Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday Micah!

Not too long ago I was taking Micah to his friend's birthday party. I had wrote on the card: 8 is great! Micah read it and said, "Mom, he's turning nine!" What???? I thought, that means Micah is turning nine! I really believe that my life is a supersonic train. Occasionally I get off at a stop and breathe then back on for another fast, long trip! This little boy is growing up! When we asked him if there were any toys he wanted he said, "You know I really just play sports most of the time so I really don't care about toys anymore." He was interested in a new football computer game but they don't make them anymore for computers since we don't have a gaming system (gasp) he stuck with the old version. He loved what he got which makes me super glad we made the effort to drive to a mall when a storm was going to hit. He is a great kid with lots of potential. He can be the kid you love the most one minute and the kid you are ready to send to grandma's the next. But when I see these photos of him as a little baby I remember how much I loved him as a baby and how much I love the good things he does now it makes the rough times almost forgettable--I need to work on that! I am so glad he is in our family, he adds some spice to our days. I am amazed at how fast he is growing up and with all the rest of them! He had fun going to see the movie Tangled yesterday with some of his oldest, bestest friends and our family. They all gave him great presents like they knew him! And today we had my side of the family come and we celebrated with him and our nephew Tate who turned one earlier this month. I realized today that when it is 2020 (if you notice his birthday is 02-20-02 or 20-02-2002 a palindrome) he will be 18...9 years away! Those first nine went fast and I am sure the next 9 will pass at an even faster pace. But I will hold on to the day-to-day moments where he tells me about the great catch he made at recess or how he got a 100% on his science test or the funny thing he did. I love that about him that he shares those things with me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freedom Friday

Petition to stop debt ceiling We must stop this spending. Let your senators know that you don't want more debt. It will take a few minutes, you can spare that! Thanks!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Almost Valentine's Day

So I need to be quick today because Taran needs to finish a scholarship application he started but the deadline is tomorrow. So much to do over these next few weeks for scholarships! Hopefully all this work will translate into dollars! Any kid 14 and older should at least get online and start applying there are so many websites that have random drawings for scholarship money just so they can use your student's info for marketing purposes. Plus you can find out about all the scholarships ahead of time! I begged Taran all last summer but he didn't really listen much to me. Owell, maybe Timo will listen! What are my chances?

Normal stuff piano, Jr Jazz practice and games, scouts, school... I helped out Monday in Micah and Zane's classes. Fmaily night...PICTUREKA! good times!

Tuesday I went to the temple and did the shopping. Wednesday my visiting teachers came over, ran to Costco and met with the women I am going to NYC to plan our days. We were pretty successful. Hopefully we'll have good weather! That night was New Beginnings which is always nice. Timo had a Jr Jazz game in the middle so Tim had to leave part way through. Micah's team the coach wanted them to go to a Lone Peak basketball game instead of practice so he went with the coach and his sons. He had a great time! Thursday Tim took the kids to the temple. Emily did a name of one of my mom's ancestors. Tim coached the deacons game that after noon.

Friday it was super hero day at school hence the 3 boys as Batman, Nacho Libre and Spiderman. Some of their friends were Jimmer--that was a cool idea, why didn't we think of that? I watched the twins again. They are great playmates for Gwen. Tim came home early and we went on our Valentine's date. We ate at Blue Lemon. He had the special Salmon BLT! I wasn't very hungry so I just got the butternut squash soup--we shared the sweet potato fries. It was delicious! We had a little time before the movie started and so we tried to shop for Micah for his birthday. We were unsuccessful. Then we headed to to the theater which was packed so we are glad we bought our tickets online (no fee). As it was we barely got into the theater before the trailers were over! We saw Voyage of the Dawn Treader. My least favorite of the books but they did a fantastic job!

Saturday was our Stake Women's Conference and they had Janice Kapp Perry speak and the group One Clear Voice perform and share their testimony. I was not feeling great but went anyway because one of my friends called to take me but I wasn't ready but I decided to go and it was WAY better than I thought it would be and some messages spoke straight to my heart. Lunch was yummy too but I took it to go. I had some shopping to do for Izak's class Valentine party, a math thing our school is doing right after I get back from NYC and getting my eyebrows waxed. So I ran around and got home in time to make dinner. I made cupcakes for my Primary class and for the families Tim and Timo hometeach and for Taran's families. Taran had the Sweethearts Dance at the high school--no photos yet. He and his friend Scott made up a crazy movie with their dates for the day date. The dinner was an extension of that but it was casual so they handled it all themselves. I like helping but I wasn't sad to not be a part of it! Timo didn't want to go since only one of his guy friends is 16--and Taran's friend Scott wanted to keep their group to four of them. So unless he gets asked to Spring Fling next month he is probably done for the year--prom is in April and I feel he should save it for his Junior and Senior years and he agrees... but IF some of his friends decide to go since more will be 16 he might!

