Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Favs...

I wasn't sure I'd make it to think through my favorite things of this past year. I usually think through my favorite movie, song...but I am not sure I really have one for those categories...I think my favorite overall 'thing' that happened this year is actually 2 things: the Pew Reunion and the Louw Reunion. Both were different but similar in that familial bonds were strengthened. The Pew Reunion was a large group of 51 people. My kids loved seeing their cousins from different parts of the country come to Utah. They love them and miss them. It was fun to see them enjoying each others' company. They are lucky because they still have their cousins that live here. The Louw reunion stood out just because I am not sure my dad (who is struggling with Alzheimer's)will make it on another outing like that. He stays close to home these days. New settings unnerve or exacerbate his condition. Family is such a blessing especially to me where I feel loved and supported from both sides. Sure we are NOT perfect but as far as getting along and helping one another I find that I am the luckiest person to have these families behind me (and my kids)!

Another favorite thing that I got a lot of fulfillment from this year has been seeing my children develop their talents and skills. My heart almost bursts when I hear them play a song (I actually recognize) or sing in their choir or perform in a play or work hard on the soccer field...all the practices and running around... all worth it!

Learning to be more grateful has been a real favorite blessing from this year. Although we just started this this past November we have a gratitude journal for our family. It has shifted my focus even more to the many blessings I have been given. I notice that most days the list we put down RARELY is something monetary--mostly things that involve spending time with each other, extended family or friends. Of course we are still grateful for a flushing toilet and amazing inventions like that but it has been great to remember that "the things that matter most are NOT things!"

Another favorite has been getting up early before my family and studying the scriptures and words of the living prophets. My VTs shared last year with me the 10-10-10: 10 minutes Book of Mormon, Ensign/Conference, Rs or Sunday School lesson. It has given me the structure to stay mostly on top of the readings for Sunday and has made a difference in my personal life. I am not super patient now or am I super organized because of it but I do feel closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior, this in turn has brought me great peace and comfort in my challenges and worries I face. I can not say enough about this and it's worth to me. Being able to trust in them and their promises--how can I not be happy knowing they are there for me? I am hoping by keeping this schedule some day I will be more organized but I have noticed that it has helped me make more of my day and be inspired to what I should do.

Other favorite things I have encountered this year: Biggest Loser Exercise DVDs, Vitamin D (helped with PMS), teenagers who are almost friends built in to the family, a certain preschool girl who makes everything new and exciting and fun, the three musketeers who challenge my parenting abilities more than I like but also love me despite it all, a husband who rocks my world, sweet potato chips, fries and just about anything else made out of them, beautiful nature--it's everywhere, friends who seem to know when I need them most, my kids' friends, music from MoTab to Tokyo Hotel--I know that seems weird...Tangled the new Disney movie--it was such a fresh, upbeat show...good people who inspire me with their stories of courage to overcome amazing challenges...Graham Canyon Ice Cream--so YUMMY! But it is only made by the BYU Creamery so we rarely get it and barely discovered it this past summer! Aloe infused socks...they are so FLUFFY! Pringles Honey Sticks another yummy find...facials and eye brow waxing...we read the whole Book of Mormon this year as a family--our Primary Presidency asked that every child read the Book of Mormon this year, then our Stake Presidency asked us to do it also--very inspired. We have read the Book of Mormon before as a family but it took us about 2-1/2 years! This was a great blessing and we finished it this morning!

I was going to post some of my photos this past year but it keeps timing out. Owell...I'd love to hear what some of your favorites were last year and maybe they'll make it on my favs post next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A very merry week...

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! If you care, here's what we did to enjoy the week of Christmas!

Monday the kids had no school so Timo and I headed up to the DMV to get his license. It was pretty fast. We had enough time to drive to the thrift store (DI) to get some white elephant gifts for parties coming up. Then Timo went to a group presentation meeting. He was bummed he couldn't drive on his own there yet since insurance coverage had not begun. It really started snowing after we got back so I am glad we left early for the DMV. I was able to run errands to drop off dry cleaning, scout stuff, grocery shopping after dropping him off. That night we went to our neighbor's the Evans who had invited anyone in the neighborhood to dress up and come to act out the Nativity together. So we borrowed my mom's Nativity clothes and went. We were one of the only ones dressed up so my kids were mad at me—too bad! Everyone else thought it was great. It was a great night and we were done by 7:30 PM! (see Izak, Zane and Gwen the wise guys!)

Tuesday we woke up to a huge snowstorm, we had more than a foot. Taran had been asked to come into work by 7 AM and luckily he made it safe. I ran to get milk in Tim's car and got stuck at our local Walmart not because of the snow although I did slide around here and there because the snow plows had not made it there yet. So hopefully the car will get fixed this week. Tim picked me up and after snow blowing everything, he went to work. I made sugar cookie dough that morning. I watched my neighbor's twins since she got called into work last minute (nurse) and her kids had a half day of school still (they go to a charter school). We got them all outfitted and they joined in the sledding fun all morning! After the twins left and Taran got back we were able to go to Tim's sister's Amy to make Christmas paint cookies. It's a Pew tradition that I love! You use food coloring and egg yolks with a little water and paint it on the raw cookies and then bake it. The kids had fun and got to play with cousins and I enjoyed visiting with Amy. Taran came and got us around 4PM. And we got ready for Timo's white elephant party with his friends that night. I think he had 17 friends, boys and girls. They brought treats to share, we provided some as well. They played games, did the white elephant then watched Trapped in Paradise on Clearplay. They had a lot of fun but it didn't get over until 11:30 PM!

Wednesday was Tim's last day at work for the year—YIPEE. He took the van since I didn't need one and we had Taran's if we needed one. Timo actually ended up driving himself to his study group and had a little mishap with the emergency brake. I went visiting teaching that morning to one lady. We had a nice visit. Then my sister Teresa picked me up at 12:30 PM. We went shopping all over...she had my name for Christmas and she goes big whatever she does! She also had gotten in touch with United Way to see if they needed anymore help with sub for Santa. They had 35 more families (over 2,000 families had been helped in Utah County alone) in need so she volunteered. It was fun to shop for the family, I ended up buying a couple of extra things for them. Anyway, we went all over then Tim picked me up at Target and we went to Costco for some things and ended up eating dinner there. Then we went to the lights at Thanksgiving Point. Teresa had gone out there to look in some shops there so we picked her up and she saw the lights with us.
That is always fun. Then Tim took the kids (minus Taran and Timo who had Iron Chef for YM) to his parents' to watch the Boise St. vs Utah bowl game. Teresa and I continued shopping but made our way to the sub for Santa family to drop of the stuff. They seemed very appreciative and it was nice to help. We stopped by my parents' for a little bit then on to the mall. I know some of you would faint to shop so long but I actually enjoyed it because no one was asking me if we were almost done, blah, blah... Of course I also enjoyed spending that time with my sister too! We got home late but it was fun. I actually had very little actual shopping to do mostly stocking things and some practical things that we needed. Taran had a Christmas party after the Iron Chef competition so he got home late!

Thursday I took the little boys around to deliver to friends who live outside our neighborhood some small Christmas treat. I also had stuff for my scouts as well and other random things like picking up dry cleaning and doing the Christmas Eve food shopping etc. I also went to Smiths because I thought I might have left my cell phone there but no luck! WHERE IS IT??? At 12:30 PM we left for the BYU Art Museum. They have a Carl Bloch exhibit, it's free but you have to get tickets because they only allow so many patrons at a time. Carl Bloch was a Danish artist who painted quite a lot of religious paintings many that our church uses that depict Christ. We spent about 45 minutes there and we saw some other exhibit as well. Yes we took everyone, I am really trying to give them some culture! Towards the end the younger boys were a little nuts but we let them run all the way to the BYU Bookstore. That was fun, I haven't been there in years! I got some things and then we left—the others looked for things for each other but didn't have much luck. So we headed to my mom's, she was hosting our annual Joseph Smith Birthday Party combined with my niece Holly's 3rd birthday. Since we were early I borrowed her car and took Taran shopping for Micah and Tim took our can with Micah who was buying for Timo and Izak who was buying for Taran—you can see why Tim couldn't just take them all. We also got some balloons and stuff that my mom wasn't going to have time to get. So it worked out. We got back in time for the party. It was great, Holly was so cute about her presents she liked them, we had our white elephant gift exchange and the fake log with glowing eyes was the big hit and then we shared our feelings/testimony about Joseph Smith. If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (some have nicknamed us Mormons) you may not understand how Joseph Smith revealed many important truths about Jesus Christ. Many think we worship him but that is so untrue but more revere because we have greater knowledge of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his mission. It is so real, and you can know for yourself which is the beauty of it by praying and asking God. He will answer all sincere prayers. So it was a really great evening and we left a little later than we should have but family is always a blessing.

