Wednesday, April 30, 2008

To Go or Not To Go -

Let me take you back about nine years. Poor little Keaton was just entering 1st Grade, and no matter how hard we tried, he simply could not read. We tried flash cards, we read to him, we sounded the letters out together and it just wasn't happening. A typical dialogue with little Keeter would go something like this ...

Me: "OK let's sound this color out ... BL - ACK."
Keaton: "ORANGE!"

I was absolutely stumped. This was my first experience with any type of slower learning. Then came the dreaded conversation with his teacher. It was going to be best to hold him back and repeat Kindergarten. It was as if I saw his entire future ending right there only to be able to contribute to society if it involved a bottle of Elmer's glue. I seriously remember cradling him in my arms one night and just sobbing as he slept.

Now let's fast forward and get a reality check. Shortly after Keaton started 1st Grade for the second time, he took off with the reading and everything else. He has been an above average student ever since and I have never had to worry for a single minute about his academic ability. Keaton is a summer baby, born in July. I had heard that it might be best to hold those summer boys back a year, but I didn't listen and I should have. I am so glad that we eventually listened to the advice of our school and I am thrilled with the outcome.

This year, the same scenario is happening to my sister's little boy. He is also a summer baby and they have decided to hold him back this year instead of advancing. I see them experiencing the trauma that I experienced first hand and I have one question. If this is as common as it seems and many children are truly not ready to start school in August as they have summer birthdays, then why don't we change the age requirements?

I think I'm going to give the Governor a call and I'll get back with you.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Place -

This was my sister's "happy place" on earth. Today is three years since she moved on to a happier place in holier spheres.

I miss you girl!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Garage up!

The other day, I stood inside of my garage facing the garage door. I pushed the button which commanded that the door rise. I stood there as it ascended upward and as it completed it's journey ... then I bowed to the pedestrians on the street.

I think it gave me the feeling I was looking for (the feeling that the laundry wasn't giving me).

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I am a hiker. I hike. I've never hiked before the age of 42, but tomorrow will be my third hike within a two month time period. Therefore, I now reserve the right to be called a hiker.

Over Spring Break, my boys really wanted to hike Camelback Mountain. Being the energetic and oh-so-willing mother that I am (and a person who despises much research), I told them to get a couple of water bottles and hop in the car. Off we were, on a road trip to Scottsdale. I've heard of Camelback Mountain and I've grown up driving past it. It really does look like a camel and how hard could it be to climb a hump or two?

So we drove, we parked and we began the ascent. Jake, Garrison and their little friend Cody had no problem at all. They ran uphill checking out the view and then they ran back downhill to check on their poor ole' hiker mom.

An hour and a half later ... we were half way! That's right, I made it to what is known as the saddle and it was there that I decided that less was more. I was extremely proud of myself for making it that far. Apparently the second half of the journey is much more steep. At some points, the only way up is to clutch a guard rail. Maybe someday.

On the way down, my legs trembled more than on the way up. BUT I never fell down. Which is more than I could say for this unlucky fellow. How embarrassing to have to be helped down a mountain by cute firemen (I know this from experience as it happened to me as a youth on a ski slope). Ugh. But not this time! This time I stood upright the whole half of the way and I think my boys were proud of me.

I was certainly proud of them.

This is one of the views as we climbed. The Phoenician is one of the nicer resorts in Scottsdale and it stares boldly at all of the hikers as they wear their sweaty t-shirts. On this day, I called it the big and spacious building. I think now that I'm a hiker, I should stay here after one of my hikes and get my feet rubbed.

I hike!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Interviews -

Just when I thought I knew my kids better than any mom possibly could, Keaton completely blindsides me.

Keaton (on Saturday): "Mom, I got invited to a Diamondback's game tomorrow. Would that be a problem?"

Me (gasping for air through my cell phone): "Tomorrow is Sunday!" Click.

After the shortest conversation in history, I decided that I was clearly failing miserably at pretending to know my kids and their thought processes. Sundays are tricky, but we have always tried to keep them a special day and I would never allow the Diamondbacks or any other professional sport to change that. So, Gary and I decided to put some energy into finding out if we really did know our kids and we wanted to make sure they knew us. Tonight, we had our first ever "interviews" with each child individually. We called them back into our bedroom, oldest to youngest, and asked them some basic questions. We've decided to do this often since it was so darn entertaining.

Here are a few of the highlights ...

Kacey: Is getting ready for Mexico and needs some medicine for constipation. Mexico might take care of the second problem.

Keaton: Feels like a tired ox. Has a girlfriend named Hunter, but assures me "it's not going to go anywhere".

Jake: Has been feeling very tired lately, but he has asked many other sixth graders and they are all tired too. He has dreams of going to the Red Bull air show in San Diego.

Garrison: School is good. He was better in his church class today. Jake is a disser (because he disses).

Parenting never gets boring.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Jake!

I can't believe Jake is 12-years old today! It seems like it was just yesterday that he came into this world and brought our family into a whole other dimension.

Jake arrived just two days after his cousin Trenton. Read what their Grandma has to say about them right here!

Jake has been the best little brother ...

and a super big brother!

His smile brightens up any household, and we're happy he's in ours.

It's been a great first twelve years!

Happy Birthday boys! We love you and are so proud of you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A lift and a tug ...