Today was scout Sunday so Me, Taran, Timo, Izak and Zane were all in our scout uniforms--more than half of us were in uniform. Tim got to pass to sacrament. All the scouts and their leaders sang--me included We'll Bring the World His Truth. It was powerful when we practiced before church, I could barely keep the tears back. Gwen gave a talk today, she is so cute too bad she doesn't talk loud enough for me to really hear her!

I am learning that I have a lot to learn. Not that I thought I knew everything by any means...but I am finding that I must be more compassionate and understanding and less quick to judge--I tend to jump on my kids and I need to be more patient at finding out things. Hormones are a tricky thing that I am learning to handle. Hopefully being a parent won't always make feel like I am an idiot!

Here is a link to a song Janice Kapp Perry shared the lyrics: keeping sheep I tried to find just the words because that's what I really related but this is all I could find, sorry.

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you know you are loved, very much!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freedom Friday

Here is a great video, it's a little long but I felt worth my 20 minutes. Watch it with your kids it may help them understand how important it is that we keep America free.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February has begun...

Since I am a month behind on my New Year's Resolutions I did really well this week! That's what I love, we can start over new each day. We don't have give up forever if we make one mistake. I had been trying in January to get my resolutions that I had in mind into my life but for some reason life was managing me, I wasn't managing it! I have a friend who said that she is revamping herself, becoming who she feels she should be. It made me think--are we all trying to revamp ourselves? I think she thinks her's is a major overhaul but I think she is being too hard on herself. To me each week when I take the Sacrament I reflect on my progress--if I can without interruption! But I find this weekly evaluation sets me back on track. But baby steps, when we try to change everything we see wrong we end up overwhelmed and frustrated. So don't give up on your resolutions, most people drop them by the end of February! Remember "line upon line..."

The big news this week was not me but Tim or Timmer as they now call him! He was involved in our Elders Quorum Pinewood Derby. Bless his heart that he has been so busy with work--some nights working from home until 2 AM! And our kids' schedules! He ended up taking Friday off to finish it. In the end he got it figured out but was not overly confident that it would win. But in the end he won again (last time they did it was 6 years ago). As you can tell from the video the rules were only no chemical reaction and it could damage the track, spectators or other vehicles. There were some sweet cars.

I was able to help out in the boys' classes Monday. I took my scouts to the Rec Center for the Tenderfoot fitness test. Timo had a Jr Jazz game that night so he and Tim went. The rest of us were going to go but Timo insisted that we not. His team played well preseason but then they stuck them in a higher division against seniors and juniors so they have lost every game the league said that they are moving them down for the tournament. Hopefully they will have a better experience then they have had. We watched home movies about Timo and Zane since we hadn't done that yet in honor of their birthdays. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday Zoe came over while her mom went to the temple and then I had a meeting at my friend Linda's. She is in charge of a Math program--like a reading program with them doing a little extra math on their own for so many minutes and they earn prizes==the principal's idea. She needed help and so some of us from the neighborhood came over to help her out. We have some fun idea and we are going with March Math Madness as the theme. If you follow NCAA basketball you know that the big tournament is in March and it's called March Madness. Since the program is set in March this was fun to incorporate. Micah had scouts, they made a crystal garden. Micah had a Jr Jazz game that night and Izak had practice. Emily's got canceled so I did some of my shopping.

Wednesday Gwen had preschool and then playgroup at our house. So before preschool I made sugar cookies--I had promised to make them the next time we had play group. I ran to the dollar store, Costco and Ross before picking up Gwen and friends. I was very efficient! They played and watched a Barbie movie while I made lunch and baked the cookies. Then they frosted them. I am a little OCD about the cookies or wise? I have noticed that when I let them cut them our when they are younger like Gwen they tend to get frustrated because they don't push down hard enough and several other reasons. They enjoyed frosting them, decorating them and eating them (and the frosting by itself! That night Timo and Emily had an early meeting time for YM/YW so we ate early and Tim went to the parent teacher conferences since I was making dinner. Micah had basketball practice and I had a Choir Parent Board Meeting at 8 PM. Taran had stayed home from the activity to work on some homework so he watching the kids since I didn't know Tim was going stay at Micah's practice.

