Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We've been married nine years.
To say it out loud seems like a very short time,

especially compared to our parents

(mine are inching up onto
And yet, to remember life without him
sometimes feels
like a major excavation
through my memory.

I feel like we've shared
an entire lifetime already.

So much of who I am
and what I've done
been through involves him.
It's like he's consumed my life,

and I love it that way.

No one else makes me feel so
loved and accepted.
In my most desperate or emotional
he is the one person I need the most.
He laughs at my jokes, even when they're
(more often than I'd like to admit).

He claims to find me just as attractive
the day we were married.
Three babies, some gray hair (who me? YES.),

the beginnings of crows feet,
and fifty pounds later,
it's a
difficult concept for me to grasp;
but I trust him and believe him to be sincere.

That alone makes me love him.

But there is so much more:

The way he loves his children.

His love of the Gospel and his mission.
His gentle, kind eyes--so beautiful and clear.
The way he plays with his children.
His bent pinky finger.
That sounds strange,
but when I hold
his hand I expect to feel it there near my palm.

The times he laughs so hard that no sound comes out.
The way his children react when he comes home

would make it obvious to a complete stranger
they adore him and love to be with him.

His sexy legs.

The sacrifices he made to get an education,

and ultimately provide stability and security for our family.

His handsome smile, and the fact that it comes easily to him.
It's not often he tells me "no".
Who wouldn't love that?

His testimony.

His ability to forgive and to forget.

Being this flawed, thank heavens I did
something right
and married someone
who is better at doing that than I am.

I. Need. To. Be. Better.

I'm grateful for the love and respect
he has for my parents.

The desire he has to make our house
into a home;
a place where others can
feel welcome and comfortable
and where
we can feel safe and happy.

He's a bit shy at first, but once
you get him going,
he's a very friendly guy.
Not just friend-ly, but a good
I should know. He's the best one I've ever had.

He lets me lay my head on his shoulder while we watch T.V., even though
I know he's hot and would rather I didn't.
I love that he loves to take care of his grandmother.

He recognizes that his time with her is precious
is doing all he can not to waste it.
He's such a smarty-pants. He really does know a lot of stuff.

The way he cried at our children's births.
All three times,
as if it was a new experience every time.

I guess in a way, it was.

He doesn't shed tears often. I can count on one hand
how many times
he's cried since I've known him.
But the fact that he's shown
his emotions
during those specific times, means the world to me.

I love his family, and that they are now my family.

I can only pray that my children will be
as lucky as me when they marry.

He's unselfish.

I love it when he holds my hand
and rubs his thumb over mine.
He loves to surprise me and gets antsy waiting for my reaction.

It's like a kid on Christmas morning.

I love that in his last letter to me,
he didn't use Times New Roman

simply because he knew I'd like a different font better.

That means a lot coming from someone who could not care less!

He's a hugger.

And a kisser.

A really good one.

Seriously good.

And he loves to do it often,

so truly what a lucky gal I am!

P.S. Incidentally, I think it's worth noting that NUEVE is also very close to the word NUEVA, which means "new, fresh". How appropriate that our NINTH year together still feels as NEW and FRESH as our first. Te amo siempre.

Hope Sig1

Monday, July 27, 2009


The boys helping Daddy make fresh lemonade.
And their sour faces after
sampling the yellow fruit!
Hope Sig1
I want to win a Shabby Apple dress.

Hope Sig1

Friday, July 24, 2009

unexpectedly, I'm missing President Hinckley today.

“Out of all the things for which I feel grateful this morning, one stands out preeminently: that is a living testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almight God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One.

…Jesus is my friend..."

Hope Sig1

Thursday, July 23, 2009

glimpses of a grown-up, or maybe even better.

