Thursday, March 29, 2007


Monday night we went to one of our favorite parks (Nielsen's Grove). Haley insisted on wearing her dinosaur costume and Britton and I brought our rollerblades so we could practice a little. (Unfortunately, Britton and I rollerblade at about the same level. I'm sure he'll be better than me in no time.) Jason borrowed by rollerblades for a few minutes just to show Britton how it's really done. He was showing off by skating backwards and fell down hard on his back. My first reaction was to start laughing, then I caught myself to make sure he was okay, and then I started laughing again. Britton and I bladed around for a bit and then went to the fun swing set. There's a round, carousel type thing with swings hanging down and you can push it around in circles and get the swings soaring pretty well. Since Jason was there to push, I actually got to ride this time and it was so much fun. He got it going really fast and lots of kids came running to get on. We had a blast. If I can figure out how to post a video clip, I'll post it in a few days.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Weekly Random Question

Okay it's been a really long time since I did my weekly random questions, so I should probably change it from "weekly" to "biannual" or something.

But, I'm going to try to do it more consistently.

So, here's the question for today:

Tell what you like about your mother.

I picked this one out of the box and almost put it back, not because I don't have anything to say, but because I have way too much to say and not enough time to write it all or even put it into words. There are so many things that I like about my mom, I wouldn't even know where to start. So, I'll just pick one attribute and write about that.

The thing that pops into my mind first is her generosity and willingness to give. She is constantly so willing and happy to help out all her kids and grandkids, both monetarily and with her time. There have been numerous times that she has been an answer to my prayers and probably doesn't even know it. She offers everything she has so willingly. And she does it so naturally. I could list all the things she has done for me and some that she has done for family and friends, but I'm sure that would completely embarrass her because that's not why she does it. And I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, of generous things she's done that I'm not even aware of. She is such an example to me and I hope to follow her example. I love her very much.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

This Weekend

We had a great weekend with Makiko. She left this afternoon, so we tried to pack a lot in for her last few days here. Friday night, their school had a big closing social for all the host families. We had dinner and they did a program for us. It was lots of fun. They sang songs, played games, did Japanese dances, and a few gave speeches. It was very emotional for all the students.

Afterwards, we took Makiko and her friend, Rina, up to the cabin. It was both of their first times at a cabin. And it was Rina's first time doing a lot of the things we did--building a campfire, roasting marshmallows, sleeping in a sleeping bag, etc. It was fun getting to experience it with them.

Saturday night, at home, we had a special evening with dessert and giving her the presents we got for her. It was quite emotional and special for all of us.

Sunday morning, we took Makiko up to temple square and the Conference Center. We went to the Tabernacle Choir broadcast, then had a tour of temple square. We took a lot of pictures then drove around downtown a bit. We had a picnic at Memory Grove and then drove home through Park City and Heber. It was a nice way to spend our last day with her.

Saying goodbye was really hard. It's amazing how attached we all got after only 10 days. I think Jason even cried as he said goodbye. Rina and Makiko gave us a nice picture frame that had "One Crazy Family" engraved on it. It was perfect. Makiko gave us a lot of other gifts throughout the week. Right before she left, she gave us a card with a Japanese coin in it and she said it represents the bond between a parent and child. We were very touched. It was so much fun being able to share our family with someone. We are going to miss her so much.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Last Thursday night, we began hosting a Japanese student. Her name is Makiko. She is 19, studying elementary education, and she's here for 10 days with a program through her school. On weekdays, she spends her mornings at Ivy Hall helping in the kindergarten, then afternoons are spent at Selnate International School. So, she only gets evenings and weekends with us.
It has been so much fun. I am having a blast and I'm already getting sad that she will be leaving on Sunday. She speaks very little English, but we are able to communicate thanks to the help of her electronic dictionary. She carries it everywhere with her. She types something in, then I type back, then we both smile and nod. It's kind of fun. I've been speaking very slowly and in 3 word sentences for the past 5 days that I've started speaking that way to everyone. Or I accidentally speak to her in French which is really bizarre. But, she doesn't really notice since she doesn't understand.
I was really excited to do this, but I'm surprised at how attached I am already to her. I wish she could stay longer. Yesterday she was trying to explain to me that the time is passing too quickly and she's sad to have to go home soon. I told her that she could come visit anytime she wanted. She didn't really understand, so I said, "My house is your house forever" and she smiled and almost started to cry. It has been so much fun to share myself and my family with someone. She is so grateful and kind and helpful. She takes pictures of me doing almost everything which makes me feel really cool and fun :) She says "thank you" to everything probably because it's one of the only things she can say, but it still makes me feel good to know that she is so happy to do everything that we're doing.
We've been doing more organized things than usual to entertain her a bit, but mostly she just wants to participate in American life. Last night I asked her if she wanted to watch "24" with Jason and me after the kids went to bed. She was so happy and excited. She probably didn't even follow what was going on, but she was so happy to be watching anyway.
We have done a lot of fun things together, but everyday I think of more and more things that I want to do with her. I find myself wishing that she didn't have to go to school. It's so fun to have a friend to do everything with me--help me cook, help me clean, play games, play with my kids, just hang out with and she's so excited and grateful to do it.
It's also funny to see her reaction to my kids. They are so happy to have someone around too. The first day, they wouldn't leave her alone. They followed her into her room and dragged her all over the house. She loved it. Yesterday Haley unrolled all the toilet paper in the bathroom and dumped a whole bottle of shampoo into the water while she was taking a bath. It made me laugh more instead of being mad because Makiko thought it was so funny.
I've taken a lot of pictures but I haven't downloaded them yet. I'll post them when I do.
It's been a great couple of days and I look forward to the rest of the week with her. I'm really going to miss her when she's gone.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Center for Change

