Monday, December 3, 2007

Do we live in Hawaii, or what?

Last Saturday I got one of those burrs in my bonnet that made me want to clean out a drawer or two. I took out everything from the silverware drawer so I could wash the plastic container and clean out the drawer. In the back I found a rock that was 3"-4" in diameter. The whole family was in the kitchen so I asked what I thought was a rhetorical question, "Does anyone know why there's a rock in the silverware drawer?" To my surprise, Dale piped up, "Yeah, that's the rock I use for breaking open coconuts!"

I have two thoughts: It's been years since we last bought a fresh coconut, but apparently we're prepared! It's better than the method he tried to use the time he put the coconut on one of my nice stoneware plates then brought out a hammer.

Coconut, anyone??

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Annual Christmas Miracle

Today was Day One of the public viewing of the annual Festival of Trees for Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City. I've attended multiple times in the past, but I've never been more involved than this year. What an amazing event!

Several months ago, my sisters suggested doing a tree to donate to the event in honor of my niece Heather's sweet conjoined daughters who passed away shortly after birth earlier this year. And so it began. We met to decide what to do (thank goodness they have good ideas and thank goodness for Jessica who can improve on those ideas). We chose a pink tree for the girls. We met to go shopping for the supplies. We found beautiful white and clear ornaments. We met to actually decorate the tree (it takes a long time to put ornaments on then wire each item to the tree!) Cathy and Colleen met to take it to the exhibit hall. We were discovering what a time and money-consuming process this act of love could be. None of those meetings included Jessica's time shopping for the tree or Heather's time making the beautiful quilt to give. Then today we met to go and act as Hostesses at the festival itself. There we stood for four hours, guarding our little section of the room to make sure no wayward children crossed the roped-off barrier or that no mean-spirited soul made off with any thing of value. Mostly we just got to chat with each other and an occasional passerby who was looking at the trees.

In the course of those four hours, I had a lot of time to stand and think about what we were a part of. I'm including a picture in here looking toward one half of the hall. There was another equal half the other direction. There I was in the midst of a miracle happening all around me. For weeks and months now, hundreds of other little groups did what we did with our little tree, then it all came together. Hundreds of trees were decorated and donated as gifts of love. Hundreds of people showed up last night and paid extraordinary prices for those trees so the money could "go to the kids" at the hospital. Hundreds of volunteers like us stood there today and will do it again tomorrow and the next day. Hundreds more will wrap those trees up and deliver them to their purchasers this weekend. There were crafts and treats and performers. There are untold numbers of people and untold dollars being given purely out of love and kindness. I've heard that this event raised between 1.5 and 2 million dollars last year. Wow! That's a pretty great way to start the Christmas season. I think I'll do it again next year!

Cornucopia of Gratitude

Now that Thanksgiving has passed and November is nearly over, I want to share our family's cornucopia of gratitude. I'm sure it will not surprise any of you, but this is Daniel's creation, set out for our family to recognize our blessings. He created the cornucopia, posted it on the door to the sunroom, and made tons of small fruits, vegetables, etc. to fill it. Each night at dinner we would write something for which we are thankful. What a great reminder. I know it made me particularly thankful for Daniel and the rest of our family, for our countless blessings, and for simple things that often slip our minds. If you want some real insight into us, you'll enjoy such entries as 'rainbow sandals, honey butter, our big red ball, and French bread.' Whether it's real or in your head, may you each enjoy a full cornucopia of gratitude this season!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My nonconformist recital performer

For anyone who may not know, there is a law decreed that says if you are a piano student who is performing in a recital, you are to make all efforts possible to not make any eye contact with the audience. You should look at your feet on the way up, look at your hands or the piano while performing, regain focus on your feet as you bow, then remain that way as you return to your seat. Cheyenne didn't get the memo. The adoration of her fans was enough to make her break all the rules. This video doesn't completely capture the cute nuances of her grin spreading across her face, but it was really fun. It was a highlight! Enjoy!!

