Saturday, February 28, 2009

Donkey Basketball

We live in a Very Small town, right on the border of another Small town. So we are entitled to some of the most bizarre small town events ever!

I was driving down the highway and I passed the school bill board. It read: "Donkey Basketball..." I called Leif right away and as a typical city girl I said, "What the heck is Donkey Basketball?!" He chuckled...

Donkey Basketball is a game of basketball played in the school gym, with the players riding on the backs of donkeys. YEP! My first thought was, "IN THE GYM??" YEP! They put rubber shoes on the donkeys and they're ready to play. I guess they are literally born and raised to play basketball.

The school sold tickets for this game as a fundraiser. I'd be curious to know how much they earned. I'm sure it was a lot because I swear the Whole Town showed up. Everyone was having a great time. Honestly, it took me a while to warm up to the whole idea. I knew that the donkey's were fine. But it just didn't seem right. :) Really, it was the players that we needed to worry about. They kept falling off of the donkeys, or they would jump up to get back on and end up sliding off the other side right onto their heads. Seriously, it was CRAZY!

They had four teams. Everyone from one of the mothers from town to the town doctors were playing in the games. Leif's brother, Erik, is a Jailer at the county jail. He played on the law enforcement team. The two teams that ended up in the finals were the Town Doctors against the Town Cowboys. The Cowboys won. Good Thing!:)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's Birthday. I wanted to wish him a happy birthday by sharing a memory or experience relating to my dad for each year of his life. Happy Birthday Dad!!

Family Song and Lullaby “Climbin’ Up the Mountain”

Stories about Madrigals and Choir

Brothers and Basketball Stories

Coaching Church Basketball (running around during the games.)

Days of 47’ Deseret News Float Construction in the Graves Driveway.

Sleeping Out in the Alley the Night Before the Parade.

Planting Trees Along the Neighborhood Entrance.

Heading The Development of the Neighborhood Park.

Watching Dad on the Evening News (I remember feeling so proud of him!)

Working Out in the Yard Together. Then going to the lumber store for hot dogs and root beer for a reward.

Dad built all of the beautiful arbors, swings, and barbeque structures in our backyard that made a person feel like they had walked into a secret garden upon entering.

Going to work with Dad on an occasional Sunday. I remember:

Cleaning the lint out of the keyboards…

Gathering paperclips off the floor…

Sending papers through the tube system to the other departments…

Going down to the basement and watching the men lay out the newspaper stories for the next print. The men loved us kids, and I liked them. I remember the smell of ink and cigarette smoke as you got closer to the basement.

I remember working on homework at Deseret News and knowing that Dad would always help me come up with the best headline for the report I was working on. And that I could at least count on the fact that the spelling and grammar would be decent if nothing else was good about the paper because Dad would edit it and help with the layout of the story.

Dad would always ask me to tell him about my “life and its vicissitudes”.

Heathers cake for dad every Sunday.

Playing Cards as a family around the dining table (watch out for flying spoons!)

Playing cards around a campsite picnic table (be careful Dad is surely trying to steal ALL of the hearts!)

Dad dressing up as a dummy for Halloween and scaring the teenagers to death as they reached for the candy in the bowl on dads lap.

Dad wore his pirate costume with his peg leg to our Daddy Daughter Night for Young Women’s. That was so cool!

Pretending that something bit off dad’s leg when he told other kids what happened to his leg.

I remember carrying dads “wooden leg” to him and being very careful not to pinch my fingers in the knee joint (wonder if that concern stemmed from experience?)

Having murder mystery dinner parties at our home.

Hunt Mysteries and Company

We learned A Lot from our days of running Hunt Mysteries as a family. It was no surprise that I had a good idea of how to create and start a business.

Setting up tables

Cutting Clues

Collecting money after the Show.

Rehearsals in the basement.

Countless family road trips everywhere from Salt Lake to Yellow Stone and south to New Mexico to visit Bruce and Chris with stops at everything in between.

JAZZ Basketball! Watching them in Bruce’s living room with Grandma Stanger, Chips and Salsa, and Hot Dogs.

BYU Football! Watching them in Bruce’s living room with Grandma Stanger, Chips and Salsa, Hot Dogs, and painted Blue and White Faces.

Sitting around the dining table as a family and organizing pictures and papers for our photo albums.

Cutting out Coupons and putting them in dad’s old medal lunch box.

Grocery Shopping with dad and knowing that you would be able to pick out a “fruit pie” for a treat.

Dad singing Bass… Lovin’ It!


Saying goodbye to our Rhea and LeOra.

Laying in Dads hammock he got from his mission…

I remember how neat it was to use pictures and stories from my dad’s mission in reports and projects for school.

Driving with dad and hearing him sing “Baby baby Can’t ya hear my heart beat…” in reference to the fact that we were celebrating because mom was pregnant with Nathan. We came home and ate “Purple Cows” which is vanilla ice cream and grape juice.

Bottling peaches and tomatoes in the kitchen.

Phone calls. Thank Heavens for cell phones.

Getting the call that Dad and Nate had both fallen and broken several bones (both on the same day).

I love watching my dad interact with Jakob and Caleb. My dad likes to surprise Jakob with little toys here and there. He has captured Jakob’s heart! I’m sure Caleb will follow suit.

