Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When the sun is shining

Today is a rarity here in the Northwest.

It is sunny in the middle of winter.

Beautiful blue skies stretching as far as I can see.

No clouds, no rain, no grey.

It's amazing how happy I feel today because of that little seen entity known as the Sun.

I contemplated for a good 30 minutes on whether I should keep my kids out of school.
Especially when the forcast calls for 10 days of rain starting tomorrow.

There were several reasons why I sent them to school anyway.

But one of them is that I remember happy memories of school and sunshine.

And when my children are faced with rainy day recess so much (ie. movie in the lunchroom, blech!), I figured my gift would be to send them to school so they can enjoy their friends and their playground without the feel and sound of rain splattering.

But I must ask myself, why is it, that when we finally have a nice day around here, why do I feel like cleaning my house from top to bottom on those days?

When it's raining I just want to sit and stare out the window and wish for warmer, brighter, blue skied days.

But the moment the sun comes out, THEN I'm motivated into a cleaning frenzy.

I just don't get it.

But today I'm rebelling against myself. I'm going to do the minimum required, dishes, sweeping, small amount of tidying up. And then I'm going to go play with my children and hopefully a niece and nephew.

And tomorrow when the 10 days of rain begins, I will do all I can to not wish myself away to somewhere that the sun is not a stranger.

Yeah, right.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

La la the goat dog

Images like the one below have become a common occurence around our house lately.

Image from

Chewed shoes, tippy cups, bottles, paper, kids toys, dvds, metal spoons, pine cones, you name it, he's chewed it.

I thought only goats ate anything?

It seems our dog does too.

The real kicker is that Nora only says a few words. And none of them are mommy, daddy or any of her siblings names. I don't think anything in her babble even resembles any of our names.

And then the dog comes along. She can't say Lucky, but she has made her preference clear, and currently calls him La la. I'd take La la if she was actually talking about me. But no, she loves the dog. The dog who eats anything.

La la the goat dog.

Man, or in this case, girl's best friend.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Asking and Receiving

My children ask me for things on a daily basis.

"Can I have some milk? Can I play the wii? Can I go to so and so's house? Can I take Lucky out? Can I have candy?"

Sometimes I say yes, which is met with joy. Sometimes I say no, which is met with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I hear "that's not fair!why not!But you said!"etc, etc.

Of course I remember being a kid, and thinking that my parents were so mean. I was sure that I knew better than they did and that they were just being so unfair.

Now that I'm a parent, I realize that this is normal, for the parent to seem unfair.

It takes some maturity to recognize that mom and dad really do know that 6 cookies aren't good for you, or that the friends house you want to go to has a parent mom and dad are not comfortable with, or that your brain will fry if you play video games all day.

I sat thinking about this phenomenon yesterday. After a certain child of mine was so distraught over our answer of no. I could see that this child just didn't understand why we were saying no, that we appeared so unfair. Yet I was confident in my answer to my darling offspring.

After mulling the whole conversation over in my head, I realized that how I was feeling must be how our Heavenly Father feels so often.

He must get bazillions of requests that He has to say no to.

And in response, many of His children wail and cry and sometimes turn their backs on Him because they were not given what they wanted.

Yet, as our Father, doesn't he truly know what's best for us, even if we can't see it at the time?

When I was in college I had a boyfriend that I had been dating since highschool. I loved him with all that I was capable of at the time. By 3 years into our relationship, we wanted to get married.

But I had one problem.

I was Mormon, and he was not.

My whole life I had planned to get married in the
Temple. Though I loved this boy, I couldn't marry him unless it was for eternity.

But he was not interested. He wouldn't listen to the missionaries, he would barely talk to me about it, and he just didn't understand why it mattered.

So I prayed. I prayed and I prayed that his heart would be softened, that he would eventually join the church so that we could be married.

It never happened. His mind was never changed and it eventually drove us apart.

I was heart broken. And at the time I didn't understand why I couldn't have what I wanted.

I mourned the loss of this relationship and felt sad for a very long time.

But 2 years later, I met Jeff.

And suddenly the wisdom of my Father in Heaven became apparent to me.

Though I had cared deeply for the other boy, it was nothing compared to the capacity to love that I developed with Jeff.

Jeff shared my beliefs, he shared my ideals, my goals and my love for my Savior.