My mother-in-law is an incredible grandmother. She makes each grandchild feel like the most important and interesting person in the world. On occasion (a couple times each year) she sets aside 24 hours of her busy schedule for a grandchild to experience one-on-one time (spoilage time) on a "Special Day with Grandma". Yesterday was Halle's. I had been a bit concerned, because as the days got closer, Halle kept talking about all the things she had planned for this day. I noticed quite a bit of it sounded a bit greedy and extreme. We had a sit-down and discussed what this special day was all about--TIME with Grandma, which meant many possible activities might not cost any money, but could be the most worthwhile (like taking a walk, or knitting side-by-side (Dixie is teaching Halle to knit). Also that it was Grandma's special job to plan it, not Halle's, even though Grandma might ask for suggestions on what to do.

After Halle spent the night there, I called this morning to see how things had gone. Halle answered the phone. She filled me in on all their exciting activities (again, major spoilage!), but what made me the most proud was her reply when I asked her if she slept in the guest room:

"Yep, I slept in there. Don't worry, Mom. Before I came down for breakfast I made the bed. It looks awesome."

She sounded so mature. Perhaps I should not have been surprised, but the fact that she would recognize the importance of being a thoughtful and responsible guest caught me off-guard. I mean, that may seem an insignificant chore to some, but we've had ADULT guests in our home who have thoughtlessly left their offered bedroom untidy and the bed unmade. Not only does it show ingratitude but also laziness. Is my baby girl getting old enough to do such things that some adults don't even consider?

Finally, when I asked her if she'd had good manners, she said (I could practically hear her eyes rolling as she spoke):

"Yes, Mom. I haven't said my big thank you yet, though. I'm saving it for when she brings me home."

Hope Sig1

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

making faces.

One day, Halle told Carson to get out of something. When he didn't, she put her hands on her hips, tilted her head, raised her eyebrows, and kept her face very serious as if to say, "Well? Are you going to listen to me, or not?" Instead of caving into her intimidation, Carson chose to mimic her "angry face". He's had us in stitches with it ever since. I tried to capture it on film, but unfortunately he was having too hard a time keeping their faces serious and "angry". But maybe you get the idea. (And please try to ignore the super-messy shirt with all the spots. It looks like someone grabbed a handful of potato chips and then wiped the grease onto Carson! This was at the end of the day. His clothing had been through three meals and a snack or two. I'm amazed it looked this good, to be honest. So sad, but so true.)
Hope Sig1

Thursday, July 16, 2009

more than just a 3-day weekend.

I'm just now getting around to posting about things that happened two months ago. However late, they are still things I want said and journaled so I'll remember years from now how I felt and what I did.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our Memorial Day started out spending time with some of our very favorite people. The Hodges, the Langelands, and the Miles' joined us for breakfast. Our plans changed a bit with the wet weather (it was supposed to be an early breakfast around a campfire up Mueller Park but ended up at the church gym), but we still managed to have a good time!
The kids (ahem...the DADS) had fun playing a rousing game of kickball...
Fun activities aside, however, I love Memorial Day and what it means.

I love the opportunity to dedicate loving thoughts towards those who've passed on. We had plans to visit Brett's grandparents graves Memorial Day afternoon, but after Wyatt complained of an upset stomach, we decided it would be best if Carson and I stayed home with him while Brett and Halle took flowers up to Roy and Hooper.

The Friday before, I was honored to go with my Mom and Dad to the Redwood Cemetery to place flowers on my brother, Paul's, and my Grandma & Grandpa Kremin's graves. It was crowded and busy with others coming to remember their dead, but I still treasured that time with them. Halle was in school, but it was nice to take the boys and show them the headstones. Mom picked out some beautiful carnations (one of her favorite flowers)--I especially loved the delicate baby ones she chose for Paul. My parents don't talk much about Paul. Had he been born twenty years, or even ten years, later his tiny premature body would have had a much better chance of survival. Nonetheless, he was not meant to remain in this earthly life and although I'm sure her faith has been a great comfort, I know my mother still carries the deep wounds of her loss.

