Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Byron and his family moved to Brentwood his senior year and he graduated from Liberty High School, the same school at which we both now work. He hated it. In Byron's mind this was Hickville, USA, they only taught one foreign language at the school after all!! And that language was Spanish which wasn't foreign at all to half the school.

Imagine his surprise when 11 years after graduation he landed BACK in Brentwood. This time with a wife, two kids, two cats, a dog, a DDS degree and student loans up the wazoo. That was 1986; now there are five kids, only one cat, a hamster, a pet mouse, a mortgage and another degree in Education. We are still here and we love it.

When we moved here in '86, there was not a stop light in town. Lucky's was just going in, up til then we just had Centromart. Jake's Variety was where you could buy some baby clothes, hardware, ribbons, tools had a wood floor and was very cool. We had a small theater and the best drive-in called Rich's. You couldn't make a 'quick' trip to the store because you knew every one. I used to conduct Parent's Club business in the produce department of Luckys. (Once, Mitch had unbeknownst to me eaten an entire bottle of Flintstone vitamins. There I was chatting in the produce department, Rachel in the cart, Mitch in the seat and Lauren in the baby carrier when much to my surprise Mitch started throwing up, all over the apples. EVERY apple was touched. It was legendary here for years. ) ANYWAY.... There were two elementary schools, one Jr. High and Liberty. Now, we have three high schools, 7 elementary schools and three Middle schools, parks galore and more stop lights than I can count.

Through all the changes, one thing has remained constant, Liberty High School, Homecoming, float building and a parade downtown. We have city officials, county officials, Employees of the Year, bands, horses, drill teams, cheerleaders, Homecoming court and class floats.

This is Homecoming week and because of the great example set by his sister Lauren, Jeff is a class officer and is helping to build the Freshman float. We are at the school M-TH this week, from 4-9 pm, transforming a rusty old flatbed into a work of art and school spirit. (well, maybe not a work of art.....). The theme for the float is "Kicking the Wolverines OUT!" (My idea was "Kicking the "L" out of the Woverines..." They didn't get it. ) It's a Lion kicking a Wolverine through the goalposts. Simple and very Freshman like, and what a stinkin' ordeal! Freshmen have no patience, no vision, no stick-to-it-iveness. ( Pray with me that we have a finished project on Friday for the parade.)

Getting started--it really was rusty, beat up old flat bed. Gonna take a miracle.

Chicken wire on and filling it with the first of 5,000 paper napkin flowers.
Yep, 5,000.

What Jeff does best. Socializing. With girls.

Working. For a minute. We think.

Raquel painted the flatbed and then sat in it.

Making a Wolverine, which in my opinion actually looked like an alligator.

The goal post, every good float has goal posts. Ours has lights and red stripes around it. Very cool and impressive. We hope.

Our float half done, looking pretty good. If we can just figure out how to attach a paper mache lion head to a bunch of 3" PVC pipe we'll have a chance of finishing.

The owner of our flatbed is a great sport. He now has cardinal fenders, gold rims and newly painted tires. Doesn't everyone spray paint their tires black?

I'll post the finished product this weekend. I know you'll be on pins and needles until then.

I love living in Mayberry.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Forever, For Always, No Matter What...

Today is my Rachel's 25th birthday. It's been a very bittersweet day remembering the years that have passed since I first held my beloved first child. I had dreamed about her, waited oh so not patiently for her, prayed for her safe arrival. She came; at 3:31 am, we missed the ward Halloween party and joyfully so. I was sure there had never been a more beautiful baby born, ever in the world. My mom, the veteran of thousands of births in over 40 years of labor and delivery, assured me that I was right, THIS was the most spectacular child ever, and she was mine.

Rachel Daron, 20 1/2" long, 7lbs. 14 oz of dreams and wishes. Things didn't quite turn out the way I planned, at least for this life. But now, 25 years later, I can begin to appreciate the bigger picture that I didn't or couldn't understand then. What she has missed here is so small to what she will have THERE. Sure, we have missed proms, dates, sleepovers, talking to her and even fighting with her, graduations and an earthly wedding. But how much more wonderful it will all be there!

