Wednesday, January 30, 2013

642 Things to Write About

During our weekend in Salt Lake City, I found a new book.
I'm going to use it for a while on my blog.  I've used a few other books or writing prompts before but none like this.  It looks like I'll be making up as much {or more} as writing facts.  I haven't written fiction since junior high school, at least.  Maybe the last time I wrote a pretend story was elementary school.

It feels good to write, and it's fun to make stuff up.  I'm certainly not a writer or an author of any story that should be seen by the public, but I'd like to try this.

642 Things to Write About

What Can Happen In A Second

Things that really can happen that fast:
  • a baseball gets from the pitcher and is hit by the batter
  • a snail moves 1 cm
  • 2.4 babies are born
  • 79 stars vanish from space
Things I think happen that fast:
  • Toby gets up the stairs
  • Jake makes me laugh
  • I get out of the driveway after hitting the garage to avoid Jake's glare
  • Daisy does all the tricks she knows to earn her treat
Things I wish happened that fast:
  • I fall asleep
  • I could prepare dinner
  • I could fold a load of laundry
  • I could take a shower and have my hair done
  • I could get a Chicken Critter Salad from Texas Roadhouse

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    Ghetto Pinterest

    I found this idea for a bulletin board in one of my magazines and I really like it.  I'm trying to decide if I'll use it directly on a wall or if I'll use it on a cork board.  Hmmm....  Think of all the color options....  I like the way they used yellow on yellow but my bedroom is white, and will stay white until we move.  It would be fun to use in there somehow.
    I call this my ghetto pinterest because I just scanned the pages I liked and then emailed them to myself.  I'm kind of a dork.  If you're lucky, and I see something I think you'll like, you'll be the proud owner of a ghetto email of your own.  I have now changed Katherine's name to Katherine Moss.  You're welcome.

    Friday, January 25, 2013

    Hero Report

    This afternoon, Abbi and I got to read a HUGE list of people she could choose for her Hero Report.  It's a big assignment and she's going to have to do a lot of reading and work.  We went through the process of elimination but it took a LONG time because she loved everyone.  She really loved the baseball players, the scientists and inventors, and Roy Rogers.

    Abbi's top three choices were:
    Bill Cosby
    Susan B. Anthony
    Jackie Robinson
    The whole list was great but I really liked her last list we edited.  It will give us a good list of reading for snow days.

    Susan B. Anthony - equal rights for blacks and women
    George Washington Carver - found many uses for plants
    Roberto Clemente - baseball MVP
    Bill Cosby - advocate for children
    Walt Disney - founded the Disney Empire after many failures
    Ben Franklin - inventor and scientist
    Martin Luther King, Jr. - equal rights
    Abraham Lincoln - helped end slavery
    Rosa Parks - "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement"
    Beatrix Potter - authored the tales of Peter Rabbit
    Jackie Robinson - first black baseball player
    Roy Rogers - cowboy and singer
    Harriet Tubman - escaped slavery and helped 300 others
    George Washington - could have been king but valued democracy
    Ida B. Wells - civil rights

    When Abbi told Jake she couldn't pick Jackie Robinson because he was black, Jake was so confused and tried to clear things up.  Abbi meant Jackie Robinson's name was highlighted {so it looked black on our copy} and that meant the teacher doesn't really want the kids to pick them.  The names that were highlighted have already been studied in class this year.  It was funny to watch those two figure out what the other one meant.  I knew all along but it was funnier just to observe.

    So, who did Abbi pick?

    Today reminded me of a book that caught my eye during a 24 hour trek from Florida to Utah, a few years ago.  It has an awesome list of people and was very interesting for the short book that it is.  Abbi has now claimed it as her own and is loving the page about Dr. Suess, who, to her astonishment, is a real person.

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    screen-free week

    We need a break.  We need a break from Diego, from Veggie Tales, from Star Wars, tablets, and computers.  We need to interact more together.  We have books to read, new magazines full of ideas, toys, science experiments, not to mention the cooking and cleaning.  The kids and I are taking a screen-break.

    7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day for a week.  We'll start tomorrow and go until February 8th.

