence Day.  We would sleep in the back yard and inevitably get in trouble, the following morning at precisely 6:00 am an Ariel bomb would go off, it would wake us up and start the day off right.  Then we would walk up the street to the park where the Lions Club served a great pancake breakfast, following the breakfast we would sit on the curb and wait for the parade to start, sometimes we were even in the parade.  Grandpa (being in the Lions Club) was almost always in the parade.  After the parade we would visit all of the stands at the park, some had wonderful fair food, others had games like the fishing hole, or duck pond, others were just rides.  Grandpa was always in charge of the swings that spun around in circles, I was so sad when I grew to big to ride in them, and now they are gone, replaced with bounce houses.  I also loved when Grandpa would put one or two of us in the front basket of his bike and take us for rides around the same park.  Or when we would collect acorns in the back yard.  Even though things have changed, I love visiting their house, it is filled with cherished memories.

6. Girl Scouts.  Yes I was a girls scout and I am proud of it, I hope that when or if I have girls there will be a good girl scout program in my area.  My best friends mom was our troop leader and she was awesome!  We had sleep overs at the old children's museum, went on many field trips, spent hour upon hour at her house learning a bit of everything, but the highlight of my girl shout experience was selling cookies.  It was a challenge because our neighborhood block had 5-8 girls trying to sell cookies.  I remember racing home after school trying desperately to beat the other girls home so that I could sell cookies before them.  In the end we all managed to sell enough cookies to go to Trefoil Ranch Girl Scout Camp.  I LOVED it there, we rode horse all week long as well as other lesser, but fun activities.  I really enjoyed my time away from home and the opportunity to be with horses, brushing them, feeding them, riding them, saddling them, learning all about them, even cleaning their stalls was fun, because I got to be with horses.  I also really grew to love the girls in my troop.  They were my best friends.

7. Canyon View Choir.  I was a choir nerd from second grade until I graduated high school and into college.  I attribute my love for singing to the great grade school choir I was able to participate in.  We would practice every Tues. and Thurs. morning before school started.  If you were in the choir you got to have a special shirt which you wore with pride.  If you were in the choir you got to go on LOTS of field trips to perform at places like malls, the capitol building, office buildings, other schools, and most memorable at the first attempt Salt Lake made for the bid of the Olympics.  I loved riding the buses with so many friends and often times my mom.  I really loved the songs like "It's Ruff Ruff Ruff Ruff Bein a Dog" and "Hot Cup of Coco".  Choir was wonderful, all of my siblings sang in it for some or all of their grade school experience and always under the same great director, Mrs. Freestone.  Yeah for Choir. :)

8. Swimming in the Kitchen.  When I was 11 years old or so I began babysitting for my mom.  I was for the most part a really good and responsible babysitter and I enjoyed it.  One day I was baby sitting for my parents and had the brilliant idea to swim with my siblings, trouble was it was winter and we had no pool.  So I improvised.  I covered all the vents in the kitchen with several towels, and I made a boarder around the kitchen where there were no walls more towels.  I am sure I used all the towels in the house saving just enough for us to drive off with afterwards.  Now that the pool area was set, my siblings and I pour pots and pans full of water onto the floor and began swimming in our wadding pool.  We probably get the water 4-6 inches deep and we had a great time splashing and playing in the water.  Before my parents got home we cleaned up the water, put the wet towels in the laundry room basket, changed our clothes and I put everyone to sleep.  My parents never suspected a thing, although my mom did wonder why all her towels were wet.  Years latter I told her and she was able to put two and two together.  Swimming in the kitchen was great, however if one of my babysitters did that while taking care of my children I would not be impressed or thrilled. :)

9. Family Play Time.  You know the church's slogan "Family, Isn't it About Time".  I feel like my family had play time in spades and I think that is why despite differences we all still get along really well.  We would have water fights - in the house (when mom wasn't there), we would play hide-n-seek, (dad was the best at this game, hiding just outside our window, or putting Lindsey on top of the cupboard above the fridge. :)) we would have Family Home Evening on the roof, just for fun.  We would ride our bikes all around town, even through the drive through.  Mom always had fun things for us to do outside and participated with us, things like chalk, kite flying, sprinklers, bubbles, croquette, etc.  At dinner time we played games like, 20 questions, I spy, follow the leader with dad leading us in various rhythmic pounding at the table.  We often went on hikes as a family, one of our favorite places to hike was the gully, just under the mouth of Parley's canyon.

