Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baby Update #2--Belly Pics

NurseHeidi, this is for you. I know you've been DYING to see what my growing belly looks like (though I don't know why) so I took some pictures today of me. And I'll be 18 weeks tomorrow, so I'm calling these my 18 week pictures.

Belly shot:

Full Body Shot:

And if I may, I'll brag just a little. Because looking in the mirror trying to show everyone my pronounced belly, I was feeling just a wee bit..., what's the word?...longing for my old waist back, let's say. So I got out the tape measure (I know, I know, but it was a good thing). And I have a little sheet of paper in my bathroom next to where I keep my tape measure, of the measurements I took when I was losing all that weight. So I looked back to when I started and get this: my waist measurement NOW is 1/2 inch LESS than it was before I started losing weight. And my hips were 3 1/2 inches LESS now than before I dropped the 35 pounds! So even though I'm growing, it's a comfort (and amazing) to know that I'm still not to my pre-weightloss size yet! And proportionately, I'm right where I should be for being 18 weeks into my 3rd pregnancy. And if you don't agree, please, don't tell me!

P.S. Only 4 votes so far. If you haven't yet voted, please do so at the top right of my blog page!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Baby Update

Okay, Sheri. This one's for you! Oh, and Heidi, I PROMISE when I find the camera, I'll post ya some belly pics, okay?

We all had a wonderful Christmas, oh, except for the yucky throwing up bug we got starting Christmas Evening. (For more disgusting details, you can read Beth's Blog. She's much better with words than I.) But the kids all had a wonderful day, and I was happy about that and being able to spend such great time with my family, even though it was much too limited.

So, as I mentioned, I got a yucky stomach bug and ended up spending the few days after Christmas on my couch doing nothing but watching movies and trying not to be sick. Never fun. And especially when I still haven't quite gotten past the morning sickness. But the one good thing was that it kept me down and still for a couple of days.

For the past several weeks, I've been feeling very slight little bumps here and there every now and again. And wondering, "Was that the baby moving?" But, just like a shooting star, it was over before I even realized it had begun, and I was never really sure if it was the baby or, you know, anything else that might be growling or moving in my abdominal region. Most of the time I'd leave the thought with a, "Hmm. Maybe it was the baby, but I'm just not sure yet."

But being fairly immobile for several hours at a time, I began to notice those bumps becoming stronger and more frequent. I'd feel a bump, and stop and wait and feel another in the same spot a minute later. And then another, and then a REALLY strong one. There was one where I put my hand on my belly and even felt it externally. It was wonderful! At last! I can FEEL life inside my body! It really is the most incredible feeling. And I wish there were adequate words to describe it. And it's one of those things that makes ALL the pain and misery of pregnancy worth it, to feel and KNOW that there is real life, another person, growing stronger inside my body. Very cool.

And since then, I can only describe what seems to be a PARTY going on in my belly. I can't believe I didn't feel this before 3 days ago! 'Cause when this baby gets going, it REALLY gets going! And every day it seems to be getting stronger and more aggressive. And I LOVE it!

And, in more baby news, I have now scheduled my ultrasound. January 16th at 1 pm. And hopefully if the baby isn't modest, we will know if we will be welcoming another little Brooke or another little Evan. And if you'd like to give your input, please do so in my little poll to the right. I'd love to know what you think...

Pink or Blue??

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Sorry it's been so long. For a while I thought I just didn't have anything to report. But now, I just don't have time to report anything!

Vince & I spoke in church on Sunday. What a great time of year to speak! We both felt really good about what was said and what was felt. So, since I'm REALLY short on time this week, and since the Christmas season is now here, I thought I'd share my talk with my lovely friends and family. It is kind of long, so feel free to skim if you'd like. And let me take a moment to wish you all a HAPPY Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas all!

I love this time of year! It is probably my favorite time. There just seems to be something magical in the air at Christmastime. I love the lights. I love the music. I love to see people happy and cheerful.

But I also admit that sometimes Christmas can be stressful. There seems to be an endless list of things to do, and, unfortunately, NOT an endless supply of money to see them all completed. And even though there is magic everywhere, I’ve often found myself getting bogged down by how much has to get done in such a short amount of time. I really think this is Satan’s way of ruining the most wonderful time of the year. I know it is he, and NOT our Father, who wants us to be overwhelmed, frustrated, pessimistic, and discouraged. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ways in which we can overcome these feelings and be able to keep Christ in Christmas.

President Monson shared a poem with us about the Spirit of Christmas:
There’s Christmas in the home and church,
There’s Christmas in the mart;
But you’ll not know what Christmas is
Unless it’s in your heart.
The bells may call across the snow,

And carols search the air;
But, oh, the heart will miss the thrill
Unless it’s Christmas there.