Oh, and Daniel did play at this recital as well. He played a jazzy duet of Jingle Bells, then he played the Billy Joel song "Root Beer Rag." The song is almost 5 minutes long, so we won't be downloading that video, but he will gladly play it for you in person should you so desire! He looked at his feet.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

First Annual Wilde Harvest Open House - for those who missed it

Click to enlarge the photo and take a peek at the spread laid out for the first annual open house. Kudos to my sweet Dale for all of his hard, hard work to make enough homemade bread for an army! It is said that man cannot live by bread alone. I'd suggest that man can live, however, by bread with some cold cuts, cheese, and spreads!

We had a great time! We are thankful to our friends who came to share with us. We are so grateful for a bounteous harvest every year. We are grateful for the talents we have to turn that harvest into things that are delicious and varied for us to eat. May you each enjoy a bounteous harvest and Thanksgiving season. We'll see you next year at the Second Annual event!

Meet the new Wildelife...

Well, we did it. We finally succumbed to the pressure of our offspring to bring a little more "Wildelife" to our fold. Thanks to KSL classifieds (my new favorite site, I might add), we now have a new member of our family. Meet Jackson. Much like Cheyenne, he came to our family with a name already. That's okay, though, 'cause it's still a city in Wyoming, so that works, and it prevented us from going with the obvious choice of Adolf - based solely on appearances!

He's about a year and a half old and came from another family's loving home. Alas, that does not mean he has shed his "kitten" ways of jumping where he shouldn't and peeing where he shouldn't, but we are further ahead than with a brand new one. After years of having very old cats, though, we'd forgotten how frisky and playful the younger ones are! He's been a lot of fun.

For whatever reason, I have received the honor of being the favorite family member. In the accompanying picture, he had joined me around the neck for a little one-on-one time! No one else was home, but I managed to get a fairly decent photo of myself anyway! He stayed there on my neck for 20 minutes or so, even when I moved around. I clearly am the chosen one!

My baby was baptized

Having your children baptized at the age of 8 can certainly be viewed as a rite of passage. When it's your baby that's making that passage, it's a little hard to take! It's even more surprising when I realize that when Cathy's twins are baptized at the beginning of December, that means all the grandchildren on Mom's side are that old. Wow.

Anyway, Cheyenne looked as beautiful as ever. She is and always has been a little light that was sent to our family, but that spreads her light everywhere she goes. She is a joy. Her baptism was a special service just for her. It was a small gathering of our family and a few friends to wish her well and share the moment. For Daniel, it was a chance to spread his wings and play the piano to accompany people singing - he'd never done that before. I couldn't have been prouder of them both.

It made me feel such gratitude for so many things. Thanks to my family for being so loving and supportive, especially to my kids. Thanks to those who made it possible for us to have Cheyenne to begin with - what a blessing! Thanks to Heavenly Father for helping me see that He and Jesus Christ love us and want us to be happy. I hope I'll always be able to act like someone who knows that!

Can't Forget Halloween

I'm a little slow getting to it, but how can I not show the fun of Halloween. I'll be sad someday when we're past the point of Halloween being a fun night. But for now, we're just enjoying it. For Daniel, he and his friends enjoyed a fun party together. He and his best friend dressed as stick people. These pictures give you some idea of how it looked, but the real fun was best seen as they walked and moved outside in the dark. I was amazed at how fun some glow sticks and packing tape could be!

For Cheyenne, it was the year of the skunk -- and the candy! She was a die hard, from the school costume parade and party right up to the haul she received trick or treating. Grandma Witzke was at our house Halloween night. When Cheyenne rang our door to trick or treat, Grandma asked her to do a trick. She thought for a couple seconds, then raised her skunk tail and made a spraying sound! I love that girl!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Did something die in here?

I told you it is a "wilde" life! I'd always heard that water could blow up in a can. I just happened to find that out as I was boiling red water for a science experiment Daniel suddenly remembered he was supposed to do at 9:00 p.m. the other night! It wouldn't be right, though, if I didn't also share the picture of the final result. I learned that you can layer water if you layer three different temperatures - ice cold, room temp, and boiling. After that we got to watch fat globules in milk as they moved across a slide on the microscope. (I might add that I'm grateful I have a neighbor who drinks 2% milk!)
Life is good and science is cool!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It' all about the pink boots

I'm having a hard accepting it, but my baby has turned 8!  Cheyenne celebrated the big occasion by taking some friends to see the movie "Moondance Alexander."  It's a pretty typical, happy ending kind of flick, and they loved it!  She received at least 4 new plastic horses as gifts.  But really, it was all about the pink boots -- the ones she wore all day with her jeans, and the ones we all ate!  I hope she likes the pink ones 'cause when they went on clearance, I bought pink ones in the next three sizes!  Happy birthday to my sweet cowgirl!!