I think I have finally mastered the art of filling a glass of anything for my dad to drink. The liquid to ice ratio is almost equal.

I have always enjoyed listening to my dad teach a Gospel Doctrine class or give a talk. He has the gift of teaching and presenting a message.

I like to think that I was probably a lot like my dad as a missionary when I was a missionary. He tells of how he came up with new and unusual ways to teach the gospel to their investigators and the members in his area. I was very much the same way. We were NOT your typical missionaries.

My dad had the same job, with the same hours, at the same place, throughout all of my growing up years. This brought a sense of stability that we never recognized or appreciated as a family. I didn’t value it until I was married and life was not so predictable.

My dad loves nature. He has instilled this love in his family. We often ate dinner outside in the summer time and we spent many hours working outside together.

We still love being outside together. We will often go walk the trails with mom, then come back, and rest with dad. He will often show us a bird or a little critter that is hiding near by. None of us would have noticed, but he has learned how to just sit quietly and enjoy the moment enough that he can spot them.

I remember watching my brothers and dad wrestle each other on his bed. I know that those were good times for each of them.

When I was in elementary school some how dad made it possible for me to have a book review that I wrote up printed in the newspaper. I remember feeling so valued and as if dad was confident in my work enough to suggest me as an option. (What was the whole story behind that memory dad?) The book was a children’s book, I think it is called “Down by the Meadow.”

Christmas Tradition: A special box of cereal selected and wrapped up under the tree from dad.

Christmas Tradition: Dad would read us the Deseret News “Christmas I Remember Best” story every Christmas.

My dad has not had an easy life, EVER! Yet, he has accomplished many great things! This has taught us by example that life will throw us many hard blows but you have to get back up, get back in the game, and play your best until it’s over!

Happy Birthday Dad!
I Love You Very Much!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The "Marriage Lifestyle" vs. The "Marriage Covenant"

I have a few very dear friends of mine who live in a way that weighs very heavy upon my mind and upon my heart. Up to this point I have just loved them through their decisions and supported them in the good choices that they make in life. But there comes a time when I just have to express my feelings. I love these people as their sister. I will forever love them! I pray that they will love me in the same way and love me through this post as well.

These dear people that I am pondering about have grown up just as I have with the gospel of Jesus Christ intertwined throughout their life. They know without a doubt the most prominent commandments of the Lord. They know that we should love God above all else. They know that we should love our fellow men. They know that we should not murder. And They know that fornication and adultery are an abomination against God and all that he has taught us! They Know This!

And yet, they have chosen to just test the waters of the marriage relationship before they dive right in. They are living the marriage relationship in every sense of the word, except for the covenant that goes along with it. They are in the water, but they have missed the boat! They will drown without this covenant. A covenant is a two-way promise. And within a marriage it is a three-way promise. It is a promise between the husband, the wife, and God, that no matter what happens, through the triumphs of life and through the heartache, they will bind themselves together and wait out the storms together. And in return, the Lord promises that He will sustain them through every trial. He will lighten the burdens upon their backs. He will open the doors of opportunity that only He can open. And ultimately, He will guide them to safety and peace in the end.

Without making this covenant, no matter how hard a person tries to believe otherwise, the Lord can not completely support them. Even if they are doing everything else right except for this. He Is Bound! When God makes a commandment He is also bound by those commandments. He has said that if we do not do what He has asked us to do, we have no promise.

It is easy to talk ourselves into believing that God loves us enough that he will love us through this or that sin. We rationalize that He loves us as a father and he'll have mercy upon us. We think, "He knows my weaknesses. He knows how hard this is for me. He knows my whole story and the heartaches that come along with it. Surely he will allow me to live this way." Unfortunately, God does know us perfectly. I say unfortunately, because this also means that he knows how strong we truly can be. He knows the beautiful story that will play out if we will follow His guidelines.

When a person chooses to go against the Lord and not legally and spiritually marry before living a "married lifestyle" they choose to close the door to God. Good things can still happen. God does not abandon his children. However, they miss out on all that COULD happen if they were living completely right.

Leif and I know the ever changing nature of life first hand. The thought of going through some of life's trials without the sustaining promises of the Lord is a terrifying thought to me. When we make a covenant with the Lord He is also bound by that covenant. He has to follow through. I know that it is only through our marriage covenant between each other and the Lord that we survived a pregnancy miscarriage and the loss of our twin daughters all within one year's time. The grief and heartache that comes from such losses can disintegrate a marriage and linger as a dark cloud in a persons life forever if they do not have the healing power and promise of the Lord in their life and marriage. Not everyone will go through the loss of a child in their lives. But Everyone will experience a refiners fire. It is our choice whether to prepare ourselves for the inevitable properly by following the commandments of the Lord, or just face them as they come and drown in the depths of the tumultuous waters.

I pray that these people whom I love so much will take a moment to reevaluate their situation. I know that some of them are taking great steps to strengthen their relationship. I am so glad to hear this. I know that it will bless their lives. But I also know that the complete fulfillment that they are seeking in their relationship will not happen until the covenant of marriage is made. The steps that are being taken are meant to be done within the bounds of a marriage covenant. The Lord longs to bless you completely. Yes, God knows of your fears and concerns. But as I said earlier, he also knows your strengths. It is possible to learn from past mistakes and trials and come out stronger in the end. I know that if you will make the right choices now, whatever they might be, you will Never regret it.