10.  Dad Playing the Guitar.  My dad has a beautiful singing voice and when he was young he taught himself to play the guitar.  He would often pull out the guitar before bed time and play and sing while Natalie and I danced in the living room or in the guitar case.  Then we were off to bed with him still playing and serenading us to sleep.  I love listening to him play and wish so much that we had a good recording of him playing, but he is very modest and doesn't think he is good enough to be recorded.  I would love to play a cd of him for my boys when they go to sleep.  As I got older dad was so good to encourage me to learn and play songs that interested him, then we would play and sing together.  I think this really helped me to improve my talents.

I didn't grow up with riches, my own room, a tv in my room, my own car, rooms full of toys, or other things that at the time I thought I needed or even deserved.  But I feel like I had a rich childhood, if only every child could have such cherished memories.  Thank you mom and dad for giving me everything that mattered!

Happy Anniversary!

This past Friday was our 11th anniversary.  We had a family birthday party on Thursday night to celebrate the day we became a family. 

On Friday my mom took the boys for us and we escaped to the Grand America.  I felt like royalty.  When we walked into our suite there was this plate, the piano was made of chocolate really yummy chocolate with more fancy chocolates inside. 

The suite was stunning!  My favorite part was how immaculately clean and bright it was.

That night we went to dinner at The Roof in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  I had never eaten there, I loved it.  We had a GREAT view of the temple and the sunset.  The piano player was AMAZING, she had a great selection of music that was ALL memorized.  I wish so very much that I could memorize like that. I Love to See the Temple!  It was so fun to have a view of the temple and reflect on our wedding there, and to reflect on the past eleven years.

I greatly enjoyed sitting in pj's with one of their cozy robes on looking through the complimentary design magazine.  Jared and I just sat in the hotel amazed at how quickly our stress was gone.  It was so fun to be so pampered.

Breakfast via room service, YUM

The following day we toured the grounds.  They were beautifully maintained.

Guest bathroom near one of the many ballrooms.  I know, who takes pictures of bathrooms?  When they are this amazing, I do!

Loved all the beautiful flowers.

 There is a great toy store / candy store inside the hotel, it was so cool.  I really want to go back with Dana and Natalie, they would LOVE this store!

The dragon was made out of cardboard layered on top of each other and then cut. Amazing!

After touring the rest of the hotel we went to City Creek.  I loved it!  I love water features so City Creek is my kind of place, who cares about the shopping. :)  We did walk into a few stores, but I really did not care about them or enjoy them nearly as much as the creek flowing through the whole shopping center.  Tiffany's was cool, I loved the art work of New York on the walls.

I thought it was very well planned that the waterfall on the Conference Center lined up perfectly with all the water features leading to the fountains at City Creek, it drew the eye up and to the temple.

After spending time in City Creek we crossed the street to walk the grounds of Temple Square.  It was so fun to be at Temple Square in spring again.  The last time we were there at the time was when we were getting married.  I LOVE Temple Square in the spring so much more that when the lights are up in the winter, it is beautiful, comfortable and peaceful.

Jared tolerated me asking people a few times to take our pictures, I am glad he did. :)
We ate lunch at the Lion House Pantry, YUM YUM.  We ate like kings this weekend. :)

So happy that Jared proposed marriage and that I accepted.  So happy that we were married for time and all eternity in the temple.  So especially grateful for the past eleven years and the many lessons learned, memories made and love grown.  Looking forward to the next eleven years and the many years to follow!
After lunch at the Lion House we met up with Justin and Allison to see the Avengers and go out to dinner at the Olive Garden.  We had a great time!  The movie was lots of fun, more than just a shoot-m-up movie, and dinner was great.  We LOVE getting together with them, and wish it happened much more often.

