Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flashback Tuesday

Last week, Jen invited me to join her Flashback Tuesdays link party on her blog.  What an awesome idea to pick a random picture from forever ago and tell a story.  I have a jillion pictures that I always want to share, but I've never really had a good reason to...until now!  

I've spent most of the day agonizing over which picture to choose.  And, as you can see, I couldn't just pick one.  But I did manage to keep it to one EVENT.  

No comments about the hair, please...it was 1998!
On Jen's Flashback Tuesday, she posted a Travel Flashback and asked when and where we last went out of town.  I couldn't post our last vacation picture because that just happened two weeks ago when we went to San Antonio...that's not a flashback; it's just repetition.   So, instead, I went back to a trip to Utah that we took in the summer of 1998.  Flowering Buttercup was almost 2 and I was VERY pregnant with Spell Girl.  Long before we LIVED in Mendon, we would travel there for vacations.  We were in the middle of a move from Atlanta to Seattle, so we managed a little diversion to hang out with family for a couple of weeks.     
We took a day trip with the entire family to Bear Lake.  In 1998, that included two grandparents, four brothers, three wives, and only six grandkids!  (There are 16 now!)
Since the Grs had just finished building their beautiful home, we all thoroughly enjoyed playing on their gorgeous five acres.  I kinda loved that farm life feeling...especially playing on that cool tractor!
There is nothing better than summers in Mendon.  As much as I love living in Dallas, I don't love the summers here, and there are a handful of things I really miss about Cache Valley on a regular basis...especially in July.  I miss the mountains.  I miss the way the nights cool off enough to wear a sweater.  I miss eating breakfast on the back porch and being able to see the whole valley.  I miss morning walks with my father-in-law.  

I love Flashback Tuesdays and look forward to lots more reminiscing!  Thanks Jen!!  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Last Days

Since BFF is leaving us tomorrow, we decided to sneak in a few last minute things.  June put off getting her ears pierced when she turned 12 last month, and decided to do it while BFF was here with her, so we let Flowering Buttercup drive us to Claire's this afternoon.
The girls found these silly accessories while we were waiting for June's turn in the ear piercing chair.

BFF found this cute hair piece that PERFECTLY matched her hair.  Doesn't she look like a little pop star with this fluffy ponytail updo?
This is right before the lady pierced June's ears.  Can you see how nervous she is behind that little smile?

We have had so much fun with BFF over the last month.   I absolutely adore this girl.  She is adventurous, flexible, infinitely patient, and so darn cute!  It has been a joy and a pleasure to have her in our home.  I am amazed at how effortless it's been to have her here.  She gets along with everyone: siblings, parents, friends, neighbors.  I'm sure she's met at least 100 people, but she never gets tired of smiling and making a new friend.  She has attended YW lessons and activities, read the entire Book of Mormon, survived a road trip with our family, tried crazy foods, swept my kitchen floor, written in her journal every night, and kept a SUPER positive attitude even when I'm sure it's been difficult to be so far away from home.  This is a truly extraordinary girl.  I'm so happy to have had her sweet little spirit in our home.  I'm sure this will be a month none of us will ever forget.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Family History

The Scout Master and I signed up to take a 10 week family history class during the Sunday School hour of church.  We're on Week 3.  As the only member of the Church in my family, I've definitely felt a responsibility over the years to do some family history work, but I haven't always known exactly where to start.  Here's what President Boyd K. Packer said about that:
"Get a cardboard box. Any kind of a box will do. Put it someplace where it is in the way, perhaps on the couch or on the counter in the kitchen—anywhere where it cannot go unnoticed. Then, over a period of a few weeks, collect and put into the box every record of your life, such as your birth certificate, your certificate of blessing, your certificate of baptism, your certificate of ordination, and your certificate of graduation. Collect diplomas, all of the photographs, honors, or awards, a diary if you have kept one, everything that you can find pertaining to your life; anything that is written, or registered, or recorded that testifies that you are alive and what you have done."
That's it...a cardboard box!  That's pretty do-able, don't you think?  I can totally throw stuff into a cardboard box.  That's not exactly what I did when I got home from church today, but because he made it sound so simple, I got on the website and just started poking around.  I had entered some family names already, but it was a long time ago.  So, this time, since I have a whole new set of branches to add to my family tree, I started with a different set of names.  I added my mother, Chris, and her parents, Irene and Ralph, who have both passed away.  It was fairly easy to find their obituaries on the internet.  (Oh, how I love Google.)  But when I put their names into new.familysearch.org, it filled in about 6 additional generations.  And guess what!  Their temple work has all been done!  Cool, huh?  Well, there are a few gaps, but a LOT of the Temple work has been done.  

