Monday, September 29, 2008

You should meet my mom.

You should. If you knew her like her friends and family know her, you would be inspired like the rest of us.

My mom celebrated her 35th birthday on Saturday (just kidding about the Saturday part; er no wait, just kidding about the 35th part, I think she turned 36, not 35) ;)

So here is why you should meet my mom.

She is the most service-oriented woman I know. I am not saying there aren't other service-oriented moms out there of course, but she really gives the most service out of anyone I know. For years, it seems like every time I call her, she is in the middle of some project or deed to help out another ... and whether she knows them well or not at all. Seriously, just about every time. ... That's a lot of service. And she has always been extremely selfless in raising us kids. She taught me that service opportunities can often come at the least convenient times possible, and just to expect that and go ahead and serve anyway.

She is a very happy and positive person. You can't help but feel better when you're around her. Even if she does use words like chonk (I think she made this word up) and zany and does a little giddy march while raising her shoulders, rubbing her hands together and doing the cutest cackle happy laugh, you can't help but feel happy.

My mom is talented. She plays the piano with such beautiful emotion. She taught many kids piano for years and is a wonderful teacher, instilling a love for music in them. Everything she touches turns beautiful; her home, weddings, floral arrangements, Christmas decorations, the food she cooks, even herself - she has great style, yet she is not materialistic, ... She is a talented reader and has served with this talent reading story times to kids at community libraries. She has directed many a road show play (remember those?) and dance festivals, and has the mind to just whip up little ditty songs for such plays.

She is an incredible seamstress. I didn't realize just how incredible until she created and executed these gorgeous Irish Gaelic costumes for an Irish soft shoe dance that a few other dancers and I did in our dance performance group during my high school years. She can figure out ANY sewing project.

She is a steadfast woman who is striving to draw closer to Christ every day. After I went through our LDS temple for the first time before getting married, I thanked her for holding true to Christ and our Heavenly Father, and I meant it.

My mom is down-to-earth, smart, talented, beautiful (seriously she is beautiful now, and if you saw her college pictures, she's gorgeous!), very hard working, organized - very organized!, diligent, and so much more. With her down-to-earth sense and approachability, I have discovered that it seems like almost anyone who knows her has come to her with a problem and has sought her listening ear. I love that about her.

And so like I said, you should meet my mom. There is still much more to her than what I've described, so next time you see her with me, just walk up, shake her hand, and say, 'Hi Carol - I was told I should meet you', and you'll be glad you did.


Happy Birthday Mom!!! (I'm sorry I wasn't here in person). I love you so much!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Promise ...

I promise ... to do a new and better post within the next couple of days so that you can get that stinkin DTPS out of your head! (That was not the kind of post I meant to leave lurking and waiting to say boo every time you check my blog for over a week).

By the way, in my post on September 16th, I recruited some of you to write letters to our senators about passing the Protect Our Children act in order to try and catch more sexual predators out there and reduce the number of such crimes. Well it passed! I feel a little rest assured knowing I can do my part to protect my children from sexual predators, but now also knowing that the government is doing their part as well in ways that I can't.

Anyway, soon I'll tell you about my week in Las Vegas last week helping my sister-in-law out with her brand spankin new newborn (well no spankin actually, that would be just plain wrong, in fact - how could I even mention it?)

So I'll see you soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

MOTHERLY LOVE=DTPS

MOTHERLY LOVE=DTPS
It does!
Oh wait, you don't know what DTPS means?
It means, DESENSITIZATION TO POOP SYNDROME!!!
Get it? Got it? Good.
Need I say more?
Oh, I do? Okay, I'll explain a little more. There have been many times when changing Taya's diapers or catching her spit up in my hand or finding her blow-out all over my shirt, that I have thought, wow, I must really LOVE my daughter to not be as grossed out as I normally would be right now!
But this past week proved it by miles!!
Taya came down with diarrhea and a horrible diaper rash last Saturday. After unsuccessfully trying a few basic things to help her get better in both areas, I resorted to the recommendation of letting her 'air out' ... go naked, diaper free, shake her little bun buns around the house; however you'd like to say it. I shut all the doors to carpet areas, rolled up the rugs, and let her run free!
And then there was the clean up. Like I said, she had diarrhea, and that is why I say LOVE=DTPS, because I am so desensitized to poop and pee (hers only) it's not even funny (don't worry, I do still try to avoid it, but it's just about impossible in a situation like this). Only motherly love could get me to do this dirty, dirty job.
Oh - I've gotta go, Taya's got a poopy diaper. Hey, at least it's in a diaper this time right?