    Here is the list of things we came up with to do instead of movies and computers:
    I'm sneaking in some screen time for myself during the two weeks because I'm the mom and I want to.  Mostly, because if we want any clean clothes or if I want to walk on the treadmill, I have to have the TV on.  I'm just that kind of girl.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    equal rights

    Core Knowledge curriculum for the second grade has a unit called Civil Rights.  Abbi has been learning about Abraham Lincoln, Cesar Chavez, and today, Martin Luther King, Jr

    Each night, we practice reading the Gettysburg Address.  I don't know how I made it all through my public education and a bachelor's degree without ever reading the three paragraph Gettysburg Address.  Abbi is supposed to memorize it for the assembly next month when the second grade recites it.  She is doing so well with the words she has never had to use before but we may be a ways from memorizing it.  I'm going to memorize it with her for support, although, I've never been able to memorize anything.  {I did memorize the Articles of Faith when I was 12 years old and Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants with my singles stake.}

    We've been talking about Abraham Lincoln, a lot.  It's fun to have those conversations and to remember things I haven't thought about in years.  I'm glad she has other people from history to think about because since September we've been talking about George Washington Carver.  I guess that's because Abbi admires his involvement with peanuts.  She lives for peanuts.

    While she didn't have a lot to say about Cesar Chavez yesterday, she had a LOT to say about Martin Luther King, Jr.  I love how closely she pays attention during history.  It's Abbi's favorite part about school, in addition to lunch and math.

    While Abbi reported what she learned about equal rights she said that white people and black people called each other names.  I was relieved when she said they called each other 'trash.'  She showed me a picture of the drinking fountain that white people used and the drinking fountain that the African Americans used.  Abbi didn't understand why there way a problem because groups because of how they looked.  She was astonished by it.

    Today, the idea that people are different because of how they look was introduced to her.  I feel bad that she has that in her mind now.  On the other hand, I feel proud that she never had come up with that idea before, on her own.  Abbi was satisfied with the fact that Heavenly Father created all people and He loves every person more than we could ever imagine.  I hope that truth sticks with her and that she will always be astonished by the idea that people can be separated by the way they look.  What a good girl.  I'm a happy mom.

    Maybe the equal love and acceptance of others is getting better with every generation.  Here's to hoping.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    Pin It Tuesday

    I'm trying to figure out how to use alternative fonts on my blog.  I get so very tired of the yucky choices.  Unfortunately, it's harder than I can handle.
    I found a bunch that I like but have no idea how to understand the directions of "embedding the HTML into the blog."  This whole situation is making me feel frustrated, mad, and annoyed by every noise and distraction during my endeavor.
    Follow Me on Pinterest

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    i like lists

    I make way more lists than I probably ever could need.  I wonder why.  Lists don't make a person more productive.  They may actually be more of a procrastinator's technique rather than a worker's technique.  Lists make you look like you have good intentions but they aren't really a tool for change.  Work equals work, not lists.  When I get started, I'm pretty good at taking care of stuff, but I'm really good at looking like I mean to take care of stuff.

    Speaking of lists, I've been cleaning out my Pinterest boards the last couple of days and keeping only Pins that actually lead to something I like or would use.  I pin a lot about cleaning and checklists but I decided to make my own ... Joey Style.  I made colorful 3 x 5 cards that will work for Abbi and me.  She's a girl after my own heart with all her list making, too.

    If you want them, and need to change them a bit, I have the Microsoft Publisher file I could send.  This is just an example.  I couldn't figure out how to post the first page of the file.  It has the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and family room.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    my twenties are fading

    Before Anne turned 30, she created a sort of bucket list of things she wanted to accomplish that year.  Unfortunately, this is my year to prepare to turn 30.  I can hardly believe it.  It's not that I am one of those crazies about age, you know, the BIG 3-0, etc.  But, I guess I might be.  I don't know how 30 is supposed to feel but I don't feel any older than I was in my early 20's.  I may not feel like I'm right out of high school anymore but, surely, I just got out of college (seven years ago).  So, I'm not worried about aging, I just don't know what happened to my 20's.  

