Funny Kids


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The rains are coming down and the floods are coming up. By the way, the storm of the century that I mentioned was supposed to hit over the weekend, never did happen. We had rain and some wind gusts. Nothing even close to what they were forecasting. Heath and I made the executive decision to stay home and not go to the adult session of Stake Conference on Saturday night. We didn’t want to leave our kids home alone for their first storm in a new place when the power very likely could go out or their parents could be blown away to Kingdom Come in a wind gust. In hindsight we could have gone. But hindsight is 20/20. We were all snuggly together at home and I don’t regret it.

Heath drove the boys to the bus stop this morning. Parker had accidently left his weather proof jacket in his art class yesterday. He wears that jacket over a hooded sweatshirt to protect him from cold and rain. Yesterday started out cold then the sun came out. So it’s no surprise he took the jacket off and forgot about it. It does make life tricky when Noah floats by on his boat the next morning.

Gavin was moving a little too slowly this morning. I tell him over and over that he needs his weather proof jacket over his hoodie. He chooses not to listen. He had to put his BYU jersey over his sweatshirt which took some time and then he slowly grabbed his jacket to hold in his hands. Because that will keep him dry. Parker had an umbrella and Gavin had a jacket draped over his arm and time was running out. So Heath drove them. What a nice guy!

I told Gwen that I would drive her up the street and we could walk to the bus stop from there. There are barricades blocking the street from traffic, just not emergency vehicles. I could drive all the way around but I didn’t think it was necessary. Neither did Gwen. She gave me the biggest bear hug. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That’s all I ever wanted!” Funny girl.

I stopped in front of the candy house and let her out since she will leave school early today for Gavin’s XC meet. I’m such a nice mom! This is the house that is decorated within an inch of its life. The lady was the one who gave us the ghost as a thank you for Gwen helping her decorate. Anyway, she has a fresh stash of candy in a bowl and spilling into a skeleton’s lap on her front step. She has a sign letting the neighborhood kids know to take one piece of candy every dang day. For real! As far as I know, the kids are all honest about it and only take one piece a day.

How nice am I that I let Gwen get candy this morning? Then I drove to the corner and turned around. I turned off the car and as Gwen was getting out I asked if she wanted me to come with her. The question was only asked because she didn’t seem to be interested in waiting for me to get out and join her. She looked at me and said, “Nah. I’m okay. Bye Mom!” I asked if she was sure and she assured me she didn’t need me. So she walked into the other neighborhood toward the bus stop. I turned on the car and drove home. That’s all she ever wanted. It was weird but I knew she was happy.

I walked with her one morning this week. As soon as we got outside she found her little buddy and ignored me. We got to the bus stop and she flitted around all her friends like the social butterfly she is. The bus came and she barely acknowledged my existence. This is a girl who does not need me to take her to the bus stop. It’s lucky that things worked out that when she was in kindergarten, Gavin would drop her off at her classroom in the morning. How embarrassing would it be if her mother actually got out of the car on her carpool days to drop off Gwen! At least the teacher was cool with Gwen’s 5th grade brother dropping her off. I did have to pick her up though.

By first grade, Gwen was running ahead of me along the back path up to the school grounds. Parker would walk with me but Gwen could not be held back from her friends! It didn’t take long before I would pull up behind the school, screech to a stop, and order them in a deadpan voice to get out. I love Gwen. She is too funny.

Gavin is pretty funny too. This morning I asked if he needed to clean his glasses. He replied with a, “Perhaps.” He is so funny the way he talks. Then Heath told me a great story. Last night he went with the youth to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. Gavin had handed his glasses to someone when it was his turn. He had done one or two baptisms when Heath noticed Gavin’s zipper on his jumper was coming down.

“You’re showing too much chest hair, Gavin.”

While the zipper was being worked back up in place, the key pinned to the zipper pull came off and fell into the font. The key is to the locker where Gavin’s clothes were being stored. Our neighbor, Tom, was the one doing the baptisms. He was only wet to his hips and Gavin was of course completely soaked from the ordinance. So Tom asked Gavin to grab the key off the font floor. Gavin admitted that he couldn’t see it. The poor kid is blind as a bat without his glasses. So Tom managed to get the key between his toes and pull it out of the water that way! Funny situation.

