Saturday, December 20, 2008

What *not* to do when going out of town.

1. Lose your driver's license.
2. Then realize, after tearing up the house with no luck, that you can't find your social security card either.
3. Spend another half of the day (that was set aside for packing) looking for other non-photo ID and/or driver's license, while waiting on the phone in several different queues trying to speak to airport* & DMV personnel. I think the most I waited on hold was over 45 minutes, but had at least three half-hour waits before getting to speak to human beings.
5. Drive all the way down to the DMV with three rambunctious little boys, without cash, debit, or checkbook, intending to pay the $22 fee to get a replacement license. They don't take credit card, the only form of payment you bring.**

(HELLO, shouldn't everywhere take credit? I pay my card off every month. Why should I be penalized for people who don't pay their CC bills? )

Despite Murphy's law today keeping me from any real plans to pack and leave early, there were some perks:

1) I got a really cute (IMO) haircut yesterday, and it's my opinion that matters, so, yay!
2) I found an inexpensive plane ticket so I can fly from Utah to Chicago during my trip, and go visit Katie (my sister, hubby, and new baby Abigail) & Shelly (cousin, hubby, kids, and brand new twins) in Iowa and Illinois. My mommy will watch my kiddos so I can fly out and back without Rob having to take any extra days off of work.
3) I learned my nephew Spencer wants to get baptized, and we get to attend his baptism on Jan. 3rd. : )
4) *I learned that an airport will accept a temporary license (no photo) with another form of ID like my birth certificate. Phew! But note to self to get a copy of my social security card and keep it on file!
5) **At the DMV today, two complete strangers offered to pay my fee rather than seeing me drive all the way home w/ my little boys to get my checkbook. Talk about a heartwarming Christmas experience of selfless people serving others. Of course I insisted on getting a gal's address so I can reimburse her, but it still blows me away that she tried to just offer me the money to save me the hassle of trying to drive home and back before the DMV closed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


For all of you sneaky people out there who have known about this song for ages and never told me about it, I just discovered it this week because it has played a few times on our favorite christmas radio station. I *love* it! Ha ha ha ha! Typed the song title into the youtube search engine, and voila.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Announcement

UPDATED 12/12/08: By the way, for any of you who don't know who's baby pics I'm posting on my blog (i.e. my friends who haven't met my family), Katie is my sister. Ben is her husband, and Abigail is their first baby, and Nana's (my mom) 2nd female grandchild. Very, very fun!

If you click on Abigail's full name further down in this post, it is a link to Katie & Ben's blog, and you can see a pic of my sister and her Mr. And more pics of Abigail.

UPDATED: New pics of beautiful Abigail. Isn't my new niece precious?

Abigail Elisabeth Knoll arrived last night in Iowa, to two very proud parents, Katie & Ben Knoll. Congratulations on your new alarm clock, you two!

Monday, December 1, 2008

{Laissez-faire}* n. A term used... describe a policy of allowing events to take their own course with minimal intervention.

Jeffrey and Bryce were undeterred by my procrastination to put up the tree.

If you could bottle the enthusiasm and energy of my boys as they gathered, assembled, & decorated our christmas tree tonight, we would not need prozac.
I did not bring in a single box from the garage. They found them, brought them all in, opened them all (oh the glee in their countenances!), and set to work attaching all the branches, checking the light strands, and so on. My only contribution was turning on a Burl Ives christmas CD, which only heightened their enjoyment of the process.
We stopped them for the scriptures, song, and prayer part of FHE, and then let them continue their project.
The tree looks awful (in my humble, artistic opinion), but oh, the memories they made tonight! I love it. How I love my boys!

And the creme de la creme was the allegory Bryce announced with "aha" eyes: "Oh, mom! The star is at the very top, looking down on the tree. The star is God. And all the ornaments are God's children. He's watching over us!" He also decided on his own an hour earlier that he is going to take his Book of Mormon for book share on Wednesday.
Ahhhh, the warm fuzzy moments.

*I have no idea how to pronounce this.
I wish Karolyn were here and could tell me; Shelly can. I don't think it's coincidence, though, that it looks like the english word "lazy." I was SO lazy tonight.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We often separate our boys at bedtime. Once they're asleep, we put them back in their room; Bryce & Nathan share the full bottom bunk, and Jeffrey sleeps on the twin top bunk.

Tonight we put Nathan in our room and he had a fit. He was miserably crying and saying he wanted to be in his own bed tonight. So Rob told him that once he was asleep, we would put him in his own bed.

Now, to what I just overheard Nathan yelling at the top of his lungs from our bed:

Nathan--Dad! DAAAAD! Daaaa-aaaad!

Clearly, he still wants to be put into his own bed. While he's awake.


Author: Unknown

"Some houses try to hide* the fact
That children shelter there;
Ours boasts of it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere.
For smears are on the windows,
Little smudges on the doors;
I should apologize, I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.
But I sat down with the children
And we played and laughed and read;
And if the doorbell doesn't shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I'm forced to choose
The one job or the other;
I'd like to cook and clean and scrub,
But first I'll be a mother."

The bad part is when I don't do the possible cleaning inferred in the above poem, but also don't really tend to the children, either....

*my sister, Kristy, doesn't try to hide her children's messes--she's actually planning on putting up a vinyl board sign in her house that says "No, this house is not under contstruction. Children live here." Ha ha ha ha!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I can't help it. It's thanksgiving. I am thankful for messy children and my messy house; it means we're living, engaged, plugged in. I can't say I'm thankful for all the fighting, but I'm thankful for the little moments that make me smile, chuckle, or roll my eyes.

Enter mushy-ness and cliches that I really mean:

Rob. What more can I say?

