Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Terrorism Won, Get Over It

9/11.  The day that we will all remember.  The day we learned that not everyone in the world loves us.  The day we learned that we would never feel completely safe again.

The Department of Homeland Security.  The 9/11 report.  The hearings.  The arrests.  Guantanamo.  Guess what?  Everything changed.

The laws were past YEARS ago that gave the government the right to invade our privacy.  It has been going on for YEARS and it wasn't a secret.  I mean, if I knew about it, I assumed everyone knew about it.  So some low-level dude has exposed the big bad dirty secret that the government is spying on us, but guess what?  It is all LEGAL.

I had been joking with people for years not to do too many searches using key terms related to terrorism.  I assumed if I used a string of suspicious words in the airport, or on the phone, or in a text that men in black suits and sunglasses would come and question me.  I expect this post will get read by someone in the Department of Homeland Security because I am now typing the terms "terror" "bombing" "explosion" "mass killing" "Muslim" and "Saudi Arabia."  That freedom was gone years ago.  Now all of the sudden, people are shocked that it is gone?????

Guess what?  The terrorist won.  Their intent was to attack our freedoms.  Our freedom is what we lost that day.  The thousands of people who died were collateral damage.  The purpose of the attacks was to produce terror in the hearts of Americans.  Thus the term terrorist, terrorism;  all have the root word of terror.

Because of FEAR, we were willing to give up our rights.  We have ridiculous airport procedures, people held in Cuba so we don't have to worry about the Bill of Rights, drone strikes, commando units killing Bin Laden with complete disregard to both domestic and international law, two EXTREMELY costly wars, federal marshalls flying on every coast-to-coast flight, and many more new laws that chip away from the freedoms we once enjoyed.  Our trillions of dollars of debt can be directly related to two wars and a gigantic cabinet position-department that have cost SO much money, were unbudgeted, and not paid for.  That debt is another dirty little secret.  With everyone running around blaming old people, poor people, students, and park rangers; it is the wars and D of HS that is bleeding us dry.  But no one wants to talk about that because it would be unpatriotic.

FEAR is our greatest enemy.  We pay for our rights.  We are scared and because we are scared, we allowed laws to be passed that infringe on those rights.

I am glad that the ACLU is taking up the legal challenge to this "freedom of speech" infringement.  Let the Supreme Court deal with it.  They will have to throw out the law.  Or they will allow the terrorists to win.

I am not saying any of this is right or wrong.  I just don't understand why it took some people so long to be outraged.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Color of the Year

"Lively. Radiant. Lush…
A color of elegance and beauty that
enhances our sense of well-being,
balance and harmony."

PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald,
a lively, radiant, lush green, is the Color of the Year for 2013.
Emerald, a vivid verdant green, enhances our sense of well-being further
by inspiring insight as well as promoting balance and harmony.
Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception
of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous,
magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many
cultures and religions. Also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity,
no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many
countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.
"The most abundant hue in nature, the human eye sees more green than
any other color in the spectrum," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director
of the Pantone Color Institute®. "As it has throughout history, multifaceted
 Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings
a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today's
complex world. This powerful and universally-appealing tone translates
easily to both fashion and home interiors."


Friday, February 24, 2012

I used to blog ...

I used to blog because I love to write.
I used to blog because it was my journal, my family history, my documentation.
I used to blog to keep in touch with family and friends.
I used to blog and look forward to other people commenting on my stuff.
I used to find time to blog even though I was busy.

Now, I facebook.
Now, I read other people's blogs and wish I could feel motivated to write something deep. Or funny. Or moving. Or even simply "not" stupid.
Now, I am too busy.
Now I wonder if anyone will ever read my blog again because I never blog so people are out of the habit of checking in.
Now, I wonder how would I ever catch up.
Now, I feel like those are all a bunch of lame excuses.

Ahh, the good ol' days. I was a blogging queen. Well, maybe of a itty-bitty, teeny-weeny country. Like inside my own house. Or maybe just one room of my house.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pantone Color of the Year for 2012 ... Tangerine Tango

From the Pantone website:
"Dance into the New Year with this Vivacious and Appealing Reddish Orange
The 2011 color of the year, PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle, encouraged us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.

Dance into the New Year with this Vivacious and Appealing Reddish Orange
The 2011 color of the year, PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle, encouraged us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.
“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”
Over the past several years, orange has grown in popularity and acceptance among designers and consumers alike. A provocative attention-getter, Tangerine Tango is especially appealing in men’s and women’s fashion. Fashion designers featured in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2012, including Tommy Hilfiger, Nanette Lepore, Cynthia Steffe by Shaun Kearney, Elie Tahari and Adrienne Vittadini, are incorporating this attractive orange into their spring collections. A fun, lively take on a traditional autumnal hue, Tangerine Tango will surely carry through to fall fashion as well.
A winner in cosmetics because of its versatility, Tangerine Tango is a bit exotic, but in a very friendly, non-threatening way. Add a sultry flair to lips, cheeks and nails with Tangerine Tango. An unexpected eye shadow color, Tangerine Tango is a complementary opposite that flatters blue or green eyes. When paired with brown eyes, it brings out an amber cast.
Energize interior spaces with Tangerine Tango patterned home accessories. Pillows, bedspreads and tabletop accessories in this high-impact hue add spice to any room. Or incorporate Tangerine Tango appliances and personal electronics for an unexpected pop of color. Looking for an inexpensive way to perk up your home? Paint a wall in Tangerine Tango for a dynamic burst of energy in the kitchen, entryway or hallway.
“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”
Over the past several years, orange has grown in popularity and acceptance among designers and consumers alike. A provocative attention-getter, Tangerine Tango is especially appealing in men’s and women’s fashion. Fashion designers featured in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2012, including Tommy Hilfiger, Nanette Lepore, Cynthia Steffe by Shaun Kearney, Elie Tahari and Adrienne Vittadini, are incorporating this attractive orange into their spring collections. A fun, lively take on a traditional autumnal hue, Tangerine Tango will surely carry through to fall fashion as well.
A winner in cosmetics because of its versatility, Tangerine Tango is a bit exotic, but in a very friendly, non-threatening way. Add a sultry flair to lips, cheeks and nails with Tangerine Tango. An unexpected eye shadow color, Tangerine Tango is a complementary opposite that flatters blue or green eyes. When paired with brown eyes, it brings out an amber cast.
Energize interior spaces with Tangerine Tango patterned home accessories. Pillows, bedspreads and tabletop accessories in this high-impact hue add spice to any room. Or incorporate Tangerine Tango appliances and personal electronics for an unexpected pop of color. Looking for an inexpensive way to perk up your home? Paint a wall in Tangerine Tango for a dynamic burst of energy in the kitchen, entryway or hallway."