Toothless Grin


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Parker has lost two molars in as many days. One on each side of his mouth. He wasn’t in a fight or anything. Apparently they were loose and sore and eventually came out. The second one came out this morning after he finished eating breakfast.

He went into the bathroom and came out with toilet paper in his mouth and a tooth in his hand that he held up like a prize. I was a little surprised. Mostly because everything he had said to me before suddenly made sense. I don’t always listen! I heard enough to know he was complaining that it hurt to eat. I just assumed it was because of the hole in his mouth he created when he pulled out a molar the other day. I didn’t realize he had another loose tooth.

I don’t remember losing molars. It only makes sense that people do. If they are going to lose baby teeth in the front of their mouths, then they should also lose baby molars. It just seems weird. Molars look so different from other teeth. Every time my kids lose molars I worry that maybe those things weren’t supposed to come out. Then I tell myself that even if they weren’t supposed to come out, at least they are molars. A hole in the back of the mouth is much less visible than say losing your front teeth again.

When Parker pulled out the first offending molar, he was relieved. It had been loose and hurting for days. He held up the molar for his dad to see. Which just reminds me that Parker lost his first tooth in the garage and we couldn’t find it. Recently he admitted to swallowing a tooth in those early tooth losing days. I think that’s why he shows us his bloody teeth. Proof.

Gwen was getting ready for bed and out of earshot. So Heath congratulated Parker on a bloody job well done. Then he handed Parker a dollar and told him to throw the tooth away. “The Tooth Fairy just came to visit!” Older kids really are easier than younger kids!

This morning I told Parker to show his dad his tooth. Heath checked his wallet but only had a $10. Parker said, “You could give me that. It has a one in it!” After the boys left for school I checked my wallet to see if the Tooth Fairy could visit during the day. I only had a $20. I can’t give him that. It has a two in it.

Say What


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Gwen: Four scone and seven years ago …
Heath: Four score!
Gwen: Four score and seven years ago our four fathers …
Heath: Forefathers!
Me: It means they came before.
Gwen: Four scone and seven years ago our before fathers …
Me: No! Four score and seven years ago our forefathers!
Gwen: Four scone and seven years ago our four fathers …
There was a lot of giggling but not a lot of retention. I guess it’s hard for some people.

Gavin: I don’t drink from the mustard bottle. My mom and dad don’t let me.

Heath: Do you want me to record the gubernatorial debate too?
Parker: Is that like a parody or something?

Gwen: When I turn 9 I will be into boy bands.
Gavin: You don’t have to do that just because everyone else is doing it.
Me: I’m with Gavin on this one.
Gwen: But Mom has “secret” boyfriends.
Me: They’re not so secret.
Heath: Yeah, she’s told us all about them.
Gwen: Well she likes that guy that sings.
Me: He’s not good looking. I just like his voice.
Gwen: You like that football player’s smile and you got your picture taken with him.
Me: And he was nice enough to like the tweet!

Gavin: Why didn’t you name me Uncle? Then I could be Uncle Uncle to all my nieces and nephews.
Gwen: What makes you think I’m only having boys!

House Fixers


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I am sitting at my kitchen table wearing a long sleeved t-shirt underneath my royal blue BYU jersey. This is the most I have done all day. I didn’t even start out in this outfit. When I learned that BYU fans were supposed to wear royal blue in support of the team, I changed.

It’s been a lazy day. The kids thankfully didn’t have school. It’s a teacher work day. This weekend we get to endure the storm of the decade. Newscasters say every ten years or so a mother of a storm crashes through leaving death and destruction in its wake. Although I have heard some people say this storm is supposed to be the biggest storm the Northwest has seen in 50 years! Even bigger than the Clinton (Bill) inauguration storm. I’ve heard stories about that storm. It’s been nice to snuggle in front of a fire doing a whole lot of nothing all day while the storm rages outside.

Lazy was my plan all along. House fixers were scheduled to come today. That was the reminder I put in my phone. I was standing outside in my own backyard with Heath and some DR Horton lady. I was unshowered and ready to have my day back. She had come by in response to our requested complaints. The timing of her visit didn’t allow me a shower until after she left. She came late and talked a lot. My brain was mush by the end of the visit so I didn’t know how else to label the meeting when our grievances would be fixed. House fixers seemed appropriate!

