Sunday, October 31, 2010

Skip the Happy Part--Halloween

I strongly dislike Halloween, (in fact I almost h.a.t.e it).  This year my Halloween attitude was almost the worst of the worse.  I'll save you all from my rant, but suffice it to say, I disagree with Fall parties at school with more food than is necessary, church parties with too many activities when the trunk or treat would suffice, no one out in the neighborhood because everyone went to the 'Neighborhood' Trunk or Treat etc. etc. etc.
Ok, I've said too much already.

Even my kids supported my suggestion to go out of town next year.  Which really came as no surprise to me, because really, do any of them look like they are enjoying Halloween?

Due to a rodeo conflict, we changed from our normal Halloween tradition and this year had dinner at Nana and Grandpa's and some good visiting with family. This was the highlight of the otherwise so so holiday.

On a lighter note,
Each year the kids group the candy types together.  While doing it this year and trying to sort it for the dentist office (Megan wants to sell some of hers to the local dentist that buys it for $2 a pound), the kids were separated to different rooms of the house at least twice.

 (Note the candy square they are enclosed in.)
I do not like Halloween.
Roll on Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Taking Time

A popular fiction author, Jodi Picoult wrote:

“A photo says, you were happy, and I wanted to catch that. A photo says, you were so important to me that I put down everything else to come watch."

(Somebody didn't put their shoes in the shoe basket...)
 I couldn't say it any better. 

(Kinzie, Joshua, Drew & Ellie in Ellie's 'fort.')

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not Sweating the Small Stuff

(I am very happy with the family pictures my friend Sandra just took of us!)

Recently in a conversation with a group of women, I came away thinking I must have sounded like I was extremely uptight.  Granted, I was telling them, unmade beds and unopened blinds are cause for a guaranteed Mom Temper Tantrum, but I couldn't help but think of all the things I don't 'sweat over.'
Consider these for example:

A dirty kitchen floor- I figure having one's feet stick to a particular place on the kitchen floor is a very effective way to keep my children (and/or husband) in one place long enough to hear an impromptu lecture that may need to be delivered...

Dirty toilets-Well I can't stand sitting on a wet toilet seat, so that part of the toilet is usually found somewhat clean.

Language-Even if someone told me the other day that I'd "Really get along with so and so because you both cuss,"  In my defense, the three (swear) words that come out of my mouth are ALL found in the Bible!

My closet-The other day I was ranting and raving to my husband about us teaching our children to organize their spaces better.  He very kindly said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but look at your own personal space (ie-your closet)."  For the record, I didn't take it the wrong way.  But I never have to ask anyone else if they've seen my shoes, or my belt, or my jacket, etc. So there!

Hairbands all over the bathroom floor-They'll eventually all get picked up, (after all, I am uptight about my daughter's hair being out of her face).  So even if the hair bands only get picked up gradually, after two-three used a day I figure they'll all get picked up in the end.

Kid Cup/Plate Cupboard-The closest cupboard to the dishwasher is the one that stores the kid cups and plates.  When I unload the dishwasher my kids unload the dishwasher, those items just get thrown in.  As long as they don't ricochet back out and end up on the kitchen floor, I consider them in their proper place.

Dessert for breakfast-If there is extra homemade hot fudge sauce from an event the day before, my kids can count on the fact we will be having it for breakfast served over vanilla ice cream.  It doesn't seem that different to me than a bowl full of sugary cereal with milk poured over the top.

And there you have it!
As long as you make sure the beds are made, the blinds are open, there are no dirty clothes on the floor, no backpacks in the kitchen and no shoes out of the shoe basket.

We'll get along just fine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flying Clocks

I have found myself lately trying to capture the moments more fully with my children without always reaching for my camera.  And though I have a great memory and have made an extra effort to be more faithful in my personal journal,  I am worried that there will be some things I'll simply forget.  And dang it, in efforts to be less distracted and not always grabbing the camera, I will now have to rely on my mind memories instead.  

Ellie has mastered jump rope.  Usually her activity of choice the last few weeks when chores and homework are done is to jump rope.  I really should break down and buy her a real jump rope, but it warms my heart to see Luke kindly obliging her with one of his horse ropes.  And hopefully I will not soon forget the picture my mind took last week when I entered the school playground during recess. Ellie upon seeing me, dropped her jump rope mid-jump and with a big smile on her face came running towards me.