How did I get so lucky? There are not words to describe? He's my knight in shining armor? (See, I warned you about cliches) Don't think we don't fight. We do. A lot. Especially now that we've been married nearly 12 years, and boy do we get irritated with our spouse having the same annoying mannerisms they had 12 years ago that attracted us to them when we were dating.

But I often feel like Rob is one in a million. He treats me with dignity and respect. He doesn't put me down. He believes that sarcasm is destructive, and never uses against me vulnerable parts about myself.

When I spend the day crashing and watching online tv shows inbetween carpools, grocery runs, and telephone calls, and he comes home at 8 to find the kids have been grazing on apples, peanut butter, crackers, bagels, and carrots, he doesn't yell at me, or even passive-aggressively sigh,or make little comments out of the side of his mouth. He starts cleaning up their piles of messes, and then cooks a light dinner, maybe chicken salsa quesadillas and some frozen veggies warmed up. He keeps going even when he doesn't want to, even if I've given up for the time being.

He listens to me, he validates what is important, exciting, boring, or frustrating to me. He is FAR more selfless and pride-less than myself. In the bedroom he treats me like a queen, always taking the time to care more about me being happy, than himself.

He does most of our laundry. He does most of our dishes, and cleans out the litter box and remembers to feed the cats. He does the morning routines while I sleep (and I sleep HARD), and wakes me up when he's leaving for work. He does the weekend cooking. He always makes sure we have family prayer in the morning and at night. How much more romantic could he be?

And the computers, woohoo for Rob. He can troubleshoot just about anything, even if he would rather be doing something else (i.e. playing WoW). He comes and helps me figure things out that are beyond my understanding.

He won't let me beat myself for my sins and shortcomings, explaining that is Satan's plan, to discourage me into believing I'm a hopeless cause (even though it's hard not to believe that!). He won't let me compare myself, and has actually gotten it through my head that I can't compare my worst against someone else's best, which we gals ALL know we do. In fact, we compare our worst against the best parts of a dozen different people's strengths, creating this impossible, enviable amazing person to wish we were, that doesn't exist.

He defines success as being able to help his wife be happy. What more could a little cinderella wish for? He makes me want to be a better person. Here's hoping we make it to the celestial kingdom together, because he's a keeper! I love you, Rob.

and ps. Happy Birthday tomorrow, honey.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You took the words right out of my mouth

Well, not really. I didn't think up this perfect post, but TJ did. And for those of you who are too lazy to click on the link (though you'll miss out on all the witty comments to her post), here are her exact words:

Sometimes I wonder...
if my kids have any I idea that Blaine and I don't know what we're doing. Seriously, I'm the mom?

Friday, November 14, 2008


Many conversations occur while I am in transit with my kids, like the time the boys were discussing mammals and reptiles, and argued over whether or not "mommy" was a mammal. I was quite amused (and should I be relieved?) that they finally classified me as a mammal because I don't lay eggs.

Here is a conversation that I participated in recently:

Me: (Quite annoyed, just getting off of a phone conversation on my ear bud, which ended up not being visable to Jeffrey) Jeffrey! Could you NOT see that I was on talking on the phone? Will you please wait until I'm off the phone to talk to me?

Jeffrey: I didn't know you were on the phone. I thought you were talking to yourself.

Me: (Now quite amused, laughing) What? You thought I was talking to myself? What, do you think I'm crazy? That I just talk to myself?

Jeffrey: Daddy talks to himself.

Me: Yeah, but daddy IS crazy.

Jeffrey and Bryce: Nearly fall out of their seatbelts they are laughing so hard. Nathan even joins in laughing, wanting to be part of the action.

It turned from me being irritated, to having a really good laugh with my boys. We called Rob and told him about it, and he also cracked up. It was so funny that over a month later, the kids are still bringing it up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Money Can Buy Happiness

Recipe for happiness:

$10 for two pumpkins
Scraping and carving tools
Good friends

Mix well and have fun!

I couldn't resist the above blog title. I was so tired Thursday evening after scouts, but had promised Tami we'd carve pumpkins with them. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and purchased two pumpkins (Jeffrey already won a small one at school for an art contest), and we set up in the garage.

I'm so glad we did, because the kids could not have had more fun. They love, love, loved carving pumpkins. In fact, when Tami and Kevin came over with pizza, the kids could hardly be bothered to stop designing their jack-o-lanterns and actually eat yummy junk food.

I had so much fun with my kids and our neighbors, and as I've already stated, my kids thrived on the evening. It was such a refreshing night. And having no school the next day was an added bonus.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vanity, pure and simple

I think my piano recital invite* turned out pretty darn cute,** so here's me shamelessly posting a copy of it on my blog. So far I know I've got RSVPs for a ninja, a bumblebee, Elvis, and a ghost. We'll see who else shows up tomorrow to delight us with their aspiring piano talent.

*Yeah, making this invite had NOTHING to do with the darling clipART packages they sell at PcCrafter
**Oh yeah, and it also had NOTHING to do with the amazing abilities of Adobe Photoshop. It was all me, me, me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tag, I'm It

I was tagged by both hubby and Kara (Brigham's wiffy*) on the same day.

I'm not huge into the tagging thing, but I'll humor you both today. : )

The Rules
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post (same deal as #3).
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Though I am usually not one to rebel, I'm a serious rule-breaker today. But I'll abide by rule #3.