    In honor of this unfortunate occasion, I am going to create the bucket list to finish off my 20's.   I may be borrowing a couple of Anne's ideas.  I won't do thirty things because, of course, I am only 29.

    farewell dearest twenties
    1. get sealed to Jake on February 13th
    2. study the Gospel Principles book by October
    3. hike to Delicate Arch in Moab in May
    4. try to camp without complaining - if my family enjoys it, I guess I should try
    5. write my life story
    6. have a Roscas de Reyes party on February 2 to share our blessings
    7. hit a bucket of balls with Jake
    8. teach Daisy to play dead
    9. go to the temple 9 times
    10. lose 29 pounds ... unless....
    11. get pregnant
    12. make cinnamon rolls for the children
    13. make a Sunday dinner for Jake
    14. don't cut my hair
    15. teach Noah to write his name
    16. memorize the Articles of Faith with Abbi
    17. take family names to the temple
    18. go to the Box Elder County Fair in August
    19. eat at least one bag of cotton candy
    20. see a rodeo with Jake in July
    21. read 9 books
    22. play Waterfall like I used to
    23. complete nine Pinterest projects
    24. try to dress Toby up until I am successful
    25. write 29 letters
    26. eat a bite of something beef
    27. eat a bite of something pork
    28. make my craft room an aesthetically pleasing space
    29. don't get another cat, unless it's a Maine Coon
    p.s.  KW ... what's your plan?

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Drops of Awesome

    KW sent me a link to a great blog post.  It's called:


    I am so happy the author shared these thoughts she had.  It's hard to go even an hour without being guilty of the negative thoughts she describes.   I'm going to do my best to remember this post and think about my drops of awesome.  

    {It was a sunny school morning and I was walking Magoo to the bus stop. I don’t often walk him to the school bus. He’s in second grade and pretty independent and I’m usually busy getting myself and his sisters ready. I’m semi-nocturnal and I sleep later than I should most mornings.

    When it’s time for school, he says goodbye and heads up the hill to the bus.
    As we got half way to the bus, Magoo reached out and grabbed my hand in an uninhibited way that I knew wouldn’t happen many more times. How many 12-year-old boys do you see swinging hands happily with their mommies?

    I squeezed his hand, felt the rare Seattle sun on my face, and told him I loved him. I was nearly perfectly happy.

    Nearly.

    Just at that moment, the thought came into my mind, That’s awesome that you’re walking him to the bus stop and putting on this “mother of the year” act today. What about yesterday and the day before that? You hardly ever walk him to the bus. He’s probably holding your hand because he’s so desperate for the love and attention you haven’t been showing him.

    My bubble had burst. I am a crap mom, I thought, as I looked down into his smiling face.

    Then another thought came. Kathryn. What is wrong with you? You are being an awesome mom in this moment. Your child is happy. You are loving him and caring for him. He’s well fed and dressed. You’re walking to the bus stop in the early morning and you’re already wearing a bra for heck’s sake. Do not rob yourself of this moment’s joy because of what you failed to do yesterday or what you fear you might not do tomorrow.

    This started me thinking of all the times I do something good while beating myself up for all the times I haven’t been perfect.

    You’re worshiping in the temple? Woopty freakin do! How long has it been since you came here last? When are you likely to come again? You’re not good at this. This is a fluke.

    Wow. So you cleaned the kitchen today. Want a cookie? That dirty rag has been on the counter for a week and those dishes you so righteously cleaned are from breakfast three days ago. You are embarrassing.

    That was really nice of you to offer to watch your friend’s kids while she had surgery. Remember last week when you knew your neighbor was suffering from depression and you drove right by with a wave because you did not want to get sucked into the drama? You don’t really care about people. Not all the time.

    How destructive are these kinds of thoughts?

    As I said goodbye to Magoo and started to walk back home, my mind started to shift.
    Drops of Awesome! I thought. Every time you do something good, something kind, something productive, it’s a drop in your Bucket of Awesome. You don’t lose drops for every misstep. You can only build. You can only fill.

    I walked Magoo to the bus. Drop of Awesome!

    I fed him fruit with breakfast. Drop of Awesome!

    I told him I loved him. Drop of Awesome!

    I wore a bra and brushed my teeth before schlepping it up that hill. Two Fat Drops of Awesome!

