Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is it time yet???

'Twas the week before school starts, and all through my house,
There was no rest for the weary--namely me or my spouse.
The new backpacks were hung by the back door with care,
With Mom and Dad hoping Aug. 11th soon would be there.

The children weren't spending much time in their beds.
Visions of video games danced in their heads.
And mom in her sweatpants and I in my cap,
Couldn't remember the last time we had a nap!

When in the family room there arose such a clatter,
I rose wearily from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away from my sight children flew like a flash
I didn't do it" I heard them say in a mad dash.

When what to my wondering eyes should I see,
This HUGE MESS staring back at me!
Someone must be responsible--this is so lame!
I yelled and I screamed, and I called them by name:

Hey ABBY, Hey JOSH, come here ASHLIE SUE!
Yes EMIE, and ERIN, and JACK come here too!
From the front room door to the downstairs hall,
Clean it up, clean it up, clean it up ALL!
I'm tired of this house always being a dive,
If it's not cleaned in five minutes, you might not be ALIVE!
Your Mom is too tired, and your Dad is worn out,
Torturing parents is what summer is about!
So we are hanging in there, just one more week,
It's peace and quiet, and solitude that we seek!
So parents everywhere--it's a call to UNITE!
Let's get the kids back to school--and then we'll

Reflections of Christ Video

For many years the Mesa Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had exhibits on the temple grounds during the Easter season.
This year, there was also a 'Reflections of Christ' photography exhibit in the Visitor's Center. The photographer was given permission to photograph Pageant cast members for the exhibit.
They traveled to various locations in Arizona that the photographer felt looked like the places in Israel where the events took place and recreated the scenes. The photographer
worked with a few other individuals to put together a 5 minute slideshow which includes every image from the exhibit set to the hymn 'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.' Remember when you're watching the video that the photographs are real, they aren't paintings. Incredible! Remember to maximize the video so you can see it full screen. You can expand the screen to fit your entire computer screen for a better view by clicking on the lower right hand square icon (next to the volume). This is amazing and beautiful! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Off to Jerusalem...

Todd's parents had their farewell today, they will be serving in the BYU Jerusalem Center in Israel for the next 18 months. I have such mixed feelings today! I am so excited for them to have this opportunity, but I know I'm not the only one who doesn't want them to go! I think we are all in a little bit of denial, but the fact is, by this time tomorrow, they will be gone, and they will be missed sooo much!
I love Todd's parents. They have taken me in and treated me as one of their own children for all these years. I have always felt welcomed and loved by them, as I know so many other people have. They are such warm and caring people, who will take someone in and love them, no matter what their situation is. They have always been such a great example for me. I remember when Todd and I were first dating, I went to his house to meet his family and spend the weekend, and I was so impressed with his family, and how much they loved each other. I was so impressed that his dad would kiss him goodnight, and tell him that he loved him, even though he was an adult. His mom was so sweet and fun, always serving someone else, never worrying about herself. I knew that this was a model of how I wanted my family to be someday.
Bob and Sue, I just want you to know how much you mean to me, and to our children. We all love you so much. My heart aches when I think about you being gone, and not being able to see you, but it brings me comfort to know that you are on the Lord's errand. We trust that he will protect you, and bring you safely home. Know that we will be praying for you every day, and that we will try to keep you updated on the happenings in this crazy family of yours. We will take care of each other because you taught us how for all these years. This family will stay strong because of your love, and your example. Thank you for all you've done! You will be truly missed!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Abby's Baptism...

It was Abby's baptism day today! We started the day with a special date with Mom and Dad to get our toes done. Todd would die if he knew I was posting this picture--but believe me when I say he needed a pedicure more than any of us! Then we went out to lunch and then home to get ready. Abby was so beautiful in her white dress (lovingly hemmed by Kathy Penrod, thanks!). It was so funny, when she came up out of the water all of her little cousins started clapping and we had to shush them, but we were all laughing! In a way, I felt like clapping too, what a wonderful thing to be washed clean, and come up perfect and beautiful. She had a big grin on her face the whole day. We are so proud of you Abby for making this choice! You're Awesome!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bouncy Baby...