Six Random things about myself:
1. I love cottage cheese.
2. In high school I loved pantomime, enough that I competed in drama competitions.
3. I'm a thief. A copy-cat doer. Most of what I've picked up over the years, I've heard of or learned from someone else and decided I wanted to adopt it. Including how I discipline my children (thanks Sara Fisk). Or making an amazing quiet book (thanks Stacy Yarrington). Or how we do family scripture study (thanks Rebecca Carlson). Or how I got rid of restless leg syndrome at night** (thanks mom). Or using asterisks in my blogs with little footnotes (thank you Stephanie). Or asking people to de-lurk and comment on my posts (thanks TJ, though I've just not had the success you've had. I think you just have the magic blog touch).
4. One of my pet peeves is people that don't believe in ADD or depression, and/or don't believe in medication to help remedy those situations. Clearly those people haven't struggled with these VERY REAL*** issues. Grump grump grump.
5. I almost always shower at night.
6. My favorite thing to say to my boys is, "Guess what???" or "I have a secret!" If I can get them to say, "What?," I cheerfully say, "I love you!" Jeffrey has reached the point that it doesn't even phase him--he rolls his eyes. Bryce gives a shake of the fist with a fake mad face (though he's smiling through the gritted teeth), but Nathan still falls for it hook, line, and sinker.

*wiffy=wife. And Brigham is Rob's childhood best friend, and Brigham and Kara are also good friends to me from college.

**Whether it's a wives' tale or placebo effect, this has worked for me: I put a new bar of soap down by my legs when I lie down at night. If my legs really get restless I've even rubbed the bar on my legs. I can't believe it, but it really has stopped my restless legs, which lead to panic attacks for me when I can't sleep at night. I started doing this begrudgingly to appease my mom who kept asking me if I was doing this, and now I'm glad I did. Thanks, mom. You can now insert "I told you so" into the comments. : )

***OOh, this could SO become a rant. The bottom line is, if you or your kid had high blood pressure or diabetes, would you say, "No, this is all in his mind"? Or "She just needs to have beeter sleep, diet, and exercise habits"? Of course you wouldn't. You'd seek medical treatment to help yourself or your child be the healthiest self possible. In the fast-paced society we live in now, sometimes our bodies lack the chemicals that allow us to function at our best, and I believe God has allowed remedy medicines to be discovered that help our bodies have the best balance of chemicals so we can function and even thrive in our daily lives. Thank goodness for modern medicine.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday morning brotherly love:

Just call them the wrestling brothers. Or the Ringling Bros.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rolly boys

Another memorable FHE (Family Home Evening):

This was what Bryce and Nathan were doing while Rob was teaching about "Developing Compassion."

This cracks me up.

Oh, and, at least they're not fighting. See, that fits with developing compassion, dontcha think?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another Nathanism

Tonight, at the end of dinner:

Nathan to me: I want to go watch Fox and the Hound now. Can I?
Me: No, Nathan, it's time to get ready for bed.
Nathan, now looking at dad, without even pausing: Daddy, can I go watch Fox and the Hound?

He does this a lot. He doesn't even wait until the other parent is out of earshot!

(Rob's response to Nathan, by the way: "Do you think your dearest love will save you?," which, translated from Princess Bride, means, "Um, your mom just said no. Do you think you're going to weasel a yes out of me?")

Friday, October 17, 2008


Nathan's unsolicited dialogue last night just after a prayer on the food:

Nathan announced: Mom, I wasn't eating anything. (Meaning during the prayer; he has also announced on other occasions just after prayer, "Mom, I wasn't wiggling!")
Mom: Ok, Nathan.
Nathan: I was just chewing.

I thought that was cute. I'm not eating mom, I'm just chewing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Objective video

Please watch the video to the end before forming an opinion. It shows why I originally felt torn on the whole "Why not live and let live" issue of traditional marriage vs. nontraditional marriage (especially starting at minute 1:14 of the video clip). It explains how I feel, that I can accept and enjoy friendship with a person without being asked to legally condone their lifestyle as though it were the same as a heterosexual couple.

It causes me great anxiety to even speak up on this subject. I keep writing and erasing words, thinking, no, that may appear judgmental, no, that may hurt feelings, no, that may come across wrong. I worry, worry, about how to word my feelings so that my pure intent is understood. I feel like no matter how I try to express myself, someone will find a way to use it against me or mock me because I didn't articulate well enough why this issue WILL have such far-reaching effects on society.

I love people. I always have, I always will. I love you no matter who you are or what type of person you are, what you believe or don't believe, how you live or don't live.

I also firmly believe families are the building block of society (society is based on families having and rearing children to lead society and keep it going), and children's optimal development comes from the different unique roles of both father and mother whenever possible. To legally say marriage between a same-sex couple is the same is to call one gender role or the other irrelevant. It is NOT a question of civil rights or intolerance--the above video points that out, and it's worth watching.

Also, I appreciated my friend Rebecca's thoughts on the matter, with one clarification that I added in the comments, to which she agreed. I like how she looked at the issue from four different viewpoints: scientist, citizen, christian, & adult human being.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Proud Blog Mama

It's not even my own doing (I heard my sister Katie was the partner in crime), and yet I still feel like a new mama who's baby just took her first steps.

Ironic since this "baby" is MY mom. My very own mother, the sneaky rascal, quietly put up her own blog!

She's joined the blogging world and has already become a blog junkie.*

Way to go, mom!

*that's partly my fault--well, no, it's not my fault that y'all have catchy blog titles on my sidebar blog list.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Santa Ana winds

Does anyone remember the national coverage that the terrible CA fires got last year? A lot of it happened because fires broke out right during these Santa Ana winds that come every year.

When I was jogging this morning invisible pieces of debri kept getting stuck in my eyes. I still snapped all these pictures, and that's just of my little neighborhood from last night's winds. The wind was so furious this morning I thought my bedroom window was surely going to break.

The first picture down is an entire tree trunk uprooted.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Magic! Getting out grease stains.

It's magic, and I love it. I read a household tip from a dear friend's blog, and tried it, and IT WORKS!! It works worthy of all caps and two exclamation points!

And the kicker? It works even IF the stain is set (meaning you've already washed and dried the clothing before). Magic, I tell you. Just remember to rub the grease stains well with dish soap first, then soak it in some distilled water for a day, then wash. (First I only used distilled water and missed step 2, the dish soap, to no avail)

Three ruined favorite shirts and one jacket are now no longer ruined. I'm telling you, this is life-changing laundry advice for a mom with three little boys. ; ) Thanks Rebecca. Who knew!

