Sunday, December 30, 2007
I've done pretty darn good staying home and making some additional money. This money has been so wonderful for our family, that it's been especially hard to see it go. We've had the chance to spend a weekend in Vegas, just my husband and I. We've taken the kids to countless events that normally would not have fit the budget. We got a new computer. A new treadmill, and just all around had money that didn't have to affect my budget to spend. That will be the hard part of the coming year!
We bought a new home and moved our family out of the city of Chicago. That is definitely the biggest event in our life. We are now Suburbanites, and honestly--we are very at home.
We've had family members come to visit. Some stayed with us, others stayed near. And still others stayed a state away--but we were still able to track them down for a visit. Living so far from my family, it's nice to have been able to see the special people that we did. Thanks Bobby and Sherri, Peggy and Mike, Steph and Lee and of course, my momma! Anytime anyone needs a place to stay while visiting the Windy City...just let me know!
This year I did something really hard--something that still brings guilt showering down upon my head. Last July I had to put our Rhodesian Ridgeback "Bear" down. He had been a hard dog since the beginning--and I honestly persevered with him and got him to nearly 10 years old. Because of his lack of bladder control moving him to the new house was out of the question. Plus he started to get very aggressive with me--and for an African Lion Hunter--that can be kind of scary! As much as it needed to happen--It still triggers a great amount of depression--I hope we never have to do that again.
Two weeks ago we welcomed a new family member into our brood. Little Wasatch has been quite the handful. Friday he went in for his "snip" and even with a belly full of stitches, we can't keep him calm and on all four feet. He's a trial for me--and I do contemplate returning him to his owners--but the thing that keeps me holding on--is the dog that I know he will become when this puppy stage is over. That's a long way off--but honestly, I wouldn't miss it for the world!
Our kids are healthy--although their mother was sick most of the year. How weird is that! I spent the entire summer deaf, and have actually just started to feel better for the first time in a long time! My husband has herniated another disk in his neck, lives in constant pain--and is going through some neck injections to try to ease his pain. Please keep him in your prayers.
I have not been a great "member" this year. I will do so much better in 2008! My goal is every Sunday. Seeing how I'm a Primary Teacher now--it shouldn't be too hard. Plus, church moves to the afternoon and that will help in and of itself. I would like to get back to the temple this year. It's been a long time--and well, I think it's about time! Plus, hey--maybe I can tag along to Hawaii with Stephanie and Lee!!!
Well, this is getting long---but for my last full night of 2007, I thought I should make some sort of post!
Happy 2008 to all of you! May it be the best year yet!
I think it's mainly because of the fact that my internet is totally screwed up. I don't have it on either desktop, and the laptop is sometimes reading it sometimes not! I SOOOOOOO don't understand networks and 'stuff'! My other main problem is the mouse. That is one thing on my desktop that I have come to depend upon. This touch pad and clicky buttons will be the death of me. I do think I will go find a normal mouse to use with the laptop--it will make my life so much easier!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I've been looking over some websites trying to see if the thoughts of a vacation calm the mind--but you know they don't! Even the sites discussing beautiful folly beach sc real estate don't seem to distract me like they normally would. I'm hoping to snap out of it before the trip to Florida comes in February! If not--maybe I'll be heading to South Carolina on my own!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
So while I try to get my fingers to adjust to this new keyboard--I may not get to updating all that quickly--but I promise, there is more to come!
Monday, December 17, 2007
We've been in this house since September 1st, and it's the one thing that I've wanted from day one that I haven't gotten around to doing. So this is like an early Christmas present for me!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
These are 4 of the 6 girls invited. One didn't make it, and one was getting changed upstairs. But these four are the cousins. Blake, Brooke, Rebekah and Sophia.
After the girls decorated their own mini pizzas we headed into the living room for the dice game. You had to roll a 5 in order to pick out something fun from the table. A HUGE thanks to Lynne for the perfect idea of rolling for 'girlie' items instead of candy bars. It was a big hit!