I am so grateful for my parents, and Natalie and Kevin as well as Scott and Lindsey for taking care of the boys for us so we could enjoy our get away.  I am also grateful for the Brosnahans for taking care of Pete and Annabelle.  I wish Jared and I could have a get away (maybe not as fancy) every month.  It was a GREAT weekend!!!!  Happy Anniversary Jared, LOVE YOU!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Circus Party at the Dentist

I love our family dentist/neighbor/friend.  Dr. Ogilvie has a children's day every quarter, and they are so fun.  This quarter's party was a circus theme.  When the boys arrived they got to spin a wheel for a prize, in addition to the goodie bags filled with tattoos, bubbles, stamps, a clown nose, a tie and a pair of glasses, they also received a great hat. Brandon was a good sport (surprise) and put on the whole costume.  He looks pretty cute if you ask me. :)

Grant agreed to the nose and occasionally other parts of the costume, bet never at the same time and never long enough for me to get a picture, but I don't care, look at how cute he is. :)

 When we got home we put the tattoos on our feet, the boys thought that was pretty cool. 
Oh, and the actual dentist appointment went well too.  Brandon was great to cooperate and get his teeth cleaned.  Grant on the other hand was less cooperative, but it was just his first visit, his happy visit.  So instead of working on teeth, Grant got to ride up and down on the chair, squirt the water, and play with a few of the other toys, just to see how much fun the dentist can be.  I wish the dentist had been this fun when I was a child. :)

Three Cute Boys and Dairy Keen

We love Dairy Keen!  The food is great (for fast food), but what we really love is all the trains.  Trains to play with, build with, watch as they run around the track overhead, play on, etc.  For these three boys the trains are the greatest things ever.  It was so much fun when Chandler and Natalie came up for a visit, we love playing with our cousin and sister. :)  Happy Day!

14 of 30

Describe 5 strengths you have.

1. Conviction of Faith and my testimony.  I know beyond doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.  I am grateful for my testimony and the way it guides my life.  I recognize that testimonies are fragile and can waver so easily so I work at mine each day so that it can remain strong.

2. Organization.  I am certainly not perfect at this, and as I look around my house at the piles of messes I wonder if this really is a strength.  But I often have people compliment me on how organized my children's rooms are and how organized my home is and how on top of my responsibilities I am, that to some extent it must be true.

3. Entertaining children.  When I started working at a daycare during high school I knew that I had a gift, at 16 years old I could have 20 children sitting in a room hanging on my every word.  But it wasn't until I started teaching at Challenger three years latter that I realized just how much I enjoy teaching young children and really enjoy entertaining them.  It is a natural high for me.

4. Getting things (projects - that I like) done.  I am pretty good at finishing projects that matter to me.  For example - I already have Brandon and most of Grants baby scrapbooks done through two years old, I start and finish wall decorations for Brandon and our bedroom, I stained the fence all around our yard and I assembled our computer desk.  Generally speaking I don't start a project unless I can finish it.

5. Gratitude.  I am not always terrific in telling others I am grateful.  But I do feel like I have a very grateful hear.  I recognize beauty all around me, I recognize the good deeds of others, I recognize the MANY things I am blessed with everyday, and I always feel very grateful when I recognize all the good that is around me.

13 of 30

Describe 5 weakness you have.

1. Unsympathetic.  I struggle showing my sympathy when someone is struggling, or when heartache comes.  I remember while working at Kindercare in Oregon, my director came in to tell us the bad news that one of my students mother had lost her twin fetus'.  Her twins were nearly 7 months along when they passed.  My director was so emotional and upset, as she should have been, but I was not and I wondered what was wrong with me?  That is not to say that I never feel sad or upset when I here bad news, I am not completely without sympathy, but it hard for me so show it and to be compassionate with others.  Often times crying and hugging feel uncomfortable and unnatural for me.

2. Judgemental/Critical.  I have been working on this a lot, but it is still so easy for me to find fault in others and think less of them because of it.  Even though I know I have NO room to judge and I know that my judgements are always inaccurate.  I am just as hard on myself and I am often sure that others are judging me harshly as well.  I really hate this about myself.

3. Self-Centered.  I am always looking to my needs first, the needs of my children close behind, the needs of our house, the needs of Jared, and the needs of others last.  I struggle to look around me and see what others need and then follow through, because doing so would take time away from the needs I have around home.  Jared unfortunately gets my attention last after, myself, the children, home, neighbors, callings and so on.  I know this is an area I need to work.