Spring Flowers

Though it's fall, look at these beautiful spring flowers! The date on the link is May of '08. There's nothing like beautiful flowers to brighten one's day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


"Wow!" is the theme for the national Reflections contest this year. (Can you tell the due date for entries is tomorrow, so we have Reflections entries on the brain right now?)

It is a perfect title not only for all the pictures my boys drew/photographed, but for General Conference. Several years ago, when I would watch/listen to conference, I would think, ok, ok, nice topics, good advice, good to remember. Somehow now, though, it's as if my spiritually weak self needs this nourishment, and the topics are on fire, uplifting and rejuvenating me every six months. I think, "What can apostles and our prophet say that haven't already been said? How could it get any better?" and then they out-do themselves every time.

Even though our router broke Saturday in the middle of Sis. Allred's talk, Rob bought and installed a new one by nightfall, and we watched Sat. morning's session about 8 pm last night.

Today we watched Sat. afternoon's session in between Sun.'s morning and afternoon sessions. One might think, 6 straight hours of listening to church talks, are you crazy? But it was just what I needed. (Not to mention I was just switching my addiction from watching hours of Alfred Hitchcock on Friday, to hours of conference today)

I can't even point out a favorite yet, but I have already re-listened to Pres. Monson's "Change/Enjoy the Journey" talk (Sun. morning session) and ate it up. Of course, I love Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I love Our Town, especially deceased Emily's observations about wanting to scream to her family to stop and look around at them, and realize what they've got while they're alive.

Two side notes:
1. I really loved President Hinckley, and though I missed hearing him in April, today several times I would hear a talk start and think the voice could almost be him; I missed him more this conference.

2. One song that was sung was "Faith in Every Footstep," the exact arrangement Rob and myself and my family sang in the 1997 Susquesential Celebration. It's amazing how when you've sung a song, it reaches you, it becomes a part of you. My heart was full and I cried while I sang the song with the choir today from my family room. I don't know how to describe how I felt I was worshipping God through song. The feeling was so strong. I know all you music-lovers out there understand; my mom is one of them, so is Rob's dad.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


As a society we are running around, busy as bees. Religious persons often really speak of their busyness (I'm guilty as charged) because we're afraid of being idle when scriptures point to idleness as sinful, or at least as wasting our earthly probation. We seek to be anxiously engaged in good causes, but sometimes we miss the point (guilty as charged, again).

I happened to look up the definition today:

1. the quality or condition of being busy.
2. lively but meaningless activity.

Did you catch that? Definition #2? Astounding, isn't it. How often do I run around lively involved in meaningless activity? Yes, a lot of my activites are quite meaningful, but I'll sure think twice before I promote how "busy" I often feel (while in my mind specifically not mentioning the hours I waste in trying to wind down from said busy activities).

But here's the thing. Sometimes we NEED to waste time. I don't mean reading or relaxing leisurely activities that refresh and renew, I mean letting the brain just veg on autopilot with any number of sundry mind-numbing activities or lack thereof.

So why are we afraid (ok, why am *I* afraid) to admit to having lost a whole day to reading the archives of someone's blog, or catching up on an entire season of a tv drama in one sitting?

Sunday, September 28, 2008


You know you've transferred to a blogger mindset when you think throughout the day, "Ooh, I've got to take a pic of that to post," or "I could write a clever post about this" (ok, ok, maybe not so clever, just humor me, de-lurk, and keep telling me they're clever). ; )

On several different occasions I've meant to blog about this or that this past few weeks. But, school is in full swing, as is scouts, so I haven't gotten to it. I really hope blogging doesn't become something I feel like is just another thing I can't seem to get to. I want it to be something that refreshes me. For now, the following should have been several individual posts.

So. Funny comment. First I'm pleased that Nathan is pulling out scripture stories in sacrament meeting. Then I hear him, whispering quite loudly: "Mom, where's the blood? I want to find the one with all the blood, mom!" as he was looking through the old testament scripture stories, trying to find one of the ten plagues when Pharoah of Egypt tried to have a showdown against God. It took Rob and I a bit to figure out what he meant by wanting to see the blood, and then we quickly found him the part where all the water in Egypt turned to blood, to quiet him up.

Jeffrey on Friday: "What? It's already Friday? The week goes by so fast!"
Me: Depressed that he's already starting to feel that at only nine years old. I don't think I started saying that until high school. Come on, Jeffrey, just enjoy being a kid!

FHE three days before school started:

I think the picture says it all. And you think your Family Home Evenings go badly sometimes? We thought this was pretty funny. Every year before school starts, Rob gives each person a blessing, a special tradition in both Rob's and my family. Since we convinced the boys not to wiggle and be rowdy during the blessings, after each boy got his blessing, he went over to the couch and sat quietly for the next boy's blessing, and promptly fell asleep. First Nathan, then Bryce, and then while Rob gave me a blessing, Jeffrey. What does this tell me? Reverence = Sleep. At least for now. ; )

Polka-dotted FHE:

On a Sunday before another FHE night, Bryce decides he really wants to make cookies with dad, a favorite past-time of theirs. Bryce insists on chocolate chip cookies though Rob can't find any chocolate chips. I'm amused at their non-chippy cookies, but it's just not the same w/out the chips.

Monday evening, while we are playing dominoes as a family, I slip over to the kitchen, find a bag of choc. chippers (I'm so sneaky, heh heh, only I knew where they were), stick a whole bunch of them into the already-cooked cookies, and place them in the oven on 200 degrees to warm them up.

Dominoes + chocolate chip cookies = Polka dotted FHE.