Decide if you truly love each other heart and soul. If you do, Get Married! If you don't, stop dragging each other down and move on (that advise does not apply to my already married friends!!). If you're waiting until you can have a beautiful wedding, go have a quiet ceremony somewhere and reap the blessings. Then let everyone celebrate with you later with a beautiful reception and full celebration. If you are just bound and determined never to get married outside of the temple, just know that it is too late for that in your current relationship. Just get married. Then set the goal to make things right.

I know I have said a lot. But I have said everything because I know the joy and strength that comes from a strong marriage covenant throughout the journey of life. I pray that you too will feel of this joy soon!

I Love You! I will Love you forever!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fire Proof Your Marriage!

FIREPROOF is a movie created by Christian producers that is both entertaining and inspiring. They have produced a show that depicts the marriage relationship of what I predict might be the story of 70% of the married couples in our country. I highly recommend this show to everyone! They have also created a website that has several tools for strengthening a marriage. I was going to write more about marriage on this post. But I used all of my blog time writing the post titled The "Marriage Lifestyle" vs. The "Marriage Covenant" So you can read that for a run down of my strong feelings about marriage.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Is This Possible!?

How is it possible for a four year old to lay on the floor and allow himself to POOP in his underwear? How is this possible TWO NIGHTS in a Row?! How is this possible after the first night Mama was EXTREMELY angry about the first time and she sprayed the four year old clean in the shower with cold water? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!!??? How is it possible that this four year old can call through the door "please don't let me sleep Mama!" after being put to bed, and completely miss the fact that he is in Very Big Trouble!? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE??? - I know, because he's four years old.... What a nightmare for Mama!

Isn't it amazing how we can get to a point where we see our little children as little adults? I guess sometimes they have to give us a wake up call that clearly lets us know that they are still little. I pray for patience through this wake up call...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Today: Sick At Home On Sunday

I wanted to write about today. We didn't go to church today because of how contagious we all are. So we decided to have primary at home. The following was our program:

Opening Song: I Lived in Heaven (led by Papa)
Opening Prayer: Mama
Family Motto: We are all on the same team! (led my Mama)
Talk: Sacrament Time (Read by Jakob and Mama)
Music Time: Musical Dice (Led by Papa)
Sharing Time: John 14:27, Where Can I Turn For Peace (led by Mama)
Closing Prayer: Jakob
Lesson: Restoration Movie

We obviously had a great day at primary!! We watched the Glenn Beck conversion story this evening (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) Glenn Beck talked briefly about peace during the show, I was thrilled when Jakob picked up on it and said "nice that he talked about peace..." Lesson Taught!

This afternoon Leif and I took Jakob outside to begin one of our latest projects. Jakob was Absolutely THRILLED because we took him outside and we were actually going to play dinosaurs With Him! We went out and all of us set up dinosaurs throughout the yard in different scenarios. We then took Jakob's Book of Mormon action figures and made it look like they were hunting the dinosaurs. Leif then took pictures of all of these scenarios. Bet you can't guess what the next step will be:) Yep, A Book! We're all going to write a book together. Right now we have two titles for the same book (just directed to different crowds) First: Dinosaurs in Zarahemla or Dinosaurs Among the Nephites. Second: Dinosaur Hunters. It will be a silly but fun book for children. Hopefully one that my kids will enjoy reading to their kids.

RSV Recovery and My Book

I know this might sound terrible, but I feel like I have been on a bit of a vacation for the last four or five days. Yes, we have been quite sick. But it has been really nice to have reason and an excuse to just SLOW DOWN.

We have all been sick. Caleb and Leif have been the worst this weekend. I was sick for a week before everyone else came down with it. Luckily Jakob has just had typical cold symptoms(hopefully that's all it ever is.)Once Leif comes down with something bad, I feel like it's alright to just take naps whenever and for as long as we need to. We haven't gone anywhere except for the hospital and the store either. Caleb has slept a lot so I have been able to sleep when I wanted to. So as sad as it is to have a sick baby and husband, this time I've been grateful for the excuse to just relax.

I have been able to accomplish a lot on the computer this weekend. As you may have seen, I finished my book. It turned out to be a project. Not a horrible project. But I did have to scan in some of the pictures that I wanted with this volume and I selected backgrounds for each individual page and set up the lay out. But I really like doing that kind of stuff. So it was GREAT! Some people really like to scrapbook. I REALLY like to do this kind of scrap booking. I am the QUEEN of Copy and Paste, and this program allowed me to use that talent:) I was also able to add other articles and things that I had written outside of my blog and include them in my book. I am so pleased with the outcome! It seems like a lot of money. But it was DEFINITELY worth the money!!! For all that is included in my book, I was ready to pay up to $100 for it. These books are priceless (I'd like to think so anyway...) I have had some of you (my fellow bloggers and friends) say that you only wish your blogs were as insightful as mine. As if what you write on your blogs are not valuable. I say YOU'RE CRAZY! You might not write as much as me, but everything you put on your blog has value and it should be preserved. If anything, it is a Great way to compile your photos. Just HAVE FUN!! You WILL NOT regret it!