At the beginning of the month, I was told Drew (who incidentally is usually always found with a Hot Wheels in his hand) had 'Delayed Expressive Speech' at his eighteen month check-up, due to his inability to say a certain number of words.  Drew decided to prove the doctor wrong almost immediately.  The next day he added two words to his vocabulary, and since then adds a new one each day.  My favorite; "sasa-sa" for Joshua.

Megan was very excited last month when she was chosen to be on the Student Council at her school.  Her smile really couldn't have gotten any bigger when she came home from school the other week wearing her Student Council sweatshirt, complete with her name embroidered on the front.

Though trying to use my camera less,  I absolutely had to pull out the video camera to record Joshua reading 'The Gingerbread Cowboy.'  Complete with a western twang, he has the book almost entirely memorized word for word. Although he asks for me to read the book to him about 3,429 times a day, he gets mad as soon as I begin saying, "Once upon a time in the wild, wild west..."  I finally figured out that "Mama, read this to me" really means "Come sit down and listen to me read it to you."

Luke has spent the last couple of weeks in his homemade shed.  It has served as Luke's office/homework desk/reading corner/clubhouse/interior decorating practicing place.  Complete with a toy cow on top, his roping calf at the entrance, western art hanging on the wall, a desk organizer (swiped from the DI box in the back of the car), three chairs (one for each boy), art supplies and some old horse magazines in the corner.  Yesterday afternoon, during our Sunday Family Council meeting, as the wind began to blow outside and the rain gently started to fall, Megan watched Luke's shed blow to the ground.  And though I am getting teary eyed thinking of the shed's last week with no photos to remember it by, the 'place to find Luke' now sits in a pile of wood and clutter in our barren garden.  The Pile, along with Mike's instructions to "remove the nails and screws from the wood and stack it nicely by the house" is a sure sign that even Fall is going to begin winding down and will soon give into the long, cold days of winter.

And though I absolutely love this time of year.  I love the colors, I love the dark evenings, I like the cool crispness to the air,
Time is flying by too quickly.

My daughter now spends Tuesday evenings going to Mutual.
My baby goes to Nursery.
Three of my children are in school full-time.
My three year old is beginning to recognize his ABC's.
My son has received an actual assignment to build something for someone.

Though I know my children are still young,
And thankfully all still at home,
I wish I could freeze time for just a while.

I remember distinctly close to thirty years ago standing in Granny's kitchen at her open refrigerator and hearing her say, "Time flies even more as you get older."  I had no idea what she meant as my young seven year old mind pictured small alarm clocks flying in the sky.

Now I know exactly what she meant.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Memory For Monday (With A Little Anxiety)

This morning, upon seeing fresh snow on the mountain tops, Joshua asked me, "Can I dwrive to the mountains with Daddy to wook at the snow?"

It's interesting that Joshua at just three years of age would already recognize the fact that
a. I wouldn't take him into the mountains to see the snow and
b. he didn't ask if I would go with him and Daddy to the mountains.

And though I swore I'd never let my kids know of my anxieties and fears.
Somehow, they must.

Maybe Joshua has noticed the slight tension between his two parents when doing such things as, driving in the snow, driving on a dirt road, driving in the rain, or driving on a windy, mountain road.  (We won't even mention flying in airplanes or riding in boats.)

The slight 'tension' in the car goes something like this:
Mike: "You don't have to be holding on so tight to the door handle." or "Sit back in your seat and just RELAX."
Me: "Well if you were driving slower, (or safer, or had the wipers on faster, or took the corners more cautiously, or weren't talking while you were driving, or weren't trying to point things out to the kids, or this or that.) OR if we had just stayed home, this wouldn't be an issue."
Mike: "Just R.E.L.A.X."

I don't remember when or why my fear ever began.
Although I do remember this particular drive very well.

In May 1983, we had come to America to visit my grandparents and attend my Uncle's wedding.    During our stay, my Uncle David took my brother and me on a scenic mountain drive through the windy mountain roads to climb the 'B' on the mountain close to my grandparent's house. As you can see, it was not an enjoyable drive for me.  It was probably not very scenic either, as tears frequently blur one's vision.

And such is my life.
Sure, I may have a little fear and anxiety in me.
But who doesn't?

(And on a completely unrelated side note-everyone at a family dinner last night was convinced this photo looks just like Ellie...)