Friday I found myself at Walmart—again! HOW? Oh, forgot about this and Tim can't find that in the store so I better I went and got the last of what I needed! Then he went and got stuff for me. We did laundry and Saturday chores. I helped clean up the playroom and got 2 bags of toys to donate, one for the nursery at church and the other for charity. That was a relief! I really wanted my room cleaned up for Christmas so I worked on that, it was such an organization nightmare with all the Christmas stuff piled up and lack of time to get laundry sorted and given out—our little kids put their laundry away I just wash it. So all the baskets were full in my room! Taran went sledding with his friends up the canyon. He had a lot of fun. The kids played football in the backyard since most of the snow had melted and it was a pleasant day! That evening my parents and sister Teresa came over for dinner and a little Christmas experience...not sure what to call it! Tim and I set up candles coming down to the family room and in the family room and we turned off the lights.
Then everyone came down and we sat on blankets on the floor eating simple cheeses, summer sausage, Prosciutto, crackers, artisan bread, blanched almonds, cashews, craisins, dried mangoes, red grapes, Clementines, cheese ball, wheat thin sticks, onion dip, grape juice and Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. After our yummy feast the kids each shared a song or two most chose Christmas songs—Taran made up an arrangement of Jingle Bells on his bass guitar. After that we watched a couple of Christmas Nativity things—really short in length. Then we sang Christmas Carols and were done. My parents and Teresa left after we opened our annual pj present opening. We did some other things that were anonymous so I don't want to get into it anymore than that but it's been a nice tradition we've done the last 2 years! All the little kids and Emily slept in the little boys' room. Emily read to them. I think it helped. Then it was work getting everything wrapped and set up. Thank goodness Taran and Timo helped us out! We got bed after 1 AM even with their help. We watched While You Were Sleeping while we worked.

Christmas morning the kids got up just before 8 AM, probably the latest ever! We stalled them so Taran and Timo could sleep longer. By 8:30 AM we had the video camera set up and ready to roll! Everyone enjoyed their presents. It's the up side of not having a lot of money is that you are limited in choices you have. So we are careful and try to make them count. I also am against having so much they can't appreciate. That's why we have them only buy for one sibling, so they get one Santa gift, one sibling gift and 2 grandparent gifts. This year I made them photo books from our reunion to Yellowstone since we used some of our Christmas money to pay for it—hence no present from us except clothes (which most of them needed anyway). I am thinking they get a lot especially when you times it by 7! My sister surprised us with a fusball table on our porch!

Tim's parents came by that morning to have us open their presents. It was nice to spend that time with them. Then they went to Tim's sisters who live in Utah as well. Then we went to my parents' and had brunch, opened presents and visited. Some went outside and tried out their new football, then we went to a nearby school and the little kids played on the playground and the older kids shot hoops or played football. The kids also watched Despicable Me which our kids gave Tim. We'll have to watch it some day! We went home just before 7 PM so Tim and I could hang a Welcome Home sign on our neighbor's house—they were bringing their daughter home from England and had spent the week there and came home Christmas. The mother had asked me to do it and I was glad to. Then we went back to at 10 PM with an assortment of awesome neighbors who came to sing Silent Night to them. It was really sweet and Lizzie hugged us all after, she is just a doll. It was truly a great way to end the evening! Although I did move laundry and finish up my lesson for Sunday—somewhat anti-climatic!

Today was church and very inspiring talks and music in Sacrament Meeting. I taught my class but it was just a review of the whole year of the Old Testament. We played a game to review but my whole point was to testify and remind them the purpose of the Old Testament was to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus Christ. RS was good especially since the lesson was based on President Uchtdorf's talk The Things That Matter Most (?) now I can't remember! Anyway, with a new year ahead it's a good time to think through am I rejoicing in my life or do I need a change of focus? He gives 4 relationships that will help us have joy and fulfillment: God, family, mankind and ourselves. Love it! Read it!
After lunch I read to Gwen until I couldn't stay awake anymore then I had a slight nap. I got to visit on the phone with my friend Melissa who is down from Boise we are trying to hook up this week! Tim, Timo and Taran all had hometeaching this week. We had our devotional and dinner. We wrote down our gift for Jesus during our devotional. After things were settled down after baths, Tim and I went to his parents to pick up a roast that I am suppose to cook for our family dinner at their house tomorrow night. We had a nice visit. The kids played games and watched Veggie Tales and were in bed when we returned. I love that they have time to do that since they don't have school this week!

Have a great week! Enjoy your last week of 2010! Remember all you've learned and all your blessings and may your new year be even better!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A week of great Christmas festivities!

I am short on time so this may be a shorter post! Of course I tried to sneak preparations for Christmas Day in as much as I could. Still not quite done. Tim and I helped out with many school projects instead of wrapping presents! Owell...But I did watch Zoe so Stephanie could go to the temple this week, then another day I had Zoe and Sophie over for playgroup and we made Christmas sugar cookies and frosted them. I forgot to include those photos in the collage. We got teacher gifts ready and some friend gifts ready for those who aren't the neighborhood. Thursday night Timo and Taran had their choir concert. It was great despite their grumblings that it wasn't going to be very good! Granny and Grandpa were able to come. I helped with Micah's class party, Gwen came with since I had no where to take her. It was fun. Friday we left for Salt Lake around 4 PM. We stayed in a hotel a few blocks from Temple Square that had an indoor pool and full breakfast included. Teresa and my parents came as well. Of course there was some fiasco before but all in all we made it and you will understand when I write: teenagers. We ate dinner at the Wendy's next to the hotel so we could get to Temple Square fast. As it turned out the traffic was horrendous so Teresa came up to drive while my mom, Emily, Tim and I jumped out. We headed over to the Mormon Tabernacle choir concert with guest artists David Archuleta and Michael York. After parking Teresa was awesome and took the kids around to see the lights on Temple Square and the Visitor's Center. Then they went back to the hotel where my dad was hanging out--it was good he didn't come since it was so crowded. The rest of us barely made it inside the Conference Center before 7 PM--if you haven't scanned your ticket before then you lose your seats. The standby line was amazingly long. When we got in people had sat in our section, it was full so we had to sit in another section and the only sections left were the far sides, next to the wall. Despite the terrible seating--we couldn't hear the choir very well and we couldn't even see the men in choir since we were on the far right side--it was amazing. I am not really a fan of David Archuleta, I don't hate him or anything, but he was amazing. He seems very humble and down to earth. Michael York told an awesome story about how the choir was started with a Welsh immigrant. He also read the Luke 2 account of Christ's birth. We thoroughly enjoyed it, I feel bad for anyone who may not have heard the choir from another spot because it is so amazing! I just love going to the Christmas concert. We walked through the lights and visitor's center on Temple Square on our way home. We just walked home since the weather was fine and the hotel was close enough 5 blocks or so. We took the kids swimming when we got back. In the morning we took them again before we left. Timo had a study group and Taran had to work. He only had enough time to take out the garbages at the school that were the worse. Emily and Gwen made graham cracker houses, Emily made Mordor and Gwen made a zookeeper's house. They decorated them at my cousin Hiedi's where all her sisters congregated as well, my brother Charl and his family and Keith and Amber showed up later. It was fun. On our way out Emily tripped and dropped Gwen's and then I picked up hers to bring and the tower came off. So there were tears. Meanwhile the Tim and the 3 boys went to his parents' to watch the BYU vs UTEP football game in the Nevada Bowl which BYU dominated. Nice to end the season that way. We got the kids fed and ready for bed and then we left Izak in charge of the younger guys--they watched Home Alone. Our new neighbors across the street invited us to go caroling with them so Emily and Taran came--Timo declined and stayed at a friend's. We had a lot of fun and they had a lot of yummy food! Tim and I left so Izak didn't need to be in charge so long. I ran to Smith's for milk and some Christmas shopping. A little closer to being done! We got to bed late, putting away laundry...Today was the Christmas program. It was amazing! The spirit was strong. I taught my class, which I was glad to do since it was about how the prophets had prophesied about Christ's coming from Adam to John the Baptist. I have enjoyed teaching the Old Testament most of this year. It has strengthened my testimony. I hope these young people have learned and gained a testimony of Christ in the Old Testament. Tim and Timo went hometeaching and our hometeachers came. We are all so tired that we napped after they left. Izak actually fell asleep during their visit! I can't believe we have less than a week. My kids are excited! I have some ideas of fun things to do this week. We may get to them or not! It has to be non-stressful, holidays need to be about creating good memories and not forcing it. May you anticipate Christmas with joy and love in your heart! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Freedom Friday

Great Moments In Unintended Consequences Here is a short video that is pretty clear on why the government should stick to their role and stay out of micromanaging things. I found the comments about the video interesting as well. I know we are all busy but we need to stay vigilant about not letting them become 'Big Brother'. Here's an interesting chart that should wake people up check it out: scariest chart So now go and enjoy your holidays! Seriously, we can change this by not being complacent and letting our leaders know how we feel! Enjoy the holidays and don't forget to remember your country needs a Christmas present of citizens who are 'presently' looking out for it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just thinking...