We stood her up in the play pen, 20 months old, she didn't walk til she was almost six.

As I spent hours looking at pictures the past few days, I was struck by the great love that has surrounded this beautiful daughter of God. She has been loved and cared for by the most wonderful people. Pictures of you Erin and Brandi with her touch me to my core. You love her in the most pure way, selflessly. And more than that, you shared your lives with me, knowing how much I missed sharing all these experiences with Rachel. The day will come when she will thank you and tell you that she loved you too.

Roxy, Margo, Vicki, Pam, Marty, there are not words, but you know how we feel. Not only did you love Rachel, you included her always. You taught your children to love her and to not be afraid of differences. You prayed for her, you took care of her, you took care of me, her sometimes very sad mom. She will thank you some day, (after she looks in your purse Roxy for candy!) can I ever thank you enough?

Rachel's Baptism Day

I found pictures of Rachel with ALL her Grandparents, each of them looks so happy to be with her. Pictures of her nose to nose with her Great Grandma Westman. Pictures of her learning to take steps with Grammy. Pictures of her crying laying on Grandma Groseclose's shoulder, being comforted. Pictures of Grandma Rydalch giving her her first bath, all reminded me that she is a part of an eternal family that are all waiting for that first word of recognition and the exclamations of love.

Rachel always looks at her hand, we don't know why, but it cracks us up.

Rachel is the common denominator in our lives, she is the glue that holds us together and the reminder of eternal blessings. How thankful I am to have her, Forever, For Always, No matter what.

Heaven's Special Child

A meeting was held quite far from earth.
"It's time again for another birth"
Said the angels of the Lord above
"This special child will need much love
Her progress may seem very slow
Accomplishments she may not show
And she'll require much extra care
From all the folks she meets down there.
She may not laugh or run or play
Her thoughts may seem quite far away
In many ways she won't adapt
And she'll be known as handicapped.
So let's be careful where she's sent
We want her life to be content.
Please Lord, find the parents who
will do this special job for you
They will not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play.
But with the child from Above
Comes stronger faith and richer love
And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for this gift from heaven~
This precious child meek and mild
Is heaven's very special child."

We as a family know the gift we have been given, and we are thankful for our beautiful Rachel.
Happy Birthday sweet girl.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh yeah...this is S**Y....

I got my sleep apnea machine today.

I know you want one too.

Isn't this great?

I'm so hot.

A prize for the best caption.

(Didn't want to put the ** real word **and have some loon find me. There's enough loons in my life.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An offer you can't refuse

We have something for sale at our house, or rent, or for auction to the highest bidder or even free to a good home.

This is Jeff, our 14 year old. He is for sale, cheap.


Because in his Academic Literacy class his teacher
(please keep in mind that both my husband and I work at this school...) gave an assignment to write about a problem that concerns them about the world, their family, their life.

Jeff was very excited about this assignment and then "it struck a sad chord" (Jeff's words)
He then realized that this was his lucky day, he could tell the sad tale of his life and how unloved and unwanted and neglected he is. The hamster gets more attention than him after all.

One of the parameters of the assignment was to find five different causes of the problem from others who have dealt with that same issue, using the internet. Jeff was confused about what exactly to look up for his problem...

So he sadly went to his teacher, head hung low, fighting back the tears, (do you know sarcasm?)
and said to Mrs. Decker, "what would I look up if my problem is that I am the least favorite child and my little brother gets away with everything?"

Mrs. Decker looked at him bemused and shocked and said, "Why Jeff, I have never dealt with this problem, I was always the favorite." (feeding the fire in his soul...) " Well, you could look under favoritism in families or sibling rivalry."