One important way to keep Christmas in our hearts is to look outside ourselves. Service is the key to happiness. It is a way in which we can give our own gift to the babe born in Bethlehem. Remember that, as stated in Mosiah 2:17 “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” And we learn in Matt. 25:40 that “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

President Hinckley asked,
“Why are missionaries happy? Because," he answers, "they lose themselves in the service of others. Why are those who labor in the temples happy? Because their labor of love more nearly approaches the great vicarious work of the Savior…
Of all times, it is Christmas when we must surely realize that there can be no true worship of Him who is the Christ without giving of ourselves. At this season let us, each one, reach out a little more generously in the spirit of the Christ.”

Spencer W. Kimball said,
“Even though events and circumstances in the world at times become discouraging, our task, not alone in the Christmas season but always, is to be of good cheer. The Lord so often counsels us to have cheerfulness in our lives.”

Our Father in Heaven WANTS us to be happy. I think, especially at this time when we celebrate the birth of his Only Begotten Son, that our Father’s desire for us is to all feel joy.
President David O. McKay declared: “True happiness comes only by making others happy—the practical application of the Savior’s doctrine of losing one’s life to gain it. In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which will bring ‘peace on earth,’ because it means—good will toward all men.”

President Monson also says, “Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the ‘spirit of Christmas,’ we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the ‘Spirit of Christ.’”
Reflecting on my own life, I realized that even in our most difficult year, there has always been another family who struggled more than we did.

Not too many years ago, when Brooke was a baby and I was expecting Evan, we moved into a tiny little basement apartment. Vince was fresh out of school, and, as imaginable, money was tight. At the same time, my own parents who lived about 45 minutes away, were struggling themselves. My Dad had lost his job, and had been unemployed for many months. We were fortunate, because Vince had found a wonderful job before graduating. And even though we didn’t have much to spare, we always had what we needed.

That year, what I really wanted more than anything was a washer and dryer. This was the first place we’d lived since being married that had washer and dryer hookups. I couldn’t think of anything more wonderful than being able to wash the endless loads of pooped on, spit on clothes in my own home, and not having to drag them and two children to a Laundromat. I expressed (or complained) this to my mom several times about how much I was pining for them. But money was tight, and it would have to wait.

As Christmas came around, my Dad still had not been able to find work. I know he was anxious and discouraged. But the people close to my parents loved them, and didn’t hesitate to bless them. As Christmas drew closer, they found more and more “gifts” left on their porch by anonymous angels. One day my mother discovered a card with $200 cash. To this day, she still doesn’t know who left it. I was so grateful there were people to take care of my parents when I couldn’t be much help.

But instead of taking the cash and buying gifts for herself, or my Dad, or even my younger siblings, my sweet mother used the money to buy me a modest, used, but excellent working washer and dryer. I tried to object, but she insisted. She told me that so many people had blessed them with so much, and because of their situation, she had missed out on giving this Christmas. She wanted to give me this gift so she could enjoy the blessings of service. I was so humbled and so grateful. My parents have always been wonderful examples of selfless sacrifice and service.

President Monson has said,
“As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always. We shall learn to forget ourselves. We shall turn our thoughts to the greater benefit of others.

There is no shortage of opportunities to forget self and think of others. Such opportunities, however limitless they may be, are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.

"As we lift our eyes heavenward and then remember to look outward into the lives of others, as we remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive, we, during this Christmas season, will come to see a bright, particular star that will guide us to our precious opportunity.”

We also keep Christ in Christmas by remembering Him. It seems simple, but can often be overlooked as we rush about from store to store and activity to endless activity. I would admonish you at this special, glorious time, as President Howard W. Hunter encouraged us that, “If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you,” he says, “During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments. He will take you by the hand and His promises will be kept.”

Christmas can be a wonderful time to reflect on our Savior, on His life, His teachings, His sacrifice, and His Resurrection.

I’ve been reflecting on that first Christmas, so many years ago. Maybe it’s because I myself am in the middle of another pregnancy. But I cannot imagine how Mary could have endured those painful, final hours. I can’t imagine how she could have walked or ridden those many miles in her condition. I found these words expressed by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of his reflection on that humble night.

“I wonder,” Elder Holland says, “what emotions Joseph might have had as he cleared away the dung and debris. I wonder if he felt the sting of tears as he hurriedly tried to find the cleanest straw and hold the animals back. I wonder if he wondered: “Could there be a more unhealthy, a more disease-ridden, a more despicable circumstance in which a child could be born? Is this a place fit for a king? Should the mother of the Son of God be asked to enter the “valley of the shadow of death" (Ps. 23:4) in such a foul and unfamiliar place as this? Is it wrong to wish her some comfort? Is it right He should be born here?