I am very grateful today for my healthy children. Last Friday Timo's friend passed out after running the mile in PE. Timo was there to witness it. They ended up life flighting him to Primary Children's because the local hospital didn't know what to do. It turns out this 16 year old boy had a stroke! They put him into a drug induced coma to operate and remove a blood clot. So far they feel it was successful they are planning on taking him out of it this weekend. I can't stop thinking about him and his family. I know what they want for Christmas! I can't think of anything I want that is more important than what I have already! I am so grateful. I pray this young man will make a full recovery but I know that sometimes God has other plans, that with my finite thinking can't comprehend. I can only trust that his will is what is best for each us. And that he will guide us during our most difficult times. So hug your kid before he goes to school, you never know if he'll come back the same!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Dance and stuff...

Less than 2 weeks until week of school left for the year 2010! It really is amazing how fast this year has gone! This week was mostly about the Christmas dance Friday. Although it was a casual dance, Taran had put together the group that went together so he was sort of planning it with my help. Being the over responsible person I am and knowing this was Timo and his date's first date I wanted it to be a fun experience I stepped in did more than maybe I should have. So between doing some Christmas present things I was doing stuff for that. They had to have an ugly sweater to wear—the winners won free prom and preference tickets.

So Monday I did my usual helping in Zane and Micah's classes. Tim had stayed home because he wasn't feeling totally regular, if you get my inference there! I ran to the store and got some liquids for him after helping at the school. I had scouts in the afternoon. For family night we drove around and looked at the Christmas lights on the homes in nearby neighborhoods. We found one that rivals the Griswalds in Christmas Vacation—they have Santa on the roof AND a neon Elf or Santa (I couldn't tell) dropping presents from a rocket ship hanging from a wire strung from the lamppost to the house besides a gazillion neon holiday things in the yard and Christmas lights on the house. This was a large, new, fancy house which proves tackiness is prevalent in all social classes. Taran had Madrigal again that night and my parents attended and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Tuesday I went to the temple. That was a really nice experience. I love going during Christmas, it helps me have the true feeling of closeness to our Savior. My friend Stephanie, who had Gwen, took her to a park and stuff so I had some extra time. I was going to go shopping but then thought I can take Gwen shopping but I hate ignoring her when I am on a project. So I finished up a Christmas project I was working on, that was a RELIEF! I felt light and so happy! That night Timo had basketball practice and Emily and Tim went to the last night of Madrigals. They enjoyed it. I had to take Timo with all the kids and then he got a ride home. Tim played basketball with the men that night.

Wednesday I drove the little girls to preschool and then helped my friend Linda who is getting ready to pick up her daughter on her mission in England. She has been battling breast cancer the last four months and now she's battling getting her body back to normal. To top it off she has diabetes and epilepsy! Because of the chemo she has become dehydrated and triggered her body to seize! Anyway, we are all praying she has the health to travel this coming week. I finished helping her in time to get Gwen and Zoe. Usually we have playgroup but I had 2 conflicts so I am doing it next week. Taran watched Gwen while I went to Micah's class to read 3 short Christmas books. I was the mystery reader, it was fun! Then Emily's CTE class invited preschoolers to class that day so they could play games with them etc. Gwen had a lot of fun. I was late picking her up so she road the bus with Emily—I am just lucky the bus driver loves in our neighborhood because I don't think they normally let them. That evening I had 2 meetings, Emily and Timo had a concert at the junior to go to. So I took them and their friends and picked them up and missed one meeting. After my other meeting I went to the store since I hadn't been able to go Tuesday! Timo had his second basketball game at 9 PM.

Thursday I spent time on the phone getting Gwen's preschool for next year figured out. I am relieved I did and I am really excited about it too. My visiting teachers came over and we had a nice visit. After lunch Gwen and I went on the quest for some ugly sweaters! We finally found some at Savers. Then we bought some things for the dance, royal icing mix, paper plates, candy and soda. The boys and their dates were making graham cracker houses. I got home in time to make soup. One of my visiting teachers gave us a French bread shaped like a candy cane and it was red and green and it was yummy and went well with soup. I also had to make no bake cookies for pack meeting that night as well. Micah got his Wolf rank, or I may have bailed on it! He was so excited that I couldn't change it! After that I got the kids in bed, Tim had EQ meeting. I helped Izak get a white elephant gift ready for school and then I went to some stores partly for Christmas and partly for the dance. I was tired that night and got into bed a little early. Then Taran came in and wanted to talk. He has some girl issues. Too many like him and he wants to be good friends with everyone but he kind of likes one of the girls but he doesn't want to ruin everything...anyway, Tim joined in later and we ended up talking until almost one AM! But hey don't you want your kids to feel like they can talk to you, ANYTIME? I am glad they do even if it means sleep deprivation. Then Gwen comes in at 4:30 AM with a bad dream and her foot hurting. So after I get her to bed I just stay up because I had to make a breakfast casserole for a special brunch the PTA made for the teachers at the school. I noticed when I got up that I had a burning when I went to the bathroom. Yes, I had a bladder/kidney infection. Luckily my doctor was willing to call in a prescription so I didn't need to go in. I had had a small UTI earlier in the week and had it going away but I guess no sleep pushed me over the edge! I didn't feel too bad, thankfully and I was able to get the stuff ready for the dance stuff going on at our house that evening. I spent a bit of the afternoon helping Taran's friends (girls and boys) get their sweaters embellished tackily for the dance! It was fun but pushed the preparations back so when couples started showing up it wasn't ready and Taran had forgotten to tell the kids when to bring—a glue gun and candy. Luckily between all the moms of the boys attending, my mom and neighbors we got it covered. My mom picked up the little kids and Emily (who she picked up earlier in the day from school because she wasn't feeling well and I didn't have time to go get her) and fed them at her house. Most of the moms of the boys from our neighborhood doing the date helped with cooking Papa Murphy's gourmet and regular pizzas, grapes and dessert. My visiting teacher whose daughter was going with Timo actually got the pizza's for me because I was doing these sweaters instead. Tim had gone to Salt Lake City for work was battling traffic to get home and was a great help once he got here. They made graham cracker houses first, we had 2 long tables set up downstairs and chairs around them. We had the pizza upstairs with snacks and grapes and soda. My friend Alison took pictures of all the couples and their creations in front of the Christmas tree in our living room—I hope to get those soon and post them! Taran and some of guys had to sing at a ward party from their Chamber Choir. The teacher forgot to tell the person wanting the kids they wouldn't be able to do it because of the dance and a few other things going on at the high school that night so she begged them to go and 8 of them showed up—no sopranos so one alto switched. Taran said that it was not very good at all,and he was embarrassed because it was McKay and Sue Anne's (Tim's cousin and his wife) ward and he knows he'll see them again! The rest of them went to the first home basketball game after dinner. Then the dance was right after that. Instead of formal pictures it was a photo booth, so that was fun. While they were gone we cleaned up the graham cracker mess and got ready for them to return after the dance. Then we ran out to my mom's with pjs for the kids. She had offered to let them spend the night but I didn't know the kids were coming back to my house or I would have got their pjs ready. Emily ended up coming home with us since she felt like she was getting a UTI—weird huh? She drank tons and had cranberry juice and was fine in the morning. The kids are a lively bunch so I was glad the little kids were at my mom's. Alison had fixed Christmas cookies and ginger snaps and hot cider. We also put out the leftover pizza we had reheated and grapes for them to snack on. Overall I think it was a hit. Once all the girls were taken home we cleaned up, some of Taran's friends came back and helped out a little as well. I was mostly worried about Timo and his date since it was their first date but they were fine and Taran's friends are funny kids so they were entertained as well.

Saturday Taran had a singing gig that morning at 9 AM. He had Tim drive him since he was so tired. He got a ride back. Tim, Emily and I went to my mom's and helped her out. Emily helped with Christmas stuff inside and Tim and I raked leaves and bagged them with Izak's help and then we helped with lights in her yard. Then we came home and I put lights on my bushes and one tree—I am ready for snow because it helps it look so Christmasy! We have had lots of rain instead. I feel like we are having a northern California winter! Taran and his friend made t-shirts for their Dodgeball team. They did pretty good but missed the ward Christmas party. Our ward Christmas party was after lunch, it was service activity. We made blocks (over 500), put together, hygiene kits, newborn kits, school kits, and about 6 other different stations that I didn't get to helping. I was over the newborn kits, then I went and helped with the blocks after that. They had yummy sugar cookies and gingerbread men & women cookies, and Clementines for refreshments. It was fun and organized and a great experience! I know they spent A LOT of time on preparing for it and you could tell but it was the best activity in my experience! Taran had work and then 2 singing gigs. Timo had another friend's 16th birthday party, this was for a girl and it was a surprise. He had a blast.