I have a bouncy baby boy! Jack just loves this little "jumperoo" that my sister in law let me borrow. I just can't stop watching him when he's in it. He just gets his little legs going and jumps up and down and it's SOOO cute! The only problem with this is that when he's on your lap or anywhere else now, he thinks he should be able to jump, so he will not sit still! I am having so much fun with this little boy. He is such a good baby, and such a joy to have in our home. We love our little Jumping Jack!

Old Friends...

I spent time with an old friend yesterday, and I don't mean old, old (we are NOT that old, unless you ask our kids!). Misty was one of my best friends in High School, 16 years ago--whoa, maybe we are old! As we sat and talked, I could still see glimpses of the girl I knew back then, and memories came flooding back. I know it's hard for my kids to believe that I was ever young, or did anything fun, but those days are ever present in my memory. I remember high school as such a fun time in my life, a time when I could be carefree and fun loving. A time when all I had to worry about was a big zit on my forehead, or a stupid geometry test. Sometimes I long for those days. 6 kids later, I don't quite know if I'm big enough for this job! I'm doing my best, but it really freaks me out that I have so many little people, so many sweet souls that I am responsible for! What happens if I screw this up? I worry all the time about what my children will turn out like. Will they need therapy because of my constant lectures, or yelling, or my constant need to boss them--(see my last post, then say a prayer for all of us!). Will they make it through the constant temptation, and the wickedness that surrounds them daily? The scriptures tell us that the Lord won't give us more than we can handle, but they don't say whether we will be able to handle it well! Sometimes I feel like I am very mediocre at this job that I have. If it were a regular job, I would have been fired already! Thank goodness the Lord is more patient than any regular boss! He is willing to be patient with me as I learn my lessons, and mold me and shape me into the mother that He wants me to be to His children. They are His children after all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Playing Hookey...

Todd took the day off work today and we went to the lake. We bought this boat, but we have been on vacation all summer and this is the first time we've been to the lake! We had a lot of fun with our cousins and Todd's sister Kelsey who's visiting from Washington, D.C. I almost killed Todd while he was slaloming, I hit a big wave from another boat going 35 mph, and did what I would do in a car--slammed on the brakes. That's not the best thing to do in a boat apparently...(sorry honey, I am still learning). Jack even got to go swimming in the filthy lake water for the first time! It was HOT and the water felt great! Check out the pics:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Girls Camp...

Emie got home from girls camp today! I was so jealous--girls camp is SO fun! I wish I could have gone! I even went to girls camp the summer after I graduated--for an extra year! What fun memories. I can't believe this girl is getting so old and mature. All in all, she's an awesome almost teenager. I complain about her attitude, but it happens to the best of us girls doesn't it? It just goes along with growing up, which she is doing way too fast! I missed you Em, (in fact even your sisters missed you!). You're the best!


We took a personality profile up at Aspen Grove called persogenics and it was so interesting to me how right on it was. It was irritating to me at the same time. Maybe it was a little TOO right about me. Let me just quote you a few excerpts:

"You are friendly with those around you, but you are argumentative and persistent in the pursuit of your goals. To you, speaking and communicating your thoughts is more valuable than listening to others speak... As you begin speaking about something that you are excited about, you really get into it, and things just seem to pop into your head and out of your mouth...(OUCH)!
"You possess a stubborn determination to control events and people. You prefer to deal with the big picture rather than with supporting details... You have an aversion to activities and tasks of a routine, meticulous nature... You like to be the "boss"... You tend to be self-indulgent and want what you want when you want it." (Harsh...)