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Whole Story Behind My Dream Job

I have always dreamed of teaching Chinese in an elementary school. But it was one of those dreams like living the whole summer in France exploring the countryside or owning a two-seater light blue convertible T-bird when you have four children ... very much in the back of my mind. In other words, it literally fell in my lap with no pursuit. Much preparation, but no pursuit.

I served my mission in Taiwan where I learned Mandarin Chinese. During that time, sister missionaries were (very) informally "not encouraged" to learn characters because they were only there for 18 months and most of our companions were Chinese, so they could read for us. I thought that was a bunch of crap. I remember taking the bus to my first area, about an hour and a half out of Taipei to HsinJu, I kept seeing this on the freeway signs:

出口 I asked my Chinese companion (who spoke pretty decent English) about this city, it must be huge, because we had been driving for over an hour and we were still in the same city. She giggled and explained that it meant "exit." Duh. But, I was hooked.

I was determined to read the Book of Mormon in Chinese. I mean, with all those Chinese companions, I might as well take advantage of them. I learned what I needed. Peoples' names, street signs, menus, restroom symbols. Basically survival vocabulary plus church content. But it was enough. The Elders got wind of my study and one, exceeding bright, elder asked me a very complicated character in a manner to expose my ignorance. I knew it. Thus my reputation grew. What he didn't know was that that happened to be one of our investigators' names. It was a total fluke. But armed with a reputation, I continued.

When I returned to school at BYU, I tested out of about 14-18 credits (I can't remember now and I am too lazy to check my transcripts.) I figured I was close enough to a minor that I should go for it. It was hard. I also took some Chinese history classes and a great class in Chinese calligraphy, but those language classes were hard. But, I did it. It was so hard that I determined never to lose it.

During that time, I also taught Chinese at the Missionary Training Center. A very fun experience. but was very focused on speaking and church vocabulary. I loved seeing the transformation on faces from complete fear to understanding. It was a great and I was hooked on teaching it.

Then I married a man who also went to Taiwan on his mission. I went to the north, he went to the south. We have always known that we would go back as a older couple and do missionary work in China. But that is still in the future.

When Ryan and I were engaged, an opportunity fell in my lap. Literally. My dad was working as an administrator at the school in San Fernando Juvenile Hall. In a meeting, the principal asked "Does anyone know someone who is fully credentialed who speaks Chinese?" My father replied: "I do and she is sleeping on my couch right now, my daughter." I was whisked into the district on the fastest hiring anyone had ever seen (one day - it usually was a two week process) and the next thing I knew, I was teaching a classroom full of forty "teenage" boys. They were the Boat People who were smuggled in the holding of a container ship and wound up on US soil. They all claimed to be teenagers because they were told that the US laws were kinder to minors. While the courts were trying to figure out what to do with them, they were detained at Juvenile Hall. I translated for Probation, I taught them survival English and US culture. I helped them fill out the legal forms. My vocabulary in legalese grew. It was quite fulfilling and fun to be needed. I even received a special commendation letter from the county for keeping everyone at bay. The immigration judge spoke to me and I told him the truth about their ages. I helped them work out a deal and they found sponsorships for them.

Now fast forward to this year. I found my Chinese slipping away. I have been sad over this. It takes a little more effort to slide into my language skills and I look at characters that I know that I once knew, but can't remember. Especially with a family friend leaving on her mission to Taiwan, I have had this weighing on my mind. I even prayed for a way to bring my language back. I decided that I would write to her in Chinese, with translation more for my benefit. I figured that was a start.

Now for the teaching side of things. When we moved here, I applied to the school district. I felt I should. In this uncertain economy, it never hurts. However, even though I felt I should apply, I decided I would only teach if the position was perfect. Perfect for my family, logistics, hours, school, subject, etc. Hence, many jobs were offered, but none chosen. My poor hiring liaison. She would get extremely frustrated with me. She kept asking me if I was truly serious about working or just wasting their time. I would reply, I was looking for perfection. Last summer, I was-this-close to accepting a position that was "almost" perfect. The right hours for my children, close to home, good schedule, etc. There was one problem: I did not feel completely right about it. I turned it down and I decided I was the most spoiled person on Earth. After Madison's broken ankle and Ryan's appendix rupture, I knew I made the right decision. That would have been grueling to not have been there for them. Besides, I had a great part-time gig as a community college professor. So, I was good. With the approach of this year, the offers started coming and I became even more picky. I thought there were only two schools I would go to. Take it or leave it.

A week ago, while we were driving into St. Louis, I got a phone call. An elementary school in Las Vegas is becoming IB (International Baccalaureate) and therefore was required to teach a foreign language. The vote from staff and parents went overwhelmingly for Mandarin Chinese. After scouring the files, they found only one person who was fully credentialed (in elementary), had adequate education (a minor), and therefore, was qualified to teach Chinese in elementary. That was ME! (After the interview and offer they explained that if they had not found me, they would have had to switch to another language.)

It is farther than I had hoped. The hours are later than I had hoped. It is full-time, so I will quit my community college job. But wow, when an answer to a prayer falls into your lap - you take it. This feels so right, and having felt other things were so wrong ... believe me, I know the difference. This will be an adjustment for the family, but I just have all the confidence in the world that things are going just as they should. I am at total peace in the midst of a raging sea - did I mention we bought a house and are moving within the next three weeks? I am literally sitting in the midst of floor to ceiling boxes that, if they were to fall, would kill me. I need to get everything ready for the move, for the kids' back-to-school and mine, and make serious decisions about curriculum and materials to purchase. But, I could not be more confident that all is well and as it should be.

My prayer was answered. By this time next year, my Chinese will all be back and stronger than ever. By the way, I am getting paid for this. A cherry on top.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things I love about Betty ...

I wanted to capture this while it is still fresh. I am a big fan of Betty Ford. In fact, I love her.

I love that Betty turned tragedy into triumph.

By going public with her battles, she was able to help others. She made it okay to say the words BREAST CANCER and erased a silly taboo. She turned a dirty little secret into a DISEASE thereby allowing people to admit, get help and conquer alcoholism.

But my favorite thing about Betty is this ...

When we lived in the Palm Springs area, I had a friend whose husband was on the Ford's secret service detail. Like many people, the Fords liked to winter in Palm Desert and spend summers in cooler climates. Their favorite was Vail, CO. They would go back and forth according to the weather. When it got too hot in the desert and nice in Vail, they would go to Vail. When it got cold in Vail and nice in the desert, they would go to the desert.