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Favorite Day of The Year

I'd have to say, this year's birthday was one of my best yet.  Well, at least in my adult years.
I love my children, but oh was it bliss being with just my husband for the day.
Doing what we wanted, when we wanted.  Eating lunch in the car, Logan Temple, Me shopping, Mike relaxing, eating Dinner while assessing our parenting, eating chocolate in bed, me reading, Mike watching TV, etc. etc.

 It was relaxing and soul soothing.

My brother James, and sister-in-law Kristin, ROCK!  One day when they have a couple more kids, they'll understand how much we appreciated them staying with our kids. 

James & Kristin: Wanna give me the same birthday present again next year?!?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And It Begins...

5:55pm is the official start to my birthday.  (Heaven forbid if you don't remember why, you can read about it here.)
(I love that my husband understands that my birthday is not just officially the 22nd!)

Here's to a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i LOVE my birthday!

And this year, I'm getting the best present of all.
My brother and his wife (and ten month old baby) are coming tomorrow to be with all five of my kids for 24 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (Honestly though, I do feel slightly disappointed my children will only see me for a couple of hours the morning of my birthday, but not disappointed enough...)

My birthday will just be me.
(and Mike!)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Did I Hear That Right?

(Don't you just love photos where the body language screams, 'An arm is extended and it is totally obvious we are taking the picture of ourselves'?)

Recently somebody asked me what I thought is the key to Mike and I having a great relationship. (What a compliment that we exude greatness?!?)  I believe there are a lot of factors involved, but one particular one I mentioned is honesty and openness.  
As I thought about the honesty and openness in our relationship, I couldn't help but recall some of the honest dialogues we've had in the past.  The ones that made me ask myself,  
 "Did he really just say that?"

Take these for example:

During my epidural-free labor with Joshua I was in pain. It hurt. I was birthing an EIGHT POUND BABY WITH NO MEDICATION.  It wasn't exactly easy.  Maybe I yelled and screamed a little.  Ok, maybe a lot. But still, I couldn't quite believe the audacity of my dear husband when he whispered quietly in my ear, "You're being kind of loud."

As most wives probably do, sometimes I'll ask, "Does this make my boobs/butt/stomach look big? "His response is always the same, "No that shirt/jeans/skirt don't look make them look big,  if they look big, it's because they are."

While in the middle of an epidural-free labor with Ellie, I was squeezing Mike's arm during a very painful contraction.  Did I mention I was in a lot of pain?  "Ouch, you're hurting me," grimaced my dear husband as he pulled his arm away.  (I'm fairly certain it was following my response to him that the nurse said, "Any words you say while in labor are not counted against you in heaven.")

And of course, I've told you about this one before, "Is this ironed?"

I'm a pretty good cook and a-regular-hot-meal-on-the-table-each-night-type wife.  Often Mike will call me to tell me he's leaving the office and frequently he'll ask, "What's for dinner?"  My responses vary from "Meat loaf to Chicken Enchiladas to Roast Beef."  Although there was the ONE TIME  (and maybe one other time) I told him we were having fish sticks for dinner.  His response, "That's not a meal worth anticipating on the way home."

Once it was dark and my husband must have thought this would be a good "I'll score" kind of comment, as he whispered "You're really pretty in the dark."  

Now, I am not claiming to be perfect, I have probably said plenty of things myself, but hey, this post isn't about me.... 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Memory for Monday (That's Not Going To Happen)

No memory today!
  • I have the last of the tomatoes and peppers stacking up on my counter waiting to be made into one last batch of salsa.
  • I have grapes waiting patiently at my Grandma's to be picked to be made into grape juice.
  • I have a chore system that is in desperate need of a visual.  
  • I have about two more hours to spend on the student directory that I am putting together which will bring the grand total to about sixteen + hours of my time!
  • I have a kitchen floor that I don't dare walk bare foot on.
  • And about 4,844 other things that I don't care to list.
Somethings will have to wait.
And of course, I am busily anticipating my birthday on Friday.  Which by the way was off to a great start yesterday when I visited Primary  (which one day I must blog about my feelings about that) to watch Megan play the harp and Luke give a talk and the Primary President invited ME up to be sung a birthday song to.

I couldn't stop smiling.
Perfect beginning to my birthday week.
Even if it's kind of a busy one.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Gift of Perspective

For some reason, Luke thinks the hall way outside his bedroom door is a closet. Each evening as he undresses, his cowboy belt and buckle are carefully placed by the door. The boots are set nearby. Some days, an additional belt buckle is placed close by, so there “are options” the next morning.