The first house fixer was a carpet guy. He had called to say to expect him between 8 and 11 this morning. He came a few minutes past 8:00. I put on my face while he determined the ridge in our master bedroom, that spans the width of the room, is actually a carpet pad issue. Regardless of pad issue or subfloor issue, we have to move our incredibly heavy and unwieldy bed for the problem to be fixed another day. Another day. Yeehaw.

The next house fixer was a jack of all trades contractor. I didn’t think anything could be done about the paint spills on our carpet. Yes, there were paint splatters all over the hardwood floors and the carpet. Any other issue in the house seemed minor in comparison to that obnoxious paint I can’t ignore every time I sweep or vacuum. Our friend cleaned the paint off the carpet! Color me impressed. He also got most of the paint speckles off the hardwood floors and swept up the mess. He fixed drawers in the kitchen and master bathroom.

The adhesive residue on the outside of the shower pan was not removed. I don’t even care. I lodged my complaints and some time with Goo-Gone is all it will take. He did remove the spilled grout on the tile floor in the master bathroom. That is something I consistently stepped on and it was irritating. I know how to lay tile. There is no way extra grout should be on the tiles when the project is finished. And the gum is still on the front step. I can’t believe it. That is something that has been brought up several times. It has been promised to be cleaned up each and every time. And yet it is still there. That bugs me.

I refuse to scrape up the gum myself. First of all, what contractor has such poor manners or any sense of human decency, that they would even consider spitting gum out on the front step of a project? Someone needs to take care of it and it won’t be me. Give me a break. For the amount of money we spent on this house, the gum should be removed.

Anyway, this freewrite is going to have to end. The game is about to start! The point is, the kids were bored all day. Too bad. I planned on being bored all day. It was nice to have a day off. I knew I had nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see. It was bliss. The winds are definitely blowing. The ground is oversaturated which is not good for the trees blowing in the wind. The rain keeps coming down. In the meantime we are all cozy inside our house. Time to cheer on our boys. Go Cougars!

This Ain’t Golf




The calm before the storm. Sun shining, wind still, deep and determined thoughts.
“Do you play golf?”
“This ain’t golf.”


Gavin was close to the front of the pack when the race started. I was standing just above the track on a ledge with Grandpa. A large crowd of high school runners helping with the meet had joined the spectators on the ledge. There was no way I could see any kids until they were right in front of me. So it came as quite the surprise when Gavin ran past so close to the front runners. I yelled at his back, “Good job Gavin!”

I walked back up the hill to our chairs at the edge of the blacktop. Grandma and I talked for a bit. Soon we saw runners on the far side of the parking lot. We walked up to the sidewalk near the bus loading zone and continued talking. She said something about not seeing Gavin yet. I was surprised. It felt like a million boys had already run by. She really hadn’t seen Gavin yet?

“There’s G!” she said. I looked and saw a blonde head bobbing in sync with how I know Gavin’s stride. I saw more of his body just before it was blocked by the parked bus. It definitely looked like Gavin. When he came from behind the bus Grandma pulled out her loud librarian voice. “Go G! Keep running! Come on G!” She aimed her cheers across the parking lot.

“He lost his lead!” I was so disappointed.
“He looks like he lost his energy too,” she replied.

We walked past the chairs, down the hill, and back onto the ledge just above the track. Boys were starting to sprint toward the finish line. Grandma, Grandpa, and I cheered for the runners. Not too many kids had finished when I saw Gavin running around the back of the track. I almost did a double take. It was definitely Gavin. I know his run.


As soon as he got to the corner Grandma and Grandpa started cheering. They were yelling eloquent things like “Good job G! Finish strong!” I started screaming like the maniac I am. None of it was eloquent. I don’t even remember what I said but I was screaming as if my freak-out could make him jump over other runners like Taysom Hill jumped over a Texas Longhorn last year. Can I just say I love the smile on his face! Heath was at the finish line capturing a completely different perspective of Gavin’s finish.

Then a boy passed Gavin. I interrupted my own sentence with a loud “NO! COME ON GAVIN! ALL GOOD! KEEP RUNNING!” Or something equally crazy that made no sense. Obviously it was only a few seconds before Gavin had run past us and far down the track toward the finish line. I stared after him with tears in my eyes.


