Monday, June 30, 2008

The Fish Torturer

This is a picture of Kyara's Betta fish, Gregorio. Kyara is doing evil experiments to see how little water the poor thing can live in before it rebels, climbs out of the bowl, and slimes her in her sleep. She has a history of fish abuse. She was ten years old, and she had a pet Betta fish. The kids were going to my mom's house for awhile, and she didn't want to leave him home alone, because he would probably starve. The drive from Oceanside to Escondido was about 40 minutes. I promised I would drive carefully, but we were in a big van with terrible shocks going 55+ mph on the freeway. We would hit bumps, and the poor fish would slosh and slam up against the sides of the bowl. Kyara was terrified it was going to die. Tender hearted and near tears, she cried out, "He thinks it's the roller coaster from hell!"

The story does have a kind of happy ending. The fish survived and lived a happy life ... until Johnette killed it.

The Closer!

Many of you know that Rom and I opened our own mattress store a couple of months ago. Rom is the master salesman, and I'm the behind the scenes operations gal. Well, Rom went with the young men last week on their High Adventure trip down the Colorado River, and I had the scary privilege of watching the store while he was gone. Now, we have a lousy location (we're moving to a better location this week), so it's not like I had a lot of customers. But, apparently, people smelled my fear, and I actually attracted more customers than Rom usually gets in the store. Unfortunately, Rom forgot to relay some important information like how much the frames and headboards cost, so I might have missed those sales. But ... I got my first sale ever! Harold Dixon, retired and volunteering at the Thrift Store two doors down, had come in to see Rom a few times. He decided it was time to pull the trigger. I landed him on the right bed, gave him a $50 discount, and CLOSED the deal! He was a sweetheart and let me take a picture of him. He said we could use it in our advertising. So, we got a picture of Rom's first customers, and now we have a picture of mine! Yeah, I rock!

Click to play Our New Store
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Family Mission Statement

For the past week, we have been talking about what is great about our family and what we want to improve about it. We have finally condensed the things that are most important to us into our Family Mission Statement. Rom was inspired to ask Kyara to write it up for us -- she is the one who did an amazing job putting it all together. She is such a talented writer! Thank you, Kyara, for capturing what we all wanted to say! It is in the right column of our blog, right below my lifetime goals.

Gabe's Baptismal Interview

OK, I usually don't get on the computer on Sundays -- my day of rest -- but this was too cute, and I wanted to post while I could still remember everything. As you probably know, Gabriel is getting baptized this Saturday. So, he had his interview with the bishop today. Gabe approached it very seriously. He asked me, "Mom, if I get some of the answers wrong, can I still get baptized?" I had assured him everything would be fine, but he was still worried when we got to the bishop's office.

Well, our bishop is a very down to earth man who spent his life working on a farm. He has a great sense of humor, but it is a little different than what we're typically used to. I'm afraid Gabriel didn't know what to make of him half the time. One of the first things the bishop asked was why we get baptized. Gabe answered, "To wash away our sins." The bishop answered, "That's right! Now, I imagine a young guy like you probably doesn't have that many sins." Gabe said, "Well, it's hard to remember all the times." That cracked the bishop up, and he said, "Well, at least you're honest."

They then talked about the covenants that you make at baptism. We promise to take upon us Jesus' name, we promise to always remember him, and we promise to keep his commandments. He promises us that we'll always have his spirit to be with us. So, the bishop was mentioning how important it is to be obedient. I said Gabe has always been a very obedient boy. The bishop was impressed, and told him that he could be a great influence in his family by his example. He said, "I don't want you to feel that just because you're small, you're unimportant." Gabe answered, "Well, I've never felt that way, but OK."

Finally, the bishop was explaining that when Gabe is baptized, he becomes responsible for his choices. He gave the example of Gabe being responsible for getting up Sunday mornings and getting ready for Church on his own, because he wants to go. Gabe said, "That should be easy, because my brother Gavin and I are always the first ones up. My parents sleep in until 10 or so." (k, that's not true, we're always up before 9 on Sundays!) The bishop laughed, and then he suggested that Gabe get a glass with just a little water in it, and that he dribble it in our ears and on our faces to wake us up. Not too much, just enough to be annoying. Gabe's eyes were huge! He kept looking at us like, "Can I get away with that? It's the bishop telling me to do this!" I'm pretty sure he won't actually act on the suggestion, but if it happens, I'll know who to blame!

I'm so excited about our Gabriel getting baptized. He is such a responsible little man, and he is so ready for this. I love that he'll be getting the gift of the Holy Ghost, because he deserves that blessing. I'll post more next week about the actual day.