Megan chooses to use her closet, but not in the traditional way. Often times the closet rods are full of empty hangers as shirts, pants, skirts and cardigans cover the closet floor. She doesn’t always favor the closet floor, the bedroom floor is treated equally.

Joshua loves ropes. Usually at any given time a rope can be found anywhere from my kitchen table to a bathroom floor, anywhere but their assigned home on the lonely hooks in the garage.

Ellie loves playing school, and in order to play there is an apparent need for paper, scissors, tape and markers to grace any open firm surface. Bedside tables, office desks, book shelves, entry tables, patio tables are crowned almost daily with her ‘teaching supplies’.

And I have an eighteen month old who wanders in and out of pantries, closets, bedrooms and bathrooms on any given day. Anything from plungers to nail polish, from sippy cups to pocket knives, goldfish crackers to matchbox cars can be found far from their belonged place.

There are days I am exhausted from the gentle reminders to please clean up. Other days I am worn out from cleaning it up. And of course there are those days I am filled with remorse at the unkind tones I used to plead with another to clean it up.

Every couple of weeks, I spend some time with a dear friend, twenty five years my senior. Her six children are now grown and gone from home. During our time together, she regales me with stories of her dear grandchildren and new grandbabies. She speaks with pride of her children’s accomplishments. And there are those tender times when I see heartache and tears as she talks about some of her children making choices contrary to her desires. I see the heartache of a mother whose struggles, frustrations and trials did not end when her children left home.

Recently, while with this friend, another lady joined us. Two of her children are grown and left home, two shortly will. This dear lady shed tears as she spoke of her daughter who has chosen to leave college to move across the country to live with a man she hardly knows. My eyes filled with tears as I imagined this mother’s pain, knowing her daughter is making choices far different than what she ever hoped for her daughter.

I thought about my son who uses the hall as a closet. I thought about my daughter who has a skewed understanding of what a closet is. I thought about my son who leaves ropes in all the wrong places and my daughter who thinks any firm surface can double as a school desk. And I thought about my sweet baby who leaves misplaced objects along his path.

My eyes filled with tears as I looked at these two sweet mothers. Their eyes filled with tears too as we expressed love to each other. We were three mothers who love our children. One of them asked if I had any advice. Me? I told these much more seasoned mothers that I really couldn’t give any advice. My frustrations are misplaced clothing, and messy bedrooms and my heartaches not too much more serious than a result of a child’s tears after a bad day in the lunchroom or an easily correctible wrong choice. My sweet friend looked at me and said, “I know how tired you must be physically and emotionally. Being a mother is challenging, you spend your days cleaning up, and then you do it all again the next day. But what I wouldn’t give now to have those be my only frustrations as a mother.”

My dear sweet mother friends gave me a wonderful gift today.

They gave me perspective.
It was just what I needed.

And though there is a belt lying outside a bedroom door right now, and as I type this, I hear Ellie saying, “My name is Mrs Foster, please sit down.”

Today I am grateful. And though I am not naïve enough to think belts and papers and clothes will never raise my ire again, I will do my best to enjoy today. I will think about my sweet mother friends. I will think about their children. And I will think about mine.
And I will love today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Balancing Act

It is kind of a long story, but the 2-wheeler Joshua got for Christmas last year is a little too big for him, and I haven't let the kids take off his training wheels, even though he has attempted to ride Ellie's two-wheeler for months.
So fortunate for Joshua,the DI had an old smaller frame bike for only $5, that I thought would be PERFECT for Joshua to practice on.
And following exactly as Luke and Ellie before him, within five minutes he was off and away. (Megan was our slowest at an hour!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Report on 12 on the 12th

A party on Saturday night with nineteen 6th graders, a campfire, roasted hot dogs, squealing, s'mores, cupcakes, games, laughter, glo-sticks, squealing, running wild in the back yard and park, suckers, and lots of fun.
This is Megan's longest-time friend.  Aren't they cute?
 (Megan and Brandon)
 Mike took his chaperoning responsibilities very seriously:
Presents on Birthday Morning:
Twelve balloons decorating the yard (did we mention she was 12 on the 12th?):
And last, but not least, a homemade birthday cake made by yours truly.  (FYI, I've come along way since Megan's 2nd birthday when she took one look at her homemade Barney birthday cake and asked, "What's tat?")