Today was church and I didn't sub or teach my class but got to sit with Tim in Sunday School. Sacrament Meeting was so great, the speakers were terrific. The lessons were equally as good. Tonight is our stake Choirside,which we are excited to go to. Tim calls it battle of the ward choirs! I love Christmas music and this will be a great event to attend.

We have Taran and Timo's choir concert this week, it should be excellent. Friday is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with David Archuleta, we are very excited about that! Fun times still to come and a great Christmas season to be had! Hopefully you are feeling the love! If not read last week's post at the end. It may help you as it has so many of us, including me!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deck the Halls and all that ...

Wow! Where did this year go? Is it because I have a child graduating from high school life is speeding up?

Monday Tim and Timo stayed home. Tim actually went to the doctor and found out he had a sinus infection. Taran got all his BYU application stuff done--that he could do. I had scouts that afternoon. We finished decorating our tree downstairs for Family Night. Taran also read us the book I Believe in Santa Claus which shows the religious correlation between our Christmas traditions and Christ.

Tuesday I watched my friend Stephanie's daughter (Gwen's friend) Zoe while she went to the temple. Timo was still home and Emily hurt her finger at school so I called the doctors and got an appointment for that afternoon. Timo has a virus--what I guessed but he hurt when he coughed so I had to make sure. Emily didn't break her finger the doctor buddy taped it and it's doing better. Tim dropped off Taran's transcript to BYU at lunch. Taran had madrigal feast preparations, work and interviews with the bishop and stake president for BYU. He ended up going to work last because of a weird thing happened to his car door. So I went with him that night to work to help him get done sooner. The first room I went in to get the garbage the ceiling had caved in and was dripping water all over. We got the stuff cleared away from danger and Taran got a hold of the principal. We are sure that was no coincidence! Tim played basketball that night at the church.

Wednesday Tim took me early to my mom's so I could take her to have cataract surgery on her other eye. We had to be there at 6:30 AM! So I took my Christmas cards and got a lot of them done while I waited and later at her house. I stayed all day until Tim was done working then he came and got me. She seemed to do even better this time and last time was just fine. I enjoyed visiting with my dad too. When I got home I got the little boys ready for the Madrigal Feast. Teresa picked us up and we went over to the high school. This is an amazing event the Chamber and A Capella choirs do every Christmas. They serve delicious dinner and sing Christmas songs and do a little skit that is usually funny. The little boys enjoyed throwing pennies at the beggars. Taran was part of the royal court. I really thought they did a great job. Meanwhile Tim just had Gwen to put to bed and Timo home. Emily had young women and they went caroling to the neighbors for Pennies for Peace. Emily's idea, I must brag! She did it last year with her friends and suggested it to their Beehive leaders and presidency. They collected $85 dollars in an hour! Not bad!

Thursday Timo felt better and went back. Emily stayed home sick--not too sick just tummy trouble in the night. I ran errands including getting money turned into a cashier's check. That afternoon I helped with dinner prep for madrigal. I actually enjoyed it. The kids and other adults were great to work with. Tim came at 6 PM to do the actual dinner. He stayed until 9 PM since he was the only man. It was suppose to be until 8 PM but hardly anyone showed up at 8 PM to relieve them. Timo got to go to Madrigal with the priests for Young Men, they enjoyed it!

Friday Gwen and I ran errands. I am looking for a white nativity--no gold on it. I think I may have to make one. Timo had another birthday party that night. They went to a tumbling place in Provo. This was for a girl. He had fun and on his way home he asked a girl to the Christmas dance--brave boy! He will be in Taran's group since most of his friends are old enough yet. Taran had to sing at a Costco work party after madrigal! They earn money at these gigs--whatever people want to donate. Tim and I decided to go see Tangled in 3D that night since we didn't have anything! I already saw it but I knew he really wanted to see it since he already saw HP. It was amazing in #D and I think he really liked it as well. Unfortunately we had to go to the late show since the earlier one was sold out.

Saturday was chores and then Tim helped me with scouts, we did a compass course. He is awesome to help me out! I got called to substitute so I worked on that a little. I made homemade soup, apple sauce and bread for dinner! My friend gave me this easy recipe for applesauce. You peel and cut apples--I use my apple corer from Pampered Chef then I peel. Put the apples in a pot with water barely covering it. Boil until soft. Then drain half of water off. Then add Red Hot Candies as you mash it. Done! Add some whipping cream for a dessert feel--yummy! After dinner I took Emily and the younger kids to a live Nativity in Alpine. It was a great experience. They had a 'Bethlehem' set up with a market and animals--the kids fed the camels and then a live baby with 'Mary' and 'Joseph' Tim was really tired so he stayed home. Taran had another night of madrigal. Timo was helping Teresa at her school. Tim finished the 2nd Hunger games book and has been telling me about them--I am afraid the violence might be too much for me.

Today was Fast Sunday and testimony meeting. Timo got to bless the sacrament and Tim and Taran were up there with him--a ward tradition. That was pretty cool and the testimonies were great, mostly deacons who have been reading the Book of Mormon for a special 80 day challenge. AWESOME! Subbing was fine. Sharing time was great with stories of prophets foretelling the birthday of Jesus and singing Primary Christmas songs! Great spirit in those songs!

My friend posted this on facebook from her friend and I want to share this thought:

"I love long lines at Christmas!! This time of year reminds me that most
everyone waiting in line is not thinking of themselves, or buying for
themselves...this special time of year where all of those long lines
mean that everyone ahead of me line is thinking of others and trying
to make someone else happy on Christmas morning. I always look for the very longest line (drives my husband crazy) and happily stand in that line during the Christmas holidays!! As I wait, I count my blessings, I think about all the people ahead of me and how they are thinking of others, and how blessed we are to have this special time of remember others who have blessed our lives and to take this opportunity to thank them. I think the Savior must think of Christmas lines in that same way. The longer the line the more others are thinking of others and giving of themselves." Debbie Blair

So instead of complaining or being annoyed, take the high road!:) Merry Christmas and make it meaningful!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Zane's birthday and Thanksgiving...

This week the kids only had school Monday and Tuesday so that was nice! Monday I went and helped out in Zane and Micah's classes. I went and got Gwen afterward. I picked her up from my moms and we went to Hobby Lobby to look for something I was doing for Christmas. I had no luck with that but it was worth the trip since Gwen made me stop in front their large ceramic Nativity they have on display. The pieces are around her size. She just loved looking at the Nativity. It touched my heart. She didn't care about anything else in the whole store. She said, “Mommy, maybe some day we can get one of those.” I said,” That would be cool.” The pieces range from $150 dollars to $400 each. So that day won't be too soon. I had scouts that afternoon and the Zane and Micah had piano. That night for family night we tried to take the kids "yearly pictures". We haven't had time to see how they actually turned out. Hopefully some will work!

Tuesday I suppose to watch Zoe so Stephanie could go to the temple but there was a huge storm coming and they were headed to Idaho so they decided to leave that morning and beat the storm. So Gwen and I were able to do some shopping and go to the post office. We were home in time for lunch! That night Tim and Emily went to the Music Man at the high school and they both enjoyed it. Tim and Timo went to the church and played basketball. Taran and his friends were doing weird things with dress ups. Izak and Micah had their friends Jack and Blake come over for a little movie night and they watched Shaun The Sheep episodes. It was fun to hear them laughing! Later that night Tim and I were putting up a sign for Zane's birthday and the power went out. Tim turned on our gas fireplace in the basement and made sure all the kids had enough blankets. He called the power company and they said it would be back on by 3 AM—it was almost 4 AM because it woke up Tim and he had to go around turning off lights. BTW the huge storm they predicted was a bust here in the valley but north of us got it pretty good.

Wednesday was Zane's 7th birthday! WOW! How did that happening? My little boy is a kid and almost a big kid! He loved his batmobile and extra batman and bad guys, he also got How to Train Your Dragon on DVD and a How to Train Your Dragon t-shirt. Not much but he wanted to go to build a bear for that birthday so we had to be frugal. Granny took him to Target to pick his present and he wanted lunch there as well—Pizza Hut Pizza! He got a couple more Batman toys. In the afternoon, he played with his friend Brian. Emily and her friend Tiffany went and saw HP 7 part 1. Yes, Emily had already seen it but Tiffany couldn't go the other time so I dropped them off and picked them up later. Then we took him to the mall to Build a Bear, he chose a black bear and a Broncos football uniform. It'd in the collage. Then he wanted to go to McDonald's and play and eat a Happy Meal. That was fun. I ran to Blockbuster right by it and got Toy Story 3, The Prince of Persia and Barbie in A Christmas Carol. I didn't really see the Barbie show. But Gwen liked it. I cried in Toy Story, what a cute show! The Prince of Persia was interesting, I think I might have been too tired to watch it. But I liked it more than AVATAR.

