Monthly Archives: March 2006


A breeze gently rustles the too long blades of grass, as ripples in a pond, and the daffodils bob their heads in agreement that spring has finally come. The poplars are not yet filled with leaves but I can see the tiny green buds of life forming on the snowball tree, and the yellow chain tree is beginning to awake. It is a beautiful day, I sit here on our deck enjoying the warm spring sunshine; the aroma of spring enfolds me. The intoxicating perfume of hundreds of daffodils mingle with the fresh scent of mud and last night’s rain. The tang of fresh cut grass is in the air as a neighborhood lawnmower adds to the ambiance. The birds lend their music flitting from place to place scavengering for twigs and yarn to build their nests and fashion a comfortable home. I sit and enjoy a symphony of nature wishing that modern sounds could fade away or that I could be transported this minute to the top of a mountain surrounded by wildflowers and nothing but the birds for company. I know I would miss the sounds of the children though. I can hear them calling to each other playing at games of tag and Robin Hood. Giggles and peals of delighted laughter fuse with the birds’ song and one believes they could almost be talking with each other.

I love the daffodils in my father’s yard. I never knew there to be so many varieties, brilliant yellow, pale yellow with bright yellow centers, white, white with orange centers, yellow with orange centers, miniatures, grandiose, and my favorite. They look like a lion’s mane, the petals twisted and ruffled in a wild untamed style. They seem to defy what a proper daffodil should be. Perhaps this is why I like them so; I should laugh should anyone ever attempt to classify me as “proper,” wacky maybe, but never “proper”.

There is something invigorating about the spring. Maybe the renewal of life instills a sense of promise and renewal in our own lives. I think I shall just sit and enjoy it a while. After all, we hardly take time to “stop and smell the roses” any more. Today will be my day to enjoy what God has given me.


Filed under Philosophy, Religion, Writing

Amendment (an attempt to clear my name of it’s dubious behavior, somewhat)

Weekly Anamnesis #16

It has been ages since I have done one of my farm stories, so here we go. Now, lest you all believe that I was the main center of mischief in our family I am submitting this amendment (correction) to my blog confessing my siblings’ follies. (I know it is a stretch for the topic at hand, but it is all I could come up with) I hope they will forgive me, but after all, I wasn’t an only child and they did many crazy things just like me, and as I witnessed most of them well . . .

We’ll start with Heidi. She was the oldest and I don’t know that I remember too much, other than the boys and I harassing her when she was babysitting to her wits end. I do remember a certain yellow plate rocket launched into space though. Paul, Kimball, and I were being especially obnoxious, sitting across the back of the kitchen table, and she got really, really mad. Before we knew it we had an UFO aimed right for our heads. “Beam me up Scotty!!” It missed us and shattered on the wall right above our heads. Were we scared, terrified, sorry? Of course not, we started laughing and said, “you are so lucky you didn’t break the window with that thing!” Hmmm. Ooh, and then there was the time when she was going to bake something in the oven and turned it on with out looking inside it first. I’m not sure why it was in there, but pretty soon there was an awful smell, flames, and lots of smoke! After about of gallon of baking soda was dumped everywhere she pulled out a very melted plastic cake/jello pan. See, I’m not the only pyro in my family!

Now Lisa, I cannot claim to ever having witnessed her particular claim to glory. Though I might have been watching it all from above as I was not born yet. I have heard the story a million times. I believe it was a beautiful day and they were someplace visiting someone and there was a pond. My sister was prone to delusions of grandeur, and on this particular day was delusioning about super woman. Maybe she was showing her older sister how it was supposed to be done, I can’t really say, I wasn’t there. Perhaps she was just under the impression that if she got a long running start down the hill she could take flight and soar across the pond. So down she went proclaim at the top of her lungs, “SUPER WOMAN!” I’m afraid there was no grand flight, or soaring into the sky. There was a loud splat though as she hit the mud at the edge of the pond. Heh. I sure wish I could have seen that one! 🙂