In an email following that day, she asked,
"Thanks for going to the cemetery with Dad and I. It wasn't quite like I planned, a lot of company there, but just as well, all the tears I have wouldn't have changed anything. 'Nice to feel Paul is close to family there, though, can't help but wonder what it will be like when it's my turn, do you think he will be there waiting for me?"
I was very moved by her yearning and I'm convinced that yes, Mother, he will be there waiting for you. He's your son and wants nothing more than to be reunited with his mother and father and all those that love him.
I love the view from that cemetery
I'm not sure why these pictures are rotated incorrectly. On my computer they are right, but for some reason blogger has them this way. Oh, well. You can still see how beautiful their headstones are.
During a period of what I believe was one of their most happiest of times, my parents actually lived on Redwood Road just south of this cemetery. There's a Target and Albertsons now across the street from where their house used to be.
Hope Sig1

Monday, July 13, 2009

snips 'n snails 'n puppy dog tails...

My boys are funny. They say things that make me laugh out loud. A few weeks ago they played while I worked in the yard. As I planted day lilies, I spotted a wriggly, squiggly worm. Pointing it out to the boys, I watched their imagination and wonder take flight.
"Let's name it," Wyatt said.

"Let's name it Fred," Carson said, as though
he'd been prepared in advance to offer a wormly moniker.
And thus, Fred became the sole heir of their undivided
attention for
the next twenty minutes. At least until
Fred became wary
of their poking and pinching and dug
itself (himself?) to
safety in the cool, brown earth.
And then Fred was gone, but by then,
so were the boys.
Off to fight pirates on the boulders of the flower bed.

Hope Sig1

Friday, July 10, 2009

I've got the boredom blues. And I'm not even the one that's bored.

This post was written in June, but for some reason I forgot to publish it.
We've had one day of summer vacation so far.
Let me share with you what the kids got to do:

1-Spend an hour at the Public Library. Check out 16 books and 4 movies.
Had a textbook case of FUN!

2-Go to swimming lessons.
Had a soakin' GOOD TIME.

3-Eat lunch from Wendy's Value Menu
(in their world, so much better than every-day PB & Js).

4-Go to the Dollar Store, giggling up and down the aisles.
Mom bought a hula hoop.
The joy went round & round.

5-Go Home & Rest. A couple hours later...
6-Invite friends over to play for an hour until dinner time.
Socializing with people "cooler" than Mom is AWESOME!
7-Plans are made to watch one of the library movies together after dinner.

The kids love movie nights!

Not a bad day for a kid, right?

And yet! As I made dinner (spaghetti & meatballs: one of their favorites, by the way), both of my children approach me with my LEAST FAVORITE 6-WORD COMBINATION ON THE PLANET: "We're bored. What can we do?"

Seriously? You're seriously asking? After an action-packed day like today, you are actually ASKING me to provide yet another activity for you? Do you realize how close you are to losing years off your lives right now?

Lately Brett and I have been very sensitive (annoyed) with the fact that our children expect (yes, EXPECT) us to entertain them every hour, every minute of the day. We've found ourselves sounding much like those who've come before us with responses such as, "When I was a kid we didn't always have somewhere to go or something to do. We had to use our imagination. We played outside. We read books. We drew pictures. We..." (I'm positive if our parents are reading this, they'd say our kids are mini-me's of how we used to be, but that's a different post all together.) I understand that at some point children crave structured activity or crafts or whatever. But why do they feel it is MY responsibility to provide something like that for them ALL. DAY. LONG?

Anyway, like every summer, I've tried to come up with yet another idea that my kids can turn to before they turn to me. This year (let's hope it's more successful than last year's boredom bags, which worked for about a week before they lost their novelty), I've made a BOREDOM BOX. Inside are strips of paper with ideas of things to do. They're color-coded, so depending on the current circumstances (how much time we've got, how busy I am doing other things, etc.) the kids know which kind of activity to pursue. If I have time to help organize or supervise an activity, I'll instruct the kids to choose an ORANGE slip. If I'm preoccupied and cannot help, they'll need to draw a BLUE paper. If we know we're going to the library (we usually go every Monday), they can pick a yellow paper, which will give them a topic on which we can base our library selection to learn about something in particular. I tried to make a shopping list of all the supplies we'd need for them to do any of the BLUE activities, so things are ready to go. I have a lot of the ORANGE stuff on hand, too, but some of the ORANGE activities are actually outings we can plan on doing sometime that day. As they choose activities, those slips will be put in a separate place so they are not repeated any time soon.