So, here are some fun things about this amazing website (these pictures are from my phone because I don't know how to copy them off my computer)

So when I start with "Me and My Ancestors" it automatically goes to my adoptive parents, Richard and Dollie. But because this website is so awesome, there are options to put it additional parents (because some people have those, too)  That little asterisk gives me the option to change views and I can see my whole birth family.
Here's what my birth mother's line looks like.  I just put in all this stuff last night.
And this is what the website populated on its own after I typed in Alfred and Bessie's names.  All those little temples with check marks next to them represent work that has already been done.  And all those arrows beside the names mean that there are more generations behind these.  A few of those lines go back to the 1700s in Portugal!  Super cool!!

I had SO much fun exploring this website and finding family members.  This might rapidly become my new favorite pastime.  You should totally check it out!  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book of Mormon Read-a-Thon 2012

This weekend, the girls and I attended the 2nd Annual Book of Mormon Read a Thon.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this event.  Last year when we did it, I LOVED it.  And this year, I LOVED it just as much.  Last year we had 23 kids and maybe 4 leaders.  This year, we had 35 kids and about 10 leaders who rotated through both days.   
Deacons (there were more, but these were the only ones who let me take their picture)
Mia Maids

We started at 8:00am on Friday and listened to the Book of Mormon at 1.5x speed via the audio download from lds.org.  We have some amazing media folks in our ward.  It is a mystery to me how they make that happen, but it they have done it successfully for the last 2 years and I am so grateful that there is always someone more technologically advanced than I am.  
Everyone started the day with enthusiasm and energy...
...but a few of us had to sneak in a little nap.  12 hours of reading and listening for TWO DAYS straight is darn hard!!
We had TONS and TONS of food.  So many amazing parents volunteered to bring lunch and dinner and snacks to sustain life for the 40+ kids and leaders who committed to this awesome opportunity.  (That's my super cute BFF getting dinner ready on Friday night.)

Here are the things I LOVED about this weekend.  It was different this time for me than last time.  I absolutely LOVED being with the youth, as always.  I LOVE having Beehives and daughters sprawled in my lap and all over the floor with me while we listen to the scriptures in surround sound.  I LOVE the feeling of unity that we have when the whole group is doing the same thing.  I LOVE the hope and comfort that comes after 3 Ne 11 when we watch the video of the Savior's visit to the Americas.  I LOVE the feeling at the end of Day 2 when we all finish a difficult challenge together.  And I always LOVE the testimony meeting...like SUPER love it!   
"Every act of self discipline increases our self esteem."  

But this year, what I got out of the read a thon was more personal.  I can't remember exactly how this quote goes, but in Institute once, the instructor said, "whenever you and your challenges are in the same place with the Spirit, you will receive inspiration and guidance with those things you are struggling with...whatever they are."  That's totally true.  I have felt that more times than I can count.  Even when I'm not totally focused on whatever the talk is or the purpose of the meeting, I find that whenever I put myself in the right places where I know the Spirit will be, I always, always have assistance with my stuff.  That was definitely the case this weekend.  

I have a bazillion journals...really.  It's kind of ridiculous how many notebooks and journals I have stuffed with thoughts, quotes, ideas, dreams and things that happen in a day.  On Friday morning, I happened to grab one of those bazillion out of a basket on my desk.  It's one I knew I had used before, but not for awhile, so I knew it would have blank pages in it.  (And honestly, I didn't grab it because I anticipated that I would be writing down so many thoughts and feelings.  I grabbed it because I wanted to be able to write notes to Amy.)  But guess what!  That journal happened to be the same one I used last year at the Book of Mormon read-a-thon.  (Nope, I'm sure that's not a coincidence.)  So during some of those quiet moments over the last two days, I spent a lot of time reading the things I had written last year.  What an amazing way to gauge where you are and where you've been.  I loved reading all those thoughts and being reminded of the way I felt.   I also read the little things I scribbled in my scriptures from last year.  I came away from this read-a-thon with a firm testimony not only of the importance of writing things down, but also of re-reading what we've written.   

The entire weekend was amazing.  There is no place I would rather be than with the youth in our ward.  I LOVE the Book of Mormon.   And I am so grateful to have been immersed in it once again.  I hope to make this a summer tradition for many years to come.   

Be Good.  Be Patient.  Don't Forget.