I don’t know how I was so mistaken thinking that Gavin had lost his lead. My boy finished 22nd, which meant he beat at least ten more people than he had in the last race. The race was 1.5 miles and Gavin finished in 10:04. That boy just PR’d like nobody’s business!

“Fall”ing in Love


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Autumn has always been my least favorite season. I would even prefer the dank, cold, desolation of winter to fall. Fall is the brown, sad time of year when kids go back to school. So it smells a little like fearful excitement.

The romantic image of fall is vibrantly colored leaves falling from trees. I’m not sure how this image has become universal. Because it is my experience that pretty leaves can only be seen in certain places. I grew up in the Salt Lake Valley where the trees turn muddy shades of pretty fall colors, and that’s only when there has been plenty of rain.

My mom loves fall. She used to drive us up the canyon to see the colorful trees. I find it interesting that in order to really experience fall we had to a) drive an hour into the mountains and b) time it right. There was only a small window of two or three weeks to see the leaves. If you missed that window, you missed the colors. That’s what I remember of fall in Utah.

Fall in California was very interesting. Some trees would start to change by late August. The leaves were a crispy brown color. The majority of trees would start to change colors sometime in November. Nothing seemed to really fall with any certainty until about mid December. By mid to late January you could see buds and blossoms beginning to grow on those early fall August trees. A week or two later and it was full fledged spring complete with seasonal allergies that lasted until June.

I don’t know that California even has a fall season. The colors were never very intense. Mostly muddy yellows and some Monet red – pretty from a distance but kind of a mess up close. Living there did not change my mind about fall. Comfortably wearing shorts until Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like fall.

For a month or more I have been enjoying fall here in Seattle. I have never known fall to be so beautiful. The colors rival anything seen along the Wasatch Front. Saturated, intense colors against a backdrop of emerald green grasses and evergreen trees is breathtaking. It is simply gorgeous here.

The weather is appropriately cooler which is something I missed in California. I wore sweaters in December only. That was the only month that even remotely resembled winter. By January temperatures were back in the 70’s several times a month. I actually got bored of the weather in California. There was not enough variety. Sure it’s nice to not have to shovel rain and the sun is quite lovely. I love that already there is so much variety to the seasons in Washington.

Not only have I started to fall in love with fall, I am slowly starting to embrace Halloween. I know, gasp! We moved into our house and I couldn’t wait to decorate for Halloween. It’s a great house for holiday decorating. I love seeing all the Halloween displays in the neighborhood. And I can’t wait to actually have more than three trick or treaters stop by on Halloween.

I have never had many Halloween decorations. I mostly gathered what I have for my kids’ sake. Over the years I have decided that my Halloween decorating taste is steam punk Victorian macabre. Most stores offer over the top cute or equally over the top gore. The Disney store online has some great Halloween stuff that I love. It’s all themed after the Haunted Mansion. I just can’t justify spending that much money on stuff for a holiday I don’t particularly care for. Although I am turning around a bit. I’m even going to dress up this year! True story. I’m going as Sherlock Holmes’ girlfriend (from the movie not the TV show) mostly because I love the Victorian costumes.

Gwen helped a neighbor up the street decorate her yard for Halloween. As a thank you, the lady gave Gwen a ghost decoration. She showed it to me so excited. I took one look at that cute ghost smile and immediately told her to hang it in the yard. It did not fit in with any of my decorations. Even the cute ones! This was one cute ghost. Heath took pictures of the decorations for me. He didn’t get one of the ghost in the tree.

dsc00007This is the witch who fell into her brew. She hasn’t made an appearance on our front porch in a few years. It was time to bring her back. We got one of those Halloween projectors that changes colors and stuffed it into the bottom of the cauldron. On Halloween night we will hook up the fog machine for extra ambiance.

dsc00009I love this wreath from JoAnn’s. It’s black raven feathers. A huge windstorm is scheduled to arrive late tonight. It will be windy and rainy for the next few days so I think we will have to bring the wreath inside for a while. I would hate for the feathers to fly away!

dsc00005These little birdhouses I painted a few years ago fit quite nicely in the niches in the walls. Those unnecessary windows in the walls are my favorite features in my house, along with the archways. I love this house!