I have a lot of thoughts and emotions running through my head and heart right now. Today I went to get a mammogram. As I anticipated my visit, I had planned on an extremely funny summary of my afternoon experience. However, it just doesn't feel funny right now. I sat in the very office, in the very room, where Kristi and I were told that she had Breast Cancer. It's not the first time I've been back. I've had several occasions for this very same visit. But today seemed to haunt me a bit more than usual. I've tried to shake it off, but the feelings remain. As I've mulled it all over and tried to make sense of what I'm feeling, I have determined that the month of April probably wasn't the best time for me to make this appointment.

I'll admit that every time (all six times) the tech said "OK I'm going to lift and tug" ... I chuckled to myself. Sad that she had to lift and wrong that she's allowed to tug! I was also aware of what a blessing these fancy cameras truly are. Without them and their technology that create a combination of lifesaving proportions, we would certainly be losing staggering amounts beyond today's numbers. We are blessed. We are really incredibly blessed!

So if I know this and I have this knowledge and I am well aware that Kristi is in a FAR better place than the last time I saw her, then why do I let the anniversary of her death sneak up on me and smack me in the rump? Because I miss her.

So I will take this opportunity to remind all of you of the responsibility that we have to take care of ourselves. Most of you who read this aren't even old enough for a mammogram. One of you, is already among the survivors of this blasted disease! But ALL of us, are at risk. It sounds harsh and it sounds ugly and I am here to tell you that it is both. I never want to watch another loved one suffer as much as Kristi did. I never want to lose somebody I care about to such unnatural circumstances. I am a firm believer that early detection is the answer. So ladies ... check yourselves! Give yourselves a little lift and a little tug. Make sure you know your bodies and make sure you communicate any changes to your doctors. Kristi was only 34 years old when she was diagnosed. It's never too early and it's never too soon. Life is good.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Grandma Freda and The Diamondbacks!

As mother-in-laws go, I'm lucky enough to have two. One lives across the street and one lives in Arkansas. Grandma Freda is Gary's mom who lives in Arkansas, but this month she's here with us! Everybody loves Grandma Freda because ... she's a hoot! Before she came to stay with us, she hiked the Grand Canyon! When she gets back home, she's going to the Kentucky Derby! Last time she was here, she went on a cruise. She knows how to have fun and we love it when she visits.

AND Grandma Freda LOVES The Diamondbacks.

Here are my peeps at Friday's game. D-backs vs. Rockies. (Shannon, for your information, this is baseball!) And yes, I allow children to play with bats.

There are few things cuter than Eric Byrnes and we were sitting right behind him. I DARE you to hit a fly ball to him!

Friday night is fireworks night at Chase Field ... boom baby BOOM!

And just because it had to be a perfect night all around, we all got FREE t-shirts! Gary was taking the picture, because that's what my man does. I love this country!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sisters -

I just ran across this picture and it's making me giggle. I love how Kristi's purse matches my dress. I really love my sweet shoes and their accompanying tube socks. But most of all, I love my sister.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Bachelor -

I realize that this is only going to make sense to a few people, but ...

are you kidding me?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

178th Semi-Annual LDS Conference -

It's no secret that I look forward to spending the Sabbath in my pajamas once in April and once in October while we receive instruction from our church leaders through television. Today was no exception. The talks today were great as usual, but may I say that M. Russell Ballard is my new hero. I LOVE the special interest that he took regarding young mothers. For those of you who missed it, here are my favorite highlights spoken from an experienced father of seven children and a loving grandfather.

"There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood. There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. If a child lives with parents for 18 or 19 years, that span is only one fourth of a parent's life and the most formative time of all of the child's life representing only one tenth of their normal life. It is crucial to focus on the children for the short time that we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all that we can before they leave our homes.

What can you do as a young mother to reduce the pressure and enjoy your family more?

1. Recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times but amid the challenges there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.

2. Don't over schedule yourselves or your children. Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh and to play together.

3. Mothers, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well. If you're not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children.

4. Pray, study and teach the Gospel. Pray deeply about your children and about your role as a mother. Parents can offer a unique and wonderful kind of prayer because they are praying to the eternal parent of us all.

What more can a husband do to support his wife and the mother of his children?

1. Show extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day. Notice things and say thank-you often. Schedule some evenings together just the two of you.

2. Have a regular time to talk with your wife about each child's needs and what you can do to help.

3. Give your wife a day away now and then. Just take over the household and give your wife a break from her daily responsibilities. Taking over for awhile will greatly enhance your appreciation of what your wife does.

4. Come home from work and take an active role with your families.

What can children (even young children) do?

1. Pick up your toys when you're finished playing with them. As you get a little older you can make your bed, help with the dishes and do other chores without being asked. Say thank-you more often when you finish a nice meal and when a story has been given to you at bedtime or when clean clothes have been put in your drawers. Most of all, you can put your arms around your mother often and tell her that you love her.

What can the church do?

There are many things the church offers to mothers and families. But for my purpose today, may I suggest that the Bishopric and the ward council members be especially watchful and considerate of the time and resource demands on young mothers and their families. Know them and be wise in what you ask them to do at this time in their lives.

Alma 37:6 - Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

I hope all of you dear sisters, married or single, never wonder if you have worth in the sight of the Lord and to the leaders of the church. We love you, we respect you and appreciate your influence in preserving the family and assisting with the growth and the spiritual vitality of the church."


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

20/20 Vision -

I have a problem. I've had this problem for quite awhile. It all takes place at sporting events. You see, my vision becomes a million times better than any referee or umpire on any playing field in the universe. Apparently they need a little help and so I give it to them!

It happened again tonight ...

SCORE KEEPER: Motioning for me to sit down.
ME: Sitting down.

In case you were wondering ... yes, it was church ball.

I have a problem.