Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun!

Well, the evening's coming to a close and thus ends our Thanksgiving weekend. I just had my final hurrah by eating a gigantic bowl (okay a regular bowl size) full of the most AMAZING crock pot chocolate pudding cake and of course my favorite ice cream. As of tomorrow, I'm starting a cleanse diet. No, just kidding! I'm just going to go back to my good girl food.

Anyway, we had a great time this weekend. By Wednesday night I had my house completely cleaned, organized, and ready for it to be filled with people all weekend. I wrote out my cooking schedule for the upcoming day, made sure the turkey was completely thawed, and went to bed. My family was the first to arrive Thursday afternoon. Everyone jumped right in and helped me get everything ready. We had a fun time baking and cooking all of the yummy food. The house was filled with cheerful sounds and mouth watering smells.

We were also taking the chance to welcome in the Christmas season by listening to Christmas music. Jason and his girlfriend Hannah helped Jakob and my niece Victoria string cranberries for my Christmas tree. We popped popcorn that we would string later. Throughout the afternoon everyone arrived and we had a large table full of all kinds of food. We had ham, turkey, and all of the traditional foods, as well as some new ones. Like Leif's Blue Cheese Green Bean Casserole, for example. MMM!

My friend Harmony started looking through our wedding album and from there we decided to sit down and watch our wedding video. You might think that a bit strange. But our wedding video is actually a really fun video. It was fun to enjoy the memories with friends and family. We were all sitting in a circle at this point and things naturally flowed into a time to share the things that we are grateful for. The most common trend being family and loved ones. I shared my gratitude for eternal families.

That night we all gorged ourselves on a huge variety of pies and desserts. WOW! The guys and Leif's mother then played a game of Acquire. This is a traditionally played game during many family gatherings. My smart hubby won.:) After the game it was definitely time to call it a night!

The next day we headed over to SG to visit my aunt Joann. We met up for lunch and had a nice visit. The guys then left to go to Joann's house to visit our cousin Darin. All of the girls went shopping.:) I enjoyed my time at Barnes and Noble. I found Jakob a book called The Dinosaurs Night Before Christmas. From there we enjoyed some delicious pie back at Joann's house. I was glad we were able to get over to visit!

Great day, Great food, Great Company, Great Blessings!

The next day was our Christmas tree hunt! That will have to be a different post...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gotta Love It!

All I can say tonight is that I LOOOOVVVE Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Panic ice cream!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Final English Paper: Uniforms Can Help Public School Students

This was my final paper due for the term. I learned what I wanted to. I'm glad it's over.:)

Type of Essay: Argumentation
Subject Given: School uniforms do/do not help public schools
Grade Given: A
Fun Notes: I was thrilled when I turned my rough draft in only to have my professor tell me that it was ready to be turned in as a final. Yipee!

Uniforms Can Help Public School Students

Often times the debate of whether public school students should be required to wear uniforms can become a heated personal battle. When a school requires their students to wear uniforms, the administration is showing an effort to eliminate a few of the problems that are faced in schools today. By requiring uniforms, they will give students the chance to find other ways to express themselves besides clothing. They will prepare each student for the future by teaching them conformity. They will eliminate the symbols that clothing can be, as well as, encouraging their school to become united in purpose.

Critics of school uniforms fight against them, saying that uniforms will take away their uniqueness and sense of self. The words of Mahatma Gandhi come to mind when he said, “They can not take away our self respect if we do not give it to them” (qtd. in Covey 72). It is scary to think that a person may feel that the clothes they wear are all that defines them. In the school setting there are many opportunities given for a person to express themselves, through writing, project presentations, and extracurricular activities, just to name a few. Self-respect and a person’s uniqueness is something that is within the soul of a person. Requiring uniforms may be just what is needed to encourage students to look deeper within themselves to find other ways to express their identity.