Thursday was Thanksgiving but the neighborhood annual Turkey Bowl was canceled since it was very cold. They ended up in the gym at the church. My college friend Dwayne Achee and his family came by for a visit—they came here from California, rough week to be here! We had a great visit, we love their family! His wife Janis and I have the same aunt and uncle but we are not blood related! Small world! Their oldest son and Taran hit off, Benji plays songs by Muse on the piano and Taran played the bass. That's pretty much what they did the whole visit! After they left we went to my mom's for dinner. The food was great and we had a lot of fun. Some played guitar hero, rampage, Lego star wars, watched football, A Muppet Christmas Carol and sang carols around the piano.

Friday I helped my mom with a wedding luncheon for a girl in her ward whose mother died when she was younger and the dad needed help with all the wedding stuff so my mom helped organize the neighbors—this girl is graduating in December so she is super busy! I left in time to get home and help get to Amy's for our Pew family Thanksgiving dinner! Taran had to do some work on the Madrigal stuff and left early to be able to come to Amy's. That was lots of fun. Erick and Liz were down from Idaho so that made it extra special. The day was a little warmer so the kids played football at the park by Amy's. Then once it got dark they settled in. Later the adults minus Tim's parents and Nate went to a 10 year commemoration for Keith and Nancy Johnson who were Tim's cousin and his wife. They died in a car crash 10 years ago on Thanksgiving. It was great to see how their kids are doing. They have overcome many challenges to be where they are today! It was great to hear stories about Keith and Nancy. Nancy sister has done some amazing things for the kids by compiling all of Nancy's letters and things like that. It was a great evening and made me so grateful that I know life continues after this life and that if we are sealed in the temple and keep our covenants we can be together forever. It also made me feel grateful to be associated with so many awesome people in this extended family! We got back late. Poor Nate had to hold down the fort while we were gone so long. Tim and I watched Prince of Persia after we got home.

Saturday was the BYU vs Utah football game, rivals. Tim went to his parents' with Taran, Izak, Micah and Zane. My mom invited Emily, Gwen and I to see Tangled with her , my dad and sister. She took Timo suit shopping for his birthday and they found a nice suit he likes and then she took him to Iggy's sports grill which he enjoyed. We met my mom, dad and Teresa at the theater. The movie was fantastic! I would like to see it in 3D but Gwen won't wear the glasses so I felt it wasn't worth the money if she wouldn't be able to really see it. Afterward Emily, Gwen and I went to the mall to do some necessary shopping and a little Christmas shopping. We ate the eatery. On our way home we stopped at TJ Maxx and Ross. Emily almost fainted! I guess Gwen is used to shopping trips with me! She was a true trooper. When I got home I worked on laundry! Tim found out he was teaching Elder's Q the next day and was trying to get that done.

Today we woke up to a foot of snow. Tim got to try out the snowblower his parents passed onto us when they bought a new self propelled one! Tim, Timo and Gwen stayed home from church. Timo slept so Tim knew Gwen couldn't be left with him by herself! I came home after my Primary class. Tim went hometeaching today, our hometeachers came and Taran went hometeaching too. Last Sunday in November! Friday Tim got out the Christmas decor and so finally today the kids did the big tree in the living room, Gwen got her own tree decorated, the little boys got some of theirs done. Gwen started on the downstairs tree. I will decorate the top now and let her do the bottom tomorrow! We had our devotional on the Holy Ghost by Taran. He did a good job!

Crazy week ahead, Taran needs to finish applying for BYU—there has been trouble applying and because of Thanksgiving he had to wait until tomorrow to talk to someone about the problem. Taran is busy every night with Madrigal Feast starting Wednesday. I hope Timo gets feeling better his classes are so demanding he doesn't want to miss them. He feels a little better after sleeping most of the day.

Have a fabulous week and try to enjoy this holiday season! I really am in shock that it is upon us, I have been living some what in a daze since I have been sick most of November! Hopefully I can get totally better soon too so I can have that great feeling of love, joy and fulfillment that I get from the season! I do love it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Freedom Friday

This article is almost a year old but still holds some great thoughts...
Local Solutions to Common Dilemmas

By David Kretzmann on January 19th, 2010

Do people sometimes forget that we are all individuals with common goals, diverse circumstances, and unique perspectives? In many situations this is the case. The more governments, both local and national, expand in size and scope, the more politics become a game of winning and losing rather than representation of the people, providing individual freedom and choice, and encouraging local solutions and creativity. The world faces no shortages of problems, but the solution does not, as often believed, lie in continued centralized power of government, but increased freedom on a local level.

As centralized representatives are empowered with more responsibilities, their ability to directly and effectively represent their constituency decreases. Certainly it is more difficult to directly represent 200 million people than it is to represent 100 people. Such power maintained by a select few opens the door to lobbyists, special interests, and privileged groups who seek to grab a portion of that extraordinary power in order to gain an unnatural advantage over fellow individuals. In 2008 alone, 14,808 lobbyists contributed $3.3 billion to government. In such a scenario, who receives more direct treatment, the 14,808 lobbyists or 14,808 individual citizens? A large government is easily influenced not by individual citizens, but by large and privileged groups with the means to essentially bribe those in control, thus decreasing the power of individuals over our government. Central policies simply can’t represent the unique needs of local communities, towns, and counties.

As governments centralize and expand in power, the power and freedom of individuals decreases. It is not necessary to increase our individual abilities through a complex system managed by far-off politicians. In fact, all that is necessary is a simple concept that is commonly blurred or forgotten: freedom. Freedom is the only “system” that sees all individuals as naturally equal; freedom is based on individual, not central, power, and recognizes that we, the people, can solve our dilemmas free of constraint, force, and coercion. Freedom provides individuals the opportunity to keep the full fruits of their labor and appropriate their money to where they see fit, whether it be to the elderly, those in need of food, or any other service. The element of choice lies with the individual, not with the power of others. Simply put, when focusing on local solutions, individuals maintain far greater freedom and influence of participation, activism, and travel (voting with their feet), than they have in a strongly centralized system.

Individuals carry the greatest initiative, responsibility, and obligation over government in their counties, towns, communities, and neighborhoods. Things would appear much differently today if individual people, rather than federal officials and bureaucrats, were the driving force behind environmental, medical, and other policies. Chances are that many communities would oppose the opening of a nearby coalmine and would work together, as individuals, to find a cleaner, sustainable energy source. People will certainly feel a greater sense of charity and responsibility if they see or know people in their town who need but can’t afford health care. People are simply connected to something that they personally understand, see, and love, and will work together to protect and improve such a place. This is a basic world where solutions are based not on conflict and political gain, but community involvement and cooperation.

A locally managed government created to represent and serve the people fully can only function with an informed and active public. To do my own part in bringing this about, I developed Freedom Chatter in March 2009 with the slogan, “Involve, Interact, Inform.” Freedom Chatter is an ongoing project of mine with the objective to bring together a community of contributors and excited individuals eager to analyze all areas of business, economics, and public policy. Freedom Chatter recognizes the inherent qualities of human nature to be creative, diverse, and develop original ideas; it is unreasonable to expect everyone to subscribe to one viewpoint or ideology, whether it is on a local or national scale. By acknowledging the power and creativity each one of us carries locally as individuals and utilizing our ability to interact and inform, a rebirth in freedom, prosperity, and happiness is well within reach.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Just wanted to publicly thank God for all his many, many blessings. I am so grateful for everything in my life even the bad-it could be worse! May you have a wonderful day celebrating all your blessings!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some musicals, Harry Potter and Timo's birthday...

Monday we woke up to cold and snow. I went to help in Micah's class (after Zane's) and the teacher had forgotten to tell me they were going on a field trip but duh, my kid is in the class why I didn't think of it...Anyway, she needed another mom and asked if I could go along. My mom who had Gwen said that was fine so I went! They walked over to the high school only a few blocks from the school to see the musical The Music Man. I was glad I got to go since some of Taran's friends were in it. They did a really great job especially for high school kids! The kids liked it until the end when there was kissing! Luckily by the time we left for the play the sun was shining, it was only windy and my hoodie vest I was wearing kept me sheltered from it. I had scouts, and we had Family Night. Zane and Micah had piano.
Emily had her musical practice until 6 PM that night.

Tuesday Emily and Izak take piano before school so Emily went to piano but stayed home to rest since she has been fighting a cold and to finish her science fair project--it wasn't due until Thursday but her musical was starting Wednesday night. I went to the Draper Temple and Gwen to Zoe's to play even though Emily was home I figured Gwen would still rather play with Zoe. I really enjoyed going to the Draper Temple since Timpanogos is closed for cleaning until this week. They are as windy as us...maybe more. After I picked up Gwen, I ran to Walmart by myself since Emily was home. Boy is that a nice break! I really dislike taking my kids to the store before Christmas...they get strange ideas and change their minds. Which means what I bought that they wanted when it was on sale is no longer what they want! I am trying to get organized for Christmas...I got some presents made this week. I feel the pressure to get some finished and mailed before Thanksgiving. That night Emily's practice went until 8 PM. Izak went with his scouts to see The Music Man at the high school and he enjoyed it.