I was reminded of Kimball’s moment as I watched Looney Toons with my children the other day. I looked at my mom, pointed, and exclaimed, “Hey! That’s Kimball!” I’m sure there are many, this just happens to be the one I remember, and I hope he doesn’t shoot me if he reads this. 😉 My brothers had BB guns and one fine day Kimball was carrying his BB gun about. I’m sure he thought the safety was on. His finger was placed strategically over the barrel (to keep that silly BB from rolling out, heh). Apparently the safety wasn’t on and he got a nice little BB sized hole going through his finger. So the moment on the Looney Toons you ask? I believe it was Elmer Fudd putting his finger in the barrel a number of times to keep it from going of and his finger kept popping out and then in again. You might comment that maybe he watched too much TV and especially Looney Toons when he was a kid, but that argument won’t work; we didn’t have a TV. 🙂

Paul’s story involves BB guns too, and I was there to witness the whole thing! My family just heard the resulting crash. We were standing in our front yard looking out towards the slightly distant road. At the end of the yard just before the front pasture started there was a cement block. On the block in the yard at the beginning of the pasture sat a Robin. Now, my brothers were permitted to shoot pesky birds to keep them out of the garden and such, but Robins were not on the ok to shoot list. And as my brother took aim I reminded him of this. He shrugged, pesky sisters didn’t know what they were talking about. Then I informed him that if he missed the bird that he would hit the block and it would ricochet. “I won’t miss.” he said taking careful aim and squeezing the trigger. There was a pop, a whiz, a ping, a zing, and then a mighty crash. The Robin flew off and Paul stood in utter horror. I kindly did the little sister jig and said, “Oooohhh! You’re gonna get it now!” And promptly disappeared to hide in the barn so as not to be included in the mad-cap caper. What was the crash you ask? The large side van window. Heh.

So, you see, I was not the only contributor of trouble. I am just amazed that my poor mother managed to survive us all! How we do love her so!

(by the way I was interested to find as I looked at definitions of “amendment” that it also means ” a material (as compost or sand) that aids plant growth indirectly by improving the condition of the soil”. For a good story on the many uses of such an amendment read this. So now hopefully, this post won’t be such a stretch of the topic.)


Filed under Anamnesis, Family, Farm Stories, Goofs, Humor, Writing

Beating the Odds

Jacob had his well child-check up today, finally after two cancelled appointments because of being sick. After having to receive the RSV shot every month the poor little tyke has gotten to the point where he starts crying as soon as Deb, the nurse, stetches his legs out. It was nearly impossible to get the little guy measured for his height. Heh. Though, I don’t think little guy is quite the right terminology here, he’s really quite a hefty boy, 24 lbs, 3o 1/2 inches (roughly anyway). 🙂 Well, other than an ear infection he is checking out just fine, which is always a good thing to hear.

Now that we have hit the year mark we really start keeping an eye on his developement. His oxygen levels were so low for a prolonged period of time that brain damage was a real concern. They didn’t find anything at the time when they did the brain ultrasounds but they did say there may be some developement issues down the road. Frankly I don’t mind the hurdles we might have to jump, at least he is alive and we are jumping them. 🙂 The doctor said that so far he is looking right on track and even ahead of the game, but did suggest getting involved in early intervention to have some extra eyes on him etc. They or we might decide it isn’t neccessary but we figure we might as well work with them, the educational benefit would be great, and I’m not sure quite what things to look for either, not to mention the other benefits should something come up.

We are remaining very positive though, especially as he has so far proven to be bright, engaging, and an early mover, just keeping both eyes open wide. 🙂 After all he is our miracle boy and has a habbit of beating the odds, lets just hope he keeps right on beating them! 🙂


Filed under Heart, Jacob, Parenting

Chaotic Cogitations

Wow! What a week! I haven’t been able to get my brain to focus enough to write anything. 🙂 So here are some chaotic cogitations that have been rambling through my brain of late . . .