Thursday I had to take Timo to the high school after his ortho appointment. He is mad because he really thought they would be off by now and it sounds like another month--at least! In all fairness his last appointment in January they set a braces off date for the end of the month of February. I ran into to my VT companion. We were going to go this morning but my comp's twins were sick and it wasn't going to work out--hopefully when she gets back from helping her mom we can do it before I leave! I made cinnamon twisty bread from a breadstick recipe I had--yummy! Thursday I went to parent teacher conference for Micah's class. Then I ran to the book fair in the library got a couple. Meanwhile Tm was home early because he had to be in SLC for meetings earlier. So he made pizza--well it was a Little Cesar's kit for 3 whole wheat cheese pizzas we bought as a fundraiser from a neighbor kid. Hence the smiling pepperoni pizza in my collage. I had some Pepperoni from another meal so they put them on like that! I grabbed a bite to eat and went to Roundtable--a monthly scout meeting with our district. Tim got Izak to a service project and his basketball practice.

Tim stayed home to work on his pinewood derby car but actually spent a couple of hours on work stuff! He went to his dad's to cut the block/car to hold his bottle. Stephanie took Emily for a couple of hours to play--people are getting cabin fever! I got some things done then I and went and picked up the twins that I sometimes watch. They played and ate with Gwen. They had a good time. I got more done. Tim and I went to the pinewood derby. Lots of fun and laughs! What great neighbors we have! Tim was pronounced fasted car overall and there were other categories. Some of these guys spent $200 plus! We came home after cleaning up and showed the kids the footage. They were excited about it! After the little kids were in bed, Tim and Emily started watching Batman Begins on Clearplay while I was doing laundry and preparing my lesson. So I came down and watched the end. By then Timo and Taran were home from their activities.

Saturday Tim got a work call early and so we were up! I had to get copies made for my class since the copy machine at the church broke. I also ran to Walmart on the way home. Micah had Jr Jazz basketball practice, Emily and Izak had Jr Jazz games. I went to Emily's and she had about 8 steals and that many points. She is having a lot of fun. She may play competitively with this team this spring, we'll see! Taran went with some friends to hang out with a disabled kid from their school who eats lunch with them--glad he has compassionate friends like that since this is out of his comfort zone. Emily and I went shopping for material for pj bottoms she is going to make for an activity in young womens. After we got done with that we went to dinner at Bajio's (mex grill). She enjoyed the shrimp taco! I had a salad which was yummy! We went to the mall, I wanted to buy a skirt I saw there at Christmas time--yes it took me month to get there! Lucky me they still had it! The traffic was crazy because of the BYU basketball game getting out--they beat UNLV. Jimmer set a record for most points scored in the conference. Once we finished at the mall we went to mom's to get a blouse for Emily to wear for her costume this week in Drama. We visited a little then headed to the Hale Center Theater to see The Foreigner. Tim and I have seen this play several times. It is hilarious! When we knew they were doing it at the Hale we wanted to go. I forgot when tickets went on sale in December so by the time I got online most times we could go to in January were sold out. Emily's drama teacher and her husband (who was Emily's Seussical director last year) were leads so we wanted to see it. I bought these tickets Friday--I got the best seats of 4 left. Any other night was sold out so this was our chance! We loved it and had a great experience! Tim was home with the Gwen and the boys not sure what they did but I know Tim was working on his lesson for today!

Today is Fast Sunday and Taran, Emily and I bore our testimonies. I taught my class and Tim taught Elder's Quorum. Tim is interviewing the kids...I have now updated you on our week! If you made it this far.

Enjoy February! and remember to stick to your resolutions!:)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freedom Friday

I thought this article had some great ideas about the current crisis in Egypt.

Five Steps to Meeting the Crisis in Egypt and the Middle East
Published on February 3, 2011 by James Phillips and James Carafano, Ph.D.

While all eyes are on the political violence in Egypt, the Obama Administration has labored in crisis mode, struggling to stay ahead of the rapidly moving events. Washington’s problem is that publicly the White House appears to be floundering, focusing myopically on events on Tahrir Square rather than exercising real presidential leadership and proactively working to safeguard America’s long-term vital interests in the region.

By exercising energetic leadership now and continuing to engage in the right way in the months ahead, the President can both protect U.S. interests and promote opportunities for liberty, security, and economic opportunity in the region. These actions would be far more likely to make a positive contribution than trying to appear relevant to the struggle for power in the streets of Cairo.

A responsible agenda for the Administration would include the following actions.

1. Don’t Lose Focus on Iran

The nuclear aspirations of the regime in Tehran is not the region’s only problem. The Iranian government sponsors terrorism and an extremist agenda across the region and suppresses the aspirations of freedom from its own people. The height of hypocrisy is leaders in Tehran declaring sympathy for those in the streets of Cairo when they brutally suppressed the cries for liberty in their own country during its own 2009 election protests.

The Iranian regime is dangerous when left unchecked. Pushing back on Tehran is the only way to counter its quest for regional dominance. In particular, although technical problems may have slightly delayed Iran’s nuclear timetable, Washington cannot grow complacent about Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama Administration should maximize the enforcement of U.S. sanctions on companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector or export gasoline to Iran, especially Chinese companies that may seek to replace European firms that are pulling out of Iran.

