Wednesday, March 27, 2013


In 2010, when I started this blog, we had just moved across the country, and I was coming off of some major personal trauma.  I was hesitant to carry with me old habits and old weaknesses.  And I was uncertain about what my strengths actually were.  So I chose to just make a little nest for myself...for a couple of years.  A safe, quiet, comfortable, predictable little nest, where I could hang out until those strengths manifested themselves to me.  I had my family, my routine, my blog, my scriptures, a couple of really safe, really close friends, and a whole stack of self help books.  And that's pretty much it.  There wasn't a lot of interaction with the outside world.  

In January, I started to walk around the edge of that little nest, looking for opportunities to fly somewhere.  Because the nest is good, but it's not all there is.  

The past few months have presented a lot of potential opportunities...some of them scary, some exciting, some confidence building, some frustrating and some ridiculously hard.  And I've noticed that the more I step out of the nest and into the world, the more decisions I have to make.  It is less predictable outside my little nest.  The world is cluttered and noisy, and filled with distractions.  And I'm so easily distracted.  

In January, I was asked to represent one of the mothers of Helaman's stripling warriors in a HUGE Book of Mormon pageant being presented at a multi stake Priesthood Encampment this weekend.  2000 boys will be at Camp Wisdom with church leaders, parents, scout leaders, etc.  I get to wear a gorgeous costume that has been carefully hand picked and hand dyed and hand sewn for me.  I will be one of many, many other "actors" out in the woods for a whole weekend bringing the Book of Mormon to life for 2000 teenage boys.  


There is nothing about this LAUNCHing experience that is comfortable, predictable or consistent with anything else I've done in that little nest I carefully carved out for myself.  I never had to ACT in there.  Because, I HATE acting...I don't even play charades, for heaven's sake!  I don't even like to sing songs that require choreography.  I barely even sway to the music.  I don't have a dramatic, act-y bone in my body and I have never cared to do anything about that.  

I also have to room with someone I don't know, in a hotel I've never been to, an hour and a half away from my NEST! while my children are in the care of someone else.  (Two someone else's who we happen to love, but nonetheless, they will not be with me.)

And I have to do all of this over a weekend with a forecasted 70% chance of torrential rain.  

30 times!  


I'm sure you can see why the thought of hospitalization or a natural disaster has been so appealing to me this week.  

The thing about LAUNCHing that I've discovered is that it doesn't come without a cost.  It's easy to WANT to LAUNCH.  It's even relatively easy to find opportunities.  (They mostly find me these days.)  It's easy to say yes when presented with an opportunity that you KNOW fits into that LAUNCH-y vision you've seen in your head.  But the hard part, for me, is following through.  The doubt creeps barrells in and knocks me over.  Distractions lure me on wild goose chases.  People say things that make me question everything I know for sure.  And I long for the safety and comfort of my little, effortless nest.    

But, a day and a half out, and it's becoming more and more apparent that there will be no emergency appendectomies or tsunamis in my future.  (Dang it...)  I can't get out of this thing that I've LAUNCHed.  And that's how I can tell it's going to be worth it.  That's how I know that I will live through this weekend, and probably have something grateful to report about it on Monday.  This is a thing worth doing, and apparently I'm the one who has to do it.  

Wish me luck...
This is a little bird that my sweet friend, Jeanette, embroidered for me for my birthday.  The Japanese characters in the corner say "LAUNCH."  Isn't that the most wonderful, thoughtful thing you've ever heard of??  She knows me so well.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

High Five for Friday

The weather is grey and dreary today and my mood seems to be reflecting the same.  

I'm SO glad it's Friday.  The Scout Master has been gone for the last five days and after three weeks of this travel schedule, I'm about done.  The kids and I are no longer speaking to each other.  We have existed on mostly frozen things and microwave popcorn for the entire week.   Megan had a chair test today and is now THIRD chair instead of first chair for the first time in a year!  Emma did NOT make it into PALs (Peer Assistance and organization at the middle school and high school that is part leadership, part peppy, mostly socially desirable.)  A fish died.  People have been in seriously BAD moods.  And guess what...we get to do this all over again next week, only hopefully without all the drama and tears.  sigh...April is just around the corner, right?  