People also contest that the requirement of school uniforms in the public schools is against a person’s freedom to choose. They battle against conforming to new rules and restrictions. When this subject was discussed on an online forum one of the forum members had this to say, “One of the things that schools are supposed to teach children is that at some point in life, they are going to have to get a job and conform. At that point, they will not have "freedom of expression" They will dress according to the code of the business; they may even wear a uniform. I don't think it's doing the child any good to complain to Mommy and Daddy every time the school does something that keeps them from expressing themselves. The Question is; do we prepare them for the real world, or do we take the easy way out and pretend that they will always be able to do exactly as they wish” (Padgett2)? Let’s take the time to teach them now!

Requiring that uniforms be worn in the public schools will never solve all of the pressing problems that schools face today. However, they can ease the burdens. Unfortunately, in today’s society the clothing that a person wears determines a certain status symbol. Symbols that might define a possible income amount one earns or what music a person listens to, clothing today can even symbolize whether a person is gay or straight. The saddest aspect of these status symbols is that students have been known to murder another student because of apposing views and status symbols. For example, according to free-lance writer Sandy Maple, “Larry [a California junior high student] was gay and liked to wear feminine clothing and makeup to school. Apparently, this angered classmate Brandon McInerney so much that he felt it necessary shoot Larry to death as he sat in class” (Maple). Though this is not a common story, persecution in schools because of clothing that determines a symbol is still an issue. Uniforms eliminate these negative symbols and show only one, that of a student or a teacher who belong to the same school.

When a student leaves for school each day ideally that student should be focused on school rather then who they will or will not be impressing that day because of the clothes they are wearing. Requiring that everyone wear uniforms eliminates this stress. It also eliminates the time that is spent ahead of time trying to decide what to wear. This gives the student more time that they could use to focus on their studies.

In final, uniforms may not solve all of the issues that educators face in the public school system. However, uniforms will give the students the chance to look inside themselves to find ways to define themselves. They will prepare each student for the inevitable conformity that they will face in their careers. It will eliminate the status symbols that clothing can set. Finally, uniforms will give students the opportunity to focus on the world of knowledge that is open to them through a more united school.

Work Cited

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, 1990
Padgett2. City-Data. Posted at 08-06-2007, 08:27PM.
Maple, Sandy. “ Dress Code Blamed for Teens Murder.” ParentDish. 18 Aug. 2008

Tis Finished!

My hubby is probably the most excited out of all of us for this post. Our home decorating projects are officially complete... Well for now.:) I have to be realistic!:) But really, I won't ask Leif to do any major projects for at least... :)

Anyway, I am so pleased with how everything has turned out! Our dear friends Harmony and Darius came over on Saturday and Darius helped Leif staple up butcher paper to the ceiling all morning and afternoon. We are SOOO Grateful for his help!! Leif and I finished up the last couple of strips that night. We also applied the wallpaper border and hung the pictures. I look around my tiny little house and smile at the upgrades and cuteness of it all!:) What a blessing!

So here are the pics. There is just no way to really give you the true effect with a snapshot. Sorry!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mama's Ramblings

Leif and I just seem content with staying up glued to our computers tonight. So, I'll blog!:)

Well, Caleb and I are sick again. It seems quite ridiculous how often we get sick! Caleb is nursing. The old wives tale is that breastfed babies don't get sick as often. I'm not sure how true that is. I'm seriously going to check the facts on that. I wouldn't know personally because I've nursed both of my kids. But it sure seems like my babies are sick a lot. And for me, I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I'm not sure why I keep getting sick... As my little Jakob keeps saying, "Oh Well!" As if that little saying makes everything perfect. But, what else can I do??? Move on. Yes, I need to move on from my ramblings;)

I'm really excited for Thanksgiving! I hope that everything goes smooth enough. I'm just going to try and be as easy going as possible and enjoy as much of the weekend as possible. The next couple of days will be dedicated to laundry and homework. Next week is final house projects and fun!

Tonight I had YW. We had a nice dinner together with a few grandmas in the ward that we adopted. It was nice. I'm starting to find my place in the group. It's nice to have my good friend Harmony back in commission now that she's had her baby. She is such a dear friend!

Well, I've rambled enough. My back hurts and I need to get some sleep before Caleb starts his night feedings. Tonight I have a lot of friends and family on my mind. Many people struggling and in need... I pray for you!