I have also started to dive into my Holistic Health Practitioner studies. That has been really interesting. Unfortunately, there are not enough hours in the day to fit all of what I want to do. So I try to keep a good balance and tell myself that in the end, it will all get done and the most important thing will be what I have done as a wife and mother. If I can keep that in mind and really believe it, I'll be fine.

Can you believe that I have created ANOTHER BLOG??:) Yep! For school I have to write a lot and analyze a lot of different subjects. So I decided that instead of just having everything sit in files on my computer I would blog it so I can Make A Book (of course;) The blog is called: Healthy Mama's Notebook if you're interested in following.

So, we've been sick, but we're doing well. Caleb didn't have to go into the ER today for nasal suctioning. Leif feels well enough to go to work tomorrow. And Jakob and I are fine.

Thank you everyone for your sweet notes of encouragement and Love. I am so grateful that Caleb's RSV wasn't near as bad as it could have been. I feel truly blessed!!!

My Blog Book is Published!

WOW! That was so FUN! is DEFINATELY the company to use when you want to make a blog book, or ANY book. Click on the button below to check out my book:

Mama's Thinking Corner: Volume One
Volume One 2006-2008
By Lena Marie Baron

Larry H. Miller

Salt Lake City is feeling a bit empty this weekend. One of it's greatest supporters and friends has passed away. As a child I grew up watching Utah Jazz basketball. As a youth I began to go to Utah Jazz basketball games. And when I became a wife Utah Jazz basketball is what keeps my husband connected to his basketball passion in life. And all the while through my Jazz basketball journey, there was Larry H. Miller.

Larry H. Miller is the owner of the Utah Jazz basketball team. He passed away at his home due to health complications and Type II Diabetes. Larry Miller was the type of man who did not demand the fame and fortune that is his. He earned it. When you heard the name of Larry H. Miller it was always accompanied with a good action or a good word. Even when it was a story about him being reprimanded by a referee during a basketball game, it was still backed by his passion and dedication to the Jazz team.

He has been a great example to the whole state of Utah and beyond of the classic saying, "where there's a will, there's a way!" Throughout my growing up years in Utah great things happened. Salt Lake City was accepted to host the 2002 Olympics. Larry H. Miller was there in the middle helping make things happen. I am a member of the church that Larry Miller belongs to. There have been many times that rumor's had it (almost always being true) that Larry Miller funded this... and Larry Miller offered his private jet for that... One of the most recent being the Joseph Smith Papers project. This project was a great undertaking and it required a large amount of funding and support. Much was offered by Larry H. Miller.

I could go on and on about this good man. But I will stop here. I just wanted to add my thoughts to the thousands that are circulating this week about this great man and his great mission fulfilled. Thank you Larry H. Miller for setting an example to us all. And thank you Gail for sharing him with us!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

3:30AM: To The Hosptital

RSV: "Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Most otherwise healthy people recover from RSV infection in 1 to 2 weeks. However, infection can be severe in some people, such as certain infants, young children, and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States. In addition, RSV is more often being recognized as an important cause of respiratory illness in older adults."

Don't worry, it's not as bad as it seems (for us). It's not good, or fun. But he's not as bad off as it can get. Last night I took Caleb in for a nose suction at 3:30AM. Have you ever driven the streets of a TINY town that early in the morning? It's a bit erry. But we didn't have to wait at the hospital;)

This RSV is kickin' all of our tails! Luckily Leif has paid sick leave collected. This makes the weird sleep schedule work. And Grandma is a great help with Jakob. We're keeping him home from everything until he's clear of his symptoms. Caleb is such a trooper! He's alright until it just gets to hard to breath and eat or sleep at the same time. That's why I'm grateful for this nose suction option.

Well, Leif's back from dropping Jakob off at grandma's time to try to go back to sleep....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

RSV: Positive


We have all been sick this week. I have been sick since last week. Caleb had a hard time sleeping last night. Which makes it hard for all of us. Leif called the doctor this morning and by a miracle we were able to take Caleb to the doctor.

He tested positive for RSV. So needless to say he is sick! Poor Guy! With it being a virus there's not much we can do to help.

We can take him into the ER and they can suction out all of the mucus from his nose. That's no fun, but it helps a lot.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Run Down

Well, it is 1:20 AM I have had a list of things that needed to be blogged for weeks. So tonight I decided to make the sacrifice and Just DO IT! So, you can scroll down and read about our valentines day festivities, a family wedding, my new hair colors, and a fondue dinner. Those are my latest posts on this blog. Stay tuned tomorrow and I'll tell you about a classic "Small Town" activity, Donkey Basketball!!

I finally updated the boys blogs tonight too. Tomorrow I hope to add a few great recipes to my Mama's Kitchen blog. And Finally, tomorrow I WILL finish my blog book and send it off to the press. So stay tuned;)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fondue For Dinner

Usually Leif and I try to run away together for Valentines Day. At least for the evening. But this year we decided that it would be fun to just spend time with family. I woke up in the morning and I had a picture idea come to mind.:) I decided that it would be fun to have a fondue dinner together as a family. I wanted all the fixin's: Meat, bread, veggies, and dessert.