dsc00003I got rid of my apothecary jars before we moved. These jars are fun to fill with Christmas decorations. I decided to put some Halloween stuff in them. Bat erasers on the far left, homemade spiders in the middle jar with a huge eyeball on top to keep them inside, and ping pong eyeballs in the right jar.

dsc00001I love this table. I love even more that Heath picked it out. He knows my taste. Parker helped me decorate the table. He wanted me to keep the book boxes out because he says they look old and creepy. This year I was smart and filled the spiderweb bowl with individually wrapped candy corn. I love candy corn. It’s my favorite Halloween treat. Last year I indulged in a large package. We would all grab a handful as we walked by the table. Soon we all enjoyed the same flu. I have learned my lesson – no more community treats unless they are individually wrapped.


The Halloween pillowcases and throw blanket I made are making the bonus room look festive. I actually really like the bright colors against the BYU blue couch. They look better in there than they would in the family room.

I have a lot more decorations than I ever expected to have for Halloween. I love love love seeing the beautiful fall colors outside.



I don’t even mind Cross Country meets in the freezing cold rain. It’s like I’m growing or something.

Hopeless Opus


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This is one of my favorite Imagine Dragons songs. An opus is an artistic work of some kind such as a painting, sculpture, or even writing.

People have told me that they would never want to scrapbook because it’s a project that has no end. I say it depends on what you are scrapbooking. Your daily life, yes. A specific vacation, no. I stopped scrapbooking about my daily life because it can feel like tripping on a treadmill. Now I blog and sometimes feel the same way. I’m so behind on my stories!

Today was a lovely day. Heath had the day off because Columbus Day is a bank holiday. The kids went to school and we played. I finally found my contacts prescription and was able to get a year’s supply from Costco. We also bought some Christmas decorations. Don’t tell me it’s too early. It’s not. I love Christmas. And don’t tell me you buy your decorations after the season is over. I don’t care. I gave my tree away before we moved and the kids tree was just not going to cut it. A new tree was a must.

Interestingly enough we ended up buying another 7.5′ tree. Perhaps I shouldn’t have given away the tree before we left. Who knew that there is nothing between 7.5′ and 9′? We have 9′ ceilings. So we will build a box to help the tree grow! It will be perfect.

We had lunch at Azteca and it was quite lovely. We drove around in circles looking for a La-Z-Boy furniture store to start dreaming of options for our living room. Once we gave up on the idea we found the store off to the side of the freeway we were on. Oh well. We went home and enjoyed delicious bottled “diet soda that will remain nameless” (Think Dieter F. Uchtdorf) while watching The Finest Hours. Great movie! Based on a true story and very compelling.

The kids came home from school so I took Parker to the doctor’s office because I swear the doctor said I didn’t need to make an appointment to get follow up doses of vaccines. I walked out with an appointment card and a very happy Parker because the inevitable was prolonged for another week.

The witch finally fell into her cauldron on our front porch. We will never fit in with the neighborhood Halloween décor. Our neighbors are intense. Imagine your local Candy Cane Lane only with Halloween decorations and lights in the front yard. That’s what our street looks like. And everyone set it all up on October 1st, I kid you not! It’s okay, I’m all sorts of hooked up for Christmas!

I was filling out activities on our dry erase calendar and it’s getting pretty full. I’m going to have to make time to blog since I haven’t been doing that great of a job lately. I still haven’t put up a picture from Gavin’s last Cross Country meet. I will have to miss it next week because it’s on a Thursday. The same Thursday that apparently everything under the sun is happening all at the same time. I will miss his game for a Relief Society activity (where I somehow agreed to not only set up, but also act in a skit!) and I will miss the BYU game that night. *sigh*

In the meantime, my house is a mess because we haven’t really been home in the last several days. The perma dent in my couch is calling my name. The television is tempting me to escape into its world. The house will still be a mess tomorrow and I will still have many stories to catch up on. This is my hopeless opus.

Decision Making


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So far my kids have never experienced “snow days.” These types of days were not built into the calendar in California. At least not where we lived. Maybe the Tahoe school district has snow days.