Thanksgiving Plans and Traditions

During my growing up years all but one of my moms brothers and sister lived within a 10 mile radius of each other. That meant that all of the cousins grew up together. We were all close to the same age so we became good friends. We got together often. But the holidays were always a special treat.

For thanksgiving all of the kids would usually make Pilgrim and Indian hats or vests, and sometimes a whole outfit at school. So when we got together for the Thanksgiving feast we would all come dressed in our costumes. A lot of times we would even paint our faces to go along with it. I remember getting ready for bed the night before Thanksgiving and watching my mom put the frozen turkey in the bathtub to thaw. The morning of Thanksgiving was always a flurry of excitement as we prepared for the feast. If it was at our house I usually set the table and helped mom carefully dust off the china. I have a lot of great memories of Thanksgiving.

Most of the time we would alternate between my moms family and my dads family. As often as possible, where ever we were we had one final tradition that I remember. Right before the blessing on the food my dad would have everyone go around the table and share one thing that they were grateful for. I remember the feeling of love that it created within the family. Thanks mom and dad for establishing so many wonderful family traditions!

Now that we're all spread out throughout the country, my parents and brothers and sister are all trying to establish new Thanksgiving traditions. Most of the time, Leif and I alternate each year between our families.

This year we have a special treat! Some of my family is coming to MY house!:) We will miss everyone else who won't be there! But I'm really excited to host Thanksgiving for those who will be here. We will have around 20 people over for Thanksgiving day. We'll line up a couple of church tables down the center of our house, decorate them like crazy, spread some delicious food down the center, and celebrate our gratitude for life with a wonderful feast!

That evening whoever is still around will watch traditional Christmas movies with us and string popcorn and cranberry garland for our Christmas tree. We'll make some delicious hot chocolate in our fun VitaMix and eat leftovers throughout the night.:)

In the morning, all of our family members that are around will gather back at our house. We'll load up in cars and trucks and head up to the nearby mountains. Leif's dad will lead us to just the right place, and we'll go Christmas Tree hunting! Leif's mom we'll pick hers and we'll pick ours, the men will cut them down, and Behold! The Christmas season has arrived!

I'm really excited to have my mom to help me decorate my tree this year! I want to decorate it like an old fashioned Christmas. So we'll use the garland that we made the night before as well as decorated sugar cookies that we'll decorate beforehand. I have a lot of homemade decorations that my mom made when we were growing up.
I think it will be a really neat time filled with a lot of good memories!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Fun With The House

I haven't posted anything for a few days because we've been so busy. Friday we did our monthly trip into SG. We had a great time shopping and spending time with Leif's sister and her family. On Saturday we spent the whole day working on projects around the home. We actually had a really good time working together. The results have been fun!

We gave Jakob's room a makeover. We painted a chalkboard on his wall. We added a DI special mirror that he loves to dance and play in front of. We put in a fluorescent light that has made a world of difference. We painted his floor. And we tacked up some really fun material that has vintage airplanes all over it and made a tent around his bed. He now LOVES his room and we Love that he Loves his room!!:)

We also painted our bedroom. We went a bit wild with the colors. But we enjoy the fun and that's all that matters... right?:) The walls were Yellow. We then sponge painted green and purple over the walls. We painted the picture frames that are hung on the walls white to add some contrast. Leif says they look like windows. Now I just need to find a bedspread that matches our walls.

The first thing we actually did was rearrange our office space. We moved everything against on wall. It has opened up a huge amount of space. In our little home, space is Good!!:)

In the middle of all of that I hung a couple of really cute pictures in our bathroom. I edited a photo of each of the boys in the bathtub and made them the sepia tint. I LOVE them! We also hung some pictures in the Living Room.

So, now we only have a few more project to do. We want to finish painting the kitchen floor, hang white butcher paper to make the effect of a ceiling, and put the border around the walls. It's a lot of work. But I am grateful for the changes and Especially for my husbands willingness to do so much for me!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Freedom of Choice Act - Fight It!