Friday, June 27, 2008

52 Weeks Blessings

Greg Olsen was asked about the inspiration behind this painting:

"What''s this on your hand?" Such an innocent and concerned inquiry from a little child surely would bring forth a tender answer from the Savior. He might reply, "That''s a reminder of just how much I love you."

I hope I never forget how much He loves me, and I hope I can live my life, everyday, showing how much I love Him.

Relief Society Lesson

These are some of the notes and discussions I had during my Relief Society lesson on Sunday. Whereas this lesson is specifically for people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, or Mormons), I think this is pretty applicable to all "truth seekers" of all faiths. The lesson was taken from a talk given by Henry B. Eyring at Conference. For the full text of his talk, see,5232,23-1-851-7,00.html.

Brother Eyring begins by saying, "We have seen and felt evidence that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is both true and living." How is it true? "And atruth is bknowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;" D&C 93:24. "He that akeepeth his commandments receiveth btruth and clight, until he is glorified in truth and dknoweth all things." D&C 93:24. "The aglory of God is bintelligence, or, in other words, clight and truth." D&C 93:36.

Brigham Young has said, "" 'Mormonism,' so-called, embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. I want to say to my friends that we believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth, or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it."

Brother Eyring states, "We know from prophecy that not only will the true and living church not be taken from the earth again, but it will become better. Our lives will be transformed for the better as we exercise faith unto repentance, always remember the Savior, and try ever harder to keep His commandments.

"The scriptures contain promises that when the Lord comes again to His Church, He will find it spiritually prepared for Him. That should make us both determined and optimistic. We must do better. We can. And we will."

There has always been a distance between gospel ideals and worldly values. The chasm is growing. We see and hear increasing wickedness in the world all around us. But the distance is also growing because of the steady improvement in our lives. We are getting better at fellowshipping others, at being missionaries and sharing the truths in our lives, at strengthening and protecting our families, at reaching out to the poor and those in need. The prophet Joseph Smith has said that as a person becomes truly converted, he or she will want to range across the earth caring for Heavenly Father's children. That is already beginning to happen.

Brother Eyring challenges us to measure the depth of our gratitude for a true and living church. Why is it important to be grateful? Without gratitude, you begin to take the important things in life for granted. When you are grateful for something, you will nurture it, care for it, give it an important place in your life, and keep it safe and living.

A Day At The Beach

We had our first beach day of the summer! Rom has promised us that we'll go every other week on his day off, and he made good on that promise Monday. The weather was beautiful -- it was so nice to get out of the Hemet heatwave. The water was warm, but the surf wasn't very good. But even Gabe and Gavin got in a little boogy boarding -- their first time trying it! Gabe is going to be a good bodysurfer, too. He was really catching some good waves. I love watching my kids at the beach. They play together so well and they really enjoy being together. Can you believe a day at the beach with six kids is actually relaxing for me? I can't wait to go again!

Click to play Day at the Beach
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Valle Vista Ward Primary Pool Days

This is an idea stolen from my mom that has blossomed into a Valle Vista Ward tradition. Every summer, different members of our ward sign up to host a pool party at their home. So, from week to week, we get to pool hop, enjoy our friends, and get out of the Hemet heat! The kids have a blast, and we grown-ups love it, too. It's such a fun, casual way to get together and visit. It's just another reason why I love this ward!

Click to play Primary Pool Days
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Music Playlist

This is a great big thank you to Kyara for putting together a playlist for our blog! I added the first few songs, and she didn't think it was representative enough for the whole family. I think she did a great job choosing some great songs! She inherited her dad's passion for music, and I think her adventurous spirit shows. Thanks again, Yar!

Book Club

One of my favorite all time activities is my book club! Once a month, some of the ladies from my ward at church get together to discuss a book we've read. First of all, I love having permission to take the time for myself to read! Second, I love the different books that have been chosen over the months. Some of the books I've loved the most I would never have chosen for myself. Third, I love the different insights I get from the women. We have such fun and intellectual discussions! Imagine, a mom getting to use her brain! Finally, I just love these women, and I love being with them and chatting with them about everything else besides the book.

So, I'm inviting all of you to join in the fun! Right now, we are reading An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser. We chose something a little more challenging to last the summer. We're going to get together once in July and discuss what we've read so far; then, we'll meet again in September to wrap it up. I'll post some of the comments from the book club after we meet. If you want to join in, read the book, and post some comments of your own! I'd love to hear your insights, as well.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mother's Happy Home Cleaning School

Welcome to Mother's Happy Home Cleaning School! Every summer, as soon as school lets out, we start our cleaning school. We all meet first thing in the morning (OK, it's actually 10 am, but that's pretty early for some of us!). We have family prayers, and then we have a writing assignment. Then, we clean! We usually do a "Home Blessing Hour" together (if you know FlyLady, you know what I'm talking about). We clean the house top to bottom. I work with the kids, so they know what I expect. I teach them tasks like washing toilets, doing laundry, sweeping the floor, and shining the sink. We have fun incentives like the "secret" chore, treasure hunts, and games. At the end of two weeks, I present them with certificates and a big reward. The kids love it, especially the teenagers (OK, maybe not the teenagers). And me? I get a clean house! Ahhh, Heaven!

