Thursday, December 4, 2008

2,654...

...that is how many miles we drove during the Thanksgiving break.

We decided to do the Texas three step during vacation. Ken had negotiated for a few extra vacation days, so we had about a week. On Sunday we left after church and drove to Amarillo where we stayed the night. The kids loved spending the evening swimming in the pool. The next morning we began our drive to San Antonio and our visit with the Hansens.

San Antonio was where Ken served his mission and he was excited to be back in his old stomping (or should I say his old biking?) grounds. We drove by some of his old apartments and mission office, but the highlight was our visit to the San Antonio LDS Temple. It was beautiful and set up on a hill overlooking the city. It wasn't there when Ken was there almost 15 years ago and it was exciting to see how the church is growing. We walked around the grounds and enjoyed the spirit that was there.


After visiting the temple, we went downtown so we could see the Alamo and the riverwalk. It was so much fun learning more about the history of Texas. We loved the taking the kids on a cruise of the river and we were pleased that no one fell in. :) That night Jake surprised us by making arrangements for a babysitter so we could go on a double date out to dinner. And then Jake saved me by working on my back. (Thanks Jake! It felt so much better!)



On Wednesday, we headed up to Ft. Hood to meet with Cyle, my mom and dad, and Codi and Coby's family. We enjoyed a great dinner together and a movie night at Cyle's townhome. Thursday Uncle Cyle gave all the kids rides on his motorcycle. They all thought that was the greatest!


We got to have Thanksgiving dinner at the Mess Hall on Ft. Hood. They had decorated the mess hall beautifully and even had a pardoned turkey out it front. (Gobble, gobble!) The servers were all dressed in their dress uniforms. The best part was having Clint call us from Iraq while we were eating dinner. We all got a chance to talk to him. That really helped to put the day into perspective for me. We obvoiusly have so much to be grateful for. Most of all, our freedoms and the great land we live in.

Cyle gave us a quick tour of the post before we headed down to Houston to spend the rest of the weekend at Codi and Coby's. We had a fun weekend of the cousins playing, shopping, and just being together. It was so much fun!

On Sunday we started very early to make the long drive home. We are so lucky that our kiddos are so good in the car! We were making great time across Texas and enjoyed the drive and listened to The Westing Game and The Indian in the Cupboard on CD. Once we got into New Mexico we hit a snag. There was a huge storm and the roads connecting to I25 were closed and even I25 was closed because of all the accidents. We really flet like we needed to get home so we backtracked to Oklahoma and and went up the eastern side of Colorado. It was a long night -- we got home about 4:00 am.

It was a great trip! We visited great friends and loved the time we were able to spend with family. I think that made me even more thankful at Thanksgiving.

Twilight...


My birthday week continued. The big celebration was on Friday night when some friends and I went out to dinner and then to see Twilight. I had a blast! I loved being with my friends and making some new friends as well. We had a delicious dinner and talked even more than we ate.

After dinner we headed on over to the theater to see Twilight. Of course, the movie wasn't as good as the book. Overall, I would give it a B. It felt a little low budget, but I did enjoy it and I am looking forward to seeing it again.

I am constantly astounded by the amazing women I am blessed to call my friends! It was so fun going out with them and I was tickled that they would celebrate my birthday with me. I totally needed the night out and I hope they all had as much fun as I did.

A special thank you to Tirsa for my new Twilight shirt. It was nice to dress for the event. :)

Happy Birthday to me!

On November 19th at 12:42 am, I officially turned 33 years old. I seriously think that time is speeding up! I can't say that I am anxious about being older, or even looking older. I am fairly content about my life (most of the time) and am pleased with the things I have learned, accomplished, and experienced. So I guess I'll wear my age as a badge of honor of the life I have lived. Maybe I'll hit the panic button as I get closer to 40. :)

Ken had to be out of town for my birthday, but we celebrated before he left for Ohio. He took me out to dinner at Famous Dave's -- yummy ribs! -- and then we were going to go see the new James Bond, but I was too tired. (Maybe I AM feeling my age!) So instead we went home to watch something on PPV and Ken decided to give me my present a few days early.

For about the last 4 or 5 years I have wanted, okay, maybe really closer to coveted, a DSLR camera. Sadly, it never seemed to be in the budget. Well, Ken must have been feeling particularly generous and got me a great bundle deal from Costco; a Canon xsi, 2 lenses, memory card, and a camera bag. I responded appropriately by smothering him with kisses. :)

I am loving playing with my new toy and I am so excited to learn more and hopefully improve my photography skills.


I am grateful for wonderful friends that helped me feel so loved, even while Ken was gone. I received flowers (having fresh flowers makes the whole house feel more beautiful!) and Jen and Brandie watched my kiddos so I could go to a voice lesson (my lesson went really, really well -- I am so happy I am improving!) and do some shopping. It was a great day! Thanks everyone for all the fantastic gifts, but most of all for your friendship, love, and support. I think being 33 will be great!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Angels among us...

