Friday, October 12, 2012

Decisions

So after a year a half sabbatical, I have decided that I need to continue journaling on the blog.  Life has been an up and down roller coaster, wonderful, sad, scary, fun and hard at times. But after reading through all the posts from the past, and seeing how much I had forgotten about, I know that I need to do this for myself and for my kids.  So here goes.

Something I have been thinking a lot about recently is the saying, "Come what may and love it."  In the past I have taken that to mean an acceptance for whatever life throws at you.  But I have been realizing lately that it isn't come what may and accept it, or come what may and endure it, but LOVE it.  So, I am making a concerted effort to love the things that I do, love the stages the kids are in now, love the activities and busy-ness of our lives and make the most of where we are today. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trying to move on

So some of you know that last summer was a bit of a challenge for me.

It took me months to recover from the concussion I got in July.

And then D was called as Bishop in August.

And then in September I was told I had some "abnormal growths" in my neck.

In October I cried when President Uchtdorf counseled us to slow down when turbulence hits.

So I stopped doing a lot of things that I used to do, that weren't absolutely necessary (obviously including blogging.)

I think I am starting to get a handle on life again, so I'm trying to get back into blogging.

Be patient as I try to get back in the saddle.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hawaii 2010

In August D and I took a trip to Hawaii. We rented a condo in Waikiki and used that as our base of operations to travel all over the island of Oahu. This trip was to celebrate ten wonderful years of marriage to each other, and served as a base from which to launch the rest of, well, eternity!

I got frustrated trying to get these pics into any semblance of order, so just enjoy in chaos!And I'm just going to finally post this or it will sit in the draft folder forever!

This first picture is of one of the tour guys at the PCC (Polynesian Cultural Center) in Laie. This is run by The LDS church, and staffed specifically by students at BYU Hawaii. It has many different villages that teach about the culture and give experiences from many islands of Polynesia, including but not limited to Samoa, Tahiti, Aoatoroa (New Zealand), Fiji, Hawaii, and Tonga. This guy was from Samoa. He was HILARIOUS. He taught us how to open a coconut, get at the flesh, make coconut milk, and start a fire with the coconut hair. It was pretty amazing (plus funny). He also taught the word for fire in about ten languages.
I can't remember which village this experience was part of...but we got to weave a toy fish . This lady was amazing. While she sat there waiting for people to teach she would weave all kinds of different things and her fingers would FLY.

This picture was taken from somewhere along the North Shore.

We found "Turtle Beach" pretty much by accident, even though it was one of the places we wanted to see. We had been snorkeling all day at different places along the North Shore. When we finished up for the day we ran into another couple who asked about some good places to snorkel. We told them where we had been, and then they asked if we wanted to see some sea turtles, and where they were. So we changed and found this beach (which we had passed earlier in the day during a downpour). There were two large male turtles on the beach and some smaller ones in the surf.I think this first one was named Tripod (he was missing a hind flipper, taken by a shark, they thought.)
This was our favorite place to snorkel on the island: Shark's Cove. It was amazing the amount and variety of sea life we saw here. We even saw a little sea turtle swimming around (it was tiny compared to the ones we saw that evening.)

This is D as we got ready to snorkel at either Shark's Cove or Three Tables...I can't remember which it was. It was somewhere near here that we stopped at the best place to eat (so we were told by friends, other tourists, and locals alike)...Ted's Bakery. It had the most divine pastries I have tasted in well, ever. And this is where my love of Chocolate Haupia Pie began. I'll add my recipe at the end of this post. There is something about the taste of chocolate and coconut together that is just heavenly.

This is Three Tables, another snorkel spot on the North Shore.

Here are the falls that we hiked to just outside of Honolulu, Waimaia (I'm not certain of the spelling on the one.)


Here we are at the falls...it was a fun hike...but very muddy (It is in a rain forest.)

This is on the hike before it started climbing...actually just past the area that was staged for a scene for Hawaii 5-0...a crashed helicopter in the rain forest. I thought it was hilarious that they actually brought in a lot of vegetation for the shot. I guess the area wasn't as lush as they thought it should be?!

This next pic is actually from our first day in Hawaii. After we got into our condo we decided to go explore the area. As we got down near the beach a guy literally put this parrot in my hands! And then he started posing us with the birds. It was pretty fun.

Both of us sporting the feathered accessories.