From the dice game we headed into the dining room to decorate the crowns. I was so impressed at how creative each little girl was. The oldest actually walked out with a really well designed crown.
From there it was dinner. Pizza bread, garlic bread and Jello-salad. Not a huge hit--but am I the only one that thinks the actual eating time is the most boring part for the kids? They would all rather be doing something so much more fun!
After dinner we moved into the family room (I sooooo love having all of these different rooms to utilize! In the old house--it was like the living room and the...living room! I will explain more at the bottom of the post what took place in the family room! Then it was present time. Blake got some darling princess jammies, a cute princess purse and slippers, a princess boom box and princess story books. Lucky lady!
Then the scavenger hunt began. They had to run from one place in the house to another. Upstairs and down finding the location of the next clue. There were 20 or so in all, and the final clue led to the kitchen table that was all set up with the cake and the Ice Cream Balls. They had so much fun choosing whatever they wanted on their ice cream, but again...I think they had more fun creating their dessert than they did eating it!
The final picture of the evening-- a picture with all of the girls in their dresses and crowns. So cute.
This is what went on in the family room. It was so much fun, and I'm so glad I did it. There is a box wrapped literally 20 times in different wrapping paper. There is music and as the music plays the kids pass the box. When the music stops whomever is holding the package gets to remove 1 layer of wrapping paper. Then the music starts up again and the whole thing repeats. What made this so fun is that two of the little girls are very shy and during the music parts if they weren't passing the box, all of them got into a paper fight. There was wrapping paper flying everywhere. Little girls squealing and giggling. Of course, Grayson wanted to be a part of this game as well, so we did have one little boy in the mix. In the end, Blake was the one holding the stripped box when the music ended and she opened the box to discover the goodie bags to pass out to her friends. It was just a really good ice breaker--I think next party, we'll do that one first!
In the other house there are four really quaint, antique white chairs. I'm going to bring one of those here to go with her vanity. Since her room is decorated in the "Shabby Chic" at Target (where this vanity comes from as well) I have purchased an extra twin sheet with the same pattern as her comforter and I will make a covered pillow for the bottom of the chair.
I really can't wait to see her really start to use this piece of furniture. I've gotten a whole bunch of "vanity" items to go along with it. I think I will be more excited about it than she is!
We had to make sure everything was perfect because my husband has the night off on Monday and has several of his "buddies" coming over to watch the Bears on Monday Night Football. This holds no interest for me, other than the fact that I have to keep four kids and a new puppy out of their hair for what, 3 hours? Yes, I am the lucky one!
I may just move my computer up to my room, barricade us all in the room and turn on a movie! I don't know if that will work for 3 hours--but I should be able to get some good time out of them all!
I know, big name for a little guy-but it's all Utah to me without naming the puppy Utah. The mountains in Utah are the Wasatch mountains--or the Wasatch Front--everything you heard on the evening news had Wasatch in it--so there you have the reason for the name. Although I always said if I had a black dog his name would be Mojo--and well, maybe next time!
Wasatch is really excited about Brownie. Brownie--not so much! They were both very cute last night chasing each other in circles and exploring -- until Dad got home. Brownie is very possessive of her bed and her dad--and Wasatch was not welcomed to enjoy either. Normally Brownie is a bit skittish anyway, but throw a new puppy in the mix, and shes just downright freaky! Hopefully in the coming days the newness will wear off and they can just chill.
Friday, December 14, 2007
This is a Jack-a-poo. This is the type of dog that we are getting later today. Mind you...this picture isn't of our dog. But how can you not put that face on a blog--it's precious! Our puppy is black, and currently has the name of Frankie. He will be known as Wasatch in this house (big name for a little guy) and as soon as he's home, I will get his picture up.My Christmas cards have been addressed and everything for 2 weeks now, just waiting for a stamp, and now--they are waiting for a photo of our newest little guy--I am starting to think we'll send them out without it though--a picture of the kids should be sufficient for holiday greetings, right?