In fact, those angels decided to visit my home this morning.

My house was a mess! I have had a difficult time staying on top of things lately and with Ken gone, I had really let the house go yesterday. My plan was to come home from Triple Trio rehearsal and errands and do some major tidying and cleaning before my voice students started to arrive for the afternoon. I wasn't sure that I would be able to get it all done.

As I come in the door with my arms full of groceries, I noticed something was not quite right. Things were not where they were when I left this morning (which was basically all over). I walked into the kitchen noticed the clean counters that had been covered with dirty dishes and the dinner from last night that I had not yet put away. So instead of the mess I was expecting, there are beautiful flowers on my island. I was completely awestruck. I called my mother as I began to walk around the house. Toys were put away, the floor was swept and vacuumed (even the stairs!), and even my bathrooms had been cleaned! Tears of gratitude flowed from both of our eyes as I continued to discover all the things my angels had done. Trevor kept saying, "mom why are you crying? You should be happy." I explained to him that they were tears of joy and I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

So thank you my dear angels! Words cannot express the love I have for you. I have a pretty good idea who you are -- there are only a few people that know our garage code and Peyton found a beloved clue up in her room. :) Thank you for knowing me and loving me. Your charity has blown me away and I will never forget this beautiful example of service!

Change...

Change is not just a political slogan and it is an inevitable part of everyone's lives. Our family is having some changes. After almost 8 years at IBM Ken is starting a new job today. He really enjoyed his job supporting databases for Target, but he was ready for a change and some new challenges. He got a job with Brulant (that will become Rosetta in January) out of Cleveland, but he will be able to work from home most of the time. He is there this week for training and having his first taste of snow for the season. Starting in January, Ken will be supporting databases for the US Mint's web commerce. He will be traveling to DC quite a bit in the beginning, but it should settle down to about a trip a month.

I am really excited for him and the adventures that await him. I am so grateful for him working so hard to support our family. This new opportunity for Ken is a wonderful blessing for our family in so many ways. I think the biggest blessing is that we are able to stay here in Colorado. We truly love it here. With all the things that fell into place as our family made these changes, it strengthens my knowledge that Heavenly Father is aware of our family and continues to bless us. It is wonderful to know that we are looked after!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rah, rah, rah...Go Cougars!

As a second generation Cougar myself, Ken and I are continuing the tradition of Cougar pride. On Saturday we took Morgan and Trevor down to Colorado Springs, along with some great friends and fellow Cougar fans, for their first BYU football game. (Many thanks to Holly and Brian for watching Peyton! We didn't think she would like the game or the cold that much.) We had a blast at the tailgate party, eating, face painting for the kids, and even running into old friends! We even got a picture with Cosmo the Cougar.

It was such a fun game to go to. The weather was great, which was a bit of a gamble with the game in November. It was especially cool having all the neat Air Force traditions to watch like the cadets in formation, the parachuting onto the field, and the super cool fly-over. Our Cougars played a good game and got the win. It was an absolute blast and I think we have a new tradition.

Go Cougars!





Thursday, November 13, 2008

So blessed...

I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who gives me the help I need, even when I am I too ashamed, prideful, embarrassed, and overwhelmed to ask.

Monday, November 10, 2008

You'll never guess...

but I LOVE Christmas music!

There. I said it. I'm sure this doesn't come as much of a surprise. This time of year I am almost giddy with anticipation of when I can "legally" start listening to Christmas music.

One of the perks of being a choir director was choosing music for the Christmas concert. It gave me the excuse of starting to listen in early October. It really helped me get in the mood and select some wonderful music. It has been some 5 years now that I have not taught at a school and I have missed the excuse to listen to Christmas music early.

This year, however, I have the privilege again of conducting our stake choir for the Interfaith Christmas Choir Concert. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to again work with talented and inspiring people. I have been listening to beautiful arrangements as I worked to select what we will sing. It is a bit of a balancing act. I want to choose something traditional, but not overdone and boring, lush, but not too "jazzy" or 20th century, memorable, but not too flashy. Most of all, I want the music I select to praise the Savior and His miraculous birth. It is my prayer that when our audience hears us perform that they will feel the Holy Ghost testifying that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer and Savior of the world.

I hope the choir will like what I have chosen to sing this year. We will open with a rousing arrangement of Joy to the World. It has very cool organ accompaniment that Liz will be fantastic on. Next, we will calm it down a bit and bring a different feeling in with a haunting arrangement of In the Bleak Midwinter. Our closer -- hold on to your hats -- is Wilberg's arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High. I am so excited and hope that we have the turnout that we did last year. I know singing beautiful Christmas enhances my worship. I hope others will feel that way too.