California’s weather is pretty predictable. It’s either sunny or in winter you get some rain immediately followed by more sun. There is no reason to ever expect school to be canceled unless the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. Even then, I’m sure people would assume the zombies were regular people dressed for Halloween, a running event, or a day in San Francisco!

A fear I had with moving to the great Northwest was snow days. Washington is not equipped to deal with snow. So they cancel everything in the event it does snow. Snow days are built into the school calendar. If they are used it’s fine. If not, the kids get them in the spring as extra vacation.

My fear had more to do with wondering how I would ever know if school was canceled. I have also heard of two hour delays for school. That’s where something is going on that makes going to school difficult but the administrators have good faith that it can be resolved soon so they declare school starts that day two hours later than normal. But how do people know this? I decided to get in the habit of watching the news.

I watch KOMO 4 news in the morning. Mostly for Bus Stop Benny. He’s a cartoon guy that they show dressed in the appropriate attire for the weather on any given weekday. Bus Stop Benny let me down this week. He was dressed in rain gear so I told my kids to dress accordingly. Gavin told me I was crazy for putting so much trust in the news. Sometimes they are wrong. Just to prove his point, the day was sunny and quite pleasant.

I knew yesterday was supposed to be rainy. Wally Weatherman said so and my phone’s weather app confirmed. Bus Stop Benny was in his rain gear again. The rain held off all the way until Gavin’s Cross Country Meet. It felt like Chinese Water Torture. Tiny little sprinkly raindrops would fall like shards of ice on my knees. The wind would gustily blow like stepping in front of an air conditioner blasting frost off a glacier. I know this is what I can expect at Cross Country meets but I was cold and feel entitled to whine about it!

The weather gods were predicting a nasty storm for last night. My meeting ended with nary a sprinkle in the sky, despite the downpour predicted. The sky did open up later. Rain mixed with howling winds. We were completely cozy in our beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.

Blissful silence was shattered by loud ringing bell tones and a hint of techno bird chirping. Heath and I startled awake. He went for his phone thinking it was the alarm. I wondered what was taking him so long to dismiss it. The alarm clock on my nightstand glowed 5:02 am.

“What is happening!” I exclaimed as I realized my phone was ringing.
Somebody better be dead.

It was a local number which means absolutely nothing to me since I haven’t programmed any names to go with the texts and phone calls I get on my cell phone. Remember when I wouldn’t even give out my number in order to avoid unwanted phone calls? I have given it out for texting purposes but people seem to have missed the texting memo. I get a lot of cell phone calls. I miss most of them. It’s like I don’t want to be called on my cell phone!

And here it was 5:00 in the morning and somebody was calling me. So not okay. The cacophony ended. A second later the text alert chimed.

“Text me before you call!” I growled.

Huffily I squeezed my eyes shut again hoping to recapture my fleeting dream. No such luck. I could hear the wind blowing hard outside. I reached out to see what the text was. You know, just in case somebody really did need my help in the middle of the night.

The text read that Gwen’s school was canceled today due to a power outage. That was it. Given that it was four hours before school even started I really wondered why anyone came to that conclusion. Power outages can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours to days. What happened at the school that they felt the need to wake up every student body parent hours before anyone needed to be alive, simply to say that the power was out so don’t bother sending your kid? I mean really!

Heath sounded like he was able to enjoy a few more minutes of sleep before his phone alarmed him awake at 6:00. I never did go back to sleep. He got up to go through his morning routine and I turned on the TV, which is my morning routine. They never said anything. It was in the crawler that the school had canceled classes for the day due to a power outage. That was as much as they ever said.

I finally listened to the voicemail and it was just as vague. The only extra detail was that Gwen’s school was the only school in the entire large school district that was canceled for the day.

The boys got off to school as usual and I let Gwen sleep as long as she wanted. I figured that was a nice thing to do. She woke up all in a panic at 7:40, upset that she had slept so long. We teased her a little and said that maybe she shouldn’t go to school since she overslept. Her expression was classic. She looked back and forth between us for several seconds and finally said, “I know you guys are joking …” She didn’t finish the thought. It was as if she couldn’t figure out why we would even suggest something as ludicrous as staying home when she clearly still had 45 minutes to get ready.

My phone started ringing. Again I had no idea who the local number belonged to. Heath suggested it was the school calling to say just kidding. The funny thing is he was right!