He moped back to his desk; sad, dejected and alone. He stared at the laptop on his desk and slowly began to type. Then the words started to come easier to him and he typed feverishly, much like Ralphie writing the theme outlining why he needed a Red Ryder Beebee gun. This paper was going to be a masterpiece!! Jeff was the first one finished. He saved it to the computer, and laid his little blonde head down on the computer, wishing the tears would come. Surely his beloved Mrs. Decker would know his sad plight.

As his teacher told his Mom this sad tale, visions of years of vacations, nights of board games, bedroom redecorating, cell phones, TV's, I-pods, $1000's of $$ spent on Chicken Nuggets because he would eat nothing else and the loads and loads of toys and fun stuff that has been given to this sad boy over the years- flashed before my eyes. Mrs. Decker? She was cracking up as she told the story and remembered the sorely neglected young man in her class who always has a smile on his face and always has something funny to say. "Yep" she thought..."he's got a sad life." Not.

He may not be neglected, unloved or put upon,
But he certainly is entertaining.

Note: No 14 year olds were harmed in the writing of this blog, (except maybe his feelings) as we were all laughing hysterically as HE retold the story to us. Can you say sibling rivalry? We're putting him into Drama next year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ch ch ch ch ch changes.....

Fall might be in the air here a little bit. We don't have the gorgeous fall colors en masse like those of you in cooler climates, but the leaves on my trees are turning red and orange nonetheless. This is my favorite time of year. I love the changing colors of the earth. I love changing my wardrobe to long pants and sweaters and scarves. I love changing my menus from grilled and cool to soups and baked goods packed with cinnamon. I love changing the decor of my house not once but three times between now and January!! I love the smell of smoke in the air and nippy mornings and houses with their porches piled with pumpkins. Others can say this much more eloquently than I, but I do love the changes that autumn brings.

I am trying to make changes in my own life, and frankly, the result isn't turning out as beautifully as I had dreamed of. First of all, I am still not tucking my hair. I miss it. It is a bummer to set aside a 35 year old nervous habit. But I do have a really cute cut and it won't tuck, so out of default, I can't tuck. Hair change sucks for me.

It's now been 10 days since I had a 32 ounce, lots of ice, Diet Pepsi from QuikStop. Every morning as I leave Seminary and drive past, I fight with my car's gravitational pull towards the store. I look at it longingly. The other day the owner called me at work: "Hey Jeni, this is Bob B at QuikStop, I was just calling to check on you, you haven't been in all week". That's pretty sad when they call YOU. Jeff calls him my "dealer". That puts it into perspective. Yes, I had headaches. Yes, I was grumpy. Yes, I crave it. Yes, Jessica and Linsey, well, maybe yes, the jury is still out. I hate this change and I am getting tired of water. Keep encouraging.
(A friend of mine saw Jeff in QuikStop with a soda, she said "hey I thought your mom gave that up~tell her I gave up Diet Pepsi too! " Jeff looked at the soda in her hand and said "What's that?" "I drink Diet Coke now." I am considering that logic for myself.)

I am trying to really limit my sugar. Well, I was trying to until I went to my in-laws tonight and my MIL had two huge bowls of chocolate. Sigh. Changing to a non sugar/low sugar lifestyle may kill me.

BUT the biggest change? Turns out that my hormones are those of a 22 year old. Here I am, 49 years old and am in no way close to menopause. I am bummed by this. In fact, my insides look great! You couldn't tell I had had 5 children by the way I look inside. There goes my excuse for a chubby tummy, I was hoping for a stretched out uterus. On the bright side, there is something there that requires medical attention, so I am going to have a procedure done in a couple of weeks that will make sure that my Auntie Flo never visits again. I do not like this relative, she never drops in when it is convenient, and she is always such a pain! BUT, to prepare for this procedure I need to be prepared. So I am taking shots that are putting me into a chemically induced menopause. This makes me a little less perky than usual and I think I had a hot flash yesterday!

There are just too many changes for me right now. Which change should I change back? (only to take the pressure off....)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Farewell My Beloved....

My beloved, I will miss you.