Here are some of the better parts of the week...

1.  Beatles Week on American Idol.  I LOVED this.  Every song was great.  Every singer was amazing.  And I LOVED that a bunch of kids who had never even heard a Beatles song before, instantly stirred up Beatles love all over again.   I added four more songs to my karaoke list.  (I'm ready for the next party, Rodriguez's!)

2.  New Dishwasher!  Our thirteen year old dishwasher had the tiniest little leak and required a dishtowel to be placed on the floor underneath it every time we turned it on.  Sometimes I would forget to do that.   So the Scout Master finally gave in to my pleading and bought me a new one.  It was installed on Thursday.  Oh, how I love this thing!  It is SO much quieter than the old one and doesn't leak even a little bit!

3.   Bloggy Friends.  I really was not expecting the outpouring of love after my little rant in Tuesday's post.  I love my bloggy friends (and my real life friends) who are so kind to say such uplifting things.  I should be able to last for at least a couple of months on those sweet comments.  Thank you so much!

4.   New Phones for the Girls  Since Emma has been babysitting a ton lately and since no one has a house phone anymore, we felt like it was a bit of a necessity for her safety and the safety of other people's babies to get her a phone (NOT an iPhone, just a plain old thing that texts and calls.)  Poor little Megan had been using my old Blitz phone from 2010.  The thing was dying a slow death and only sending every third text, so no chance of passing that on to Emma.  So they BOTH got new phones (sigh...our lives have officially changed forever...again)  Here is the official check-in/charging location for all devices at 9:00pm every night...well, mine stays up a little later than that.   Aren't their cases so cute?  

5.  Departure  Finally...after three days of business in PHX, two days of playing in SLC, and two hours of weather delays and plane de-icings this afternoon, the Scout Master is about to depart from Denver to Dallas.  Hooray!

It's been a long, tiring week and I'm looking forward to an equally long, not as tiring 48 hours with my husband home before the single-parent life starts again on Monday morning.  

Have a great weekend, everyone!! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I made some tea this morning, which I have happily rediscovered this week because it's been overcast and chilly.  And I went upstairs to sit at my desk (my favorite place to hang out in the mornings.)  I intended to write an awesome Throwback Thursday post, but I happened to pass by McKay's room and saw this...

 and what exactly do you think is the purpose of this?? to impale people trying to escape from his room?  

Here's what it looked like AFTER I got through with it, three hours later...I moved some furniture around so I could vacuum under it, and I liked it better, so I left it there.  

It took a good chunk of my morning and it would have been better to have waited for McKay to come home from school and help with this, but I wouldn't have been able to get rid of all this stuff...

...only the Legos went back in that room.  And I still have no idea why he had one of my cookie sheets in there.

There are very few things in life that bring greater satisfaction than cleaning and organizing sutff.  And the best part was when McKay came home from school and said, "Whoa, my room is so beautiful!"  Hopefully it'll stay that way for awhile.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Alone Again...

We had a sad and pitiful morning at our house today.  

You may remember in September, for her 16th birthday, the other kids pooled their money and bought Savannah a fish.  Well, Taquito's super cool tank came with a divider which would lead someone to believe that it might be fun to house TWO bettas in it, right?

Savannah had been talking about adopting a brother for Taquito for awhile, but the timing didn't seem quite right until last week (Spring Break.)  She and Megan used their newly acquired freedom and the recently-filled tank of gas in the van to pop over to PetSmart and pick out the brother of Taquito's dreams.  They cleaned the tank, conditioned the water, inserted the divider and dumped in the new fish, Empanada (yeah...we sort of have a thing for Mexican food around here.)  And everyone was thrilled...except possibly Taquito.

This morning, an already stressed out and moody Savannah came home from Seminary and fell into a heap on the couch.  Empanada had died sometime in the night.  

I didn't have the heart to make her dispose of her own fish, so I picked up her little heap of a self and pushed her up the stairs to finish getting ready for school.  Poor little thing.