A cheerful pre-recorded message exulted over the good news. The power outage had been resolved and school would begin on time! Buses would all leave on time. If child care plans were already in place the absence would be excused.

Gwen’s face fell. She couldn’t believe it when we told her if she promised to take a bath and clean her room she could stay home. We had just admitted school was canceled when, speak of the devil, they called to take it all back. I think that is plain mean. I really do. They woke me up from a dead sleep to cancel school, made me rethink my plans for the day to include my kid, and then called to say just kidding. Oh but if you don’t want to send your kid we understand. Whatever!

Heath quickly went out for McDonald’s breakfast to smooth over the craziness of the situation. I made Gwen a lunch and got her all ready. We both decided to walk her to the bus stop. I haven’t been going with her to or from the bus stop for quite some time. She is old enough to walk there on her own. She even walks with a boy across the street. They leave at the same time but if she leaves one minute after him he will come to our house to wait and vice versa. Well, he lives down a lollipop street so she waits for him at the end of the long driveway.

We only went with her because first, I didn’t know about the deal she had with Carson. And second, I wasn’t sure how many kids would take advantage of the free absence. It felt weird so we went with her. There were a lot less kids at the bus stop than usual! What a crazy day.

I just want to know who made the decision to cancel school when they could have done the two hour delay instead and saved everyone a lot of grief. There was another school district on the news crawler that did that. It just seems to me that decisions regarding school closures should start at the bottom and work their way up in severity if needed. Not start at the top as if the sky is falling! My Halloween wreath blew off the door but the sky was certainly not falling.

General Conference Post-it Notes from Heaven


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On Saturday Gwen and I watched the General Women’s Session of General Conference. I didn’t want to get all dressed up right after a football game the previous weekend and watch the Women’s Session at the Stake Center. I pulled the lazy card because I knew I could watch it on TV. Somehow it didn’t get recorded so we watched on my Surface during the Priesthood Session of General Conference.


We colored Halloween pictures together during all the talks. Gwen sang every word of every song. I took this picture of her singing along to the last hymn, I Believe in Christ.

General Conference is my favorite weekend. I love that it comes twice a year. It was tedious when I was a kid. Those were long weekends. Now I love them. I love the Spirit that I feel when I listen to the prophet and apostles and other general leaders of the church.

I didn’t really have any questions I wanted answered during General Conference. For the last couple of years I have had a lot on my mind and was desperate for answers and peace. After two plus years of depression and questions and feeling like I was on the edge of giving up spiritually, I feel like I’m finally no longer struggling to keep my head above water.

It was interesting to go back to that past pain in my mind with new eyes. I can now look at the situation objectively. Many of the conference addresses reminded me of tender mercies from the Lord. I was more willing to recognize and accept answers to questions that He already answered in the middle of that dark period in my life.

I think it was Elder Bednar who talked about people who do all the steps but don’t believe Christ. They believe in Him, they follow Him, they do everything right but they don’t believe He can help them in their situation. It sounds ridiculous to think of anyone getting lost like that, but I was one of those people.

Elder Rasband talked about recording spiritual experiences. There is one experience that meant a lot to me at the time and has been on my mind a lot lately. I have never written it down. Not even in a draft post. That experience came to mind several times over the weekend.

After I resolved to write that story, another speaker shared a personal story where he said he knew he was important and worth saving. That is my story as well. The details of our stories are different but that’s what I learned.

I don’t remember how long ago this happened. I do remember being home alone in my kitchen doing dishes. I was rehashing all the pain and unfairness of my life to the point I was almost whispering out loud my frustrations.

A thought came to mind:

He knows. He knows exactly what you are going through. He knows what has led you to make the decisions you have. And He will be there when you are ready to come back.

That was a powerful experience for me. I knew the Lord was not excusing my choices but I have never felt so loved. The part of the Atonement I take most comfort in is knowing that He understands how I feel. There may not be another person in the world who can really understand what I am going through and that thought alone can be very isolating. Knowing that my Savior Jesus Christ understands is comforting. He knows because He has experienced it.

