Thursday, December 25, 2008

do as i'm doing, follow, follow me...

one thing my dad taught me was to always do what you say you are going to do. he taught me this primarily by his actions, not his words. i grew up watching a very patient man with an incredible amount of dignity and integrity. he always followed through with what he said he was going to do. always put things away where they should go and never, ever did he not finish a project or task unless completed perfectly. i was by his side a lot of the time, handing him tools or helping to pick up the mess of the glorious project he was working on. he has built many things for me. among them a chicken coop, or more like a walk in chicken mansion with running water and custom nesting boxes. we ate fresh eggs every day for years, and needless to say, my chickens lived in blissful luxury. he built me a wonderful arbor off of my dining room, so i could drape my favorite vine for shade. he would always involve me in the planning of the project-sitting at the kitchen table mulling over the type of wood and nails we should use-how tall, how wide. then off we went to the lumber yard. last christmas dane asked grandpa for a sword. grandpa asked, "what do you want it to look like?" dane had no idea what he would receive in the mail, a sword made exactly to his specifications. beautifully painted in the exact shade he had specified. dane asked for another sword this year. at thanksgiving grandpa and dane sat at the kitchen table designing his masterpiece. 2 weeks later, a long cylindrical package came in the mail. grandpa did what he said he was going to do. he completed his project with amazing finesse. in grandpas distinct writing the words "don't open till christmas" were splashed all over the brown tube. i knew what magic was waiting in that tube. when dane opened the package this morning, there i was in all it's glory. the older kids immediately wanted to take a closer look at the masterpiece that was before them.

and he taught me all these many wonderful things by not even uttering a single word.

Monday, December 15, 2008

happy winter

as i get older i have come to appreciate a certain quiet that i never valued before. i have come to learn that staying quiet is much better than saying something you may later regret. that quiet time is extemely under rated. i long for a certain peace which may never be available to me.

i forgot how much i like this song...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

what i am thankful for...

thanksgiving has come and gone, and was a wonderful holiday spent with my mom and dad. we gorged on fresh shrimp and crab, snickers pancakes and the best eggs benedict imaginable...all set out under a beautiful sunset with an ocean view. i asked the kids if we should just make a turkey at home, and got a stern, "no". so off to the st regis...5th time, i think. it is an official tradition now. i was just glad the porn stars werent there this time. i dont know what i would have said to my dad! the first year we went, a bunch of porn stars and their porn friends were sat at a very large table front and center. lets just say there was lots of skin, sky high heels and big hair. even a sequined bikini top on one, with a fur coat dripping off her shoulders. why couldnt they have just stayed in the san fernando valley for thanksgiving. arent there some nice hotels there? encino maybe? north hollywood? good thing hunter hadnt hit pubery yet. dont think he even noticed, phew. it was really bad when the big girls announced that, "ron jeremy is here!" who in the heck is ron jeremy, i asked myself. well, come to find out, my girls announced, with mischevious smirks on their faces who he was. the second those words came from their not so innocent mouths, i was thinking, "how do my girls know who ron jeremy is????" panic quickly overtook my body. my blood ran cold and for a split second my life flashed in front of me...luckily, they explained it all away...thank goodness. he was on some mtv reality show, watched by ever teenager in the world, so i ended up being the only one who didnt know who he was...until then.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

where'd ya get that hair?

i couldnt pass on this rare opportunity to capture both boys in a dirty mirror with big hair. dane looks like he has something foul coming out of his nose. good thing i am such a good housekeeper. hunter needs a new head for his sonicare too.

happy halloween

the whole group ventured to disneyland on halloween. here are a few shots of the motley crew. i would love to be cruella deville-even for a day. she was unloading every insult she could think of while posing for this photo. wouldnt it be so fun to just say what you wanted to? "hey you, get a new hairstyle." or "wow, i cant believe you are wearing that." she was pretty funny, dishing out all of those comments with a sneer on her face. she had us cracking up.
o, and i did say, "funny faces" as i took the photo, in case you were wondering. camden and dane, however werent listening to the instructions. theyre the cute little ones in the front. i dont think those older kids know how to take a "normal" photo. gosh.