These are just a few of the quotes, and there were a lot of positive things as well--but the last week, I have caught myself so many times doing so many of those things! Am I really that obnoxious?? (Todd says...YES!).
The advice it gave me was so funny to read as well, here are a few more quotes:
"You might find it helpful to further develop your listening and observation skills. Another area where you might need more development would be in curbing your tendency to be stubborn and argumentative. " Or this one:
"When you think of something you want to say, you usually don't wait to say it, even if someone else is talking at the time. Others can see this as rude, so make it a point to listen until they've finished speaking." (If you've ever talked to me even for 5 minutes, I've probably interrupted you at least 10 times!)
I've thought a lot about this test since I got home. It has caused me to take a look at the not so great aspects of my personality, and ponder how I can change myself for the better. Maybe next time you talk to me, I'll bite my toungue and actually let you finish your sentence. Maybe I won't try to push my opinions on you--although if we're talking about politics, or you're a Democrat, there's no promises there! Maybe I can be better about being a control freak--with my family especially. And if I have offended you with something that has popped out of my mouth lately, maybe you can forgive me for being so quick to comment and not think things all the way through. I am trying my best--but sometimes my crazy personality gets the best of me! Sorry in advance!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Picture for the Day...

Hey, I saw this picture on another blog today, and thought it was hilarious! With all the vacationing we've done this summer--this is exactly how we feel! Everytime we drove up to the pump it was like, "are you kidding me???" What a mess--handing over billions of dollars to people who want to blow us up! BTW, I thought that Bush went to war for oil--well WHERE THE HECK IS IT??? You don't hear that argument much anymore do you?? Wonder why...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vacation Tip for the Day...

Okay, so I always see blogs with tips on them about organizing, or scrapbooking, or crafting. If you know me you know that I'm not good at any of those things--so you usually won't see me post about any of that. With that said, if you know our family, you know that we go on a lot of vacations. We love to go different places and see new things, and we love sharing those experiences with our children. So I do have one tip that I'll share on vacationing with a large family. I love this laundry basket that I found a few years ago. I don't even remember where I got it, but it folds down flat into a little circle so it fits easily into our suitcase, and when you open it up, it's mesh with three large openings to separate your laundry. It has handles so you can carry it down to where you're doing laundry and fold your clothes and put them back in there. I LOVE this thing! I try to do laundry the day before we leave so that I can come home with clean clothes, and it saves me so much work in the unpacking process. So there--probably the only tip on organizing things that you'll ever hear from me! And check out this laundry--that was only 3 days worth, isn't that crazy???

Yo Yo Dieting...

I almost forgot to update you on the diet thing...In case you want to know how much weight I gained--I am trying to be accountable, so I'll share...

I know now why they call it yo yo dieting. I have never been one to diet--I never needed to when I was younger. But when I hit 30, the pounds didn't just come off by themselves after having a baby--and by baby #6, well, lets just say that I had to do something. The diet we have been doing, called Lean for Life--has been very forgiving--even with our crazy lives it has allowed me to cheat once in awhile--(okay, more than that--if you read my blog you know that!), and still lose weight. This week was no exception--I gained back 4 of the 20 pounds I lost. To me, that was good news--I was actually feeling like I had gained 10 back by the way I ate! Ice cream is one of my FAVORITE things in the world! Let me just tell you that Aspen Grove has their own BYU creamery, right there in camp. I'll just say that I was a regular customer throughout the week, sometimes twice a day--and it was SOOO good! Every pound was worth it! Now I will just get back on the yo yo and try to go down again--I'll ask again--why can't we just eat what we want to eat, when we want to eat it??? Until they come up with that diet--I guess I'll have to stick with this one--DARN!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Okay, so I found one of our NEW favorite places in the world to take a vacation! It's Aspen Grove Family Camp in Provo, Utah. This was Todd's family reunion--which is kinda funny, because most of his brothers and sisters live in Mesa or Gilbert with his parents, (except for 2), and we see eachother like all the time! But we love to vacation together, and our kids have so much fun together! Anyway, what an awesome place to take a vacation, especially if you are a parent with many children! They have tons of activities, and your children are divided into groups according to their age. Every day, they go to group activities from 9:30-12, and 1:30-4:30. On Wednesday, they stay in the group all day, and parents are free to do whatever they want. Not only that, but they will take your breastfed infant, and keep him, even if he screams the whole time! (Hey, don't judge me--he was fine for a few hours, and they held him the whole time!) Another great thing, is that it's an LDS family camp, owned by BYU, and run by a staff of BYU students, so you really felt great about the quality of the youth that were in charge of your children while you did your own thing. I walked by the pool one day and Josh was down there swimming with his group, and they were blasting primary songs on the loudspeaker--where else can you hear that??? We had firesides, and an outdoor sacrament meeting, and lectures geared toward the Book of Mormon and other LDS interests. Plus, every game you want to play, and fun family activities for every age group!
I don't know about you, but sometimes as a mother, I feel like a vacation is not really a vacation for me at all. It's just doing the same things I usually do in a different place. Having someone take my children and entertain them all day felt great for me--like I had a break to really do something that I wanted to do, which was AWESOME! The other great thing was the FOOD! Three meals a day, cafeteria style, are included in the price, which means I didn't cook one thing the entire week!!! YEAH! That is priceless! Check out the website-- and be aware that spots fill up FAST!