After the coast was clear, I moved Taquito and a lifeless Empanada into the bathroom and tried to figure out how the heck to get one or both of them out of their tank so I could clean it.  Who knows how long Taquito had been swimming around in that death water!  I searched for a net, plunked it in the death side of the tank, and fished out Empanada.  And then I closed my eyes and dumped him in the toilet.  That is a harder thing than you might think, by the way, especially when you've never done it before.  

Then I spent the next hour getting Taquito safely out of the hazardous waste, and cleaning the fish tomb...also not as easy as you might think if you've never done it before. it just my imagination or does Taquito look remarkably content for a fish who has just been through such a traumatic experience??  I think he likes having his space all to himself again.

RIP Empanada Thunell 3/14/13 - 3/20/13
"Don't worry, all drains lead to the ocean."  - Gill

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I listen too much to the things people say.  Sometimes well-intentioned people toss things out that are relatively meaningless in their minds, but their words linger in my head for way TOO long.  And sometimes I let those words change the way I live.

Someone told me recently that my blog seemed sugar coated, like a watered down version of reality, like I was trying to appear rosy and perfect.  

I've sat with that for a long time and scrutinized everything I've posted since hearing it.  I've made a few subtle changes.  And I haven't written much in the last two weeks because I've filtered everything through the words "sugar coated," "rosy," and fake.   And I have gotten so frustrated a couple of times that I've considered some drastic changes, like privatizing my blog or just deleting it all together.

I don't want to sound like a Pollyanna.  I don't want to appear perfect, because I'm definitely not.  

I have crappy days.  
I've done crappy things.  
I choose donuts and cookies over green smoothies way too often.  
I only go to the gym sporadically.  
I get frustrated with my kids and my husband.  
If the seat belt alarm in the car weren't so annoying, I probably would never wear that thing.  
I am completely and totally addicted to sugar.  
I'm not very responsible with money.   
I'm irrational and destructive when I get mad.  
I procrastinate.  
I waste time.  
I give up.  
I yell.  
I whine.  
I complain.  
...and then I feel horribly guilty about all that stuff and sometimes choose to check out of life for awhile and just sit in the guilt (accompanied by cookies and donuts.)  

My life is not perfect.  But it's really, really good.  And even though there are all those things that are daily challenges for me, there are many more amazing things that I would much rather write about than all the crap.  

This blog isn't a place to write about the crap.   I've intentionally chosen to make it a place to be grateful for all the Stuff I LOVE.  A place to acknowledge all the merciful ways that Heavenly Father makes up the difference when I fall short.  A place to recognize, remember and share the things I notice during ordinary days that are extraordinary and miraculous.  Because there are a lot more of those.  

So, I'm not making any more changes to this blog, (except maybe that banner that looks way too wintery for spring.)  I'm not going to restructure the posts I write.   And I'm not going to spend any more time worrying about who may or may not like what I write.  

Because gratitude is reality for me.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

High Five for Spring Break

We've had such a great, relaxing spring break.  I decided to take a little Blog Break, too, because every now and then I think I sort of need those.  

Here's a quick recap of our week...

1.  Golf Lessons.  McKay was thrilled to start golfing again!  Weather was perfect.  Old coaches and friends were reunited.  And renovations on the golf course looked beautiful, too.  

2.  Easter decorations.  Easter is SO early this year.  What am I going to put on the mantel for three whole months between April and July!?

3.  Rearranging Furniture.  I decided it was time to make the bedroom look more like a bedroom and less like dual office spaces, so I moved this fluffy chair down from the upstairs playroom.  (The details of that aren't really necessary to divulge here...there were stairs, it's a big, bulky chair, and I did it by myself.  That's all you really need to know.  No walls or children were damaged in the process.)  And then I moved the desk from my room to Megan's room.  Then Megan's desk into McKay's room.  Everyone got new furniture and everyone was pretty happy about that.  Except now there's a cavernous space in the upstairs playroom that is crying loudly for a sectional sofa!  Keep your fingers crossed that I can make that happen.  

