Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The day after the election we had some snow. I was rushing to get the boys to school, backing slowly out of my driveway when I felt the van bump against something. The bump didn't alarm me as much as the shattering glass noise that came with it. I whipped my head around faster than a group of 13 year olds who just saw Zac Efron.
The bump? Our empty trashcan that had been neglected the night of trash day. The shattering sound? My rear window. So here I am - in my gym clothes - kids to get to school, snow falling and getting heavier. What's a girl to do? Drive her kids to school of course. As I'm driving more and more of the window is falling down into the back of the van, each bump in the road followed by the pleasant tinkling sound of cascading glass. It entertained those boys all the way to school! I didn't even go home - just kept driving to Salt Lake to an auto glass shop that Geoffrey had visited for work the previous month.
The shop is next to a salvage yard. I'm in this one room office/waiting area in a hard plastic chair feeling the winter air every time the door is opened, listening to the phone ringing off the hook and the price quote given to all these callers, the workers coming in and out with questions, and the pleasant sound of power tools. As I'm sitting (in my gym clothes!) waiting for our window to be replaced, the owner and his workers are discussing the previous day's events. One worker turns to me and says "Did you vote? Wasn't it great? You have a black man for your president. What a great country!"
He proceeds to tell me that in his country, he had no opportunity to vote for who he wanted. Then he tells me how in the winter his family would flee to the mountains and live in caves to escape the government who was trying to kill them because of their ethnic background. How they used to say the mountains were their only friends. Now they say their only friends are the mountains and America. How great he thinks America is because America helped his country.
He is from Iraq - a Kurd. And he could have cared less if Obama or McCain won our election. He was so excited to talk about it - like a little kid talking about Disneyland! He thought the process, the fact we could vote - that either man could have won was awesome. That a person who belongs to a minority in our country was elected. And he's right. I may not have been thrilled about the election results, but I should be grateful for the opportunity to participate!
On the other election front ...
Nixon rocked his speech. He went the Dwight route - carefully listened to Dwight's speech over and over and changed it to be about 6th graders.
6th Graders of Ecker Hill Unite!
We are Students!
We must never cede control of our education!
He wrote on his little speech each time he would bang on the podium (Bang 2 times). I was soooo nervous - you've got to sell something like that, not just stand up and read off of a piece of paper. My nerves were wasted. He was hilarious. I doubt many kids got the Dwight Schrute references, but they did know they loved Nixon. They laughed and cheered and I knew before we left he would win. Two girls walking out in front of us were talking about who they voted for. "Of course I voted for Nixon. EVERYONE voted for Nixon."
We left for Arizona right after the speech. They were not announcing the winners until the next day, so I asked a nice lady from the school to call us while we were gone and let us know if he had won or not. Then we had the front desk from the hotel call our room and deliver the good news. I caught the moment with my trusty Canon:
Now someone has to be early to school every Wednesday for Student Council Meetings. Congratulations Mom!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
By now you've read plenty about that on other blogs. Think of our experiences as similar. Only probably less organized and involving more loud laughter. Check out the links to photos if you're really dying to see my family do that stuff.
I may be the only woman in blogland without links to something Twilight related. Teenage vampire love story? I'll pass thank you very much.
We moved into a new house about 5 weeks ago. I'm a lot closer to feeling settled, made it through the 1600 pictures I had on my camera and I'm ready to rejoin the world. I felt overwhelmed at all those photos untouched and needing attention, but as I buckled down and went through them I remembered why I love to take pictures so much:
These people melt my heart. I love it all - the laughing, the occasional crying, the snuggling, the moments of joy and pride and love, the crazy busy schedule, the coveted lazy afternoon together, even the piles of ski stuff and bikes and books that appear out of nowhere and the army guys hung off the stairs - love it all!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Geoffrey also wanted to take a picture of Nixon with a dog and have a "Checkers is Not a Bribe" poster. Even Nixon thought that was too much. Unfortunately, the school has a policy against any kind of button, or shirt, or handout. Too bad, because we wanted to make some of these:
Tuesday is the day for the big speech and election. Nixon is deciding between two different speech styles. Poor kid - our sense of humor in this house is so warped! Do you think he should try a Michael - carry the music in and throw out cliche's, or a Dwight - pound his fists and yell a lot? (this clip of Michael misses the best part - the beginning where he carries in the CD player)
Monday, October 6, 2008
If you're in a nice mood - make your hubby's favorite desert while the tomatoes are roasting:
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wondered why everyone else had such a great life and just went to Hawaii/Mexico/Disneyland while you were at home surrounded by piles of unfolded laundry, unanswered emails, unshopped for groceries?