    All day long I chanted these words in my head. I picked up that tootsie roll wrapper off the front porch instead of stepping over it for the eleventy hundredth time. Drop of Awesome! I unloaded one dish from the dishwasher when I walked through the kitchen on my way to the bathroom. Drop of Awesome! I texted my sad neighbor to say I was thinking about her. Drop of Awesome! I had a critical thought about one of my kids and I brushed it away and replaced it with love. Drop of Awesome!

    When I started thinking about my life in terms of adding these little Drops of Awesome for every tiny act of good, I found that I was doing more and more of them because it’s a lot more fun to do good when you’re rewarded with joy, rather than being guilted about every failure in your past.

    By the end of the day, I had realized something important. If I was spending time with my kids, really listening to them with attention in the moment, then I was a good listener, regardless of the 50 other times I’d brushed them off or multi-tasked while they were talking over the past week. If I was engaged in sincere prayer with my Heavenly Father, really communing with him and seeking his will, then I was a person who engages in sincere prayer, regardless of how my prayers were (or weren’t) yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

    As I added up these Drops of Awesome, I found that in those moments I actually became the person I had always wanted to be.

    Have you ever said any of these things: “Well, I guess I don’t work out anymore,” because you missed one workout? Or, “I always fight with my brother. Our relationship is broken.” What about, “I’m kind of a nag to my spouse.” Or “I gossip and I always end up hurting people I love.” “I can’t stop spending money. We will never get out of debt.” “My house is always a disaster.”

    These things are lies, depending on the next decision you make, the next Drop of Awesome you put in your bucket. You may have done these things or have a hard time with them but they don’t define you and you can change this very instant. You may not think you can change permanently but you can change the next choice you make. And as you change that one next tiny choice, you may think, I got this one Drop of Awesome but I may never be able to get another one again.

    And that’s okay.

    You made the right choice once. And in that moment you were the person you want to be and that is a triumph. For one night, you were a person who went to bed early. One morning you woke up and the first words out of your mouth were positive so you were a morning person in that moment. Bam! Drop of Awesome.

    You do not need to wait three months to be who you want to be. Pick up ten things right now and say, “Drops of Awesome! I am someone who takes care of my house. That is who I am. I have proof.”

    In the end, it’s really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life. This builds momentum and you want more drops in your bucket and when you don’t get as many, you pick yourself up and say, “What can I do next?”

    Now, there are a whole lot of religious implications to this because, as a Christian, I believe that you are not the only one adding these Drops of Awesome to your bucket. Christ commanded us to be perfect, but through His atonement, He is with us every step of the way.

    As an object lesson when I was teaching this to the teenage girls at church, I gave them each a small dropper and I put a 2-quart bowl on the table. I told them that throughout the lesson they would get the chance to put drops in the bucket for every Drop of Awesome they could think of that they’d done. I promised them that we would fill the bowl to overflowing by the end of the lesson.

    With about 5 minutes to go, we had barely begun to fill the bowl and the girls were looking around at each other nervously. The promised overflow did not look likely. Were they not awesome enough?

    At that point, I pulled out a large pitcher labeled ATONEMENT and poured water into the glass bowl until it was spilling out all over the table and the towel the bowl was resting on. The class went silent.

    When we are in a relationship with Christ, striving as God’s sons and daughters to do His will, He pours more into our buckets than we can ever hope to imagine. He can fill us to overflowing with peace, with joy, with perfection, with Awesome. And then what do we do if our bucket is overflowing like that? Where does the Awesome go then?

    I pulled out an identical bowl, twice the size of the original. Our capacity for joy and light increases. And we just keep working, one tiny drop at a time. And we don’t compare today’s drops to yesterday’s or tomorrow’s. And we live and we love and we repent when we do wrong and we allow ourselves to be glorious, beautiful, and dare I say perfect in Christ, children of God.

    I believe in a God who loves us and roots for us and cheers for every Drop of Awesome we can manage. Our victories are His victories and He wants us to feel joy. Not later, when we no longer make mistakes, but right now.

    I’m gonna close this uber long post out with a scripture from the Book of Mormon. I know many of you do not share my faith but I think you’ll find truth in these words:

    “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6)

    Small and simple. Tiny drops. Go forth. Be Awesome.}

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    i HEART saturdays


    noah did his own hair

    abbi's been dying to try this
    noah gave himself a mohawk with water while abbi brushed her hair.

    abbi says the kids at school have been holding their fruit with only their teeth and she has really been wanting to try it.

    just a few months ago, i would have been at work, missing all this fun.  i am so happy to be here with them and see the funny things they do!

