Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Fall

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My New Blog

I started another blog today.  I guess I just like to compartmentalize my life. :)  I've got my family blog (here), my writing blog, my CFS blog, and now I have a blog that will be my scripture study journal.

You're welcome to drop by and join the discussion anytime!

Oh, and you may want to give it a week or two before seeing if there's anything interesting to discuss. ;)

Mormon Musings

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Funniest Commercial Ever

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kyara's Scribbles

Hey, y'all!  I just wanted to let you know that Kyara is joining me in our Fiction Friday fun.  You can read her stories at every Friday.  She did a really fun piece this week -- I think you'd like it!

Fiction Friday is usually a really short piece of fiction based on a prompt that we're given.  It's a quick, fun read, and I love to see how different writers take the prompt in different directions.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Happy Mother's Day

 I looked forward to Mother's Day this year.  I admit to feeling like I deserved it.  I mean, being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done or could imagine doing.  It's tough!  I thought my kids should show me a little appreciation just for hanging in there and not running for the hills.  (Trust me, the thought has crossed my mind.)

Well, let's just say the little darlings didn't disappoint.  My Mother's Day was purely delightful.  It started the night before when my kids cleaned the house. =)  I woke up to Monkey Bread for breakfast.  When I walked out of my room, a clean loft greeted me.  I did not dodge or trip over one single item!  Wonderful.  The children were kind and funny and sweet.  There was no fighting or even bickering.  They pampered me perfectly.  They reminded me once again why I decided to have children in the first place.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

My First Author Interview!

As in, I'm the author being interviewed!  How cool is that?  Thank you, Dorothy, it was a pleasure to participate.

We Do Write

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Monty Python's CFS Ability Scale

I'm at the one legged head butting stage.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Never Forget

Eh, Not Much

Nothing out of the ordinary interrupted the normal hum of the Howells's schedule this week. Gabe and Gavin had Scouts, Johnette and Anneli worked on self-defense at Mutual, Romney had a behind the wheel driving lesson. Rom worked and I rested. We got a new printer that is pretty sweet.

So, instead of blogging about nothing, here is my review of The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas for our book club: The Persian Pickle Club.

And here is a short short story I wrote for Fiction Friday. They give you a prompt, you write for five minutes, then post the results (unedited, gasp!) to your blog: Fun Friday -- The Beast.

The prompt was “Shhh… did you hear that?”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is not a big deal to me. Growing up, it was simply a day of panic if you forgot and arrived at school without wearing green. It was also the source of one of my most embarrassing moments, when I pinched a girl on the butt and she was loudly offended. For some reason, it didn't occur to me that you could pinch someone on the arm and it would mean the same thing. Lesson learned.

But you know how certain traditions have a way of sneaking up on you? I've discovered we have a family tradition that I didn't even know was a family tradition. I can't remember when I started it, or worse, when the kids started to expect it. In any case, it is rather simple and easy to do, so I'm on board now.

We eat Green Eggs and Ham for dinner. I (or this year, Ana) chop up ham, and heat it up in a pan. I mix eggs with green dye, then pour them in the pan with the ham and scramble them. The ham soaks up some of the green dye, and voila -- green eggs and ham.

Sorry I don't have pix. Let's just say it tastes better than it looks. And, now that I'm embracing the tradition, I've bought some shamrock paper plates that were on sale at Walmart for next year.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My "Citizens"

Congratulations to Gavin for getting Student of the Month! As I've mentioned before, Student of the Month is a very prestigious honor. It is the highest award offered at our elementary school. The kids love it because not only do you get a cool Bautista Creek Student of the Month t-shirt, but you also get a TROPHY!!! And best of all, you get a certificate for a free kid's meal at Mimi's Cafe.

Here are the great things Gavin's teacher, Ms. Pereda, had to say about Gavin:

"Gavin is an amazing student who loves to learn! He has overcome many obstacles he didn't even realize were obstacles. Instead, we see his bright and smiling face every day. He enjoys an academic challenge, and takes on all of the challenges his teacher gives him quite eagerly. His peers look up to him, and he's a great model for accomplishing classroom responsibilities. Gavin, you are a terrific student!"