So we set out to make it happen! We invited Leif's parents to join us. Seth and Valen were technically planning on being on the road headed back to school for Valen in South Carolina. But we secretly hoped that this dinner would sway them to stay longer so we could get to know Valen better. Come to find out that Valen has a tradition with her sister and mom where they go out to a fondue dinner for Valens birthday (on the 16th of February.) Valen was shocked when we asked her to join us. She though that Seth had put us up to the idea. Nope! Not Seth, but someone else definitely put us up to it.

We had a beautiful and DELICIOUS spread of food! We had so much food that we got to have leftovers the next day for dinner. Leif made the bread dipping sauces. I made the dessert (of course! MMM!

We had a great time eating and visiting throughout the evening! A great Valentines Day!

Don't worry there was romance mingled into the whole equation too. ;) I just have to make that clear for the record!:)

Seth and Valen Baron Married in the Las Vegas Temple

The superstition of Friday the 13th did not apply this year in our family. We were able to attend a beautiful wedding ceremony in the Las Vegas temple. Leif has an adopted brother named Seth. He met a wonderful girl through and they ended up getting married.

We drove out to Vegas in the morning and (thanks to my Young Women Laurel, Brittney for watching the kids) Leif and I were able to attend the ceremony with all of his family except for Ian and Molly (we missed you guys!, but we understand it's too far to travel.)

The Las Vegas temple president is the former General Authority, Elder Stuki. He performed Seth and Valen's wedding. It was so special. There wasn't a dry eye in the room by the end of the ceremony. Elder Stuki encouraged Seth and Valen to always remember the little things. He talked to them about nourishing their marriage day by day. The spirit was very strong throughout the whole ceremony and the rest of the afternoon.
That evening we were all supposed to meet at The Olive Garden for a wedding dinner. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we tried the restaurant wouldn't allow us to make reservations. When we got there, it was an hour+ wait. So, it was decided that Chuck a Rama would be the new place for the dinner. I tend to be a lot more formal sometimes, so this didn't feel quite right in my opinion. But in the end, it turned out just fine and we all had a good time! Seth and Valen were good sports.
It turned out to be a Very Special Day!

Valentines Fun!

We had a lot of fun this year for Valentines Day. Jakob did all of his class Valentines all by himself (well... almost:) I folded the cards, he drew the pictures. I wrote his friend's names, he wrote his name. I was really pleased with how he took it seriously and was able to finish all 15 cards before he left for school.

Jakob's Valentines party was on Thursday the 12th. I dropped him off to school and then I went to the hair salon to get my hair done. This was my Valentines gift. The girl that did my hair did a great job!! I am still happy with my hair even after several days. I haven't even taken the scissors to it. I FINALLY found someone (other then Leif;) who can do my hair up to my expectations! I even had her wax my eyebrows. :) It was SOOO Nice to feel like I was up to date again. Really, I just love having color weaved through my hair... Love IT!

Anyway, after my hair was done I looked outside and there was a blizzard of snowfall. So I decided to head over to Jakob's school early and hang out with him instead of going home and traveling back in the snow.

We had so much fun! Jakob genuinely enjoyed having me there with him. It was nice to have the special time (Thank you grandma for playing with Caleb;) As a mom I was of course paying close attention to everything as I was playing with Jakob. His teacher is FABULOUS!!! She fits so much learning and growth into their school days. She is VERY positive and upbeat. I am so grateful for her!!! Jakob is doing great in school. Academically he is up to par. I was also pleased to note that he naturally followed the teachers directions. He had friends (particularly the other boys) who still goofed around a bit. But he resisted the urge and just enjoyed what the teacher asked him to do. Of course inside I was beaming with pride!:) It was a great experience!

When we got home from school Leif was home (a special treat!) We poured out Jakob's valentines and Read all of the cards and Jakob marveled at all of the candy. I made a small book of blank paper stapled together for Jakob to use as a scrap book. He taped all of his valentines into this book. He likes to show everyone all of the cool cards:)

Precious Times!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I have been trying to think of what I might do or give to my mom for her birthday. I finally came up with this. I hope it brightens your birthday mom and lets you know that I have tried to value all of the many blessings that you are and have given me in my life!

This is a list of qualities or memories that revolve around my mother. There is one listed for every year of my moms life. Happy Birthday Mom! I Love You!

Making sugar cookies with Mom and selling them to earn money for Disney Land

Mom has strong organizational skills. While all of us started keeping track of our life and brain on a computer, she has steadily kept track of the rest through filing systems and archiving. I really appreciated her experience when she came to help me during the first weeks of starting my business, she organized my filing system and that saved me throughout my time as a business owner.

Gardening in the yard at dusk, I was the Miracle Grow girl.

Thanksgiving in The Baron Barn

Home made Play Doe

Amish horse and buggies along side the car in Missouri

My missionary open-house dutch oven dessert party in the back yard

Mom has always taught us the value of keeping ourselves put together. Her talent for doing hair was just one way she taught us all at an early age how to groom ourselves. I remember how much I valued the hours spent just focused on me while she cut or permed my hair.

Mom was the mastermind behind us having a carnival in our back yard to earn some money.

I’ve always admired what a great visiting teacher mom is. I especially noticed this after I was in Relief Society and have a Visiting Teaching responsibility.

Christmas Tree Hunting

I came home from Hawaii a few months before my wedding. Mom and I worked side by side for those few months preparing for the wedding. We worked in the yard, chose my wedding dress, picked out flowers, and had a great time…

Catching Lizards in Southern Utah

Mom used her skills she gained with Hunt Mysteries to help my sixth grade class with our school play.