“There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first … He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power.”
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease”

The last couple of years have not been easy. Through the fog of depression I have learned that I am worth it. I don’t know why I have been blessed with such a closeness to the Spirit but I am very grateful for it. Without that prick of consciousness I would have given up. I have had so many experiences over the last couple of years that have proven to me how much God loves me.

I am not any more special than anyone else in the world. I don’t think I have done anything special or noteworthy ever. Yet He loves me. He blesses me. He has carried me when I couldn’t go on myself. If He can do that for me then obviously He loves all His children.

I loved the story that K. Brett Nattress shared. He told his mom he wasn’t even listening when she read the scriptures. She told him that she went to a meeting where she was promised that if she would read scriptures with her children every day she would not lose them. “I will not lose you!” He said that moment helped him realize how important he was and that he was worth saving.

Our Heavenly Father feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose any of us. He won’t take away our agency or right to choose but He definitely loves us, desires to bless us, and wants us back.

“You may feel that your life is in ruins. You may have sinned. You may be afraid, angry, grieving, or tortured by doubt. But just as the Good Shepherd finds His lost sheep, if you will only lift up your heart to the Savior of the world, He will find you.

He will rescue you.
He will lift you up and place you on His shoulders.
He will carry you home.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home”

It was that quote and that conference address from six months ago that has been my lifeline. I was rescued. Now I need to continue to move forward.

Counting Blessings


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Just in case I ever forget why we moved:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Every month in Mrs. Walsh’s class I’m going to be sending you an update on how I’m doing in school. This month has been great. My classes seem to be much easier than they were in California, because they don’t give as much homework here. I don’t think that I’m struggling very much in any my classes and I actually look forward to coming to school now. In English I am doing some new things, but I am also doing a lot of review in class.

Right now the big focus in class is the hero’s journey archetype. We’ve learned that many stories follow this pattern and later in the year we are going to write an illustrated narrative. We are also learning about various visual techniques. Mrs. Walsh has taught us about different camera angles, lighting, and shots that you can use in a frame. This week in class, me and a partner drew a picture that demonstrated what we knew about visual techniques.

Another thing that we are doing in class is reading a book that follows the hero’s journey archetype. I have chosen the book Ender’s Game, because it is one of my favourite stories and it also involves many of the aspects of the hero’s journey. We are required to read at least twenty minutes a night and write annotations on sticky notes. We are also writing a blog post each week about different writing techniques we see in our books. Every week we are also writing a response to one of our classmates’ blog posts describing how our books used a similar writing technique. This helps us understand our books better and also learn to recognise different writing techniques.

School has been going great so far and I feel more comfortable with my classes and I am more on top of my homework and assignments. Last year I feel that English was a class I struggled with, but this year everything seems to be at a much slower pace and I feel like I can keep up with all my assignments. Math has always been one of my best and favorite subjects. Although I’m still getting the work done, I have homework everyday for math; even on fridays. At my old school I had plenty time to finish the work in class, but this year the teacher spends a majority of the class time going over homework from the day before instead of giving us time to do assignments in class. The students in my class are also very loud and distracting making it hard for me to concentrate on my work.

I am enjoying school so far this year. I am not stressed about anything, because math is the only class the consistently gives homework. The rest of my classes only give homework on occasion. I am also participating on the cross country team. I am really enjoying it and I working hard to improve my times. The only downside to doing after school activities is that I have less time to do homework, which also means less time to do the things I enjoy. To wrap up, school is going great and I think that this going to be an excellent year.


Thank you,


As we prepared to move, I promised the boys over and over again that it would be worth it. On more than one occasion I would talk to Gavin about school when I picked him up from Track practice. I told him a move would give him the unique opportunity to reinvent himself. He could start all over in a place where no one knew him. His past would not haunt him. He could be the kind of student he wanted to be. His teachers may know his past grades and if they did, he could prove to them that he is so much smarter than those grades.

We wanted to make this move before Gavin got into high school. I hoped with all my might that a move would allow us time to be together as a family. That we would no longer be suffocating under mountains of academic expectations. Reading Gavin’s assigned letter almost brought tears to my eyes. We did this for our kids. The blessings from this leap of faith are still manifesting themselves.

Gavin enjoys school.
I see him every night instead of the back of his head hunched over homework.
He is happier than I have seen him in years.
The miracles never cease to amaze me.