I want to share a verse from In The Bleak Midwinter that really touches my heart. This is what I kept thinking of as I was choosing the music...

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
What can I give Him? Give my heart.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And the results are in...

We had friends over to watch the returns and it was wonderful having a houseful. Thanks to all those who came. We had wonderful conversations and delicious food. Sadly, the election turned out as I expected, but I was a little surprised that it was over so quickly.

I am not quite sure what I am feeling. A bit of resignation, but also the peace that comes with a difficult decision being made. Tonight during family prayers I took the opportunity to pray for President-Elect Obama. I am not thrilled about his politics, but I do think he is a good man. He gave a great speech that did a good job reaching out to all Americans. I hope what he does as President follows that same pattern.

Most of all, I feel so blessed to live in this great nation. I marvel at our political process and that so many people chose to be involved. I know this election was hotly contested, but the transition will most likely be a smooth one. I would guess that would not happen in many countries. This truly is a blessed nation and I pray that we continue to be a "nation under God".

My congratulations to President-Elect Obama. This is certainly a historical night.

I voted...


This morning I went to the county offices and turned in my absentee ballot. Many have read my political musings over the past year, so you know how I feel about this election and I won't really go into it anymore. However, I must say that I feel so blessed that I live in a country that I am allowed to vote and speak my mind. This election is very important and regardless of the outcome, I am so glad that so many people got involved in the political process. That in itself is a victory.

P.S. For those interested, Ken and I are having friends over to watch the returns on the news tonight. We would love it if you want to join us for some good company, stimulating political conversation, and yummy food. Contact me if you want more details.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A witch, pirate, and a cowgirl, oh my!


The weather for Halloween was absolutely perfect this year and we had lots of fun activities to attend. We started out with Morgan getting to wear her witch costume to school. This year she chose to be Elphaba, the wicked witch of the West. Trevor and I went to school in the afternoon for her class fall festival. It was so fun getting to see all her classmates in their costumes and there was plenty of yummy, but healthy snacks and fun games.

After school, we headed to the church for the annual "trunk-or-treat". The kids loved going to all the cars and seeing so many friends. Let me just say, you can get quite a load of candy in a fairly short amount of time when you only have to walk around a parking lot. On the way home we decided to stop by the Weingardt's home and check out their AMAZING Halloween display. I was glad we went while it was till light because Peyton kept saying "I scared...but pretend."

We got home and had a quick dinner. The kids were chomping at the bit to get out the door and go trick-or-treating. I got to be the candy-hander-outer and Ken and the kids joined some neighbor friends and canvased much of the neighborhood over the next couple hours. Before coming home, they went to the Halloween carnival at the elementary school, played some carnival games, and got a great goodie bag. The kids were pretty tired when they got home but they were on cloud nine and it took a little while for them to settle down. I guess that was to be expected after such a fun Halloween celebration.



Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My invention...

One evening we had our friends, the Wasden family, over for dinner and Tasha introduced us to the tortillas that you cook yourself. So yummy! So when I saw them a couple of weeks ago at Costco, I thought I would indulge. We all love them and I have been making lots of meals that use them.

On Sunday night I had an epiphany and asked the kids if they would like ice cream burritos for dessert. They replied with a big, WHAT? I asked if they were feeling like an adventure and up for trying something new. Lucky for us, they were all on board. So here is the recipe for Carli's Ice Cream Burritos...

Cook a tortilla almost golden brown. On the warm tortilla, spread out about a half scoop of ice cream. On top of the ice cream drizzle carmel and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar. Roll it up tight -- there will be lots of yummy drips -- and serve!

P.S. Becky, this could be a great way to help to acheive gaining those 7 pounds that the doctor told you work on! Just trying to help out. :)

Full of hot air...


The other morning I opened the front door for my voice student and this was the view from my front porch. It was incredible to see the balloon so close! We often see it west of us, closer to the mountains, but it was right above our neighborhood. I think I was more excited than the kids as I called the whole family out onto the porch to watch it. Now, more than ever, I want to go on a hot air balloon ride!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bowling birthday...


Last Saturday Morgan and Trevor had their combined friends birthday party (I could only handle one this year). We had a blast bowling with all many of their friends. It was so much fun and relatively low stress. :) I think all the kids had a fun time and I know Morgan and Trevor loved it. Morgan even had some birthday luck and threw a strike on her first try!

Happy birthday my sweet and crazy kiddos!



Trevor is 5...

The years are flying by. Last week we celebrated Trevor's 5th birthday. He chose to go to the adventure park and out to dinner at Red Robin. Then on Saturday we had Morgan and Trevor's "Bowling Birthday Bash" in Longmont.

Trevor is a fun-loving little boy. Despite my best efforts, he is usually dirty. He loves to tease his sisters, but is actually very tender-hearted and sensitive. He enjoys being outdoors, catching bugs, digging in the dirt, and riding his bike. When it is something he likes, he can focus for a long time -- you should see his incredible Lincoln Log villages that he constructs and the art projects he makes. He is excited about learning and loves preschool.