more botox please

well, every halloween it is a tradition in our home to purchase wax lips and then humiliate the dogs. we do a very good job every year of accomplishing what we set out to do. sometimes it just takes a little more patience, and a few more shots. this year maggie was an addition to the photo fest, and i might add, she cooperated better than toby. with toby, he is so intent on eating the wax lips, he gets a little side tracked. maggie wasnt quite sure what was going on.
i have to admit, she looks divine. that shade of red is good on her.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

jawbreaker love

ok, you know you are a little weird (and bored) when, a: you get excited when a jawbreaker is brought home for you, b: when you want to actually take pictures of the progressive stages of your beautiful jawbreaker and c: you want to pose for photos with your beautiful jawbreaker. so, on that note, need we say more about eden's love affair with her jawbreaker. what does this say about the mom who a: actually purchased the jawbreaker b: was equally excited about taking the photos and c: laughed hysterically at eden's faces while posing with her beautiful jawbreaker. would love to see a "how it's made" episode on jawbreakers one day...
needless to say, it was a very fun photo shoot. you shoulda been there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

i love my mom

this is my mom. i love her more than anything. she has been through a lot in her 83 years. she has been through the depression, world war II, growing up in beaver, utah..yes, you heard me right, she was born and raised in beaver...she was even the first girl student body president of beaver high school! her father was the town pharmacist and owned beaver drug store. he helped the local physician care for the residents of beaver. this gave my mom the love of medicine. she wanted to go to medical school, and started taking biology and chemistry classes at utah state, but was quickly told in a round about way, she could not compete because she was a woman. she regrets giving up, and is still mad at those professors who discouraged her, but has since moved on.

she attended the boston conservatory for music, took a train all by herself back east and studied voice. she was an incredible horsewoman, who was expected to do the work of a grown man with no complaining when she was an child. she lived on another large cattle ranch when she was a newlywed in ely, nevada with my dad and grandpa (and numerous hired men)...was responsible for cooking, cleaning and laundry for all of them with no electricity, a coal and wood stove and gasoline powered primitive washing machine. she baked homemade bread, pies and casseroles all from scratch on a stove stoked with coal. all the while being pregnant, then caring for a newborn baby. she is a real woman.

in the winter time, ice formed on the inside of the windows of the "house" was really a thin walled cabin with no indoor plumbing. my oldest brother was born in december of 1946, while they lived literally in the middle of nowhere. she has told me of the many nights she desperately kept him bundled up in layered wool so he wouldnt freeze to death. he survived polio, and she survived supporting my dad through many years at Berkeley, then CalTech, while he got 2 engineering degrees and raised 3 more kids. she is a true pioneer, one who is still alive to tell the story. every time i am with her i am constantly quizzing her about some amazing episode from the past. i hang onto every word that comes out of her mouth.

she is an amazingly strong woman who i admire so much. she has taught me how to stand up and do the right thing, be a person of integrity and the most important thing she has taught me is how to work. even better, my kids feel the same way i do. she is the perfect grandma to them. i was able to spend this last weekend with her. it was way fun. she's an inspiration to me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

gotta get it off my chest

you know, if you dont have something nice, uplifting, complementary, positive or just generally kind to say to your fellow human beings, just be quiet. does anyone really think about how their supposedly helpful comments, advise and criticisms actually affect others? think about it before you open your mouth, and im talking to myself here too.

ok, i feel much better now.