On Wednesday night we celebrated Jacob’s first birthday officially, though he had turned one the week before. We wanted to have Grandma and Grandpa celebrate with us since they had missed his birth and all the other exciting events of his life up to that point. What fun we had! It was quite the crowd with my sister and her six children still in town and my sister-in-law and her 2 kids for a good portion of it, we had a grand time. A present opening, paper flinging, cake eating romp. We surprised my sister with including her into the festivities as her birthday is next week.

Thursday evening Elizabeth sang in her first ever music program at the school and my sister and fam and G&G all trooped out to it. It was a hoot and she did such a wonderful job and had so much fun. One of my favorites was a song they sang about valentines. She had told me about the song and that she was singing it for G&G and had made them a Valentine for them. It is amazing to see how much she is growing up and learning.

While everyone was here my sister’s fam was battling colds and such and on wed. and thur. I wound up with a nasty tummy bug. So, it looks like we are headed into nasty sick weather, again . . . . daddy is not feeling well today and Elizabeth had a fever again last night. *sigh* Just so long as everyone is well enough for their scheduled appointments this week. I have had to reschedule Jacob twice (once he was sick and then I was sick). I have his well child and audiology appointments this week and the girls dentist appointments this week too.

Lisa (my sister) and fam headed back home on Friday and I started to get the house back to normal, then Friday night it started to become unnormal again as Paul started to find stuff for my parents to go through, clothes and the sort. At least today my mind doesn’t feel as chaotic as my house! 🙂 We have been having fun doing all those fun grandparent things that we have missed over the last two years, such as reading stories, looking at photo albums, making music, and yak yak yaking. So much fun! 🙂 Here’s hoping for a little more writing time and an organized brain in the coming week!! 🙂


Filed under Children, Family, Jacob, Lizy, Music, Parenting


Weekly Anamnesis #15

I ran down the stairs and unlocked the mailbox one more time, sighed, and took the mail up to my sisters tiny Japanese apartment. It still hadn’t come. I had been checking every day for the past month with much anticipation. My parents didn’t know that I was having it sent to me in Japan, they thought they would be receiving it and reading it to me over the phone.

It was the one day I didn’t bother checking the mail, my brother-in-law came in and took of his shoes. “J you might want to go check that mailbox.”

The words were barely out of his mouth before my feet took off running with out me as I pounded down the stairs and arrived gasping at the mailbox. There it was in a large white, crisp, envelope, I had been waiting for this for days. I snatched it out and slammed the box shut and charged back up the stairs bursting into the apartment waving the envelope over my head. I sat down at the table as everyone gathered around me and my parents in the US were called.

“Hey, mom, I received this funny looking envelope in the mail today, it says it’s from the presidency of the church, I was just wondering what I should do with it?”

“You brat!” my mom exclaimed jokingly. “Open it! Open it!”

I tore the envelope open and read aloud, my voice shaking with excitement, “You have been called to serve in the Chile Antofagasta Mission.”

Shouts and congratulations went up all around, and my 4 year old nephew full of exuberance and joy, jumping up and down, “Happy Birthday!!!”

Well, what else would be so exciting to a 4 year old. His form of congratulations made the experience even more memorable.


Filed under Anamnesis, Chile, Family, Japan, Religion, Things Kids Say, Writing

Joyous Raucous

As Michael said in the comments on my last post, we created a joyous raucous at the airport today. All of us met to anxiously await the arrival of my parents at the airport today. Their flight was an hour behind and we were very grateful for the play area provided for children in the airport. We assembled our stands and instruments and glued our eyes on the check point at the appointed time. Craning our necks to catch the first glimpse of them coming down the hall. Finally my dad was spotted and we recieved our cue to begin.