4. Addicted to food.  When unhealthy food that I know I should not eat is anywhere near me I really struggle to ignore it.  I will even go out of my way to find unhealthy food.  I really feel week in this area, however I have had moments, days and even weeks when I have been strong, so I know that I can turn this into a strength, with practice, effort, and lots of prayer.

5. Prideful.  To some extent we all are, but I feel like I really am.  This goes hand in hand with the judging.  It is a weakness to put yourself above another because you think you do something better than them.

This was NOT a fun post, but good just the same to reflect on some areas of needed improvement.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

12 of 30

Described a typical day in your life.

I think one of the hardest things of being a stay at home mom is that it never feels like there is a typical day.  I don't clock in at 8 and clock out at 5.  I don't have my meals at the same time every day.  I miss following my printed schedule five days a week at Challenger, I was able to get so much done.  I have tried to recreate something of a schedule, and it has helped me a lot, I just have to remind myself to be flexible with every hour of my day, because I never what surprises are in store for me on any particular day.  So my desired typical day assuming nothing out of the ordinary happens would go as follows.

6:30 -  wake up, pray, shower, dress, read scriptures, make bed, personal time for watching church media, writing in my journal, reading the Ensign or working on Personal Progress.
8:00 -  the boys are allowed out of their rooms (yes I said allowed - mean mom) we gather for family prayer, send Jared off to work and eat breakfast.  While the boys finish breakfast I unload and load the dishes.  When they finish we do "letters and numbers".  We work on flashcards, worksheets, handwriting, cutting, songs, memorizing scriptures and Articles of Faith, and learning games.
9:30 -  Fit Stop to train for my upcoming 5K while the boys go to the day care - LOVE this time of my day!
11:00 -  One, or several of the following; drop Brandon off at preschool, ASL with Grant and Ms. Mindy, Speech Therapy with Grant and Ms. Karen, visiting teaching, errands (recycling, bank, post office, shopping, etc.) or just play time at home with one or both boys
1:30 - One, or more of the following: pick Brandon up from preschool, more errands, lunch, chores around the house, walk the dogs, play outside
2:30 - One, or more of the following; read the boys a few stories, then put them down for naps, teach piano lessons, more household chores, make phone calls, prepare lessons and activities for family or young women's, work on projects (crafts, decorating, organizing, gardening, etc.) explore the Internet.
6:00 -  Make dinner
6:30 -  Eat dinner with the family (family style serving:) )  My other favorite part of the day!!
7:00 -  Play with the boys, or Family Home Evening, or go to meetings and mutual
8:30 -  Put one of the boys to bed by; brushing teeth, reading scriptures, saying prayers, reading stories, visiting, etc. etc. etc. (Jared and I take turns each night with who we put to bed, on odd numbered days I put Brandon to bed and Jared takes care of Grant and then on even numbered days we switch)
9:00 -  watch tv, update my blog, veg on the couch.
11:00 - get ready for bed, couple scripture study and prayer, personal prayer, and the inevitable but always enjoyable days end conversation with Jared.
12:00 -  Hopefully, going to sleep. :) (Right now it is 11:40 and I am still typing while Jared is reading a book outside with the dogs - midnight bedtime, yeah right, this needs to change.)

That is a very rough outline of my day, each day is joyfully interrupted by play dates with friends or family, phone conversations, doctors and dentist appointments, and everything else life can throw at you.  Keep things exciting, and unorganized :)

While I am on this topic of how I spend my days I want to share a thought or frustration I realized the other day.  With Grant's speech I read that the more one on one time I can devote to him the better off his improvements would be.  I mentioned this to my visiting teacher who just had her seventh baby a few weeks ago.  She offered (insisted) to take Brandon for me for a few hours here and there during each week so that I could focus on the one on one time with Grant.  It has been most helpful and wonderful and eye opening.  Because of her circumstances I don't feel like I can do anything else like; housework, blogging, etc, that I would like to do with Brandon out of my way, I am kind of forced to play with Grant.  While I am playing with Grant working on his speech and having so much fun with all his wonderful toys I find myself feeling guilty that I am "waisting" my time because I am not cleaning the house or crossing something off my to do list.  How messed up is that.  I wish somehow playing with, reading with, spending time with, or just listening too our children had a visible or tangible and immediate result; something so that at the end of the day I could say - look at what I did, I accomplished something.  It is silly, but still a reality.  I need to give  myself credit where credit is due and get past my check list nature so that I can really be a mom to my children.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

11 of 30

Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

1. A piece of paper with more than one color of ink, or different handwriting styles on it.  I like my lists, forms, notebooks, etc to have a uniform look.  Blue pens and all caps are best.