This makes even me think the fall is fun...

I don't need to say much, just a thought that I love my kids, and I love Dale and his ability to capture my kids' moments!   Oh, and it may make it a little more enjoyable to know that the music is a Vince Guaraldi song for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.  Happy autumn!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I've lost some weight...

Well, I feel like I've lost a lot of weight, but my pants don't show it. For a few weeks now we've been working on de-stuffing the basement. I was going to say de-junk, but it wasn't all necessarily junk - just stuff. We'd like to finish our basement, but I told myself and my family we couldn't start till we'd removed about half of the stuff in the basement. We're getting close.

We sorted out all the things that could be sold at a garage sale. We set it up. We had it - even in the rain. We picked up a little cash. That made me feel like I'd lost weight. It was liberating and motivating. I'm sure I walk with a quickened step.

We've given lots away. We've found charitable organizations and some individuals who really needed it. That made me feel like I'd lost weight because I gave blood. You know, you benefit, but so does the person who received it! I love that feeling.

Right now I'm in the phase of not wanting to buy another thing that isn't consumable. I'm willing to keep eating, but I'm not so fond of collecting a lot more stuff. We'll see how long it lasts. But I'm definitely motivated to head back down there, throw away a lot more, and organize what I don't throw away. It's tough exercise, but that weight loss sure feels good!!!

Sisters and Friends

So, in my last post I referred to my week of partying with friends and family. This is a shot from the nice luncheon I had with my sisters. I thought it was so telling of our personalities and our subsequent roles within the family. We met at Colleen's house with me, Colleen and her daughters Heather and Jessica, Cathy and her daughter Romney, and of course, Andy. Colleen had fixed a delicious meal - something she's entirely capable of doing, but just doesn't have time to do often. She's still the oldest sister whose role it is to make sure we're fed. Each place at the table had been adorned with not only the nice place settings Colleen made, but also a bag of treats and a Halloween candle, compliments of Cathy. She's so good about making everything look good, and she always does that little extra something to make it special. Me -- well, I brought my spider rifle to share with the gang. I guess I bring the out-of-the-box twist!

We had a nice meal and enjoyed one another's company. I'm so glad we all live close to each other so we can share these moments. I'm glad I have sisters. I'm glad I have nieces who are old enough now to just be my friends. I think they're great. Thanks for everything. I love you all very much.

The rest of the week I had lunches with varying groups of friends. I am surrounded by amazing, marvelous, accomplished, interesting, loving, kind women whose lives I try to emulate in so many ways. My friends were kind, generous, funny, and encouraging throughout the week. Whenever I hear of people who feel alone in the world, I say a prayer of gratitude for the friends who surround me. All it takes is a little interest, a little time, and a little willingness to share. They enhance my life and make me better. I thank you women. I hope in some small way, I'm enhancing your life as well. If nothing else, I'm a good resource for where to find a good spider rifle!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

I love it that I have something unique to write about for my birthday. Mine was yesterday, and it was awesome! The day began as Cheyenne wished me a happy birthday. Dale stood behind me giving her signals about how old I am. He was holding up his fingers to say "42." She shouted out, "You're 24 today, Mom!" I responded with a hearty, "Why yes, I am, Cheyenne! Thank you!"

The sights and sounds of my birthday included (please note that this list can be sung to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas if you try): Phone calls from loved ones - Korean food for lunch - "Happy Birthday" on the saxophone - a 2 1/2 pound flourless chocolate cake - gifts from friends - and a homemade spider rifle!!!

But the highlight of the day was the spider rifle. Daniel had been quite excited about the gift he and Dale had been making for me out in the garage. They brought it in - wrapped in the traditional birthday wrapping - the afghan named "The Wobie." I unwrapped it carefully and could not have guessed the useful treasure that lay within. In the attached picture you can see me holding my very own handy, dandy, spider removal tool. Should I see a spider on the wall or even on the ceiling, I need only to raise the barrel of the spider rifle and pull the trigger. It instantly sucks the offending arachnid into a waiting cup at the bottom of the handle. I can then remove the cup and dispose of the spider humanely outside or less humanely in the toilet! How great is that?!?!? And really, how many other women got such a gift from their sons recently??? I love my creative family, and I thank them for the creative gift!