"But I am certain Joseph did not mutter and Mary did not wail. They knew a great deal and did the best they could. Perhaps these parents knew even then that in the beginning of his mortal life, as well as in the end, this baby son born to them would have to descend beneath every human pain and disappointment. He would do so to help those who also felt they had been born without advantage.”

And yet, born in a lowly stable, He came, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And all the Earth rejoiced at His coming! I like to imagine that I, too was there, singing with the Heavenly Host and rejoicing at His birth!

And at this wonderful time when we remember His birth, let us also remember His sacrifice, and His glorious Resurrection! I love this quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.
"I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal, Living God. None so great has ever walked the earth. None other has made a comparable sacrifice or granted a comparable blessing. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I declare His divinity without equivocation or compromise. I love Him. I speak His name in reverence and wonder. I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel before His Beloved Son who reached out long ago and said to each of us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). For each of you may this be a merry Christmas. But more importantly, I wish for each of you a time, perhaps only an hour, spent in silent meditation and quiet reflection on the wonder and the majesty of this, the Son of God. Our joy at this season is because He came into the world. The peace that comes from Him, His infinite love which each of us may feel, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for that which He freely gave us at so great a cost to Himself—these are of the true essence of Christmas.”

And lastly, I would encourage you at this time of reflection, to take the wonderful Spirit of this season and keep it with you, not only through the month of December, but throughout the year, and into the next.

As President Ezra Taft Benson has said, “I hope that the commemoration of the Christmas season is more than just a tradition in your homes. I hope it reflects your deep abiding testimony of the divinity of our Savior’s birth and mission. And I hope that the sweet peace you feel during this season will cause you to be ever more committed to live his teachings and thereby demonstrate your love and allegiance to him.”

President Monson encouraged us
“If we are to have the very best Christmas ever, we must listen for the sound of sandaled feet. We must reach out for the Carpenter’s hand. With every step we take in His footsteps, we abandon a doubt and gain a truth.”

I admonish all of us to take a little time this Season to reflect on our Savior. As we were promised just this morning, as we remember Him, we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I know that as we remember His life and teachings and sacrifice, as we are more willing to serve those around us, we will have the Christmas Spirit with us. And it’s my hope and prayer that we will continue to keep this Spirit with us throughout this blessed season, and throughout the rest of the year, and continue to through the rest of our lives.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Love Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has to be one of my top 3 Holidays for sure. I love everything about it. I actually even LOVE the hours of cooking part of Thanksgiving. (Though, not so much the cleaning it all up bit.) I like spending hours in the kitchen with other women that I love and respect. Even if we're only talking about how to make the best mashed potatoes and when we know the turkey will be done.

I like making food that other people enjoy. I like that my rolls have become my signature piece. I really love the eating part! (Even this year when I'm suffering from morning sickness! I've actually been looking forward to the meal all week!) But I just mostly love the whole day (or week) when we can be with family and enjoy one another's company and make memories.

I love the whole idea of Thanksgiving. I love that it's a time of reflection on the joy in our lives and the many, many blessings the Lord has given us. Especially this year. I just feel so blessed and really, truly happy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Firm In My Convictions

Those who know me best know how I dislike stepping on toes, or ruffling feathers, or stirring the pot, etc. I don't usually voice a real strong opinion about many things, unless I really feel strongly about them. Religion is one of my strong convictions. I firmly believe in mine, and I WILL stand firm when necessary. And I'm coming to realize that my little voice SHOULD be heard when it comes to what is important.

I came across this article by Elder Neal A. Maxwell. It was an address he gave at BYU on Oct 10th, 1978. Wow! Thirty years ago, I just realized! Amazing. His talk was titled A More Determined Discipleship and you can find it here. I've always loved Elder Maxwell. Reading this has made me realize what prophetic counsel it was back then. I've added some of my favorite portions from his talk, and the italics are my own to emphasize what I found the most applicable to our day. I've been thinking so much lately about this Proposition 8 in California that passed last week. I will admit, I was nervous about it. I saw so many good members who were really bothered by the fact that our church took a stand on this. It saddens me to see people's testimonies wavering because of this issue. But it was delightful for me to see THE MAJORITY of people across all different religious and political backgrounds, that STOOD TOGETHER united to bring about such good. I love how inspired Elder Maxwell was when he gave this address 30 years ago, that is so applicable today:

Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. (See 1 Kgs. 18:21.)
President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had “never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ!
We are now entering a time of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.
M. J. Sobran wrote recently: ...“What the secularists are increasingly demanding, in their disingenuous way, is that religious people, when they act politically, act only on secularist grounds. They are trying to equate acting on religion with establishing religion. And—I repeat—the consequence of such logic is really to establish secularism. It is in fact, to force the religious to internalize the major premise of secularism: that religion has no proper bearing on public affairs.” (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 51–52, 60–61.)
Brothers and sisters, irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief. Its Caesars would be insufferably condescending. Its majorities—when faced with clear alternatives—will make the Barabbas choice, as did a mob centuries ago when Pilate confronted them with the need to decide.
Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, “A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it” (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59).
This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

And here's the part (in bold, especially) I find to be the most prophetic. Can you see any correlation to the events of the past week??

Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.
...Am I saying that the voting rights of people of religion are in danger? Of course not! Am I saying, “It’s back to the catacombs?” No! But there is occurring a discounting of religiously based opinions. There may even be a covert and subtle disqualification of some for certain offices in some situations, in an ironic irreligious test for office.
If people, however, are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear, in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold which grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would we be?
Our founding fathers did not wish to have a state church established nor to have a particular religion favored by government. They wanted religion to be free to make its own way. But neither did they intend to have irreligion made into a favored state church.
Notice the terrible irony if this trend were to continue. When the secular church goes after its heretics, where are the sanctuaries? To what landfalls and Plymouth Rocks can future pilgrims go? ...Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel.
There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself.

So true! And wow! I am so glad we have a living Prophet today to help point us in the right direction. It just makes me want to jump up and fight for what is right!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Okay, okay. I'll finally make this official....

....You know, because I am such a blabber mouth, and word is getting out anyway. And I know some of you already know this, but some of you don't and I hate trying to keep track of who knows what, so I'll just say it.

[Big breath]

Okay, maybe I won't just say it. Don't they say that a picture speaks a thousand words? Here's my picture then....

After a VERY, VERY long break, and lots of hoping, I finally got one of these:

Yup. Two lines. Which you're probably all thinking, "Oh, that explains A LOT! That must be why she looks so tired, irritable, and sick-looking every time I see her!" :) Yup. That would be why. Baby #3 is on its way, and we're expecting him/her to arrive sometime in May-ish, I hope. But for now, I'm struggling to find ANYTHING in this whole darn world that looks remotely appetizing to force down my esophagus. Because, really, NOTHING does. Nothing. You know all those lovely foods I used to enjoy? Yeah, not only can I not eat them, I can't smell them, listen to them cooking, or even look at them. Actually, I think I need to stop talking about food now...

Just know that Vince & I and both kids are ecstatic. Can't wait. And I really know it's worth it all in the end. I just have to tell myself that multiple times a day. Oh yeah. I'm the one that asked for this and wanted this! And really, I do. I've been wanting this baby for a long, long time. So say a little prayer that the next 6 1/2 months go wonderfully well for me and #3!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nice New Toothless Grin

Brooke lost her 3rd tooth yesterday morning. This was the first of her top front teeth. She had it wiggled so much that we could see the top of her tooth on BOTH SIDES (front and back). I finally just looked at her and said, "Brooke, for Heaven's Sake, just pull it out!" One good yank and it skittered across the bathroom vanity. I think we should decorate a special pumpkin this year that has the same goofy grin. And I'll admit, I love watching her gab because I love to catch a glimpse of her cute smile. I told her she now has 2 months to wiggle the other one free so she can "With you all a Merry Chrithmath."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

BYU Homecoming 5k

I love racing. Especially when I can race with my family. BYU had their Homecoming 5k and Kids Races this last Saturday. So we drove out (in the snow, of course--sheesh!) and met up with Vince's brother and his family, and his sister and her fiance, and we had a big, cold running day! Brooke raced the 1/2 mile with her cousin. She ended up being the last one in her group to finish, but she plugged along the entire race. I was so proud! She's wearing the pink sweater under her racing shirt.

Poor Evan. As we pulled into the parking lot before the races started, he said his tummy hurt. And then he said he thought he was going to throw up. I jokingly told him just not to do it in the car. I parked the car, he jumped out and ran over to the curb, and up came his breakfast. Poor little guy. So he decided he didn't want to run in the snow. I didn't blame him. I certainly knew how he felt. :( So here we are keeping warm:

After the kids races, Vince had to take Brooke to her last soccer game. But I stayed and ran the 5k with my sister-in-law, Shalon. It was very cold, and I was feeling kinda sluggish, so I didn't do my best run. But it was still a good run of 28:29. I was happy. Here are some pictures of my goofy running faces. (I'd seen so many photos of me looking tortured at the end of races, so I decided to pose for these. I can't decide if I look better scowling or grinning for running photos. Either way, it just doesn't look right!)

