Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Halloween is one of my most favorite days of all time. We get to dress up and pretend that we are the character of our choice. The weather is amazing. Family and friends gather together and hang out eating candy. Does it get any better than that? Well yes, actually it does! Because my husband makes it a full meal deal! Tonight we had a packed driveway and we went through over 200 hot dogs ... I love this holiday!

Our Halloween celebration began early, the first week of October to be exact. During conference, the kids made all kinds of spooky decorations for our front yard and we hung them from trees and placed them in pots.

Then I got to go to a Pumpkin Patch with my Webelos (since I am one fantastic Webelo Leader, even though the sun completely took my face out.)

Pretty soon it was time to carve the ole' pumpkins, which Gary handles beautifully!

And then ... it's time! Time to wheel the grill out onto the driveway. Time to welcome family, friends and lots of strangers over for hot dogs and candy. Time to view the costumes that have transformed a seemingly normal neighborhood into a Fun Freak Fest!

Friday, October 26, 2007


This morning I woke up smiling. At 5:00 a.m., my eyes flew open and I realized that I was still smiling from the event that took place the evening before. Football season is officially over for the JV team, but what happened last night will remain in our minds forever!

Although it's been a rough season, we had one more game to play against Red Mountain. We knew they were good and it was going to be a challenge. But we were up for the challenge, and we played hard.

We were neck and neck the whole game. We got the first touchdown, followed by their first touchdown. It went like this for four quarters, never having more than a seven point spread. So it all came down to the last few minutes and then seconds of the game. Red Mountain was one touchdown ahead, and we were ONE FOOT from making the tie game ... and we fumbled the ball! For a second, the boys were filled with despair and then they rallied together and got the ball back with less than a minute remaining ... Red Mountain still leading. With seconds to go, we did it ... we got the touchdown, and now the choice had to be made. If they went for the extra point, it would be a tie game. BUT if we attempted the two point conversion, AND MADE IT, then we'd win the game. AAAAAaaaaahhhhh! We were not in this game to tie. We went for the two point conversion AND WE GOT IT! We were now one point ahead and Red Mountain had about 30 seconds to do something. They rallied back like they had all night, and with 1.5 seconds in the game, they attempted a field goal ... AND MISSED!

WE BEAT RED MOUNTAIN, which gave us the tie for first place in our region. To say that the crowd went wild would be an understatement. It was the most joy those bleachers have seen in a long time. The boys needed to end this season with something positive, and this was it. Keaton and his team began practicing at the end of the last school year! They work their entire bodies into the ground for over six months. Every single Saturday at 5:00 a.m., practices six days a week, Toro Camp, two-a-days in 110 degree heat, injury after injury ... they keep coming back. Is it worth it?

Toro Camp $300.00
Bandaids $ 5.00
Ridiculous amounts of Gatorade $100.00
Friendships formed and
work ethic achieved Priceless

After the game was over, my little boys ran right over to Keaton and stood by the huddle listening to the High School coaches words and watching big boys cry. When the celebrating on the field was over, Jake walked right into the locker room with the team.

I'm so proud of the example these boys set! In the middle of Toro Camp, when they were resting in the gym, I looked around and saw several boys laying down reading their scriptures. They are a great group of kids and should be very proud of their behavior - on and off the field.

This team consisted of three deaf boys. I don't know why I am so amazed by that. I guess because they can't hear! A few of the boys are the highest ranked academically in their class! Several of them are already Eagle Scouts and many more are working towards that goal.

It's far more than football. Look at these faces ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vicariously -

I love this word ... especially if I say it with the filthy rich accent of Thurston Howell III ... vicaaaariously.
Just to make sure that I knew what the word meant, I looked it up. The first definition is:
"Experience through another by imagining."

Let's face it. For some of us, this is as close as it's going to get! I've often heard people talk - with a negative tone - about parents living vicariously through their kids. I used to listen and even join in on those conversations ..."Ya, they're just living vicariously through their kids. They're dumb." or something like that. But lately, I just don't see what the problem is!