2. Other people, especially strangers, disciplining my children while I am right there handling the situation myself.  If I am gone, otherwise engaged, or completely unaware, then by all means go ahead and reprimand my child when he is out of line.  But if I am right there, mind your own business, I'm the mom, I'm in charge, I will handle it the way I think it needs to be handled.

3. Unprepared musical performances, especially in sacrament meeting.  Thank you for sharing your talents,  I commend you for doing so, but please make sure you will be prepared enough to be in tune and invite the spirit into the meeting, otherwise it is just a distraction.

4. When things are out of order.  Keep things in order, alphabetically, numerically, by size or by color.  For example, the boys plastic dishes are in all the colors of the rainbow, they need to be put in the dishwasher and the cupboard in the proper rainbow order; red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

5. When I make the bed in the morning, then I go to fold the laundry on my bed and my boys have unmade my bed so they could play on it.

6. When Jared does one of the house hold chores and it is not to my expectations - I really need to get over this and just be grateful for when he does the chores.

7. When people look at you like you crawled out of hole because you don't know something they know.  "You don't know the date of ....," or "You don't know this song...."  how can you call yourself a human. 

8. When Jared touches me with his toes while we are sleeping.  He will often tease and ask if I want to hold toes, ooo, yuck!

9. When Jared insists on sleeping with all the doors and windows closed and with the heat on.  He wants to sleep in a very warm, cave like bedroom.  I like to sleep in an airy, chilly, open field like bedroom.  We are beginning to reach a compromise in this area, at least now we sleep with the door open. :)

10. Very loud noises that are out of my control while my children are sleeping.  For example dogs barking incessantly while we are trying to take a much needed nap, landscape/home improvement noises before 8:00 in the morning when I desperately what my children to sleep in so I can have some early morning quiet time.

Pet Peeves are such silly things - get over it Michelle, let it go and enjoy a happier life!

10 of 30

Describe your most embarrassing moment.
Which one?

Do I dare share a story that would embarrass me even more but put Jared in a glowing light?
Why not, the few of you reading this hopefully think highly enough of me that you wont be too disgusted with me after you read this.  Disclaimer - if you do not like potty talk - don't read!

Jared and I had been dating seriously for nearly two months.  He wanted me to meet his family who all live in Idaho so we planned a trip with his parents.  We would stay at his sisters house with Jared sleeping in the basement and I would be sleeping in the guest room upstairs.  I did not eat healthily while in Idaho (I never do:)) consequently my digestion was unhappy, to top it off it was my time of the month. (I did warn you.)  I was feeling sick and I thought a shower would help, it didn't.  The shower just added dizziness to my cramps and additional discomforts.  I was miserable, weak, sick, in a new place where I couldn't find anything (like a necessary plunger).  I wanted so much to make a good impression on Jared's family, instead I spent nearly two hours in a bathroom getting ready while everyone waited for me in the nearby living room.  Jared came to check on me a few times before I finally in tears requested a plunger.  It did me no good, I was too week to unplug the toilet.  I could not leave the restroom in the condition it was in or in the condition I was in, so I stayed, unsure what to do.  Jared came again and through even more tears I told him everything.  Enter my Knight in Shining Armor.  Jared told me to just take care of myself and then go lay down on my bed and he would take care of everything else.  After unplugging the toilet and tidying up the bathroom, he came in to check on me.  He sat next to my bed and while caressing my arm and hand, created a beautiful escape for me by telling me all about a beautiful beach with palm trees swaying, the warm sun on my face, dolphins jumping in the horizon, while I was laying on a hammock.  He assured me that his family (still waiting for me nearly two hours later) was just fine and that I did not need to worry about what they thought.  I was SO grateful for his compassion and willingness to see past how disgusting I felt and I am sure I was.  I was SO impressed with him.  By the time we went on this trip I already knew I loved him, I already knew it was very likely we would get married and I already knew what a great man he was.  This event confirmed my feelings.  I had a real man, a tough man that loved me - a lot!  A lesser man would have done nothing or dumped me after the trip.   I would like to say that was the only time Jared has had to come to my rescue in such a way, but it wasn't and I suspect there will be other times when I need his help.  I love knowing that he will be there, in sickness and in health. :)  He is such a great man, and I am so very lucky!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

