Family Time

This last week was a whirlwind of relatives. Bryan (brother who recently returned from Iraq) and his wife Brit came last Sunday and Adri (sister in Vegas), Will, Charlie and Antonia arrived somewhere between sunset on Monday and sunrise on Tuesday.
It was an exceptionally great week. Being the sentimental type, I thrive on get togethers like this. And though I'm not sure why, this week will hold especially fond memories.

We just found some ways to have a really good time. A holiday wouldn't be a holiday without a service project instigated by my mother. I'm not sure how she got the fellas to tie a quilt...
Lori and Sean, being clever as they are, came up with a personalized version of JEOPARDY that no explanation here would give justice to. It was awesome.

Cameron and Charlie strengthened their cousin bond. Each morning Cameron begged to go back to "Baca's" house to play with Charlie again. Today was the sad day that Charlie departed.

And of course we spent many hours in the kitchen preparing and then devouring. One night Richard hooked his computer up to the "big screen" and we spent hours watching our favorite YouTube videos. One of these days I'll share some of the best laughter-producers.

So friends, another holiday season has begun. If I can get a picture from Brittany I'll do an entire post about Black Friday. I bet you can't wait!


"Listen to my heart, can you hear? It sings!"

I know that no one reading this will quite grasp the emotion with which this is written, but I want to write it nonetheless.

After looking at my thanksgiving decorations that say "GIVE THANKS" for the last few weeks I decided to take my own advice. I also just watched Christian's expression of gratitude and it put me in a very appreciative mood indeed.

This year I find myself especially thankful for good health. As I watch people around me struggle with illness or injury I am so grateful for good health. Our bodies are so complicated that I often feel it is amazing that everything works.
I am thankful for my family. My loving and unselfish parents and my siblings who know me and love me and set an example for me. My inlaws also have come to know and love me, for which I am also grateful.
I am thrilled and thankful to BE a parent. That's all I can say about that.
I am grateful grateful grateful for my husband. No one knows Richard like I do, and so I am qualified to say he is wonderful.
Last of all, but MOST of all I am thankful for the Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement. I am just beginning to understand it and apply it.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Hey You-Tubers

Not much ruminating for me lately it seems. And very little picture taking as well.

I think I have mentioned that I subscribe to the "Best of YouTube" podcast so I thought I'd share my favorites over the last few months. Don't be deterred by my short descriptions, just trust me that they are all worth watching. (Most are pretty short.)
This one is of a scientific nature, and it is also the longest. But it totally blew my mind. Wow.
This is just plain hilarious. I'm guessing it was a security camera because it is poor quality. But you'll get the idea.
Adorable. Great for the puppy-lover. (This one is for you Dad.)
Really short. Moderately entertaining.

Enjoy! Let me know what you you liked most. I'm curious if the YouTube videos I enjoy are enjoyed generally.

Pet Peeve

Awhile ago my MIL, Julie, tagged me and the subject of the tag was pet peeves. I've been thinking about it for a little while and today it hit me.

Sadly, I discovered my pet peeve by noticing it in myself and being very annoyed.

We were having a staff meeting this afternoon and it was resembling a family dinner. We were all making jokes/points/arguments and the decibal level was gradually rising as each person tried to be heard over the chaos. (For anyone who has to attend staff meetings you are probably predicting that this meeting was inefficient and looooong, and you are right, it was. Most staff meetings are.) But anyway.

Back to the point-

My pet peeve is when someone says something in a situation like this and if they don't get the response they wanted (everyone's attention or laughter) they keep saying it. They say it again because they delude themselves into thinking that they didn't elicit the desired response because people didn't hear. Well, people did hear but they just didn't care or think it was funny. So the person repeats it.

And tries again, a little louder.

And then says it one more time.

That's what I did today. After I left the meeting I was annoyed and embarrassed. Most likely all my co-workers have forgotten about my pathetic persistence. But it is my pet peeve. I know better.

So let's hear them people. What are your pet peeves? Time to name names. I tag Jaymie, Jill, Katie, Lisa, Jodi, Chandra, Kristina and Liberty.