And here Shalon and I are enjoying the oranges at the end of the race. Sure was fun!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oh, to be a child...

Evan just informed me that the little disk-thrower toy he got in the box of cereal this morning is, "the best toy in the whole world." If only we could all be so contended by 5 cent toys that pour out with our cereal in the morning!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

7 Random Facts

Thanks to Aimee for this fun tag! (She's my favorite old next door neighbor we've ever had!)

Mostly my random stuff is the funny, quirky, OCD things I do. I swear, everyone has a little OCD, right? Some more severe than I'll admit to, but all the same, everyone's quirky in some way!

1. I like to have balance in the universe. I like it when the numbers on my odomoter are a nice, round number, or if they make a palindrome (like 103301 or 97679). It always makes me feel happy when I can catch it. I also like things that are symmetrical. If I put flowers on this side of the flowerbed, I feel like I have to put the same flowers in the same place on the other side. Or pictures on the wall. Or furniture in the room. Or olives on the casserole. Or eggs in the carton. Yeah, I'm weird. I take out the eggs in the carton so that they balance: bottom left, the next one comes out of the top right, etc. If it's not symmetrical, I feel off balance. (It's a wonder I ever wore my hair in those side ponies when they were the style back in the 80's!)

2. My fingers are constantly moving. If there's music playing, I play an imaginary piano on my fingers to go along with the song. But the more likely scenario is that I'm typing on my fingers all the time! During a conversation, or watching TV especially, I'll type what's being said on my fingers. And if I ever happen to watch something with the closed captioning or subtitles--it's even worse! I have to force myself to stop. And if I'm not typing or playing the piano, I start cracking my knuckles or peeling my nails. Yuck! What is WRONG with me??

3. I actually LIKE to clean my bathroom. I'd MUCH rather scrub my toilet than I would vacuum my house. And I have a specific order in which I clean. First I do the tub and showers, then the sinks, then the toilet, and then the floors. And always in that order. Mirrors go last as well as polishing up the chrome on the faucets. Clean bathrooms make me smile. Somehow I can ignore the hairy carpet. (Sorry, Vince.)

4. I'm a talk radio JUNKY! Some of you may already know this little secret of mine. I carry a little hand-held radio with me around the house as I clean and go about my duties. I listen to Doug Wright on KSL in the mornings. But I'm an even more avid Dr. Laura fan. (Sorry, Mom!) I LOVE her show and rarely miss it, and will even schedule appointments around it if I can! I know, can you believe me? But I think her advice is right-on. I love her take on staying at home and on treating our husbands like MEN by being their girlfriends. I love her book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. It has literally changed my life! I will always be grateful for that.

5. I'm a home-body. I like to travel. I love to go see new things. We just got back from a trip to Montana last weekend, and a trip to Colorado yesterday! And I'm tired! I just want to be home. As much fun as it is to see neat things and visit wonderful people, I like being home and puttering around my own house.

6. I am SO not witty. In fact, I sometimes think I'm a bit of an airhead. I really am smart, I just can't think quickly on my feet. Yeah, I'm one of those people who laughs at jokes I really don't get. I ususally get them EVENTUALLY, but usually it takes me a minute (or an hour). I know people that can spout quick come-backs on the spot, and they come out so perfect and funny. I know people who are maybe not as witty in person, but reading things they write always makes me wonder how they can come up with such great stuff--their brains just work great like that. I usually analyze a situation for DAYS before I'll come up with a really good come-back, or comment, or joke. But by then, the moment is long gone, and alas, I can never come back to them.

7. I hate change. HATE it! I think I have a good disposition and that I can easily content myself with my situation and surroundings. But then I am content and don't WANT anything to be different! If it works, why change it? I have to constently tell myself that trying new things and stepping out of my little comfort zone will benefit me and everyone else in the long run. But I just don't want to. It's a battle I struggle with all the time. And unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) I married a wonderful man who thrives off of variety. He actually likes change! He's always thinking that doing something different is good and fun and makes life exciting. And I have to hold onto his hand (with a very firm grip) and jump out with him. And you know, if I hadn't, I would've missed out on so many things that I now love--running and water-skiing and even just flipping a house or painting a room. It's amazing how changing just a little something can give a new perspective and a breath of fresh air. Hmm. Maybe I don't hate change quite as much as I thought.

And now I can tag 7 more people: Shalon, Becca, Mary, Jo, Brooke, Marjorie (the Hogge family blog) and Mama (the Meyers family blog)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Google Tag

My friend, Sarah tagged me for this one. Enjoy!

First Name: Becky
Obviously this isn't me, but I certainly wouldn't mind having those buff legs like she has!