Here are just a few--(very few, I took like 200) pictures of the great memories we made at Aspen Grove:
This was the ropes course, which as you can see was very high up--and a little hard for an old woman like me! I was proud of myself for getting my fat butt up there!
We had a great time playing games with our whole family during Aspen Follies! These boys were so funny!
These baby birds hatched the day before we got to Aspen Grove in the tree right next to the bridge we crossed every day. Josh and Ashlie loved checking on the birds every time we passed them. So cute... Joshua climbed all the way up the rock wall--crazy boy! He was like Spiderman!All the grandkids doing the skit during talent night--they did the Peanut Butter and Jelly song, and did it like pros!Our whole group--minus Carson who we figured out was hiding just as we were finishing taking pictures! Silly boy! This picture was relatively painless and quick believe it or not!These pics are from the family dance on the last night--it was a ton of fun! Grandma and Grandpa Allen--who made this trip possible! Thank you so much for all you do for our family and for keeping us strong and keeping us together! We love you so much!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bryce Canyon, Utah!...

So this was our first stop in Utah--and thank goodness we only went halfway, because I was going out of my mind to get out of that car. I hate the drive to Utah! Anyway, we stayed overnight at Ruby's Inn in Bryce Canyon. We were kind of the side show at dinnertime it seemed. There were all these Europeans and foreigners there, and no one spoke much English, and they had obviously never seen such a large family before, so we got lots of staring and gawking during dinner at the restaurant there. It used to embarass me, but I've gotten to the point where I don't really care anymore, I just ignore it and go about my business. The next day, Friday, we went to Bryce Canyon. Todd was miffed that you had to pay $25 just to get in the place, (CHEEP!), and thought about turning around, but we didn't. We found out that if you really want to enjoy Bryce Canyon, you need to plan on wearing hiking shoes, and hiking down into the canyon. All of our kids had their flip flops on, as did we, and we had Jack in a stroller, so you can't really hike down into the canyon with that--(unless you want to send your baby flying off a steep trail to his death--which we didn't)! So we just went to two or three lookout points and we were done. It was incredibly beautiful, and I'm glad we went, and paid the money to see it! HA!
The road cut out of the canyon...

Me and my Girls...

My little daredevil kept climbing on the fences...YIKES!

Ashlie loves her Grandpa Allen--she was his hiking buddy...

Grandma Allen and the kids...

Isn't Abby cute!

My cute boys...

Then we headed off to Richfield, Utah, Todd's old stomping grounds--(they moved to Mesa when he was 13). We had to stop by our favorite place, where my diet started to go downhill--Ideal Dairy in Richfield. So we all got ice cream and Todd's favorite cookies from his childhood, Raisin filled sugar cookies--which might sound gross, but are amazingly delicious! We bought a few dozen for the road and headed to Provo for the next part of the vacation which deserves it's own post--ASPEN GROVE!


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