And lastly, gripe of the week: Why does it have to be such a fight to be a parent? You spend enormous amounts of energy convincing your children of expectations that need to be met. It's so frustrating. And sometimes it's things I think they would want to do, and they put up this big fight. Once I make them do something, and they realize it's going to happen, they finally do it, but by then I'm worn out and want to just bite all their heads off. It's with morning routines, evening routines, jobs, running errands, walking to school, doing homework, getting out the door for anything, playing outside sometimes, etc etc. They resist with such consistency, it really wears a body down! They whine, pout, grump, drag their feet, and then half-way through they get into what they're doing, and the thing is finally bearable. In fact, a lot of times, it ends up being fun and gets done quickly. So why all the drama to get to that point?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quip of the Year

My dear friend was talking to me in passing. I offered to pick her son up from school because she wasn't feeling well. Then I remembered I had a time conflict. She was very forgiving, and kindly but frankly quipped,

"You think with your heart. Your brain eventually catches up."

I laughed so hard, I nearly fell over, partly because of who said it, my sweet Hindu friend. Plus, this is SO me. In fact, I don't necessarily think. Whatever I do, my brain does eventually catch up, though....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 11th

On Thursday Jeffrey's elementary school honored all those who fell on September 11, 2001. The scouts stood together while a color guard raised the flag halfway. Then everyone sang the star spangled banner.

I thought it was a neat morning, and enjoyed the patriotism that was displayed by scouts, students, teachers, and parents. We had 120 scouts participate. Pretty amazing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Tooth

Bryce lost his first tooth yesterday during stake conference! *sob* My baby is growing up! And then, to compound my nastalgia for his baby years, he lost another one tonight during family home evening! My little man is now missing his two bottom front teeth.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why NOT just live and let live?

Traditional Marriage is at a crossroads, especially when activist judges recently overturned the will of the people in California. Please read the links posted on the right side bar of my blog (and posted below), and urge anyone you know in California that supports traditional marriage to vote yes on proposition 8 this November. Please, if you can financially support prop 8, don't hesitate.

Please know that I do not personally condemn anyone who chooses to live a homosexual lifestyle, and I believe that many are born with same-gender attraction. I have read some touching blogs of LDS members who feel same-gender attraction and choose not to act on their feelings even though it means a lonely life in mortality. I see them choose to abstain just as God asks single people, divorced or never been married, to obey laws of chastity. I do not love homosexuals any differently, and in fact go out of my way to show that I care even though we have fundamentally different beliefs. We can accept and love a person without accepting their choices.

So, why not just live and let live?

I feel that homosexual activist groups are making the issue that if we do not accept and condone their lifestyle choice, we are not accepting them as a person rather than allowing us to accept them without accepting their lifestyle decisions. If we do not accept their lifestyle, we are considered bigots/racist/discriminatory. Homosexuals cry "Inequality!," which seems compelling.

Prop 8 is up for vote in November for all Californians. It maintains that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is not a declaration of war against individuals, but a defense of a vital institution.Prop 8 is NOT an attack on same-sex couples and does not take away the rights that same-sex couples already have under California’s domestic partner law. California law already grants domestic partners all the rights that a state can grant to a married couple. Same-sex couples have a right to their private lives, but not to change the definition of marriage for everyone else.

Here are just some of the legal ramifications, including being on a precipice of losing our first amendment rights:

1. Marriage between a man and a woman is the fabric of our society. To deny children growing up in a home with a father and mother whenever possible (I understand there are many single parents and non-ideal situations to which you do your best), is to further plummet already declining moral values in our country, which will have many dire, unintended consequences to the stability of our society. Children need input from both a mother's and father's differing strengths for the best possible development. To be raised by same-sex parents is to teach them that one role or the other is irrelevant.

Even from the religious standpoint of arguing that God has commanded the acting on same-gender attraction as a sin, "Gay marriage" is not bad because God forbids it. God forbids it because it is harmful for us, as a society and as individuals. Even if people don't believe it or know it, God has a plan for us, and family is centered around that plan. Marriage is ordained of God to fulfill the purposes of our creation, including being a sacred mechanism whereby spirits can be housed. Our bodies are physically designed to compliment each other, as are our male and female natures. Strong families are also the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization.

Poignantly posted at is the following: "Marriage is a social contract because the issues involved go beyond the particular individuals. Unions of a man and a woman produce the future generations on whom the fate of the whole society depends. Society has something to say about that.

Even at the individual level, men and women have different circumstances, if only from the fact that women have babies and men do not. These and other asymmetries in the positions of women and men justify long-term legal arrangements to enable society to keep this asymmetrical relationship viable — for society's sake.

Neither of these considerations applies to unions where the people are of the same sex.

Centuries of experience in trying to cope with the asymmetries of marriage have built up a large body of laws and practices geared to that particular legal relationship. To then transfer all of that to another relationship that was not contemplated when these laws were passed is to make rhetoric more important than reality."

All of this is extremely endangered by the legalizing of same-sex marriage. Co-habitation under any title is not a sufficient reason for defining new forms of marriage.

2. Churches may be sued over and lose tax exempt status if they decline to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings.

2. Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk govt. fines. California municipal employees are already not allowed to say "traditional marriage" or "family values," due to them being considered hate speech.

3. Religious adoption agencies will not be allowed to place children solely in homes with both a mother and a father, even if this is counter to church doctrine. Catholic Charities in Boston already closed its doors due to the legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

4. Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is the same as traditional marriage, causing serious clashes between the secular school and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs.

Urgently important articles/links:
The Divine Institution of Marriage
Proclamation on the Family

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday Five. I mean, Saturday One--

I've seen people post "Friday fives," kind of like an end-of-the-week gratitude journal. Mine is only one, and it's really stolen from TJ's blog, which says "I have validation needs/issues so please, please De-lurk. Please." When I read that I nodded my head vigorously and dreamed of squeezing it into one of my own posts....