Moving on...

Whenever I have a post that just flops, meaning I get little response, it is almost painful to let it just sit there, doing whatever it was that silenced the readers. So just for the sake of pushing that yawner/offender down the screen I dug up a couple pictures to change the scenery and the subject.

(Boy are we glad his eyes straightened out...)

Today I saw this quote and I panicked. "Blogging - Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few."

Have I gotten too carried away with myself? Is it time for another hiatus?

I Never Thought

This is getting a little personal.
I never thought I would be this type. The "granola" type who shops at the co-op and has a compost bin in their backyard. My parents taught me to recycle, and once when I asked my dad "If the Earth is going to be restored to its paradisiacal glory, why bother?" He responded "I still believe the Lord holds us accountable for how we treat it."
Recently I have a read a book that has made me start to think. Will the Lord hold us accountable for the way we treat animals too? I have tried various levels of vegetarianism but I never felt like I could defend my choices with either logic or principle. But now I think I have sorted it all out. I have based my choices on two ideas:
1. I can eat an animal if I know that the animal has had a good life. "For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food." (D&C 49:19) For me this means I am willing to pay more for animals who weren't raised in stacked cages in warehouses.

2. The Word of Wisdom suggests that the "flesh of beasts...are to be used sparingly". All things in moderation, no?

So, while I am not yet a member of PETA, because obviously I still plan to eat animals, I suppose I've evolved in my eating habits. I can't promise that I won't eat meats at a restaurant, or when offered to me as the guest at someone's home. But I've resolved to do something.
I've signed up for a local CSA. (Community Supported Agriculture.) And yesterday I took the boys out to another local farm to buy some free range chickens to freeze for the winter. Giving Cameron the chance to put on his boots and see horses and cows is just an added bonus.

Like I said, this is personal, these choices are personal. Why am I sharing this? The same reason we share many things on our blogs. To broaden each other's horizons and cause us to think.

Come What May and LOVE IT

At our wedding reception Richard and I danced to the song "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge. With all the the enthusiasm of a bride-to-be in the days before her wedding, I had Richard's ring engraved, on the inside, with those words. At that time, and of course still today, I have no doubts about our marriage surviving, come what may. But in our last conference Elder Wirthlin issued a higher law. It is no longer come what may, and survive it. It is

Come what may, and love it.

While listening to his talk the first time and then reading it again just a few days ago, I was so inspired I was sure I could heed that counsel.

Well today my good intentions have been put to the test. While the restoration man was thinking with all he had about a way to dry out our crawlspace, and the preschool kids were knocking on the door, Eli vomited all over me and the living room floor.

I sent the disappointed 3 year olds back home, the restoration man left for awhile and I cleaned up the vomit. But for some reason what really put me over the edge was that the apples I had been drying in the oven over night had crystalized to the cookie sheets and were ruined.

Love it?

Are you kidding me?

I pictured him saying "There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh...The next time you're tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead." There really wasn't anything funny about throwing away the apple-mess. Or at least I couldn't see it at the time. But I forced a laugh just to break down the anger that was rapidly welling up inside. That helped.

Love it.

I went and picked up my pale toddler who was being very snuggly and decided maybe I could love it after all.

I do not mean to minimalize the difficulty of the trials I know people are experiencing that make my little struggles truly laughable. But the beauty of the gospel is that we can apply its principles to the minor aspects of our lives and the major. To those who are experiencing real difficulty, Elder Wirthlin has much to say with regard to coping and loving it.

ella is mi amiga

Do you remember that song from grade school (I can't believe I just called it grade school) that went something like this:

"Make new friends, but ke-eep the oh-old, one is silver and the other is gold."

I've been thinking about it a little bit lately. I've mentioned on here before about how keeping in touch with old friends is something I wish I did better at, because I value it. And you can ask Richard about how I feel about making new friends... he heard many a sob story during our first year or two in Kuna.

But I have had the opportunity these last few months to develop a friendship with a woman that has virtually nothing in common with me.