Mom has always been an excellent cook. She taught me how to follow a recipe as well as create my own recipes.

Concert Choir Tour

Mom taught me how to keep a clean house. We all had our different jobs and responsibilities that went along with keeping the house clean. We were not always perfect at the time, but we were taught and this has been a blessing in my life.

Day trips to the canyons


Mom helped us learn how to give. I remember doing the 12 days of Christmas as well as Sub for Santa around Christmas time.

We were taught the value of family relationships by Mom’s whole family. Growing up with mom’s siblings and their families gave us an added abundance of Love and support in our life.

Walking along the Jordan Parkway and talking about life and it’s vicissitudes

Draper Temple Open House

Mom always presented a full and delicious meal every night. Sundays would almost always be a roast with all the fixings.

Walking in the wind in Fredonia with my girl friends, mom, and Heather.

Hiking the National Parks and exploring the riverbeds and trails

We have all been taught how to grow and harvest a garden. Mom taught us how to maintain and use the fruits of our garden.

Flying to Texas with mom and dad for Jays temple sealing. Exploring a cave, walking along the San Antonio River Walk, and eating barbecue in Dallas Texas…

Mom knows how to have a party! Halloween parties, Family parties, Millennium Party, Christmas parties, Party! Party! Party!

Mom was in a Family Home Evening group. She filled two file boxes full of folder games for Family Home Evening. I remember the Garbage Mouth and the Heart of Gold games :)

Dressing my Rhea in a white dress together on the night we let her go…

We have always known that the gospel is important to Mom. Going to church and living the gospel was just a way of life for Mom.

Young Women’s Camp

Silver Dollar City

My mission president called home a couple of times to make sure all was well at home (because letters weren’t regular.) He got up at Zone Conference shortly after one of the phone calls to my mom. He asked us to guess who’s mom said “You tell her to keep her pantyhose on…” I said that it had to be my mom. I was right!

Mark Twain and Hannibal

I called home to tell my mom that I had met a guy (Leif) after I rambled on about him, she said “I’ll get the yard ready!”

Camping throughout Utah. Mom taught us how to maintain a luxury campsite.

Mom taught me how to make a menu for a family, a lesson that has been valuable throughout my single and married life.

Cruising to Mexico with Mom and Dad and Jared

Mom always sent wonderful care packages when I lived away from home. Her favorite holidays are Halloween, Valentines Day, and Christmas! But every holiday is fun with mom!

The 4-H Club

Chelsea and Ashley Spencer

Mom is a Master Gardener. Anything that she puts her mind and touch to in a garden setting will flourish into a beautiful array of color and delight.

Carthage Jail

Getting on the plane to Boston to be a nanny…

Joy School

Florida Keys and the Gulf Coast with Mom and Dad and Jason

Mom showed us her ability to give Christ-Like service to those in need when she took ShirleyLou Davis under her wing.


Young Women’s Camp


Stringing popcorn and cranberries as a family to decorate an old-fashioned Christmas tree.

Mom has the ability to make anything she puts her mind to beautiful. Whether it is a simple Sunday dinner or a grand wedding reception, with mom’s creative touch, it is going to be beautiful!
I Love You Mom!
Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Week's Worth Of Updates

Goodness! How long has it been since I posted!?? I have been very busy and just trying to keep my priorities straight. But I will write a quick run down and see if I can give details later.

I have been working on my book. I LOVE! They are definitely my kind of scrap booking! I am really excited to see the final product. I just have to upload a few more pics and it should be ready to send off.

The kids are requiring a lot more of my time. Now that Caleb is growing up he requires a lot more. He is eating around 2 meals each day and nurses a couple/few times too. He doesn't nap as long and he moves around a lot. Thanks heavens he is a Pure Delight!! His laugh is so contagious and he will laugh at the drop of a hat. Ohh it is so fun!!!:) Jakob is doing really well too. He is growing up right before my eyes. He can read the word Dinosaur! He loves to learn anything and everything. He is going through a snugly stage. So these are precious times!

I am working on my Holistic Practitioners Certificate. It is a lot of fun! I'm on the anatomy section, so that's not near as much fun as the other stuff. But it's all very interesting to me. I'm hoping to be completed with the program by the end of summer.

Leif is extremely busy. It's hard to imagine him being busier. But he will be. This is only the conditioning period. It's good that things will lead into each other rather then suddenly going insane!:)

Tomorrow is my moms birthday. I have a post that I am working on that is dedicated to her. So if you're interested scroll down and find where it fits in the scheme of things. It will probably come right after this post.

We had Young Women's here tonight. We made pizza, brownies, and started sewing pajama bottoms. I have a good group of girls. They really brighten up my week. I spoke in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. It was our Young Women's Presidency's week to speak. I want to try and post some of the thoughts about my talk. I'll try. It was about valuing your divine potential.

Well, Valentines Day is around the corner. Jakob is old enough now that we had to make valentines for his preschool class. We had fun! He decorated the cards and I cut out little hearts and wrote every ones names on them. Then he wrote his name on all of them. They were all so cute and original. I wish I could have saved some of them. He had some with tanks on them, others with airplanes and missiles. Then he had some with rainbows. He even had one with a rainbow that had a door in the middle to get into the rainbow. Priceless...