Middle Name: Susan

Last Name: Hogge
It was interesting what came up when I searched the name. Here's something I didn't know about it: "In 1989, the Royal Mint was commissioned by the Bermuda Monetary Authority to produce 500 four-coin gold Proof sets. These coins were produced to celebrate Bermuda's first coinage, known as Hogge Money." Huh. Learn something new everyday!

Age: Twenty-Eight

Place I want to visit: Hawaii
Favorite Vacation Spot: MontanaCollege Major: Marriage, Family, & Human Development

Grew Up: Elk Ridge

Past Pet: Oscar Meyers
A goldfish I killed because I fed it too much and it ate it all and ended up bloated & floating belly-up at the top of the fish bowl--although I do that way too often myself and it hasn't killed me yet!

Favorite Treat: Ice Cream Sundae
Pictures speak louder than words. Mmmm.

Bad Habit: Cracking My Knuckles (and toes, and hips, and knees, and neck, and back...)

Mood Right Now: Happy (of course)!

And now, I'll tag my running friends, and anyone else who wants to join in. Here are the rules:

"Just search Google Images for your answers, and pick something on the first 3 pages. Some match, some are a little random. Just a note of caution: Be sure you have a good filter on your computer beforehand. Searching images on the internet can pop up unwanted material."

Have fun!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Beat Beethoven

Now that I'm taking a break from long-distance racing for a while, I really wanted to work on speed and improve my 5k time. My fastest 5k time so far has been in the 26 minute range. So I wanted to get under 26 minutes by the end of this summer. A neighboring city put on a fun 5k race this weekend called "Beat Beethoven 5k" in which they play Beethoven's 5th Symphony at the start, and racers try to get to the finish line before the end of the last movement. Knowing my love of running and my love of good music, you can imagine how fun this race was for me! The best part was they actually had a man dressed with a crazy gray wig--Beethoven--running the race. He had a picture of Beethoven on the front, and on the back was printed these words: "Accelerando. That means run faster." I really wasn't too worried about beating Beethoven, as his 5th Symphony is over 30 minutes long. But this is probably the last 5k I'll do this summer, so I really wanted to set a personal record.

The course was more hilly than I usually like. But then again, I'm used to running on hills. So I felt strong when we started chugging up the hill and I passed all those buff men and skinny ladies that are huffing their way to the top. It's exhilerating! I pushed myself the entire way, and crossed the finish line in 25:42! I also was the 8th woman to cross the finish, out of about 120 women who ran the race. Unfortunately, I was in the 20-29 year age group, and their were 5 other faster young 20-somethings ahead of me. So even though I was 8th overall, I was 6th in my age group! But I was so happy; I not only Beat Beethoven in this fun race, but I beat myself, so to speak.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Celebrity Morph by MyHeritage

A friend of mine told me about this. I went to to see who I looked like. And then I morphed myself into Debra Messing. How weird is that?? It's kind of fun to play with. And fun to see that I could TOTALLY be a celebrity. Well, if I was that kind of person, which I'm certainly not! :0) Enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Sweet Moments of Motherhood

I love being a Mom! It is seriously a wonderful job! It was reiterated to me several more times in the past week and a half that I am a lucky, lucky woman.

After Evan came home from Kindergarten on Friday, during lunchtime, we got into a discussion about our bodies. Evan's had a bit of a cough, and during lunch he asked me, "Mom, why do we cough?" So, being the good mom that I am, I started into a long discussion on different organs in our body and how they work. We talked about little germs that get in our lungs and that we cough to get them back out. We talked about how the lungs fill up with air like a balloon and take oxygen to our heart, which carries it to our muscles so they can move. We talked about the two holes in our throats that go either to our lungs or to our stomach. We talked about how sometimes if we swallow wrong the water goes into our lungs and makes us cough a lot to get it back out. "Mom, but what happens if air goes down the other tube?" "Well, when air gets into our stomachs, then we burp," I told him with a smile. Evan thought this was hilariously funny and laughed about it for the next few minutes. And I had to stop after our conversation and say a quick prayer of gratitude for being a mom to such an inquisitive, bright, delightful little 5-year old boy!