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Every time it comes on I have to stop. Here I am a 36 year old mom of four--and instantly, I'm 12 again. Blaring the radio and staying up really late every Friday night hoping that this was the night that Friday Night Video's would play the video, and missing it every week. We didn't have MTV back then, but Heather did. She recorded the video for me, but sadly--her family had a Beta and we had a VCR (Wow, skip the song, I just dated myself with that one!!) and I couldn't ever get a copy. Who know that just 2 decades later--the video would be on YouTube for me to finally indulge in!
My kids roll their eyes when this song comes on the radio every Christmas. I silence them and turn the radio up nearly as high as it can go--and I can still sing every word, see every face from the video and name every artist singing. I literally am transformed back into a 12 year old singing my heart out 24 years ago!
My oh my---how time flies!!
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Ok, you saw my trial run last week. Here is the finished product. I had to do it today, because unlike the cake decorators that compete on the Food Network, I take around 7 hours to do one little cake! I think she looks beautiful-- maybe a little too pink--but finished!! I actually added petite coats and ruffles to this one--as well as a bow around her waist that ripples down the back of her dress. Yes, I could play with fondant all day long!!
What is fun, and hard to see with the ruffles--they are all scalloped--and then there is a little hole punch just like in real ruffle lace. Yes, I went a little (OK, maybe A LOT) overboard!
Friday, December 07, 2007
4:00-The guests begin arriving
4:05-The girls each have an individual pan of flattened bread dough. They will get to put whatever they want on it to create their custom "pizza bread". Since they will be in their princess dresses-we are doing pizza bread because there is no pizza sauce on that--and that could get messy.
4:15-Candy Bar game. You roll the dice 3 times to try to get a 5. If you get one--grab a candy bar--if you don't pass the dice and wait for your next turn. Normally you can steal someone elses candy--but THAT would induce trauma, so we are leaving that part out.
4:30-Decorate foam crowns with foam stickers and gems
4:50-Eat pizza bread and ??????? (any ideas...garlic bread, salad, jello)
5:10-Unwrapping game. Big box all wrapped up in layers and layers of paper. Music plays and the box is passed around. When the music stops, the person holding the box starts to unwrap the present. When the music starts up again-they pass the box. When the box is finally unwrapped--all of the goodie bags are in it.
5:35-Photo scavenger hunt around the house, ending at the kitchen table with the Cake and Ice Cream Balls.
6:00--It's officially over, but anyone can stick around and play and chat.
Does that sound ok? Is there just too much going on? If so--I would probably cut out the candy bar game--their goody bags have a candy necklace, bracelet, and ring pop in them--so the parents probably wouldn't mind losing a candy bar.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
I found this article today--on of all places, Yahoo. I thought it was excellently written--and so have put it in it's entirety here. If you notice some "Blue" writing--that's me, talking back to the article itself!
If you've ever wanted to know anything about Mormons--without having to ask someone, this is a pretty good article. Enjoy!
Theology divides Mormons, evangelicals
By JENNIFER DOBNER, Associated Press Writer Wed Dec 5, 5:34 PM ET
SALT LAKE CITY - Polygamy, missionaries on bicycles and the Osmonds
What most people know or think they know about Mormons might be summed up in those few words. The renowned Tabernacle Choir and, perhaps, quarterbackcould also fit on that list.
Despite 170 years of history, much about The— the church of Republican presidential candidate — remains a mystery to most.
Questions about his faith, which some mainline religious groups discount as a non-Christian cult, have dogged Romney throughout his campaign, and on Thursday he'll tackle the issue at theLibrary on the campus of Texas A&M University.
Romney isn't expected to focus on the details of Mormonism, but it's in those details that evangelicals and other Christians sometimes break with Latter-day Saints.
The fundamental issue: the nature of God.
"Christians and Jews have always held that there is a great gap between creator and creature. God is God and we're not," said Richard Mouw, head of the Pasadena, Calif.,. "Mormons believe that God and humans are of the same species. In our eyes they have tried to bridge that gap in ways that really is a fundamental violation."
