Saturday, May 31, 2008


Well, she did it. It's official. Elora graduated from high school.
She looks pretty happy about it!
And she should be happy - because she worked really hard.
And was very involved. And had lots of friends. And was kind to everyone.
And was very genuine and caring.

Her teachers tell her she was their favorite student. Her classmates tell her she is the best person they know.

Her family is blessed beyond measure because they have an angel living with them.

Elora wants to be a surgeon. I will be there for you all the way.

Dream big, Elora. We love you!

But there's more.

Guess who else was there?!

Recognize him?

How cool is that?!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Glorious food

About a month ago, I joined weight watchers. I saw immediate success the first 2 weeks. Then moderate success last week. Fat likes to cling to my body and hang on for dear life - so I was pleased that I had lost 5.8 pounds in three weeks.

My weekly weigh-in (wow, it sounds like I'm a pig that has been entered into a fair) is today. Because of the hibernation that I blogged about yesterday, I have serious concerns about seeing any weight loss. I've been stressed!

I'm sure I'm the only person that does this - but I stress eat. I'm certain this doesn't happen to any of you...does it?

When I'm stressed - I eat. When I have a deadline - I eat. When I'm feeling a happy type of stress - I eat.

When life is good and happy and no stress is in the forecast - when my pulse barely registers a blip - I am able to stick to the plan and monitor every morsel that enters my mouth.


Is it because when I'm stressed I have only one thought on my mind - the stress itself? Or is it that I feel deserving of a yummy treat because I'm being tortured by some kind of anxiety?

I don't exactly know - but I think I'll pay more attention to it this week. Because, inevitably, stress will rear its ugly head and I will try to stuff it back down with pizza and twinkies.

This will be my goal this week - to monitor myself and my binging tendencies - and find out why I allow the unhealthy, calorie-saturated foods into my body.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A beautiful thing!

As if he wasn't amazing before - he goes and does something like this!

Jodi = Happy camper!

Darren update

Darren has made it to Russia and is in a little town named Marks. He sent us a nice long letter last week to tell us he made it safely.

This week, his letter contained only 6 words ("Ok, here goes...Me and Marks) followed by two photos. He never was particularly wordy.

Egads. Looks humid.

I thought I taught him how to clean mirrors.

Marks, Russia

One little old man saw Darren and his companion and said. "Look at these huge American spies. Give 5 of them weapons and they'll take over the whole town of Marks."


Coming up for air

Wow. I've been busy with a project that has sapped me emotionally and mentally and has taken me away from my blogging duties.

My bad. Forgive me for being a flake.

But, I think I now understand how the prairie dog feels.

The prairie dog burrows into underground tunnels and hybernates for a season (in my case, a little over a week). They stick their head out and realize that the world has successfully gone on without them while they were otherwise occupied.

<-----This is me today, dazed look, chubby cheeks and all.

After I peeked my head out of my own little burrow today, I have learned that the world has indeed gone on without me.

For instance, my kids have been wearing clothes because I now have a pile of the dirty things in my laundry room. I was hoping they would have magically morphed into clean little stacks in their dressers. Alas, they did not.

They have also been eating - probably I have been too - because my cupboards are bare. I suppose a trip to my beloved Harmons is in order.

But the most vicious and horrendous piece of information I have encountered upon exiting my tunnel is that Elora graduates on Friday.

That was not a typo.

What?! How did THAT happen?! She's supposed to stay young forever - not go and grow up on me.

Then, another assault.

Larissa will be spending the month of June at her mom's in Idaho. Connor will be traipsing around Europe with his dad in July. Elora will be going on a senior trip and then getting a job for the Summer before she starts school in the Fall.

Oh, the injustice of it all. I remember when they were younger I couldn't wait for a break. Older kids are so much fun. It will be a lonely house indeed.

But, 'tis life I suppose. Sigh.

Did I mention that Elora graduates on Friday?


Monday, May 19, 2008

Let's do this!

Oh, I sooooo want to do this!

Who's in?!


Shoot 'em up!

My husband had a birthday last Friday and turned old.

My husband likes guns.

Guess where he wanted to go to celebrate his birthday?

Yes. The shooting range.



We took the whole family.

And realized that Elora has her dad's genes and likes to shoot, too.

Even gramps went.

But really, as much fun as we all had - the most important aspect of this event is that Todd had a birthday - which means that I get to brag about my cute husband.

There are so many things I could say about my incredible Todd - it would take pages and pages of this blog.

I won't bore you with extended sappiness and will just say that he is absolutely amazing. He works hard for his family and is completely devoted to us. He is patient and caring and funny and intelligent and EVERYONE adores him. He can also fix anything and saves us a boatload of money because we don't have to hire a contractor.