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    so much SNOW

    Abbi was disappointed to learn that school got cancelled.  It was the day all the students were allowed to bring one of their Christmas presents to show the class.  She cheered right up when she found out Uncle Cody had bought her new snow pants and new sleds!

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    for time & all eternity

    Noah's prediction and the faith-filled prayers of many people have become reality....

    Jake and I got our letter from the First Presidency in the mail today!  We have the clearance we asked for to be sealed in the temple!  Now our two-year wait will be over in less than thirty days!  

    Jake and I are thrilled!  Abbi and I did a happy dance!  Noah made silly jokes about bodily functions!

    This post may be my most favorite of all time!

    Wednesday, January 09, 2013

    Snow Day

    Did we even have any snow last year?  I think this last snow storm made up for it.  Abbi and Noah couldn't wait to get outside.  I was a happy mom because the snow came during Christmas break.  Jake was maybe the least happy, but I have to say he is really good at shoveling.

    Tuesday, January 08, 2013

    Abbi the Scientist

    fluffy snow
    making gel crystals
    color-changing gel crystals
    Abbi got a test tube science kit for Christmas.  She LOVES science so this was not the only science item she got.  But, this one is by far the easiest to use with immediate results.  Each experiment is quick and lots of fun to watch.  She reads the instructions, writes her observations, and gets so excited about what happens.  I think any kid would love this.  Her class gets to show one of their Christmas gifts this week and she wants to take her test tubes and show them the "fluffy snow" or "magic sand."  I sure like this girl and I am so happy to be home to do experiments with her!

    Monday, January 07, 2013

    Survivor of the Recipes

    Because it is still the first week of 2013, I am involved in "cooking at home more" type activities.  I made a calendar, filled it in with dinner plans, and made a note of where I found the recipe so it is easy to locate.  THEN, because I get a little OCD when I start organizing, I made a detailed grocery list for each week of January that matches the recipes for the particular week.  

    I started off, last Friday, with a macaroni recipe from a magazine.  The kids and I ate it, but we did NOT like it.  It made a huge pot but I dumped it before Jake could even try it.  It was yuck.  Even though the macaroni bombed, I'm still going to try a couple other recipes from that magazine.  It really does look like a good one.

    Tonight, I made Mexican Deelish from Worldwide Ward Cookbook of Secret Recipes.  It was a HIT!!!  It makes a big pot (eight servings) so we took some to Jake while it was still hot.  The kids gobbled it up, wrapped up in tortillas and Jake said it is a win.  His was over top a tortilla with a tortilla torn on top with a dollop of sour cream and a little shredded cheddar.  Their recommendations carry a lot of weight.  I don't get "wins" and "hits" very often, or ever.

    There is no way I will eat this but I am SO happy my family liked it.  Here's the recipe:

    1 lb. lean ground beef or chicken
    1 15-oz. can low-sodium black beans
    2 10-oz. bags frozen white rice OR enough instant rice to make 4 servings I made jasmine rice in my rice cooker while I browned the meat

    1 1-oz. envelope low-sodium taco seasoning mix
    2 c. frozen corn
    1 14.5-oz. can all-natural Mexican tomatoes, chopped I put in a can of Rotel.  Maybe that's was Mexican tomatoes are, but I'm not real kitchen-savvy. 

    In a medium to large stockpot, brown ground been or chicken.  Drain and rinse meat and return to pot.  Drain and rinse black beans.  Add to meat in stockpot.  Cook frozen rice in microwave according to directions OR cook instant rice in separate saucepan according to directions on the box.  Add cooked rice and taco seasoning to meat and beans in stockpot.  Add frozen corn to stockpot.  Slightly drain the tomatoes and add to mixture in stockpot.  Serve warm, topped with broken tortillas, for gluten-free and dairy-free dietary needs.  Or scoop mixture into warm tortilla shells and add cheese, sour cream, and taco sauce to taste.  Serve with fresh fruit for a great meal.  Makes 8 servings.