The United States should also push for another round of U.N. sanctions after Iran again spurned diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear issue at the Istanbul talks last month. The Obama Administration also should step up its support for Iran’s democratic opposition, which it has mistakenly given short shrift, especially compared to the Egyptian opposition. Moreover, it should rally international condemnation of Iran’s human rights abuses, which far exceed the abuses that it has decried in Egypt.

2. Remain Firmly Committed to Preserving a Stable and Free Iraq

Now is not the time to risk the emergence of a new center of instability in the region or risk losing a friendly nation that is struggling to secure its own freedom from tyranny. Although it has fallen off the front pages, Iraq remains a troubled country that requires continued high-level attention. While Iraq’s security situation has greatly improved, political progress has been slow in coming. Iraqi leaders have tentatively cobbled together a coalition government after last year’s elections, but it remains to be seen whether that government can effectively address Iraq’s complex problems.

Washington should stand patiently by the Iraqi government to support its army and police, help it provide better services to Iraq’s people, mediate disputes between Kurds and Arabs, and prevent it from falling under Iran’s hostile influence. The U.S. should maintain the strongest possible military forces until the end of 2011, when they are required to withdraw under the status of forces agreement. Washington should quietly seek to negotiate a new agreement to permit the stationing of U.S. military forces for training and assisting Iraq’s military forces in combating common enemies such as al-Qaeda in Iraq and pro-Iranian Shiite militias.

3. Reassert the Need for Close Strategic Cooperation with Israel

The political instability that has swept the Arab Middle East in recent weeks underscores the fact that Israel is the only ally in the region that the U.S can reliably count on. The Obama Administration should continue its efforts to revive the stalled Israeli–Palestinian peace talks but should refocus its diplomacy by abandoning its unrealistic one-year deadline for attaining a peace agreement and its counterproductive push for an immediate freeze on settlements, which only encouraged the Palestinian Authority to hold back from negotiations.

Instead of an all-out push for a comprehensive settlement, which is impossible as long as Hamas controls Gaza, Washington should press for incremental progress on security arrangements, confidence-building measures, and bolstering the welfare of Palestinians on the West Bank. This would help shore up support for the Palestinian Authority at the expense of Hamas, which has transformed Gaza into a repressive base for terrorism.

4. Stay Engaged in Lebanon

Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, flexed its muscles last month to bring down the pro-Western government of Saad Hariri on the day he met with President Obama in the White House. Lebanon, which has long served as a cockpit for the clashing proxies of regional powers, is now drifting deeper into the Iranian orbit. The Obama Administration should vigilantly stay engaged and support the Christian and Sunni Muslim coalition against Hezbollah.

Washington should also strongly support the U.N.-authorized Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is expected to charge Hezbollah officials with responsibility for the 2005 assassination of then-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Saad’s father. No calm is likely to come to Lebanon, or the wider region, as long as Hezbollah and its backers believe that they can literally get away with murder.

5. Support and Encourage Egypt’s Army to Safeguard a Transition to Freedom

While the U.S. addresses other priorities, it cannot, of course, ignore what is going on in Cairo. But it should start focusing solutions that will play out over the long term rather than trying to keep up with today’s headlines and last minute’s tweets. Egypt’s army, the backbone of the state since the 1952 Free Officers coup, is the arbiter of Egypt’s future in the current crisis. If it continues to indefinitely stand behind embattled President Hosni Mubarak, then it risks splintering into factions or seeing its troops join the angry crowds.

To preserve the army as a bulwark of stability and a future barrier to an Islamist takeover, it would be helpful if President Mubarak stepped down to calm the tense political situation and make possible a stable transition to a more representative government. The U.S. should leverage its $1.5 billion annually in aid to ensure that whatever regime emerges in Cairo respects the freedom and human rights of its own citizens, particularly those of women and Egypt’s Christian minority, which comprises about 10 percent of Egypt’s population.

U.S. aid should also be conditioned on continued Egyptian compliance with its legal obligations under its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Over the long term, U.S. aid and foreign military sales will be important. The Egyptian military will not be able maintain readiness without the spare parts, logistical support, and equipment upgrades that the U.S. provides.

Shifting Focus

This is an agenda that the White House could embark upon today that would make a big difference in the Middle East. It would demonstrate that the U.S. is:

* A faithful, responsible, and enduring ally,
* A champion of supporting the cause of liberty and economic freedom, and
* A strong, resilient, and confident nation prepared to defend itself, its allies, and its interests.

If the Oval Office shifts its focus from what will sell best in the White House press room to what is best to keep Americans free, safe, and secure, it will weather this crisis well.

Want to read more, here