Yesterday Jason and I were watching some of the March Madness games. During the commercials, Jason started browsing through the other stations and Dr. Phil caught our eye. We ended up watching it instead of the game. His show was about several women suffering from anorexia. The two women that it featured were both around 60 lbs. and were at the point where their bodies could shut down. As I listened to their stories, I couldn't help but think about my girls from Center for Change that I used to teach. I thought of each one of them and how brave they are and how hard it was for them to go through treatment. They are some remarkable young ladies. As I heard these two ladies stories, I kept saying to Jason, "they need to go to Center for Change". I found myself getting choked up many times throughout the program partly because of seeing these two people who were in such need of help and partly because of all the memories of working with people in a similar situation. I remember my last day of work there--I cried the entire way driving home, not because I was necessarily sad to be quitting because I knew it was the right thing, but because I was so grateful to have been a part of something so important. I was just their math and science teacher, so I wasn't involved in their therapy but I was able to see a change occur in each one of them and be a witness to their recovery. I am still so grateful for that experience and still feel drawn to people who suffer from such a complicated disease.
Towards the end of the Dr. Phil Show, they started talking about whether or not these two women were willing and ready to undergo treatment. Dr. Phil said that it is such a complicated disorder and that there aren't many places equipped to really treat it. And then he said that there was one that deals with all the facets of the disease. The cameras flashed to the audience and there was Dr. Barrett from Center for Change! I was so proud! After the show, Dr. Barrett met with each of the women and their families and invited them each to come to Center for Change. I hope that they do a follow up story sometime down the road.
I have so much respect and admiration for the founders of Center for Change and all that they put into it. They are very talented therapists and doctors. And helping women with eating disorders is their life and their passion.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tag! I'm It!

About a week ago, Beth "tagged" me on her blog. So, I'm supposed to write 6 weird things about myself. (I think that's the rule at least). So, here goes....

#1 I try to find patterns in everything. Whenever I see a group of numbers (like a phone number or something), my brain automatically tries to find a way that those numbers "make sense" together. This makes it really easy for me to memorize groups of numbers.

#2 When I eat M&Ms or Skittles, I always eat them in a pattern of some kind. I like there to be the same amount of each color and then I'll eat one or two of each color at a time or all of one color then all of the next or some other kind of pattern. But, I never just eat them randomly.

#3 Whenever I ate Cheerios when I was little (which was almost every morning), I used to pretend like the Cheerios were people in innertubes waiting in a pool for a ride at an amusement park. I pretended that the spoon picked up the people for the ride and then the ride started in my mouth. I imagined that the ride was a rollercoaster that took the people through all the systems of the body until reaching my feet, where I pretended there was a door that let everyone out. I always wished that there was really a ride like that.

#4 I don't like scratching people's backs but Jason asks me almost everyday to scratch his back, so I do. The reason I don't like it is I imagine all the dead skin particles and dirt that get stuck underneath my nails and it grosses me out. But, it doesn't gross me out to scratch my own back.

#5 I get embarrassed talking on the phone to make appointments or order food or to get information. So, whenever possible, I try to make other people make my phone calls for me. But, if I'm on the phone for a job or while making prank calls (Save the Red Lobster!) with friends, I have no problem talking on the phone.

#6 If I'm trying to watch TV after about 9:30, I can't keep myself awake no matter what. Even if it's my favorite show that I've been waiting all week to watch. But, if I'm playing games or talking to someone, I can stay up all night long without even getting tired.

Now, I guess I'm supposed to "tag" 6 people to do the same. Since there are only a handful of people who read my blog who have blogs of their own, I don't even have 6 people to tag. So, I'll just tag Amber, Aaron (and anyone else in the family), and Meredith.

Haley's Birthday

On Tuesday, March 6, Haley turned 3 years old! It's so crazy to me that she has grown up so fast. She's really a little girl now, not a baby at all. Monday night we had a birthday party with my side of the family. Patricia's birthday is the 5th, so we celebrated them both together. Haley made out like a bandit with all the presents she got! She's so spoiled by her grandparents, aunts, and uncles (and I guess her parents, too). She got an assortment of Little People sets, some clothes, some books, coloring books, crayons, Dora Magic Castle furniture (she got the castle for Chrismas), a make-up kit, and a bike! She loved every one of her gifts. Thanks to everyone!
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures because my camera battery wasn't charged. Maybe I'll have Britton take some pictures of her presents since he seems to like taking close ups of toys. :)

Give It Up

I never reported on my "Give It Up" challenge for last month. Probably because I did horribly. Eating out really is my weakness. I ended up giving in and eating out fairly early on in the month. I still tried keeping it going until about mid-month when I abandoned it altogether. I probably ended up eating out more than usual actually.
I do want to try it again one month though. I'm not ready to give up entirely.
But, March came so quickly and is already almost half over and I never started a new challenge for myself. So, I'm taking this month off and getting ready to go full force next month. I already picked the challenge for next month--I'm going to give up buying anything that is not a neccessity. I read an article today on MSN Money about a group of people who all did it. It was a very good article and really inspiring. Amber is going to try to do it with me, so that will probably help me actually keep it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Budding Photographers

A couple of weeks ago I let Britton and his friends play with my camera and take some pictures. Mostly they are closeups of toys and stuff. Here are a few of the less blurry ones.