This is also at the PCC. I think this was right after the luau, just before we went into the night performance of Ha: the Breath of Life.


This is the flag as seen from the Memorial for the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.




Here I am walking along a beach I think on the east side of the island. We stopped on our drive up to Laie, and I gathered some shells and coral that had washed ashore. This was actually the only place that we saw sea debris...I think the surf is too hard and just crushes things to smithereens on the other sides of Oahu. It was so calm and just like most other places, the water was so clear!



Some of the other things that we enjoyed while in Hawaii: Waikiki beach, Hanauma Bay, China town, Pearl Harbor, and the Bishop Museum.

D really enjoyed the body boarding, and did so right near the pier at Waikiki Beach. We practiced snorkeling in the sheltered area (where there was absolutely nothing to see) before going into the more exciting waters at Hanauma bay, and on the North Shore. And I did some reading on the beach. Relaxing!

I took this pic as we walked back up the road after we spent the day at Hanauma Bay. It was so beautiful. I loved being able to go to the park kiosks and find out the names of the different fish and sea life that we saw.

I know this next picture is really weird, but that's why we have it. As we were trying to find China Town, we saw these mannequin heads in a window. We were so startled and freaked out we had to take a picture of the "art".


We tried to go up Diamond Head, but that didn't work. We got waved off to the side and told the parking lot was full. As we turned around, they let the cars behind us into the lot. I guess we smelled that day or something.*shrug* Actually I wasn't too sad...I was still feeling a bit exhausted from my concussion the month before and wasn't sure I could handle the hike. Also it was so ugly in the crater...definitely not like all the pics they have in the brochures. I guess the pics were taken in the winter.

The swap meet was OK but the international market was pretty dumb. I guess I should have realized that some "tourist destinations" were really shopping malls. And since neither D nor I are huge shopping fans, it is no surprise that we didn't find those too fascinating.

This was an awesome view as we drove around the tip( I think it was the southeast corner) of the island. I just loved the evidence of erosion and the contrast of shadow and light.

This is another view of Hanauma Bay from above.


This is the view at sunset from the roof of our condo building.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Halloween 2010




As I was looking through our pictures from Halloween, I thought, hmm, isn't that funny, the computer recorded the wrong day for Halloween (they are listed as 10-30-10). LOL! Then I remebered, oh yeah, we did do Halloween on the 30th this year...we can't go trick-or-treating on a Sunday! Anyway here are the costumes...Yoda, Anakin, R2D2 and the Lion. The older kids really wanted Peaches to be an Ewok, but she refused too wear the hood that would have made her look more like an Ewok. Oh well. The theme was mostly there!





We visited the grandparents' houses first and then had to wait for the massive thunderstorm and downpour to pass before we could go out in the neighborhood. It was some of the heaviest rain we have had in ages. But it did pass, and the kids (mostly) had a great time trick-or-treating. We didn't hit all the places the kids wanted too (shh! don't tell), but Peaches was recovering from a sprained foot and became a beastly, angry lion after about an hour Good thing Daddy was there to carry her and help calm the beast!) And mommy made the R2D2 costume too long for Sweetsa to comfortably walk in, so we went home and got warm, dry and comfortable. Literally, Home Sweet home!

Flat Earth

I fell off the face of the Earth,

or maybe I was shoved off,

I don't know...

...I guess that means the Earth really is flat.

I'm trying to climb back on...still in process.

But to help me get back into blogging (Thanks Jam for the nudge!), here's a cute "Peaches-ism" which was related to me tonight.

A few weeks ago in Peaches' Nursery class, they asked a question about Heavenly Father. Peaches gave this answer:

"My dad is Bishop and Heavenly Father is God."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Caught!

(So I started this post months ago, but since I have been MIA for a while, I thought I'd post as is!))


Have you seen any of these masked bandits? All have been seen wandering in the vicinity of our backyard!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Children's Parade

So one of the things that our kids have wanted to do (since forever, or so they tell me) is to march in the annual children's parade here in town. So after much pleading I agreed that this year we could do it...if we could use the wagon D got for Christmas (knowing that, while the route is short--at six blocks-- the little ones wouldn't want to walk the whole way.) Well, with such a great prop, we came up with the idea to be Pioneers with a wagon going across the plains.