This was what was best for them. Let's face it: that would be ideal and they had earned that luxury. The only problem was that the secret service detail had wives and children who went to public school. So if the Fords decided to leave in April (which many snowbirds do) then the families would have to choose between being separated for as much as two months OR to take the kids out of school. This placed a hardship on the secret service detail. Of course, it was not allowed for the men to request the Fords change their plans to accommodate them. The reverse would happen in September when school started. Snowbirds tended to return to the desert in Oct/Nov and sometimes as late as Dec. Once again the families were put in difficult situations trying to choose between keeping their family together, kids missing or changing school, or simply resigning from the detail and moving on to other duties.

The Fords noticed this dilemma and the toil it took on their beloved detail. Upon inquiry, they discovered the problem could be solved if THEY changed their schedule. The Fords opted to adjust their schedule to accommodate the families. They stayed in the desert according to the school schedule, not the temperature. They sacrificed their own comfort in order to do what was best for the families of their detail.

That is why I loved Betty Ford. Rest in Peace Betty with your Gerald forever.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Harry Potter and Mathematics

This is the explanation I gave to my students in a math class for nursing students. A dram is from the apothecary system which comes to us from the middle ages.


There was some question about # 25 on page 106. The answer in the back of the book states 30 mL. If you use the conversion on the chart, it states 5 mL = 1 tsp = 1 dram. According to that conversion, the answer should be 40 mL. However, at the bottom of the chart, it explains that the dram actually is worth 3.7 mL and has been rounded to 4 mL. Additionally on the chart, under 30 mL, it shows: 30 mL = 2 tbsp = 1 oz = 8 drams. Therefore, because it states "8 drams" that would be the most accurate conversion. If you used 3.7 as your conversion factor, your answer would be 29.6, which rounds to 30 as well.

I know this can be very confusing. I would like to apologize for it, but it is not my fault. Needless to say, there is a reason Harry Potter hated Snape and why simply following the potions formulas would not produce consistent results from student to student. That is why when Harry got a copy of the Half-Blood Prince's potion book, the notes provided the accurate amounts. Finally Harry was achieving the desired results while everyone else struggled, including Hermione. I think, most likely, the measurements were given in drams. So at least you are good company.

Good Luck!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Amazing (g)Race

Mom: How is the pool temperature?
Monterey: It is perfect, like the Amazing Race!
Mom: What does that mean?
Monterey: You know (singing to the tune of Amazing Grace) "Amazing Race, how sweet the sound."

I spend my days laughing at that child. I have to document this stuff. I would never be able to make it all up nor remember it all.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes ...

Maya wanted to know how we get money. I explained that you get money by working. She said yeah, but how do they get the money to pay you. I explained that generally there are two ways. You are either a public sector employee like a fireman or police officer or a teacher who gets paid by the tax payers for the benifit they give to the community or you are a private sector emploee who provides good or services. She seemed satisfied with the answer.

However, her younger sister pointed out that there was a third way: gambling. Ah, the joys of raising a child in Las Vegas.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pantone Color of the Year: Honeysuckle

A Color for All Seasons
Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.

While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”

Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”

Honeysuckle is guaranteed to produce a healthy glow when worn by both men and women. It’s a striking, eye-catching hue that works well for day and night in women’s apparel, accessories and cosmetics, and in men’s ties, shirts and sportswear. Add a lively flair to interior spaces with Honeysuckle patterned pillows, bedspreads, small appliances and tabletop accessories. Looking for an inexpensive way to perk up your home? Paint a wall in Honeysuckle for a dynamic burst of energy in the family room, kitchen or hallway.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Facebook History 2010

This is a rather cryptic history, but considering what a blogging slacker I've become, AND considering that I really want my blog to be my family history; today they are getting together. Facebook, this is blogger. Blogger, meet Facebook. I love you both dearly, so I would be overjoyed if you two could get married and have a family together.

Here are all my postings on facebook for the last year.

1/1: ‎loves watching the Rose Parade. It is much better being there in person, but I'll take the TV viewing. By far the most beautiful parade. Go OHIO (that is for you Rick.)

2010 is going to be good. Already I have read so many updates about so much good news. I am crying with joy reading about wonderful engagements, babies, recoveries, prize winners, new jobs, OHIO won, and we are only one day in. Congrats to all my wonderful and blessed friends.

1/4: Two big kids off to school. Two little kids off-track and hanging out all day for the rest of the month. At least they love playing with each other.

1/5: observation: collecting jeans for a jean quilt is much easier than making the jean quilt.

1/6: For birthdays this year, each girl will get a quilt. Here is the journey

1/8: at Trader Joe's, the little ones were loving their samples of fish and green juice. They were being nice, throwing away each other’s trash. Everyone wanted to know my secret. If I could only be judged on those 15 minutes, I could be Mother of the Year. Unfortunately, there are the other 1,425 minutes in the day where it is not peaches & cream.

1/10: I'm making waffles.

1/11: no matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to cut off my left index finger. This time I came pretty close. 20 minutes of direct pressure seemed to do the trick.

1/13: We finally got something falling from the sky for the first time ... in a long time. It was brief showers, but we could hear it. I wonder if that is all the rainfall we get all year here in Vegas.

1/14: Tonight we are going to Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. The girls are so excited. They have been singing the songs all week. I just hope the little ones don't think it is a sing-a-long.

Front row seats. Not too shabby. Loved the costume detail and that chandelier fell a LOT faster than any other production we've seen. Phantom at the Venetian rocks!

1/17: thinking about 4:31am, Jan 17th 1994. Today is the 16th anniversary of the 6.8 Northridge quake. I still can remember that feeling, the noise, and worrying about family members throughout the valley. My heart goes out to the people in Haiti. Food, water, shelter, and comfort. Realizing that this Earth is powerful and violent and we are all at its mercy.

1/18: ‎"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." Martin Luther King, Jr. I find this especially poignant in light of the Haitian disaster. Let us all do what we can. If we feel we can do nothing, we can always pray.

Getting everything ready for my first day of classes. I have my class roster, my syllabus is copied, my lesson is planned, I know where I'm going, what else? What else?

1/20: College teaching is the best! After two days, I am madly in love with students who want to learn enough to pay for the privilege.

1/21: After an unsuccessful attempt at slicing off my left index finger, I was unsuccessful at sewing my right index finger to my daughter's quilt. The sewing machine needle broke in my finger. So now I have band aids on both index fingers and both hurt every time I do anything. Maybe I should leave quilting to professionals.