Monday, October 20, 2008


i took these photos while on my way to beverly hills to buy sprinkles cupcakes. dont ask me why i took the time to drive in traffic on santa monica blvd, amongst lots of bentleys and cars i did not recognize (i did get to pass the temple :-), drive down like 10 side streets like 10 times to find a parking place, went down the wrong way on a one way street (yes, i really did) then walked a block and a half to stand in a line of about 20 colorful beverly hills people just to get my hands on some cupcakes...then they didnt even have my favorite kind, coconut. bummer.

anyway, i knew the routine (been there a couple of times) and exactly what to order-1 dozen-6 red velvet, 3 coconut/ chocolate and 3 vanilla (love the white sprinkles). the lady standing next to me asked if i was going to a party..."no", i said. she laughed. she probably thought i was going to go home and eat them all myself. i told her i had a houseful of kids who didnt need a cupcake. she laughed again.

anyway, as to the billboard photo-i took this photo while i was driving (i dont recommend this). this is why it looks the way it does. in fairness, the billboard had both candidates on it, encouraging people to vote. unfortunately i was only able to catch obamas image. i have to admit i like and dislike things about both candidates. i like how obama supports the teachers and wants to get out of iraq, and i like how mccain wants to lower taxes, so dont know. neither one is perfect, and neither one has a good solution to the healthcare dilemma. time will only tell what happens. i am voting for prop 8, and also the animal one, prop 2 which gives them bigger cages. support the animals, please... and sprinkles.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

love heated seats...

just outside of provo, headed home

we got caught in snow near Beaver

more sky...

the coastline outside of cambria

well, i have been driving and driving for about 2 weeks now-solid, it seems. a road trip to utah and idaho, (no, this is not typical) then a fun weekend spent with my mom and sister in cambria at hearst castle. needless to say i have seen a lot of beautiful scenery in my recent travels. since, usually my scenic route is oso parkway and the tollroad, this was quite a treat. i typically dont get out i was amazed at the sights. the extraordinary use of color and texture has no worthy words to accurately describe it. whoever thinks there was no divine thought put into all of this is absolutely nuts.

the other man...

this is my friend. he is a beautiful praying mantis. he lives in my backyard in search of all sorts of nasty insects which prey on my shrubs. we see each other frequently, even daily. he even sneaks into my house when no one is looking. eden and i have been known to carefully pick him up and tenderly whisk him outside to rest safely on a bloom-his wonderful chartreuse color sharply complementing the brilliant pink. he hides from the dogs, i am sure, but didnt seem to mind them sniffing at his feet when i took this photo. he did, however follow their movements with his head, slowing turning it in their direction. he trustingly climbed on my hand like we had known each other for years. i do think he likes eden the best, as he has propped himself proudly on her shoulder when she transported him to safer ground.

i saved one of his brothers last year from the death grip of Toby's to extend his life only a few days. i found him on the floor in a tangled mess. his bed became the petals of a sturdy succulent. i gathered aphids from the roses he was trying to protect and fed him miniscule drops of water. he actually drank and ate for me-his alien like mouth engulfing the wiggling bugs held with tweezers, turning his head in search of my movements and more food. we became intimate friends, until one day he no longer followed my movements with his head. he changed colors too, to a dull, empty green.

aenon and i cried.
seems as if i am constantly rescuing some sort of creature. this habit is becoming annoying.

it's all good, though, next spring i will go to plant depot and buy more creatures to babysit.
maybe i need a real job.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

provo will never be the same

update from provo: aenon has finally found her niche. she has finally found people equally as quirky as her. she has finally found that provo isnt such a bad place after all. that there actually are intelligent, creative, good people there who do break the mold. imagine that. before, when she was not sure if she had made the right college decision, i kept telling her, "it could be worse". she lives in a little old white house about a block away from campus, with a cute bunch of byu girls and is proud to tell me she hasnt used ronald (her car) in days. well, its all good now and the residents of provo will never be the same. when aenon told me she had "found" an abandoned bike and was now biking all over provo (to save gas and the environment no less), i pictured a cute group of byu coeds biking through the shady, quaint, tree lined streets of provo in bermuda shorts and modest t-shirts (hmmm-actually i was hoping that would be the case). well, the shoppers on center street got a rude awakening. i can just imagine all the dirty looks those girls got. why wasnt i surprised at these photos when she emailed them to me. looks like business as usual in aenonland. i guess this little outing was a dress rehersal for halloween. cant imagine what they'll come up with for the 31st.

who ever said p-town was boring.