When Taffy and her children arrived here for the summer, they gladly joined in with great ideas and plans. One of Taffy's girls wanted to be an Indian (after finding that Mimi's moccasins fit her really well!) with a papoose and spent an entire day making a costume for her doll. Jeff was very excited when he found out he could be a cowboy, but Buddy wanted nothing to do with girly dress ups, and declared he would decorate his bike and ride in the parade that way. The rest of the girls wanted pioneer dresses. Thanks to Uncle Tee, we had a dress to fit Mimi (originally a Kirsten-type dress) and several bonnets and aprons , but needed to make dresses for the rest (five pioneer dresses and one Native American type dress.)
We marched in the Children's parade, the kids had a great time. Thanks to some excellent rigging/planning and engineering from Grandpa, we had a fantastic wagon any pioneer would have been proud of (or just would have thought was cute!) And thanks to Grandma for saving us...making an awesome dress, lending bonnets, vests and hats, and joining us for the all-night sewing session! This parade exhibit definitely would not have been possible without their wonderful help. It was fun to look for them/wave to them and uncle Beege buns, as well as D along the parade route.

The kids did a great job(especially for waiting for-EVER for the parade to actually start --some judicious lollipops helped with that!) The big girls took turns pulling the wagon, and then they all took turns riding in the wagon (when Kiersti insisted on getting out, and Peaches insisted on me carrying her...thankfully only the last block and a half!) The kids would have been happy to just be in the parade, so it was a totally unexpected bonus that not only were there popsicles at the end for all participants, but we also got a trophy, because, as the lady said when she gave us the trophy, "We just loved your wagon and thought your costumes were so cute!" And sad to say, I am a sucker for a trophy, cuz the all-night sewing session didn't seem so bad anymore!

So here are the pics we took.

Jeff when we got the trophy:


Heading out to the parade...Westward ho!


Jessie the Indian Maiden with Samantha the papoose:



Caroline the Cute (and tall) pioneer girl:


Mimi in the Kirsten-esque dress:


Here's Buddy about to lead us all to the parade on his bike:


Sweet Naomi , Pioneer lass:


Cowboy Jeff and his pal Pony:


Sweetsa and Kiersti, together (Sweetsa in blue with the pink bonnet, Kiersti in green):


Peaches trying to pull the wagon (she did succeed):

Here we are, taking off, after our long wait in line!:


Pioneer children sang as they walked...they sang the chorus to "The Handcart Song":
"For some must push and some must pull
As we go marching up the hill
And merrily on our way we go,
Until we reach the valley-o!"


Peaches enjoying her popsicle at the end of the parade:


Here we all are posing with the trophy (yes it is in there...look in the middle. I know it's small but hey, it's a trophy!):


Here's Kiersti again, just cuz she's cute. She was so excited to throw candy to people, and she did a great job of it too!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Have my buttons burst yet?


I am so proud of our Mimi girl! What can I say she is amazing! A couple months ago, she approached D ( a counselor in a YSA ward Bishopric) and asked when she could give a talk in church. So D lined her up to speak this month. When he asked her how long she wanted to speak for she replied, "I don't know, 5-10 minutes?"

She was given the opportunity to choose her own topic, and she chose love.

She gave her talk today. Yes I am the proud mama, but she did a fantastic job! She read with expression, and didn't sound or look nervous at all. She even got the congregation laughing. Several people came up to her at the end to complement her (one even said she gave the best talk of the whole month!) D got a note from one of the YSAs saying that her talk answered a question he had been struggling with for quite awhile.

I am so proud of Mimi for having the courage first of all to ask for the chance to give a talk in Sacrament meeting (who does that?), and then preparing and presenting a talk that touches peoples lives.

I pray she can continue to be such a wonderful example as she grows into tween- and teen-hood!

What I have been reading

For our book club this past year, we have been reading the unabridged version on Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. It has been fun and fascinating, and I'm sorry to say at times, very hard (boring). He writes wonderfully and there are some parts that I will gladly remember forever...and then there are parts that I dutifully slogged through to keep up with the group. I think I will read the abridged version when next I pick it up--a few years down the line!

As D recently finally understood, I can never read just one book at a time and sometimes have as many as five books that I am reading. So here are some of the other things I have been reading and what I thought of them. This is only some of the things I have read in the past few months...mostly the ones that I remember and really liked. And, yes I have an eclectic taste in books. If anyone has any good book recommendations, I would love some suggestions!