1/24: My #2 is 12 today. I am so proud of her for everything she is and does.

This is Madison's present from me - her jean quilt. She picked the peace sign backing. The frayed edge on three of the squares is intentional. It was both tied and machine quilted.

1/27: mmm...grilled cheese dunked in hot chocolate for lunch. Perfect rainy day food.

1/29: ‎"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. “- Marvin J. Ashton

1/30: "Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped." Marvin J. Ashton

1/31: We attended a church conference last night with Elder Bruce Porter. He is one of our leaders and happens to have a background in Poli Sci. He voiced his concerned about the divisiveness going on in politics right now He asked everyone to avoid contention in speaking of politics and for everyone to support and pray for the president. He said all good Christians should rise above their difference and unite.r the president. He said all good Christians should rise above their differences and unite.

2/1: For all those that switched their profile pics to famous people: I feel so popular and hip. Apparently I am friends with everyone from Princess Diana to Oprah Winfrey. From Angelina Jolie to Jennifer Aniston. From Jeffrey Tambor to Bart Simpson. I just fear that when you all change back to your real personas, my self-esteem will take a dive.

2/3: my mom is in town. That means lots of shopping. Best of all? She is the one helping the little ones with their homework.

2/6: mom went back last night. Time to do all the drudge chores I put off while she was here. That means today is all about the cleaning and laundry. Ryan and the older girls are going to the UNLV-BYU basketball game while I take the younger girls to a Star Wars theme birthday party. Presents are optional, but dressing up is mandatory.

2/7: cooking, cleaning, prepping. My heart is with the Saints, my head is with the Colts. To all our past Superbowl Party go-ers: We miss you!

2/10: after hours of research, I have finally come up with our menu for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Salmon cooked on a cedar plank, Poutine, Prawn Dumplings, Beaver Tails, Nanaimo Bars, and Maple Leaf Cookies. I would like some feedback from any Canadians out there!

2/11: just taught my 5 year old how to give a fake phone # to a boy who you don't want to call, but don't want to say no to. Poor Donovan will realize he had been duped when he calls 123-4567.

2/12: this new NBC show features famous people and their family history. It looks pretty good.

2/13: In Target, Monterey was running off so I had to put her in the cart (with no belt.) She said "Mom, if you don't let me out, I'm gonna scream." She started standing up and I told her: "If you don't sit down, I am going to scream." She was so shocked, she sat down and didn't say another word. So glad she didn't test to see if I really would do it.ee if I really would do it.

2/14: 新年快樂! Happy Chinese New Year! 恭喜發財!

2/15: Only three days in and I have my Olympic Headache. Even with DVR, I find myself up way too late watching everything. I need to pace myself.

just said goodbye to my in-laws. Now to get ready for school tomorrow.

2/17: in the middle of the awful dilemma: Is she really sick? Is she too sick to go to school? Should I just send her? If I send her, will I get called anyway and risk exposing other kids? Maybe she isn't really sick. Throwing up and bleeding are the only two things I can be sure of, other than that, it is all guessing.

2/24: I am trying to find leather sandals and I cannot quite find the right style so I google "Jesus shoes" and find these: http://www.zazzle.com/jesus+shoes I am kind of thinking some of these are rather cute.

Ryan just told me we are going to see "The Jersey Boys" on Friday night! I am so excited!

2/26: just finished correcting the finals and posting the grades. My first experience in teaching college is done and I loved it! It was a six-week block class so it went by really fast. On Monday, I start again.

leaving for Emeril's Table 10 and "The Jersey Boys." Woo Hoo!!!!!

review: I loved it! details: the story? is AMAZING. The songs and talent? were SUPERB. The language? Well it is a good thing I have experience working in LA Probation Camps 'cause that is the last time I heard language like that. (I think it was accurate and integral to the story - not for shock value.) So if I suddenly start using potty language, you’ll know why.

suddenly start using potty language, you'll know why.

2/27: just saw Avatar and loved it! I had heard some rumblings about how political it was. So you shouldn't try to kill off an entire race of people or blow up a planet. If that offends your politics, heaven help you.

3/2: Taxes are in! Woo Hoo. Glad that is over with.

3/3: maybe when the psychologist says: I guarantee he will do it again, and then the parole board lets him out early anyway, and then he does it again ... the parole board members should be charged as accomplices to that crime.

3/5: oh what a beautiful Friday, oh what beautiful day. I've got a wonderful feeling the weekend is coming my way.

date night, just in the nick of time.

3/7: just tossed out the last of the Valentine's candy. If it wasn't eaten by now, no one is going to eat it. NOTE: I don't think a single sweetheart was eaten. Those things are cute to look at, but does anyone really eat them? Or am I missing something?

3/9: It is hailing like I have never seen before. Such weather!

3/10: blaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I went online to register for the Disney give-a-day-get-a-day and the program has ended. #%$&#! I didn't read the fine print that said only one million can do it and then it is over. Procrastination is an ugly thing, but even uglier when it costs you $420. I'll see you at Disneyland later this year with the word IDIOT tattoo’d on my forehead.isneyland later this year with the word IDIOT tattoo'd on my forehead.

3/13: We are an army of cleaning machines. After three hours of work, I am confident to say that every surface has been swept, mopped, dusted, scrubbed, scoured, vacuumed, and polished. Now we can spend the rest of the day having fun. (And finishing the laundry - that is an all day affair when we are doing all the sheets, towels,rugs, etc.) We can go out and have fun in-between switching loads.

towels, rugs, etc.) We can go out and have fun in-between switching loads.

3/16: just completed the census. Of voting, jury duty and filling out the census, I would say the census is the easiest of my good citizenship duties. And I only have to do it once every ten years.

I have discovered a new form of torture: "magic" card tricks by a five year old. I'm sure the terrorists would have been confessing to just about anything after the first 15 minutes.

3/17: so glad to have my husband back home after he was out-of-town. We really missed him and now all seems right with the world.

3/20: luvin' my Saturday with lots of errands and a movie with the people I love most in the world.

Happy Spring! I'm feeling pastels and salads and blossoms and spring break and jelly beans are coming our way.

3/21: I've been asked to translate for a Chinese woman today in church. It has been a long time. I'm going through the printed lesson and trying to translate that. I am in trouble. How do you say "Eve" and the "Fall" again?

3/23: On Sunday morning, I discovered we had NINE open boxes of cereal. I declared that we had to eat them all until we open a new box. We are now down to six. Nothing but cold cereal for breakfast, lunch, and snacks until they are gone.

3/24: For those keeping track of the cereal dilemma: I found two more boxes, but we finished three today. So that is a total of 12 open boxes and 6 boxes on the counter right now. And we finished another gallon of milk today.