We began to play “Come, Come Ye Saints.” My mom said that all of a sudden she realized that the music was “Come, Come Ye Saints,” and how could that be at an airport? Then she thought that maybe I had arranged a few friends to play. Then she saw me and to her complete astonishment, Lisa’s family, most of which was playing. Tears and laughs all around. A memory never to be forgotten. I would do it a million times over, just to see the look on their faces. I will get all blubbery if I continue. My parents are home, and I, I am in Utopia.


Filed under Family, Music, Religion


I can hardly contain my excitement, my parents come home tomorrow!! My sister Lisa and her family (6 kids) came up from Colorado to surprise them, arriving on Saturday, which explains my lack of writing. Writing with four kids is hard, but with 10 kids bashing about, well . . .

Last night my brother and his family (2 kids, which made a total of 12 kids ages 14 and under last night) were over and we got to jammin’. Anytime you get a group of my relative together it is impossible to leave the music alone. We had a little mini band going. I was on the horn, my hubby was on the euphonium (baritone), my brother-in-law was on the trumpet, my nephew on the horn, niece on flute, another niece on viola, my brother wishing he had brought his clarinet with him, and my sister on the piano. Then all the little kids were playing with the rhythm instruments. What a hoot! Then, we traded instruments out and I switched to the piano, my sister switched to the accordion, by brother-in-law picked up the guitar, my hubby grabbed the spoons, my niece continued to fiddle, and we continued on with old time polkas and folk songs singing away. It was one of the funnest evenings. 🙂 Hours of music making, that’s all this family needs to be merry!

We had an idea to take our band (the first mentioned arrangement of instruments) and get permission to play at the airport when we saw them coming through the check point. We never thought they would say yes so we called. Well, looks like the band will be called out to greet them. We have signs made up and my girls having been talking about nothing else non-stop. I may not write a lot in the next few days, but I’ll try to pop on to give a band update, etc.


Filed under Family, Music


Weekly Anamnesis #14

1980 something

I didn’t know what it was called, I still don’t; I just remember it was fun to play with. You inserted a narrow plastic tape of sorts, with a peel off backing so it would stick on something, and turn the dial to different letters. By squeezing the handle (or a button?) it would leave the imprint of the letter. We had black, blue, and red tapes and the letters would look white when they were embossed on them. I wrote a message to my mom one time and stuck it on her sewing machine. It said, “Mom, you are the best!” It is still there, though her sewing machine has changed since then.

1980 something else

We took a day trip over the border (we lived in Pennsylvania) to West Virginia to visit Coopers Rock Sate Park. It is an amazing place with mammoth boulders scattered through the woods. Pillars to squeeze between, caves to explore, and sloping boulders to hide under. If Robin Hood had been in the United States I am sure this would have been his hide out. The trails wound around and through them and hours were spent climbing. We went back on numerous occasions I believe. I spent a lot of time with my mom as the older kids went on longer hikes with my father. My mom and I would find a hiding place to camp out, and then leave hidden messages and clues on the paths to our location. We would make arrows out of sticks on the path pointing the way or place sticks in an “x” or an “o” for a hug and kiss. Sometimes mom would hide from me and I would follow her messages to be greeted with a heart when I found her.


When Paul and I were married we received a very simple gift which has been a favorite all these years. It was a small mirror with an oak frame and two hooks beneath it; nothing grand or spectacular. The giver had cut two hearts out of cardboard and labeled them with our names and hung one from each hook. The note attached to the mirror face said, “It is my hope that you will leave love messages and notes to each other on this mirror in the years to come.” We did, and we still do, though maybe not with quite the frequency as when we were first married. On many occasions I will enter the bedroom and as my eyes drift to the mirror hanging on the wall there will be a note or card tucked under the wood edge on my side. A message of love, caring, thoughtfulness and gratitude; a reminder of messages throughout the years.


Filed under Anamnesis, Farm Stories, Love and Marriage, Memory, Writing

How Hard Can It Be?