I met Virginia at a dental hygiene continuing education course a year or two ago. We sat together at a table for lunch. I found out she works for the SW District Health Department as their dental hygienist. (Okay so we did have the dental hygiene thing in common.) I told her that if she ever needed a volunteer to give me a call.

About four months ago she took me up on my offer and we have spent many hours together doing oral screenings of 3rd graders for a statewide survey.

This woman is one of the best examples of integrity I have encountered in my life. You know the little saying "Choose the Right"? Virg chooses the right in all the small little details of life. I don't mean to say she is a saint, she has weaknesses. But she just tries so hard without making it look hard.

Looking back on my relationship with Richard leading up to our engagement I can see clearly that I had the Lord's help guiding me into a good thing. I know that since I have met Virginia I have had the Lord's help guiding me into a good thing.

Because I'm far to narrowminded to have developed this on my own.

She makes me want to be a better person, and isn't that more important than if our kids are going through the same phases or our primary language is the same?

So I guess the lesson I learned here is that friendship comes from many different places. And I am sad for any opportunities I missed before I learned this lesson.

Appreciation: A Human Need?

Sunday was the primary program. I invested a lot of time, effort and anxiety in the program this year and I was nervous. It was wonderful thanks to the wonderful children, teachers and leaders.

Marisa is our primary president and Sunday morning she brought by this corsage and a card.

(The flowers were financed by the husbands but inspired by Marisa. I thought I better give credit where credit was due.)

She gave me a note of thanks and love. It was nourishment for my soul. Feeling appreciated does so much for me.

I occasionally get the urge to let someone who has made my life better know it. But I usually ignore it, and justify my laziness by thinking "He/She doesn't care".

In an effort to show more gratitude, and in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, I am adding a gadget to my blog. Just a daily "THANKS" to a kindred spirit whose actions or existence bring me happiness in some way. Hopefully, taking time to think of such a person will motivate me to share my appreciation with them. No justifications allowed.

(And by the way. It is still a little... um... hard(?) for me to look at this picture of myself and to put it on here. What does that mean?)

Game Day

Usually we go to Gordon and Julie's for the BSU games, but yesterday I had the practice for the primary program and Richard had a honey-do list about a mile long.

He took a break to watch the game for awhile and apparently (I was still at the practice) Eli went and got his little red chair and sat down to watch the game.

This must have been when the score was 14-0.
This must have been when the score was 28-0.
Bummer you missed Utah State's "comeback" Eli.

It's funny because before I take a picture that I am planning to post, I make sure everything is clean and looks nice. But what for? What was it I was saying about aunthenticity...
Anyway, Richard took these pictures and I was just glad because he isn't really one to take pictures. He even had a blog post in mind.
What a treat to have your participation in the blog Richard.
(If I were actually saying this to him, I wouldn't say 'Richard'. But I'm not quite comfortable putting his pet name on here.)

** Side note: Richard graciously pointed out that I spelled "Plumber" like this: "Plummer." Embarrassing! Sorry Dad if I've disappointed you. I guess I was thinking along the lines of Jake Plummer, classmate of my brother's, and great athlete.

Jo ruminates. (again.)


I see this declaration everywhere. Well in homes mostly, it seems to be the catch-phrase for all the women who are struggling in that everlasting conflict of priorities. I find it to be very meaningful advice. Each time I see it, I think “I want that in my house somewhere. I need to simplify.” Perhaps if there are fewer options, it would be less of a struggle. By reducing the items on the list, it becomes easier to manage the list. So I started to imagine my list. This was all a thought process, nothing was written but in my mind it looked like this:

Feeding the Children
Card Club
Reading books
Grocery shopping
Cleaning bathrooms
Balancing the budget
Going to the park

The list seemed to go on and on. This only validated my sentiment of resolution for simplicity. It was time to delete some items from the list. I started to think of which items I could delete…



I didn’t want to delete anything. I love blogging, I can’t sacrifice that. And Eli loves his music class at the library, that can’t go. Hmm. So where did that leave me? I thought I wanted to simplify my life but I'm not willing to surrender anything from my list. In fact, each day it seems that I only accumulate more items for my list. Preschool for Cameron, ballet classes for myself, more meals cooked from healthy foods.