You've all read about just a piece of my High School years, believe me, the other pieces don't get much better. Now I'm in my forties, which I actually LOVE, but the fact is ... there are things I didn't do, didn't have, didn't know and just plain aren't going to happen. Naturally, we pass our knowledge onto our posterity and HOPE that they will do things better than we did ... so what's the harm in experiencing that FULL FLEDGED JOY when they actually accomplish what we only dreamed of??

Well little Miss Kacey is doing just that. For YEARS, I have wanted to go see the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center in New York ... and guess who's going! Nope, not me, but the next best thing ... my daughter. I'm so excited for her and I am definitely imagining it.

I will continue to live vicariously through Kacey as I watch her live her life so much differently than I did. And let me tell you ... NOTHING could please me more!

Don't we ALL live vicariously through others at times?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

High School -

What a great night I just had, watching Keaton play football for Mountain View High School against the Westwood Warriors. They played very well winning 39-20. Keaton had his name announced several times over the loud speaker "TAKEN DOWN BY NUMBER 54 ... KEATON SHAKER!" and the crowd went wild ... mostly because the crowd consisted of a whole bunch of Keaton fans. So as I sat there in between my Grandma and Keaton's Grandma Carol, Lisa in front of me, Kacey and Natalie next to us, Gary and Vince chatting away with other football Dad's and Jake and Garrison running non-stop with friends - it dawned on me how different my High School experience was.

Let me begin by first describing myself as I was in the 80's. It wasn't really my "fault", because technology had not peaked at this point in time. We had no straightening irons for our hair and head gears were still worn with the braces. It was a different time back then and even the prettiest girl then wouldn't measure up to the pretty girls now. So back to me. I wore glasses until I turned 16. Big deal right? Anybody remember Sally Jess Raphael? Here's a subtle reminder.I'm not sure what would prompt a person to duplicate this look, but I CHOSE those glasses. If they were any bigger ... well they just couldn't have gotten any bigger. It wasn't just the frames though. Ohhhhh noooooo. For awhile I got the oh-so-popular purple tint AND added my initials AND a butterfly to the lower right corner of my lens! So between my awful hair, the glasses and ... oh ya, did I mention my luscious tan? That's a story in itself! During P.E., I was so embarrassed about my white legs that I would wear nylons with my shorts! People would come up to me with a curious look on their face ( because my legs were 15 shades darker than the rest of my flesh) and they would say "Karen, are you wearing nylons?" And I would look them square in the eye with my lip turned up in disgust and proclaim that I WAS NOT!

So, clearly I was not very comfortable in my own skin (literally) and I had NOT figured out how to fit into ANY category. I was a dork. But it's ok because I am no longer a dork and I have great empathy for all dorks around the world!

The story that everyone has been dying for me to share, was on one of my particularly dorkiest days ever. Did I mention that in addition to being ranked lowest on the Physical Attractiveness Totem Pole ... I also rode the school bus. Oh yes. I rode it every day to and from school with some friends, but mostly with the Pima Indians. So are you following this? I was an ugly girl who was transported by bus to and from High School. Oh ya, AND I had no coordination WHATSOEVER! Walking in any general direction was a challenge from day to day.

So one day, I got this incredibly genius idea! So genius that it might just turn my whole life around all in one day! I decided that I would dress up super nice for school ... a skirt and heels ... ooooooohhhh yaaaaaa.

I got up early that morning and I looked like I was headed to a dance rather than school! I had on my nylons, which came in handy when it was time to get those shorts on for PE, and I was going to strut my stuff (since John Travolta had just introduced strutting)! I chose a PURPLE plaid skirt and some killer tall shoes.

I don't remember anything remarkable happening during the day, except that I was extremely uncomfortable. To this day I still don't wear heels! But I had tried something new and it couldn't possibly hurt, right? WRONG!

The bus pulled up to my stop and it was my turn to get out. I had been sitting in the back with some friends and we were talking about our activity we had that night out at the Orange Patch with the boys and girls together! It was going to be so fun! I said my goodbyes and I made my way towards the exit. Have you ever noticed how MASSIVE those steps are? Well, for one who finds it hard to keep it steady on a level surface, it was like an obstacle course. All in slow - VERY slow motion, my GREAT IDEA of a high heel caught a piece of that step action and ... yep ... the ugly girl went tumblin' out of the big yellow bus.