4.  DIY Projects.  This one thing may entirely justify my Pinterest account.  I did not come up with this idea on my own.  But I did DO IT all on my own.  That's the picture I took for my last photography class.  I had it enlarged to an engineering print at Staples for $3.56, then bought foam insulation board at Lowe's for $11 (they cut it for me there), then used spray adhesive to attach it, and then colored the edges black with a giant Sharpie.  More details here.  Poof!  A giant poster of Megan playing the bass in her room!  She loves it and I am so SO happy with it.  

5.  Absolutely PERFECT weather!  It was closer to the 60s and 70s earlier in the week, but low 80s isn't bad either.  

...sprinkle in a few movies, shopping trips, skate parks, jumpy places, and lunches,  and it was a great, great week.  I'm a little sad that it's all coming to an end in 48 hours.  

Hope you had a great week, too!

Friday, March 8, 2013

High Five for Friday

1.  Inspiration of the Week
This totally makes me want to learn how to play that dang ukulele sitting in the piano room!

2.  Longer Days  I officially don't need this alarm anymore now that Savannah can drive herself to and from school.  All of a sudden I've gained about 45 minutes in my days...well, more if you count not having to get up at 5:30am to drive her to seminary, not having to leave the house at 8:00am to take her to school, and occasionally not having to leave at 3:20pm to pick up the middle school girls.  It's so weird.  

3.  New BFF
This is who I hung out with the other day while I caught up on Oprah on my DVR.  A sparkly pink pony is the best kind of BFF.  

4.  Pioneer Woman Patty Melts
Pioneer Woman Patty Melts
I LOVE watching Pioneer Woman, and reading her blog.  I feel like we're friends.  She made these sometime on her show and I happened to watch it last week, and then I happened to have all the stuff in my kitchen to make them, so I did.  Because sometimes cooking things in butter makes everyone happy.    

5.  Spring Break!
Today is the last day of school until March 18!  That means 9 days of sleeping in, going to movies, shopping, playing, hanging out with friends, and taking a break from life.  We're all so excited!  

I hope it's spring where you are, that there is an upcoming break for you, and that you have exciting things to look forward to over the weekend.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday

This is one of my favorite pictures EVER of Craig's family.  It's is an outtake, but it's the one I have hanging in our family gallery because I think it's more genuine than the one where we all look posed and ready.  I love that it shows how effortless it is when we're together.  I love that Craig is laughing with his brothers.  I love that two of them are looking at their wives.  And I love that my friend, Shalon, who took this picture, captured this moment.  

I can totally remember everything about this day.  We were at the end of our month long trip to Utah in July 2011.  We had asked the people who own this property if we could take our family picture there, and we dragged the ENTIRE family and a photographer up there to do it.  It was a perfect summer day in Mendon...but really, everything after May is pretty much perfect there.  I remember how the air smelled, how the breeze felt, what the gorgeous Wellsville mountains looked like in the distance.  And while we took this picture, the kids were all standing around having their own happy cousin connections.  

I also happen to love that this picture was taken when I was at my happy weight.  That weight comes and goes for me.  But this picture proves that it isn't that far away, that it's very attainable, and that I'm happiest when I'm at that weight.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Early in October, McKay's teacher called me to schedule a parent/teacher meeting.  I found out when I got there that I was meeting with both his home room teacher as well as his Math/Science teacher.  They both had concerns about McKay's lack of focus in the classroom, and the amount of work he has to finish at home because he doesn't complete it in class.  He was never disruptive, but was easily distracted by other kids.  They suggested I talk to his pediatrician and come up with a workable solution to help McKay.  They didn't come right out and say it because I don't think they can legally do that, but I'm pretty sure I read "ADHD concerns" between the lines.  They both said that they have seen this before, that they each had children in their own families who had difficulty staying focused, and that there were definitely ways to make McKay's life a little easier.  (Is his life hard?)  They were kind, non-threatening, and mostly just concerned about how his inattention might magnify in the coming years and make school increasingly more challenging for him, and they didn't want that.  (I didn't either.)