Monday, September 22, 2008

finally enjoyed my stay

of all the vacations we have taken over the years, i have come to realize this last trip to kauai was the best. it was the very first one where i was actually relaxed. it was the first vacation i actually took a breath and looked around and tried to take in the amazing array of greens in the foliage, the amazing colors of the sky and water and the "feel" of hawaii. i finally have learned to calm down, relax and enjoy the ride. it has only taken me what, 20 years or so to figure it all out. maybe it's the fact that my children now are able to dress themselves, entertain themselves and find their own toothbrush and actually go the next step and brush their own teeth without having to be reminded 100 times-imagine that....i think that is it. my children are growing up. i have found the anecdote to my mild frustration all these years. i do admit i am missing, the total dependence, the nurturing and hands on care that became second nature. made me feel like a real mother. now i am more of a mother in carefully chosen words of encouragement and boosting self esteem-guiding gently through this crazy maze of life-rather than the mother whose hands fed, dressed and doted meticulously over 5 little children. so on that note, i really enjoyed my vacation this year. loved every bit of it. LOVED spending it with my kids. i wish they would never grow up, but then again, i am enjoying them as big kids now. can't wait till next year...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

arms or legs?

are the front "arms" of a dog called "legs" or "arms"? technically, the part of the "front legs" of a dog which bends is called an "elbow" and the "rear legs" part is called the "knee". so, if that is the case, dogs have 2 arms and 2 legs. so, is it innaccurate to say that dogs have 4 legs?

consider yourself blessed if you have 2 arms and 2 legs. enough said.

Monday, September 8, 2008

dont worry be happy

for those who know me well, you know that one of my rituals is waking early and scouring the la times in the quiet of the wee hours. morning is my absolute favorite time of day-especially early morning. so when you catch me complaining about getting up with eden for seminary-dont believe anything you hear. the times has it's good and it's bad. quite possibly it is the reason why i dont think obama is so bad. and, to make matters worse i think i kinda like joe on that note, i will tell you what i read in the health section today. i thought this was really good, and want to make sure my daughters (and my son) read this.

A guide to enhancing happiness

September 8, 2008

Count your blessings. Express gratitude for what you have privately and also by conveying appreciation to others. (isnt this prayer?)
Cultivate optimism. Keep a journal in which you write your best possible future. (where have i heard this before?)
Practice seeing the bright side of every situation.
Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. When you start to dwell on problems or compare yourself to others, distract yourself with positive thoughts or activities. (dont worry till you have something to REALLY worry about)
Practice kindness.
Do good things for others. (the foundation of a good life is service to others)
Nurture relationships. Pick a relationship that needs strengthening, and invest time and energy in it. (sounds familiar again)
Do more activities that truly engage you. Increase the experiences at home or work in which you lose yourself in total absorption. (quite possibly our callings in the church will count for this one?)
Replay and savor life's joys. (ok, i have to admit i am thinking kauai-not the last stake conference)
Pay attention, delight in and review life's momentary pleasures. (i tell my kids all the time-enjoy the moment-even if youre doing something you dislike)
Commit to your goals. Pick one or more significant goals and devote time and effort to pursuing them. (boys out there-getting your eagle will make you happy)
Develop coping strategies. Find and practice healthy ways to manage stress, hardship or trauma. (good thing we know where we go when we die)
Forgive. Keep a journal or write a letter in which you let go of anger and resentment toward those who have hurt you.(good idea...i need a LARGE journal)
Practice spirituality. Get more involved in your church, temple or mosque. Read spiritual books. (even the newspaper says i should go to church)
Take care of your body. Exercise, meditate and laugh. (prayer=meditation=peace)


Sunday, September 7, 2008

proud vs pleased

i heard somewhere that we shouldnt say we are "proud" of our children,

we should say we are "pleased".

that proud is a bad word. hmmm, i can think of some other bad words... not sure what i think.