I immediately heard hoards of laughter coming from the bus, and the poor bus driver had no idea how to react since the purple skirt went flying every which way but down. My "tan" was ripped to shreds and blood was now trickling down my knees and shins. I recovered as quickly as I could and convinced the bus driver that I was fine. I made my way down the dirt road that lead to our house, and somewhere in between that blasted bus and my home ... I got the giggles. I got the giggles like I've never gotten them before. Upon entering the house, I was a bloody mess with giggles and Mom didn't know what the heck had happened. I'm sure she'll comment on this, so she can fill in the blanks.

That was it. We got me all cleaned up and I attended the activity that night with bandages placed covertly under my jeans and sleeves. It was the talk of the night ... I had not escaped my dorkness as of yet ... but I did manage to have fun in my own little Dorkville.

High School is hard. I love seeing my kids doing better than I did, but I'm sure there are some horror stories out there that might even top mine. Come on ... share!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Random things that I am EVER so grateful for:

Baggies & Saran Wrap
My short little fingernails
Ball Point Pens

Yes, I'm thankful for my health and my family ...
I said RANDOM!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Simple Evolution

As a young girl, two things I would dread.

1. Taking a bath

2. Going to bed

I’d run, jump and play clear into the night

Not giving it up without a big fight.

The bathtub and bed were like torture to me.

“When I grow up, I’ll do neither … you’ll see!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tonight, I am older. I still run all day.

And things that I dread still get in my way.

But I have a few minutes. These minutes are rare.

What shall I do FOR ME… if I dare?

The answer comes clearly inside of my head.

I long for a bath and my big king sized bed.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

City Girl -

Most of my weekends consist of the same things as my weekdays ... but this weekend I went out on the town!

It started off Friday night with my first visit to the Mesa Arts Center ... AKA The MAC! It's an amazingly beautiful and huge new venue that we're proud to have in town.

The MAC was amazing and I hope everyone will take advantage of what it has to offer. Some friends of ours (The Standages) had 12 tickets for a group of us to go listen to a little Bluegrass. Bluegrass has never been "my thing", but no matter what your preference of music is, you have to appreciate the talent of these musicians! They were incredible. It was Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby. I could have listened to Bruce all night long. He is a fantastic pianist and quite entertaining.

Saturday got started off perfectly with little Mason's baptism. Danny & Tiffany's little boy is growing up! He had a hugely supportive turn-out with lots of family and friends gathered around. I failed to get a picture of Mason, but I got this great shot of his Great Grandma, little sister Reilly and cousin Nic. This was a tiny portion of his fans that day. Good job Mason!

At the baptism, I learned of a very fortunate possibility! Mikey had six tickets to go see my favorite comedian ... Brian Regan. Two of the tickets were possibly available to a sold out show and I wanted to go. Sure enough - the possibility became a probability and soon it was a done deal. Gary wasn't interested in going, so Kacey was my date (since she loves Brian Regan even more than me) and we were pumped! We were going to see Brian Regan at the sold out Dodge Theatre in Phoenix!

If I had any bit of blogging talent, THIS is where I would place a clip of Brian Regan just in case there are those who aren't aware of his funniness yet. But I have no blogging talent, so go Google him and enjoy him for a minute ... you won't be sorry.

On the way to Phoenix, we hit a short-term traffic jam. Usually when this happens, I sit wondering what is up ahead to create such a dilemma, but nothing is ever the obvious cause. This time ... it was obvious and Kacey hung out the window to get a shot of it.

I don't think this car will be salvageable!

I LOVE living in the city. I admit that I usually stay indoors, or frequent the same restaurants all within five miles of my home, but I know more is out there for the taking and I like knowing that.

Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby, Mason, Brian Regan, Kacey and a car fire! Ah ... the City.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Since this has become such a popular venue,
I'd like to take this opportunity to advertise my husband!

Ok this isn't my husband ... but they could be brothers! Seriously! Not only is he my plumber, but he's the best plumber I know (and I know my fair share of plumbers!)

Gary has been plumbing for about 20 years now and he's extremely good at fixing those blasted plumbing problems.

If I were you -
and I lived in the Valley
and I had a plumbing problem ...
I'd call him!