Gavin has now joined his brother, Gabriel, in the two-timers club. This is his second award; the first was when he was in kindergarten. Gavin told me, "Mom, you have two citizens now!" Yes, I do, Gavin. I'm very proud of you!

On a side note: Is anyone else weirded out by this guy?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gavin is Eight!

Turning eight is so exciting! Gavin's birthday was February 21. It was a Sunday, so he didn't get to go out for dinner, but he did get to choose what he wanted to eat. We had crunchy fried chicken and biscuits. He opened his present that day, too. My brain was so focused on getting his dinner menu right that I didn't get his cake and ice cream, so we splurged on cake and BANANA SPLITS the next weekend.

One of the fun things about being eight is you get to go to Cub Scouts! Gavin was welcomed to Scouts with the Blue and Gold dinner. They had spaghetti, salad and rolls. Gabe and Gavin got to sit at a table alone with all their friends, no grown ups. They each had a cake to decorate before they devoured them for dessert. Gavin also had his first den meeting where they picked up trash. I'm thinking the dinner may have been more fun, but Gavin seemed to think picking up trash was pretty wonderful, too.

Of course, we all know that the best part about turning eight is getting baptized! Gavin was so excited for weeks ahead. We told him that he could choose who would stand in the circle during the confirmation. He was so cute calling all the men he wanted to be there and inviting them. We have so many wonderful friends here in this ward. The circle was a bit crowded, I must say! Gavin was lucky, and both sets of grandparents were able to attend, as well as Aunt Jacqueline (although she wasn't part of the circle ;) ).

Gavin chose his brother Romney to baptize him. They were both a bit nervous, I think. It was so sweet to watch them walking into the chapel with their arms around each other. Of course, I cried like a baby when Gavin was baptized. I always do, but this time it wasn't just for Gavin, but because my Romney was worthy to perform this priesthood ordinance. It's not an easy thing to do, and it was a wonderful thing for a mother to see.

As they were headed to the font, Gavin told Romney he was going to pee when he got in the water. Romney told him, "Oh, no, you can't do that! You're going to have to wait until after." Gavin assured him it would be OK, because he would wait until the water was up to his waist, and he really, really had to go. Romney had the presence of mind to suggest they go to the bathroom really quickly before the baptism. I think Lauren Wojcik, who was after Gavin, appreciated it.

When Gavin was going into the water, the material on his pants was so stiff, he couldn't bend his knees like he had practiced. His feet started to float up, so Romney held him in a second longer. Gavin panicked a little, and his feet really shot up then! Luckily, everything was fine, and he didn't need a do-over.

We went out to dinner at Red Robin afterward. It was delicious, we had a lot of fun, and Gavin got an ice cream sundae.

Happy Birthday and Congratulations, Gavin!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Because I'm a Winner

With all the awards shows going on right now, I want to remind you all that I am a winner, too! Here are a few of the awards that I, personally, have won.

Sorry about the "s" word, but I'm not the one giving the award!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

He'll Be the Death of Me Yet!

Remember that feeling when you bring your newborn home? Your child is so tiny, so frail, so fragile, you hover over him. You check his breathing six times a night. You panic if he sleeps in later than his usual schedule. He seems so perfect to you, you worry in the back of your mind that Heavenly Father just might decide he needs this baby back. This fear of death usually goes away after a few months. But with Romney? Well, let's just say he has a way of bringing that fear back every so often.

Maybe it's because he's so passionate about life. Or maybe, more likely, it's because he's impulsive and doesn't think things through very well. Whatever it is, he is such an accident prone child! My worried mother's heart gets no rest.

Riding his scooter in the rain led to a chip of bone that still floats around in his chin. Skimboarding at the beach gave him his first broken bone. Notice I said first? A stick in the foot meant a nasty infection that lasted months. And who can forget that horrible bike accident that landed him in the emergency room just a few months ago?