the dictionary says:


feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself (often fol. by of, an infinitive, or a clause).
having, proceeding from, or showing a high opinion of one's own dignity, importance, or superiority.
having or showing self-respect or self-esteem.
highly gratifying to the feelings or self-esteem: It was a proud day for him when his son entered college.
highly honorable or creditable: a proud achievement.
stately, majestic, or magnificent: proud cities.
of lofty dignity or distinction: a proud name; proud nobles.
full of vigor and spirit: a proud young stallion.

well, i was going to say i am proud of emma. but now i am going to say i am pleased with her.

she is taking life seriously.

has a good job, is never late to her job, wakes up on her own to go to her job and doesnt complain about her job. even makes a lot of money at her job.

she reminded me of the time when i told her she would be perfect if she just were a little more patient. did i really say that? anyway, cant say enough good, and cant even begin to describe her.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

why we have vanity plates

i have never really understood the whole vanity plate thing. i actually have laughed out loud at some i have seen. my favorite one i think is "cotomom". i do like "sumryet" and "wkndyet" too. these ladies are driving around south orange county as we speak. i did see one license plate holder that said, "sexy italian". laughed out loud again. anything with "sexy" in it is just stupid. what are these people thinking? do they really think that will get them a date? do they really think that makes them more attractive? o, and i saw one the other day that read, "luv2mtb". what the heck does that mean?

i admit, i had vanity plate envy when i saw this one. now it all makes sense.

home alone

well, i made it through the first week of being home alone, all by myself, no kids around to keep me company. no more cereal bowls in the sink at noon or pool splashes on the picture window. the house is eerily quiet from the hours of 8:20 to 3:15-to be exact. i wonder if the house is moaning secretly, missing all the happy noises of the people it quietly shelters. hmmm...

and dane made it to 2nd grade. he also, is finding the adjustment a bit difficult. he cried one night while I was putting him to bed, saying how "the day is so long... seems like it never ends"... his big tears staining his pillowcase.
we said a prayer and asked for a blessing on elder evans. that made it all better.

Monday, September 1, 2008

aenon is red

if i thought of a color for each one of my children, it would probably go like this-
emma would probably be tiffany blue since she loves that color so much,
eden a beautiful mossy green,
hunter a bright electric blue- just like the color of his eyes when he's really sunburned,
dane, probably a serene, mellow yellow
and aenon would be...a glorious shade of red.
her hair i think is the most amazing creation God has ever come up with.
her crimson mane should be the 8th wonder of the world.

simply amazing-and she came from me. wow

Sunday, August 31, 2008

playing with eden

both eden and hunter have entered the world of facebook. unfortunately i have been right in there with them telling them which photo to post and what not to say. the advise is rolling off my tongue. amazingly, they still listen to me, at this point...wonder how long that will last. what us old folks would have done for a facebook arena. remember (im talking to the old people here) when you had to write a letter or actually call on the corded phone attached to the wall in the kitchen. remember when the cord would get all stretched out?

so, i started playing with some photos of eden and got a bit carried away. so here is my beautiful work of technicolor.

in my next life i am going to be a photographer and a pilot. cant wait.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

officially depressed

i am officially depressed. summer is ending, and i am entering my annual funk. i should probably get used to the feeling, but i never do. i fight it. i lament. i sulk. i cry.

gone are the lazy days of my children around me 24/7. gone are the sleep overs and waking times of noon. gone are the sunburned cheeks and sandy back seats. gone are the days of having absolutely nothing to do....the magic of summer. i even feel fall in the air. i need to adjust the automatic timers for the outdoor lighting too, cuz it's getting darker, earlier...what a pain. i miss having all of my 5 children sleeping under one roof. why is that so comforting?

real life sets in. waking time of 5:30am, homework, bedtime curfews, routine, routine, routine. maybe i am just a free spirit at heart and hate the routine of it all. that may be the root of my problem-routine, repetition, monotony. maybe i should move to the napali coast with kevin and hunt goat every week and live under a tarp-yeah, that sounds good.

i should have been a hippie.