Which brought me to my next thought process. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about simplifying our diets. By that I mean, eating more basic, local foods. Taking out all the processed foods with the ingredients I can’t pronounce. What a refreshing idea! So how do I get started? Cooking from “scratch”. Homemade bread. But wait, that isn’t making my life simpler. Making bread is time consuming.

And there I was, my mind all tied in knots. There was no resolution. I was lost and very confused. I started to think about the Amish. I used to think it was sort of arbitrary the way they chose the time period they chose to freeze their technological progression. Why then? But I’m starting to think that maybe that isn’t the point. At least for me, what I can learn from them has so much more to do with what they’ve done since they decided to halt their industrial evolution.

They get it.

They are the epitome of simplicity. There are no name brand clothes, there is no world wide web, there probably aren’t competitive sports to fill the afternoons and evenings both in participation and television viewing. They are able to really spend their time on the things that deep in my heart are really most important to me. Things like work, family, prayer.

But let’s be realistic… I’m not about to have Richard quit his job and move to Lancaster County. The reality is that I live in this world. There are advantages to things like athletics and internet. But I am at a loss as how to filter. How do I resist the forces that are pulling me in countless directions? I want my children to be well-rounded, but I want to eat dinner as a family every night. I want to develop new talents, but I want to spend quality time with my kids. I want to eat wholesome foods but I don’t have time to go to farmer’s markets every Saturday.

Can I have my cake and eat it too? Can I simplify? Do I have the self-discipline to relinquish the hobbies and pursuits Elder Oaks would only classify as “good” rather than “best”? I fear making changes and I realize I have a long way to go.

My highest esteem to the Amish. I admire and envy their sacrifice and I trust that Heaven rewards them.

A Change of Pace

Whew! I am ready for this election season to be past.
But first, two last things about Obama. Politics aside, it is pretty thrilling that America has elected her first black president.
I had goosebumps last night listening to his speech.
(And I thought McCain was very gracious.) I'm prepared to support the new president and I'm anxious to allow him to prove himself to the nation.

The other thing, on a funny note.
This morning when Richard turned on the t.v. it was Obama of course and Cameron said
"Who is that?"
Richard: "He is the next president of the United States."
Cam: "Oh. Is he a brother?"
Oh man. What a laugh. In Cameron's mind anyone wearing a suit is "Brother".
(The title given to all the men at church.) But yes Cameron, he is a "brotha".
Here are some random pictures of the boys from recent days. Speaking of brothers...

Yes, this is Cameron feeding cheerios to Eli with his toes. I know I should have intervened before retrieving the camera, but I couldn't resist documenting it.

This was the first time one of my little guys fell asleep in a high chair. I remember my sister Lori falling asleep in her highchair but it hadn't happened to one of my kids until now.

Eli loves stuffed animals. Cameron was never interested but Eli loves a snuggle buddy.


"No, posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make good use of it. If you do not I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it. "
John Adams


Eli was a horse, obviously. But not just any horse, a BRONCO of course!

Cameron was Dash, the "superherio". (Said like Cheerio.)
He really wanted some pictures in action.
This one of Eli was an accidental treasure.
You have to click on it to get the full effect of his heart-melting smile.
We were so glad to have Richard home for Halloween this year.
He didn't dress up though, so he took the picture for us.
My "costume" was a total last-minute-throw-something-together-just-for-fun costume.
The story of our leak begs to become an analogy for something, but I'm not in the mood, and I am terrible at analogies. The short version of the story is that there was a very small leak, that dripped a very small drip, for a very long time. (How long? We're not sure.) But it finally started to manifest itself as wet carpet and we called the plummer. I didn't take his picture, that would be weird. But he was so nice and became Cameron's newest friend.
This is the guilty valve. It is supposed to provide water to the freezer for the ice maker we don't have. It doesn't look that suspcious does it? (Remember hindsight vision is 20/20.)


So now we have big blue machines blowing hot air around our smelly house. Not smelly from the mold that was growing but from whatever cleaning agent the company is using. Maybe I'll get new floors out of this. Every cloud...