Sunday, November 28, 2010

Overheard on a Sunday Afternoon

Atticus: J Boo, are you done poopin'?

J Boo: No. I'm makin' a slow one.

Atticus: (laughter)

J Boo: I'm makin' a slug!

[Note to self: I may want to curtail her multiple viewings of Flushed Away. Just a thought.]

J Boo: I'm poopin' like a slug!

Atticus: What does a slug say?

J Boo: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Me, hearing strange noises from the living room: J Boo, what are you doing?

J Boo (irritated now): I'm makin' a slug!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Unexpected Hilarity

Phil had to go have some tests done today after work. One of those was the "pee-in-a-cup" test. When Phil got home, Mr. Wiggle Brows was asking why Dad was home so early. When I told him that Daddy had to go somewhere to get some tests done and that he'd had to pee in a cup, Mr. Wiggle Brows asked incredulously, "You mean they don't have bathrooms there????"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blood and Carnage

In September, we attended the session of Stake Conference for grownups (it sounds so racy to call it "the adult session"). Our Stake President spoke of an experience he had with the Nauvoo Pageant. He was given 11 months to come up with a new presentation, and the last word of direction he was given was "don't frame it in the blood and carnage." How on earth do you share the story of Joseph and Hyrum Smith's martyrdom without any blood and carnage? It was a challenge. I can't describe it the way President W did, but his point was that we should not focus on the blood and carnage we may experience in our lives. We should focus on the eternal perspective and see our hardships for what they are: a refiner's fire.

When I think about the challenges/trials I've been given and spell them out, focusing on the "blood and carnage," it can be quite overwhelming. Some trials have been public, but most have been private. Listing them summarily can send me into waves of self pity, which keeps me from seeing my Heavenly Father's perspective: these trials are sent to sanctify me and my family, to bring us closer to Him and teach us eternal lessons that can be learned in no other way.

When I choose to find the blessings that God has given me through these trials, it is equally overwhelming. Because blessings have come, and they've come in very strange ways. I think of one particular person whose relationship to me and my family would seem completely unfathomable, but she has been an incredible source of strength and joy. She was put in my life exactly when I needed her. I think of my next door neighbor, who has become another sister to me. She loves my children almost as much as she loves her own. We've shared tears and pain, laughter and joy, and I can't even fathom what it will be like when she has to move away. I think of the changes in my brother's life, of his incredible outlook on life, and I am in awe.

I would not have chosen the trials I've been given. But I would not be who I am today without them, and I like the woman I have become. God truly moves in mysterious ways.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thanks for the Memories, Dr. Demento

Just one of the songs my older brother used to play (and sing) when we were little.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Guess Who's Home?

Yup, as of Wednesday. Now he gets to figure out how to get places. Para-transit services are EXPENSIVE!!!!

And this is most definitely not his best picture. Not a fan of the tongue thing, big brother. But I'm so glad you're home.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


And here we go again. Want to help? Come and buy or donate something to sell. Thank you!


A tragic accident has left our friend Kerry Ashby paralyzed. All proceeds will go toward medical needs, making the home wheel chair accessible, and rehabilitation.

Neighborhood Yard Sale
Sat June 26 from 7 am to 1 pm-ish
162 East 500 South Provo

Please donate any items that can be sold.
Drop off at the above address at any time.

A financial contribution would be greatly appreciated!
Donations will be collected at:

Freedom Credit Union
815 North Freedom Blvd.
Provo, UT 84604

Checks written to Kerry Ashby
Donations can also be dropped off at the yard sale location anytime.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

New Life Comes in Strange Ways

A little over two weeks ago, I took Sweet Boy, Mr. Wiggle Brows, and J Boo up to visit my brother Kerry. I have been wanting to write something about the experience since then, but it's taken me some time to be ready to share. I know many of you have been wondering how Kerry is doing, and I have hesitated to put much about that here because I don't know what Kerry would be comfortable with me sharing. But I have felt strongly since that visit that I needed to put into words what I felt and saw, if only for my own personal benefit.

You should know a little bit about my brother. He is a big guy with a soft heart who prefers to hide behind a gruff, tough exterior. He is stubborn, has a tendency to be prideful, and presents himself as a cocky, scary-looking, tough guy. For a while there, he was shaving his head and had a goatee long enough to put a tiny braid in. (Not his best look, I must say, but it was intimidating, which is what he wanted.) He never seemed to like to show his softer side. As a result, he came across as loud and brash, and it took my children a long time to get used to him and his rough manner of playing with them. In his own neighborhood, however, he is known as the Candy Man, because he always has candy that he gives to the kids, usually against their parents wishes. (Typical Kerry...always a rebel.)