If Heavenly Father had answered my prayer in the way I had wanted, instead of the way that was good for me, I would have missed out on a happiness unsurpassed by any other relationship in my life.

But it required that I listened to that answer, as hard as it was. It required that I didn't just go ahead and do what I wanted anyway and then expect Heavenly Father to make it turn out alright.

It required faith. And believe me, my faith was small at the time, but it was there.

And now as a parent myself, I understand more of the wisdom of Father in Heaven.

He knows everything that will be good for us, bad for us. What experiences will be difficult but bring us growth, and the joy that awaits us if we listen to Him.

As the scriptures say "Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you."

So we are to ask, but be ready to receive. It won't always be the answer we want, but we will receive what is best for us. Even if it's painful at the time.

The hard part comes in trusting that God truly knows what will be best for us. That as much as we may mentally or physically stomp our feet, cry and wail, or complain that it isn't fair, He still will answer in the way that is right.

And I know that each of us can look back and see things that didn't work out that we are so glad about now. Maybe you didn't pray for them, maybe you just wished in your heart, but in hindsight it is now obvious that the right answer was no.

I can think of times when I ignored the answer I had been given and went ahead and did what I wanted anyway. The results were not so good. But I learned, and hopefully I can keep those experiences in mind the next time I don't get the answer I want.

Many of us fight so hard to be in charge of our own lives, to prove our independence and shrewd decision making abilities. We fight so hard that we forget that help is available. We don't realize that trusting in our Father in Heaven to help us doesn't remove our ability to choose, it just helps us to choose better, to improve our odds at happiness.

And I for one can always do with more happiness. Can't you?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I love this guy.

He is fun, spazzy, hilarious, cute, talented, kind and a bunch of other stuff.
And he pulls really weird faces.

I also love this guy.

He has an infectious giggle, superior dance moves, a cuddly roly-poly body, and his head smells good.

They remind me of someone.

I can't quite put my finger on who it is.

Give me a minute, I'll get it...

Oh yeah, I remember

I love the men in my life.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Favorite time

Take one of these-

Combine her with a blankie and a rocking chair, and you have my favorite time of day.

Almost every night, I am fortunate enough to put Nora to bed.

Sometimes it starts with a bath followed by lavender lotion and jammies.

Then I grab her blankie out of her crib, tell her to pick out a story and then she runs excitedly to pick her book and then snuggle onto my lap.

But that's not the best part.

After we read a story, I turn off the light, roll her over so she is laying on me, cover her in her blankie, and I rock her.

She sticks her two favorite fingers in her mouth, nestles her head against my chest, and we rock.

Sometimes it lasts until she falls asleep.

I can hear her snorty little breathing as I kiss the top of her head.

Sometimes, she lets me rock her for all of 30 seconds before she points to her crib.

But still, it's my favorite time of day.

Me, my baby, and the smell of lavender lotion.

Did I mention that my baby is 18 months old now?

Where does the time go?

How long will she let me rock her?

Till she's 18 I hope.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm a little old today

I have pictures of not too long ago, tan, thin, blonder.

31. Younger looking.

I like those pictures.

But I also like this picture.

I'm older. 36.

Not as tan or thin or blonde.

But more experienced, happier in many ways, comfortable with myself for the most part(even if other people find me annoying, I don't annoy myself).

And grateful.

I have lived 36 years of a relatively easy life.

I have had heartache and disappointment and loss, of course.

But I've never been defeated. No never.

I have been blessed continually, wherever we live, with amazing friends.

We have moved alot, and despite my tendency towards introvertedness, my Father in Heaven knew that I would wilt and crumble without a support system of people I love and trust. So he gave me neighbors, people I go to church with, mothers of my children's friends, and some who I have known for what feels like a lifetime, who quickly became my lifeline to feeling normal, to having an outlet for my quirkiness, my tendency to talk a lot, and my need to relate to others.

Those people, those friends who used to be just neighbors or aquaintances at church, became my examples, my barometer of what's good and praiseworthy. As my dear friend Trisha put it, "I think Heavenly Father knew we needed to be friends because we didn't come down as sisters."

I lay in bed this morning thinking of this and all that I have. All that I have been given.

It was quiet in my house. Anne Marie was snuggled next to me, comforted after bad dreams.