Friday, July 27, 2012

High Five for Friday

1.  The Book of Mormon (more on this in future posts)

2.  Month long slumber parties
3.  Sons of Provo.  The girls dug this movie out of the back of a drawer and wanted to watch it one night this week.  It's been FOREVER since I've seen it.  So freaking funny!!
4.  Convenience Food  (It's been a long week. These have come in handy.)
5.  Besties!  It's been a long time since I've had a BFF and this time I picked an awesome one (or maybe she picked me...I'm not sure.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Perfect Storm

Do you know what a perfect storm is?  It's a combination of rare or unlikely circumstances that come together to aggravate a situation and provide a catalyst for change.  I've had lots of perfect storms in my life...enough to be able to fairly accurately predict when they're coming and enough to know that they hurt, but that they're worth it.  I've learned to be calm in the midst of them and to be grateful for them, because after they leave, there is always peace, comfort and bluer skies.   I knew this one was coming.  I prayed for it.  I just didn't know when or how it would happen.  

This was my favorite Conference talk last April.  Jeffrey R. Holland Laborers in the Vineyard
I love Elder Holland.  (Next to President Eyring, he is my favorite, so I think I allow my ears to be a little more open when I hear those two men speak.)  Two Sundays ago, someone gave this same talk in Sacrament, almost verbatim...so I listened...again.  Last Sunday, in Ward Council, or BYC or one of the meetings I attended, the Bishop quoted part of it again.  (You know how I feel about stuff that comes repeatedly...especially in threes.)  Monday morning was blah...really blah...like that feeling when you want to go somewhere but you don't have anywhere to go...restless, achy, caged.  The Scout Master offered to pick up Flowering Buttercup from driver's ed since I was feeling not like myself.  Doesn't sound like much of a storm, huh?  Certainly not perfect...totally meaningless, seemingly unrelated events by themselves, but together...

This post doesn't make any sense, I'm sure.  It's not supposed to.  I'm writing it because it makes sense to me, and so that I don't forget.  So that in a few months or years or whenever I start thinking that no one is aware of me and I don't matter, I can read this again and remember that that is so far from the truth.  So that I don't have to pray for another perfect storm.  So that I remember what it feels like to be carrying something heavier than I can manage and what it feels like to finally give it to someone else.  I am overwhelmingly grateful for storms, for hope, for strength from somewhere beyond me, and especially for the Scout Master.  He is patient, kind, understanding and supportive even when he doesn't have to be. I totally don't deserve that man.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

High Five For Friday

Thank goodness this week is over.  It's been way too long...too many doctor/dentist appointments, too many places to be, and too much laundry.  I was exhausted on Monday!  But there were some great things that happened this week for sure (as always...)

NEW BEEHIVE KITS...I borrowed this idea from this cute blog and modified it a little to welcome my three (and a half) new Bees into YW (I gave one to BFF even though she's not going to be 12 until October.  She's going to have a little bit of a head start on her Personal Progress.)

I LOVE going to see MOVIES in the theater.  I went to two this week.  BRAVE was ok. I loved Merida more than I loved the movie.  I loved her passion, her hope, her spunk, and especially HER HAIR!  But I've told all my daughters that if they ever turn me into a bear, they will regret it.  

A new DRIVER in the house
A new driver in the house who BEDAZZLES things when she's bored.  :)

Season Tickets Update

Remember this post I wrote in June?  Well, yesterday was our official Seat Selection day at the stadium.  We have been carefully briefed all week by friends with lower lottery numbers who have gone before us, so we knew exactly what we needed to do.

We arrived at the Athletics Complex five minutes before our scheduled time.  At exactly 10:00am, two football coaches walked us back to a room where they showed us a giant diagram of the stadium seating.  Sections for the band and the students were blocked out, and there were stickers indicating which seats were still available.  Behind us there was a giant window with a view of the entire stadium so we could get some perspective.  
visitor's side and student section in the end zone
One at a time, we were called up to look at the map, and at the stadium if we needed to, and select our seat choices as well as an alternate.  After that, another coach came to collect us, and walked us down a long hall (which was covered with pictures of our favorite wide receiver) to the "war room" where another bigger, laminated diagram of the stadium was laid out on a table.   

Fortunately our first choice was available!  We selected our seats and the coach removed the stickers to indicate that they were no longer available.  Hooray!!  Seats 25-28 in row R of Section 107 officially belong to us for the 2012 season (next year we'll have to do this all over again, but they call it Trade Days when you're a current season ticket holder.)   After we picked, we were then escorted to the office where we wrote out our check and received these...
aren't they beautiful?  You can't tell in this picture but the eagles are all outlined in shiny silver.

Wanna see where our seats are?..
OK...see all those darker seats in the middle, to the left of the field?  Those are the sections that have seat backs.  We did not get seats in any of those sections.  Our seats are in the first non-backed section, on the lower level, on the far side of this picture, about the 30 yard line, at the very top, under the overhang.  (So right below the eagle's neck on the "Play Like a Champion" sign.)  We picked these seats strategically even though there were upper level seats with backs still available.  On the other side of this sign is a JumboTron (of course there is, right?) so by sitting on this side of the stadium we'll be able to see everything at that end of the field up close and personal and catch everything else on the JumboTron.  Brilliant, huh?  We're also under the overhang for weather protection and shade during those first few blazing hot home games.  Also brilliant.  All that brilliance was the Scout Master's, not mine.  If I had picked our seats, I would have gone for the upper level, with seat backs, right beside the band because my football game priorities are slightly different than the Scout Master's.  I'm there for the socializing and the band.  He's there for the...um...game???