We took a trip to the Urgent Care yesterday. Romney had been complaining about pain in his chest right under his ribs. At first, I thought it was indigestion from those nasty Taki chips he eats. But it was worse the next day, and the next. I've learned from experience that if I take him in, it's usually nothing, but if I don't, it will be something serious. I erred on the side of caution. And ... it was nothing. A bruised rib or strained muscle caused by swimming or coughing too hard. Nothing to do about it but give him some ibuprofen and let it heal.

Pacified, I let him go to the concert last night. He comes home late and wakes me up at 12:45 am. "Mom, I think I broke my arm," he tells me. He was in the mosh pit, and some guy kicked him deliberately. There is a bump on his forearm that makes me think he might be right. So, we'll wrap it up and put it in a sling today, and take him right back to the doctor tomorrow.

Did I mention he has started driving?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Observations

"Whoa! It's like that American skater is auditioning for the role of Carrie's prom date with that hair."

"Thinking Canada should be putting their ice dancers on the hockey team."

"Is it me or does anyone else wonder if that's Will Ferrell down there doing a parody of ice dancing? No? Just me, then."

"Chest hair sequins have no place in the Olympics.

"So a Terry Goodkind novel just threw up on the ice dancing rink. "

Colleen Lindsay via Twitter (@colleenlindsay)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Love Is In the Air

The Howells family had a very wonderful Valentine's Day, and I hope you all did, too!

Carrying on the tradition, we had our Valentine's Day breakfast for dinner. The menu included pancakes by Johnette, a lovely yogurt and berry parfait, bacon, applesauce with cinnamon hearts (only I couldn't find the hearts and had to settle for Red Hots), berry punch, a Valentine's fortune cookie, and a heart-shaped donut for dessert.

Love and fun abounded for all!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happiness Is ...

My birthday! Everyone really outdid themselves. Johnette started my day off perfectly by cleaning the ENTIRE house the night before. Anneli helped her with it; the boys were not quite so receptive to the idea. So, the morning of my birthday, when I stumbled out of bed to wake the children for school, I did not step on one single item! It was heavenly. I looked around the loft, and the tidiness made me smile.

I got lots of "Happy Birthday" wishes as the kids came in for morning family prayers. After prayer, they broke out in a spontaneous rendition of "Happy Birthday" for me.

I think one of the worst parts about being a mom is having to bake your own birthday cake. It just seems wrong! Well, I definitely didn't have to worry about that this year! My dear friend, Josie, came by after lunch with one of her world class cakes. It was a cinnamon bundt cake with heart shapes around the top. This is Gabriel's all time favorite cake. He thinks Josie should go into business. Sadly, the cake didn't last long enough for me to get a picture of it.

Later that afternoon, my other dear friend, Lisa, brought me a birthday cake, also! This one was a triple decker chocolate fudge cake layered with fudge frosting and marshmallows. It was so tall, I asked, "How am I going to be able to eat this?" Romney then replied, "Like this!" He then took a huge bite out of my beautiful cake! Needless to say, that ended up his piece of cake.

I received some lovely cards from thoughtful friends. My parents sent me the most wonderful book through the mail ... and it arrived right on time!

My husband surprised me with a card and lots of chocolate. OK, it wasn't really a surprise. A card and lots of chocolate are actually required on my birthday. He then took me out to dinner at Benjarong, our very favorite Thai restaurant in Redlands. It was super delish!

I don't often enjoy my birthdays, but this time, I just had a very happy, content feeling all day long. Thank you to my wonderful, loving, thoughtful friends and family for making my day so fantastic!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours!

Ah, fate has a funny sense of humor! Rom's fantastic day at the store two weeks ago sparked a run that rivaled our best week ever. It was wonderful! We felt like we had a little breathing room, finally. Last week continued to be good, although not quite equaling the week before.

Rom was in the store Friday morning when he heard a huge crash! Apparently, a car driving by kicked up a huge chunk of concrete that shattered our east window. And it was raining. Of course. Take that, happy hopeful Howells!