1. I LOVE it when people actually respond to my posts. Can we say, Kimberly needs validation? Or is it just that I'm a people person? Or, just the validation thing. I want you to tell me how clever my posts are. ; ) Just kidding. Even just responding at all makes you my favorite person. Kara, you made my day when you responded to my last post so quickly!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Too much of a good thing

Too much vacation? Unheard of, right? I love to see family and friends, and especially enjoy the rich experiences my children gain from being with relatives. I fondly remember my vacation experiences growing up.

Still, it does seem to catch up with me. I'm loving my vacation this summer, yet my body can't seem to keep up with it all. Is this another sign of me getting older? I'm turning into this homebody who wants to be lazy and lay off the adventure. : )

Luckily, no one is letting me off the hook, so we have lots of treasured memories that we are piling up. We attended a week-long Cropper reunion at a cabin close to Grace, Idaho that included parachute games (yes, like we all played with at PE in elementary school), lots of crafts for the children like making real Mr. Potato heads, family trivia games, picture puzzles of Grandma/pa Cropper, a slideshow showing the life of the entire Cropper family (including grands and great-grands), a dutch-oven cookoff, pie eating contest, kids making stone soup, a CPR training, tubing down a river, miniature golf, swimming, ping pong and pool, making orange juice by rolling oranges and sticking in straws, lots of board games, a talent show (called "American Cousins"), toffee smores, a testimony meeting about missionary experiences, lots of trampoline time, a horse & carriage ride complete with dinner and entertainment, and lots of catching up with family from all over the US.

We have also been to Seven Peaks with the Wilsons, had Dave's fabulous chocolate chip cookies, gone to an amazing stake carnival that included hot air balloon rides, rock-climbing walls, huge bouncy slides, pony/horse rides, rocket-launching, cotton candy and a reptile show, etc. We spent a day at Bear Lake with Nana, which wiped us both out but was very much a wonderful day anyway (we have the sunburns to prove what a great day it was!). We spent an evening at a new park with the Petersens, catching up. We spent another afternoon with the slip'n'slide out front, blowing bubbles, making snow-cones and playing in the water with Nana and Grandpa.

We still have yet to go to Thanksgiving Point, Brick Oven, go see Wall-E, go horseback riding, and then home to get ready for the start of school on Sept. 4th.

Please still love us if we didn't get to see you this trip; it seems each trip we have less time and more things to do.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Who thought being a Webelos den mother was such a hard calling? Oh, wait. Everyone does. It is a hard calling. I was actually comparing it to teaching early morning seminary, and have to admit that teaching seminary, though it required preparing a lesson each day, did not require trying to figure out tons of tiny little requirements that one scout or another is missing to pass off an activity badge. If I'm speaking greek to you, you haven't started scouts yet.

Ay ay ay! After three days of trying to fully update scout records amidst many interruptions, I finished at 3 am this morning, only 4 hours after I finally carved out some "me" time to finish prepping for August's awards.

Phew. I'm safe to leave on our trip to Utah now, after we have a joint den activity tomorrow morning at 9 am. Then pack meeting at the end of August, and then start a new month of den activities along with the start of school, and look forward to September's pack meeting!

*post script: I do love my scouts, and love what Jeffrey is learning through the scout program. It really is worth it. The top picture is of our wolves and bears at cub camp. I'm on the far left, Jeffrey has the red and white hat on. The bottom picture shows my webelos. I've gone down from 9 boys to 5 right now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

How many words can you type a minute?

This was fun to do! I saw this on Kirsten's website and enjoyed finding out 9 years out of college if I could still type fast. Clearly I spend way too much time at the computer!

96 words">Speed test

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Budding Virtuoso. Again.

Drumroll......we bought Jeffrey a cheap violin on Ebay! He is now adding to his pianist prowess with another instrument.

He has taken to it like a fish to water. His piano teacher has been teaching him a little with her violin at the end of his piano lessons, and he's been expressing interest in taking violin lessons. He's now already had his first violin lesson and he's taking off!

(Bryce and Nathan are quite offended that I didn't buy them one, too, as if a violin were a $5 toy at StuffMart)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prisoners at the pool (Really!)

Aaah! There are few stress-relieving moments better than finding something you've lost. Like your keys. Or your cellphone. Ever notice that they're always in the last place that you look? Heh heh. : ) Because once you find them, you stop looking! (Yes, I know, I'm easily amused)

But I'm SO happy that I found my cellphone, an extra addiction, uh, I mean, appendage, of mine.

Last week when we were swimming, I gave Jeffrey the keys to unlock the pool gate so he and Bryce could head home a few moments before me. I was getting sandals on Nathan when I looked up and realized they had taken off--with the keys. The gate had swung shut and locked, and Nathan and I were prisoners, with no one else at the pool, and no one walking by. We waited about 15 minutes, then I remembered I brought my cell phone, so I kept calling the house. Neither boy answered. Finally, when I called Rob, amused with my situation, told me to call some neighbors. Tami (mom of the cute baby Nathan featured on this blog) went over to our house and told Jeff to come unlock us, which he did. It was pretty funny.

The not-funny part is that apparently I put my phone back into our bottomless swimming bag and promptly forgot it. After more than a week and lots of hunting, I have started to get worried that it slipped out of my purse in some store, lost forever. This morning I actually said a sincere prayer to be able to find it.

While visiting teaching my friend Kim Rapier just an hour later, I gasped out loud & interrupted the conversation when the thought randomly entered my head that my keys could be in the swimming bag! Thank you for those quiet little temporal prayers that Heavenly Father answers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Convenience Enthusiast

Ha! This is a great comic.