You have been there for me through thin and thick....

We have taken many a vacation together...

You have sneaked into Girl's Camp and hid yourself beautifully under the table in our tent...

You are an essential part of every road trip, sitting there so stoically...

You have been there every day of my job, right by my side...

You have enjoyed dozens and dozens of dinners out with me...

You are there with me for every soccer game...

You are there when my family has deserted me to go places....

You have been there for late into the night projects...

Everyone knows of my great love for you and always finds a place for you when I am there...

After the birth of my children, you are what I wanted most...

You have taken ridicule with such grace....

You are truly a part of me....

But now,

For the sake of my body....
(such as it is)

My Beloved...

I must say adieu, give you up, toss you into the cold, cold world.

My Beloved...Goodbye.

I will miss you.

4 days...but who's counting?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A sleepover

I Hate sleepovers...let's be real, they are really "stay-up-all-night-overs", "Eat popcorn-on-the-carpet-overs", "Play-X-Box-til-your-eyes-glaze-over-overs". Not one minute of sleeping occurs, especially when you are 11 and video games are involved.

It's break for us and Scotty and his friends have been separated by vacations and FINALLY (sigh) they were able to be together. I was surprised to come home and find Scotty's best friends, Luke and Matt here,. Timothy and Matthew, the twins, couldn't come, their mom doesn't do sleepovers. Love Her.

Scotty asked. Dad said yes. Mom was ticked. Mom went to get her hair cut. Dad very wisely made dinner and did the dishes. Mom was happier, but still not thrilled.

Yep, he's trying to clog the arteries of the young boys, homemade, fried in oil, french fries and full of preservatives hot dogs. (Luke's mom, the health food junkie will probably freak...then don't let your kid spend the night here...) They were yummy.

Look at that bunch of happy goobers, how can you not love 'em?

P.S. RJ, we wish you were here!!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A series of unfortunate events

Event One: My washing machine died. I know, I can feel the sympathy from where ever you are. Yes, I spent 4 hours and $37 at the Laundromat yesterday. Good Times.

Event Two: I had a sleep study, and come to find out, I have moderate to severe sleep apnea. Who knew? I was so freaked out that I was afraid to sleep for three days. A sleep deprived Mom isn't a happy mom.

Event Three: I am having a medical test tomorrow that requires me not to eat for 36 hours and drink 4 liters of the nastiest stuff known to man. Again, not a happy mom.

Event Four: We went to Idaho and then to Yellowstone!! We saw all these beautiful sights, flora and fauna, with some of my most favorite people.

But I didn't get to see Lisa Marie...why? Because we had to leave early. Why?

This is my front yard.

See the toilet paper hanging from the tree? It's cute huh?
Every one knows that being TP'd means you are loved.

But when it is compounded with Froot Loops, Rice, Chickpeas, Kotex napkins, signs, vaseline on your car and front door, and dish soap on your porch, it's pretty evident that it doesn't mean you are loved. Not only all that , but whoever did the number on our yard, entered our house through one of the windows. They left the window open, lights and fan on. We were vandalized and it is creepy knowing that someone walked through my house. It's even sadder to know that someone out there dislikes us so much. I am sure it is some kid from the high school that I ticked off. We have four students from the high school on our court, they must have told someone we were gone. We'll never know who did this, but it has really made us sad. But, thanks to my incredible sister in law and father in law, we never saw the mess. They had cleaned up most of it before we got home.

Event Five: I left my phone charger in Idaho. What?!!!!? That isn't catastrophic?
I guess I'm not a teenager any more, I could care less.

PS. One great thing Rexburg there is a place that has better cupcakes than Sprinkles! (I know, that's blasphemy Rach and Allison....) but really! They are so, so, so good. If you go there, go to the Cocoa Bean on College Avenue across from Porters. Worth the calories.

PPS. Rochelle...we gave Big Jud's another try. Still dirty but we had the fresh cut fries and I had the mushroom burger. Two thumbs and big toes up!!!!