The man of MY dreams, laying there, snoring a little. Keeps me awake sometimes, but I would miss it if he were gone.

My other 5 children, all in different stages of dreamland.

My window was open a little, and the smell from outside hinted at spring time, new growth, fresh rain and a breeze that carried endless possibilities. Even in January.

I thought of pedicures followed by ice cream, my new hair cut, fresh pineapple muffins from someone I adore, and my Benjarong lunch date with my best friends.

I don't cry very much anymore, but I wept this morning. For the goodness of my family, my friends, and a loving Father in Heaven who always knows what I need, what I can handle, and how I can grow.

Someday I may be tan, thin and blonde again. Maybe not. But I'll never be young again. Yet in return I have gained an appreciation for all that life brings, even the hard things, like looking older, or worse, feeling older. And yet, amazingly, I am happier, have 2 more beautiful children than I did at 31, and I understand myself and others much better. Even with leaving some of my youth behind (only some) I have gained so much more in return.

And because of that I am grateful that I'm a little old today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On my Mind Today


No matter how much I know that an egg white omlette and no flour bread is the better option for me, no matter that I can go days without eating any white stuff, muffins will always get me.

I made scratch muffins this morning. And the smell is killing me. They could be blueberry, or chocolate chip or pumpkin or cranberry walnut, it mattereth not. I will drool and hover over warm muffins anytime, any place.

And when my kids leave the slightly crunchy edges on their plates? Well that just does me in, that's the best part!


I love them and hate them.

Secondly-I think I'm annoying.

Occasionally I think I can see it in someone's eyes, that they are wishing I would be quiet.
Or wondering why I am so weird.
Or why I talk with my hands so much.
Or something.

I'm pretty sure I wear on people's nerves, my incessant talking, asking questions, complaining, describing in detail things no one else cares about.

And then I begin to get paranoid that I'm being left out on purpose, I mean I am pretty irritating. So who could handle me for more than an hour at a time?


In the last week I sprained my foot, rammed my van into a HUGE rock while trying to park, almost rolled my van while navigating a curve, and then dropped the lid to my brand spankin new touchless garbage can and broke it. I think I have lost my balancing ability. If I ever had it to begin with.

Oh, this would go along with complaining too much, hense being annoying. Sorry.

Fourthly-Topics of conversation

Jeff and I always have interesting conversations. Lots of laughter, lots of thought provoking topics, and occasionally some honesty that is hard to hear. But I love talking to him. He always makes me feel smart and insightful and loved.

Last night we discussed a little of what makes people truly happy. Sometimes one of us will feel down about stuff, and hopefully the other person is in a good place to help the other feel better.

In this case, sometimes deciding between two good options can seem equally as difficult as no choices at all.

Your desire to pick the right thing, to head yourself straight for you destiny, looms above you and you get caught in the worry over which is the better choice. Sometimes to the point of not being able to make a decision.

I believe we are all predestined for some kind of greatness. It may not be in the way we imagined, or the in the same way as other people's greatness. I will never invent anything that will change humankind, I will never lead a country or win a Nobel Peace Prize, of this I am sure.

But that doesn't mean I won't do great things within my sphere of influence. Even if they're small things, they can still be great.

Fifthly- A Plug.

For Weight Watchers.

If you know me at all, you will know that I am a teensy bit obsessive about eating, weight loss, exercising, etc. Just a teensy bit :)

Well, after 6 children, and being in my mid thirties, I had convinced myself that I was never going to lose the baby weight. That age was working against me. Which it was to some degree. It seems I cannot eat as much at 35 as I did at 27 and still lose weight. Who knew?

But I now know I was eating too much, not by a lot, but enough to just maintain, and not lose.

Enter Weight Watchers. I joined, and have lost a pleasant amount of weight in the 8 weeks I have been a member. I feel normal on it, if that's possible. No food is off limits, you just have to work it into your daily food budget, basically.

So anyway, I'm a fan. And when I have reached my goal, I will post before and after pictures, but don't be looking for that for a while, maybe a long while.

Sixthly-I'm done.

Just wanted to let you in on the frantic-ness of my head, and some of the things I think about. To some of you it will endear you to me more. To those that I annoy, well, I will continue to annoy, which makes me wonder, why are you reading this?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Today is your Birthday Jeff!!!!