Friday, June 20, 2008

God's Fingerprints

I dedicate this quote to my Aunt Lynda, who is looking for Joy in every day.

"Remember that everything has God's fingerprints on it. It's easy to see God's beauty in a beautiful sunrise, a snow-capped mountain, the smile of a healthy child, or in ocean waves crashing on a sandy beach. But can we learn to find the holiness in seemingly ugly circumstances -- difficult life lessons, a family tragedy, or a struggle for life?

"Somewhere, in the back of your mind, try to remember that everything has God's fingerprints on it. The fact that we can't see the beauty in something doesn't suggest that it's not there. Rather, it suggests that we are not looking carefully enough or with a broad enough perspective to see it."
Richard Carlson from Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... And It's All Small Stuff

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Congratulations to Kyara, Romney, Johnette and Anneli on the awards they received at the end of the school year! The requirements for each were difficult. Since I never actually saw Romney doing homework this year, I'm still not sure how he made it! I'm proud of each of them. Keep up the good work!

Click to play Awards
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

52 Weeks Blessing

This week, I am thankful for ... My neighbors! Think about the Old Days, when neighbors talked on front porches, kids played in yards and on the street, people watched out for and cared for each other, and block party barbecues popped up for no apparent reason. Fast forward to today, come to my neighborhood, and that's what you'll find! I love living in a place with friendly people with shared values. I know my kids are safe and surrounded by good influences. It sure takes away a lot of the worry of being a parent! Here are pictures of Friday's movie night -- the first of many to come this summer!

Click to play Movie Night
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Quality #2 - Balance

From Suze Orman's "Women and Money."
"Balance is a state of emotional and rational stability in which you are calm and able to make sound decisions and judgments.
"When your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions are not in harmony, it shows up as an imbalance -- you feel agitated, uncomfortable, you sense something is off, so you find it difficult to make rational, calm decisions.
"When you detect an imbalance, you are to stop whatever it is you are about to say or do and investigate the location of it."
Here's an excerpt from my journal once when I was feeling out of balance: I have a great marriage to a wonderful man. I feel it is ungrateful to find fault in him and to want more in my marriage. I am afraid that if I speak up and "rock the boat" that I'll ruin a very good thing.
Next week, I'll tell you what I did about it when I talk about the next quality of a wealthy woman!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Tragedy

OK, thank you for everyone who voted to see Rom's Pet. However, before I could get a picture, he met an early demise! He has been wiped out -- blown away -- finished! The whole family is mourning the loss.

Gavin Graduates from Kindergarten!

Gavin graduated from Kindergarten on Friday. His teacher, Mrs. Back, is so creative! She produced this wonderful little program where the children received their "diplomas" and sang for us. I cried like a baby -- he is my baby! I can't believe he's growing up so fast. I love that I have such wonderful people in Gavin's life to make him happy, help him learn, and support me in all the good ways I'm trying to raise him.

Click to play Gavin's Graduation
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I Survived Parental He!! Week

Last week was the last week of school -- and I survived!!! Now, it's great when your kids are doing well, but it is horrible when the schools cram everything in at the last minute! So, mine and Rom's schedule last week was like this: Monday morning, Johnette's awards; Tuesday morning, Gavin's Father's Day Breakfast; Tuesday, Ana's field trip; Tuesday evening, Kyara's awards; Wednesday morning, Romney's awards; Wednesday evening, swim party for the older kids; Friday morning, Gavin's Kindergarten graduation and Ana's awards, both at the same time; Friday evening, neighborhood movie night; Saturday morning, Kyara's ACT testing.

I slept until 9 am this morning. Bliss... Anyway, I'll be catching up on my blog this week. I'll try to space it out a little, so there's not too much information at once!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Romney's Killer Skating Moves

Rom has tons of energy and needed a positive outlet for it, so he began skating with his friends. He does a killer "Ollie" and kickflips. Our neighbors have a huge ramp they put out for the kids to skate on. It's fun, and Rom is getting really good!

Click to play
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gabe in Lederhosen

Grandma Howells gave the kids a pair of lederhosen, just like Rom and his brothers used to wear when they lived in Germany. Gabriel found them and wanted to wear them to school! I was a little concerned they might fall off, so I had to put the kabosh on that plan. Rom did get some great pictures, though!