And even though he likes guns - he would NEVER hurt a furry critter with one.

After 10 years of marriage - he still brings a smile to my face when he comes home. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Should we or shouldn't we?

Our family has had a dilemma the last few months and we have been torn about making a certain decision.

Half of the family said "YES!"

The other half said "Hmm, I don't think we should."

Half A thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Half B thought we were breaking rules.

So, both halves wrestled and tug-o-warred and half A finally triumphed at about 11:00 pm last night.

Being among the losing half, I am reluctant to share the pictures from this morning's event. But, I must admit - it was a WONDERFUL event!

Please don't think I'm a terrible person. Here goes.

We snuck out of the house at 5:30 this morning, with camera in hand, and witnessed.....


Keep going...

I'm stalling to create an air of suspense...

Oh, it was so good to see Darren. He is flying to Moscow as we speak.

It did my heart good.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Starving Children

I awoke to this protest from my two youngest children.

Before you are conned into believing that they are starving - I counted at least 10 boxes of cereal in the pantry. Apparently there just isn't enough sugar in them!

They are clever little paupers. And they make me smile. And I bought them more cereal.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Comfort Zone

I enjoy my comfort zone.

In other words - I REALLY enjoy my comfort zone.

An idyllic life, in my opinion, would include a friendly little cottage surrounded by a picket fence and an abundance of furry cats who enjoy lounging lovingly with me in my little rocker with a view that overlooks a picturesque nature setting. Throw in successful children, a happy husband who tends to my every whim, an endless supply of Crazy Bread and my life would be sheer perfection!

Seriously - is that too much to ask?!

So, lately, I've been trying to break out of my very comfortable zone and it's HARD. I found this definition in Wikipedia.

A comfort zone denotes that limited set of behaviors that a person will engage without becoming anxious. Alternatively denoted as a "plateau" it describes that set of behaviors that have become comfortable, without creating a sense of risk. A person's personality can be described by his or her comfort zones.

Highly successful persons may routinely step outside their comfort zones, to accomplish what they wish.

To step outside a person's comfort zone, he must experiment with new and different behaviors, and then experience the new and different responses that then occur within his environment.

I am such a creature of habit. It's hard for me to try new things. I order the same foods at the same restaurants. I travel the same roads to the same places. I shop at the same stores. Same clothes. Same haircut. Same old. Same old!

For the first time in about 16 years I want to try new things! Yoga, real estate, jogging, writing, community involvement, photography. Dare I say the scary ones? Marathons, foreign travel, getting the elusive degree, building my dream home, backpacking for an entire summer?

My dilemma is actually DOING these things. I can 'want' until the cows come home - but 'doing' is a different story. I realize that trying new things is a fear of mine. A big fear. Yet, it seems my curiosity to try new things is taking the lead and is forging uncharted territories.

I'm inspired by people who have an idea and run with it. I enjoy watching people who are afraid of something and do it anyway. I love watching success.

It's easy to refer to our dreams in the future tense as "some day". I want to live them now.



Comfort Zone

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork where really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.

I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone good-bye and closed and locked the door.

If you're in comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile; Success is there for you!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Poor me.

I had to endure a miserable weekend. I suppose someone had to do it.

Todd and I were forced to visit Yellowstone without our children and stay in this really hideous cabin.

From this view, it's difficult to notice the fireplace and jetted tub. Misery!

Pretty awful. I'm surprised they're still in business.

Then - we were made to endure really horrible scenic views like these:

As if that wasn't enough, we had to view wildlife in abundance.

Like Buffalo

And elk

And a bald eagle.

And a grizzly.

Okay - all kidding aside - this was an incredible weekend! Seeing a grizzly in the wild was beyond our wildest imagination. The reason the picture is so fuzzy is because Todd and I were so excited that we couldn't hold still long enough to take a decent shot. Now we know why pictures of Elvis and Bigfoot are always blurry! Seriously, we were bumbling nerds.

We had incidents this weekend, as usual, because we somehow attract strange things everywhere we go!

Such as:

*The poor gentleman that had a heart attack in the booth across from us while we were eating dinner. The ambulance came and whisked him off. Unfortunately, I have no idea how it turned out.

*The straw that was jammed into the roof of my mouth because I forgot to take it out of my mouth while getting into the car. Yeah, that was fun.

*The disgusting motel we checked into (then immediately checked out of) to save a few bucks. WOW - I have never seen anything like it....and I'm not a picky girl!

Incidents aside, this was an awesome weekend.

Hey Todd - let's go again!