Speaking of creativity, my other birthday gifts included a set of very nice colored pencils from my good friend Lisa and a book called Creative License from Dale and Cheyenne. Somehow the universe is trying to tell me I must reach in and find the creative soul within. Maybe by this time next year, I'll be drawing my blog -----Stay Tuned!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Birds and the Bees...

So, now that I have your attention, I'll tell you about my day. It was one of those days when you have a plan, but one thing leads to another, to another, etc., etc. This morning I asked my neighbor if we could borrow his truck tomorrow to take some things to a friend's house for a yard sale (that's another whole blog topic). He had plans to leave town for the night so he told me just to take the key. We can use the truck, but it had grass in it. I offered to take it to the green waste dump. So, if you're going to the green waste dump, then you need to have a full truck, right? I thought I'd pull a few of the big weeds and maybe our zucchini plants. Well, upon looking at the zucchini plants, we discovered it must have frozen last night because all the garden plants were suddenly dead. So, we might as well remove them all. That was a job! It's a sure sign of Fall and the migration of the BIRDS (see, this is about birds) when you clean out the garden. We wrestled the multitude of entangled vines and packed them in the truck. I was a sweaty, scratched-up mess, but now it was time to go to the dump. So, in the truck with no air conditioning we had the windows down. Four or five minutes before arriving at the dump, Dale felt something on his neck. He went to swat it only to find it was a bee, which in its startled state stung him on the knuckle. Being so brave, he didn't want to pull over or anything, but you could see the stinger in his knuckle. Five minutes later, we stopped the truck and I went to pull it out. It was still attached to a tiny piece of the BEE's tailend and it was still moving!!!! It's like the chicken with its head cut off. The tiny piece of bee bum was wiggling back and forth as if to stick the stinger in further or maybe get it out so it could fly away (it didn't realize the rest of its body already did!) So, I found a place to store it undisturbed to look at later. We emptied the truck and came home, but I couldn't do the next thing on the list because now I needed to get out Daniel's microscope and look at it. Is there any question where he got his nerd genes? But, I didn't want my blog friends to feel left out, so then we had to take pictures to share. These are pictures of the stinger under the microscope. Go ahead, admit that it's cool! The long straight part of it was about 1/16" long then it widened to what looks like a little bulb. I won't bore you with all the details of the rest of the day, but I will add that Dale's finger is really swollen tonight, and his evening isn't going quite as planned either. And so it goes with birds, bees, the passing of the seasons, the "never quite as planned" story of my life, etc. etc. And to top it all off, I got my new driver's license in the mail today. That takes me back to the passing of the seasons, the "never quite as planned"..............and raises a new question about how can I make this newly-designed license into the traditional 16th birthday cake. Hmm, I'll put it on my "plan" for tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A dream come true

When we were young, didn't we all dream about a really cool clubhouse we could call our own? I remember building a little fort (really little) when I was 7 and Cathy was about 9. We used scrap wood we found in the alley. It had a Huckleberry Hound pillowcase for a door. Well, Daniel has not only dreamed of a clubhouse, but he's made various little hideouts over the years. Recently, he and Dale decided to really build him one. They designed it on paper, bought the materials, then constructed it - a 6'x8' home for adventure. The frame is pretty solid and made of 2x4s. They wanted a lightweight covering for the outside, instead of plywood, so it could be easily moved or changed. Well, after some shopping, we decided on tarp material for the outside. The stuff that comes in rolls, 6 feet wide, just happened to be orange. Before we knew it, the boys had constructed The Great Pumpkin. With orange tarp on the outside, green tarp on the roof, and a cloud shower curtain for a door, Daniel and his friends are set for adventure! They have stocked it with chairs and a table as well as a cart to hold things like snacks, pens, paper, games, etc. There is a broom and dustpan (we'll see if they get used) and space for many hours of fun. Yesterday, Daniel was in his own little world for two hours doing his homework. He's a happy man! And, so to our neighbors, I offer no real apologies, but I do say that the Great Pumpkin really can rise for those who truly believe!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And now to segue to the next event (or shall I say Segway?)