I admit, I'm not always a great mom. After a long few days of working extra, trying to get into the new routine of school and work and practicing piano and homework, being a hormonal woman, having Vince in Vernal again for a few days, and having grumpy tired children and being a grumpy tired mom, I snapped one night at bedtime, frustrated that my children were being silly instead of going to sleep. I lectured them on why we need to go to bed on time so we're not all cranky the next day, and that I was tired and needed it to be quiet. They got the picture and were silent again when I shut the door. Relieved that it was finally quiet again, but having a pit of guilt in my stomach, I returned to folding laundry. I found a dress that needed to be hung up, but I didn't have any more little hangers. So I quietly opened the door to the kids' room to hang it up. In the dark, I caught a glimpse of my sweet Brookie, kneeling on her bed, eyes closed and head down. I stood for a minute watching her finish, thinking that in the chaos and hassle of getting kids to bed, I'd forgotten to remind them to pray. She looked up and smiled at me in that sweet forgiving way only children do, and said, "I was just saying my prayers. I say my prayers every night." A few tears filled my eyes as I hugged her and told her how proud I was that she always remembers to pray, and that hearing her say that was the best thing that had happened to me all day. That night I knelt by my own bed and expressed deep appreciation to my Father in Heaven for sending me such wonderful children who, even amid my shortcomings, are cultivating a relationship with Him. I am so grateful. I may not do everything right, but it is a great comfort to a young mom to see them learning good things.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I got High School tagged by my good friend from High School, Sheri! I've been thinking a lot lately about my High School Days, since my 10 year reunion is coming up on Friday! Here's a walk down memory lane:
1. Did you date someone from your school? Umm. Yeah. Kind of one of those regrets. We dated all through High School, and through my first year of college. I wish I'd have kept my options more open, but I'm glad it all turned out well in the end. I dumped him when he was a Missionary when I met Vince. Definitely made the right choice there! :0)
2. What kind of car did you drive? When I needed to, my Sr year, I drove the teenager car. It was an old Honda Accord named Arthur.
3. Were you a party animal? Me? No. Not even close.
4. Were you considered a flirt? Not really. I liked boys though! ;0)
5. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Choir was the best part of High School for me. That's where my closest friends were. They had the best choir program at our school. I was in Concert Choir and the smaller group, called Trouveres. (I was the Trouvere Pres.)
6. Were you a nerd? Yeah, I kind of was a nerd.
7. Were you on any varsity teams? Nope. Didn't do sports in HS. Wish I had now that I know what I was missing!
8. Did you get suspended/expelled? Never. I was a good girl!
9. Can you still sing the fight song? "We are marching, we are marching, we are marching on to vict'ry every day..." The chorus, at least!
10. Who were your favorite teachers? Mr D (choir) Mrs Moos (sewing)
11. Where did you sit during lunch? In the Hall (who ate in the lunch room?) And I have to brag that I NEVER ONCE ate school lunch all 4 years of HS. I took a sack lunch every day.
12. What was your school's full name? PHS :0)
13. School mascot? Lion
14. If you could go back and do it again, would you? As fun as it was, I really have no desire to do it again. I'm really glad I'm past all of that now. Life's so much better now!
15. What do you remember most about graduation? That I was happy, and anxious to move on to bigger and better things
16. Where did you go senior skip day? I honestly do not even remember Sr Skip day! No clue if I did anything at all!
17. Were you in any clubs? Honor Society...can't remember anything else right now.
18. Have you gained some weight since then? Yes, and lost it. I actually weigh about 20 pounds LESS now than I did in HS! (I love running!)
19. Who was your prom date? My HS boyfriend, Ben. We went to prom together here and also flew to TX and went to his prom there (he moved to TX his Sr year of HS). That was kind of fun to go to two proms in just a few weeks! (And I got to have my first Texas steak!)
20. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion? Yup. Friday night. I'll be there!
I tagging my other friends from HS: Sarah, Melissa, Michelle.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Baby is in Kindergarten!!

It seems odd to be the mother of TWO elementary school children. It feels even more odd to not have ANY preschoolers/babies at home in the mornings. But after two days, I've concluded that this might just be a good thing! Some alone time in the morning is nice. I certainly wouldn't want it for very long, though.

Evan was not at ALL worried about going back to school. Or at least if he was nervous, he didn't show it. I woke the kids up early on Monday so we could be sure we had enough time to get ready. I started our Children's Miracle Music CD, and let the "wake up" music start playing. I then gently stroked Evan's arms and legs to get him to wake up. Nothing. He was still dreaming. So in my sweetest voice I said, "Good Morning!" Evan rubbed his little eyes vigorously. I told him to just let himself wake up, that he didn't have to get up till this song was over and it was time to make his bed, but he sat right up and said, "No! I'm awake! I'm awake!" He was very excited to start Kindergarten this morning! And he didn't want to be late and miss it!

Here he is, all ready to head to the bus:

How did they get so big??