Tomorrow I am going to get my hair done. I am finally going to get some color weaved into it. I hope it turns out to be worth the money!

We also have Leif's brother, Seth's, wedding this Friday. He and Valen will be married in the Las Vegas temple. We are going to take Brittany, one of my YW girls to sit with the kids while we are in the temple. Then we are coming back to SG for dinner at the Olive Garden. It should be a neat day. We wish them well!

Well, we all have colds. I just tried to talk and I realized that my voice is down to a squeak. So, let's hope after some sleep it will be better:)

Life is good!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Blog Book Update

I just wanted to put an update on here about Blog Books. I sent an email to they are definitely the superior blog book company. I asked them if/and why they weren't compatible with blogger. I got a response right away letting me know that they are compatible once again. YIPPEEE! I'm glad I haven't printed my book yet. The other company is good. But Blurb is GREAT! Fun! I'll send my book off to the printer by tonight:)

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Tonight I downloaded all of the new pictures off of my camera. This picture was by far the BEST! It made me laugh so hard now I can't get rid of the horrible Hick-Ups!

Leif went to the dentist and his whole mouth was numb! It was Great!:)

A Sweet Surprise!

Last night I had to go to the Young Women's activity. I was feeling alright, but definitely not completely up to par. Leif knew this. When I arrived home after the activity, this is what I found.
Leif took Jakob and Caleb (all wearing silly hats -wish I got a pic of that!) to the corner store in town and bought M&M's and Marshmallows to make Rice Crispy Treats for me.

When I walked in they were so excited to show me the treat they had made me:) Leif knew that chocolate can make all of my worries melt away for a little while. It was a VERY thoughtful and sweet treat!!

Love My Precious Boys!!!

A Letter To Lena From Lena: Life Without Meds

Dear Lena, February 4, 2009

This is a letter to yourself to help you remember what it is like when you are not taking anti-depressant medication. This was an idea that came to you after receiving a priesthood blessing full of guidance relating to your mental health.

When you are not taking medication regularly your mind is foggy and literally weighed down. It is hard, to near impossible to make decisions. Your patience level is at an average of a 3-5 on a scale of 1-10 (1 being no patience.) It is not uncommon to drop to 1 within seconds after being disobeyed or irritated.

Your energy level is at a 3. It is an accomplishment just to take a shower. It is a triumph to take Jakob to dance class and do a mandatory grocery trip. It is near impossible to wrap your mind around the idea of going outside and actively playing with the kids. Sitting on the steps is as good as it gets. Cleaning the house is a weeklong task.

Fear and anxiety are close companions. Fear and dread of the trials of the future are among the most frequent thoughts of your day. Anxiety while driving is not unusual. Despair over the fact that Leif will be working and going to school with Very Little time for you brings you close to despair.

You tend to move into an egocentric state of mind and being. It is hard not to focus on how miserable you feel mentally and physically. You are tired, weighed down, and physically sore.

There are some things that for very brief moments, you enjoy more then life while on medication. It is nice to have a strong desire for Leif. However, it is such an emotional response that if Leif is not able to respond for some reason, it is a devastating event. It is also nice to have the emotional responses such as crying while feeling the spirit or crying due to sadness. However, the emotions are very exaggerated. The highs are really high, and the lows are really low.

When you are not taking medication, you are not able to carry your part of life’s responsibilities. So then, it weighs on Leif. That can’t happen because he already has way too much to carry.

Medication is a blessing in your life. The side effects are irritating and wearisome at times. And the bit of anxiety felt about passing the medication to the baby is not fun. But the benefits of taking the medication just simply are obviously much better then not taking medication.

Always Remember This Lena! Father in Heaven told you last night that there will be times that you will NOT be able to rely on anyone beyond yourself and Him. This is a terrifying thought to you when you are off your medication. But when you have the medication, this will be bearable.

Mama's Back!

I'm Back! I wrote myself a long letter yesterday morning. I told myself in detail what it was like when I didn't take my meds. I seriously can't believe the difference after just 10mg. Amazing!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Leif's Update

Life for Leif has been crazy lately. Honestly, things won't really be letting up from this point on for the next 8+ years. This is what we are still trying to wrap our brains around. I know we'll survive. But WOWSERS!

Leif took the Nursing School Entrance Exam a week or so ago. The national average score for the test is around 60%. His score was 90+%. That is very comforting to me. It is a blessing to have an intelligent husband! I'm very proud of him!! He's working on gathering all of the paperwork and things to apply to the MCC Nursing Program. I'm not worried about him being accepted. This is another blessing!

Right now he has retreated into a fantasy book. But he Most Definitely deserves the reprieve!

25 Random Things About Me

I was Tagged on Facebook several times to write
25 Random Things About Myself. This is what I came up with:

1. I HATE talking on the phone. Once I am talking to someone I'm fine. But my family members are the only people that I talk to on a regular bases by phone. This weird phobia started after my girl’s funeral and someday I guess I’ll have to overcome it. Until then, I’m grateful for the Internet.

2. I failed in school from Elementary through High school.

3. I live in a 700 square foot makeshift apartment (AKA “The Barn”) with my hubby and two kid’s, and I Love it!

4. I must have a clean house in order to happily function. But I avoid doing dishes like the plague. The environmentalists’ would hate me for filling up the land fills with paper products.

