Saturday, November 29, 2008

I hate . . .

I hate sleeping alone.

I really hate sleeping alone.

Thursday night we slept at my in-laws so I didn't notice it so much, but last night I kept myself up until almost midnight and then turned on the tv and dozed off only to wake up at 4 AM to turn off the muted tv and go back into sleep-land.

Reagan slept through the night (until 5:30) which was a blessing because the last few months she has not been a good sleeper and I've been a lazy mom. Perhaps I'm enjoying my baby a bit too much this time around and now she's flat out spoiled. Last night, however, I did the deed and had her cry herself to sleep without me going in and rescuing. She only lasted ten minutes and I was fine with that. The real test is how long it takes her tonight.

Back to how much I hate sleeping alone and wish Nate would hurry up and get home. . .

I do hate it, but I can't complain about waking up to this:

Breakfast in bed and a gift (the remote to the fan) from Savy and London. They also made breakfast for dad because they forgot he was gone.

and this:They made themselves "breakfast," turned on quiet cartoons, turned on the Christmas tree lights and let me sleep in until 8:00 when they brought me my breakfast in bed.

and this: I guess I shouldn't complain -- how many people get to wake up to these cuties?

only me.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving = work

That's what I learned. This is the first year that I cooked the majority of a Thanksgiving meal and let me tell you that while I loved it, I greatly underestimated the amount of work and time our mothers have donated for years and years to make this holiday fabulous!

I am an organized person (perhaps a bit too organized) with my print-out of what was to happen in 1/2-hour increments on Thursday morning -- juggling all the food and timing it all with one oven and one roaster takes planning ahead. I wasn't stressed and all went smoothly, but I hadn't planned on being on my feet in the kitchen from 8:00 AM until 1:00 when we all sat down to a beautiful table full of mouth-watering food. The whole morning was seriously non-stop and I barely had time to shower and get ready before our guests showed up.
Preparation included making pies the night before. Impressed with my perfect pie crust, I couldn't resist documenting the achievement. No, making Thanksgiving dinner did not cause me to drink (that's Martinelli's), but it did call for some Mountain Dew -- my old stand-by for stressful times. I might add that I have been very good about not drinking it over the past year (nothing like last Christmas).I looted Cyndee's kitchen (she's in Iowa) for plates, platters and then I noticed these cute figurines . . . and of course, they wanted to come to our feast as well - how could I resist?

By the time we sat down to dinner, I totally forgot to take pictures of the table or the food, but I will say that everything turned out tasty and I have some awesome recipes that I will file away under "holiday recipes" and they just may become my little family's stand-by recipes that I will hand down to my girlies -- they were that good.

Thank you America's Test Kitchen.

I swear by them. If you do EXACTLY what they say, people will think you're a good cook (I promise). I learned how to brine a turkey without actually immersing it in water and it turned out moist and saltily (is that a word? it's the perfect adjective for this so I'll pretend it is) flavorful. Homemade stuffing was fabulous as well.
I did manage to get a picture of the kids' table. Thrilled to have "big girl plates and cups," they were all smiles and even helped choose their centerpiece for the occasion.

I am grateful that I got the chance (at 31) to finally do a Thanksgiving dinner myself (well, my mother-in-law did bring the sweet potatoes, green beans and jell-o salad).

Someone really enjoyed her dinner (in the nude)! I couldn't resist these pictures of Reagan's first Thanksgiving. She enjoyed gumming all the scraps I gave her (still no teeth, just drool).
The best parts of Thanksgiving were that (1) I knew that Calebs surgery had gone well and he's doing well and (2) Nate's sister, Jill, flew their little brother, Casey, home for a few days so the family could see him before he ships off to Iraq next week and (3) Norma agreed to watch my babies Friday while Jill and I went out to shop together which was fun.

Now, you all may be wondering . . . where is Nate and why didn't he watch the girlies???

He seems to have disappeared.For the last two weeks, this man - slightly resembling my husband - has been in my bed. But after our feast, he left to hunt and should be back Sunday when, thankfully, the beard will be shaved and, hopefully, I will find my husband! I don't like being married to Jeremiah Johnson . . . too scratchy.
Casey and Jessica
The girlies with Grandma NormaChevi missed her Papa - here they are watching tv
and last, but not least, I could just eat up this girl! Is she not the cutest thing ever???

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Open Heart Surgery

Today I am grateful that Caleb's surgery went well.