Today in history...

35 years ago.....

Donald Jeffrey Allen was born.

To goodly parents.

In San Diego California.

He was a huge baby.

Over 11 pounds.

Another reason we were destined for eachother.

I was over 11 pounds at birth as well.

Our poor mothers.

17 years ago....

Jeff was a senior in high school, ASB president, honor student, all around good guy. Preparing to go to BYU.

16 years ago.....

Jeff left to fulfill a life long dream, to serve a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.

14 years ago....

Jeff turned 21. He was getting ready to come home from that 2 year mission to Brazil.

He had no idea that a short 2 months and 20 days later he would meet the woman he would marry.

And that 3 1/2 months after that he would be married.

12 years ago....

At the age of 23 Jeff was the father of a 3 month old baby.

Fatherhood suited him well.

So he decided (with some help from Amy) that 5 more children were in order.

And so fatherhood continued at the ages of 24, 26(and graduating from BYU), 27, 31, and 33.

In the midst of that, was a move to Rhode Island. Taking a risk that paid off for him and his family through growth, experience, and a togetherness that lasts to this day. And at the age of 32, Jeff graduated from MBA school.

With 5 children and a wife in tow.

And now here, at 35, life is good. Life is grand! Life is immeasurably good.

Because he is Adored. Admired. Appreciated. Awesome. Amazing.

And Alive!

Alive with goofiness that we all love.

Alive with intelligence and cleverness.

Witty and talented.

Entertaining and loving.

Smiley and full of warmth.

And full of a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has led to his good decisions, immense blessings, and willingness to go and do what the Lord wants him to do.

Yours, my dear dear husband, is a charmed life.

And we, your family, are so grateful to be living it with you.

All our love, all our joy, all our happiness and gratitude is wrapped up with yours.

We love you, beyond measure.

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


You wanna hear a little story?

There once was this lil' ol' doggy born to parents who were neighbors, nothing more.

When he and his siblings were born, it was discovered that no one wanted to claim the pups. No one wanted to foot the bill of feeding and caring for them, so they were left to starve.

Not adopted out, not taken to the shelter, not even drowned, but left to starve.

Well, one of these pups hatched an escape plan.
He somehow sensed there were some kind folks who lived just across the field.
So in his desperation for food and care he wiggled his way out and away to freedom.

What did the kindly folks find on their doorstep? A little half starved puppy who would not let himself be killed.

So the good people took him in, introduced him to the litter of pups that they had already, and nursed him back to health.

Well, when his former jailers found out, they demanded his return.

The kindly people said no way.

In return, the puppy starvers poisoned the kindly people's dogs.

Nice, huh.

But the kindly people still did not return the puppy.
They fed him and took care of him until the moment his new owner would come to claim him.

That new owner would be me.

And what do you name a dog who has beaten the odds and made it through to find a loving adoptive family?

Why, Lucky of course.

Captain Lucky Jack Allen, Lucky for short.

He's a survivor, and a super hero dog. Fighting injustice everywhere he goes with his laser beam eyes.

To all my neighbors and family who had to endure the saga of whether he was staying or not.
He is. Staying.

He really is lucky.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I think I am redefining insanity.

It involves one part crazy-which is totally different-one part want to change the world, and one part can't always forsee the consequences.

We got a dog.

A puppy.

A lab/malamute mix puppy.

He chews everything, poops in the house, licks me to death, and has huge paws.

We love him.

I fought to keep him. Fought to have him part of our family. Fought for this cuckoo little dog that will grow, eat a ton, and destroy my furniture.

The crazy part was getting him in the first place, the changing the world part was wanting to teach my children about love for Heavenly Father's creatures along with some responsibility, the consequences part comes as I realize that this dog is so much work that my house and laundry may may never be clean again and I may never get to leave my house on weekdays.

Seriously, I'm insane.

And no, I'm not going to say something cheesy like I'm insane for this little dog.
Cuz I'm not.
I love him, but I didn't forsee the explosion of crazy thoughts he induces.
Combine him with a son that's potty training and two babies in diapers(one is mine, one is this little darling) and already today I have cleaned up 2 piles of dog poo, one pile of Henry poo, one puddle of Henry pee, and and changed 4 diapers.

I'm pretty sure life doesn't get any better. :)
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