The months of circles that I've run around in since that conference have been exhausting and ridiculous.  I started with our pediatrician, who does not diagnose ADHD in her office.  She referred me to five local child psychologists who only have answering machines.  One of them isn't actually a child psychologist.  One was booked out for three months.  Two never called me back.  I finally got in for an initial visit with the remaining one in November.  I was not impressed.  He spent 10 minutes with me (it was a parent only visit. He suggested a battery of assessments to determine what level of ADHD McKay had, if any, then asked if I had any questions.  I had a few.  He gave brief, curt answers and then shooed me out the door.  

We scheduled an assessment appointment for the week after Thanksgiving.  

On the way home from our Thanksgiving week in Utah, the whole family took turns throwing up in the van, so I cancelled McKay's appointment.  

In December, I thought I should call the insurance company just to make SURE that the assessments were covered because I had done some Googling research and found out that those tests can cost up to $6000.  Whoever I talked to at Blue Cross/Blue Shield said, "Yes, any and all psychological assessments are covered as long as the Dr is in network."  He is.  She also said we would only have to pay the office visit co-pay, which is $30.  Relief.

We rescheduled the three hour assessment, and I took McKay out of school one day in January.  It was long and tedious and I took him to lunch afterward because he had been remarkably patient and agreeable.  

They said we would get the results back at the end of that week.  So we waited...for three weeks.  

Before the assessment results arrived, we received a statement from the psychologist's office for $350 which was the amount due AFTER insurance.  I have been on the phone with Blue Cross/Blue Shield since then to remind them of the $30 co pay that we spoke about at the end of last year.  They don't remember that conversation.

Finally, last Friday, the results arrived.  The psychologist called that same day to translate the lengthy document, officially give us the "diagnosis" (mild to moderate attention-based, not behavioral-based, ADHD) and give us some options for "treatment."  He is not any more pleasant on the phone than he is in person.  

So, here are the options:
  • We can hold him back in fourth grade for another year.  At first, we thought that might be a good idea, but we came to our senses.  Even the psychologist agreed that holding him back would probably do more harm socially than it would help academically.
  • We can get a 504 set up in the school to provide additional, medically necessary assistance in the classroom.  I talked to the school counselor this week and she read through the options that we would have with a 504 in place.  None of them really apply, and because his ADHD isn't severe, there is a chance that some of those options (taking him out of the classroom for testing) might prove to be more disruptive than helpful.  And there really is no sound evidence that his grades are slipping so much that he would benefit from any of that.  
  • We can put him on medication.  This is not going to happen.  I have talked to too many people who have said that the trial and error method of finding meds that are effective but don't have undesirable side effects is exhausting and frustrating for both parent and child.  
  • We can do nothing.

Here's what I've determined from the time I've spent in the last few months watching my little McKay more closely...
He has good friends.  He has a consistent routine.  He is kind and considerate.  He wants to help.  He procrastinates work.  He negotiates homework, reading, and anything else that sounds like it might not be very fun.  He spends money the instant he gets it.  He occasionally forgets himself and does crazy things like chop up dead snakes, call little girls names, and let the bully on the playground get his way.  He loves scouts.  He is where he is supposed to be 95% of the time.  He wears a helmet when he rides his bike or scooter.  He prefers fruit to cookies.   He is grumpy when he's tired, sick or hungry.  He zones out when I lecture.  He sometimes stuffs the toys and laundry underneath his bad and then tells me his room is clean.  He doesn't make his bed as carefully as I would.  

Here's what else I've determined...
If the entire population of 9 year old boys were tested, I bet half of them would be diagnosed as "mild to moderate ADHD."  Sometimes there is a downside to having a concerned, wonderful, attentive teacher.  Sometimes doing nothing is better than running around in circles considering every voice.  

It has been a long few months of worry, guilt, frustration and stress.  But in the end, it's been a good thing to have to choose my heart over my head.  My instincts are good on this one.  McKay is not slipping down a slope of perpetual frustration and doomed to failure.  He is a pretty normal kid who would rather work than play.  He does not need medication, modification, or treatment.  He just needs attentive parents who keep him accountable and give him opportunities to succeed at working hard.