Wednesday Gwen had preschool and I drove. I went to Holy Cow and to Robert's Craft after. After I picked Gwen and Zoe up they went to Sophie's for playgroup. Then I ate a quick lunch at home then ran to Sandy about 20 minutes north of here. I wanted to buy a baby gift for my friend Melissa who had her baby that night and Timo's birthday present. Timo want a Jazz jersey with Al Jefferson's name and number on it. Those aren't cheap so he didn't get a lot for his birthday. I found a cute outfit for baby Van and I was home before the kids got home. That night was opening night for Emily's musical: You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. Tim went and really enjoyed it while I stayed home with the little kids. Timo had early scouts and they had pizza and ice cream to say good bye to him and did a planning of activities. Taran didn't go to scouts since he wasn't going on the camp out that week end.

Thursday Gwen and I finished up getting some birthday cards for Timo and buying his breakfast and getting other special food for his birthday. I avoided the toy area! That night Taran and his friends went to the Music Man and then to Harry Potter the midnight showing. They dressed up and everything--see in the collage the big group! That night the rest of us went to Emily's musical. Aunt Teresa, and both sets of grandparents came. Emily danced with grandpa Pew during the blanket song. We all enjoyed the show and Emily did a great job on her part. She had fun showing Gwen to all her drama friends. That night Timo needed help with his Spanish homework so we were up late.

Friday was Timo's birthday. We got Taran up for it and then he went back to sleep. I had a meeting with the Primary President, she is over scouts and my teaching age group so she was asking about my callings and everything like that. Then Gwen and I went to the dollar store to buy some ACE bandages, guaze pads and such for medical kits our ward is putting together at our ward Christmas party. They were having the Primary children come around house to house to collect donations on Saturday. I also had to get a present for a girl who was turning 16 too. She and Timo were baptized on the same day. Her mom planned a surprise party for Timo's birthday--forgetting that it was his birthday. When she remembered she felt really bad. It wasn't a problem because Timo didn't really want to do much that night. He wants to go to a Jazz game with some of his friends but he didn't want to go THAT night. So Timo went to her party and that mom had them sing Happy Birthday to both of them and I donated some ice cream and plain brownies. She will get me digital copies of the birthday, I am sure. Most of Timo's friends were there to it worked out great! They played games and watched a movie. Meanwhile, I went to Emily's musical. A little less than half way I started feeling sick so I left and ran to the bathroom. I didn't throw up but I did have the other. So instead of staying to find out I ran home as fast as I could so if it started again I would be alright at home! I drank some coke and rested. I did have some cramping but it went away. Tim took Emily some clothes and baby wipes for the make up and took her and 2 friends to see Harry Potter. They thoroughly enjoyed it. Taran had a mellow night at home since half of his friends were on the camp out or in the musical The Music Man. After the musical was over some came over and they hung out.

Saturday I woke up with a cold, my throat was super sore. I blame the kid in the dollar store who was hacking and sneezing behind me in line. I took some Dayquil and after time I didn't feel too bad anymore. The kids did their chores and went to the Primary activity. Tim played basketball from 8-9:30 AM. So he got home after they left. He took Taran to a tux place to buy his shirt, pants and shoes for Chamber. They stopped at Costco on the way back. By the time they got home it was time for Tim and I to leave for the BYU vs New Mexico football game. It was chilly and windy. Tim and I decided to brave it and if it got too uncomfortable we'd leave--this was huge because Tim NEVER leaves a game early for ANYTHING! Well, it turned out okay and comfortable. It was lots of fun mostly just being with Tim on a date is fun. We bought our concessions from Lone Peak's student council, one of Taran's friends helped us. We were home by 8:30 PM. Timo and some friends were here babysitting. Taran had taken Emily to her musical, it's final night and watched and brought her home. Later I watched Brain Regan while I folded laundry. Taran and some of his friends were working on homework, another was playing the piano, another watching Lord of the Rings with Emily and playing in the play room and one watched with me. Timo had left with his friends to watch the Jazz basketball game. Half of Taran's friends left--the ones not doing homework. Tim and I went to bed.

Sunday was early for Tim and the boys they had a Stake Priesthood meeting at 7 AM. Then they had choir at 8:15 AM. They were singing today. I got to go to Sunday School and Relief Society today and they were great and very inspiring along with a great Sacrament meeting as well! After church Timo was ordained to be a Priest it was nice that Grandma and Grandpa Pew could come and Granny. My dad had a rough night with his oxygen tank not being plugged into his mask! Oops! The bishop had Taran, our hometeacher's companion, his son and the first assistant join in the circle. It was a great experience! Then we went back later for tithing settlement.

I feel so blessed. Truly, I have much to be thankful for and I have been writing in a special journal almost daily--I try. Then just as November was going to start I made one for our family to just write down each day what they are thankful for in a special book--I posted about a few weeks ago. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy your relationships, make that the focus NOT the food!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy 16th Birthday Timo!

Another child is now driving did this happen? Time seems to be speeding up this year...Timo has been a remarkable second child. He is hardworking, conscientious and responsible. He can't wait to get his license in fact he wanted to go today but I didn't think we could get there and back in time. Maybe next week! He is not perfect but he really works hard at doing his best at most things. Because of his work ethic he has developed many talents and skills. He is the type of person who makes you mad because if he decides to achieve something, he will. If he keeps this up he will do great things. I enjoy discussing life and stuff with him and his siblings. I am a nosy mom. But he humors me. I am so please with where he has been and where he is going. Here's 16 more years of good things!

Freedom Friday

Feel overwhelmed by all the craziness in Washington DC. Wondering what you can do or how to even keep track of what is going on? Here is a great website that is devoted to less government policies and lower taxes and MORE freedom/liberty. Check it out and visit regularly to get involved--it only takes a couple of minutes to sign a petition or send your representatives an email. No excuses, you CAN do this and we all must if we want to reclaim our country. Here it is:


Sunday, November 14, 2010


So I left my camera at Tim's parents' last night when we celebrated the November birthdays...Ammon, JoAnn, Anna, Timo and Zane. It was fun to get together but now I won't have any photos to post for my blog this week. Although I did not take many photos since I was recovering from the flu. Monday I felt better but still week and Tim advised me to not help at the school as I usually do. So I laid low. Gwen stayed home instead of going out to my mom's. My friend Stephanie came and got Gwen later to play with her Zoe. This was nice so I could rest then I was able to help the kids with homework without feeling like I was ignoring Gwen! I had scouts so I took some medicine that made me woozy so I basically sat aside while my co-leader taught the bowline to the boys. I signed their books! I was so out of it, really! For family night we did Emily's science fair project. It was fun, those who were not participating watched old home movies until it was their turn.

Tuesday was Stephanie's turn to go to the temple. Our temple is closed for cleaning so she went to the Draper temple. Zoe joined us for a Costco trip since I still couldn't drive on my meds Tim took us and I stopped by the Urgent Care to make sure I didn't have a sinus infection. They thought I did and I got out not too long after Tim and the girls finished shopping at Costco. He dropped us off at home and got my medicine from Walmart. The girls just wanted to play after eating churros--well I guess Zoe didn't want hers really...anyway, they played even though I offered lunch. Not long after Zoe left Gwen's friend Claire came so they played between our houses and I just hung out. I only did the basics of laundry and dishes. Micah made dinner at scouts so that was nice! That night Tim took me shopping at Walmart for our big price matching trip to Walmart. So I was set even though I couldn't drive.

Wednesday Stephanie took Gwen to preschool with Zoe and home. Zoe ended up hanging with her and Sophie for most of the day. They had fun, ate lunch and played well. Erika our niece came over and cut Gwen, Taran, Emily and my hair. She just finished Paul Mitchell so she can do that, it was so nice to have to go anywhere! She did a great job--wish I had the pictures! That night I had a scout committee meeting which ended up being short. Thursday morning we found out Timo's ride to the Lone Peak High School Semi-finals in 5 A football at the U of U football stadium had fallen through. Tim really couldn't and so I volunteered. Then I asked my mom to watch Gwen and let me borrow her car since my big van needed a new hose put on it! She was a gem and I was able to drive the boys up and they got a ride home with another dad from our neighborhood--he took them to a buffet after the tough loss to comfort them!:) Taran rode the spirit bus, they had 13 school buses full of students so they got out at 9 AM--20 minute class schedule that day. The buses were too full for all the students hence me driving. I was so proud of myself! I have never driven to SLC by myself before. I was feeling so much better too so that was nice. That night was a shower for my cousin Marnae who is having a baby boy after the holidays so my mom and I ran to the store when I got home a got her some presents from us, Teresa, Amber and Katie. Hopefully she liked them! Teresa took the presents and Amber went too but my mom and I were still not 100% so we did not venture out that night.