When I walked into his room last week, the toughness was gone. The real Kerry was shining through, glowing like a newborn baby. He is humble, appreciative, and amazed by the love that has been shown to him and his family. The thing that got me the most was when he said, "I am so grateful that this accident happened. I got to see two of my sons grow into men in a very short amount of time. All of us have grown."

I felt as if I was on holy ground.

Physically, there is not much improvement to report. He moves his arms very well, can feel his fingers, but cannot move his fingers. There is nothing else from the chest on down. He gets frustrated, looking at those hands that have built so many amazing things over the years, and then spending hours in rehab trying to thread a string through a bead.

Anticipated release date: end of June
Kerry's goal: to be able to use a manual wheelchair, instead of the electric one

Please continue to pray for him and his family.

To those of you have prayed for him since the first time you heard what happened, a huge thank you from Kerry and from his family.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Mother's Day

Today is the day I officially became a mother, 14 years ago. I like to think of each of my childrens' birthdays as a sort of birthday for me, too: I became a new mother every time. With each new baby, I had to learn what works best for that child, and although past experience helps a lot, it is still a new mothering experience. I had to reshape myself with each baby, becoming first a mother to one, then two, then three, and, finally, four. It's been an amazing process. Difficult? Yes, but it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

So Happy Birthday, Atticus! I'm glad you're mine. And I'm glad you no longer look like Spaceman Spiff, though you sure were a cute little dude.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Are You There Yet?

Ashby button

There is a lot of cute stuff to buy, and it's all for a good cause. Go. Buy. And be happy.

Thank you, everyone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Papa Trauma Fundraiser

This is a picture of my brother, Kerry, when he was helping me with a big project in my yard in February. He's a big guy with a generous and kind heart, but now he has a big problem. He was in a serious ATV accident on April 16th and is now paralyzed. With two sons on missions, and the type of "insurance" you can get when you are self-employed, you can imagine how tight finances are going to be. I know things are tight for a lot of people right now, and, really, Azucar makes a good point: it reeks that we have to ask for help in a situation like this, but I'm asking anyway. If you are in the area and would like to help, Kerry's neighbors have organized a fundraiser. Please stop by this Saturday and either donate stuff to sell or make a few purchases. Here is the information from the flier:

A tragic accident has left our friend Kerry Ashby paralyzed. All proceeds will go toward medical needs, making the home wheel chair accessible, and rehabilitation.

Neighborhood Yard Sale
Sat May 1st at 7 am
162 East 500 South Provo

Please donate any items that can be sold.
Drop off at the above address at any time.

A financial contribution would be greatly appreciated!
Donations will be collected at:

Freedom Credit Union
815 North Freedom Blvd.
Provo, UT 84604

Checks written to Kerry Ashby
Donations can also be dropped off at the yard sale location anytime.

For questions call Cheryl Sheffield at 801-830-8932

Thank you for your support in this effort!

Friday, April 23, 2010

And Life Goes On

Some of you know that my older brother, Kerry, was in a serious ATV accident last Friday. It's going to be a rough road. Friends and neighbors are combining efforts to help Kerry's family. With two missionaries out (the second one leaves on the 28th next week), added to the astronomical medical costs, the financial situation is going to be bad. The boys are concerned about the financial burden that their missions will be on top of everything else. If you can, please check out the button on my side bar for details about an online auction for the family on May 3rd. There will also be a huge yard sale/bake sale on Saturday, May 1st. If you want details on that, leave me your e-mail in the comments and I'll send you the information.

Thank you, everyone.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I had a birthday two days ago. It was a very nice, relaxing day for me. The most unusual experience for that day came at the beginning, and I feel prompted to share it.

Some of you know that I exercise in the morning at Curves. I don't usually go on Tuesdays, but I did this week. There are two women who are part of the Tuesday/Thursday workout group. They are women whom I greatly admire: they radiate their testimonies of Jesus Christ not only in their eyes but in the way they talk, act, and respond to other people. Their love for their families and for the people they serve at church is evident in every word they speak. (I must say here that they are not the only women I know who are this way. Visit with the women in my family, neighborhood, and circle of friends and you will agree. I know some amazing women!)

I was drawn into conversation Tuesday morning with one of the women (the other one wasn't there that day). For some reason, I began telling her of the things I've experienced in my life. These things are not pretty--they are the adversities that President Uchtdorf spoke of. It was rather sobering for me, putting everything out there in a condensed version. She asked me how it is that I kept going. I told her that I didn't have a choice. She reminded me that yes, I did have a choice. I could have chosen to leave, whether physically or spiritually. It's true: I could have chosen that. But it was never an option for me. It still isn't.