    Rachel Anderson
    Vinton, Iowa

    Sunday, January 06, 2013

    a blast from the past

    Tonight, we ate yummy pumpkin cookies right out of the oven!  They were so delicious!  It reminded us of a night, two years ago, when the kids and I had our first evening alone while Jake was at a scout meeting.  Abbi was five and Noah was eighteen months.  We made pumpkin cookies and ate A LOT of them!  When we started talking about it and telling Noah about it, Jake pulled up the pictures and the video.  I can't believe how little they were!  The pictures made me feel so happy!  Sorry about the music in the video, we had the Sunday radio playing.  These are from Sunday, March 27, 2011.
    video




    Friday, January 04, 2013

    the Tracy 2013 profile


    Thursday, January 03, 2013

    the State of the Me 2013

    Mr. Reader, Mr. Husband (who will never read this), Children, members of the universe, distinguished guests, and fellow bloggers:

    I am going to attempt another year of the State of the Me.  Apparently, I was in no place to be remarking on the State of the Me in January of 2012.  You  may remember me from previous posts such as: 
    The State of the Me 2011
    The State of the Me 2010
    The State of the Me 2009

    It always feels a little overwhelming for me to try to sum up my current brain status but, "We can do this.  I know we can, because we’ve done it before."

    "Let’s remember how we got here."  Long before blogs, Facebook, digital cameras, or even cell phones, somehow my life was documented.  Periodically, I would make entries into a big thick journal.  Many times, I carried around scraps of paper or small notebooks that held my odd or even thoughtful thoughts.  "Technology made businesses record keeping more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete.  Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up."

    Although I was against it, even less than five years ago, I am a blogger.  It's how I capture my thoughts and experiences much more for myself rather than to share.  Each year, I have the posts printed into a book for my records.  Since then, I have been a less-than-diligent journal keeper.  So easily I went from thinking trite thoughts about bloggers to becoming one.  "It was wrong.  It was irresponsible.  And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag."

    Now, onto the 2013 State of the Me ....

    The economy:

    "Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion."  No really, we have some work to do.  Fortunately, {and unfortunately} Wal-Mart is where we do our main spending.  I try not to think about and try to never enter Target.  That's in my past and holds memories I can't responsibly recreate at the time.  

    "The state of our Union is getting stronger.  And we’ve come too far to turn back now.  As long as I’m Joey, I will work with anyone in this house to build on this momentum.  But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.  (Applause.)"

    Why does money have to be such a huge part of our lives?  I went from liking it to a near hatred.  Does money make the world go 'round?  I submit that it does not.  So many stories and heartaches people carry have to do with finances.  I will not and refuse to allow the economy to have a space in my daily worries.  With or without, close management, careful spending, smart savings, and preparations for purchases and goals can remove the fear money attempts to put in our minds.

    Moving on to better things...

    Education:

    Jake has been involved with school every month of 2012.  And, we forsee another 12 full months of school with an impending graduation date.  In addition to his school work at Utah State University, he has completed hundreds of hours of certification training and passed tests that have benefited him in his work.  Jake works so very hard with his job and school work.

    Just a couple of days before the school year started, we learned that after eight months of waiting, Abbi finally made it through the waiting list for the local charter school.  Jake and I were seeking a better learning environment for her and although we weren't 100% sure what the heck a charter school was, we believed it had to be an improvement from the public elementary school we are assigned to.  Abbi and I had already done the back to school shopping but we set out again for uniforms.  We are all so happy, most importantly, Abbi is so happy at her new school.  The change in her and in her school work is amazing.  She has confidence in herself and is interacting so well with the students and teachers.  We LOVE the school and have been so pleased with their performance and we are ECSTATIC about the happy Abbi who comes and goes everyday.

    Noah and I set off on a new adventure and started a preschool in our home.  Little Duck Preschool has been a fun experience, starting off with fourteen children, four years old and under!  Little Ducks will not see another academic school year but we are enjoying it for now.  Next year, we'll be outsourcing his preschool education. 

    Immigration:

    This past year, we made an effort to emigrate but were unsuccessful.  Indeed, we press on and will attempt to become immigrants in a place Jake doesn't consider "the city."  2012 saw only two animals immigrate into our home.  Tank {who has left us for another home} in March, and Daisy in May as my anniversary/Mother's Day gift.  Furthermore, we are hoping for another human or two to immigrate into our family in the future.