Office: 480-833-PLUM (7586)
Cell: 602-628-8520

Monday, October 8, 2007


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I almost can't believe I'm blogging about IBS, but then again I can't believe I haven't already! So Kacey suggested a little blurb about IBS to get me out of my drought. For those of you who don't know what IBS stands for ... it is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I totally just got the giggles.

I actually LOVE the name of this unfortunate disorder. The Bowel part of the title really isn't even that bad. Anything that begins with Irritable and ends with Syndrome is going to be BAD! Sometimes you have a problem that just doesn't sound very awful, like being lactose intolerant. Intolerant? A Junior High School teacher was once intolerant of me, big deal, we all got over it. Not being able to abide within the same space as a milk product without cleansing your very soul is NOT being intolerant ... it's a plethora of syndromes! So I love how well represented the IBS title is.

Let's see, I was diagnosed with IBS several years ago. But as I think back on my life and my experiences within the walls of the stalls ... I just think I was born with it. I guess I thought everybody was like me, until I found out they weren't. So what exactly is IBS? Well it can manifest itself in two different ways, but both will leave you praying for relief (or a more instant death) accompanied by a cold sweat and some goosebumps.

Here is a typical scenario from the life and times with my partner ... IBS.

I'm going for a nice drive out to Julie's house. La la la, nice drive, radio playing some Barry Manilow, the sun is going down, anxious to see baby Kristi, la la la ... then it begins. The slow churning as if butter was being made in my innards and I find myself slumping over the steering wheel trying to maintain a very still atmosphere that surrounds me. I turn off the radio, turn off the air-conditioner and demand a perfect silence from anyone nearby. I think to myself that maybe it'll just go away, but I've been here before and I know that there is only one ending to this story. I call Julie on the phone and I let her know, in a very recognizable IBS tone that she is to have her front door open, and everyone out of the bathroom because I AM COMING! I run through her house (which was really risky now that I think about it) and I find my throne. I begin praying/moaning and I notice the TV being turned up louder (good call). Visions of delivering all five of my children at once RUN through my head and I know that I am yet again on a mission. Soon the mission is accomplished, and I dab the moisture from my upper lip and forehead. I take a few deep breaths and I'm good to go.

It's not fun, and I've actually found some medication that does wonders (thanks to Kacey for running it down the hall to me when she hears me call), but it's not life threatening, it doesn't make me lose my hair and it could just be so much worse. Don't we all have some kind of irritable syndrome in our lives? I choose to think so. This is one of mine.

OK everybody ... don't be shy - what are yours?

P.S. I totally posed for that picture.


OK it's happened. I've hit a dry spell. Now don't be too hard on me, remember I have a titanium plate in my head. I can't think of a single thing to blog about. So here's the deal ... this could be fun. Just give me a topic! Give me any ole' topic and I'll promise to post something hilarious about it. I'm super funny and I'm up for the challenge. Bring it!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

General Conference October 7, 2007 -

Hooray for church in our pajamas!

Hooray for families gathered together under blankets listening to sweet words from the leaders of Christ's church!

Hooray for our very own Prophet who not only leads our church, but gives us the counsel we need to raise our children in this world as he receives direction from Heavenly Father!

What a great weekend!

I love this man!

Friday, October 5, 2007

I have elves!

When Gary and I were first married, he used to say that it seemed like we had an elf. No matter how messy the house would be when he would retire to bed, when he awoke the next morning ... it was all gussied up. I really hate to wake up to a mess, so I try to pick things up before I go to bed.

Well the other night, I was spent. I couldn't bare the thought of picking up one more thing or putting one last thing away. I told Kacey and Keaton goodnight ... and I was out.

The next morning, I dragged myself out of bed and headed toward the kitchen prepared to clean up the dinner mess before I began making the breakfast one. I walked past the clean counters and, half asleep, headed straight for the dishwasher to start unloading what had been clean since the day before. I noticed that it was not quite as full as I remembered it. Then I began to look around! I HAD AN ELF!

I had no doubt that Keaton hadn't lifted a finger, which meant that it could only be one person. Thank heaven I had one daughter! She had cleaned up everything and started my day off better than I had imagined.