9 of 30

List ten people who have influence you and describe how.
Really 10 - JUST 10.  I am getting behind on my one a day plan, because "just ten" is giving me fits.  However I suppose it has to be ten, otherwise this post would never end.  I am sure that everyone feels the same way, that there are so many people who influence us, for whom we are so grateful.  So here is my list not in any order.

Mom - I wish I had a gift for putting in to words the appreciation and love I feel for my mom, but I don't.  George Washington said it well when he said " All I am I owe to my mother.  I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her."  I would add Spiritual education to the list and it would be complete.  However I still don't think it does justice to the influence she had on me.  I am so grateful for her.  I am who I am because of her, in fact in many ways I am her, and that's okay.  I am especially grateful that she both recognized and embarrassed the importance of her role as a mother. "Being a king, emperor, or president is mighty small potatoes compared to being a mother.  Commanding an army is little more than sweeping a street compared with training a boy or girl.  The mother of Moses did more for the world than all the kings that Egypt ever had.  Oh, you wait until you reach the mountains of eternity, then read the mothers' names in God's Hall of Fame." (Billy Sunday)  My mom's name will be in the Hall of Fame.  She, more than anyone helps me to realize just how important I am as a mother and that I have value as a daughter of God.  She is my greatest cheerleader!!  Love you mom!

Dad - If every child could have a dad like me, how fortunate would they be and how better off the world would be.  My dad spent quality time with me, taking us out on bike rides, taking us to the office, playing the guitar while I played the piano.  He brought humor and excitement to our home through story telling, water fights, hide-n-seek, and a quick wit.  He taught me patience, hard work and dedication.  He is a great example of quiet faith, I always knew where my dad stood and I knew when I crossed the line, but never because of what he said, it was because of his example.  He also taught me the joy of service.  I am so blessed to have him as my dad, because of him my mind is filled with thousands of rich memories (perhaps that is why there is no room for tedious facts, :) I would prefer to have it filled with wonderful memories).  I wish so much that I could be more like my dad!

Jared - I am truly a better person because of Jared.  Jared more than any one has taught me humility, forgiveness and patience.  It was not until I met Jared that I finally read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and gained a solid testimony of the gospel.  Jared has opened my eyes to the world by exposing me to travel, many new foods, lots of media, and his love of history.  Because of Jared I learned more about the world we live in, the famous people who shape it, the history of it, and the cultures than I ever learned while in school.  Because of Jared I know how to cook.  Because of Jared I have realized my greatest blessings of a temple marriage and the gift of becoming a mother.  We are celebrating our 11th anniversary this Friday.  I am eternally grateful he chose me and I chose him.  I love and adore him!

Grandma Johnson - I think my Grandma is the best!  She was always so good to have me, my sister and my two cousins (Jennifer and Carolyn) over for sleep overs or just over to play.  I loved walking into her house and hearing some opera or classical music playing on her little yellow stereo while she was washing the dishes by hand.  Her house always smelled yummy.  She was the best cook and baker I had ever met.  She would even make a pb and jelly sandwich special because she would cut it with cookie cutters.  Her toy closet had the greatest treasures from her latest trip to the DI, but the best toys were the sheets she would find - endless creations from a plain old sheet.  My mom was my Grandma's oldest daughter, I am my moms oldest daughter, the three of us have a LOT in common.  We all have strong opinions which we like to express, like how to properly load a dish washer. :)  We all have a great appreciation of the arts, music, dance, paintings, literature, etc.  My grandma instilled a love of books in me from a very young age because she read to me all the time while I sat on her lap in her rocking chair.  I am grateful for the legacy my Grandma left me.  And I can't forget to mention my Grandpa Johnson who was also very influential in my life, teaching me the value of hard work, self reliance through gardening, food storage and budgeting and the value of exercises.  I admire him a lot. 

