Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Moment to Reflect on President Hinckley

Life is crazy and busy and sometimes crazy busy, but with the passing of President Hinckley I thought it would be nice to post a couple of tributes that have touched me. I hope you can take a moment to consider the life, mission and example of President Hinckley too.

This first tribute is from FM100 in Salt Lake City. It is audio only. It is amazing to hear his voice, the testimony that he shares and the way he has influenced the life of others.

FM100 MP3

The second tribute comes from Glenn Beck. It is touching to see someone who is something of a national icon get choked up as he speaks of the Prophet of God President Hinckley.

Glen Beck

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I am Chocolate . . .

Sense I am in the blogging mood today I thought I would post this fun quiz. By clicking on the following picture you will go to a little quiz that assesses what kind of ice cream you are most like. This really isn't usually my thing, but today is going slow. In fact, I thought it was an hour latter and I have been waiting for Sami to get home, but I still have an hour. I am grateful for the company she is to me in the late afternoon. Anyway, I would love to know what flavor you are too!

Here are the summaries of all the flavors:

Vanilla (32% of the people who took this quiz got the same evaluation):You're as popular and relaxing as vanilla ice cream. You go with the flow, and get along with all sorts of people. You appreciate peace and simplicity, so you sometimes find crowds and loud noises overwhelming. You are a chilled-out, calming influence on the people in your life, and your friends appreciate how supportive and flexible you are.

Chocolate (21%): You embody the perfect blend of sweetness and seduction. You personality is just as luscious and irresistible as chocolate ice cream. You have a flirty, melty attitude that's easygoing and delicious. You appreciate luxurious, extravagant things, like the way ultra-soft fabrics feel against your skin. Some people want to hog you all to themselves, but you find ways to make everyone feel special.

Mint Chocolate Chip (10%): Mint chocolate chip ice cream wakes up people's taste buds, and you do the same thing when you walk into a room. The chocolatey bits represent your sweet, flirtatious side, and the minty flavor represents your high energy level. You are smart, witty, and you make a great first impression. Your friends value your advice, because you tend to see things from a fresh new perspective.

Strawberry (9%): Your personality is as friendly and appealing as strawberry ice cream (especially the kind with chunky bits of real fruit). You've got a slightly sarcastic sense of humor, and you rarely stress out or take things too seriously. You are cute and sweet, but with a mischievous side. You are a bit of a troublemaker, but only because you're determined to avoid a plain vanilla life.

Rocky Road (8%): You're dramatic and unpredictable, like biting into a scoop of rocky road ice cream. Like rocky road, you can be a little bit nutty (or a little bit marshmallowy) depending on your mood. Your friends never know what they're going to get when they hang out with you €“ sometimes you're calm and sweet, and sometimes you're enthusiastic and flirty.

Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough (7%): You're as impulsive and impatient as a kid who can't wait for the cookies to come out of the oven. You treat life like a nonstop slumber party, and you like to keep things simple and silly. You scream at horror movies and laugh hysterically at comedies, but you probably can't sit still for a long, boring drama. To some people, you come across as immature, but so what? Your playful personality means you'll stay forever young.

Coffee (6%): Compared to other ice creams, coffee ice cream has a strong flavor, and it's packed with caffeinated sweetness. You're like that, too! You're always busy, and determined to stay focused as you move from one task to the next. You get frustrated when other people slow you down or hold you back, but when you're in control, you can find ways around any obstacle.

Black Raspberry (3%): You are passionate, creative, and inspired. Black raspberry ice cream is an unusual color and flavor, so some people might consider it strange, but your exciting personality is what makes you so delicious. You bring a juicy burst of flavor to everything you do, and your life is packed with one memorable experience after another.

I don't know what happened to the other 4%. Oh, well!

A fun filled weekend.

You know when you have one thing to do you have ten which was the case for us this weekend. We had two awesome events. First, it was the weekend of my all time favorite family tradition the Owen Family Ski Party. The night was amazing as always. My mom brought enough food to feed an army, which we all gladly devoured. The snow conditions were amazing and we were surrounded by our family and friends. Caleb skied a little last year, but this year he spent some more time on the mountain. He is scared out of his mind, but in his whiney voice he kept saying what a great time he was having. It is fun to see him introduced to a sport that Josh and I enjoy so much.

Josh and Caleb

Josh and Carrie

This weekend on Saturday night was the NAI Black tie Ball. NAI is the commercial real estate company that Josh works for. It was so fun to have an excuse to get dressed up and go on a nice date. It was also fun to hear the awards that were given at the party and be reassured that people are making great money in this business, and I know Josh will too.