Friday Gwen and I went to Walmart to get my nephew Ammon a birthday present for Zane and Micah to take to his party that afternoon. And to get stuff for Timo's camp out. I was a zombie because I woke up at 4 AM coughing but I was blessed to do what I had to even though I didn't get a nap or anything! Timo had to be dropped off at 3:45 PM and Zane and Micah had to be dropped off at 4 PM so they were a little late. Then I had to go back and get Emily at 5 PM and the boys at 5:30 PM--Taran had work. Luckily my neighbor/friend kept Gwen until I done with that. I fixed a quick dinner and then Tim and I went to a Marriage Enrichment class at the church. It was actually on finances, a professor from BYU spoke and we had actually heard him last year he came to our ward. He was really good and we learned a few more things, he was even funny! Tim and I came home and changed and went out to eat. Taran had a birthday party so Emily got to babysit even though she doesn't feel well. It was a nice evening--I actually got my parents' Christmas gift made and we went to bed before Taran got home.

Saturday Emily had play practice 9AM-3PM. Tim took the little boys and Gwen to his parents to watch the BYU vs Colorado St football game. Taran slept in and then did his chores and hung out at the old bishop's house to watch the game with his friends. I got some more gifts started for Christmas. And did house work and made a cake for the family birthday party that night. I got my eye brows waxed at my sister's neighbor, I hate plucking my eyebrows. She needs the work so I am glad to have her do it. We ate dinner then Tim and I went to an open house for a kid in our ward going to Mexico on his mission. He was a friend of Taran's and I visit taught his mom for a time. He's a nice kid. Then we packed everyone up and went to Tim's parents' for the family party. Emily was able to test some people for the science fair and we celebrated! Taran even made it with some friends after playing Quidditch and going to the open house! It's always fun to get together--we missed Erin in DC and Janna on her big dance date to Preference! We got the kids to bed and Tim ironed and I folded laundry while we watched Sherlock Holmes, loved that movie and I am wondering when the next one comes out!

Today The kid going on his mission spoke and that was good. I taught and I missed Gwen share her testimony in jr Primary. I got to go to RS though and it's been awhile. After church our neighbors brought a cool candy bar flower bouquet in fall colors and a Thanksgiving note! I want to take a photo before we eat it! Timo finished his Duty to God stuff! Yeah! Now Taran is off to mission prep and us to my mom's for the Louw side November birthdays!

This month is marching along! This week: Emily's play and Timo's 16th birthday! Today is Tim's mom's actual birthday! Happy Birthday!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Freedom Friday

I found this article to be very insightful! What do you think?

Political Production vs. Economic Production

By David Kretzmann on October 9th, 2010

It is often said that government represents the collective ability of society to come together and legislate for the “public good.” What exactly the “public good” represents is rarely agreed upon by the two dominant political parties, but they both generally agree that it is the role of government to meddle in society in one form or another. The irony is that to help “the people,” government must first expropriate money from the people it intends to help. All this is defended as “public service,” which presents a selfless image of noble representatives working for the betterment of society. The term “public service” both greatly distorts the reality of government operations and negates where the actual service really takes place: in the private sector.

Economic historian Thomas E. Woods, Jr. lays out the distinction between the economic and political means of production. The economic means of production is fully utilized only in a complete free market, where someone accumulates wealth based on their ability to produce a product or service that is of value to other individuals. For example, let’s observe a scenario where a customer gives a baker $3 for a loaf of bread. Economic wealth is created through this voluntary exchange because both the baker and the customer value each other’s item more than their own. The baker would rather have $3 than his loaf of bread, and the customer would rather have a loaf of bread than his $3. The exchange mutually pleases both the baker and the customer, and it is this principle of voluntary exchange that the economic means of production is based upon.

Then you have the political means of production through government. A political transaction comes at the expense of one person for the benefit of another, because on its own government has no wealth or productive capabilities. Government can offer a “service” only after forcefully extracting the means to pay for it from another person or group. In other words, government survives based not on the value of its services (as with economic production), but rather on how much wealth it can take from society. Governments must tax, borrow, or print money (all of which come at the expense of the people) to offer its programs; whereas businesses in a free market must produce a service that people voluntarily choose to support.

“[N]o government, so called, can reasonably be trusted for a moment, or reasonably be supposed to have honest purposes in view, any longer than it depends wholly upon voluntary support.” — Lysander Spooner, No Treason: III

Curiously, in mainstream education, economics, and history, those who expand the political means of production are praised as “public servants” while those who use the economic means of production are labeled “exploiters.” The political means of production represents nothing less than collective thievery, or what French statesman Frederic Bastiat termed “legal plunder.” Elected thievery is still thievery. The fact that some of the thieves may be elected by a majority of the people makes it no less of a moral debasement or fraud. An individual thief is immediately arrested if he tries to steal wealth with force, yet the same action of theft is casually accepted when undertaken by collective government.

One need only look through history to recognize that the vast improvements in the human condition have come from the economic, not political, means of production. People commonly object with the argument that the relative free market conditions in the 1800s exploited workers with “wage slavery” and led to a decrease in the living conditions of the average person. My first reaction to this argument is: Why would millions of people voluntarily immigrate to the U.S. precisely during those times when the common person was supposedly being most “exploited”? By ignoring this question, free market skeptics are conceding that the millions of immigrants who traveled to the U.S. for a new life were completely duped and bound to become “wage slaves” to corporate tyrants. This anti-capitalist narrative of history is widely accepted and used to bludgeon people who dare suggest it was the free market (not government) that increased the living conditions of the common person, thus why millions of relatively poor people from all corners of the earth migrated specifically to the U.S. during the 19th century.

What attracted the millions of migrants from Europe, Asia, Mexico, and other world regions to the U.S.? The logical answer is that they were drawn to a society that was built on the concept of the economic means of production, a society where individual choice and initiative reigned supreme. People tend to show their highest preferences in society by voting with their feet. People will not voluntarily move somewhere if they believe they will be worse off because of it, nor will they voluntarily stay in a dismal scenario if they have a better alternative. History provides the simple but crucial observation that when given the choice people choose societies that emphasize the economic, not political, means of production. This means a society built on strong property rights, little or no economic regulation, and voluntary exchange.

“How do people best vote? With their feet. Where do people try to immigrate? …[S]o far as the United States is concerned, people from all over the world seek to immigrate here. They aren’t coming here to be made miserable. They aren’t coming here to be exploited. And you can’t say that they’re all fools; they know what they’re getting into.” — Milton Friedman

There is no compromise between political production and economic production. Political production is based entirely on force, coercion, and a zero-sum game of theft and welfare. Such a system can be philosophically defended as an instrument that can be used for good, provided the right people are the plunderers and distributors. However, such a notion defends the idea that one person or a small group of people know the perfect remedy to societal ills, and demolishes the concept of individual liberty, responsibility, and charity. People are not perfect, but you will not perfect them further by concentrating coercive political power in the hands of a select few who promise to mold mankind for the better. If the bureaucrats’ knowledge, skills, and capabilities are truly worthwhile and necessary, they should have no trouble prospering in a free economy by voluntarily offering their services to those who may find them of value.

We have too often seen the economic and moral disasters caused by the political means of production. Such a system is not fit for a free, moral, and responsible individual or society. It is time that we fully embrace the economic means of production, a system where businesses survive because of their service and productivity to their fellow man, not their political clout; a system where individuals are free to pursue their own separate interests without limitations or threats of collective coercion; a system where power and sovereignty is localized within each individual. Such a system is the natural state of freedom, and it is the ultimate tool to bring about the virtues of service, cooperation, and responsibility.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First Week of November...

We have had beautiful fall weather all week. Tomorrow is suppose to be 30 degrees cooler! Crazy! We did a service project for Family Night at the duck pond we cleaned up the trash and fed the ducks who were very hungry! They came up on the shore--see Tim. Tim actually put some bread on his shoe and they would come up and eat it off of it. This was Timo's service for Teacher's Quorum. Tuesday Gwen woke up with a goopy eye so I took her to the doctor. I was suppose to go to the temple that day but alas it did not work out. I also do my big shopping that day and I had to wait until that night. I also voted, went to a baby shower and an election party! Big night. Anyway, the doctor never said what she had but he said that she was contagious. So that meant no preschool the next day.

Which was Wednesday, and I had told my mom I would take her to get her cataract surgery so Tim took a sick day and stayed with Gwen who ended up with a fever. Izak had a cough and stayed home too. I spent the day at my parents making sure my mom got to rest and got her eye drops. It was nice and restful for me as well. I went home once I gave my mom her eye drops and knew they were set for dinner. I had a meeting at the high school. I am now the Publicity Board member for the choirs at Lone Peak. I feel fortunate to be able to help out in any way. The choir teacher is great but not very organized and this mom is helping her get there and be less stressed! This position is one of the more low key so I am grateful!