Why they had kids who were clean and perfect while yours are currently stepping in the ice cream they spilled on the kitchen floor, tracking it around the house at the same time they are having an air soft battle with all the neighborhood kids in which the INSIDE of your house appears to be some sort of base and weapons are being fired at and from all doors and windows on the first floor?
Why their husbands bring them flowers every week when you are grateful for 5 minutes of uninterrupted conversation in any one day?
Well, I don't know anything about any of that, but I think that must be how this person felt when they created the ultimate mockery blog. Need a good laugh? Try www.seriouslysoblessed.blogspot.com If that doesn't work, come hang with me for an afternoon - I love my messy, air softing, busy life and I'd be happy to share with you!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
You know the invitation rule of thirds? Only 1/3 of people invited will attend?! Ha! That is how I ended up with over 50 people crammed into my little house for our first meeting - yes, that was almost 100% attendance! Any of you who have been to my house or were stacked on top of someone else that night are cracking up at the thought. Anyway, the first night we talked about why this was important:
From Ezra Taft Benson:
"The Book of Mormon was written for us today ...God, who knows the end from the beginning, told Mormon what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day. Therefore, if the Book of Mormon prophets "saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, "Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Mornoni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age? In the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming ...The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior's visit reveals many parallels to our day as we anticipate the Savior's second coming."
Yea, those war chapters you just breeze through? Guess what?! That was right before Christ came the first time! And that nation, on the brink of destruction is us - on the brink of spiritual destruction. And guess who saved them? A group of covenant keeping, prophet following, valiant, courageous, and obedient YOUTH. Who were taught by their mothers. Who knew their mothers did.not.doubt.
And dads, you are totally not off the hook here - We are told 7 times that they were TAUGHT, 4 times it specifically says by mothers. Well, guess where the dads were? If you Stripling Warrior, were too young (younger than 7) to covenant in 80 BC to lay down your weapons, then you are, at the oldest, 23, but probably closer to 16. And your dad is most likely found in Alma 24:22 - willing to die rather than break a covenant with your Heavenly Father. So dads, you count!
So our first night together focused on Alma 49-52- Fortifying. Each family had a pan of sand and a variety of sticks and building materials to read together and build and talk amongst themselves what heaps of earth and timbers and pickets and towers were for their family.
And thus we find what I think is KEY to successfully studying these chapters. YOUR FAMILY IS DIFFERENT FROM MY FAMILY. I can't tell you what defenses you need, or what tools Satan is most likely to use against you - I can only do that for my family. So we all went home from our first night with suggestions for the next 6 weeks of FHE ON OUR OWN.
The 6 suggestions were:
1. Alma 23 - Tell about Anti-Nephites/Lehites. Decide what needs to be buried in your family. Bury it! (We used paper swords that we wrote on and buried them in the backyard)
2. Search/Hunt your house for "weapons" Satan can use. Set family standards.
3. Alma 48 - Search house for signs of who your heroes are. Add/Replace with pictures of worthy heroes. What character traits are you looking for in heroes and friends?
4. Alma 43 - Decide what makes your armor and how you put it on daily. Build some armor! (Ours was made from cardboard and duct tape and we wrote the spiritual "stuff" on it)
5. Decide what weapons you have against Satan. Build some!
6. Alma 45 - Talk about raising your standards as a family. Make a Title of Liberty for your family.
At the end of the 6 weeks, we met together again. We had potluck dinner and a BATTLE. We ended up finding foam swords at the dollar store that were PERFECT, so everyone had the same swords, but the armor was all different. We had a testimony meeting too and it was awesome! The kids still talk about the battle part, but I remember most that first night singing Armies of Helaman and feeling so overwhelmed by all these people wanting to strengthen our families together. It was so cool. Lots of battle pictures here.
I do have more detailed notes from the class and I would be more than happy to email those to any of you. Just leave a comment.
And in case I sound a little too *whacko* about that battle stuff for you - we're not strapping any bomb backpacks on the kids! It is serious stuff though - please read this:
"There is another war that has gone on since before the world was created and which is likely to continue for a long time...That war, so bitter, so intense, has gone on and has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him...The war is waged across the world ..day in and day out ...in our own lives...in our homes, in our work, in our school associations; it is waged over questions of love and respect, of loyalty and fidelity, of obedience and integrity and we are all involved in it....a great eternal struggle that concerns the very souls of sons and daughters of God." Gordon B. Hinckley
Monday, September 22, 2008
Yet it is undeniable that fall is in the air. The mountains are turning beautiful colors, our windows have been shut at night for over a month, the schlepping of the hockey bags in and out of the rink has begun:
The salsa has been made (3 friends+12 hours = 48 quart jars!):
Yes, that's Sara leading those little soldier boys during auditions!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
That having been said, my sweet daughter has someone bothering her online. They have tried to friend her on Facebook, sent messages after she has asked them not too, joined her networks as a sneaky back door attempt to see her profile, and NOW they are consistently viewing our blogs, and worse, our family photo site - looking at our precious memories and stealing our photos - creepy! She has let them know that their contact with her is unwelcome, yet they continue to behave this way.
So there's been some conversation in our home. She thought we should get a lawyer, send some kind of legal warning. We talked about making our blogs private, changing our Smugmug password to something only people we told would know. We talked about what it means to be respectful of other people and how best to respond when other people are not respectful of you.
The thing is, I don't mind sharing my life. I love sharing my pictures and smugmug has been blessing for my calling this summer - getting photos people wanted out a different way would have been a full time job for several people!
If you're reading this and you know me, chances are I love you and I'm glad you're reading this! If you're reading this and you're a stranger, let's be friends - I always love making new ones! Anyone is welcome here unless you have harassed my daughter - you're messing with mama instincts now! If you're reading this and you know I'm talking about you, please be respectful. Delete pictures you stole from me and don't return to this blog or Sara's or Geoffrey's or our picture site, and for goodness sake, leave her alone on Facebook.
September 11 was a good day to have this conversation. We haven't stopped getting on airplanes or going to public places because of terrorists and we decided as a family not to change the way we live online because of cyber terrorists.
Thanks for letting me share - Life is too short for worries, instead we'll focus on the fact that Life is Good.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Introducing Hana Madeline Markin:
And is just me, or does it look like Tim is trying to channel Jack Bauer? Tim after a few years laying on the beaches of Thailand: Jack Bauer after a few years in a Chinese prison:
That's OK - if we're lucky Jack Bauer will be our next Secretary of Defense:
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Second is Stephanie. Her kids are hilarious and she always says "If I had blog I could write about that ....". So now she can!
She doesn't have any pictures yet, but lucky for her I took a few while she was visiting a few weeks ago! We spent a whole glorious week at Education Week and then her family stayed one way-too-short night with us and were here for Nixon's priesthood ordination. Thanks Talon!!
She probably wants to kill me for putting this picture of Sarelle about to make a tasty snack out of our friend Wade, but I couldn't resist - how darling is that little princess?
And why couldn't our kids help us take a normal picture anyway?
Love you gals! Hope to see lots of updating and pictures :).
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Big Oil posts its biggest quarter ever
Profits of 6 top firms jumped to $51.5 billion on surge in crude price
Aug 02, 2008 04:30 AM
New York–Chevron Corp said yesterday record oil prices drove second-quarter earnings up 11 per cent to its highest-ever profit, but weak margins from gasoline production led to a big loss at its refining operations.
U.S. oil prices averaged slightly less than $125 (U.S.) a barrel in the quarter, nearly double the average from a year earlier. But gasoline prices only rose 25 per cent during that same period, resulting in weak profit margins for the fuel.
Chevron, the second largest U.S. oil company, said net income rose to $5.98 billion, or $2.90 a share, from $5.38 billion, or $2.52 a share, last year.
Analysts, on average, expected the company to earn around $3.02 a share.
Like its competitors, Chevron made the bulk of its money at its exploration and production arm, also known as the upstream, where income nearly doubled from a year ago to $7.25 billion.
Chevron said the average sales price for crude and natural gas liquids was $109 a barrel in the quarter, up from $57 a barrel in the year-earlier period.
In addition to Chevron, soaring commodity prices led to record quarters for Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Exxon Mobil logged the largest-ever quarterly operating profit for a U.S. company. Barring companies that made huge profits on one-time gains like bankruptcy settlements and spinoffs, Exxon Mobil holds the top 10 records for biggest U.S. quarterly earnings.
French energy company Total SA said yesterday its profit climbed 38.7 per cent in the second quarter to $7.38 billion as sales rose 23 per cent to $75.25 billion.
Total's earnings were at the top end of analysts' expectations.
Unlike some other oil majors, Total reported production growth of 1.3 per cent in the second quarter.
Altogether, the profits of the six companies jumped more than 40 per cent in the second quarter to $51.5 billion, the first time big Western oil companies have ever reached that level.
Also yesterday, Norway's state-controlled StatoilHydro ASA reported a 37 per cent rise in second-quarter net profits, to $3.7 billion.
At Chevron, the company division that refines and sells gasoline actually swung to a loss of $734 million in the quarter after earning $1.3 billion a year ago. The culprit: those same crude prices that lifted upstream earnings.
Like its peers, Chevron doesn't produce enough oil on its own to feed its refineries, forcing it to buy some on the open market.
Chevron said overall production in the quarter fell about 3 per cent from a year ago, hurt in part by production-sharing contracts.
It said startups will lift output in the second half.
From the Star's wire services