3/26: We were talking last night at dinner about going to see the Hoover Dam during Spring Break. So I think I am being funny and saying: we are going on the dam tour and we are going to take lots of dam pictures and buy some dam stuff at the dam gift shop ... Monterey then says: Let's eat our damn dinner. Once again, my humor has a negative effect on my children.

3/27: Birthday party, laundry, manicures, cleaning, chicken fingers, mopping, cooking, and planning a mah-ve-lous spring break stay-cation. Tonight, I have the older girls for a church meeting and dinner while Ryan takes the princesses (that is what they now want us to call them) out for the evening. Ahh Saturday ... how I love you.

3/29: just got back from our Spring Break-Staycation-Day 1-Palooza. Today's theme was natural beauty. We went to the Valley of Fire. Hiking and lots of pictures.

3/30: Spring Break-Staycation-Day 2-Palooza. Today's theme was history. We went to the Old Mormon Fort, the first settlement in Nevada the Old Downtown Area (which has been revitalized and shows classic Vegas) and the Natural History Museum.

3/31: today is my husband Ryan's birthday. The celebration started on Sunday and will continue through Friday.

Spring Break-Staycation-Day 3-Palooza. Today's theme was shopping. Got to love Vegas for shopping. All our favorites AND a Nordstrom's Rack.

4/1: Spring Break-Staycation-Day 4-Palooza. Today's theme was man-made wonders. We just got back from the Hoover Dam. A-MAZE-ZING. We didn't stay too long because, well, Ryan was with us and apparently I am a bad wife. I am insensitive to height issues.

4/2: so I get up at 5:30 to take advantage of my frigid house to do my Easter chocolate dipping. As I start, I notice I am hot. My dear, sweet, thoughtful husband turned on the heat before he left for golfing. Now, at 6:30 am, I am waiting for the air conditioning to get the house back down to 60 degrees so I can dip my chocolates.

Spring Break-Staycation-Day 5-Palooza. Today's theme was The Strip. We went to see Ryan's new office, went to lunch with him and then it was on to the In-N-Out Store and Serendipity for Frozen Hot Chocolate. Brain Freeze!

Spring Break Staycation Lalapalooza

4/3: there are two nights a year that I feel bad we didn't have sons ... when Ryan leaves for Priesthood Session all alone.

4/4: sending out lots of love. Period. Just feeling the love.

nice quiet Easter day filled with love, good food, great spiritual talks, and surrounded by the people I love the most in this world. Feeling blessed.

4/6: My mom is here for the month. Babysitting, organizing my messes, looking for houses, making a quilt, etc. She has been here only a few hours and already I have given her a month's worth of projects. Happy, happy, happy.

4/8: How pathetic is it that the only time I have for facebook is while I am working? This week is looking to be one of the busiest ever ... In my whole life ... Seriously.

4/10: I went with my girls to do baptisms for the dead at the LV Temple today. Madison's first time. The girls were each able to do family name thanks to Tom & Diane. My mom was with us and got to enjoy seeing two grand-daughters in the temple.

4/12: wonderful surprise visit from Jean Arbuckle and saved $90 at the grocery store. Good day.

4/14: celebrating my mom's birthday tonight by taking her to a buffet and the Donny & Marie show. (Her birthday is not until the 25th, but this is our only free night between now and the end of April.)

4/16: just got home from practice. Note the time ... (11:31 pm)

4/17: Elder Perry came to see our rehearsal and greeted the girls.

4/18: Everyone come see our play: "Savior of the World" on April 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, and May 1. Check out the website for details and tickets. McK, Mad, and Maya are angels and townspeople. They are amazing. I am on stage a few times, too. I am a mother.

4/20: Two oral surgeries - four teeth removed. Soft foods for dinner. My brave girls. Thank goodness Dairy Queen is having a Blizzard Sale!

4/24: Thanks to all for the lovely birthday wishes. My real gift is to have all of you for friends. Near or far, your wishes perked me up and made my day. Last night we had Opening Night and it was great! One performance down, six more to go.

4/29: Three more performances. Come see us if you get the chance. We are exhausted but so glad we could be a part of it.

5/1: Well. it is officially over. I packed up all the props and washed off the make-up. Put away my Jesus-sandals and got home at 11:00. It has been a great experience, but glad it is over. Now for dishes, laundry, and prepping for tomorrow.

5/2: Well, I guess I didn't learn everything I was supposed to the first time around. Primary President ... again. I'm back for seconds.

5/4: The youngest one wants blueberry pancakes, so she will have them. What my baby wants, my baby gets. Why can I say no to the others, but not her?

5/6: The youngest one wants blueberry pancakes, so she will have them. What my baby wants, my baby gets. Why can I say no to the others, but not her?

5/7: Just got back from my birthday dinner at Roy's. Yes it was two weeks late, but no worries: it was amazing as always.

5/9: Happy Mother's Day! To all my friends: my moms, my examples, my inspiration, my daughters who will be great moms, and to all who made me want to be a mom. I love you all and wish you a mommalious day!

SMOTHER: The word is in the name: s"mother"; you’ve never heard of someone being s"father"ed to death...

5/11: Hey all our desert buddies: we will be in town this Sat. the 15th and would love to see you all. Maya and Monterey need a forum to play and I'm all about air conditioning so I made a call to Pump It Up ... details to follow. For now plan on coming with your little ones from 5:30 until 7:30 to frolic and giggle. Spread to anyone who doesn’t check their facebook.ead to anyone who doesn't check their facebook!

5/12: Okay desert people, it looks like we ARE NOT doing Pump It Up. So any other ideas?

5/16: Just got back from a wonderful trip to our former home in Palm Desert. Our vacation mantra was "upbeat and relaxing." We ate at our favorite place: Fisherman’s. We stayed at our favorite place: Shadow Ridge. We saw all our favorite people. We went to see Ryan's grandma, who is not doing well and even she was in good spirits and the visit went much better than we anticipated. Good times.d spirits and the visit went much better than we anticipated. Good times.

5/18: just saw Robin Hood. Pretty good if you have never seen Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan (D-day landing part) or have any regard for history. But the arrow through the guy's neck? Priceless.

5/22: just saw Robin Hood. Pretty good if you have never seen Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan (D-day landing part) or have any regard for history. But the arrow through the guy's neck? Priceless.

5/24: I love having a 14 yr old. She is cooking the entire dinner all by herself.

5/25: I am literally in tears. With all due respect to the spin-offs, I can't bear my life without Jack McCoy. I will personally commit an interesting crime if it is just new material they need.