(And by the way, between letting her air out, feeding her bananas, applesauce, and rice, and using 'Butt Paste' after already trying Desitin and Dr. Browns Diaper Rash Cream, we successfully eliminated the problem!)
And by the way again (if you're a mother and you're not desensitized to your children's poop, spit up, throw up, urine? Don't worry, I'm sure you've still got motherly love in some other unique fashion).
And by the way - uh, again - you could pretend I color coded this post in brown because I am excited about the fall colors that don't exist here in Arizona, but no, I am that gross at this moment; it is color coded for another reason, but you can pretend to see pretty fall leaves in the back ground.
And by the way AGAIN (somebody should come up with an acronym for that, so that I don't have to write out by the way so many times, maybe some Latin meaning or something?).

Maybe this is why she got a rash in the first place; slow response time to poopy diapers. Hmmm, where's the motherly love now?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is VERY important and quite easy, why wouldn't we?

***If you don't want to read a serious topic right now, stop.***
***If you want to help with a serious topic (and you easily can), read on.***


Well this is another serious topic. I saw just a little bit of Oprah today and she had 3 girls on her show who had sadly been molested by their neighborhood friend's dad. It was another example similar to others I've heard of where the parents and the kids knew the sexual predator well and still had no idea to steer clear. The only reason these girls found out (because he had drugged them) was because they were contacted by police saying these girls were some of hundreds or thousands that this man had posted online. (I'm sorry, like I said this is serious, but there is something simple we can do about it to help). There are thousands of sexual predators out there, who choose local victims and victims far away through Internet communication. There are so many that the number is overwhelming and hard to control through government agencies at this point. In order to catch more of these predators, the Protect Our Children Act/S. 1738, Biden-Hatch is going through Senate soon. As described on Oprah.com, this act will:
-"Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
-Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
-Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.


So the easy part that we need to do is write our senators to put pressure on them to pass this act. Doesn't sound very easy? - It actually is, because Oprah provided all of the information through her website, along with a letter you can copy and paste and everything so that you know the correct wording for passing the Protect Our Children Act.

Here are the instructions (all you'll have to do is go to a couple of these links I'll show you and copy and paste this letter -or write one if you want [I added a paragraph to mine] and email it through the Senate link below):

Go to Oprah.com, specifically http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20080911_tows_predators
Here you will see the letter to copy and paste, as well as the link to www.senate.gov/ that will help you find your senators and their email links.
Lucky for you who are fellow Arizonans, I am providing you with both links to directly email Senator Jon Kyl & Senator John McCain (I sent it to both b/c I assume John McCain is a little busy right now). Here are those Senator email form links:

http://kyl.senate.gov/contact.cfm
AND/OR
http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

I haven't emailed or posted about something like this before, but I just think there is only so much we can do to protect our children from sexual predators right now, and when it comes to predators who can make you trust them and befriend them, it seems like a helpless situation. But with this act, they could be caught (because many who are predators of local children are also predators online and can be tracked). So I don't know why anyone wouldn't want this act passed.

Now, all you have to do is DO IT!! It's easy. Just follow my instructions above, or the instructions on http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20080911_tows_predators

Thank you!!! The more of us that send this, the more our senators will know how serious we are about this topic, and the need to improve this situation.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Deep Thoughts

(Not by me this time though! Uhh, will this post go along with my 'thesis'? ...I don't know, but I'll share anway!)


Deep Thoughts,
by Jack Handey

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad." We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward.

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.


(Did you think you were in for another long methodical post? I thought I needed a breath of fresh air, well maybe not fresh, but at least funny air: these are some of my favorites from a regular 'Deep Thoughts' segment on Saturday Night Live in the '90s).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's my point?

Pen and Paper Pictures, Images and Photos



Why do I blog? What's my point? I've thought about that recently. Although I have random thoughts throughout the day or week that I tell myself I am going to turn into short blog posts, I seem to forget them when the pencil comes to the paper. I started out blogging so that extended family and a few friends could keep up with Taya and anything interesting in our lives, and also so that I could keep a kind of journal. Now I have a lot of friends who read this and very few family members that do (that I know of - they don't seem converted to the blogging world - yet). So I've been wondering what my blog says about me? Does it say I complain? (Hopefully not). Does it say I enjoy life? My family? Does it say I'm funny? (I wish, but no). Does it spell out my deep thoughts? (Not as often as I have them, but probably more often than you'd like).