5. I try to live a healthy lifestyle. But I don’t think I’ll ever go completely “holistically healthy” (even though I’m studying to become a Holistic Health Practitioner.)

6. I know that if my husband dies, I will NEVER remarry because I will not find anyone as perfect for me as he is.

7. I served 10 months of my mission on the Great Lakes Navy Base in Chicago (Navy Boot Camp and Navy Training Center)

8. I was serving on the Navy Base on September 11th.

9. I have been a nanny for 24 children. The oldest is already in college. That makes me feel OLD!

10. I Love to travel! I love to tell my son stories about things that I experienced while living in several places all over the country.

11. I have a set of twin daughters in heaven.

12. I really like jackets, coats, sweaters, and accessories. When you have boxes of coats in storage you know you might have too many (but I have also been many different sizes throughout the years ;)

13. I have discovered two new passions in the last two years: writing and health research.

14. I Love to read! I read a new series of books during the first trimester of every pregnancy. The next will be the “Faith of Our Fathers” series about the Civil War.

15. I have a few weird OCD issues: I hate having cupboard doors and drawers open if they are not in use. My husband has to shave his facial hair if it gets to the point where he can twist it in his fingers or I’ll go nuts! I have taught my 4 year old about avoiding germs to a fault.

16. I have OstioPenia (one step better then Osteoporosis) in my spine.

17. If possible, I try to sit at the end of a table while eating a meal with several people. This stems from where my seat was at the table as a child.

18. I don’t have very many secrets; almost to a fault. I have to be careful not to share too much about my world with people.

19. I follow politics and the news of the world.

20. We do not have public or cable television in our home. The only show we watch is Extreme Makeover Home Edition on

21. I had a fear of driving and did not get my drivers license until I was a junior in High School. I still don’t like to drive.

22. I was the owner and director of a national Nanny Agency.

23. My husband was my first kiss. ;)

24. I have toured an active Navy Battle Ship.

25. Unless it is required otherwise, I have to use a Blue Ball Point pen!

My World

I absolutely LOVED this picture when I found it!
This is how I've felt off and on for the last few days:)

My brain is still foggy, but I'll try to put some thoughts down. I tried reading my book, but Caleb decided to gag on some paper and the book was getting too intense for tonight anyway, so I retreated to the computer where I can still pay attention to Caleb and be entertained.

Anyway, well, if you're wondering why I've been flighty lately it's due to some crazy meds changes and all the joys that go along with that. I'm not sure how it's all going to end up, I've asked Leif to give me a blessing tonight. I finished the books about anti-depressants yesterday. A lot of it was a review and confirmation of what I already knew. But one of them had a few quizzes and questionnaires to help a person define more of what their particular struggles might be based on. Once again my results weren't too surprising. My depression/anxiety is hereditary based with a touch of life's events intermingled in to mix things up even more. I have low serotonin and high dopamine. So SSRI's are the only meds that really work for me. And Wellbutrin should only be taken in the smallest amounts if at all... complex carbohydrates, fruits, veggies and very minimal animal protein and NO Sugar is the best diet for me. Restful and energetic exercise should be alternated every other day, and writing and music makes for good therapy for me.

It sounds like I should have it all figured out huh? Leif put it perfectly when he said, "you can tell that you're off your meds just by the fact that you are confused by all of this."

My frustration is that I am weary by the many many side effects that come along with the meds. And I don't know how the Doctor who wrote about the health and lifestyle plans for depressed people ever got a depressed person to actually find the drive to FOLLOW those plans.:)

The word depressed has become SOOO broad now days. I am actually not a really "depressed" person, I end up more on the no Patience melancholy type.

But anyway, I don't really want to make this a subject of discussion, I just thought I'd update on why I haven't been my usual "ever-blogging" self lately, and get things written down for the record.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Trying To Find The Ummph

I actually have had several things to write about over the last little while. But life has gotten in the way. And when I do have a moment, the weight of life makes my mind swirl. So, I'll just try again tomorrow to get the ummph enough to write...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Get Makayla Shannon To The Mayo Clinic

I have a precious cousin named Makayla who is very sick. Her mother, Karin, and I grew up together and in many ways feel like sisters. Karin had many health struggles that made life very difficult for a long time. However, Karin was healthy for the most part while we were little girls. Makayla is not. She is 7 years old and very sick. Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of the struggle is that the doctors can not define exactly what the problems are. This makes it very hard to solve the problems.

After much prayer and initiative on her parents part, Makayla has been accepted for an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. This is a great blessing. However, it is one that comes at a great financial cost. This is where we all come in.

As family and friends we have wondered what we might do to help Makayla. We have finally been given a tangible chance to help. We can send a little blessing there way by helping Makayla's family pay for her treatments at the Mayo Clinic.

I have set up a Facebook Group called "Get Makayla Shannon To The Mayo Clinic" this is just a way to keep things organized a bit. We are going to collect as much money for them as we can and hope to show our love by giving them the money on Valentines Day. We thought that day was appropriate. If you are interested in helping Makayla, please let me know, or join the Facebook Group.

We truly pray for you Makayla! Your light has blessed our lives. Keep holding on, little one!
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