Here's the list of ORANGE (supervised) activities:

Go to the Library and find books about one of the yellow cards
Explore the bike path & look for unique plants or rocks
Go for a bike ride
Go to the Children’s Museum
Check the Home Depot children’s class schedule.
Check the Michaels Craft Class schedule.
Go to the Children's Floor of the Church History Museum.
Check the Dollar Movie schedule
Go to the Rec Center & Swim
Play with Play Doh
Make cookies & take them to someone
Visit Grandma B.
Make sock puppets. Put on a puppet show.
Go to the Library and rent a movie
Build dirt castles outside with Tupperware containers
Dig for worms
Do sidewalk chalk out front
Look for bugs in the back yard and draw pictures of them.
Find rocks and paint them.
Hang a sheet on the swingset and paint it.
Fly kites
Throw a Frisbee @ the Foxboro Park
Set up the tent in the back yard and pretend you’re camping
When Carson is asleep, make seashell critters. (see instructions)
When Carson is asleep, make a Sandwich Box Monster. (see instructions)
When Carson is asleep, make Marbled Clay Beads (see instructions)
When Carson is asleep, make Juicebox Dolls (see instructions)
When Carson is asleep, make pet rocks (see instructions)
When Carson is asleep, glue pasta to cardstock paper to make a pretty picture.
Help Mom wash the car.

Here's the BLUE (independent) activities:
Make a poster about farms and farm animals. Make plans to visit Wheeler farm later in the week.
Fill a balloon with air. Don’t let it touch the carpet!
Play charades. Guess animals or movies.
Play freeze tag.
Play pirates or George of the Jungle on the swing set.
Play a board game.
Do a big puzzle together.
Write a story about one of your summer vacations this year. Wyatt, you can tell your story to Halle and she will write it.
Plan an international dinner that you can have later this week. Make flags and decorations from that country.
Using construction paper, make the American flag with the stripes and stars.
Do a scavenger hunt inside (see the list Mom’s already made for you)
Run through the sprinklers
Play with water guns & sponges
Throw a Frisbee in the backyard
Blow bubbles
Lay on the grass and look at the clouds—what do they look like?
Make your own paper dolls.
Play with the Boredom Bags
Lay a blanket on the lawn and read books outside with a snack
Write a song by writing a poem and then add music from the piano
Play bowling by using a small ball and knocking over objects, such as Barbies, empty cups, stuffed animals, toy food, etc.
Plan a Mini-Olympics that you can do later in the week with friends: Make an obstacle course outside with stuff like hula hoops, orange cones, jumprope. Have jumping contests, wheelbarrow races, water balloon toss, pillowcase races, crawl under chairs, walk with basketball between your legs around a windy hose, .
Capture bugs.
Cut pictures from magazines and glue them on poster board.
Do silly jumps outside.
Play Throw The Dice.
Have pillowcase races on the lawn.
Use construction paper to color and cut out pictures that describe a book you like.
“Paint” the back patio with WATER and watch it evaporate
Make a poster about fruits and vegetables. Make plans to go to a Farmer’s Market later this week.
Play Simon Says.
Play Red Light-Green Light.
Invite some friends over and play Red Rover.
Practice a play or part of a your favorite movie. When you’re ready & Mom’s not busy, Mom will record you on the video camera.
Play Hide & Seek.
Make a Menu for Dinner. We’ll pretend we’re a restaurant when Daddy gets home.
Play Duck-Duck-Goose
Color a picture and glue it onto cardstock. Now cut it into large pieces to make a puzzle.
Play soccer
Play Store
Play Barbies
Play School Bus or Train with the kitchen chairs
Make a City with blocks
Pretend you are a photographer
Read scriptures or act out a scripture story
Use construction paper to make a garden
Write in your journal
Do the Exercise Video
Write a letter to Uncle Tanner

I'm up for any ideas to add to my list (inexpensive and simple are more warmly received) as well as any suggestions you have to help keep the boredom blues away...'COMMENT' away, people...I need your help!
Hope Sig1

Monday, July 6, 2009

the pieces are finally coming together...