Black Tie Ball

Joy School

This school year I have become a huge fan of Joy School. Joy School is the curriculum we have used for Caleb€™s preschool. Basically it is a preschool coop in which the focus is teaching children Joy. For example my unit last semester was the Joy of the Earth and we explored the earth and fall using our five senses. I taught two mornings a week for three weeks (six times) and then I was done for the semester. So Caleb got 15 weeks of school and I only had to teach three of them. The curriculum is awesome and the other moms and kids in the group are fantastic. If you want to learn more about Joy School or find some fun resources go to

Last week I subbed for a mom who is teaching The Joy of the Body. Our lesson was on loving yourself. We spent most of the lesson planning a celebration for €œsomeone they loved€. They made brownies and Noodle Necklaces (for the letter of the day €“ N) and wrapped them for €œsomeone they loved.€ At the end of the lesson they learned that the someone they loved was themselves. These pictures are the kids considering how they love themselves in front of a mirror.

Good Friends

Pulling Faces

Cara - For Better or Worse

Cara brings so much joy to our family. She is a little bundle of energy and excitement. She is beginning to say go gol because I call her a good girl so often. She has now been in underwear for a week and has had no pooping accidents and very few other accidents. (Oh so different from Caleb!) With that praise I had to include this picture of what she did to both pair of my glasses last week. One of her best skills is grabbing my glasses from my face and after two years of weakening the hinges she completed the task on both pair within a week. Having two pair I didn€™t think I would ever have to go back to my old mission glasses, but I am wearing them AGAIN.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lucky Ducks

Today was our first American Mothers meeting for the year, and it was fantastic. The theme for the meeting was lucky ducks. The overall message to me was to remember how lucky we are no matter what our position is in life and to watch for "Open Doors" because as our lives change when one door closes another opens. Our speaker, Diane Weese, was speaking to our group of moms with young children and she said, "Enjoy this, these are the best years of your life" as the kids were all around causing chaos and distracting us. I have thought about it and everyone should think that they are in the best years of their life whatever phase they are in because there are wonderful things about them all. The following are my bullet point notes:
* Let the yucky stuff in life go and remember you are a Lucky Duck
* Put a smile on your face and keep on going
* Everyone struggles don't compare
* Don't try to be someone else
* We give up dreams like in the story "Fanny's Dream" but with each dream we give up we get to live a different dream that we maybe never even thought of
* With God all things are possible
* Take time to ready, to pray, to enjoy music, and to find ways to serve others
* Make your day Lucky by not being a Sitting Duck. Luck comes to those who get out and find it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Family Update - All you wanted to know and more

It seems to be about time for a full update again. I am trying to keep a little gratitude journal, but other than that this is my journal. Even though a picture tells a thousand words there are some key elements of our life that are missing from the events that I have posted. The kids are the most fun to write about so I will start with them.

CARA is now 22 months. This week she gave away her bottles much to her displeasure. She loves her bottle, but I just couldn€™t rationalize her keeping it any longer. It has been a painful week without it, but I am certain it will get better. She has never really had a pacifier (as hard as I tried to get her to take one), which has made it harder to live without the bottle. To get rid of it we packed them all up in a bag and took them to €œbaby Henry because the baby needs the bottles and she is a big girl.€ Amazingly she did great the first day, but she has had a hard time the last couple of days. Mostly she struggles when she is going to sleep or waking up. There are three reasons for taking it away. The first reason is her ears. We are monitoring her ear infections very closely. The week before Christmas she was stinky. I washed her hair at least twice a day for three days. I washed her bed and all of her cloths. I just couldn€™t figure out what could possibly be so stinky. I finally figured out that the smell was coming from her ears. Even with her tubes she had gotten so much infection that when I took her to the specialist the next day they had to suck the infection out. With ear infection problems like that she shouldn€™t be laying down to drink a bottle nor should she be consuming so much milk. The second reason why she has to give up her bottle is because she needs to be potty trained desperately. She is already so close. Sometimes she tells me she needs to go €œca-ca€ and she will go in the potty, but usually she just takes off her dipper after she goes. If you can imagine this can be a huge mess and we are going through truckloads of dippers because she takes them off after she wets too. This week we are giving up the bottle, next week we will give up the dippers. The third reason is that her big brother loves the bottle too. It will be nice to not have him begging for a bottle. It is when he says, €œIf you give me a bottle I will go take a little nap€ that I get really tempted.

We are keeping a close eye on Cara€™s ears and speech. She is part of a government program called Up to 3 or Baby Watch. She has speech therapy once a week as well as many other classes we can optionally attend. She baffles her therapist, as she doesn€™t follow any of the early speaking rules. She doesn€™t throw tantrums if she wants something. Her self help skills are so strong that she just gets whatever it is she wants. The words that she does say are totally random. Some of her most random words are, bubble, Aggie, Connie, and Grandma. You can see what motivates her. We have quarterly hearing test and right now they say she can hear well enough to learn to talk, but they feel that her delay is due to not being able to hear before she had tubes. I just ache for her to be able to talk. She is so darn cute.

CALEB is all boy. I can€™t believe he turns four next month. He continues to live and die for ball (whatever sport) and now he is getting into video games. He loves where there are hundreds of simple, free video games. It is amazing how he can concentrate on video games but sitting in church or school is not an option. Even though he is all boy he still really likes me to hold him and he seems to be more needy now then when he was two. I think it is just to test my patience.