It made me giggle to think of my little elf, because she truly has an elf spirit. Kacey looks forward to Christmas more than Cindy Loo Who. This girl starts counting down the days to Christmas shortly after summer ends. So recently, the countdown began and her spirit was lifted. Every night she has been falling asleep to a special edition of Elf (Will Ferrell) on her laptop. Evidently, this edition of Elf offered some fun options at the end of the movie. I noticed a slightly hysterical image of an elf on her screen saver the other day and she stated "When someone gives me the opportunity to make myself an elf ... I take it!"

I haven't stopped laughing yet, so I had to post it. I really do have an elf!

Tonight Kacey, Garrison and I were cleaning up the house and I mentioned that Kacey was my elf. Kacey then grabbed hold of that concept and claimed Garrison as her elf. Garrison then sadly questioned "Who's my elf?"

It's good to have elves!

Look out!

I refuse to blog about our game last night due to the extremely discouraging season that Keaton is having (although he is amazing out on that field) and thanks to Grandma Carol for your support! Instead, we are going to have a controversial yet celebratory post.

I do not believe that the infantile age of 15 years and seven months is old enough to be put behind the wheel of a deadly motor vehicle. Years of statistics show that the highest accident rate occurs to those sixteen-year-olds who are not even old enough to choose who they'd like to be their President, but apparently their hand/eye coordination has peaked so we'll strap 'em in! If these statistics have proven (and they have) that just one more year of growth and maturity has played a huge role in the improvement of driving records, then why OH WHY don't we change the age to seventeen?

That being said ... I escorted my third child down to the DMV on Saturday to begin the process that I drug out for as long as I could.

It all began here. If you look closely you will be able to see that this line is exactly 4.7 miles long and this is just the line to get inside to get your number to begin the waiting process! UGH But we had the camera and we all knew that this was going to get blogged so we had fun with it.

Finally we made it inside! Keaton was getting nervous about this most important test that he was about to take and Kacey was there to taunt him and ensure him that he was going to fail. Then it happened. All of the sudden I felt like I was about to board an airplane with a bomb in the sole of my shoe. A big woman started yelling at a man in front of us "No pictures!" Confused man: "What?" Big Woman: "I SAW THE FLASH! NO PICTURES IN HERE!" The entire line points to me, and I was quickly put in my place ... for a second.

So this is one of those times, where I'm not a very good example. For the most part, I am a rule follower. But when I think it's a stupid rule, I tend to ignore it. This would be one of those times and it was game on!

Kacey was my accomplice (I already admitted I was a bad example) and lucky for us we had a very small camera and a girl who knew how to turn off the flash!

So here's the overflowing waiting area that we were now a part of ... indefinitely.

This was the point where I realized that I hadn't had breakfast and my blood sugar had apparently plummeted and I thought I was going to pass out and/or throw up. Neither of which happened, so it was already a success!

We sat in these oh so comfy chairs quizzing Keaton about how far away from a fire hydrant he could park ... yep that makes a boy ready to drive!

Our number was B229 and they were on B213 - of course every other letter of the alphabet is mingled in there too. Finally our number was called and the fun began.

It was Keaton's turn to take the test. Would he be able to remember how to signal if his blinkers were ever completely blitzed? What about the right-of-way ... WHO HAS THE RIGHT-OF-WAY? The pressure was mounting and Keaton was not sure if he was ready. It didn't matter now, it was test time.

Big lady: "Maam - Back away from the window!" Oh dang, my plan to help a child cheat just to get him behind the wheel and out on the road was foiled! "Kacey quick! Get the picture!"

Dang she's good! So we waited ... and waited ... and waited to see if he would miss less than five questions out of 30. Did I want him to pass? I was conflicted within myself. I was already able to put this situation off for a good eight months and I guess that's a little better. He is sixteen now, but he isn't allowed to get his Driver's License until he gets his Eagle (yes, I'm one of those mothers). So I guess the permit stage is still controllable and we'll do our best to teach him how to be a good driver and just pray that that's enough. But would he pass his test?

Of course.

So here we go again. Another child trying to grow up and me trying to defer it for as long as possible. Keaton is a great kid and he's going to be a great man. Good job Keaton!

Yes Kacey, you did good too.