Then I told her this (and I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating):

"The mist of darkness that Lehi speaks of is real. It is tangible. But even when I could not feel the Spirit, even when I felt abandoned and alone, I knew Heavenly Father was still there. I knew He still loved me. And I know the only way to get through the mists of darkness is to cling with all my might to my Heavenly Father. There is no way around, under, or over: there is only through, and you can't do it without Him."

We were both in tears. We both felt that truth. It was particularly sweet for me because I needed to feel it. It's been a rough go lately, and sometimes I can't feel the sweet peace that the gospel brings. I needed that feeling on my birthday. Thank you, Father, for the birthday present. It will carry me through for quite some time, I think.

A dear friend of mine was saying the other day how much the phrase "endure to the end" disturbs her. Are we merely passive observers? Do we just roll over and let it all happen to us? The phrase brings to mind such images. I've never cared for it myself, though I've used it often enough. A few weeks ago, a neighbor was speaking in sacrament meeting, sharing some of his missionary experiences. He talked about certain gospel phrases that are better in Spanish. "Enduring" was one of those phrases. He taught us that in Spanish, the phrase is "persevering." I believe he's right: the Spanish is better. Persevering implies active participation in the events around you. I would rather persevere, moving forward continually in spite of the obstacles in front of me.

And that is what I will do. I will keep moving, even though there are times when I want to say, "You want me to do what? Um...really?" Because that is the only viable option for me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Highlights

Favorite things about Sacrament Meeting today: the blinking shamrock light necklace worn by the elderly sister sitting behind us; the talks; the choir number ("Take My Life and Let It Be"--one of my favorites, partly because I love to play triplets); J Boo begging Phil (in full voice) to let her "swide" down his legs.

Worst part of coming home: Atticus accusing me of playing favorites and creating rules that apply only to him; lamenting, once again, that I cannot be as generous and flexible with Atticus as I can with Sweet Boy and Mr. Wiggle Brows because he will take advantage of it and use it against me in the future.

Best part of coming home: eating chocolate-covered strawberries, hand-dipped personally just for me and slipped surreptitiously into my hands when the choir got up to sing. I have amazing friends.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Favorite News Story of the Day

This makes me giggle. Can you picture it? A rogue knitter making sweaters for tree branches and lamp poles under cover of darkness. I love it. What would you call this person? I like The Purl Shadow. And how about a name for the sidekick? Hmm...maybe The Drop Stitch.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Parental Satisfaction

First, I need to set the scene for you. A couple of weeks ago, the boys had an extended weekend. Sometimes, as a family, we like to have a movie night on such occasions, but it didn't work out this particular weekend. Atticus was not happy about it. Not happy at all. Sunday evening rolled around and Atticus was trying to convince me, at 9 pm, that he HAD TO get on the computer to finish downloading and converting some video files for his mp3 player.

Atticus: MOOOOooooom, I have 2 minutes left on my computer time! You HAVE to log me in so I can finish this project!

Me: It's bedtime, Atticus. You should have finished this afternoon instead of terrorizing your brothers for fun. I'm not getting you on.

Atticus: But it's all your fault that I didn't get home in time from Grandma's house to get on the computer. Now YOU have to get me on. Because it's all YOUR FAULT!

Phil: Atticus, you're more than welcome to leave Grandma's early, if you need to get home to do something. We're not keeping you there.

Atticus: Nu-uh! You guys were late getting there, and that's why we're so late getting home. It's all YOUR FAULT!

Me: Atticus! Go and get ready for bed NOW! Perhaps, if you are ready quickly enough, I'll discuss the possibility of getting you on for your last 2 minutes, but not if it takes you 30 minutes to get ready for bed like it usually does.

Atticus: Fine! (stomps off in a huff and, miraculously, is completely ready for bed in 6 minutes)

Unfortunately for him, while Atticus finished up his bedtime preparations, I checked his computer time.

Me: Uh, Atticus? You have 43 seconds left, not 2 minutes.

Atticus: But that's enough time to finish what I need to do.

Me: No, it's not. I'm not logging you on. It's late, and you need to go to bed.

Atticus: WHAT?!?!?!?!? You can't do that! We're having movie night tonight, and we're watching Mythbusters on my mp3 player! You promised!

Me: I promised no such thing. I said we might be able to, if things worked out, but they didn't, so we aren't.

He was furious.

(Stay with me now, I'm still setting up the scene.)