Mormons also disavow belief in the Trinity — that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one — instead believing the three to be individuals united in a single purpose.
Many non-Mormons dispute claims that the faith's central text, the, is a valid account of Jesus' dealings with ancient Americans. Mormons believe the book was translated through revelation by founder Joseph Smith from a set of buried golden plates. It's one of three texts from Smith, who also drafted his own version of the Bible, altering many of its passages in light of what he said were errors that had crept into modern translations.
"(I love the bible--I read from it OFTEN. It is the word of God. I've read both the Old and New Testaments...many times (once in Japanese--although I didn't understand much--so we won't count that one. I share Bible stories with my children. I have like 20 Nativity scenes. The Bible plays a huge role in our religion. The Book of Mormon doesn't take anything away from the Bible at all. In fact, it backs it up. I was telling a non-Mormon friend the other day, if you read the Book of Mormon and follow it's teachings--you will live a more Christlike life. Even if the book was written by a madman (which it wasn't) the teachings are correct. It teaches humility, charity, honesty, virtue. Mostly it teaches the divinity of Jesus Christ--and any book that does that is a pretty great book in my eyes. If you've ever wanted to know what the Book of Mormon is like without actually reading it--or what we stand for as Mormons...read the Book of Ephesians in the New Testament. From how members of the church should strive to avoid uncleanliness and walk uprightly before God--on down to fidelity in marriage. So...go read Ephesians if you'd like a little peek!)
Smith founded the church in 1830, 10 years after a vision near his family home in, N.Y. The original church had just six members, mostly members of Smith's family. Today the church claims nearly 13 million members worldwide and is rapidly growing. With about 5.7 million members in the United States, it is the nation's fourth-largest church.
Culturally, socially and politically, Mormons and evangelical Christians should have no trouble finding common ground.
Mormon culture centers on faith and family, with church activities and callings — from teaching Sunday School to leading Boy Scout troops — filling the calendar.
A patriarchal society, Mormons hold up the traditional family as the ideal, with women encouraged to raise children instead of work outside the home. ( I am a stay at home mom, but not because 'The Church' required it, or asked for it. It's all I've wanted to be since I was little. My parents divorced when I was four--bio-dad abandoned us, so my mom went to work. My two brothers and I went to daycare. When I was 9 my mom married Prince Charming (truly) and she was able to stay home with us. Because I've had it both ways--I knew which way I liked better--and wanted that for my kids. It isn't anything a woman is forced to do by the church. In fact, many MANY women work outside of the home, and are very successful in the workplace. As with any religion--to each their own.)
Healthy lifestyles are promoted through the faith's "Word of Wisdom," which warns against the use of alcohol, tobacco and "hot drinks," including coffee and tea. (ah, so there's the secret as to why I remained sober at Tao!!)
Mormons tithe 10 percent of their incomes to their church and are encouraged to serve proselytizing missions. (If you've ever wondered why the title of my Blog is in Japanese, it's because I served a proselyting mission to Nagoya, Japan. I served for 18 months, paid for it myself. Learned to speak, read and write Japanese fluently.)
Mormons oppose gay marriage and denounce gambling. They've largely supported the war in Iraq and twice voted overwhelmingly for (Again, for a non-drinking, non-gambling gal---Vegas was just a normal place for me at Postie-Con--but still so much fun! They fail to mention that Utah is the only state in the country where Bill Clinton came in third behind Ross Perot in both elections. For some strange reason--I take GREAT PRIDE in that!)
Officially, the church is politically neutral. It doesn't endorse candidates,and it encourages members to vote their consciences. (I have never been pressured to vote any certain way, I vote the way I want to live my life--and that wouldn't change whether I was Mormon, Catholic or Baptist. My religion is a big part of who I am, but I'm not a mindless drone--I study up on policies and hot button issues--I've never turned to the church to decide how to vote.)