What a way to spend a beautiful fall evening. Last week, my parents came up to see my nephew off to the MTC. While they were here, we decided to try something new. We went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point and rented Segways to cruise around the garden. It was really fun! Mom and Lucky weren't so sure at first, but it didn't take long for them to become real pros. We rented two of them for an hour so we just switched off combinations of people and enjoyed the ride. Mom and I rode to the highest point in the garden to look around. Dale and Lucky practiced the art of getting off and getting on again a few times. Dale and I tried to see how fast we could make them go (about 12 mph is the answer). Mom and Lucky tested their uphill driving skills as they returned the machines. The gardens were beautiful and the transportation was just a very fun adventure. And I give a big round of applause to my parents for being such great sports about it. Way to go!

Where did September go?

I looked at the calendar today and saw that September is more than half over! Egads, time is really going faster in my old age -- just like Mom always said it did. Then I looked at my blog and realized I haven't entered a thing in the month of September. That caused me to wonder what in the heck I've been doing. So, to spare you the details, I've decided to summarize my last few weeks with a few one liners. I figure you can get the gist of my life and you'll ask questions if needed.

2 of 3 computers at home died -- that made blogging tough
Both have been resurrected, though not in their previous glory!

Noah's - lots of proofreading

School - getting them ready, getting them there, keeping them there, paying for it in the afternoon with homework!

Harvesting, canning, freezing, pie-ing (that's a verb at our house), harvesting, canning, freezing, teaching my 24 year old neighbor how to harvest, can, freeze, pie, etc., etc., etc.

Tutoring - I still get to do algebra (See, kids, there is a reason you need to learn this stuff 'cause someday you may need to know it when you're in your 40s.)

Building a clubhouse - this will get its own blog entry soon

Fighting the dreaded FALL COLD! Yuck!!

Those are the biggies. There are plenty of little things going on to fill in the gaps, but that gives a nice broad overview. I'll make a few new entries soon. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 31, 2007

What my "Wildelife" is made of....

I'm including a picture with this post in an effort to share the moment, but truthfully, it'll never do it justice! I do recommend clicking on it to enlarge it and enjoy the detail just once. Dale and I went out tonight. Not coincidentally it's our 16th anniversary. That is, it's been 16 years since we started what has so far culminated in events like tonight. The kids called a couple of times wondering when we would return. The last time, Cheyenne called and just said, "Mom, we need you." We came home soon thereafter. It was after 10 when we arrived and they should have been in bed. Instead, Cheyenne met us at the door, dressed up in a skirt from the costume box. She led us to our room where she had us dress in bathrobes, jewelry, and even a small plastic tiara for me. Daniel was wearing a lab coat and had a makeshift sword. They told us we were the king and queen while they were the prince and princess. Then they led us to the throne room, watched over by two fierce guard dogs (look closely toward the bottom of the picture). There were chairs with candy and lots of lights. There were LED lights taped to the fan, smaller ones placed around, and even a strobe light (not on in this pic). For fun we had the plasma ball (the glass ball that seems to have lightning trapped inside). They brought us a drink and encouraged us to enjoy. And we did!

Most people's lives aren't like ours. Some other families never get these moments. Our kids are a constant source of creativity and invention. Last night we had an ugly night with crying and yelling between them. Tonight, memories of a castle with a throne room took center stage. Two nights ago the center of attention was a microscope and a slide. Daniel and I made the slide by taking a razor blade and scraping a mosquito (which he had earlier smashed with a shoe) from the inside of the car window. He wanted to see the bug parts and the human blood. It was fascinating! Like I said, most people's lives aren't like ours.

I'm so thankful for kids who show me so much. It must've killed them to wait for us tonight. They couldn't wait to share their creation. I'm so glad they were patient. I'm so glad I married a man who was willing to play along and then to take a picture with a 30 second exposure. I'm sorry you weren't here to enjoy the moment, but we'll savor it for you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sunrise, Sunset......

...swiftly fly the years. It's a little hard for me to believe that my little preemie Daniel just started junior high!!! That's not to say that I wasn't a little excited to have the kids return to school and give our lives a little more of a schedule. They both started their respective schools last week.