Click to play Gabriel's Lederhosen
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Great Father's Day Gift Idea

I got an e-mail from Coupon Mom today. It had a special offer from I joined the 12 month dinner club and received $350 worth of gift certificates for only $60! So, Rom gets a great Father's Day gift, and I get to go out to dinner once a month! Wahoo! Check out Coupon Mom (the link is under my favorite websites), and make sure you use the code FUN to get 1/2 off.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Crack Myself UP!

OK, I warned Rom I was going to do this! Now, just so you don't think my husband is too perfect, he does have a habit I don't enjoy. He often blows his nose in the shower ... and sometimes it gets away from him. If it doesn't rinse away easily, it may just sit there for awhile.

Well, there is one little booger that has been sitting on the shower glass for a couple of days. Today, I grabbed a red washable crayon marker and wrote "Rom's Pet" underneath it with an arrow pointing towards it. He hasn't chosen a name yet, and I'm sure he'd appreciate any suggestions. Now, I wasn't sure if I should include a picture, so I decided to have a poll to see what my readers want! Please vote, and I'll let you decide if we get a picture or not!

Gavin's Father's Day Breakfast

Gavin's class had a special Father's Day breakfast today! Rom had the pleasure of waking up early to be at school by 7 am. He was then treated to a tasty breakfast burrito, and they played on the playground the rest of the time. Gavin gave Rom his Father's Day present early -- it was a darling photo with a magnet on the back!

Click to play Father's Day Breakfast
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52 Weeks Blessing

OK, this was an easy one, too! Last week, I got a call from my Dad. He tentatively asked how everything was going. I told him, "Oh, pretty well ... we opened the doors to our new business, but it's going slow ... kids are doing well at school ... just trying to get through the end of the school year ..." He prodded for a little more, and I said it was same-o, same-o. He then informed me that my daughter, Ana, had told her cousin, Hannah, that Rom and I had a huge fight, and that I was leaving for a week! I laughed and told him, no, we were fine -- but it sounded so good, I may just have to pick a fight! When I asked Ana about it, she said, "What, didn't I tell her I was just kidding?"

So, today I am grateful for: My husband, Romney! And he made it very easy for me today, because he took all the kids to school for me this morning. He has been a perfect, patient husband, spoiling me and catering to all my diva needs. We have never had one of those nasty fights that Ana described. He makes it easy for me to fall in love with him more every day. We've been married almost 20 years, and I'm looking forward to the next 40 years (or more, but neither one of us wants to get too old) with him.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ana's Choir Concert

Me and my friends had a blast at the choir concert! The solos were great, the band did wonderful, and we sang our hearts out! The best song was Listen to the Music by: the Doobie Brothers! We all had breathtaking moments, like when Elisabeth sang quite slow! Overall it was very fun.

Click to play
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Quality #1 - Harmony

The Eight Qualities of a Wealthy Woman, from Suze Orman's Women and Money.

"Harmony is an agreement in feeling, approach, and sympathy. It is the pleasing interaction between what you think, feel, say, and do.

"When you possess true inner harmony, what you think, say, feel, and do is one. When your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions are not in harmony, it shows up as an imbalance -- you feel agitated, uncomfortable, you sense something is off, so you find it difficult to make rational, calm decisions.

"You need to pay attention to your feelings. Observe and listen to the words you use -- the actions that you take should be perfect reflections of the thoughts you think. If you maintain this awareness, you will notice when you are out of harmony."

My sister, Lauri, is the perfect example of harmony. She always says what she thinks and feels -- you know exactly where you stand with her. She is real; she doesn't mind if people discover her flaws, and that is what makes her inspiring.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

52 Weeks Blessing

OK, this first one is easy! During our lesson in Relief Society on Sunday, a couple of the women expressed that they felt their children were the greatest trial in their lives. I went home and hugged each one of my kids! My kids are not perfect, and they certainly challenge me from time to time, but they are my greatest joy, not my greatest trial. So, to start my 52 Weeks Blessing Project, I am grateful for my kids!

Click to play I Love These Guys!
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Monday, June 2, 2008

Gavin's Mother's Day Concert

For Mother's Day, Gavin's kindergarten class had a special presentation for all the moms. Gavin made a special hat and corsage for me. Then, they sang songs like, "I love her, and she loves me, and Mommy is her name-o, M-O-M-M-Y, M-O-M-M-Y, M-O-M-M-Y, and Mommy is her name-o!". I had a few private performances before the actual day, because Gavin would come and serenade me to practice the songs. He loves to sing! After the performance, we had some delicious cookies, banana bread, and punch. It was a wonderful day!

Click to play Mother's Day Concert
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