From the beginning, Mormonism set itself apart from other faiths in both culture and doctrine. Modern leaders don't dispute the differences — a church Web site says the faith is "not Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox but holds a unique place in the Christian world as restoredChristianity."
"We believe (the church) was lost after the times of Christ and his apostles and required to be restored through a prophet," said M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Mormon church's second-tier of leadership, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. "Think in terms of Abraham and Moses ... Joseph Smith to us is just the Moses of our day."
But the debate over the church's place in Christianity remains a sore spot for leaders who in 1995 altered the church logo to place more emphasis on the words "Jesus Christ" in its name. (Funnily enough, we never changed any part of our name or logo. The name of the church is, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yes, most people know the terms Mormon, or LDS as well--but that never affected the name of the church.)
The problem is that most evangelical Christians see Mormon doctrine, which stems from Smith, as "un-Biblical," said Robert Millet, a professor of religion at the church-owned.
Aside from continuing revelation, there are a host of Mormon beliefs that evangelicals find hard to swallow. Mormons, for example, believe in a Heavenly Mother — God's female partner — a pre-existence in heaven before birth, a hereafter that includes a three-level heavenly kingdom. They wear religious undergarments that some say possess protective powers; they bar non-Mormons from entering their temples; practice posthumous baptism and believe that man can progress to a God-like state in Heaven. (Posthumous baptism...that's a big word. I believe it was Peter, in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, that pure and simple calls it Baptism for the Dead.)
Millet, who has spent much of the past decade working alongside evangelicals, said of those non-Mormons: "They would say, 'Look, it's not a bad idea, but it's not biblical. My comeback would be, the real question is whether or not it's true."
Other Christians also don't accept the Mormon contention that they are members of the "one true church," the authentic version of Christianity that Smith claimed to have restored to Earth at God's own direction.
Even language adds to the divide. Mormons refer to all non-Mormons, including Jews, as gentiles and call God "'Heavenly Father' as if 'Heavenly' were his first name," Balmer said. "Evangelicals just don't do that." (I'm not sure we use Heavenly as though it's his first name--we know his first name--but it's where he dwells--and as we have an earthly father--we also have a 'Heavenly' one as well. )
Another concern for some: that Mormon church presidents are held out as prophets with revelatory power that can alter the church's direction and beliefs. (I don't understand how people find it so hard to believe that we believe that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If he spoke to prophets in olden times--why in the world would he stop talking? Especially in the world we live in today when we need him the most. )
Such revelations discontinued the practice of polygamy in 1890 and, in 1978, ended a ban on giving black men priesthood authority.
Said Mouw, "That notion that things can just get changed is scary for a lot of people who worry that a church with a very strong authority center could influence a public leader by suddenly getting a new revelation that has an impact on public policy." (As for the church interfering in the political world...let's take a moment to realize...Orrin Hatch is a Mormon. Very strong Republican. Very conservative, very vocal about HIS ideas. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader Democrat from Nevada is a Mormon as well. He is also a Very strong Democrat. Very liberal, very vocal about HIS ideas. You have two men that believe in the same church--follow the same church doctrine in their personal lives--but live on vastly different ends of the political spectrum. If the church were really "interfering in Public Policy" wouldn't these two men be a whole lot more alike than they are? The church plays a part in who these men are--how they live their lives--but 100% their politics are their own. Just as it would be with Mitt Romney!)
Among non-Mormons, 62 percent think Mormonism is very different from their own religion, according to polling this summer by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and Pew Forum. Some 53 percent said they had a favorable view of Mormons, compared with 76 percent who had favorable feelings toward Jews and Catholics, 60 percent for evangelical Christians, 43 percent for Muslims and 35 percent for atheists. (My thoughts on other religions are these...if your religion draws you closer to your God, makes you a better person and member of society, teaches you to love others and be charitable...it's a pretty darn good religion whatever it is. My best friend here in Illinois is Jewish. Her children are my kids best friends. Yesterday was the first day of Hanukkah, my kids have been over to their house when they light the Menorah, tell of the miracle behind the holiday. We hold no bias against anyone based on their religion. My in laws and my husband are Catholic, as well as his entire family. I love these people. I'm thrilled that they find joy in their religion, just as I find joy in mine.)