PS-Drew loves the morning after birthdays when the balloons that have been out of his reach all birthday-day come down and he can play with them for a few minutes before they make Mom too crazy and then they all get popped and thrown away...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Once In A Lifetime

How can you not be destined to have a great Once In A Lifetime Golden Birthday when it starts out like this?

Going with Daddy to the temple for the first time to participate in Baptisms.
(Can you see the clock on the wall?  Easy to wake up though when it's your birthday....)

While Mommy stays home to fix breakfast...
Belgian waffles, whipped cream and freshly picked raspberries.
It's going to be a great day.
It's not every year you're...
12 ON THE 12th!
Happy 12th Birthday Megs! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Memory For Monday (The Day Before)

As I anticipate Megan's birthday tomorrow, I find my thoughts to be with my dear sister-in-law Cindy who is due to have a baby any day now. And though I am not one in favor of shared birthdays, I hope she has her baby soon. (Maybe just not tomorrow though...) ;)

My due date with Megan was October 20, 1998. (At my doctor's appointment on Friday the 9th, my doctor told me I probably wouldn't make it through the weekend as I was dilated to 'a 4'.)  Perfect! I thought.  I wanted my baby to be born on the 11th--my Grandad's birthday. (Sharing birthdays with a deceased person is ok.) In 1998, October 11th was a Sunday. I woke up tired, achy and anxious for a baby to come. I declared from my bed to Mike that there was NO WAY I was sitting through three hours of church, so "Please kindly call the Primary Presidency and tell them I will not be sitting with my class during the program practice."

And though I am now somewhat ashamed to admit, (and really, we can count on one hand the number of times we've 'skipped church') we both stayed home.  We must have had a severe case of 'nesting' as we cleaned out the large closet in our family room that served as a store-everything-that-doesn't-have-a-place, as well as the items that of course belonged there.

We organized, we straightened and basically were very un-sabbath-day-of-rest-like. But as the closet was clean and orderly, I removed the brand new Winnie The Pooh bouncer that was stored in there, placed it in the middle of the floor and announced, "It (meaning Megan)can come now. We're ready."

And then I waited for a contraction and/or a water break.
Nothing happened.

So we piled up our DI pile and decided to make a stop at the DI and Mike's parents house close by. We continued our un-sabbath-day like behavior as we dropped off a pile of goods at the local Deseret Industries, ignoring the signs that asked not to leave items there when they were closed.

We then went to Mike's parents house and it was there that I had taken the ONLY PHOTO of me posing to show a pregnant belly. (Five pregnancies over now-it is a deep regret of mine.) To make matters worse, this morning when I went to the photo album to pull out the photo to scan in, I see neatly in the column written, "Mike and Tiffany, day before Megan was born." and the photo is G.O.N.E.!
(I hate when I remove photos and do not return them.)

Oh well.

Of course, Megan didn't come on October 11th. My water broke the next morning at 10:20am. I am convinced in my mind now, Grandad kept her there with him to celebrate his birthday, and then gave her permission to go.

And so...
Happy Birthday Grandad!!
(For the record, I do believe without a doubt birthdays are celebrated in heaven.  If not, I'm not much interested in going there...)

Side note to Casey and Cindy--it's Grandad's birthday, don't get your hopes up today will be 'the day.' Grandad might be wanting your baby there for his birthday party too. And well, tomorrow is Megan's birthday and you know how I feel about shared birthdays with the living. But, I'll keep my fingers crossed for Wednesday...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Not The Real Thing

Mom:  "Yay Joshua, Today is your half birthday."
Joshua:  "I wish it was my weal birthday and get wots of presents instead."
Three and a half!!
Happy Half Birthday Sasha!!

Friday, October 8, 2010


A friend of mine, who actually happens to be the (M.O.M) Organization Queen recently did a post of full disclosure.  She was brave enough to step into territory we as mothers too often try to hide.

It isn't the territory of misbehaved children, or even mommy temper tantrums, I'm talking---messes!
You know that which we as mothers and/or women are always apologizing for the second someone enters our house.
(Well except, I try not to apologize anymore.  Even though I did recently refuse to allow myself to post a CUTE photo of my son on this blog because the books on the shelf in the background were extremely disheveled...)

