Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Tree 2010

I volunteered at the Jubilee of Trees this year, as a tree-sitter. While I was there I enjoyed looking at the creative ways people decorated different trees. They always had a theme. Some of them were a little weird, I thought, and didn't really have too much to do with Christmas. For example the Penguin themed tree. Okay, so penguins live where there is snow and ice, but I still think it is a stretch.

For myself, I enjoy my tree. I have a Nativity theme. I have about 50 ornaments that all depict the scene of Jesus' birth. It is very cool. I love it. And, I guess the cat does, too.

This year I copied the Jubilee trees and made my own fancy tree topper. They are the big fad this year and they're called "picks".

A couple of my friends decorated a tree for the Jubilee, and they also used a Nativity theme. They won the Chairman's Choice award. Remember my friend, Tiffany? Yeah, she's still amazing. And the other friend is the very talented (she plays in the symphony) Melissa Bennion.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Jared turned 16 about a week ago. He passed his driving test on Friday. And he was ordained a Priest in church today by Scotty.

It's weird.

I remember when the girls turned 16 it felt a lot more, mmmm.... fun. It was a light, happy occasion. They could now date. They were entering an exciting time.

But, as the boys get older, it feels serious. They take on more responsibilities and I find myself holding my breath a little, and getting a little tearful, and a little fearful. Will I teach them what they need to know to be men? The world of men seems a heavy place. They'll have to provide for a family, and, before that, fill a mission. So much to do. So much to learn. So many decisions.

I was thinking this week about when he was born. It snowed about 8 inches that night. Just as we were leaving for the doctor's office a handicapped man in our ward was driving by on his bicycle (in the snow!) and saw us and came in to visit. We felt funny sending him away, so we sat and visited with Kenny for half an hour on the couch, pretending not to be in labor.

It was a long labor for me, about 6 hours. And in the end, he broke my tailbone.

Two weeks later we were back in the hospital with a staph infection in his belly button. That was so miserable. The neo-natal intensive care unit was not really where I wanted to be the day after Thanksgiving. They had to give him IV antibiotics, but his veins were so tiny they wouldn't hold up, so they had to keep finding new places to stick him, even resorting the vein on the top of his head at one point. We spent 4 days in the hospital, but we had to do those IV's for a whole month.

It was a horrible ordeal at the time, but I didn't realize how serious until 2 years later when I got an invitation to a party, a reunion for the survivors of the neo-natal intensive care unit. I felt a little shift in my world when I read the word "SURVIVOR". What did they mean? Did he almost die? I guess he did, but the doctor never let on, which I have to say, I am eternally grateful for.

And I am grateful for this young man. Grateful he survived. Grateful he passed his driving test. Grateful he became a priest today. Grateful he attended his first missionary prep class with the Stake President. Grateful for the promise that the future holds for him, even with all its responsibilities.

So proud of my son.

My Favorite Political Editorial Ever

Republicans Kind of Suck … Which Is Why They Will Win Huge in November


This election season has been hard on pundits. The Democrats are going to get massacred in November, and it’s really obvious to pretty much everyone exactly why — which makes writing political commentary like trying to come up with a long-winded explanation for why two plus two equals four.

Here’s my attempt.

Doesn’t it suck when you have a dog that barks all night? Everyone hates that. It’s annoying. It can even drive you pretty crazy if it goes on long enough. People hate that.

Know what also sucks? A zombie apocalypse. That’s when society collapses due to some spreading zombie virus, and most of your friends and family are dead, and you have to scrounge for food to survive while the walking dead threaten you around every corner. People also hate that.

So, we’re all agreed that a barking dog and a zombie apocalypse both suck. Everyone following so far?

Now let’s look at what led us to the political situation we’re in. During the second term of the Bush presidency people just got fed up with Republicans. They were idiots, they were no good at the whole fiscal conservatism thing (which is sort of the whole point of them), we had these wars that seemed to be going nowhere, and the economy was beginning to fail. They sucked, and people were sick and tired of them.

Thus people turned to the Democrats. And Obama.

Let’s just say they also sucked.

AMERICANS: “So, the economy is pretty bad and there’s high employment. You think you can do something about that?”

DEMOCRATS AND OBAMA: “We can spend a trillion dollars we don’t have on pork and stuff.”

AMERICANS: “No … that’s not what we want. We’d really like you not to do that.”

DEMOCRATS: “You’re stupid. We’re doing it anyway.”