I read a newspaper article yesterday about my boss's niece who has developed a widespread avid blog following and has recently been in a plane crash, resulting in tragic severe burns for her and her husband. They have four children who are being taken care of by family while they try to recover for months (which according to the article is even questionable). Part of the reason that this story has been featured in newspapers, online, and on the Today Show is the way that her blog touched thousands of lives, and the way those blog followers have joined together to raise $100,000+ for medical expenses for this couple. What I liked when I looked at her blog (http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/) was the fact that you got a sense for who she is and what her family is like and the positive life that she has been leading. And that is when I wondered - what's my point? What does my blog say about me? I realize it is just a blog, but it's also kind of amazing the impact that some blogs are starting to have. I am not saying my blog has a large impact (because really, it doesn't) and I am not trying to copy the Nie Nie Dialogues. I just want to reflect positive things and leave a journal for my family, friends, and kids to eventually draw from and know who I am, and hopefully leave a positive taste in their mouths.

One more story: on this topic, I also thought of an experience I had in college, where when my two fellow college roommates from my hometown and I heard the news about Katie Tenny, another girl our age from our homeward, dying in a car wreck on the way back to BYU from Thanksgiving Break, we were very saddened and wondered what we could do. We offered to go collect and pack all of her belongings from her apartment. We knew it needed to be done soon and thought that we might be appropriate people to do it; close to the situation, but not as close as family and roommates who this might be extremely hard for. But what I still remember about this experience is that as we packed her belongings, we saw many, many uplifting books, inspirational pictures, studious notes and college work, and an overall inspirational living experience. Feeling touched by Katy's life, I felt very strongly that day - what would people deduct about me from packing up my living space?

So I felt the same sentiment again yesterday reading about this mom's blog who has touched so many.

Now I want to include things in my blog like: stories of my wonderful grandparents, the things I love about my marriage and about Paul (have I conveyed how much I love this wonderful man?), of course tales of Taya, the little idiosyncrasies of myself that we can all laugh at, experiments in the kitchen!, what I find amusing about myself or in people in general in everyday life, my love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and many other things that I feel make up my life, in a positive way. Maybe this is the thesis that I should have started nearly a year ago when I started my blog.

We'll see how I do and what my blog says about me, my life and my family.
Happy Blogging!
*****************************Edited****************************
Okay, so I think it can say I'm a tiny teency bit funny. Sometimes. Maybe. Just a little bit? Yeah, a little bit funny.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another Outdoors Trip!






We spent most of Labor Day Weekend camping at the top of Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona. These pictures show Slide Rock Park, a natural rock water slide near Sedona. You can enter it through a paid, crowded parking lot, but we hiked down in and were able to swim through a secluded beautiful swimming hole (shown) before getting to the crazy crowds of people. It was entertaining to watch the people of all ages fill Slide Rock Park, little kids and adults both going down this natural water slide. We did some cliff jumping too! Paul and I both did one that is probably 35 feet high (?) and Paul then did one that is maybe 55-60 feet high (high enough to plug my ears the rest of the day, but it was fun! I felt daring of course).

Camping was fun - once we found out Paul had a half day on Friday on a holiday weekend, we thought we should use it up! I will tell you briefly about our fellow campers and then I will stop so I don't complain too much! We camped in some unofficial open land campgrounds where hardly anyone else was to be found. Then Friday night some people decided to join us within 100-200 feet, despite the open land. With their RV generator running late, they also thought it would be a good idea to start loudly partying at midnight each night, kids up and yelling and all. Then Saturday after we had been gone all day and came back, they had like 30 family members who had joined them. They were blasting their booming, abnoxious music for hours and into the night, and were firing shot guns in the campgrounds! (A 22 and a 45 - even in the dark). This all repeated every day until we left early on Sunday night instead of Monday afternoon when we had planned to leave. Saturday night we called a ranger/911 on them for the gun shooting and ended up just playing phone tag with a deputy who could never find us. The time we spent in our campground was interesting to say the least.

SO, we had fun camping, but just avoided our campground as much as possible.


Here are two videos of people cliff jumping where we had (didn't have our camera on us when we went) and of me making Taya crack up in the hammock.
video video