5/26: It just dawned on me: maybe my children think leaving their dirty socks on the stairs is a decorative element and not a sign of slobbery. Why else would they be there constantly regardless of my efforts to remove them?

just got back from McK's Middle School Promotion. Hello High School ....

5/27: Officially done. The finals are graded and the grades are posted. Now to focus on the syllabi for the new classes.

5/30: Once she discovered she could make money, she lost another one. The classic toothless grin.

6/1: Question for everyone: Rice Krispy Treats: crunchy or gooey?

6/2: Braces for two girls or a month long trip to Europe for the whole family? I cannot believe how much this is going to cost. It is true: we have entered the scary world of orthodontia.

6/4: Getting ready for the big party tomorrow. The piñata is full of candy, the cupcakes are decorated, the quilt is finished and wrapped. Not even halfway through. Luckily my sister Karen came for the party to run all the activities during the party. Thank Goodness for sisters.

6/5: Countdown: three and a half hours until the Sponge Bob Party. Crabby Patties are done and the water balloons are being filled. Chuck E. Cheese and Pump It Up are sounding real good right now.

6/7: Cafe Rio. All is right in the world.

6/8: Seven years ago I held a miracle in my arms. My Amazing Maya is one of the great blessings of my life. May she have the happiest of days.

I voted.

6/10: Mean girl action in the first grade. Here we go all over again. Of course, I'm not sure my child was com-plete-ly blameless. Someone didn't get an invite to the birthday party, words were exchanged, and now, someone doesn't want anyone else to be friends with Maya. Lots of tears.

6/11: Maya: "I had the best day. She (the mean girl) was crying." Mom: "You shouldn't be happy about that. What would Jesus do?" Monterey: "Mom, it’s okay, she likes to cry so Jesus would be okay with that." I am filled with both admiration and mortification.

6/12: nothing like a little family bowling action. First time all six of us bowled together.

6/13: The last of the dishes are done. Laundry is all clean and put away. Everything is laid out for tomorrow. I love starting the week with everything cleaned and organized.

Loving the Tony's. The talent at the Tony's is always the most amazing of all the award shows.

6/15: Ryan just emailed me with the highlight of his life: the opportunity to buy tickets to the Masters. After years on the waiting list, his time has come.

6/16: Madison is making cherry-almond cupcakes. I love having a 12 yr-old.

6/19: Toy Story 3. Yes, I admit it, I cried. Buzz and Woody melt my heart every time.

6/20: Happy Father's Day to the awesome father of my children. Even though he is never on facebook to read this, maybe someone will tell him they saw it. That's how he finds out about most things around here.

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dad's out there. May you be everything to those who depend on you.

Thinking about my own wonderful father today. Frank George McCabe 1935-2003. The best father anyone could have had. I miss him terribly but I try to live every day in such a way that he would be proud of me

6/22: I thought I knew someone so I sent a friend request. She accepted. Turns out she is not the person I thought I knew (same name.) But I am her only friend. So if I take her off my list she will have no friends. And that is sad. Ohh ... the dilemmas created by new technology.

6/23: So glad General Petraeus is finally being sent in to clean up the mess. Huge fan ... and not just because his sister is my friend.

6/25: Lazy summer days ... in the mood to bake, clean the whole house floor to ceiling, date night tonight, and hang out in the pool. Well, maybe not completely lazy.

My five yr-old, Monterey, just ran in saying "Mom, there was puke coming out my butt!" I think she just coined a new phrase for diarrhea: butt puke.

6/28: I need something pleasant for my status. That last one was a doosey. Thinking rainbows, butterflies, pretty ponies, hearts, ribbons, cupcakes ...

6/30: Just stood in awe as three HS girls debate Edward and Jacob. It got rather contentious.

7/2: Frozen Hot Chocolate here we come ....

7/3: I taught my children to eat clams out of their shells today. Fa-boo dim sum.

7/4: I love the fourth. So glad we declared our independence from England. Those dirty rotten scoundrels.

7/5: Last minute shopping for Girls' Camp. We have already done Walmart and REI. Today it is the mall.

7/6: Bye-bye to two girls: Camp time.

looking to buy a netbook for my HS Freshman daughter. Any suggestions? Please help.

7/9: I just turned down a full-time job and I am feeling a little sick to my stomach over it, even though I know it was the right thing to do.

7/10: Anyone have girls who are into American Girls? I have two gorgeous/new bags to give away. Probably best for the 7-10 age group.

So glad my older girls are home from camp. Showers, laundry, and lots of stories to tell. I think they will sleep well tonight.

7/16: We went to Outback tonight and a magician came by and magically made a crayon disappear up his nose and then blew it out of his nostril at the end of his little show. He placed the crayon on the table and Monterey said: "I'm not ever gonna touch that crayon again." Five years old and has pretty decent judgment, if you ask me.

7/19: A little article about one of the classes I teach at CSN. A little bit of a mention by name. The link is in my comments section.

7/23: ‎17 years. Richer and poorer. Sickness and health. Better and worse. Four daughters. Three degrees. Stronger and deeper every day.

Google people are honoring Mucha today! My favorite artist of all time!!!!! Yay Google!!!

7/24: hanging with my nephew Jayme, on his way home from his mission. Congratulations Jayme on two years of selfless service.

7/26: Did the Build-A-Bear thing with the two younger girls. Sakes alive, could have spent all our money in that store. Everything is so adorable. So cute.

7/29: Only in Vegas: we went shopping for unmentionables today and a pimp and his posse of Russian Ho's were buying their unmentionables as well. We were in an outlet store. Nice to see even a pimp being frugal.

8/1: Just two more days of school (year-round - gag) and they are all mine for a month. Short summer break, but we will try to make every day count.

8/2: We had to park so far away for Kinder Graduation that by the time we got back to the car, it was Slurpee Time. There was no choice. It had to be done.

8/3: Just found out my paycheck accidentally got deposited in McK's checking account. She could have had quite the shopping spree. Good think she was unaware.

8/5: Is there a reason why we own twenty brushes but I never can find one?

8/6: Yesterday my head and the mini-van's backdoor collided. No outward bruises, but I still have a horrible headache. Moral of the story? Avoid violent encounters with car doors.

8/8: just learned about "Just Dance" on the Wii. Serious party action. Anyone guess what I will be buying tomorrow?

8/9: My computer crashed. I feel numb. After a few expletives, I am now going through the mourning process. Thank goodness for my iPhone: without it I would be curled in the fetal position in a dark corner whimpering.