I'm grateful for good teachers who don't let kids slip through the cracks.  I'm grateful for a village of parents who have helped me sort through all of this.  And for many hours during the day to be quiet and just listen to the voice that isn't the loudest, isn't always the most practical, but is always the better one.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rabbit Season

When we moved from Utah to Texas in 2010, one of the things we the Scout Master most looked forward to was not having to do as much yard work.  We loved the farm life for a season, but after seven years, that season definitely came to an end for us.  The lot sizes here are significantly smaller than they are in Mendon, so we before we moved, we lightened our load, and returned the riding lawn mower to my father-in-law.  

We left our chickens, our barn cats, our apple trees and our one acre lot in Utah and planned on living a less rural life in Allen.  

But even a 1/4 acre lot requires some maintenance, and in the blazing 100+ degree summers, no one looked forward to mowing the lawn.  The tiny task of mowing our little postage stamp of  a yard in our rental home became a monumental chore.  So when we moved across the street the following summer to a beautifully manicured yard that came with a lawn service, we were overjoyed.  (Well, ok it didn't actually come with the lawn service, but the guy who had mowed for the previous owners knocked on our door the day we moved in and asked if we would like him to continue.  We enthusiastically said, "YES!")  The following week we purged everything that looked like a yard tool out of our garage.  

Our lawn guy's name is Beto, but his business is called Rabbit's Lawn Service, so the kids and I have come to affectionately refer to him as "Rabbit."  And he is the nicest guy on the planet.  He takes so much time to carefully mow, edge, and blow away all the grass every two weeks.  He waves when he sees us.  He stops the blower when one of the kids walks out the front door...which is every five minutes in the summer.  We always look forward to seeing Rabbit's white truck parked in front of our house because it means that a beautiful yard is in our near future.  

We haven't seen that white truck in the neighborhood since about November when winter officially started and all the grass died.  And then one day last week, there was the white truck, parked in front of our neighbor's house.  Hallelujah!  It was time for Rabbit to come back.   The Scout Master ran across the street and practically hugged our long lost lawn friend.  I overheard a conversation about mulch, tree trimming and new sod in an unfortunate spot right by the front door.  And then on Monday, Rabbit was at our house bright and early, truck overflowing with yard things, ready to make our house look like spring instead of winter.  It took him ALL DAY and part of the next day, but the result was totally worth it!  
Our house is officially ready for spring.  Beautified, trimmed and mowed.

And here's why I love that Rabbit so much.  These little white rocks were in the dirt behind a bush near the front door.  McKay picked them up months ago on his way home from school and attempted to let them live INSIDE the house.  When I didn't think that was the best plan, he must have opened the door and tossed them outside.  And they've stayed there all winter.  But on Monday when Rabbit asked me to come outside and look at his work, I noticed that those little white rocks were still there, carefully picked up out of the old dirt, set aside while the mulching happened, and placed back in the exact same little haphazard clump they have been in since November.  That's why we love Rabbit.  He's just careful and kind and attentive to the little details.  

I'm so grateful that spring brings back all the beautiful things about this place, and that Rabbit comes with it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sick Days

I have never been a clingy mom.   I adore my children, but I'm a big fan of giving them opportunities to be independent.  And hopefully, that will result in four confident, independent, capable kids, who will someday leave the nest and become confident, independent, capable adults.

But that imminent flight out of the nest seems to be approaching faster and faster lately.  Last week, I definitely felt it as I watched Savannah drive the car out of the driveway and off to the high school...all by herself.  She's had her learner's permit since July and I've gotten quite used to shifting from the driver's seat to the passenger seat.  We've all been anxiously awaiting the time when she wouldn't need a parent in the car with her, when I could hand off some of my driving responsibilities, and when she would be able to DRIVE HERSELF to SEMINARY in the mornings.   So the fact that I've spent the better part of the weekend in an inconsolable heap because of her new found freedom, is slightly shocking.  You'd think I'd be thrilled, but I'm not.  When she drove that car away, it was just like kindergarten all over again.  Once again, I had to let go of that little hand and watch her skip drive happily off to a new life with a little less of her mom's influence.
It's harder than I thought it would be to watch these kids become just what we want them to be...functional, confident, thriving adults.  It feels like there's not enough time left to teach them everything, and have all the conversations, and go on all the vacations, and...ugh!...what else have we missed?? 