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Ok I really enjoyed these page-turners, but I have to admit that they are a bit, um, violent. And the twist at the end of Catching Fire really caught me off guard. I can hardly wait for book number three comes out in August.

Ender in Exile, Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Giant, Shadow of the Hegemon, and Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card. What can I say, other than I love the way Card weaves in his political and military history as well as psychology with such a fascinating storyline! I read his newest (I think Ender in Exile or Shadow Puppets) and then had to go back and read all the related ones in his series. I have to admit I pooped out after awhile, so I didn't finish Xenocide or Children of the Mind. But I do plan to finish them (again) sometime.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This was recommended to me by Woodine, and at first I was a bit peeved at the author...she was trying really hard (too hard in my opinion) to convince her readers that growing your own food is healthy for you and the environment. Once she got past the preachy part of her journaling, I really enjoyed the down to earth, back-to basics info and anecdotes, not to mention the helpful hints, resources and recipes she included.

No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. I picked this up on a whim from the new non-fiction books section of the library...mostly curious about the unique cover/binding. Turns out the book chronicled a man and his family as they tried to make no impact on the environment for a year's time. I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was really sad though that it took this whole project for the author to realize that happiness does not come from the material aspects of our existance, but through our relationships and spirituality/connectedness to the "cosmos". Anyway , as I said I really enjoyed this book, and I have been more aware of my energy usage/trash production recently. It sure isn't a bad thing to be less reliant on fossil fuels and to reduce, reuse, and recycle what we can!

SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. This is the "sequel" to Freakonomics, by the same gentlemen, which I enjoyed a few years ago. It really isn't a sequel, just more of the interesting analyses of studies done by statisticians. People really do respond to incentives...and not necessarily in the way we expect. I loved the last chapter that detailed several simple, "low-cost" possible solutions for the global warming/cooling issue.

The Undaunted by Gerald Lund. If you have read anything by this author you know that he meticulously researches the areas and history of the subject before fictionalizing the characters. This story follows the pioneers who settled the southeast corner of Utah, and literally cut a wagon road in the mountains and cliffs of southern Utah to get there. It is wonderfully written, with engaging characters, along the lines of the Fire of the Covenant and Work and the Glory books he has written in the past.

Rapunzel's Revenge (second read) by Shannon and Dean Hale. This is a graphic novel (like a comic book) I stumbled upon a year or so ago. I loved it! It is sort of a fractured fairy tale that has Rapunzel rescuing herself and teaming up with Jack (of Beanstalk fame) to overthrow the wicked witch. Fun story illustrated by our neighbor, Nathan Hale! Mimi also loves this book, and has read it several times...getting Sweetsa hooked on it in the process!

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale. I gave this to Frogalee for her Birthday last summer and she kindly sent it back to school with Kaeru Hime after Christmas so that I could read it. I only got to it in March. It sure made an impact on me! I loved it, but it was an emotional roller coaster for me...I literally found myself sobbing through parts of it. But it was good, funny--hilarious even. And I could identify with that "typical Mormon housewife"--except for the writer part. !)

Redefining Joy in the Last Days by Chris Stewart. Loved , loved, loved this one. He used personal experiences, quotes from pophets and scripture and really brought home the fact that joy is not dependent upon having a "perfect," no-trial life. It is something we can have now, and should actively seek in our lives. A very quick read...like an hour!

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Em gave this to me for Christmas, and I am sorry to say that I didn't pick it up until April. Silly silly B! It was so good! Seriously, one of the best fantasy books I have read in a long time. The premise was unique, and the characters well-drawn. I loved the surprises and the way the magic worked.

Mistborn and The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. Got these from Frogalee for my birthday. I do like how Sanderson writes! This is again an interesting storyline with a strong female lead character. I enjoy the changes that she goes through in her character and trust for mankind. I do have to say that this one (two) are rather violent (there is a war going on, so there is quite a bit of killing). So if you don't like that in your books, pass on this series. I haven't yet read the final book in the series (Hero of Ages), but plan to do so when my current crop of books slims down a bit!

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson. I should probably list others of Pattersons books in here, but this was the most recent and most memorable. Again a different premise than most of this author's books...but fascinating. A New Order takes over and starts imprisoning and/or executing thousands of youth, particularly those who are "rebellious" (not accepting of the N.O.'s rules.) This book starts what I assume will be a series following a brother and sister caught up in the mess (who find out that they are a wizard and a witch during all the chaos.)