I LOVE that the bus stop is at the park right across the street. There are lots of kids at that stop. Here they are waiting for the bus:
And waiting with Evan's best friend (whom he's decided he will marry some day):

Getting on the bus:

After I put Evan on the bus, I drove down to the school to make sure he got to the right place! The kids played for a minute, and the bell rang, and they all lined up. (Do I sense just a hint of nervousness in this face?)
Then they waved goodbye: And walked through the door. (Mrs Bryson is the blonde with a blue shirt. We LOVE her!)
I then took the long walk to the car all alone. There were several parents walking that direction, and the school principle walked the other way. He must've seen our sad faces, because he called out, "It's okay, Parents! Don't be sad. We will love them!" He's such a good man. He knew just what we were feeling. I got in the car, and just cried a little bit! I remember when Brooke went to Kindergarten that first day, Evan and I BOTH cried the whole way home! I'm actually excited to have a few hours alone during the day. I think the one problem with a milestone like this one, is this really is the day I realize that my children DO grow up. :( As much as I wish I could bottle up their cute little baby selves, and save them to peek at on a hard day, I know it is inevitable. I do miss my babies, I just have to learn how to cherish the NEW milestones and focus on those. They won't be babies forever. But they will always be MY babies!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hobble Creek Half Marathon

Saturday was my very first Half Marathon. You may think I'm a little odd, and backwards, to run 2 full marathons before I ran my first half, but what can I say? I don't always like doing things the right way. :0) My friend, Leslie, is related to the race organizers/directors of the Hobble Creek Half Marathon. She convinced me to run it with her this year. And I now fully agree with her: this is the best half marathon to run!

The course starts about 12 miles up Hobble Creek Canyon. And then you get to wind down the canyon. There are just a few, very short uphill sections, and all the rest down to the finish line are downhill--elevation loss of about 1200 feet! It was fantastic! Since we started up the canyon, my handy GPS watch had a hard time keeping up with the satellite signal. By the end I was off by about 1.5 miles! But I kept track of my time and used the mile markers along the way to figure out my pace. I can't believe how fast the first half flew by! I was cranking out 9-9:15 min miles for most of that! I was very delighted! I started having stomach cramps after about 8 miles, and had to push myself more and rest just a bit towards the end. But I finished in fairly good time, especially all things considered!

The final results were that I ran through the finish line in 2:03:55 (according to my watch)! I was optimistically hoping for 2 hours, but my goal was under 2:05, so I was right where I wanted to be. My overall average pace was 9:28 min/mile for those 13.1 miles.

Now after completing 2 full and 1 half marathons, the only question on my mind is...What's next?

Monday, August 18, 2008

First Day of 2nd Grade

Man, oh, man, does time fly by, or what?? Here it is, middle of August already, and Summer Break is over and School has begun! Today was Brooke's first day of 2nd Grade. I still can't get over the fact that I have a 2nd Grader! Woo. Every year she likes me to put her hair in sponge curlers the night before. I remember doing that when I was her age. I ALWAYS wanted curly, curly hair. Alas, mine has been straight as straight for as long as I can remember. Brooke, on the other hand, had gorgeous curls until she was about 3 or 4 when she got her first haircut. And we cut the curls all off. *Sigh* Maybe they'll come back as she gets older. But at least for now her hair holds the curl really well. Much better than mine. I remember spending an hour curling it and within a half hour it was a little wavy at best. But when I put curlers in Brookie's hair, she looks just like Shirley Temple! I love it! She's been boing, boing, boinging around all day.

I'm so glad my kids love learning and love school. Well, Brooke does. Evan will find out next Monday when the Kindergarteners start. But from how excited he is now waiting around for it to start, I'm pretty sure he'll be a great student too!

And, as a side note, I just had to show you how lovely their room got. I didn't take before pictures (thank Heavens!) but you can see how wonderfully sparkling clean the kids room was while they were playing with Grandma and Grandpa Hogge. It took me 3 days (several hours each day) to fully organize, de-junk, and shine up their room. But it was worth it!

And organized bins in the closet. Ahhh. It feels good.
And the pictures are to remind me (and my two messy monkeys) of the room's potential. I just wish it could stay like this forever. No...I take that back. I'm sure in 20 years when there's no one around to make the messes, I'll be wishing they were messy again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Family Pictures

First of all, I want to thank my sister, Mary, for taking these wonderful pictures of our family. She's so very talented with a camera (and talented in a very many other things as well). But now the only problem is she took so many great pictures that I can't decide which I like the best. So I need your help. I want you to pick your top picture (or two if you need) for both my family and also for the pictures of me and Vince. I've numbered them so they're easy to keep track of. Then post in my comments section, and say which one you like best for my family picture, and for our couple picture. Thanks for the help! (Don't I have a gorgeous family, if I do say so myself. And I do! :0)






#1 #2


Thanks again for your help!