My parents are coming home fromt he Philippines on Tuesday. They have been serving a mission for the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for two years. I am so very excited to see them and introduce them to Jacob, whom they have never met, and show off how much the kids have grown. In an effort to be ready when they get home I have been trying to clean up and keep up with the house. There is only one problem: everyone has taken it upon themselves to get sick . . . again . . . poor kids. There is some nasty stuff going around, cough, soar throat, congestion, fever and vomitting in some cases.

Trying to clean with sick kids? Now, that is a challenge. Yesterday went as follows.

Dorothy was finally well enough to go to Kindergarten, Elizabeth was sick enough to stay home again. Our next door neighbor was kind enough to come and watch Em and Liz so I could take Dot to school and let Jacob sleep. When I got back I went to get Jacob and saw that the poor little guy had thrown up in his bed. So into the tub he went. He got all squeeky clean and then I plopped him down for breakfast. The problem was that I had no idea when he threw up and what the conditions were. He had had a bad cough and I thought he could have coughed so hard he vomitted. So, the only way to really know was to feed him. So I fed him, he ate like a champion and seemed fine.

I plopped him down to play in the family room and proceeded to yak on the phone while I cleaned pet cages, brushed and washed the dog, organized this, cleaned that. Finally I was just about down when I walked into the family room.

Jacob had thrown up again. All over the floor. I sighed. But, that was not all, oh no. He, being a baby, had started crawling around afterwards. There was vomit on the blanket, vomit on the pillows. I gathered up the blankets and last of all the little area rug where a good portion of it lay and started in across the kitchen floor to the laundery room. You think that would be enough. How much harder do we need to make cleaning the house after all?

But no, fate was against me and as I walked a corner of the rug flipped spraying vomit across the kitchen floor. Oh, my, how vomit can fly!



Filed under Children, Goofs, Parenting

Mush, Septic Tanks, and Grand Canyons

Tired and stumbling I wiped the sleep out of my eyes as I staggered up the stairs into the warm glowing kitchen. In some instances I was greeted by the delicious smell of pancakes, eggs, or on special occasions scones. More often than not my senses were assaulted by the scent of hot cereal. It wasn’t my mother’s cooking, she did her best to make it yummy and appetizing, but my very being would revolt at the slightest hint of any kind of mush. Oatmeal was even affectionately named “mush and bugs” as brown sugar and raisins were added in an effort to make it more enticing. I was stoic in my distaste, and it wasn’t just oatmeal. I couldn’t stand cream of wheat, or cracked wheat, and cornmeal. Oh, cornmeal was the worst. I would wile away the hours knowing that the arrival of the bus would be my only salvation.

I’m not sure how much mush our poor dog lapped down in my efforts to escape the kitchen table, and I know some of it slipped into the base board heaters along the back of the table. Those poor heaters sure took a beating.

There came a time in my childhood when the septic tank needed to be emptied. Though it would be funny to say that it was chocked full of mush, the truth of the matter was that when they began to dig in the appointed location it wasn’t there! No where to be found. I guess septic tanks can be quite elusive as no one would voluntarily care to find one. So they began to dig . . . and dig . . . and dig . . . and dig some more until we had a huge colossal sized trench stretching all the way from our house down the hill and almost to the duck pond before they finally found it. We always said as kids that we had the Grand Canyon in our back yard. My brothers and I would waste (hee hee) away the hours running up and down the sides of the trench singing songs about oatmeal and cornmeal and their proper place in the septic tank.

My dislike for hot cereal, or all things mushy as I like to say, is so bad that I refuse to put milk on certain cold cereals, and even then I have to eat quick because when it starts to get soggy it reminds me too much of mush and I can’t stomach it. (I suppose this just proves how weird I really am, heh) I finally learned to stomach oatmeal, as long as it is those flavored packets and in small doses, but that was only last year, and I don’t think any of the other mushes will ever find favor with me. 🙂


Filed under Farm Stories, Personal History