So this morning when Savannah woke up with a raging headache, I was a little more willing than usual to let her stay home.  And I got to spend some time babying my oldest baby for a little while, because I can't seem to hold onto these days tightly enough.  They're going way too fast.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


We have some very good friends whose son just received his mission call this week to the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission.  He leaves July 18th and goes directly to the Spanish speaking MTC in the DR.  You'd think this would be an announcement that we would all be used to, wouldn't you?  Missionaries get called every day, right?  So why I spent the entire day crying about this particular boy's mission call probably wouldn't have made any sense.    


...everything lately makes me spend the entire day crying.  :)

...this boy was the first one we met when we walked into the ward in August 2010.  He was the first introduction we had to the young men in this ward, and he was a great one!  I distinctly remember him holding doors open, saying hello to my daughters, knowing their names, and moving out of the way to let them get a drink at the drinking fountain first.  He was polite and kind and courteous when we all needed exactly that.  He definitely made a great impression on all of us, and he was part of the reason we instantly loved this ward.  

...this boy is the first 18 year old to leave from our stake since the announcement in last October's General Conference from President Monson regarding the age change for missionaries.  

...this boy is the first of the youth in our ward that we have come to know and love who will be finishing Eagle projects and Personal Progress, graduating from high school, and leaving for their own missions.  I'm sure there have been other boys in our ward who have left on missions, but I haven't known them as well as I know this one.  

I'm feeling an urgency lately to use my time wisely with these kids in my home and in our ward.  I love all of them so much, and they are all becoming adults so quickly.  I know that this announcement today and the upcoming farewell for this future missionary signifies the official beginning of the wave of future missionaries that will follow...from the Scout Master's little flock of boys, to the Young Women who are looking at so many new options for their lives, to the future missionaries in my own home.  It is exciting and alarming all at the same time.  

I'm so grateful that we have a boy like this one to look up to in our ward.  I'm grateful for his amazing family and for the friendship we have with them that allows us to see and hear the details of this adventure firsthand.  I'm grateful that the youth in our ward can look forward with anxious anticipation to the experiences he will write about and share with all of us.  I love this missionary program and I love the youth who aspire to it.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

High Five for Friday

Best Birthday Treat:

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory

Best Birthday Presents:
sparkles from Emma

the last piece of the set, from my mom

Best Birthday Surprise on my MAC:
You know when you click on Google, there's always something they're celebrating?  I saw this on Monday and thought, "Oh yay!  Something else's birthday is today, too."  And then I hovered my mouse over it to see what Google was celebrating, and guess what it was MY birthday.  Google knows when my birthday is!  I'm not sure if that's a happy thing or something to be concerned about, but either way it was fun to see Google spelled out in birthday cakes because of me.  It's nice to feel significant.  :)

Best Way to Celebrate Birthday Week:
Monday:  Institute in the morning, lunch and pedicures with a friend, and then choir from 9-11 that night...perfect day!  <3
Tuesday:  Jammies all day catching up on Top Chef and Oprah's Life Class episodes that I've missed.
Wednesday:  Lunch with Craig and Savannah to celebrate her new driving freedom.
Thursday:  Lunch with Amy!
Friday:  Lunch with Karryn
Tomorrow:  Much needed hair appointment 

Best Validation of the Week:
The lady at Market Street saw my necklace this week and commented on how pretty it was.  I said thank you and told her it was a birthday present.  And then Emma chimed in about how she had given it to me because I always steal hers and now I have my own.  I guess because we sounded a little like we were bickering, the cashier said, "You must be SISTERS!"  Emma and I both laughed and I said, "Oh, that's so nice.  I'm actually her mom."  And the cashier turned to Emma and said, "Honey, you have really good genes."  
Hooray!  It's nice to still be mistaken for a teenager at 43.  

There have been way too many treats and way too many lunches this week, and not enough gym, but it was an awesome, super fun week of total spoilage.  I haven't cooked or cleaned a thing, but it's still gotten done.  And now, thanks to the new driver in our home, half my carpooling responsibilities have been taken away, too.  

Thanks so much, sweet family and friends, for making me feel like a princess this week!