I'm so glad it happened on Rom's day of work (sorry, honey!), because he took care of everything masterfully. The window was fixed by the end of the day, and the damage to our checking account was less than expected.

We're starting to move into the "mattress season." I bet you didn't even know there was a mattress season, did you? People are starting to get their tax returns. President's Day is coming up. Then Memorial Day. Ending with Labor Day. Good times. Even better, we have finally found someone to cover Sundays for us who leaves us with a profit at the end of the day! We are experimenting this month. He is also covering my days for me during my birthday and our tent sale. If he's successful (come on, it's not that hard to be more successful than me!), then we might make it a permanent solution. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pay Off!

Rom and I give our children a cash incentive to do well at school. The rule is $20 if you make honor roll in elementary school, $20 if you have at least 3.0 with no more than one C, and $50 if you hit the almighty 4.0. We've been lucky; so far, we'd only had to pay the $50 once, Kyara's freshman year in high school. Well, Johnette has finally broken the streak. She got a 4.0 on her report card. It was too funny -- she showed it to me and said, "Look, Mom, I only got one 'bad' grade!" She had one A; the rest were A+. My husband cheerfully paid her $50.

It looks like this is going to be a bad year for us. Anneli missed the $50 by just one B, and she is determined to get straight A's this semester. Gabriel is likely to get honor roll this year. Romney is improving in his new school and could be a contender again. Gavin, thankfully, is too young for honor roll. I think we better pray the business does well this year!

Bragging? You bet I am!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So Sad!

Blogger deleted all my blog lists! Now I have to figure out who I was keeping tabs on. :(

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Johnette's First Dance!

Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but my sweet Johni turned 14 on the second of this month! We didn't do anything spectacular for her birthday -- just cake and ice cream, and she got Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins as a gift. The real initiation as a 14 year old came last night.

Johnette looked so cute for her first dance! She has such a flair for fashion. She went with some of the girls from the ward. Dances are so strange now days. The girls all stand in a big circle and dance together. Johnette felt kind of shy, but they were sweet about encouraging her to join in. I guess the boys kind of dance to themselves, too, on the fast songs and then zero in on the girls for the slow ones.

Johnette was asked to dance by two boys! Not bad for your first stake dance, I'd say. The great fear of these dances is that no one will ask you to dance. I can't wait for her to get more confidence, lose the shyness, and really start having fun! She is such a hoot, and I know the guys will be lining up for her.

Next dance, I'm insisting that Romney go with her. They can help each other get over the awkwardness. I'll have to take pictures next time!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Getting My Feet Wet

Well, I said I was going to start taking my writing seriously, and so I've begun! On my writer's blog, I've posted the beginning of a new short story. I would love to have you check it out and give me your impressions -- did the opening effectively "hook" you, were my descriptions effective, did it leave you wanting to read more?

Check it out at:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Welcome New Year

I love the feel of a new year! I don't know why that single turn of the calendar page makes such a big difference, but it does. It's like shutting the door on everything that didn't quite work out the way you wanted. Everything is possible again.

I don't think I do traditional New Year's resolutions any more. Instead, I take a little time to get the feel of the new year and decide what is going to be important to me. I've decided that this year I will focus on two things.

1. My health. It seems like I've been approaching my health the wrong way for a long time, and I've been paying for it. It's been one step forward and two steps back, and I don't like where I've ended up. My new plan is to take one step back and two steps forward. I hope.

CFS is all about energy. In the past, my routine has been to build up a little energy, and then rush out and use it all up. Build up a little more, then rush out and use it all up. Kind of like yo-yo dieting, what I've discovered is that each time I do that, it's harder to build my energy back up.

My new plan is that I am going to steadily build my energy up without interruption. I'm going to severely limit my outside activities -- nothing beyond the absolute necessary. I'm going to focus on eating healthy and gently exercising every day. I'm going to listen to my body and rest, rest, rest!