We are so excited to be able to participate in this crazy, hectic, intense stadium process.  No where but Texas does stuff like this happen.  We're SO looking forward to the upcoming football season with seats in this new beautiful stadium.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, for sure!  The first game is on Friday, August 31!!  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Driving and Birthday Requests...

Well, it's semi official.  TCD started Drivers Ed this week and passed her test.  She now has a learner's permit and can drive (with an adult) for the next 6 months until she gets her REAL driver's license.  She is officially a card-carrying driver!  

And...on a much sadder note...I have an announcement to make.  TCD and I had this conversation this morning:

TCD:  Mommy!  I know what I want for my birthday!!
Me:  Hmmm...it's a little early, isn't it?
TCD:  Nope.  I've been thinking about this a lot.  And it's important.
Me:  OK then...what do you want for your birthday?
TCD:  I want to legally change my name on your blog to FLOWERING BUTTERCUP!
Me:  (giggling...because who can help but laugh when she says stuff like that...)  I can do that.  But I'm just going to call you FB because FLOWERING BUTTERCUP is too dang long to write every time.  
TCD:  Nope, that's not going to work for me, Mommy.  I want you to write it out.  I don't want to be an acronym anymore!  

So, with a little remorse because I really like THE CRUISE DIRECTOR (TCD), I'm granting her birthday wish a few months early and legally changing her blog name to FLOWERING BUTTERCUP.  From now on, when you see that new, ridiculous name, I will be referring to the daughter formerly known as TCD.  (...sniff...)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Guess what is the BEST thing to do on a day when it feels like everything is totally falling apart and you've spent more time crying or yelling than happy?  Escape to see a movie!...preferably one that doesn't relate to your life at all, that is ridiculously fictional, and that may contain someone delightful to look at.  If you can, carry a large enough purse so you can sneak in a giant cup of Sonic ice.  (I have zero guilt about this because I've tried to get ice at the concessions counter and they only give you a tiny cup with three huge, unchewable ice cubes in it...not quite as satisfying.)  And bring along a few friends.

This is the second time I've seen this movie, which is pretty significant because I don't go to that many movies and I NEVER see the same movie twice.  I kinda loved it!  It's intense and sometimes shockingly graphic, but I couldn't even hide when the scary music played because I didn't want to miss a single thing.  I am not a Kristen Stewart fan and having to watch her play Snow White twice was a little difficult, but Chris Hemsworth totally makes up for that.  
We went to the 10:45pm showing, so it was almost 1:30am when we finally made it home, but it was such a great way to end a really bad day.  I'm so grateful for daughters who I want to hang out with and not escape from.  I'm grateful for amazing friends who drop everything for me.  And I'm grateful for a husband who doesn't mind that I escape every now and then, and waits up for me to get home.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I probably should be a better example and stop encouraging this sort of behavior when my kids' friends are over, but they have so much fun!!  And I have the fastest getaway car minivanOne of the deacons in our ward has a birthday on Saturday, so the girls (and friends) decided it would be a great idea to fork his yard.  (Yeah, we've come up with all kinds of crazy pranks here.  BFF is going to go home armed with some mad TEXAS-style pranking skills, for sure!)
 There's something about night pranking that always inspires my girls to dress up like ninjas!

Here's how the night "went down"...
At exactly 21:16 on the evening of Tuesday, July 17th, four ninjas carrying one Ziploc bag, filled with an undetermined number of plastic forks, climbed into the back of a gold Honda Odyssey along with a driver (me) and a navigator (TCD).  The vehicle drove 2.1 miles to the street of an unidentified deacon where all ninjas departed the vehicle at the corner (because said deacon lives on a culdesac.)  The driver and co-pilot then turned the vehicle around and waited as the ninjas stuck all but two of the plastic forks into the front lawn of the deacon's home (picture taking may have occurred at this time.)  At exactly 21:38, the ninjas ran quickly back to the vehicle, got in, and made a speedy getaway.  At this time, it is not known whether the unidentified deacon is aware that he has been forked. 


Monday, July 16, 2012


We really love being sneaky around here.  Wanna see what we did tonight?

 Sorry these are so dark.  But we were trying to be stealthy and that means NO FLASH!

We had so much fun leaving little love notes for our friends.  Hopefully they'll love them tomorrow morning when they wake up.  And hopefully it won't rain tonight!