Daniel began 7th grade with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. That's fair. So far, so good. He hasn't been locked in a locker yet, and he seems to be gaining a better handle each day on the 8 different classes he has. I think he will too, but I know I'm going to enjoy the classes he has. He has lots of interesting teachers and subjects. Today he told us a detailed account of the story of Frankenstein. That was right after we read "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. Hmmm.....

Cheyenne is just happy to finally be back in school. She really never grasped the concept of summer vacation. She wanted to go back all summer. She is now in 2nd grade and is back in class with her same teacher and many of the same students. One of the biggest highlights, though, is the "baby" bus that comes to pick her up each day. She runs from our porch to the bus, climbs on, then high-fives her classmates as she walks to her seat. She really is growing up.

The bottom line is that the last week has brought about the annual mixture of emotions that I try to sort out and figure out. I'm happy to see them go back; I instantly feel too busy to enjoy the time. I'm thrilled to see them growing and progressing, but I shed a few tears occasionally when I think of the cute memories passing by. I'm glad for the changes, but I still know that if it's Fall already then I have to be prepared any day to get up and find it's Winter. Arghh! But, alas, there's nothing I can do about any of this beyond enjoying each day for what it is. I hope you enjoy yours!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I did it!

So, I did it, I successfully pulled off the wedding cake for Katie Bowser's wedding. I recognize that there are wedding cake makers who do this all the time so I'm sure it's not quite as exciting to them, but I was excited. It even looked like the picture of what she wanted! The best part of it was that it tasted good and people ate it.

This picture makes it look like a miniature little thing, but the bottom tier was 14" and the others were 12", 10", 8", and 6". Just to put it in perspective, I made a total of 16 batches of cake from scratch, 6 batches of raspberry filling, and 8 or 9 batches of buttercream frosting. Then I added 8 pounds of white chocolate fondant and a couple of pounds of white chocolate. It was an artery clogger! But just to make sure it wasn't too professional, I took the extra cakes (because we needed more than what was in the formal cake) in to the kitchen on a plate with a Tupperware bowl turned upside down over one and a piece of plywood covered with foil as a base for the other one. I guess I can't own all the cool equipment!

The excitement for me was in the thrill of the hunt. That is, I was very stressed throughout the process, but there is a thrill in taking on a task and doing it. I read a lot, I practiced, I bought some cool equipment, and I succeeded in the challenge. There's something fun about that!

Lastly, I want to use this forum to thank my sisters and all of my fabulous friends who helped me along the way. Thanks for helping in so many ways and for cheering for me at every stage. Thanks to all of you who called today to see how it went. Your support was such a treat!

Now, let's see, my next oldest niece is only 12 so maybe it'll be a while till I do this again. You'll just have to watch my Wildelife to see!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Of brain surgery.....

This morning before church, I picked up my scriptures to read a little. Out of the front a few papers fell out. One of them was the funeral program for my good friend Celia Horne whose funeral was exactly one year ago today. She died due to complications from brain surgery. She was 42 years old. I think of her frequently. I often ask her for help in my daily life since I figure she's got a greater perspective these days. I miss her a lot.

I've thought a lot about brain surgery this week. The husband of another of my best friends was diagnosed this last week with an inoperable brain tumor. They plan to do surgery soon to go in and get some of the tumor to do a biopsy. Then they'll decide what kind of chemotherapy and/or radiation to do. I've been sad all week. It's so surreal some days to think how easily a family's life can be completely upended.

Evan is the fourth person in our neighborhood to have brain surgery. Counting Celia, I'm up to five friends I know personally who have had or will have an operation on their brains. That seems like a large number to me. Maybe if you're reading this, you should stop being my friend!

Seriously, it does seem like a high number. Now I just have to hope and pray for my friend as he faces this. I have to be in tune to my friend's needs and try to help her and the kids. It's going to be a long haul no matter what happens. And it's times like these that I have to really turn to a loving Heavenly Father and plead for peace. I trust that he understands more than I do. He doesn't want to bring us pain, but I know he's got a greater perspective and somehow it will all be all right. At a minimum, he'll for sure provide peace. I have another friend who has suffered an unbelievable number of things in her life. Someone once asked her how she can believe in God after all she's been through. Her response was simply, "After all I've been through, how can I get through a day without believing in God." I'm with her -- and may that God bless Evan.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

We've still got it!!!!