When Leif and I lived in Hawaii we lived in the heart of Waikiki. Thousands of people swarm the streets of Waikiki on a daily basis. During the time we lived there an anti-abortion campaign chose Waikiki as their prime spot to make their point. They would drive a huge box truck along the streets. On the walls of the truck there were huge images of aborted babies bodies. It was incredibly disturbing. HOWEVER, it got the point across loud and clear. Abortion is horrifically wrong! It is not a political issue. It's not democrat or republican. It's not Bush or Obama. It is Right or Wrong!
Abortion is WRONG!

There will be a bill placed before congress in the near future. This bill is called The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). If this bill is passed and then signed by the president, women will have unrestricted access to abortion throughout the country. President Elect Obama has already agreed to sign the bill if it is passed by congress. So it needs to be stopped before it gets that far. There is a petition being created that will be sent to congress. You can find this petition on It is very easy to put your name on the petition. I hope you will take a minute to do what you can for this cause.

The following is a clip of Obama's statement to Planned Parenthood saying that he will sign The Freedom of Choice Act.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our Walls Are Almost Done!

Yesterday was a full day of chores. I was worried by mid-day that we wouldn't get to painting ALL of our walls. But we did! We've ended up really happy with the look. We painted everything yellow. Then Leif sponge painted the upper half of the walls with a blue. To finish them off we'll put a border along the middle to blend them together. The border's in the mail, I'm really excited to have this project almost complete!:)

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Little Sailor Honoring Veteran's Day

Today we celebrated Veterans Day at the elementary school that Leif works at. They had a nice program to honor the different branches of the military. The funnest part for me was dressing Jakob up in the Sailor uniform that my Grandpa Hunt handed down to my dad. I of course took it from him and next year it will fit Jakob perfectly:) Jakob really enjoyed wearing the uniform and did a great job showing respect to it while he wore it.
I served 10 months of my mission at Great Lakes Navy Base in Chicago. So I have a place in my heart for the men and women in the military. Jakob asked me the other day if he was "in the Army now" when he put on his camo decorated shoes. I told him that he definitely was not, and if he ever chose to serve he would serve as an Officer in the Air Force!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Updates - Answers - Conclusions

I have a busy week ahead, so I will make a quick post with the updates from open-ended thoughts shared on previous posts that now have answers and conclusions.

My lesson went well this afternoon. I prayed that each girl would be touched and taught whatever they needed as an individual. I think that happened. There were tears shed... I don't think it was tears of boredom. I hope not anyway!:)

I am doing fine when it come to my emotional release over the twins. I had an unusually emotional night that night. I felt better in the morning. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

My health has improved and I am feeling strong again for the most part. Our fridge still makes a loud noise when the fan shuts off and we'll have to live on a prayer that it will continue to work until we can afford a new one. The car ended up having a broken thermostat cover, or something like that. It has been fixed and the cost was not too overwhelming. Caleb still wakes up throughout the night. It is hard, but I do value the quiet time with him when I am able to handle the fatigue. He is a precious gift to me right now!

Leif was considered a resident by Northern Arizona University. So we are grateful for that and hope that he will be accepted soon, so we can plan accordingly.

My meds have been a tremendous help and I think Jakob is probably the one who has benefited the most. The bear has left the building!!:)

When it comes to house decor, I have had to humble myself and save our money in a few ways. I will only be putting a border on the wall instead of the whole wall being wallpapered. And we will use white butcher paper as a ceiling over the plastic, instead of panel boards.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Preparing For Change

I have a young women's lesson to teach tomorrow. The subject is "Preparing for Change." Change has always been a common event in my life. The first real eventful change that I remember was when I was in third grade and my best friend moved. The next was probably around the same time, when the boy that I had a crush on decided that he was done being my friend. I remember these events because they made a lasting impression. As a little girl, these changes influenced my self image as well as the way I looked at the world around me.

As I grew older some of the changes that took place in my life were life changing, like the death of my grandmother when I was in seventh grade for example. And some were just the facts of life, like moving from grade to grade in school. Some have been the source of my greatest joys, serving my mission, marrying Leif, and having children, for example. And other changes have been the source of my greatest sorrows, like the loss of my twin daughters.