2. Now that I've announced it to the world ... I'm going to focus on my writing. I want to finish my first novel, and I want to learn the art of the short story, and I want to get something published. Writing, as my dear husband has observed, is something that energizes me. So, this is the year of taking it seriously.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Big Announcement!

Many of you know that I have been working on a novel. My goal this year is to finish it and to become a published author. So, as all serious authors do, I have created a writing blog for those of you who want to follow me on my journey!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Proffitts Plus Biggest Loser 2010!

All right! The Proffitts plus extended friends and family are starting a Biggest Loser contest! Contest runs four months. Contestants each contribute $25, and the winner gets the pot. (of money. we're not buying actual pot.) Romney is signed up for it; although I'm not an official contestant (Rom nixed it -- he thinks I'll overdo), I'm going to be working with the rest of you all to try to get rid of the weight I've put on over the last couple of years.

We just started yesterday. Enrollment is still open if anyone else would like to join us! Danyelle is organizing the event for us. You can e-mail her at .

Happy New Year! Woohoo!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Thanksgiving and Christmas

This year, we decided we would spend Thanksgiving with the Howells and Christmas with the Proffitts.

John and Terri had a timeshare in Palm Springs this year. They invited us out before Thanksgiving dinner. We arrived pretty early (OK, early for me!), and the kids enjoyed some time swimming in the pool and playing air hockey. It was a gorgeous day, just warm enough. Ana had the most fun, throwing herself into the activities and spending time with her cousin, Sarah.

After some time at the timeshare, we moved to Stephanie's house for dinner. It was a huge gathering! Melanie was supposed to leave the day before, but her flight was canceled. That meant that we had all the Howells siblings, minus Ike, for the dinner. Dinner was very nice, but I gotta tell you -- I missed our traditional Thanksgiving meal horribly! Can you believe it -- Costco rolls and Sara Lee pie? Blasphemy. I won't even start on the stuffing.

Christmas was a little different this year, too. We stayed home for Christmas Eve for the first time I can remember. Rom took the kids out caroling a bit, and I stayed home and rested. We had soup in mini sourdough bowls for dinner, and that was nice. We were able to use my Christmas dishes I had bought about five years ago and hadn't yet used.

After dinner, the kids opened up Christmas jammies and gifts from their exchange. It was funny; Romney wasn't in the Christmas mood at all, until he opened his pajamas. I hadn't even blinked, and he was already changed into them. He brightened considerably, and his Scrooge imitation magically disappeared.

We were in bed early, surprise, surprise! We got up at 8 am to open gifts. Then, we went to Mom's for dinner.

I think I realize why I love our traditional dinners so much. Yes, it is rich, sumptuous, delicious food. But it is so much more than that! This was the first year I really noticed how much love goes into making that meal. Dad rubbing coarse sea salt on the turkey for four days in a row before cooking. Mom's incredible rolls. Papa's old stuffing recipe. Mom's famous cheesecake. Dad cutting up the turkey and pausing to give me a bite of stuffing fresh from the bird. Dad giving me a taste of Mom's orange rolls, a wonderfully successful experiment this year. And Dad always announcing, before dessert, that Mom really outdid herself with the cheesecakes this year.

A lot of my favorite traditions have fallen by the wayside since I'm not quite up to them anymore. But I think I've learned that if I focus on the love at Christmas, Christmas will always be perfect.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Happiness Project

Happiness Project

I've joined the Happiness Project, and I've signed a pledge to become happier in the year 2010. Here's how it works:

Each month, Gretchen Rubin, author of "The Happiness Project," will propose an area of life to tackle in your happiness project and suggest simple, manageable resolutions to help you boost your happiness.

The areas for each month are

  • January--Energy
  • February--Love
  • March--Work
  • April--Money
  • May--Mindfulness
  • June--Order
  • July--Spirit
  • August--Fun
  • September--Family
  • October--Friends
  • November--Attitude
  • December--Boot Camp Perfect
Click on the image above if you want to join me for a happier 2010!