Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Anne Marie!

Six years ago, life as we know know it changed forever.

In the words of one of my favorite children's books:
On the night you were born, 
The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered, 
"Life will never be the same." 
For there had never been anyone like you...
Ever in the world.

I'm sure every parent feels the same way about their kid, but you, my dear, are special. You were special from the beginning. In so many ways you are like me, and in even more ways, you are not. I love you for both.

People joke that we are both distracted — that we don't pay attention, and breakable things just tend to fall to the ground around us. :) I prefer to say that we are always thinking. I can understand the kinds of things you are thinking when I see you wander your room instead of finding your shoes like you've been told, because I've thought them too ... "What would life be like if I were a princess? A pioneer? An astronaut? What if I lived in the woods among the chipmunks and fairies? What if I am a fairy?"

Don't ever lose that thoughtfulness. You are a wonderful reader, and your brilliant imagination is going to grow even more as you discover great, faraway lands in books.

And don't ever lose your thoughtfulness towards others. Even if I teach you nothing else, I want to teach you that the most important thing we can do is care for each other and help those who need it.

We are very different in our love of accessories. I have trouble keeping one piece of jewelry on for a day. You are most comfortable in six or seven. You love to draw, and I never did. But it makes me incredibly happy to see your creativity come out in all sorts of ways.

A lot of people get sad when they see their babies grow because then they aren't babies anymore. Watching you grow doesn't make me sad — it makes me excited. I have loved being a part of your journey so far, and I can't wait to see the person you are going to continue to become. I love you!

Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why I Prefer Cookies

This year, the neighbors and I made a big leap — some might call it a leap of faith. Every year, like many neighbors, we exchange Christmas goodies. This year, however, she left a framed picture of Jesus.

It's not that I don't like Jesus — of course I know that He is the reason for the season, and we keep Christ the center of our Advent and Christmas traditions. It's a nice picture, and I know the thoughts behind it came from a good place. But it's part of a trend in our relationship that makes me less than comfortable.

This neighbor constantly invites me to activities or events with her. She calls them "girls nights" or "cooking classes." What they actually are is relief society meetings at her church. When I said I was busy, she offered to give me a ride. I'd been feeling guilty that the only reason I always turn her down is that they are church activities. But a co-worker pinned down why I feel uncomfortable — it's not because I don't want to do something in a church that isn't my own. It's because that is the ONLY place that she asks me to go. We don't have lunch together. We don't chat on a regular basis. She doesn't know what kind of books I read or what movies I like, or that we attend our own church every week. She doesn't know that my daughter attends a school with a religion-based curriculum.  Our main connection is once every few weeks when she invites me to church. It changes the message from friendly and neighborly to "I fear for your soul."

I made a joke to a friend (who is of the same religious persuasion as my neighbor) that maybe she wants to start a theological discussion, and I should send her a crucifix, a symbol of my religion (although not a Christmas one) in return. She laughed and said, "Oh no! If there is one thing we don't like, it's to be converted."

I don't want this blog to sound like an anti-religion piece — I have no problems with the beliefs of any of my friends and neighbors, whether they be LDS, Lutheran, Jewish, Muslim or athiest. I really enjoy good religious discussions among friends when they come from the right place, one where people are free to share experiences and knowledge without someone viewing their beliefs as good or bad.

But my neighbor and I are just that — we're neighbors. We're not close friends who are sharing deep convictions. If she has a question about my religious beliefs, I would be glad to tell her. If I have a question for her, I would feel comfortable asking. In terms of sharing your religious beliefs to acquaintances, however, I have a better way. This year, I didn't drop off a crucifix. I dropped off cookies.

My advice to those who want to share their faith with others — share what your faith means by showing how people in your faith live. Don't just invite your neighbor to church every time you see her. Instead, make small talk. Be friendly. Do nice things for people. My faith is an important part of my life, but I believe the best way to share it is through my actions. I don't care if people know I am Catholic. I want them to know that I am a good person. I care that people know that I care about others, that I am respectful, and that I love my fellow humans as Christ loves us. That's what really matters.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Healthy, Dirty Glow

A few weeks ago, Thomas didn't bathe for almost a week. Instead, he walked around covered in dirt just like all the other kids having fun in the mountains. Eating breakfast outside a log cabin restaurant in the mountain morning sunshine, I realized that the kids I'd been seeing all week didn't just look dirty. They looked HEALTHY.

There is nothing as clean and healthy-looking as a kid who has been in the mountains for awhile. Their skin gains color, and smiles just sneak right past the streams of dirt and sweat running down their faces. 

In today's world, we don't offer this to our kids enough. We don't give them the chance to be in the mountain air (I'd call it fresh air, but the massive amounts of wildfire smoke make that not really the case).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Awesomeness

I am really bad about updating, aren't I?

Last night, Anne Marie, Thomas and I came up with a list of fun things for the summer. In honor of Phinneas and Ferb, we shot for 104. Can we do them all? We can sure try! Some of them we've already done this summer, so I crossed them off, but we might totally do them again.