I'm going to post a picture here today at the risk of anger from my sister. I hesitated for a bit about whether or not I should include the picture, but then I decided that if I were 43 years and 51 weeks old and could still do this so beautifully, I'd want the world to see. Cathy, I think you're awesome!!!!! I wouldn't want her to be alone, however, so I've also posted a picture of me literally bouncing off the walls, trampoline included. Oh, and I guess I should say, I'm 41 years and 41 weeks old. As you can tell, she and I took our kids to a place the other day that is a giant warehouse full of trampolines. You can jump from one to the other, play basketball on them, bounce off the walls, etc. We intended to just watch, but apparently, we've still got it, so we joined them!

I'm glad I'm healthy enough to jump. I'm so happy I have a sister who will jump with me. Life is good!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cakes, cakes, cakes

I'm not sure if I should blame my niece Romney or thank her, but I'm currently preparing to make my third wedding cake in as many years. This assignment (for my husband's boss' daughter) has been a little more daunting because it's so big and involves skills I have not previously used. I've been reading a ton, both from books and the internet, and I decided to take my first cake decorating class ever! I knew they weren't teaching all the skills I'd need, but I also knew I was bound to learn a thing or two. It was kind of fun! I chalked it up to a self-improvement kind of class because I love to learn new things.

Throughout my life, I've made mostly "fun" cakes. I've done a vacuum cleaner, a pizza, a shopping mall, and Aladdin's castle, but I'd never done "pretty" cakes with flowers and such. So, yesterday I did my first "pretty" cake. I first made 43 roses of different sizes out of fondant, then assembled the cake. It was a feeling of satisfaction.

Today, I disassembled the cake and redid it in the style of the wedding cake I'll be doing then had a tasting party. Again, I learned a lot. The wedding is in 2 weeks. I'm sure my husband and my blog will be among the first to see if I'm able to apply the new skills. Of course, there will also be a couple hundred of his boss' closest friends! Arghhh! Thanks, Romney!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

An amazing experience to start my blog...

It seems appropriate to start my first-ever blog with an accounting of one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. Future entries may be more or less exciting, but they will always be a record of my Wildelife.

Our neighborhood has been beset by sadness over the last two weeks as we said goodbye to a 23 year old young man who was killed by enemy fire while serving in Iraq. I didn't know Nathan Barnes well, but I know his family quite well. It's certainly my first brush with the death of someone in combat. Within 24 hours of his death, some men in our neighborhood had organized a flag tribute on the street where his family lives. Along that street and the larger road that it crosses, 350 flags had been displayed. They vowed to have them up until he came home. True to their word, for ten days, every morning at 6 a.m. the flags were put up and every evening at 9 p.m. they were taken down. Sometimes the same people did the work, but often it was aided by those who were driving by and wanted to help. I loved seeing those flags each day as I drove by. They summoned a full spectrum of feelings from grief, to love of country and flag, to untold gratitude for all that I hold dear. They were accented by homes throughout the area flying their own flags and yellow ribbons tied everywhere.

Yesterday was the funeral for Sgt. Nathan Barnes. The service was lovely as his siblings spoke along with an officer from his unit. There was a powerful sentiment of how this young man just wanted to make the world a better place and to help others, especially the kids. Following the service, I had the privilege of being among some 800 or so uniformed cub and boy scouts and their leaders that lined the road with flags. I've never seen anything like it. For about a mile, one of two main roads through town was shut down for the funeral procession to go from the American Fork Tabernacle to the cemetery. They drove past the flags on both sides of the road to end at the cemetery which was also covered with flags and attended by a number of uniformed officers. I stood in my uniform as a current cub scout leader next to my 12-year old son in his boy scout uniform as we saluted and held flags. It was remarkable! There was a palpable feeling of reverence and respect for this family's tradition of service and sacrifice, but it was clearly evident that this was a show of love and respect for all those living and dead who have served so valiantly.

I grieve for Nathan's family. My mother heart pains for their loss. However, in their grief, thousands of others, including several hundred young men, were given a gift of a patriotic and moving experience we will never forget. I love this country. I love the flag and all that it stands for. I appreciate and honor all who have been brave enough to defend it. For that, I thank you, Nathan Barnes.