8/12: Madison has her two bestie CA friends here for a sleepover visit and the little ones think they are here to visit them. Luckily, they are very patient and good big sisters to the little ones.

8/14: Went to Le Reve last night at the Wynn and a late supper at the Burger Bar (Herbert Keller.) I love living in Vegas!

8/15: Things I never thought I would need to say: "You can't eat breakfast unless you are wearing underwear."

8/16: working on my daughter's netbook. Ryan said I could go buy a new computer, but I am just not in the mood. I just want someone to go figure it out, buy it, set it up and transfer all my stuff onto the new one. Get the printer hooked up, get all my settings and screensavers the way I like, etc. Too much work. Maybe tomorrow.

8/20: I'm at my happy place. Any guesses where I am?

Enjoying the game — at Dodger Stadium.

8/21: was at South Coast Plaza Village.

Just got a free cupcake for saying "pure." Of course I paid for the eight others. — at Sprinkles Cupcakes.

8/22: was at Beachcomber Cafe.

Returned home from a gloriously relaxing family vacay to Newport Beach. I just love it there. Now to get the back-to-school prep-organizing-extravaganza under way.

8/24: just got on my new computer. I can use my fingerprint to log on to anything. How cool is that? I feel like a spy in Mission Impossible.

8/26: Why can't my kids plan their ER trips around MY schedule? FYI - since you will ask - Madison's ankle. I will update after I'm done.

We have a full broken bone. CT scan is next to determined surgery or just a cast.

Madison just swallowed her first pill. She must really be in pain 'cause normally she gags on the pill until she throws up.

8/29: the sun is settings on the last day of freedom. Three schools with three schedules. (Better than most years.) I can't believe the school year is upon us.

8/30: All four are in school. On my way to the medical supply to get goodies for Madison. By goodies I mean the lambs wool covers for her crutches.

Cast. No surgery. Whoopee! Now for the important stuff - the cast color.

She got black because it would not show dirt AND she thought it would look tres chic with the silver pen. At the moment she is debating between black and silver nail polish.

9/1: Day three and we are starting to feel a little regular. Day one of not feeling like a zombie since starting the 5:30 wake up.

9/3: about to explore the new Hobby Lobby they just built. If no one hears from me in a couple of days, send someone in to rescue me. I have never been, but I have heard amazing things.

9/4: Just found great Mexican food in the Vegas area. Now we just need a great seafood place to take Fisherman's (of La Quinta) place and we will never have to leave.

9/7: Six years ago. What was I doing six years ago? Giving birth to my sweet baby Monterey. Happy Birthday Baby!

9/10: Planning the 6 yr old party. Shopping, cleaning, baking. It is all about strawberries. The party starts at 4:00.

9/11: Attending the Smashmouth concert

9/12: One nephew just earned his Eagle, another just got engaged. My mom is awaiting her mission call. Things are a- movin' and a-shakin' with the McCabe’s.

9/17: Soccer has officially begun. We are at practice and the girls look pretty good.

9/18: Yesterday at soccer, during a water break, Maya exclaimed that she knew two people on the team and one was James. "I hate James!" was exclaimed to the entire group of parents. She ran off leaving me to face the awkward silence and the parents of James. Afterwards, I asked why. "He broke my heart." 7 years old girls.

Fear the Fua! Sione - you are awesome. Go Stanford!

9/20: "I may disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you are not Hitler." - Restore Sanity

9/21: I need more cowbell.

9/23: Book club tonight and I am on page 55 out of 311. Time to become a speed reader. Maybe next month I should try the book on cd method. I spend enough time in the car to *listen* to several books a month.

9/24: I am totally digging the new PBS "Cat in the Hat." Maybe because my all-time favorite Martin Short is doing the voice.

9/27: Hey my Vegas friends. I am looking for someone to finish my quilt for Monterey with a longarm machine. Do any of you know someone locally? I am willing to mail out of state, but only with a referral from someone I know. Please help ...

okay confession time. I cancelled by dentist appointment, because I wasn't in the mood (- well I am a little sick. I am getting over a cold. I am in the sore-throat at the end phase.) I am in the mood to bake: whoopie pie time! So far I have a batch of classics going, a PB & J, and the banana are in the oven while I make their cream cheese filing. Overkill? Me thinks so.

I make their cream cheese filling. Overkill? Me thinks so.

10/1: To my child: "You have poop on your face." Their response: "It is chocolate, why do you always assume it is poop?" Good question - must be all those years when you were babies and it usually was.

World's worst mother award: I talked my kids out of wearing coats today because I didn't think it would rain. Imagine my shock at the downpour. Feeling like I kinda owe them an after school treat. SORRY KIDS.

10/3: My car is testing my love. How much more will it do to me before I forsake it and get a new one. The problem is - all of its issues are minor and weird. Newest quirk: If I lock it, it won't disarm unless I bypass it. So I get to look like a criminal every time I get into my car. So I leave it unlocked. Is it wrong for me to leave it unlocked and put a big sign on it that says “Steal Me.”g for me to leave it unlocked and put a big sign on it that says "Steal me."

After listing all the pros and cons, we will be embarking on a new car tomorrow. Honda Odyssey v. Honda Pilot? Any feedback will be much appreciated.

10/4: Crisis averted for now. It was a fairly cheap repair. But I think we did decide that when the time comes, the Odyssey is the car for us.

10/6: The cast is finally off of Madison's leg. Whoo Hoo! She is taking a celebration shower.

10/9: We had a Taco Bell nearby that never opened. Maya wrote a letter about three months ago to the Taco Bell headquarters explaining why it was important to her to open it. Suddenly they finished it and we went there for dinner tonight. Coincidence? I think not. Thanks Maya.

10/10: Happy Double Ten Day! 雙十節 But I guess this year it is triple ten day.

10/11: I just went on facebook and did not recognize anyone. My first thought: maybe I had lost my mind. It turns out it was my daughter's page. I don't take it as a good sign that my FIRST thought was a lost mind.

10/13: a little Amish Friendship bread, a little Survivor, two tests ready to give tomorrow, two at the Laker game.

10/14: good news ... the physical therapist is willing to work on Madison before the office opens so she doesn't have to miss any of her classes. Not so good news ... 6:45 appts.

10/16: was at Tommy's Original World Famous Hamburgers.

was at The Dugout.

10/18: Just saw Secretariat. The moral: never give up, even if you happen to be a mother of four ... unless you want to actually raise children instead of horses. Good movie but I am a little unsure if I should really ditch my kids to follow my dreams.