Change is inevitable. Some changes are life altering and some are just the natural season changes of life. So how do we prepare for the life altering changes that are destined to happen in our life? I ask myself how I was prepared for the changes that have taken place in my life.

First, I think I have my parents to thank for the the first two preparatory steps that took place early on in my life. I was raised with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I had a family with a strong bond of love, despite our dysfunctions:) The foundation that I built my life on from a very young age was founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has been my rock and my source of peace through some very dark times.

Second, I have always accepted that trials are given to us to refine us, not to punish us. This acceptance has given me a drive to always seek for the purpose and learning in every time of change.

Third, I was taught a valuable principle by a wise seminary teacher during my junior year of high school. I was struggling with one thing or another... again, and instead of trying to solve my problems (which I preferred) she gave me an ensign article by Richard G. Scott to read. She had one particular paragraph highlighted in the article. This is what the third step of preparing for change was for me. "Some people are like rocks thrown into a sea of problems. They are drowned by them. Be a cork. When submerged in [faced with] a problem, fight to be free to bob up to serve again with happiness." From that point on I became a fighter. Not always the best fighter, but when life gets hard, I have found that I don't like to stay down very long. It has taken years of trial and error, and I will have to continue the fight as long as I am on this earth. But Fight I Will!

So to me the three steps to prepare for change are:

1. Build our foundation on Jesus Christ and His gospel, and stay connected to family members who lift you up and bring you strength.

2. Understand and accept that trials are given to us to refine us, not to punish us. And seek to learn from every trial.

3. Fight to be free of despair and to serve again with happiness.

These three principles may seem simplistic when one is not in the midst of a heart wrenching trial. But when the storms rage and the refiners fire burns, they will be grateful for the preparation that took place ahead of time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Remembering My Rhea

I'm trying to figure out how I'm feeling tonight... I started reading a blog about a family who recently lost their two year old. Though uplifting, it got me crying and remembering feelings that I had two years ago tonight. I'm not sure if I am feeling empathy and mourning with those that mourn, or feeling my own loss. My loss seems long ago and I didn't know my daughters more then 8 days in this life. I am not belittling my loss, I just can't imagine loosing one of my children that I had already begun raising.

However, I have noticed one thing between this woman's story and ours. They are carrying the mantel of peace that the Savior gives those in mourning if they will accept it. That was an incredible time in my life...

Two years ago tonight I held my little Rhea for the first, and last time. Many emotions are pouring over me... I haven't felt them for many months. They surfaced from reading this other mother's account of her loss. Leif warned me not to get too deep into it. It was a wise warning. But I think crying is healthy. I don't know how I feel... Probably just sad for my loss. I will forever be in wonder and awe of the fact that I can feel the loss of my girls so strongly even though I did not have them long in this life. It is incredible!

As I was reading this other blog, I went back to the posts that she had written about life leading up to their loss. Life was so normal. However, there were a couple of things that made me sure that the Lord knew the journey that this family was about to face. It is so interesting to think about how life can just go on as normal every day, and then something like the death of a child will happen suddenly. And for that family, they will never look at a day in their life with the same eyes again. We never know what tomorrow brings!

What a Crazy Week!

For all that has happened this week, I'm actually pretty calm:)

Monday: I cleaned up the house and unpacked. Leif moved the old fridge down the stairs with his dad and brought up another one to our kitchen .

Tuesday: I woke up feeling motivated and strong. Jakob and I proceeded to paint our kitchen floor. What I didn't know was that oil based floor paint is STICKY and takes FOREVER to dry! We had to eat out for dinner because the floor was not dry. I only got the center of the kitchen painted. It looks great. But now I have to figure out how to paint the rest and still be able to function in our house... Leif and I went to vote. God Bless America, and Please bless our new President with strength of mind and integrity!!! Praise be for the success of Prop 8 in California and Prop 102 in Arizona. Marriage between a man and a women is still considered sacred in America!

Wednesday: I woke up feeling like I had swam a million laps. My muscles ached! I didn't think the painting was near that strenuous. Throughout the day I realized that the fridge that we brought up is having problems as well. When the fan turns off it makes a loud clunking sound.