Why is it that I know I need sleep, I know the consequences of not going to sleep, yet I love the night? Especially the quiet it brings, the freedom to do things uninterrupted by phone, door, children, or schedules. I usually am not even productive. I just cling to some *me* time (not that I don't steal some during the day, too).
I always pay for not sleeping when I should. Well, rather, I should say, Rob always pays for it.... He, the kind morning-a-holic that HE is (which is a very good thing), takes care of kids and things. But I am also sluggishly sleep-deprived, and sometimes slough off the next day, waiting for the night to come when I'm not distracted and tired and busy, and can have some *me* time again. Do you see why I need to break the cycle? And yet here it is at 2 am and I just don't want to go to bed (normally I don't push it this late, especially on a Sat. night, but here I am).

On a different note, the kids had fun at a stake primary pioneer activity today, we had great fun as a family at the pool tonight, and, my favorite, I loved reading to the boys around the kitchen table while Rob fed them an evening snack after the pool. I haven't read so much to them recently, and just got a new pile of library books. I love their faces being completely drawn in to the story, them waiting anxiously for me to turn the page.

So much for my post sticking to one subject. It must be late; I should go to bed...

Monday, July 14, 2008

True Story

My favorite father in law in the whole world calls me yesterday.

I'm excited to hear from him. "How are you doing?" I ask.
He answers, then says, "Well, I called to say Happy Birthday..."
"Oh," confused, I reply, "Well, thank you," knowing my birthday is three days away.
He continues, " ME!!"
Lightbulbs turn on, fire bells go off, now I remember. It's HIS birthday.

How embarassing! I am the world's WORST birthday rememberer. Even my sister Kristy has pulled me aside and explained that she was born ON tax day, so I should be able to remember her birthday. Aaagh! Luckily, my FIL is my favorite in the whole world for a reason. He called to give me a hard time, but it was all in good fun. Love you, dad Wilson!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fairy Tears

At swim lessons Jeffrey & Bryce take turns for semi-private before all three boys' regular lesson time, so Nathan runs around a lot the first half hour. Yesterday I was quite amused to find them playing their own form of tag once they grew bored of their simple "123 Go!" races. Someone was the "holder." If the holder reached someone and started bear-hugging/holding them, they lost energy. But, as I started to play, and Nathan was hugging my legs, Jeff exclaimed, "Don't worry mom, you've got three lives before you die!" I held my children off from gaming as long as possible, but this certainly proves they love to game now.

A similar experience happened at dinner two nights ago. I got some free pink tampico punch from one of my Scoutorama coupon books, a rare a yummy dinner delight. I only half-noticed the kids saying it was fairy tears, or fairy juice, and made them eat bites of food before refills. Only when I heard Nathan pipe up did I really smile at my imaginative boys. Nathan took a drink and said, "I drank my fairy tears, now I'm all hearted up," meaning that if he was playing a video game, his heart meter (health) would have filled up. Can we say, too much time watching/playing Zelda??? Still, I love watching their creative play.
As for all the pictures above, I love the rare, non-fighting moments between Bryce and Nathan. They look like best buds. I also love Nathan's face at Golden Spoon afterwards, while he puts his whole energy into eating his frozen yogurt. That's how ice cream/yogurt *should* be eaten! Yum!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Talented, hilarious musicians

I know I've posted this for my extended Cropper family at, but I am posting again for those of you who haven't seen these. They are so talented and hilarious, in my opinion. They make it look SO easy, but if you watch their hands on the piano or violin, it's clear they're extremely accomplished.

Mozart Bond
Riverdancing Violinist
Piano Lesson

I Will Survive
Ticket to Ride
Rachmoninov had big hands

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lonnie Ramos Update

Apparently Lonnie dropped Ryan off at an LDS church in Juarez, Mexico and then took off. Somehow he then was in a fatal car accident. Almost as baffling an ending as the tragic beginning.

I don't really know how to process this, how this will work out for him after this life. I do wonder if this is how Heavenly Father feels when we make poor decisions (sometimes life-alternating) and Heavenly Father knows that's not who we are. I can imagine better His heartache when we make choices that adversely affect us and our eternal welfare, as well as the welfare of close family/friends around us. I knew the "good" Lonnie, a really compassionate person. It's so hard for me to understand him taking such drastic measures.

I'm so sorry for the estranged wife, as well as for the psychological effects on poor Ryan. Ryan has been flown back to the US, and has already been able to visit his mom in the hospital.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Baby Nathan

Baby Nathan is here! Not mine, of course, I'd tell you all if I was having a baby. My best friend here in CA, Tami Langley, is also my next-door neighbor, and she had a little boy yesterday morning at 9:17 am. He came quite early despite her month of bedrest and her last week in the hospital, but he looks beautiful and healthy. Tami & husband Kevin are so happy, and all are doing well. Here's my first try at posting pics. Nathan Danger Langley is 4 lbs 6 oz, 17 1/2 inches long.

Misleading blog title

Ok, so I'm looking at the definition of idealist, and realize my blog title is a little misleading. Though I think it's very clever and funny (thanks Katie for the idea), I really do continue to be an idealist; I really do cherish/pursue high and noble principles, goals, and purposes, all relating to the Plan of Salvation. I think the difference is, I now realize that they are not the everyday norm, which is why I love the quote at the bottom of my first post. When we're having FHE (family home evening), I don't base its success on how the kids acted or received it (if I did, I would be a very depressed person sometimes). I base it on the fact that we are in the right place at the right time, and that I am teaching my children how to act during FHE.

I'm still a blogging baby, but hopefully will post pictures as I get better at this. Then, hopefully video and add some soundtracks, and especially links to all of my blogging friends and family.

Today was very emotional for me at church, knowing Lonnie used to be here every week and I had forgotten he even was a primary teacher for awhile. Our bishop helped address it a little and especially how to respond to our kids' questions about it. Being an emotional day, I relied on my anchor, which is my testimony of the Savior and understanding of God's plan for us. It also makes me want to cling to my family and be a better parent, and strengthen my marriage even more.