AMERICANS: “That’s not going to help us get jobs!”

DEMOCRATS: “Sure it will; millions of them … though they may be invisible. You’ll have to trust us they exist. And guess what else we’ll do: We’ll create a giant new government program to take over health care.”

AMERICANS: “That has nothing to do with jobs!”

DEMOCRATS: “We don’t care about that anymore. We really want a giant new health care program. We’re sure you’ll love it.”

AMERICANS: “Don’t pass that bill. You hear me? Absolutely do not pass that bill.”

DEMOCRATS: “Believe me; you’ll love it. It has … well, I don’t know what exactly is in the bill, but we’re sure it’s great.”


DEMOCRATS: “You’re not the boss of me! We’re doing it anyway!”

AMERICANS: “Look what you did! Now the economy is way worse, we’re even deeper in debt, and we have a bunch of new laws we don’t want!”

DEMOCRATS: “You’re racist.”

AMERICANS: “Wha … How is that racist?”

DEMOCRATS: “Now you’re getting violent! Stop being violent and racist, you ignorant hillbillies! And remember to vote Democrat in November.”

So the Democrats sucked. But not just plain old, usual politician sucked, but epic levels of suck where it’s hard to find an analogue in human history that conveys the same level of suckitude. It was sheer incompetence plus arrogance — and those things do not complement each other well. We’re talking sucking that distorts time and space like a black hole.

It’s Godzilla-smashing-through-a-city level of suck — but a really patronizing Godzilla who says you’re just too stupid and hateful to see all the buildings he’s saved or created as he smashes everything apart. Or, to use Obama’s favorite analogy, you have a car stuck in ditch, so you call the mechanic, but the only tool he brings with him is a sledgehammer. And then he smashes your car to pieces and charges you $100,000 for his service. Finally, he calls you racist for complaining. Obama and the Democrats have been so awful, it’s hard for the human brain to even comprehend.

But the Democrats will counter that the Republicans also suck. And while this is true, it’s not really going to help them. As I pointed out before, both a dog incessantly barking and a zombie apocalypse are things that everyone would agree suck. Yet no one during a zombie apocalypse, while hiding out in a boarded up mall, would turn to the other survivors and say, “We don’t want to kill all the zombies; then we’d have to go back to being woken up at night by that annoying dog next door.” But this is the best argument the Democrats can come up with. “Remember how awful the Republicans and Bush were? You hated them. You don’t want to go back to that.” Yes, why would people want to go back to when 6% unemployment was considered high?

People do remember how much the Republicans suck, and they know where it tops out … and that is nowhere near as bad as the Democrats are today. Like with the barking dog, it’s annoying, but you know it’s not going to cause the collapse of civilization as we know it. Not so with the zombie apocalypse; who knows how bad that could get if left to continue? Same with the Democrats and Obama; people have never dealt with anything this horrible their entire lives, and they aren’t that curious to see how much worse it can be.

So the Republicans kinda suck, and that’s why they’re going to win huge this November. Because in the land of epic, mega, ultra, apocalyptic levels of sucking, those who kinda suck are king. Or at least are going to win in a landslide.

Because once the zombie apocalypse is over, the annoying neighbor dog is going to be music to your ears.

For a little while, at least.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I want to remember this....

The following is an excerpt from a devotional by Elder Cecil O. Samuelson of the Seventy, in 2002 titled, "What Does it Mean to Be Perfect?"

Doing Your Best Perfectionism

You desire to give things your best efforts and are satisfied when you do.

You have a list of “shoulds” and “have to’s” and are dissatisfied even if you complete them.

You know it’s okay if you make a mistake. You move on and see your mistake as an opportunity for growth or learning.

Mistakes bring feelings of self-hatred. You don’t want to do anything because you are afraid of failure.

You want to do your personal best, and you try not to compare your achievements to those of others. You don’t need to be the best at all things.
You feel tremendous pressure to earn others’ approval. You must be the best or “perfect” in your tasks.

You can find joy in doing the things you love, and you can get things accomplished.
Your need to do things perfectly leads to procrastination until you have time to do it “perfectly,” and you feel driven by fear or duty instead of love.

Trying to do your best and perfecting yourself “line upon line” with the Savior’s help is Christ-centered because you need the Atonement.
Perfectionism is self-centered. You measure yourself against your own standards and against others’ standards, not God’s.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


A couple of friends have season tickets and they couldn't make it, so they gave us tickets to a University of Utah football game. We decided a little trip together would be a great way to celebrate our anniversary (a little early.)