April wrote in her post,
"Some friends and I were talking a few weeks ago, and we figured it would be helpful to women worldwide if every blogger posted a photo of her own beautiful mess.  You know, so we don't feel alone...and so we don't feel sorry for the other moms out there--supposing that they never get to experience the fun of beautiful messes."

Now I certainly don't know if I agree with her entirely.  I'm honestly not sure I ever have or ever could call my messes "beautiful" but I will admit my house is 'lived in' and I'm very proud of that fact.

And so today I present to you my kitchen:
My dishwasher was full of clean dishes, the sink overflowing with dirty ones...
Obviously, someone(s) forgot the 'everything has a place rule'...
Items found in the kitchen/entryway.  Anything from cowboy chaps to a water bottle to exercise shoes....
I'll even grace you with my sweeping pile this morning...
(I'll even admit that I am known to throw away ALL of my swept up pile, although cowboy, hairclip and all three hot-wheels avoided instant disposal today.)

All this reminds me of the quote I have hanging in my kitchen,

I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.  I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.  I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk's lawn.  I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children.  I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from  helping to weed someone's garden.  I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and tears of a friend on my shoulder.  I want the Lord to know I was really  here and that I really lived."--Marjorie Hinckley

Believe me.
We're living.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do I Dare?

Though I have thought about this post in my mind for months, I have never gotten around to really formulating my thoughts into written form.  Though, believe me, I've shared all of these thoughts in the verbal form many a time!!!  But a few random occurrences lately have made me decide to see how alone in my thinking I may not be.

If you recall, I have alluded to this subject two times before, here in this attempt at being funny or this change of tune here that only lasted a couple of days.

And so,
Drum roll please...

We are talking about nothing other than the Boy Scouts of America program.  Hereafter to be referred to as BSA.

Before I begin my rant writing, I will first remind myself of the conversation I had with my uncle recently.  My uncle is someone I admire.  I admire his humbleness, his faith and his perseverance in life.  So with that admiration intact, I broached the subject of the BSA program with him at a recent family event.  I clearly stated my objective in my initial question, "What are your thoughts on the BSA program?"  His initial reaction, 

"Well first off all, you must remember it is a church (LDS) supported program."

His response struck a slight humbling reaction in me, yet I still spewed forth my BSA rhetoric.  (I guess I figured if I spewed my BSA rhetoric once before to a 'high up' BSA/LDS official (who really shall remain nameless) I could again amongst family!)

And so I pose my questions:

What other calling within our faith requires a leader to purchase a $30 +/- piece of clothing?

Why do we from our pulpit encourage our members to pay generously to the leaders that will be coming to our houses to collect money that will be sent to pay BigWigs salaries, overpriced awards, etc?  (For the record, I DO NOT pay 'Friends of Scouting'.  And in fact, when a member of our bishopric recently said to Mike and me, "Oh, I have the Friends of Scouting envelope to drop by." I replied, "Don't bother.  We won't be paying.  Have you seen the mark-up of items at the Scout Store recently?"

What other group (youth or adult) in our church requires $50-$60 spent to participate?  (Shirts, books, scarves, optional belt, etc.)

What other group in our church spends $1000's dollars each month for some scraps of material/pieces of metal to be sewn on shirts, worn for a couple of years and then stored away in a box in the attic for decades?

What other group in the church takes unnecessary risks in the winter weather to attend winter camp-outs for the sake of maintaining good standing for a BSA award?

When has a YW group gone on a camp for more than 4-5 days.  Yet boys AND THEIR LEADERS WHO MAY HAVE LIMITED VACATION DAYS typically stay Monday-Saturday at a BSA camp?

What other calling within the LDS church requires back-ground checks?

What other program (in or out of the LDS church) places so much emphasis on boys receiving one particular award that alone suddenly makes them 'credible, responsible, trustworthy, honest and a man of character'?

Why in the world would parents place demands/conditions/rewards that can not be fulfilled until a particular award is earned?  Is that award really what you want the emphasis to be on?  And don't give me the 'It will teach them to be responsible, dependable, etc. etc.'  Because that just feeds into the whole line of thinking that there is no other way to have honorable, worthy men of character without the BSA program!!!

Aagh-this whole thing is wearing me out.
What about you?

Now, I know enough about extra-curricular activities to know that being a Cub Scout and/or Boy Scout is actually a very good deal (financially) and an extremely beneficial program physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, etc. etc.  But extra-curricular activities are chosen based on family situations; be them financial or time-concious.  And on a child's personality and interests.