Fifty-two percent said they think Mormons are Christian. (We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are Christians when it comes to the dictionary definition. We believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of this earth. It is only through him, and his perfection that we will ever be able to attain exaltation. We pray to God through Jesus Christ. We don't pray to Joseph Smith nor do we worship him or any prophet that has followed him. We love them all...don't get me wrong--but we don't worship Joseph. We worship God, and his son, Jesus Christ. As for any other definition of just what makes a "Christian" that may be open to personal opinion. We love our families--they are the center of our religion. Our hope in this world is to raise our children to become responsible, contributing and upstanding members of society. We live our lives striving to be more like Christ, and honestly--I don't think there is anything more Christian than that!)
Oh, and a funny side note just from me...when I lived in Japan we were teaching a woman about our church and she started asking some really strange questions. Why don't Mormons use electricity? Are women allowed to be educated? Do we all live on farms? I was extremely confused as to where these questions were coming from. Turns out, she had watched the Harrison Ford movie "Witness" and all throughout the movie they kept translating the word Amish into Mormon. So for many movie going Japanese people--we were Amish!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I found a SUPER-COOL site today! OK...one of my dearest friends in the world turned me on to it, but still...UBER COOL! It's a place where you can go and see what Christmas Light displays are in your area. Or--you can upload displays that you know of so that others can find them. There is even a really cool map in the center showing you right where the displays are in relation to your zip code. You can search by display type, including live actors, walk through, drive through, animation and cut outs. I know around town here in Chicago there are many--but they haven't been added yet. So I'm going to sit and add a few that I know of, both here and in Utah--to get the maps populated.
I'm in the mood for Christmas, especially with the Ice Storms we are having--once those finish, I'm ready to pack the kids up with a thermos full of hot cocoa--and head out and see the displays around here.
Another cool thing about this site...you can win prizes. You get prize entries for every light display that you submit. You can write a blog post for more entries, donate to the charity, you know--click HERE to see the prizes and how you can enter.
I'm addicted to one particular part of this website. You can do so many different things to get you in the mood for the holidays, and my favorite are the Christmas games. I'm the best at...Deep Freeze! So, I'm sending out a challenge!! Head over to ChristmasMaps.com, play deep freeze and if you finish the game with a higher score than me...take a screen shot---post it on your blog--leave me a comment with a link to your blog---and the first 5 (FIVE) people to leave me a comment with a higher score than mine--I will send you a whopping $5.00! I know--it's not a lot--but it's Christmas!! Honestly, if you are like me--it won't take too long to kick my butt at this game--but there are so many other fun ones--this just happens to be the one I was determined to win!!
So, your mission, should you choose to accept it...Head over to ChristmasMaps.com, submit your favorite light displays so that the rest of us can go see them---check out the prizes and enter for a chance to win--and then...hit the games and try to beat me!!! If you do---go ahead and challenge others too!
Sorry---I got a new high score--and had to change my photo!! I haven't had any takers?? 709,600!!
Monday, December 03, 2007
And then of course, there is the Princess cake that I practiced making today! All around--yes--it is 100% a "girly/princess" party!
Can you tell I only have one girl amongst three little boys! I tend to go overboard slightly when I get to be girly!!
When it was time to distribute the invitations, Blake wore her princess dress and crown--and each invitation was addressed to "Lady Kathrynn" or "Lady Victoria".
The invitations say, "Come One, Come All, To Blake's Fifth Birthday Ice Cream Ball." And honestly, I didn't even mean to make it rhyme!
Saturday, December 01, 2007
So, I guess I will just go on living my life with a really small penis--I just wish the spammers would get a clue--and try at least, not to bother women with their garbage!!