Caleb says really funny things. I always think I should record them, but I never do. Of course I can't remember anything now. The other day an older gentleman who we do not know well was at our home. Caleb approached him, put his hands on his hips and said, €œWould you like to buy a horse.€ Of course he was referring to one of the neighbors horses. He proceeded to tell this man that he is trying to get money to buy a motorbike and he needs to sell a horse. Where do kids get these ideas? Caleb is just like his dad. He is not scared of anyone and he is always trying to strike up a deal. He says to me many times a day €œis that a deal mom?€

SAMI has been a great addition to our family. It has been interesting to have our parenting skills tested over the past four months that she has been with us. I am hoping that we are to the bottom of the problems and that it is only up from here. We have a testimony of the power of the word of God so we have issued a challenge to her to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the school year. We have even started a blog for this challenge at The Book of Mormon Challenge. You are welcome to join us in the challenge. You can see the rules on the link. We have offered her a trip if she meets the challenge. She has never been on an airplane before, and if she does the challenge she also gets to pick the location (of course within a budget.) Sami has also started her own blog in order to link to the challenge. You can learn more about her by reading her story on her blog at Samantha.

The hardest person for me to write about is myself. I guess that is why I haven€™t been keeping a journal. I have had a discouraging fall/winter, and I like to keep my blog positive. I am sure that anyone who reads this would be interested in knowing about some of the sad things too. First, in the past five months I have had two miscarriages. They were both very early so I am grateful for that, but it is a test of my faith in the Lords timing and my willingness to be happy with the blessings I do have. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. The good thing is that I don€™t feel like I am in a huge hurry to have another baby, it is just hard to be patient when things aren€™t going as planned.

Another discouragement this fall has been the close of the Investment Lending branch that I opened here in Logan a year ago. With the crash of the secondary mortgage market and the end of sub-prime lending our branch was too new to withstand the blow. Luckily we were able to find someone to take over our lease, but the financial cost has been tremendous as we have liquidated furniture and covered other overhead expenses. 2007 was not a great year for investing for us in general. We built a spec home in a partnership and with the market shifts we are now hoping to sell it even at a huge loss. Unfortunately the cost of experience and learning can sometimes be huge. Even though we are loosing a small fortune on this spec home I have never felt like it was a mistake. We involved the Lord with the decision from the start. It has been a huge test of our integrity and our character, and I believe that we are passing. I wish we didn€™t have to loose money, but in the long run we know that we will recover. On a happier note we have found one investment that we think is fantastic. We have been investing with a loan servicing company that meets all of our investing requirements, security, liquidity, and rate of return. Having had some bad investments this year (even more than I have mentioned) it sure makes it easier to recognize good opportunities. If you are interested I would love to tell you more about the loan servicing. If you are new to investing we have lots of tips if you want to avoid learning some things the hard way. I can€™t wait to apply some of the things that we have been learning in 2008.

Josh seems to be doing fantastic. He loves his new carrier and the company he works with, NAI. Commercial real estate seems to be a perfect match for him. He loves working with business owners and investors. He loves to network with these interesting people. He was able to enter NAI in a sweet deal. Don Schroeder, a dear friend of his parents, took him under his wing and Josh is essentially apprenticing under Don. It has made the transition a little smoother for us because Josh is now a part of deals that Don has been working on for years. We feel very fortunate. I am so glad that Josh has found something that makes him so happy, and something that he doesn€™t have to track his billable hours in order to get paid. His broker told him a few weeks ago that you can make great money in his field working part time, his broker continued, €œyou can choose whatever twelve hours a day you want too work.€ Josh loves to work, but I have tried to tell him that his broker was joking. It is a treat for all of us when he is home which isn€™t enough between work, young men€™s, and his other projects. We just love to have him around.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Santa Came to Our House

Once again Santa made it to our house. I am slow to post because I didn't take very many pictures. We had a wonderful Christmas!

We spent Christmas Eve with my family. We always have a wonderful time there. The kids love playing with their cousins, and my mom goes to so much work serving us all. Christie has tagged herself as Santa's helper, and she makes Santa himself look bad with all of her gifts. It is so fun to watch the kids.

We are lucky to have both of our families in the valley so we get to spend time with both of them over Christmas. We were wondering if we would make it home on Christmas Eve night because of all of the snow, but we didn't get stuck until we were in the driveway at home.

We spent Christmas morning with our little family, and then went to the Kirks on Christmas afternoon. They prepared an amazing Christmas dinner of ham, turkey and ribs. We ate better then royalty. We are so blessed in every way!

I won't even begin to list all that the kids got for Christmas, but as you can see from this picture the biggest kid gets the biggest toy.

Cara loves her princess chair.

Sami got her long awaited and beloved iPod. I didn't know she would quit talking to me after she got it, but she really enjoys listening to her music.

Friday, January 4, 2008


For all of you young mom's out there, you have got to check out my friend, Erica Low's, new blog. She is somewhat of an expert on pregnancy and baby's. The blog is new, but it is already full of great information including tips on getting pregnant, the magic formula for dealing with fussy babies and much more. The blog is a must see.Click on the following link or you can get to on my links. Preggot