Grandma Osborn - I also think my Grandma Osborn is the best - but in different ways.  My Grandma sent me a letter a few weeks ago which illustrates just how cool she is.  The first paragraph said "Don't be alarmed when you see my funeral outline that I am enclosing, but when I was down quite sick last  month with pneumonia I realized I am not young any more and at almost 93 years old I won't be around too much longer -- maybe 3 to 6 years at the most."  Please don't think badly when I say that I busted up laughing when I read that.  She just realized that she is not young any more at 93 years of age, and it is not because she is senile.  She is just young at heart.  She retired only a few years ago from running her own real estate business.  She still drives and cares for herself.  She still plays the organ in the temple.  She still goes to the retirement home to assist and care for the old people, most of which are younger than her.  She still plans and hosts family gatherings.  She still plays the piano beautifully.  She is still planning on being around for another 3-6 years.  I love my Grandma, she is a breath of fresh air.  She has a powerful testimony.  She has experienced and overcome challenges that would make others sinister, grumpy and mean.  She gave me a love and talent for the piano.  I hope I can have her attitude about life and enjoy life to the fullest like she has.  I want to be young forever too.

Paula Mortimer was my piano teacher, mentor and friend for ten years, which seems like nothing, but she was a powerful influence for good from day one.  In fifth grade we all had to write a report on our hero and the best, most meaningful reports would be chosen for the Hero assembly, because of her mine was chosen.  She was just that amazing!  Paula taught me piano which has made me who I am to everyone on the outside - "Michelle Bowman - oh yeah she's the one that plays the piano really well", it's probably how many will remember me, and that's more than okay.  I am SO SO SO grateful that I learned how to play the piano and that she was the BEST piano teacher ever!!!  But beyond piano she taught me the gospel, she taught me how to be a good person.  She loved me, really loved me and I knew it every time I set foot in her home.  I believe deeply that every child and youth needs someone outside of family that loves them, encourages them and is in a position to offer counsel and guidance.  Paula was that person for me.  I was taught so much more than piano for that short half hour a week that I was in her home, and I am eternally grateful.  I hope that I can be or have been that kind of a person for just one of my students, if I have than I feel like I have honored her.

Karie Lasson (Peterson)- When I started high school, I, like everyone else, was terrified and excited, but I was sure everything would be fine because I had a good friend to lean on.  Then for some reason (I wish I knew) that friend stopped being my friend, cold shoulder doesn't really do it justice.  I became extremely shy and reserved, but Karie (who knows why?) decided to talk to me in dreaded gym class and as a result become my friend.  In many ways she saved me.  Because of her, I gained more friends, truly great friends, than I could ever count.  Having many great friends and belonging to a group of strong, righteous, creative friends made my three years at Brighton High School so enjoyable.  Many people look on high school as a terrible time in their life, I don't.  Sure it was hard, full of drama and crazy emotions, but I loved it just the same.  Just as every youth needs a good mentor they need good friends.  I am so grateful that Karie introduced me to and gave me confidence to find so many good friends who in turn were great influences on my life.

Erin Massey - When Jared and I moved to Oregon I was once again in a place where I had to make new friends - YIKES.  I was so nervous that we would be lonely for the three years we were there.  The first Sunday we attended our new ward, our Bishop came quickly from the stand to meet and greet us after the meeting.  After he learned that we were here so that Jared could attend law school he pointed us in the direction of the Massey's and told us to go meet them.  We were slow about it, too slow for the Bishops liking, so he marched us over to them and introduced us. (Love Bishop Web for it)  And how did the Massey's respond?  Not like I probably would have, I would have been friendly, but reserved, which would not have allowed for a good friendship to forge.  But no, Erin was so bubbly and excited to meet us and befriend us.  We were invited to weekend activities with all the other young couples and families in the ward.  We didn't have time to be lonely in Oregon, we were too busy having fun with all of our new friends. :)  Once again a good friend introduced me to several great friends who made Oregon magical. so magical I didn't want to leave.  I still miss it terribly even though I know it is not the same as it was when we lived there.  I could make several more lists of people who have influenced me, just from people I had the privilege of knowing in Oregon, people who I grew to love and admire and who in turn loved me.  Now every time I hear someone mention Oregon I perk up and reminisce about the GREAT time Jared and I had there - oh how I miss it.  When Jared and I were planning to move back to Utah I told my mom I was scared to come back because I liked "Oregon Michelle" so much better than "Utah Michelle".  My good friends in Oregon helped me gained my confidence and learn to be and enjoy my Independence and I was so afraid I would lose that.