It's been a year of stress and worry over this boy's heart condition. Yes, a year. When Megan and I were early on in our pregnancies, she found out that he had heart problems. So although we were pregnant at the same time, our pregnancies and births and children have been totally different experiences. She has been going to 3+ doctors appointments a week for about a year now and it seems that every time I talk to her, one of her other two boys is sick or throwing up. She's been through A LOT this year.

But today has been the day we in my family have anxiously awaited and yet dreaded at the same time.

And it's over.

6 hours of surgery - faster than expected because two cardiologists came to the party.

Running errands today, Amy called and read me Meg's AM post about letting her baby go into surgery. I just stood there in the men's department of Target crying and not caring what people thought. I can't imagine how Megan and Tom made it through those six hours today, but I am grateful that the Lord was looking out for them and Caleb.

Nothing like Thanksgiving in a hospital.

Actually, there's an uplifting story to that. There was a missionary who loved their family and Caleb in particular. About three weeks ago he was transferred to Iowa City (where the hospital is located). Before he left, they told him to look them up in the hospital because they'd be there for the surgery the week of Thanksgiving.

The day after the elder transferred, Megan received a call from the Stake President's wife in Iowa City. She told Megan that every year she and her husband pray about who in their ward they should invite to dinner for Thanksgiving. They hadn't received an answer yet when they met the this elder. All he could talk about was Megan and Tom and the Stake President and his wife knew why their prayers hadn't been answered. Now they get to have a real Thanksgiving dinner despite open heart surgery for Caleb two days before.

Yes, the Lord was looking out for them in more ways than one. I love this story because sometimes we forget that the Lord knows EVERYTHING about us and in this instance, I feel like He was looking out for not only the big thing (surgery), but also the little thing that would mean a lot to them like where to have a Thanksgiving dinner (rather than take-out or hospital food). It's amazing what the Lord can you do if you trust and put your life in His hands.

For updates and pictures, go here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Family Pride

Today I was out with the three girls and we walked by a woman smoking.

London asked me if she was smoking and I said yes to which she replied:

"We're Wallers and Wallers don't smoke."

Then she asked me if the woman's lungs were getting black.

I have no idea where this "Waller Pride" came from because I've never said anything like that, but I thought it was hilarious. I am also glad that she knows who she is and what she stands for, even if she is only four years old. I tried not to laugh though because my girls are at that sensitive age where they get offended even though you're laughing because they're stinking cute (they don't get that).

When we walked by again, she complained that everyone dropped their "smokes" all over the ground (yes, we were in a dirty part of downtown Mesa -- Country Club and University to be exact).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Need a REAL movie?

Last weekend Nate and I watched the movie that Amy's been raving over for weeks. She dropped it off and we watched it last Saturday night and again last night. PBS Masterpiece Theatre's version of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

I am an admitted Victorian addict, but I must say that Nate liked this movie -- no, loved, it almost as much if not more than me! This is the best PBS production I think I've seen (and I loved almost all the Austen ones they made)

And as Thornfield Hall is no Pemberly, so Mr. Darcy is no Mr. Rochester.

(although I dearly love Colin Firth as Darcy)
(I just read that this Mr. Rochester is the son of Maggie Smith - no wonder he's amazing!)

You simply must watch it to see what I mean. Reading the book and watching other movie versions, I never caught onto the romance, but this movie made it come alive and it gradually envelops you until there's no question. I think I'll go back and read it again.

And then there are the lessons to be learned: forgiveness, redemption, love, morality, humility, choosing the right, never giving up -- this list could go on and on. I was most impressed with Jane's stalwart and never-wavering character despite all the terribly horrible things that happen to her. She made me want to be a better person.

So if you need a real movie that will take you on an emotional ride and make you think a little and want to be a little better by the end, then I'd suggest it. And I promise you'll love all four hours of it!

Other news from last weekend:

1. it hailed at our house!

2. my girls are getting bigger and barely fit into the Fry's shopping cart!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

dead girl

Want to know what kindergartners play at recess nowadays?

They all circle around one girl laying on the ground and sing this:

Dead girl, dead girl, come alive!
When we count to five!
One - two - three - four - five!

and then the dead girl arises and chases everyone...

Yesterday I got a good laugh twice over this song. Once, when I heard Savy asking London if she wanted to play "dead girl" and I asked her what that game entailed. Then again last night when Nate heard about it and we just laughed and laughed in our bedroom without little people around to see us.