Wyatt to Halle as we pass the new elementary school that is under construction in our neighborhood:
"Halle, I see your school!
It has lots of pieces to it."

I love how in his little 4 1/2-year old brain he sees the building as something akin to a puzzle coming together. Now that it's nearing completion, he can see all the different "pieces"!

This picture is already outdated. They now have a parking lot and sidewalk. I looked at pictures of the school online and it is AWESOME! Not only is it big, but it's also got the latest technology, etc. I especially love how they are painting the walls bold colors since studies have shown that students learn better in colorful rooms as opposed to those with plain white walls. Bring on the color!

Halle is excited to WALK to school or ride her bike come fall. Having a school so close is going to be a big blessing--it's only about 2-3 blocks away. Kids like it because they can go there themselves. Moms love it because their babies are close by.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

tantrum, hissy-fit, meltdown...

Whatever you call it, it ain't pretty and Carson's the King of it! We've never had a real fit-thrower before. Sure, every kid has their moments of loud protest and frustration, but Hal and Wy can't compare to King Carson! He takes the cake...and if you make him mad enough he'll probably throw it in your face, too.
I wanted to have proof of his ridiculously angry tantrums, so that someday when I'm grandmother to his children and he's coming to me for advice about their public outbursts, I can show him these pictures and say, "Don't look at me. They got it from you!"

Usually, if I frown, pick him up and place him in his room for time out and ignore him, within 10 minutes, he will approach me on his own, calm & repentant. Sometimes I can even just say, "Oh, is that what you're going to do? Very well then, throw your tantrum and let's get it over with" and it will quickly bring him to his senses. It's funny...he'll go from rage ("Get away from me!", he'll yell. "Leave me alone!") back to being the sweetest, funniest kid. There are definitely two sides to this coin!

But some weeks ago he'd been especially devoted to his breakdowns and I think he set a new record.
Non-stop screaming, crying, and the occasional foot stomp. Forty-five minutes. That's right...just shy of an HOUR. In a store. Yes, it was such a relaxing, enjoyable outing.

It was a shoe store, which we know is all-too enticing for a 2-year old, unresistable to "touching" and "rearranging". So when we'd gotten out of the car, before going in I put him in a stroller. That's what set him off. I didn't want to take him in like that, so I waited outside for 15 minutes. When it was teeth-gratingly clear he wasn't going to give in, I had to decide to leave or shop. I know it was selfish, but I really, really, REALLY wanted new shoes and the sale they were having was only going to last another week, and I just didn't know if I'd have a chance to make it back before it ended since I've been so busy with my church calling and my upcoming piano recital. So...there's my lame excuse, but yes. I took my tantrum-throwing child into the store anyway. So sue me! I took in the complete package: blotchy-red face, runny nose, and all, including the occasional sticking out of the tongue and protesting raspberry-spurt directed at none other than yours truly.

The only blessing was that I was the only customer in the store except for a mere five minutes, during which time I made a personal apology to the other patron (who, by the way, smiled and insisted she completely understood but left five minutes later nonetheless). I tried 'reasoning with' (bribing) him: "When you can stop yelling and crying, I have some fruit snacks in my purse for you." All I'd get in reply was a sour, "No!" The clerk was very kind about it and even offered to help, trying to make suggestions to Carson like, "If you stop crying I have a sticker for you." I think she finally realized she wasn't making anymore headway with him than I was when Carson threw his shoe at her head and barely missed.

It wasn't until I was paying for my shoes when a tiny voice, heard from a couple aisles over (as I had no desire to bring my terribly picked-on child up to the register at the front) said matter-of-factly and in a tone that gave absolutely no indication that the past three-quarters of an hour had even existed,
"Mommy, I'm ready for my fruit snacks now. And my sticker."

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson