Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So That's What It's Like

I was at lunch with a friend of mine and we were talking about all of the usual mother-of-kids-we-worry-about type stuff. Were our kids doing well in school? Were they being responsible? Were they making good friends? This last question seemed to be the one that was really on our mom-radar at the time.

My friend explained that she had worried about some of the friends her daughter had at school. They came from fine families, but they seemed to be kind of 'mean girls.' I knew what this mom was talking about and I felt very sympathetic. I asked if her daughter had any luck finding new friends.

This mom told me that her daughter had recently made a new friend that seemed like a really nice girl...but...she kind of hesitated and chuckled a little bit. But what? I tried to patiently wait for my friend to explain, but I have to admit that my curiosity was peaked.

"She's a really nice girl and has parents that seemed really cool. BUT, they are super healthy."

Well, I didn't understand at all what my friend was talking about because SHE is really healthy, and in fact had just done a triathlon the week before! She was always running, or swimming, or ordering healthy stuff when we went to lunch. My friend is certainly not UNhealthy, so I wasn't sure what she was trying to say. I questioned.

My friend went on to explain that this little girl and her family ate only whole and organic foods. They didn't eat any sugar or refined ANYTHING! They felt so strongly about what they ate, that they had already laid down some ground rules with my friend. Anytime the healthy girl came over to thier home, she was not to eat ANY of the food in my friend's home. Her mother would send any snacks she might need. She couldn't have bottled water, let alone a juice box or even fruit (might not be organic).

Not only could she not eat any food from my friend's home, she couldn't participate in any toxic activities. For example: This girl had a box of markers in her bag which she used on her fingernails. She pulled them out whenever the other young girls painted thier nails because there are aparently deadly chemicals in nail posish. This little girl opened my friend's snack cupboard and proceeded to tell her about all of the deadly, dangerous, and downright unhealthy things in the food that she was feeding her family.

I was shocked and sat with my mouth open as my friend explained the health standards this young girl and her family lived by. I am sure they didn't intend to be offensive. They simply had a standard that they wanted to live by and did all they could to see that it was upheld even when their kids were out of the home. Very admirable. Even commendable.

And yet, my friend expressed the thought I had rolling around in my head when she said, 'I know they are trying to eat a certain way, and I know they don't mean to, but I feel so JUDGED!' My friend verbalized exactly what I was thinking. It would be hard not to feel that way.

We laughed and talked about it a little more and I assured my friend that to me, she was living a very healthy lifestyle. Then a question popped into my head that I verbalized to her, "I wonder if that's how other people feel about us being Mormons when our kids go to their house to play?"

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Should Have Lived in Idaho

Fall seems to be knocking at the door and I decided to mow the lawn in hopes the trim would last until next Spring. It is a beautiful day and when I finished, I hopped the rock wall down to my garden. The strawberries are still producing glorious fruit, I had a big handful of raspberries from my fall producing canes, and I got some of the late blackberries. I was glad with my berries, as my vegetables have not been stellar this year. I do have tomatoes, but not much else to speak of.

Between my strawberry patch and my veggies lies what has historically been a no man's land of mud and weeds. It is only a few feet wide, but this Spring I decided to plant some potatoes there and see what happened. I have never grown potatoes and had to Google the method. I planted about 20 seed potatoes, then forgot about them for a while. They produced plants as the summer warmed up and I bought some compost that I used to build little mounds around each plant. I only did this one time, and then I did what I usually do for the second half of summer, I neglected my gardening.

Everyone says that you shouldn't overwater potatoes and they should be in well drained soil (kind of like a Tulip I suppose). Well, I have clay soil, and sprinklers that come on every night to keep my berries watered, and the poor potato conditions showed in the quality of my potato plants. The plants that didn't look absolutely sickly seemed to die off all together. Here is a pic that is typical of the foliage.

I pretty much wrote off the idea of a fall potato crop in my mind. The soil was just too soggy and my plants weren't faring well. But for some reason, after mowing the lawn and eating a few berries, I decided to dig around in the potato patch and just see what was under there. My first bite of earth produced a ton of earth worms, but I hadn't cut in too far. I dug again and saw that I had sliced right though a red potato, and it didn't look small or rotten; in fact, it looked rather delightful! I was immediately encouraged and carefully dug around 2 or 3 plants and this is what I found.
Red potatoes! Right there in my sticky, slimy dirt! Some were small but some were pretty good sized. I dug a bunch out and washed them with the garden hose. No one ever told me what an absolute pleasure it is to dig up potoatoes!! I felt like I was rooting around for buried gems! (Idaho is named the Gem State, by the way--although it has nothing to do with the spuds.) There was something so captivating about digging in that dirt looking for glimpses of red skin. I am thoroughly enamored!!
Here is my first harvest after I cleaned them with the hose. I decided to stop digging so I could share the fun with the kiddos another day. I can't wait to actually try them! Who knew digging in the dirt on a sunny day could be so much fun!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mind Your Murmur

An old friend of John's from his Rock Crawling days got married this weekend. I knew it was important to my husband to attend, but I was not at all convinced that it was necessary for me to attend. I mean, I enjoy seeing my husband's old friends, but not so much when there is a poor driving-to-visiting ratio. The plan was to drive to some place north of Logan on Friday where we would attend the wedding reception, then drive back home on Saturday. This is what I mean by a poor driving-to-visiting ratio...lots of driving for not much visiting.

So when faced with this situation, I did what I do best...I murmured. On Wed and Thurs, I started coming up with all kinds of reasons to stay behind. I tried to encourage my husband with a smile, and tell him how fun I thought it would be for him to hang with his friends, without me. He would just smile and say that he really hoped I'd come. I'd smile back, walk off, and murmur to myself...

John did tell me that we would be seeing our good friends the Kofords, and we would even stay the night there. Well, because I adore them, that upped the ratio just enough that I decided to bite my murmuring tongue and pack my overnight bag.

And we drove.

And drove.

Then we met up with the Kofords in Ogden for more driving.

We arrived in Smithfield just in time to attend the wedding reception and it was lovely. Jeeping friends everywhere. My husband had a really, really great time. I enjoyed the cheesecake and hangin' with Jill.

After driving back to Ogden, a little visiting, and a good night's sleep, we were packing up the car to return home.

I hadn't even told my family in Utah that I was driving through, as we didn't have any time to spare on the way up, and John let me know we had a business meeting down in SLC at high noon on our drive home. But as we got closer to their homes, I asked John if he could just drop me at my Mom's house for the hour of his meeting. He didn't say much, and I was hugely tempted to murmur. I refrained. I quietly thought of all the places where I could kill an hour. Tai Pan. Costco. The Mall. Apparently, my quiet musing made my hubby a little uncomfortable and he tried to reassure me that it wouldn't be a really long meeting.

I was still trying not to murmur, and was therefore quiet up until we turned into Cafe Rio. "Cafe Rio?" I asked. John casually said it was a lunch meeting. OK, I like Cafe Rio, maybe this won't be all bad.

We got out of the car and I walked in. I heard a familiar voice say my name, and I looked over to see two of my dear, dear friends from my mission! I gleefully went over to them as I wondered what the odds were of running into them here! I jumped up and down, clapped my hands, and said something silly, then turned to John to tell him of my good luck.

John had a big smile on his face and started to walk back out the door telling me to call him when I was done. I didn't get it. What about his meeting? It took several seconds for me to realize it wasn't some groovy, cosmic coincidence that my friends were lunching at Cafe Rio.

John had called them to surprise me for my birthday. It was only another minute, and two more of my girls arrived. I WAS IN HEAVEN!

Here is a picture of me and my mission girls! I seriously love, love, love these ladies! It was fun to sit and catch up for a couple of hours before the car beckoned me back to the open road back home.

I am so glad that John ignored my murmuring as well as my silence while I struggled to NOT murmur! I am also glad that I didn't make a big fuss like I almost did!!! :) Happy Birthday to me!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Wanted to Celebrate My Birthday...

So I gathered some of my favorite people...

And made them take me to my favorite place...

For a little of this...
Some of that...
And strangely, quite a bit of this...!
Even with all the fun, sun, thrills, and spills, the best part was still the company.

In fact, here's a few more pictures just so I can remember how old they were on my birthday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Denver Connection

Sometimes I feel like my blog is our family travel log. I do want to document where we go and what we do, but sometimes I don't have time or ambition left to write about other 'stuff.' So I am going to do a little of both in this post. Forgive the longness and rambling-ness of it all.

We went to Denver this weekend and although I admittedly was not looking forward to the drive, I was looking forward to seeing the spot that Kip and his family called home. They moved at the beginning of the year to Denver from AZ. We had originally planned to attend the BYU v Air Force football game, but alas, my UofU attending husband convinced me to do some school shopping. Luckily, I got to participate in a different game that I love.

If you have known me or talked to me much, you might know that I LOVE to play the 'Mormon-Do-You-Know' game. This is the game where you find out where people are from, or where they have lived, or gone to school, or served a mission. You then say, "Oh, you served in Japan in the 80's...." or "Oh, you are from Rhode Island...." followed up by, "Do you know___________?" then you insert the name of the person you knew that served in Japan or lived in RI. Usually it's some Mormon from your college ward, or a person your favorite mission companion used to date. Or any other mormons-are-everywhere-and-like-to-mingle-scenario.

I love it. Love, love, love it when I learn about some connection I have with someone I have just met. It makes me feel like we're, well, connected. I also enjoy it on a bigger scale because I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences. I like feeling like there is a purpose to the vast social and familial network we get a glimpse of by playing the MDYK game (I also think that it is not just a Mormon phenomenon, but with missions, BYU, dating, and wards, Mormon culture lends itself to these connections beyond what might be typical geographic boundaries). I think that if you visit with most any new acquaintance long enough, you would find that you have common friends or have almost met a time or two. I think Facebook, a social networking site, has really driven home for me that we really are all quite close. I love finding old friends only to see that we have many more mutual friends than I had before realized.

I think this fascination comes from moving frequently in my adolescent years. But everywhere we moved, the members of the church were a constant and we often found ties to old friends in the new faces we met. It made me feel like God was looking out for me. And I still feel that way.

We had the pleasure of attending Sac. Mtg. with Kip's family where we sat on the row in front of the Allreds (their mom, Lori, is my dear friend from High School) and listened to Mayce (Kip's oldest daughter) give a talk. I watched her preparing for it the night before and I read the article she was to use as a guide. We had a great conversation that night and it was fun to hear her talk about how the Lord was watching over her and gave her answers to her prayers about moving to Denver. She and her twin sister Maddy have become good friends with Lori's daughter, Paris. From her talk, I think Mayce too felt like God was looking out for her. And He was.

I know that when I moved to Page, Lori's family helped to make that transition really easy. They were friends to me. And now, another generation later, their family was again helping my family to transition to a new place. I just really dig that. I have to admit I am a little envious that it is not me who gets to live near one of my old friends, but I am so glad that those connections are still around. Kip's family actually moved from a place where they lived only a few blocks from Lori's sister, Lisa, whom I also adore!

It's almost funny how a few of my friends have stayed close to my family. And because I am talking about my Denver connections, I will give just one more example. My friend Tiffiny is from Page as well and is another beautiful girl I adore (did I mention that all of these girls Lori, Lisa, and Tiff are not only kind, they are freakishly beautiful to boot?). Tiff's family lived in Denver a while back too. In fact, they lived in my brother Skip's ward! They were ward friends! I love it! After Tiff moved to Utah, come to find out, she lives right near my sister Kim's house! Their kids play basketball together! They are sports friends! So Fun! OK, yes, I am a little jealous and wish it were me that Tiff lived by, but I'll have to be content to have her stay connected through my siblings. It's kinda weird that she has lived very near the only 2 siblings that she didn't already know in Page. Did I mention that Tiff's brother Paul was in the MTC with me in the classroom next to mine? OK, I will stop....but first I will put up this picture I saw on FB...
That's right! It's Tiff and her family at the BYU game we just skipped!! They were right there! :) Ah, such a small world!