Creepy and a little too seance-like for me, but what can you do?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kindergarten Pictures

I just realized what a blogger slacker I am (happens about once a month). So I am determined to being better this week. For starters, I think I'll post Savannah's super-cute school pictures. It's not the best picture ever of her, but I love her tentative smile - it says so much about all that is new in kindergarten and they're just winging it until they're pros (1st graders). You can bet she had a say in the clothes and hairstyle of that day. In fact, about two weeks ago, she bumped her eye on a table she was trying to hide under (in a hurry) and got herself a shiner. When it started bruising up a couple days later, she said, "good thing I already got my pictures taken."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Your Patriotism HERE!

I loved going to a regional conference this weekend (even if my kids were a bit on the beasty side and I hardly heard anything of Pres. Packer's talk). I did, however, hear and love the story highlighting the faithfulness of my great-great Grandfather (I don't know how many greats), Daniel Webster Jones, who was sent by Brigham Young to settle Lehi, AZ.

Saturday night was fabulous and I DID get to hear that one (thanks to Cyn watching the girlies). For the second time this year, I heard Elder Ballard mention blogs in the sense that we could use our blogs for good (for a great talk on this, go here). I was impressed by that comment, but didn't know why.

I am like my mother. I love history and I love collecting articles and putting them in files for re-reading later. The other day I found a file I'd put together on America/patriotism for a Young Women's lesson about 6 years ago. With politics, voting and America on my mind, I settled down to "study" these topics from a gospel perspective. I got so excited and overwhelmed with these amazing stories and talks that I felt like I couldn't just be selfish and keep them to myself and I'm wondering now if this isn't why I felt impressed by Elder Ballard's comments.

So if you have a few minutes, read on and forgive my talk-like attitude and my over-zealous passion at the end and I promise that you will go away loving your country a little more than you did before reading this.

President Benson stated: "For centuries the Lord kept America hidden in the hollow of His hand until the time was right to unveil her for her destiny in the last days. 'It is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations,' said Lehi, "for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.' (2 Nephi 1:8)."

In 1 Nephi 13:18-19, The Book of Mormon talks about Columbus being inspired to find this land. Columbus himself, in a letter to the Spanish hierarchy, wrote: "Our Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my emprise called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspires me?" (Quoted in Mark E. Peterson, The Great Prologus, Deseret Book Co., 1975, p. 26).

During the voyage, after weeks of sailing with no sign of land, mutiny raised its head. Finally, Columbus promised the captains of the Pinta and the Nina, both of whom wanted to turn back, that if no land was sighted in forty-eight hours, they would turn back. Then he went to his cabin and, in his words, "prayed mightily to the Lord." On October 12, the very next day, they sighted land.

They don't teach this to our kids in school anymore and that makes me sad. How do our children learn patriotism if these stories, just because they acknowledge a God, are taken away?

"Give me liberty or give me death" said Patrick Henry

"I only regret that I have but one life to loose for my country." said Nathan Hale.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." it reads in St. John 15:13

"Freedom is not free. It has to be nourished with each new generation -- worked for, fought for, and sometimes died for" said Karl Prussian.

Do Americans feel this way today? Do we have that deep-rooted love of country? Where did it get lost? I believe it was lost when we stopped remembering that God is our foundation, the cornerstone of our country.

Yesterday I read a few articles and stories that rekindled my patriotism and reminded me of the spiritual beginnings of this great country. And maybe, just maybe, it can make a few more people more thoughtful as they go to vote tomorrow...


I read so many things about the divine guidance received during the Revolutionary War (which 1 Nephi 13 also refers to) and throughout the writing of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Pres. David O. McKay said: "Next to being one in worshiping God there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States."

Pres. George Albert Smith said: "...yet, there are those who go around whispering and talking and saying, "Let us change this thing." I am saying to you that to me the Constitution of the United States of America is just as much from my Heavenly Father as the Ten Commandments. When that is my feeling, I am not going to go very far away from the Constitution." (Gen Conf Apr. 1948, p.182).

I don't know how many people today think of the Constitution as coming from God, but we know it did and we have been told through modern revelation by the Lord himself,

"And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." (D&C 101:80)

Our Divine Constitution by President Benson in the October 1987 General Conference is AMAZING and if you have any extra time today, I'd suggest reading the whole thing. It will inspire you and uplift you and make you love America more. It talks about the signers of the Declaration of Independence and their fates, how they appeared to Wilford Woodruff in the St. George temple and demanded their temple work be done, and our responsibilities to see that "freedom is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the future."