Dana Brosnahan - I entered the next phase of my life when Jared and I moved to Heber, bought a home and began our family.  Once again I was in need of new friends and a new support system.  Enter Dana to the rescue.  We were both serving in Primary together, we lived pretty much next door, and we were expecting children within days of each other, but the real friendship began after I had Brandon and she had McKell.  We began helping each other to take care of our children.  She would take Brandon in the afternoons for me while I taught piano and I would take McKell in the mornings while she ran errand, worked out and took care of her other two children.  When we weren't taking care of each others children we went on long walks together, to work off the baby fat and visit.  Our conversation covered everything.  Dana is my go to person for everything.  I often worry and Jared is convinced, that I take advantage of her, but she assures me that she feels the very same way towards me.  I admire Dana so much, she is a giver, Jared teases, that anytime we need something, (particularly relating to our children) we go to Babies-R-Dana.  She is constantly thinking of the needs of everyone else but herself.  I wish I could be so selfless.  Every new mom needs another young mom to be a support and friend.  I am grateful Dana was and continues to be one of mine.  She also helped me gain more friends within our ward.  She is so good to be the one who calls the majority of the time, because of my lame fear of calling people on the phone.  She has also kinda forced me out of my shell and helped me try new things that I wouldn't have otherwise tried.  I wish I could be as strong as her, even if she doesn't think she is strong.  She is a remarkable women and so much fun.  We set up these activities for our children, like, wadding pools, train tracks, or making a snowman, but really it is just our "adult" way of saying, "do you want to play" :).  I love that Dana like to play with the same things as me. :) 

Lastly, my sister Natalie.  You can't share a room with someone for 16 plus years, work at the same job for 1 1/2 years, and have your first child (both boys) within months of each other and not have an influence.  Natalie would be the first to say she has made many bad choices in her life, and our religion and values don't always match, but that does not change the fact that I greatly admire who she is and that I owe a lot to her for shaping who I have become.  We have shared innumerable memories and experience together and through them she has taught me a lot.  Natalie is the most accepting person I know.  In her eyes no one can do wrong.  She more than anyone has shown me what Christ like love it, she loves everyone no matter what.  I don't think she know how to judge.  This quality is what I wish so much that I could mirror.  Natalie is also super fun, she is the life of any party, kids are drawn to her enthusiasm and silliness, I have yet to meet a child that did not adore her, another one of her Christ like attributes.  It was because of her love and talent with children that I knew, the moment there was an opening at the preschool where I worked, I wanted her to fill it.  I loved being co-teachers with her more than all the 16 years we shared a room together.  But now I love being aunts to each others boys even more.  And this might sound wrong or unfair, but I am very grateful that because of some of her bad choices she has helped me gain a greater conviction of truth and of right and wrong.  Natalie more than anyone through her good and bad example has taught me of Christ, and for that I am grateful.  I am so lucky to have a sister that I can be close to, so very lucky!

While writing this post I was impressed with two things.  First how much each person matters in the world, I think of the hundreds of people who have had a direct influence on me and then the hundreds of people who had a direct influence on them, and I am amazed.  You never will know the impact you may have on someone for good by small and simple things.  Second, how mindful Heavenly Father is of me and my needs to send just the right person at the right time to help me, support me, love me, and shape me into the person I need to be.  Third I am amazed that all but two on my list are women, perhaps that is because I am a woman, but I think it is more than that.  I think it goes to show just how much influence women have.  I think it also illustrates the amazing ability to nurture women have.  Hooray for the many women in my life, wish I could list them all!!