We enjoyed visiting Kip's Denver ward and I loved pondering connections. When the meeting got over, we were getting up to leave when a lady in front of us turned around and said to John, "Hey, I think I know you, I wouldn't have recognized you but your niece is speaking and she's a Gilleland. I used to date your old roommate, Phil." John answered, "You mean the same Phil that grew up in Darren's ward back in Texas?" (Darren is Lori's husband.) Skip, Kip, Kim, Tiff, Lisa, Lori, Darren, Phil.... I know it get's confusing if you don't know everyone, but you can know that I almost giggled out loud as the day seemed to just get wrapped up in a little bow!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oldest and Newest

Sometimes life gives you too much of a good thing. For this Labor Day Weekend, such was the case when it came to family and friends, old and new. There were simply too many of them doing too many things for us to be there for it all.

My Oldest Nephew, Ty went through the Temple for the first time this weekend. I am so proud of him! He is preparing to serve as a missionary in the Texas, Lubbock Mission. Now, I cannot tell you why mission calls always have the state before the city, but I can tell you that I know Ty is going to be a great missionary and will soon be a lover of all things Texan through and through.
My Newest Neice, Miriam was given a Priesthood Blessing for the first time this week. It is tradition to give new babies a Name and a Blessing. This is an event that I have tried to always attend. Because I don't live near my nieces and nephews, going to their blessings helps to give me a sense of who they are and I really enjoy it. I have made it to most of these blessings over the years.

My husband's only brother was also on the move this weekend and was heading our way with his family and (as we soon found out) some really terrific friends. Sidenote: My picture taking this weekend was awful and not at all indicitive of my level of enjoyment. :) Kip brought his family as well as 2 other families from his ward (they live in the Denver area). Those families happen to be some of my Oldest friends and now some of my Newest. (How was that for a tie-in on the title? Ya, I would say 'fair' as well...)

While I had never met most of the Allred family, I knew the Mother of this fun crew very well. Lori is my old friend from High School and it was a total kick in the pants to see what a gorgeous family she has thrown (you can visit her blog here.) And now our newest friends are the Munros. They are a delightful family that moved recently from Seattle. I thought it was very brave of them to come along on the Durango road trip because hey, we could have been a total freak show family! :) OK, I know we are a little freak show, but we do love company and try to show 'em a good time! I am glad the Munros took the leap of faith. And of course it is always great when the cousins come to visit! :) Overall, there were 10 kids and 6 adults that came to stay. My kids were in HEAVEN (and so was I)!

We spent a day at the lake and enjoyed perfect weather. We fit well on 2 boats and I think everyone had a good time. And no, neither of us crashed on the shore--we just saw it and took a picture!

I, of course, was totally ripping it up on the surf board:

but somehow the boat just got away from me. :) I know it seems a little weird that I only have good pictures of myself at the lake, but I am just vain like that.

On the way home from the lake, we grabbed pizza for all of the kids and the grownups went to dinner. It was so sun and we enjoyed some good belly laughs!

After church on Sunday,we went up the the gravel pit and drove around the on equipment. Several of the kids climbed up on the piles of crushed rock and were coated with a fine powder. There was digging, climbing, loading, and lots of random children driving around at will. There is a pic in the collage of my old friend Lori and my new friend Franny (tying it back to the title...)
I know these pictures don't give the full effect of just how coated in dust these little guys were! They had so much fun I just let them get dirty. Happily, these little guys wash up well.

We had the pleasure of another lake day on Monday before everyone packed up to drive home. I have been one to always want to meet new people. I love the newness and the excitement, but the older I get, the more I realize what a treasure old friends are as well. They just 'get' you and you have a common history you don't need to explain. And of course there is the true treasure of family. I am so glad Kip's family came for a visit and I am glad to hear that my extended family had a really great weekend as well--even without me! ;) I think we are all tied a lot closer than we will ever realize in this life. I am grateful for friends and family old and new!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Elise picked out the seeds for these Sunflowers! She is pretty proud of how big they have grown and I am pretty proud of her! :)