Have you ever read the Federalist Papers or the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence? Good question (asked by Pres. Benson, not myself). I intend to do so this week because even though I have, it's been a LONG time.

From my Aunt Judy, I read this amazing story from the book "The Light of Liberty." The story is shared by Paul H. Dunn and is an account given by Thomas Jefferson:

"On that day of our nation's birth in the little hall in Philadelphia, debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard pressed by a kind who had flaunted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign a Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words treason, the gallows, the headsman's axe, and the issue remained in doubt.

"Then a man rose and spoke. Jefferson described him as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an impassioned plea. He cited the grievances that had brought them to this moment, and finally, his voice failing, he said, 'They may turn every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom. Sign the parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the text book of freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever.'

"He fell back exhausted. The fifty-six delegates, swept up by his eloquence, rushed forward and signed a document destined to be as immortal as the work of man can be. When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors."

That story gives me chills - can anyone doubt that this nation was founded by our loving Heavenly Father with a plan - an eternal plan - in mind? And that nothing was going to stand in the way of that plan moving forward?

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote (in Democracy in America) this famous quote about America: "I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world of commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

"America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." That line has been written in the side margin of my scriptures for at least 10 years and always reminds me that this is a promised land IF we keep the commandments and stay true to our Heavenly Father. And I can't help but think that somehow, America's greatness is having some problems right now due to our unrighteousness and abuse of that original government that was originally created for America.

Now I wrote a few weeks ago on my 100 list that I am passionate about politics and maybe it's due to my passion for history and especially our nation's spiritual history. In the past weeks, I decided that maybe I was getting too passionate so I reigned myself in a little thinking maybe I was going overboard in my conservatism. In an effort to try to be fair, I even started watching MSNBC a little -- Keith Oberman, Racheal Maddows - yeah, I watched them and all their liberal sarcasm. Okay, anyone in their right mind (liberal or not) HAS TO ADMIT that that network is flat out biased. 100% pro-Obama. 100% against McCain.

So here I am trying not to get all worked up and then yesterday I read this: President Benson's "The Proper Role of Government" (there's also another website with his political background here). Okay, I'm fired up again and this time I don't mind because I'm backed up by a prophet.

By reading Pres. Benson's article, you can see how prophetic it was by how applicable and helpful it is for tomorrow's election. I just kept high-lighting and high-lighting until the whole page was yellow. GO READ IT AND YOU'LL BE AMAZED.

Anyone who is undecided (???I don't know how???) or even decided, should read this article because it's exactly what I've been thinking/feeling this whole election and I finally found it in print and written by an Apostle nonetheless -- doesn't get better than that in my book! So if you're a little dusty on your government history, read this and decide who will be the best president for the next four years.

I'm NOT sitting here telling you that McCain is the best, but I can tell you that deep down inside I think he's a notch better than Obama. I am disappointed he voted for the bailout and wants to nationalize mortgages, but that's better than promising people that they won't have to worry about anything again because we're going to "spread the wealth."

Not a good idea.

Go to another country if you want to do that because that's not what America was founded on and that's not the way America became great! Go read up your history, Mr. Obama!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Ready for the big night!
3 witches and a snow princess!
(the littlest witch didn't like her hat)
London really embraced the witch persona, cackling for everyone.
Dad stayed and handed out candy.
This house has been the talk of the littles for weeks so we had to go by it. Savannah studied him for a while. I thought it was a statue, but when she got closer, he moved. I would have screamed and ran, but she just stepped back a little and continued checking him out -- how brave! London, on the other hand, was literally shaking in her skin at this house. Poor girl.
These two relished being something "scary."I loved Aidan's mummy costume. By the end of the night
he was "unraveling" and it was awesome! Then we picked up daddy and went to Melissa's party.
Here's the cake Amy made for it.
Melissa out-bid everyone on Amy's blog during the NieNie auction day.
At home, we threw off our clothes and collapsed, but not before Reagan found her favorite new toy: the snake from Granma Cyndee's hair. I just love her witchy tights and that belly flabbing over -- love the flab (and the crazy eyes)!I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

Today, we're just chillin' out at home.

These are the two best lines of the day:

London: "Jeepers, Savannah, how do you open this candy?"

Savannah: "I can't wait for Thanksgiving to eat pie! I love pie!"

Move over Halloween, Thanksgiving is around the corner!