If you have paid any attention to my family or my blog in the past, you know my son Luke, well enough to know he is a prime candidate for the BSA program.  He completed his Bobcat requirements in less than a week, his Wolf requirements in less than six months.  And so I will admit, that even if we lived somewhere obscure and had no LDS affiliation, I would most certainly look into the BSA program for him to join as an EXTRA-CURRICULAR activity.

Mike and I have both taken our turns as leaders within the BSA program.  Besides having brothers involved in the program, my first personal introduction to it was as a leader when I had one six-month old baby girl.  Mike has served several times within the BSA since his involvement with it as a youth.  I have mixed feelings about serving in the program as leaders.  Sometimes I blow steam and say, "We will completely separate from any and all BSA associations as leaders and thus, will have to separate our children from it too."  But is that really fair to my boys, in our society?  That's a hard question, that probably only Mike and I can answer. 

Referring again to my BSA chat to a 'high up' BSA/LDS official, I was told that within the LDS church, there should be far more emphasis on the priesthood within the Young Men Program (Duty to God) than on BSA.  Sounds great in theory, but I don't think that is the case...

More often than not when I share my BSA thoughts, I have people agree with me.  Even if not entirely, they do partially.  Sometimes I wonder if all in the name of being good, faithful, obedient members of our faith, our passiveness is misinterpreted and is not doing anything to cause a little change.

In my humble opinion, I think it is perfectly ok to have and share our opinions.
I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The children spontaneously picked pumpkins the other night from our garden. Though it was really nothing important, nothing momentous, and nothing grand.

It was everything.

It was one of those moments that didn't really matter if I had a camera or not, for some reason, it was my heart I was capturing the random moment with.  

A near-perfect Fall memory.

(Even if my camera battery was dying fast and most photos were blurry...)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A (Sort of) Shed

"Dad, we should sell the trampoline.  And then in it's place I'll build you a shed.  If it only took me a couple of days to build mine.  I could build one for you in a week."

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Memory For Monday (With Casey and James)

I know I've mentioned my two younger brothers, Casey and James a few times in random posts/memories.  My two little brothers that as a little girl, I hoped so much would replace my baby dolls

Just recently while going through an old journal, I found a cute, handwritten little note from James when he was about nine years old.  I also still have a Beverly Hills 90210 bookmark that James gave me years ago, and in his childish, hard to read handwriting on the back writes about me being 'the coolest sister in the world.' 

Now, I would hate for James to outdo Casey in his expressions of love for me, but I have keepsakes from him too.  I have books given to me with Casey's childish handwriting saying, "I love you, from Casey"  or "To Tiffany. From Guess?  Anser: Casey"

I lived at home throughout college and though I now regret that maybe I was too busy worrying about a social life and studies, and I probably brushed them off more than I should have, I do have precious memories of time with them.

I remember frequently playing card games with James before his elementary school car-pool came and I remember distinctly Casey appearing at my bedroom door quietly yet excitedly saying, "Guess what? I just found a hair in my armpit."  (Did I really just write that for the whole world to see?  Sorry Casey!)   

I remember fondly the time I spent with them, especially during my college years.  And though I may have been busy worrying about school studies and a social life, I remember taking them on numerous trips toTop Hat Video for video games, to a UofU/BYU football game, movies, restaurants, bowling, etc. etc.    The night Mike proposed to me, it was my brothers I told first as I came into the house that night.  Casey and James were settling down for the night in their bunkbeds and had big smiles on their faces as I told them my news.  It was my brothers that I cried about leaving, as I packed up the last of my stuff the day before my wedding.

And though my brothers don't write me handwritten notes telling me how 'cool' or 'awesome' I am anymore, I'll get the occasional text and/or email from them and if I'm really lucky, once in a while a phone call.   They are now grown-up, handsome men.  One a dad, one a dad any day now, one in Law School at BYU, one studying business at the University of Utah.  And though we all have busy lives,  I love my brothers and guess what? I know they still love me!

I love my brothers.  And it is after them, that Joshua got his middle name 'Jace'... a combination of the sounds 'James and Casey.'  (Creative I know, but I couldn't name Joshua after one and not the other!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Eat and Heat

One of the few reasons I love the heat wave we've been having:

I will miss snacks, lunches and dinners outside on the patio in the coming months.


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