I went off to help Sweet Boy clean his teeth. While I'm brushing, I asked him, "So what's this movie night Atticus is talking about you guys doing tonight?"

Sweet Boy: Huh?

I repeated the question and finally got an "Oh! Yeah."

Me: At what point were you two planning to tell me about this, let alone ask permission?

Sweet Boy: We weren't supposed to say anything to you.

Me: Ah. I see.

I think someone is busted.

Back in the kitchen, I ask Atticus the same question: When were you planning to tell me about this movie night?

Atticus: You already knew!

Me: No, I didn't. Were you ever going to ask my permission?

Sweet Boy (to Atticus): You said not to ask her.

Me: HA!!! You are so busted, my friend. There is no way I would log you on to the computer. No way, son. Now go to bed.

All was quiet, I thought, so I went to get myself ready for bed. But then I heard Atticus' voice. I knew something was up, and I was thirsty anyway, so I headed to the kitchen. On my way, I noticed that Atticus' door was wide open. Also, there was a funny light coming from the kitchen.

I walked very quietly into my kitchen to see Atticus and Sweet Boy standing at the kitchen counter in front of my open laptop. Obviously, Atticus had sneaked in to Sweet Boy's room and convinced him to get out of bed to log on to the laptop. (Sweet Boy knows the password, but Atticus does not because he cannot be trusted. A point he brought home, yet again, with his actions.) The boys were facing me, but because the lights were off and they were watching the computer screen intently, they didn't see me.

I walked up to the other side of the counter, not 3 feet away from them, and still, they did not see me. So I exacted my revenge.

Me: {SLAMMING my open hand down on the counter top} What the hell do you think you are doing?!?!?!?

Atticus' knees buckled and his voice cracked as he said, "What the crap?"

Sweet Boy looked up in horror and said nothing.

I started to laugh hysterically.

Me: You are so busted! I caught you red handed! I should ground you both.

Atticus: Oh please, Mom, pleeeeeeease don't do that!

Me: You know, the only thing that is saving both of you from grounding is the look on your face, Atticus. Just remember this: I always figure out what you are doing. Always.

Revenge is sweet.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

And a Happy New Year to you, too!

We had some beautiful snow this past Wednesday, so (as previously promised) I took my boys sledding at "the bowl," a favorite sledding spot here. The snow was soft and fluffy, just perfect. It was a little hard to get started on the sleds, but once we got our momentum going, we could fly down the hill. It was awesome. Atticus went with his friend across the bowl to a steeper place and took a few jumps. I saw him a couple of times and was impressed with how much air he got. After an hour and a half, we were all tired from tramping up the steep hills in the soft snow, so we left, much to the disappointment of the boys. Atticus was especially vocal about not wanting to leave yet and made me promise to bring them again on Friday, New Year's Day.

New Year's Day was beautiful, but the snow at the bowl was packed and hard, and there were lots of people there. Atticus and Sweet Boy took off to the steeper hill again while I took Mr. Wiggle Brows down a kinder incline. We had been there no more than 15 minutes when I happened to look over to where Atticus was sledding. I watched him fly down the hill, hit the same jump that he did on Wednesday, and that was it. He didn't start walking back up the hill: he started walking towards me. As far away as he was, I could tell something was not right.

I began ushering Mr. Wiggle Brows over towards Atticus. Sweet Boy came running over ahead of Atticus to tell me that Atticus had hurt his wrist. When I saw Atticus, and the panic and pain on his face, I knew it was bad. Then I saw the wrist.

"Oh, honey, you broke it."

{sniff} "Is it bad?"

"I'm afraid so, son."

"How bad is it?"

"Pretty bad. We need to get you to the ER as soon as possible. Let's go."

I've never seen him in pain like that before. Never.

We got to the car, took Sweet Boy and Mr. Wiggle Brows home to Phil, and headed off to the InstaCare. We never made it to the exam room. The doctor was in the hallway when they called us back. He took one look at it and said, "He has to be knocked out to set this, and I can't do it here. Head directly to the ER."

Atticus was in quite a state. Not only was he slightly "shocky," he was panicked about the amount of pain he was in and exactly what they were going to do to him. I tried to reassure him as best I could, but it's hard to calm down when you hurt that bad.

Want to see how bad the break was? Of course you do. Because you love gruesome photos as much as I do.

What I learned from all of this: I can remain amazingly calm when disaster strikes; I can impress nurses with my fascination for gross stuff enough that they ask me why I'm not working in a hospital; and I know enough medical stuff to scare my children.

What Atticus learned from all of this: Listen to that little nudge that says, "DO NOT GO OFF THAT JUMP. No, REALLY, DON'T DO IT."