1. Go on hikes- hit all of the Pocatello-area trails.- could be tough with the fires, but we've done some.
2. Eat S'Mores. 
3. Play
4 Go to the zoo
5. Hike the lava trail.
6. Swim at Lava Hot Springs.
7. Swim at Ross Park
8. Swim at Downata Hot Springs.
9. Swim at Indian Springs.
10. Play in sprinklers.
11. Go camping.
12. Visit Craters of the Moon. 
13. Go to Redfish Lake.
14. Learn Spanish
15. Fly kites
16. Visit Uncle Tom
17. Overnight with Grandma
18. Summer reading program
19. Go to library
20. Chalk art
21. Sleep in our backyard.
22. Visit Grandma and Grandpa in Missoula
23. Play in every park in Pocatello and Chubbuck
24. Massacre Rocks
25. City of Rocks
26. Go to Museum of Natural History
27. Go to King Tut exhibit at the Museum of Idaho.
28. New Reed's Dairy place
29. Make our own ice cream.
30. Make our own art.
31. Make our own playdough.
32. Slip and slide.
33. Plant our garden.
34. Fireworks at Fourth of July.
35. Parade at Fourth of July.
36. Go to Minnetonka Cave.
37. Ride scooters.
38. Ride bikes
39. Concerts on the Quad.
40. Make cookies.
41. Swim lessons
42. Chubbuck Days parade
43. Swim in backyard.
44. Go to the Tetons
45. Picnics.
46. Geocache
47. Tie-dye something.
48. Scavenger hunt.
49. Kiwi Loco
50. Play Candyland. 
51. Play Memory Game.
52. Play Cooties
53. Make popsicles.
54. Go to a movie. 
55. Bowling.
56. Go to the Drive-in movie in Idaho Falls
57. Mini golf
58. Have a bbq with friends.
59. Penny walk
60. Farmer's market
61. Buffalo Wild Wings.
62. Pint-sized science academy.
63. Bubbles.
64. Go to the fair.
65. Walk to Sonic.
66. Go rollerskating.
67. McKee's Petting Zoo.
68. Disc Golf
69. Water balloon fight.
70. Roast hot dogs.
71. Go to a Chukars game.
72. Go stargazing.
73. Eat watermelon.
74. Date night with each kid.
75. Make green slime.
76. Make sunprints
77. Ice cream zoofari
78. Band at Ross Park.
79. Make a solar oven.
80. Make rootbeer floats.
81. Make banana splits
82. Watch birds and butterflies
83. Learn how to climb trees.
84. Fire Department open house
85. Make cupcakes.
86. Have fancy drinks.
87. Blow up some diet coke with mentos.
88. Make fire kites.- out due to fire danger
89. Home Depot craft day.
90. Make sand castles.
91. Build and break a piƱata.
92. Play Go Fish
93. Shaving cream bath paint.
94. Go to art fair
95. Make ever-flowing goo
96. Cloud Watching
97. Visit a ghost town.
98. Hike on the Lewis and Clark trail.
99. Visit the potato museum.
100. Make pizza.
101. hopscotch.
102. Feed the ducks
103. Wash the car.
104. Bag a peak.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


There wasn't a lot people knew about Joy Morrison's personal life. Her work was her life, just like many journalists.

The woman worked 60-80 hours a week without blinking. When I knew her, she was the old lady who knew everything about the community and had an old-fashioned idea of community journalism. I rarely gave her family a second thought.

But I do remember one time when I had just dropped Anne Marie off at daycare, and I was sort of feeling down. I didn't say anything about it to Joy, but she seemed to know. She said, "It was always kind of hard — I remember leaving my daughter at Mrs. M's(can't remember the name) daycare. It was hard when she cried, and it was hard when she was happy and didn't mind."

I went to Joy's funeral last week. She was 87 when she passed away, and 84 when she quit working. She dedicated her life to newspapering, and it showed at her funeral, where the newspaper photographers were her pallbearers, and a former editor gave the eulogy.

But she also loved her family, and her daughter's beautiful poem read at the funeral showed that she felt the undying, absolute love of her mother.

I always knew that Joy was a great role model for working women. She started at the newspaper in the 1940s when women didn't typically work, and continued looking for stories and working as an essential part of the community when she got married and raised her daughter. She seamlessly moved through technologies, from typewriters and cutting and pasting to computers and e-mail.

But she was also a great role model for working mothers. When I look at what life was like for working women in those days, I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been for her, especially when she became a mother. There were separate want ads for men and women. Often, women were expected to leave their jobs when they began to "show." Women with husbands and children typically didn't work. It's not that I believe women should all be in the workplace, but I treasure that we have a choice, and the right to choose what is best for our family and situation, whether it be a stay-at-home mom or dad, a loving childcare situation or a combination of the three. It has changed so much that I don't think we as women often give enough credit to those women who paved the way for us to have choices.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I love to watch these two play together! They make up the best games.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy (late) birthday Thomas!

Ahh, this kid.

When you were born, you cried so hard that I asked the doctor if there was something wrong with you. He just laughed and said, "Some kids just come out angry."

What I didn't realize then is that it isn't just anger that you do with intensity. It's everything. You love and laugh the same way. You run with intensity. You play with intensity. It can be tough sometimes, but also incredibly rewarding.

You are the sweetest, most cuddly kid, and your smile can light up a room. You care about animals, and you are gentle with them.  I see you as a leader when you grow up. I love you!