Here's us waiting at the Trax stop, to ride up to the U.
Here's a picture of everyone on the train dressed in red. Like the crazy hair?
Here's a picture of the mountains behind the stadium. What a beautiful place.
Here's a picture of the marching band forming a U. At the end of the song all 45,000 people yelled "Go Utes!" It was quite the experience.
Here's a picture of us at the game. If you zoom in, you can see the score. 38 to 10. It was so fun with crazy fans all around us motioning for the first down and screaming for the players. They really get involved. We had the best seats and were in the shade the whole time (no sunburns). We realized we hadn't been in that stadium since 1987 so it was a real treat to be back and think of all our fun (and not so fun) memories of our time at the U.


On our way home from Kanarraville we stopped to take pictures of the miles and miles of sunflowers that have bloomed this year. I wanted the boys to get out and stand in the field for a cute picture. They said, "We refused to be filmed frolicking with flowers."

Labor Day hike in Kanarraville

Scotty heard about a great hike in a place called Kanarraville, which is about 40 minutes north of St. George. Here are the boys, looking nonchalant in the car on the way there. (They LOVE getting their pictures taken ; )

WILDERNESS STUDY AREA. Scotty is being studious.

There were quite a few people there when we started out. The water was COLD so we took the high road, and let the boys take the low road in the creek bed.

We were all so excited to be in a slot canyon where you can touch each side.

This ladder is the first of three as you go along. It was steep and scary, and Ian wouldn't come with us. But this is the point where most people give up, and so you get to be in Nature a little more by yourself for the rest of the hike. So, we told him to go back and wait for us in the sun , and we would be back in a little while.... then we got distracted by the butterfly and the beauty and he got tired of waiting for us and ended up climbing this all by himself. We were pretty surprised when he caught up to us!

Here's a rock slide, like you see in the movies. But the water was too cold! This group was braver than we were.

And here we have the second ladder. You can't tell, but it is going to take some tricky maneuvering to get from the top rung to the level above. Jared is shivering from the spray, and we decided we are going to try this hike again - in AUGUST.

I would call this an advanced hike, for those seeking high adventure. It was way fun, and I'm hoping we can share it with some friends another day.

The Bug Whisperer

We went on a hike to a slot canyon near Kanarraville on Labor Day this year. It was a beautiful day, although a little on the chilly side. When we left St. George the car thermostat said 104. By the time we got to the trail head 40 minutes north, the temperature read 68. This is one of those hikes where the creek bed is the trail. That water was icy cold, so we took every opportunity to walk on the side and get out of the water. At this point along the trail Jared discovered a butterfly in distress.

It was pretty big. And beautiful. He examined it for a long time. He said it's eyes were like hologram things, with shifting colors of gold.

He has always enjoyed bugs. I remember when he was about 4 years old, I would take an old bathroom rug outside. We would spray the flowerbed with water and then place the rug down. In the morning we'd peel back the rug to reveal the bug circus going on underneath. Lots and lots of different kinds of bugs would migrate under the rug where it was wet and warm. He would sit on a stool with his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands and watch those bugs like a TV show for an hour, until I said time was up and we needed to move on to another activity.

The butterfly stayed on his hand for a long time, fanning itself and drying out it's wings.

Then it did what bugs with wings do. It flew away.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Your Testimony Will Never Leave Your Children

“If a child is not listening, don’t despair. Time and truth are on your side. At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself. Your testimony will never leave your children. “As you reverently speak about the Savior—in the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, as you kneel in prayer, during scripture study, or in late-night conversations—the Spirit of the Lord will accompany your words.” Neil L. Andersen, Ensign, May 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm Gonna Love Havin' My Boy at Dixie High

I am so excited this year to have Jared come to school with me. He'll be a junior this year, and it is our 100th anniversary for Dixie High School, and Dixie College, which is great since he'll be attending both, and I am so proud of him.

He and Kudi will be taking Chemistry at the College together. He can help her with the science, and she can help him keep track of when the assignments are due. He's playing football and has lost 10 or 15 pounds this summer. He looks great! This will be a big year for him-- he'll turn 16 in November and will be able to date and to DRIVE.

I think it's going to be fun, fun, fun to bring him to school every day, and to have him slip in to my office and beg me for lunch money, and when he can drive I can send him to pick up Jimmy John's for lunch for me!