10/22: Madison reports to me that the way to earn extra credit in science is to give the teacher a movie gift card. I said "Really?" Today she came home and explained "one way to earn extra credit is to see a science related movie and write a paragraph about it and then turn it in with you ticket stub." This is why I wanted proof before I alerted the media and contacted the principal and school board. proof before I alerted the media and contacted the principal and school board.

10/23: I just taught Maya (age 7) how to do all the laundry this morning. She is putting the last load in now. She is awesome on her little footstool.

10/25: SOUP WEATHER!!! Tonight: Pumpkin Soup.

10/26: pumpkins and costumes and treats and school parties and candy; oh my!

I love it when politicians talk about how much they love the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, etc. and then in the very next breath talk about how they want to change it all.

10/27: I was supposed to go to Target to run a last minute errand. Turns out I don't need the item. But I can't deny how disappointed I am that I can't go to Target. Sad? No, I think pathetic is more accurate.

10/29: The wee little ones finally saved enough money to buy their DSI. Let the sharing begin!

My mom just got her mission call ... drumroll please ... she will be serving in Nauvoo, Ill. leaving on Jan. 16th. For those of you who are not Mormons, that is the heart of our church history.

11/2: Win or lose, good or bad, progress or digress: I am thrilled that my mailbox, my phone, my TV, and my front door are all free from the constant barrage of negativity.

11/3: Meg Whitman knows how to give a concession speech. A lot of others should take lessons.

for those of you outside of Nevada, who are wondering "How could Harry Reid have won?" He would have lost to a big pile of doo-doo. Unfortunately, he ran against a big pile of coo-coo.

11/5: McK is watching "Annie Get Your Gun." Madison is practicing her violin. Maya is playing dress up. Monterey is eating my dinner leftovers and reading books to her dolls. Ryan and I just got home from a date. Such a nice, quiet, peaceful, Friday night.

11/6: was at The Lion King at Mandalay Bay Theatre.

11/12: Ryan is taking a day off of work. Miracles never cease

11/13: Just got back from an absolutely incredible Leadership Training Meeting for church. Wowsa. I love the emphasis on families!

For Maya's final soccer game of the season, she scored three goals. She may be tiny, but she is fast and determined. What a champion.

11/18: I wish I could fast forward about ten hours and have everything on my TO DO LIST done. Really now, is that asking too much? Here it is:

finish editing my dad's biography
drive seminary carpool (done at 6:00 am)
grade over 100 math exams
finish towels
get out the fondue pots (done)

pick up teacher evaluations

teach three classes



finish delivering invitations

finish reading the book for book group tonight

make reservations

11/20: Today is cleaning every-nook-and-cranny day. Getting ready for family to arrive. Once the house it all clean, we can start the shopping, and then comes ... the cooking.

11/21: Hmmm. Soup weather. I got a crockpot full of chicken vegetable barley soup. I just checked the seasonings and baby, I hit a home run.

11/22: Quality v. quantity? Ryan likes quantity. I like quality. Where to draw the line on side dishes????

11/25: The appetizers are on the table. Let the feasting begin.

Thankful for a mom who is taking care of all the clean up. Well I'm thankful for other things as well.

11/26: Maya, my seven year old trying to sing "Do You Hear What I Hear?": "Do you smell what I smell?"

11/27: The girls and I took a class together. Loving the hairnets. Loving that they did not get a picture of me in my hairnet.

11/29: Turkey Soup is going, editing the Christmas letter, listening to The Partridge Family Christmas CD, and waiting for the butter to soften for the snickerdoodles. Life is good.

12/1: Happy Hanukkah to all my friends and family who are celebrating the festival of lights this evening.

12/5: Seven year-olds ask a lot of details about Santa. I have had to do a lot of research to keep up.

12/9 Every year, I like to try new recipes for my Christmas Cookie Plate™. This year I just made something that I guarantee will join the Cornflake Hollies as a permanent addition. I will unveil it after we deliver them.

12/11: Today we are doing two annual Christmas traditions: major car repair and the Christmas Cookies Plates. We have been baking/frosting/sprinkling non-stop since 6:30. The car is getting a new radiator. Merry Christmas!

12/12: Tomorrow McKayla turns 15. 15 years later and I still feel like the luckiest mom ever to have her as a daughter.

12/13: I am giving all my finals tomorrow and I am being inundated with excuses for why students can't make it. Everything from grandmothers dying to vertigo. I hate being the meanie, but come on.

12/15: Round two of treat baking. This time for family. I can't wait to see everyone!!!!

12/16: was at Bob’s Big Boy.

12/17: was at Universal Studios City Walk.

was at Kodak Theater.

12/18: was at Zuma Beach, Malibu.

was at Cupid Hotdogs.

12/19: Nothing beats an Alan William's arrangement of Christmas songs conducted by him as well. Just the absolutely best thing for Christmas.

12/20: was at Home.

12/21: was at Mystere by Cirque du Soleil. TI has the slowest valet on the entire strip! But the show was great.

Just for the coconut banana cream pie - it is to die for. A perfect ending to the evening. — at Lawry's The Prime Rib.

12/22: How come cleaning other peoples' house can be fun, but cleaning your own is such a chore?

12/23: In the spirit of Festivus, we aired our grievances and participated in the feats of strengths. The Festivus Pole was too difficult to find. Hopefully by next year, we can do it right. Happy Festivus!

12/24: My brother had both of his cars totaled by a driver at 5:00 am while the cars were parked outside his house. A cousin died (my age) leaving behind a wife and children. This week reminds me of the Longfellow verses. In spite of tragedy, I know that God loves us all. The need for my Savior is very evident this Christmas season.

Maya singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" -- "good tidings we bring to you and your twin ..."

was at Rainforest Cafe. Normally, I refuse to go to bad food-overpriced-theme restaurants. However Maya and Monterey had been begging for the past year. This was one of their Christmas presents.

was at M&M world.

was at Coca Cola World.

12/25: Presents opened, breakfast burritos consumed, scooters ridden, new clothes tried on, Just Dance 2 has been danced to, and now we are watching "A Christmas Story." Merry Christmas to all. (I wonder if anyone would care if I crawled back into bed?)

12/27: Dentist appt. done and Christmas packed up. Girls playing Mario Cart on the Wii. Now to tackle dishes.

12/29: So I'm reading my daughters' friends' postings on facebook and I have one question: are they just really bad at grammar and spelling or is this the evolution of written language as a result of the oversaturation of technology?

12/31: Last night we had a movie marathon that kept me up 'til two am. Tonight, I am foregoing the ritualistic midnight celebration in favor of a nice early bedtime. Yes, it is true: every party has a pooper and it is me tonight. Happy New Year everyone!