Thursday I woke up with a goopy eye. I went to the urgent care since my doctor never has an opening. Emily had not slept well the night before and opted to sty home! Great! She babysat while I went to the doctor. I had pink eye...great! I was contagious. So I went to Target to get my prescription filled and bought all my stocking candy from the Halloween 50% off! Amazingly good candy was still left! I had Emily make dinner for my mom since I didn't want to give her pink eye. Emily and Tim took the food: cauliflower soup and fancy bread I had bought. They loved it. We also ate it and those who don't like it had burritos! I missed our RS meeting and our awesome RS president brought me dinner from it and I saved for lunch the next day! Taran and some of his friends (guys and girls) had been practicing With or Without you by U2 and performed it at a benefit concert for a girl who was in a car accident. This is a photo from that I forgot to put in my collage.

Friday Tim's sister and her husband were going to St George for a band competition for their daughter Janna. They are band parents and help out at these things. So we got to have their 3 younger kids over. This was great fun for us! They brought Ammon over after they took him out to lunch at McDonald's for his birthday. He and Gwen had great fun together. Then Taran watched them while I went and got Maddie and Jeremy. I forgot to mention that I called the school to let Taran and Timo go to a State Volleyball game for their girls' team. They won but I forgot to see if they won yesterday! Anyway...I thought I was pretty nice to do that!:) Around later afternoon I started to feel yucky. I did my best and then would rest. Tim took all the little boys, including Amy's boys to the BYU vs BYU-Hawaii basketball game. My sister Teresa got a great deal on tickets since she is an alumni of BYU-H. She met up with them at the game. Tim took pictures and videoed the boys dancing to the music. It looks like they had a blast. Meanwhile, Emily and Maddie cleaned up dinner for me, and I gave Gwen a bath and then we watched Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue. It's actually pretty cute. Then she went to bed around 7:30 PM! By then I was feeling rotten and went and laid down. Emily and Maddie watched The Blind Side, Taran had gone to the football game at Lone Peak--they won and this is play offs and Timo and his friends were playing basketball on our court--they were too cheap to pay for the football game. By the time Tim and the little boys got home I had a raging fever. Tim said that even my hand was hot. He gave me a blessing and my fever broke a couple of hours later. Tim had his own troubles with our van it was overheating so he stopped at my parents and borrowed their car and Teresa helped take some of the boys home in her truck. So one more thing to fix!

Saturday I felt a lot better. Tim went to play basketball in the morning then he took Emily to play practice. Taran, Tim, Ammon and Zane went to the BYU football game vs UNLV. They had a blast. The kids got their chores done quick--cousinc are great incentive. They played outside, played computer football games and went to the park. Timo drove me to pick up Emily. Then we stopped at Walmart so I could get some more medicine. BTW Timo passed his road test earlier in the week so he can get his license when he turns 16...we'll see! I rested after taking medicine and was in and out. The kids were great and we started our gratitude fast that afternoon. The kids watched Narnia and then showered and went to bed. The little boys and Gwen were all asleep by 9:30! And we had daylight savings--we didn't tell them. By that time I was feeling lots better and tidied my bedroom. Put laundry away. Taran got home late. Timo went suit shopping with Granny and didn't really find what he wanted. He did get some books at the BYU library for his next research paper.

That night I slept fine until 2:30 AM when my ear started hurting. I had Tim put ear drops in that ear. It eventually worked and I got back to sleep. Jeremy threw up that morning and Micah's tummy was hurting so they stayed home with me and everyone else went to church. Micah never did throw up. Jeremy did again and then was fine. We broke our fast when everyone got home from church. Later we went to Tim's parents' for dinner. Our nephew Daniel is leaving for basic training in Missouri tomorrow so we had a little family gathering for him. That was fun and then Tim and I took Daniel to his hotel near the airport. He's a great guy and will do great things! I was going to go to the doctor but now I am going to see how this night goes. If I am better enough I'll not worry or I'll go tomorrow if I have a bad night. I am so very thankful for the priesthood power and for Nyquil and Dayquil!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Louw Reunion: Day 4: The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone...Bison

We spent lunch at Yellowstone, one we had packed the day before. The lake is gorgeous! Then we got to a valley that had tons of Bison! We had seen some here and there through out the day but then we hit the mother load in the valley--sorry I can't remember the name of it. This left a lasting impression on the kids. I videoed the some male bison fighting! Then we head up to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the lower falls...WOW! We thoroughly enjoyed this area. We ate at a diner at the visitor center area there. The visitor center was new and really interesting. Then there were 5 or so restaurants and shops nearby. After we ate we went to the Firehole River. We had heard it was a fun place. The water is somewhat warm, and not from the visitors but from the warm water running into the river. The kids jumped in and all the adult men. It was too much work for me--the changing area is way above and there are only 4 of them. I am just too lazy so I walked into the water and that was good enough for me. We tried to hit some other geothermal features on our way back but our car got lost. The other cars found the spots but since it was getting dark they couldn't see much anyway. So we headed home and they met up with us at home. I was disappointed since there were more places I'd like to see but no else wanted to go back the next day. I hope to go back next year for our anniversary!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Freedom Friday

A friend of our family from California sent me this article about the US Economy. Why does it matter, the economy? I know money isn't everything BUT in the world of government it is important. And in the practical sense of LIFE it matters! If the newly elected officials can't stop the crazy spending and cut taxes we will be in dire straits soon. If people panic Obama could be poised to 'take over' and 'fix everything'. This fragile economy is very threatening to our liberty. Tough times or tougher times are ahead but we can do it. We must stop spending and change the tax code. If we go to a straight national sales tax and no IRS anymore, no loop holes. Foreigners and illegals would pay for what they buy and use in our country. I am wondering how much money could be saved by not having to print the tax code and all the pamphlets. States could follow suit. No more paper work. This would be huge. BUT if we don't do something different than we are doing now we will spiral out of control. We can not rest, we must keep vigilant on our representatives about what we need to do NOW! Let your representatives know today that you want the spending stopped and solutions to the deficit found! This will lead us to greater national security financially and increase our individual freedoms.

Monday, November 1, 2010

So much to be thankful for...

As I look around me in line at the local Walmart, I am reminded of how blessed I am. I live in the top 5 percent of the worlds people in standard of living and I am middle class, maybe even lower middle class! Sure those Hollywood stars have lots of money, and power and fame but at what cost? How would you like to have every mistake you made plastered all over the check out stands? And even some that aren't true?

Anyway, I was pondering on my family and how I might help them focus on what they have instead of what they don't have. I am not going to deny it, money is tight and Christmas is going to small but by many standards outside the US still big! I am a super duper frugal shopper--my kids always ask why do you only buy things when they are on sale? So as I was pondering on this idea I read the recent talk by Thomas S. Monson on The Divine Gift of Gratitude. I decided to create a gratitude journal for our family that we would write in every night. It's only been one night but I have seen improvements in the prayers our kids have given--much more thankful. I introduced the idea in a family devotional last night--I used an old sharing time from 2005 and President Monson's talk. We did something similar before but we didn't write it down. I feel like we need to write this down so we don't forget. So many little things happen in our lives that are small blessings but important nonetheless. They remind us that God loves us and is aware of our needs. I know when we express gratitude to God for our blessings we feel closer to him. Pres. Monson says that "to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven." I believe that so why not? This may be the best gift I ever gave my kids!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Concerts, Snow and Halloween...

Not a lot of time to write this week.

Main highlights:

Taran's Chamber Choir Disney Concert so fun for Family Night thanks to all the family who supported it!
First snow of this fall/winter on Wednesday
Gwen's indoor Halloween parade at preschool because of the snow
Taran and Timo's Fall Concert~this was all the choirs at the high school, it was amazing! Just a little late...
Halloween costume frenzy the night before dressing up at school
Friday straightened Taran's hair for his 'costume', younger kids trick or treated Tim's work
Emily had play practice most of the week and her last Flag Football game which they won and placed 3rd!
Halloween Parade at the elementary school, Gwen and I enjoyed it
Planted 10 raspberry plants and daisy plants all starts from a great neighbor
Had our Halloween weird food menu Friday night...worm sandwiches, goblin toenails, chicken brains and bat eyes...
Watched HP 1 Friday in preparation for HP 7 part 1 that comes out on Timo's birthday
Tim and I went Christmas shopping--yes we did. We are almost done with our kids!
Emily and younger trick-or-treated the grandparents, by the time we got home it was pouring rain...check out Gwen in her cape/cloak, Izak & Micah and friends with black plastic bags over them, Emily went to a Halloween Party, Taran went to 2 parties and Timo trick-or-treated the wealthy side of the valley with friends and were fed Hot Dogs, hot chocolate and large candy bars! Little boys watched Private Eyes with their friends and had pizza, apple beer...
I started HP2 once I thought trick or treat-or-treaters where done and folded laundry
Today for actual Halloween we had a yummy salmon feast and cupcakes and "boo shakes"
We also had a lesson on gratitude and we are really trying to ramp it up this year and be more grateful! Happy Halloween and Happy November!

PS Micah is the cow master, yeah whatever! We didn't get around to carving our pumpkins... muddling!