Friday, July 4, 2008

How is it possible?

I don't know what to say. A man in our ward, Lonnie Ramos, shot his ex-wife Wed. night (she did survive the shooting; she was hit at least one time in the upper torso), less than 3 minutes from our home.

She was coming to pick up Ryan for a custody exchange, and he charged her from the bushes, shooting through her windshield. I do not have words to describe my emotions. I am so sick to my stomach.

I know he's gone through a bitter divorce and painful custody battle, but I've also seen this kind and cheerful man show his good heart so many times each week at church. In Gospel Principles I saw a period of time where his testimony was growing, and he was working so hard trying to have the Spirit in his life, and forgive his ex-wife. I've seen him at the park practicing soccer with his 9 year old son. Last October Ryan spent all day making a pie for a contest, and won the pie-decorating contest at our ward Halloween carnival/dinner/trunk or treat--Lonnie & Ryan always dress up fabulously at Halloween. Lonnie dated a mom of one of Jeffrey's classmates for a year, and I often saw how caring he was, how kindly he treated her and her children. He was a dedicated and doting father at Ryan's weekly cub scout activities.

What happened? What was it that caused him to snap? Apparently the divorce and the custody battle was ugly, as well as disputes when one or the other parent picked Ryan up. He also recently lost his business, and his house was going into a short sale. A roommate who co-owned a house with him (very understandable here in CA) said that he swiveled to sad, angry, happy, sad, sad, happy, angry, angry, sad. Was he trying to make sense of the craziness in his life, and depression got the better of him? I watched my brother and sister in law get divorced, and it seems there's no way to keep things compartmentalized. It was so hard for both of them, so muddy, so messy.

And now what happens? He goes on the run with his son who may have witnessed him attempt to kill his wife. Any chance at working through problems, especially those related to his beloved son (with whom he spent the weekend at Legoland just prior to this), are gone. When the consequences start piling up, and he is caught, he will lose getting to live with his son, and will lose all custody of him. His son may be psychologically scarred for life, his ex-wife will be physically scarred for sure, and the passenger friend and her 4 year old daughter that were in the car are certainly affected (they were not injured). How was this possible?

My heart just aches for Lonnie. I tell you, I saw so much goodness in him, trying to make sense of his divorce and seek spiritual guidance. Sadly, it was only after I learned this tonight that I realized I haven't seen him at church for a few months now. Of course I wish SO much that I had continued to extend the hand of friendship and at least notice and call when he stopped coming to church.

On top of this, Wed. afternoon there was a car accident with at least one fatality, only 3 miles from my home, in the time that one of my mothers dropped her daughter off to piano lessons and then picked her up 1 hour later. How short life is; it can change in the blink of an eye!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Where do I start? Cute child comments? (Jeffrey's notes in sacrament meeting: "Thou shalt not be idle. If you are idle, thou art crazy"--and no, he didn't hear that from any of the speakers)

Terrible home stories? (Ok, Nathan painting on the carpet and leaving permanent paint signatures is nothing compared to poor Jake flooding his basement or Sara wearing a midnight snack instead of eating one)

Funny comics? (Recently, the gas pump holding up the customer in good ole' robber style comes to mind, or the pump requesting the customer to insert credit card, then annual salary, etc, and ending by saying, "Your loan has been approved. You may now fill up.")

Hilarious Youtube videos? (Like "Charlie bit me," only funny if someone who's already watched it is introducing it to you. Or any of the Igudesman & Joo videos

Nervous stories? (Ok, I just threw that one in because today I was asked to give a 5 minute talk at our visiting teaching conference. At least I wasn't so nervous I asked the same person to give the closing prayer that gave the opening prayer, which happened to a nervous young gal once)

Or should I start with the name of my blog? It's not nearly as creative as some (Daisy Dance, I love your "b(lah)g," and Stacy, I love "The Perfect Chord"). I've debated between "Indecisive," because I am; it's one of the big reasons I haven't made a blog yet, because I didn't know what to name it. Another option was "Outnumbered," since I'm one girl among 4 males. If you have any other ideas, please post them. I love my sister Katie Knoll's blog, "Inspiration Knoll."

But I've found parenthood to be harder than anything I ever expected. Though I have not lost hope, reality continues to rear its ugly head, and I realize how temporal our mortal existence is. Sometimes it's discouraging to realize that we spend most of our time dealing with temporal things even though we strive to become celestial beings in the long run. It's hard to feel the Spirit when your kids are fighting, the phone is ringing, the house is messy, and someone has an accident in their pants, while another one has spilled sticky juice on the floor and someone's at the door.

But the good news is, even though I'm a recovering idealist, I keep learning things along the way that shift my perspective in how I approach life. Though I don't approach it with the rosy glasses of yesteryear, I try to live in the precious moments when they happen. A great example is a recent car ride to church. We started singing primary songs, and one of the kids piped up about a favorite song, "I See My Mother Kneeling." We start singing it, and in my mind I take a mental snapshot of this special, warm experience. Then enters reality--Jeffrey or Bryce turns to the other hotly and starts snapping, "I can't hear you singing!," and the fighting begins. But in that moment, I didn't even feel discouraged. It was humorous to me, the ideal mixed with the real, and I was glad to catch that glimpse of the eternal warmth of a happy family.

So I'll end my first blog (yes, I know, even my first entry is as long-winded as I am!) with a quote that balances my recovering idealist nature (recovering meaning I haven't fully recovered yet in hoping my kids will turn into cheerful, obedient, sharing bite-sized humans):

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .
Life is like an old-time rail journey--delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
Jenkins Lloyd Jones, Deseret News, 12 June 1973, A4
Often quoted by former Prophet and President of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley