Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This year for Thanksgiving we decided to stay home and just be together.

My dear friend Cindy heard that we were going to be home and I think she felt a little sorry for me. She called the night before Turkey Day and invited us up to her house. I guess I was feeling like a complete home body as I asked her if she'd come here (I reasoned that it would be easier to get their 4 family members here than to get our 9 family members there (Us+Grandma+Hank)). Cindy graciously agreed and her family arrived in the afternoon. They got a big surprise and their son and his family were on their way to for a surprise they came here too. By now I felt kinda bad because that brought their family total up to 8, while we were still holding steady at 9. And when I saw all of the delicious food Cindy brought (turkey, potatoes, green bean casserole, apple pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie, and stuffing), I realized it probably would have been easier for us to go to Cindy's house with our turkey and sweet potatoes.

It ended up being a delightful afternoon and I felt grateful not only for my family, but for good friends. I have been a real home body lately, but Cindy is a good friend that plays along with me! :) Thank you!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bringin' Home the Bacon

I just earned my first paycheck as a married woman. :) I earned this money for being an Election Judge. I think that averages out to about $3 an hour! I guess this makes me a government worker. Anyone need a loan? Maybe a nice lunch date?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Our Lunch Date

Today after a morning nap (see previous post) I had the pleasure of meeting our 3 youngest kids for Thanksgiving Lunch at the school. John even came along and we all had a lovely turkey lunch-cafeteria style.

Movie After Midnight

Last night I think it must have been a full moon, or almost. I got a wild hair and decided to stay up late and go to see the new Harry Potter 7 Part I Movie!!

Around 11:30pm as we sat in the theater with a bunch of college kids, I began to wonder why I decided to come. I was feeling a little sleepy.

A lot sleepy.

So just after midnight, the movie began.

I woke right up and LOVED the whole darn thing!

It made it super fun that I went with 3 of my favorite guys. Seth and I sat together so we could whisper about the movie, as we were the ones that had read the book. John and Gabe said that although they had not read it, they still really liked it too.

Today, we are all VERY tired, but it was super fun to stay out late and be a little crazy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And More Concerts

The concert theme continued tonight as Seth surprised us all with an orchestra concert tonight. Luckily, his Scoutmaster attended the concert and let us know he would be canceling Scouts for it, otherwise I think Seth might have just let us all miss it...including him! Although he does not love being in the orchestra, I LOVE watching his perform.

Once again, poor concert pictures. Not only is it hard to get a good picture at this location, but Seth is in the back and doesn't mind hiding from me and my camera. This is the zoom from the pic.
Elise and I had a good time as it was just the two of us watching Seth. I think Seth is lucky to have us as we are 2 very loyal fans! :) Seth not only likes to hide during his concerts, but he doesn't like having his picture taken afterwards either. Drat. I am hoping my boys grow out of that or I might have only blurry pictures of them from a distance throughout their teen years!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Tonight we had the pleasure of hearing Elise at a concert celebrating the USA. I loved it! I have actually seen the program before, as Gabe too got to perform it as a 5th grader, but I still found it to be fun to watch. I love that our kids are learning to have pride in our good Country!

Sadly, I still haven't figured out how to take good pictures at a concert... sorry Elise!! :) I love you!! She is on the back row in the middle.

Grandma came along to enjoy the concert. John couldn't be at the concert as he had knee surgery today. It went well and with lots of ice and some narcotic pain killers, he should be back at it in no time!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun...

...Please Shine Down on ME!!

We have a new lawn ornament. And I am pretty excited about it! Thank you Mr. Obama for the big tax credit!

It has taken a few months to get it completely installed and running, but I am proud to say that we are producing Solar Energy here at the BigG house!

Installation began this summer. Back in August, we ran our electrical line and installed the footing for the pole that the solar panel sits on.

This is actually the spot where I have been trying to convince John to build me a tennis court. I guess I'll have to find a different spot! ;)

The power generated runs through this box in our garage

where this cool little screen tells me how much power has been generated today.

In theory, if we generate more than we consume, our electric meter will turn backwards and we will 'sell' our power back to LPEA. Pretty cool!

It is hard to get perspective on just how big this panel is, so I asked Jackson to come out and stand by it so I could get a picture. At first, he was opposed to the idea, and refused to move from our source of fossil fuels (that is our propane tank that runs our boiler).
But I finally convinced him.
And as you can see, the thing is enormous!

Elise and Daisy wanted in on the shot too. This pic shows some better detail of the panel surface. Neat-o!

Although our house is fairly large, we do not heat with electricity, so our usage is not that great. We do consume more electricity in the summer when our AC is running. Although this panel is big, it still is not estimated to cover all of our electricity usage. Considering the cost of the panel and installation, compared to the cost of electricity, it should only take us 30 years to recoup our investment (and that doesn't include the tax credit....which really, is just Mr. Obama letting us keep more of the money we earned...). So obviously, in my mind at least, solar technology has not evolved enough to make this a viable source of large scale power generation. But I still think it is super cool that we are getting some of our electricity from the sun, cuz I do LOVE sunshine!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

When I Grow Up

I have a dark secret which brings me great shame. OK, maybe it's not a very big secret, as I tell a lot of people about it. And maybe 'shame' is too strong a word. It brings me something more like regret or a little twinge of sadness. Well, maybe more like a fair amount of sadness when thought of...

I am a college drop out.

That's right I never finished getting a degree. I really, really loved going to college and even enjoyed taking classes. B ut I am not going to lie, even when I was in college, I was somewhat wishy-washy and directionless. I liked lots of stuff and had a hard time really specializing in anything (too bad I didn't live back in the days when this was referred to as being a Renaissance (wo)Man instead of just being kind of a loser.)

I couldn't decided what I wanted to BE when I grew up.

And I still haven't quite figured it out.

I serve in the Young Women's program now and today we had our monthly joint meeting with the boys where a teacher comes in and talks to all of us about the value of education. And specifically today, all of the kids filled out a questionnaire about what we might like or dislike in a job. Apparently our teacher will take these papers home, enter them into some sort of magic vocation selecting computer program and it will unlock the secret to the future happiness of the quiz takers. Or it will at least spit out a few ideas of jobs you might like.

Many of the things I marked 'Like' were things that I will never do as a job--like professional singer or piloting a boat on a river (he never said you had to be capable of doing the job, you just had to like the idea of doing it-although I did actually have a job for a summer where I piloted a boat down a river...). Going by what I liked, it seems like I should have worked in the entertainment industry, as I would really 'Like' to write a song or be in a jazz band. In filling out the questionnaire, I also realized that I am kind of a jerk, as I marked 'Dislike' on most things pertaining to caring for old people, handicapped people, and small children. I think there was a time in my college years when I would have thought I'd 'Like' working with all of those people, but my old, jaded self has realized I am not nearly as patient as the people who excel in those fields.

John and I try to talk a lot about the importance of a good education to our kids and I am hoping they will not quit like I did. Gabe plans to own a gravel pit. Seth says he'd like to be a brain surgeon or a lawyer. Elise comes up with a new business plan about once a week for resturaunts, child care centers, retail stores, you name it (she plans to start small with one location then replicate it in other places)! Jackson wants to be a famous singer, a gravel pit worker, or a superhero. Jebb wants to be a policeman or a race car driver. I just want them all to be hard working and feel a sense of success in whatever they choose to do. Of course I hope the biggest thing they will want to do is have a family. I know from first hand experience that families happen to ROCK! :) But I do hope that they have a little more direction at a younger age professionally speaking. ;) And I hope that they all graduate from college because then not only will they have the tools and education to build a better life, but I will also be able to live vicariously through them thereby hiding my own guilt and shame at being a drop out.

It was interesting timing for me on taking the little quiz because I have actually recently signed up for an online college class from BYU. I am not planning to graduate any time soon, but I figure it can't hurt. And so far, I really 'Like' it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ethiopia and the 5th Grade

Today I had the pleasure of talking to Elise's 5th grade class about Ethiopia. It was delightful. I brought my computer and showed slides of the people there. The kids in the class were really well behaved and asked good questions and made smart comments. It has been 4 years since I went which is kinda surprising as it doesn't seem so long ago. I loved my visit there and hope I get to go again soon.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

It is Election Day in our fair country and I was up bright and early at 5:00am. No, not so I could be first in line to vote, I did that last week. I was up early because I volunteered to be an Election Judge. After a training session, I was assigned to be a Supply Judge in a downtown precinct. They have to have Democrats and Republicans at all polling places to make sure that there are no shenanigans. I am an R and was therefore assigned to this precinct which is mostly D.

We set up from 6-7am in preparation for voting to commence. It seemed like everything was going smoothly until we couldn't get into our computer to confirm voters were registered. Luckily, we got a couple of troubleshooters from the Clerk's office that got us all set up and ready to roll. I was told it would be a quiet day and was a very un-busy district. I guess no one living there got that memo, because we had steady voters coming through until we closed the polls at 7pm! Crazy! As the Supply Judge, I was expected to run the show, which was pretty interesting as I had never been an Election Judge before. Luckily, there were no major snafu's and I think everyone was able to exercise their right to vote.

It was a good experience, but when we finally all left at 9pm, I have to admit I was really glad to be DONE! :) John met me at the Republican 'Victory Party' to watch some of the results. It was great to see a lot of the folks there that have worked in our Tea Party/9-12 groups this year. I have learned a lot about the political process this year and have had some good experiences. One of these days I am going to write a little bit about politics. It has been a big chunk of my life lately, but it's one of those things that I still don't talk a lot about unless I am at a meeting or something.

While I was pretty happy with the elections this year, I still think there is much to's looking toward 2012!

Monday, November 1, 2010

We Have A Winner!!

Today Jackson came home from school with a heavy backpack and a huge, excited smile. He was almost bursting when dropped down on his knees, opened his backpack, and announced, "Look what I won, Mom!!!"

He pulled from his pack a large bottle containing every small, cheap, breakable Halloween toy known to mankind! ;) As we were leaving the school carnival on Friday night, Jackson had pulled me back to a table where this jar sat. It was a raffle where all you have to do is guess the number of items correctly to win the jar. He asked me if he could fill out a guess and even though everyone else was already out the door, I decided to pause for a minute and let him give it a shot. He picked up an entry slip and a pencil. He looked at the jar which was right at his eye level and studied it for a moment while giving a meaningful, "hmmmm..." More thinking.

"Hey Jacks, we need to get going, everyone is going to be waiting in the car."

"OK, then I will guess 400."

He wrote his first name and the number 400 taking care not write the 4 backwards. And we left.

So imagine his excitement this morning when he was announced the winner of the Halloween Jar! Plastic eyeballs, temporary tatoos, noise makers, rings, and glowing vampire teeth were some of the fantastic spoils. You can imagine what fun the kids had going through the whole thing. There were even 2 $1 bills!

A little later in the day, Jackson came to me to let me know that he had accomplished what had apparently been a 'goal of his life.' I inquired what it was he had done. Seemingly it has been his lifelong dream to have a ring for every finger. I laughed as I actually remember his telling me that this was an ambition he had. Oh that Jackson! I am glad he was the winner of this one, even if I cringe at the though to 400 pieces of tiny Halloween junk haunting me for the next several months!