    Innovation:

    I have attempted, but remain unsuccessful, to become a competent housewife.  I have pretended {at best} to organize, to set a routine, to clean, to cook, even to do activities.  My desire is to be or even act like I am innovative in my endeavors.

    "But challenges remain.  And we know how to solve them."

    This year I am hoping to improve in my housekeeping, mom, and wife skills.  I have a plan to try out this month and hope to improve it and me over the course of the year.  The problem is that I have a really hard time with follow through.  I'm sorry to those of you who already know that.  I know it's my weakness.  

    "That’s a bargain worth making.  (Applause.)"

    Energy:

    We are experiencing an off-kilter balance of energy in our household.  Jake somehow has enough energy to work a million hours, I have a conservative amount, Abbi has the most energy of any of us, and Noah has a ton of energy but has an energy crisis when his schedule gets screwed up.

    "That doesn’t make sense."

    the Great Recession:

    You may call our 50% decrease in household income part of the Great Recession but it was self-inflicted.  2012 was the year I became a stay-at-home-mom.  I looked forward to that day, literally, my entire life.  I've never wanted anything more than to be a wife and mom at home.

    So technically, I don't think our loss of income could be categorized with any sort of recession.  I would say, though, that my brain power and memory is suffering from some sort of recession.  While it is common knowledge that Noah owns property rights to my sanity, I'm not certain were my brain has gone.  I would have to label my brain/memory/soul victims of the Great Recession.

    "With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.  (Laughter and applause.)"

    Government:

    I'm not sure who is in charge around here.  Four out of four believe they rule the roost but there in no discernible democracy.  Generally speaking, we don't have many power struggles other than when two stubborns {almost always male} go head to head.  And I'll tell you, that's a lot of head going at it.  Haha.  I'm the funny one.  

    "The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective government.  And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress."

    I think it goes to say, we are a happy family.  I find myself often thinking about how blessed I am to be married to Jake.  We may not have everything, but we are so grateful for what we do have.  Being able to have Abbi and Noah in our home makes us the luckiest we could ever hope to be. 

    "There are plenty of ways to get this done.  So let’s agree right here, right now:  No side issues.  No drama.  Let’s get it done.  (Applause.)"

    "How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain.  But we have a huge stake in the outcome."

    Security:

    Uh, we're all good here, but 2012 was my poorest performance year security wise.  I have never, before 2012 had any car trouble.  This year, it was necessary for us to put a battery charger in the van for the many times we find it dead, due to the number of doors and lights we {I} don't check.  Furthermore, twice in one week my dad came to the rescue because I locked the keys in the van.  One of those times, the van had both mine and Jake's key inside.  In addition, it happened at work, too.  Good times. 

    When I wasn't locking the keys inside, I was leaving the keys inside, or the garage door open, or the garage door opener exposed.  I lost my garage door opener privileges for a time and once, Jake brought my keys in from the front door at 3:00 a.m.  My bad, really.  In the last two weeks, I really have improved, though.

    "I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed:  That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.  (Applause.)"

    "Yes, the world is changing.  No, we can’t control every event.  But our house remains the one indispensable home in world affairs –- and as long as I’m Joey, I intend to keep it that way.  (Applause.)"

    "No one built this family on their own.  This family is great because we built it together.  This family is great because we worked as a team.  This family is great because we get each other’s backs.  And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard.  As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong."

    "Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)"

    {Please refer to the President's speech to find out that I used it, hopefully not illegally.}

    Wednesday, January 02, 2013

    Noah's First Drawing of People

    It may be hard to see but this is the first drawing Noah has done with people!  I was so impressed.  It started with just "Daddy" on the left and then he added me.  We're even holding hands.  Noah says this is a picture of Dad and Mom getting married in the temple.  That boy sure knows how to get a mommy in the heart.  What a great way to start 2013!

    Tuesday, January 01, 2013

    Happy New Year!

    “The chief beauty about time
    is that you cannot waste it in advance.
    The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
    as perfect, as unspoiled,
    as if you had never wasted or misapplied
    a single moment in all your life.
    You can turn over a new leaf every hour
    if you choose.” 

    ― Arnold Bennett