Thursday: Still really sore. Leif had a choir practice in the evening. Leif came home and told me that the temperature gage on the car was showing HOT, uggg! A long day and a long night. I tried to get Caleb to sleep at least 3 hours between feedings. He did fine except the time-frame between 1 and 3AM. Jakob fell out of bed around then too. Jakob then climbed into bed with me at 5:30:) Leif put him back to bed. So my sleep was broken up, as usual.

Friday: I woke up sick! I have some type of virus again. My throat hurts and my body aches and I have a fever. I am alright as long as I have IB Profin. Our car had to be towed to the shop this afternoon. Something is leaking out of the engine area. Wonder how much that will end up costing... Today marks the two year anniversary of our little Rhea's death. I will write more about that tomorrow. This evening I chose to go against better judgement and enjoyed a large bowl of Peanut Butter Panic ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. Ahhh, everything's all better:) For now...

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Full and Fun Trip

We had a great time this weekend up north. It was a short trip. But it was worth the drive. We arrived to my parents home on Thursday night. Friday morning we met my mom, Jason and his girlfriend Hannah at Gardener Village. Of course it was full of people. But a lot of people and their kids were in costume and it was a lot of fun. Jakob wore his ghost costume and loved to hide behind the "photo shoot" spots and then jump out and scare us. He also loved dancing on a large platform of stones. He was the center of attention for much of the day.

That afternoon we went to lunch and then took the kids home for naps. While they napped all of us adults opened my parents costume closets and went crazy trying on costumes. By the time we had decided what we wanted to wear my parents bed was covered in a stack of costumes. I wore a mystic witch costume. But Leif was the most creative:) He went with a Dracula costume with a twist to it. He was going for the look of the guy on Labyrinth. He wore a blond curly haired wig. The guy on Labyrinth had straight hair, but it was still hilarious!
That evening Leif and I took Jakob and Caleb to the mall for some trick or treating. Jakob had a good time. We enjoyed it because it was inside, concentrated, yet not too busy. After that we went further up town to the Marriott hotel. We went to the murder mystery dinner show that my brother and parents produced. It was AMAZING! The singing and dancing was awesome and they kept us entertained the whole night. The kids even enjoyed it. Jakob participated in the dance contest. He was a bit overwhelmed during the contest. But after the show he went up on stage and danced the night away. Leif and I joined him and it was a fun family memory. A great Halloween! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Hunt!!
The next day we headed further north to Brigham City. We went to a birthday lunch for Leif's grandpa. Good company and good food! From there we went to his grandpa's house and played in the leaves. That was only the second time in my life that I've played in leaves. It was again, a lot of fun and good memories. After we played for a while we walked over to the cemetery. We took some time at the girls grave. I brought two little stones that said Peace and Love to set on their headstone. Leif surprised me with a rose for me and a bouquet of flowers for the girls. It was very sweet! We of course took pictures and talked a bit about the journey with the twins. Jakob is becoming a lot more aware of the fact that he has sisters. Sometimes he will randomly mention them and talk about how he misses them. Family ties are an eternal bond that we can't really comprehend in this realm of life.

On our way home from Brigham City we stopped at Deseret Book. I am so excited about my purchases! I bought a new set of scriptures. But I also bought a replica version of the original Book of Mormon. It reads like a story rather then verse by verse. I LOVE It!!! I am able to just sit down and read as if I am reading a novel. Love It!!

Sunday morning we had a brunch with my family (those of us who are around.) My mom made taco soup in a bread bowl, MMM! We then ate huge ice cream sundays, Delicious!! We drew names for Christmas (as siblings.) (Everyone call mom to find out who you have:)

We headed out after lunch and drove home in a down pour of rain until Fillmore. I bought the book on CD Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites. We had a good time listening to that on the drive. Good series! We got home that evening and immediately, it was Back to Reality! Our fridge went out while we were gone.:( So we lost some of the food in it and now we need a new one. Luckily, there's an extra one down stairs until we can get one that is the right size for our family.
Right now I'm working on catching up with homework and putting my house together. Wish me luck!
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