Trevor has so much zest for life and has great potential. He is a joy to have in our family. Love you Buddy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I heart CO...


I love Colorado! I especially love the four seasons that we get here. The fall is especially beautiful. I wish I could take pictures that could capture the breathtaking beauty of the colors. Here is my attempt -- I took this in Estes Park last week.

I'm grateful...

...for dear friends who help me be brave.

When Rochelle was in town we went shopping down at Colorado Mills Mall. We had a blast! While shopping for accessories (I don't really "do" accessories or jewelry -- mostly because I don't know how) I tried on this hat just for fun. I thought it was cute, but never would have bought it. My wonderful friends, however, inspired me to be brave. So I bought it and I have even worn it a couple times. I am thankful for people that help me step, even if it is just an inch, outside my comfort zone.

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need...

Today I had the opportunity to sing with Triple Trio in two wards. We sang a beautiful hymn, My Shepherd Will Supply My Need arranged by Mack Wilberg (the musical genius). We decided to do the SATB arrangement because we loved the richness and warmth of the harmonies (and I have lots of fun singing the bass part). We so often sing acapella or with piano accompaniment, but for this song we perform it with harp, flute, and clarinet and the instruments make it sound so lush.

I especially love the words of this hymn and the beautiful reminder that Jesus Christ is our Shepherd. As we give ourselves to Him, He will take care of us. I love my Savior so very much and I am thankful for the opportunity I have to bear witness of Him through song. I know that as I sing this beautiful song I feel the spirit and I hope those that listen to us feel of our testimonies of Him and can also feel the spirit.

I look forward to singing this for other wards in the next few weeks. Here is Mo Tab singing My Shepherd Will Supply My Need at President Hinckley's funeral...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Scrapaway 2008


It has actually been awhile since I have really scrapbooked much of anything. I really wanted to get a lot done this year to make up for that fact. So about two weeks out, I started going through pictures, editing them, sketching out layouts, and printing pictures the appropriate size. I wanted to be organized so that I could finish 2004 -- at least that was my goal. (Yes, I am that far behind.)

This year we decided to try out a place a little closer to home instead of making the trek to Utah, so we headed up to Estes Park. (Luckily, Rochelle was willing to fly out here for the weekend). First off the fall colors were stunning. The beautiful yellow aspens were breathtaking. We ate a late lunch at Poppy's Pizza in Estes before checking in to the cabin. Once we were there, we all got to work. The work space set-up was pretty good and I think we were all looking forward to getting a lot done. I don't know what was the best part; getting 24 scrapbook pages done, spending time with wonderful friends, going off my diet for the weekend, or taking a break from the kiddos? Pretty much it was all good and I am already looking forward to next year!




Sunday, September 28, 2008

Masterclass...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go for some masterclasses (kind of like group voice lessons and classes) down at my voice teachers studio in Denver. It was especially cool because her teacher, Dean Kaelin was in town and he taught the classes. He was absolutely incredible! He had such great knowledge and understanding that he was able to share with us. I really learned a lot!

In the "application to songs class" he worked with me for about 20 minutes. I was rather nervous. First off, Dean is an amazing teacher and really knows his stuff (he is David Archuletta's voice teacher!) and secondly, there were a bunch of other students that I had never met before. I asked him him the choice of working with me on something that I could kinda sing or a song that is totally kicking my butt. Of course he wanted to work on the one that is difficult! Ugh! So I brought up No Good Deed from Wicked. He did a few minute warm up and then we went right to work on the first couple pages.

We workedon keeping the connection and forward presence throughout the range of the song. I find that rather easily in the exercises, but it is a little more challenging in a song. I have many years of habits working against me that all come back when I focus on singing a song. As strange as it sounds, the feeling of it being "easy" is rather foreign to me and it throws me off. I am used to working hard when I perform and sing "for real". That is one of those habits that I am trying to break. After the class, Dean told me again that I done a good job. That was really nice for me to hear.

It was time and money well spent. I am so grateful to Ken for watching the kiddos and supporting me while I work on finding my voice. I hope I have the opportunity to work with Dean again someday because it was amazing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

She's seven!!!!

I am not quite sure how this happened, but today, totally without my permission, mind you, my baby turned 7 years old. There is a small part of me that is a bit sad that she is getting so big. It really doesn't seem all that long ago when Morgan was so little and needed me for everything. Now she is really maturing and is independent in so many ways. I guess the bigger part of me is so excited for her. She is learning so many new things and is so fun to be with and talk to. I love watching her have new experiences and the courage with which she tries new things. She is such a great helper at home and her little brother and sister adore her. I feel so blessed to be her mother and that I get to help her discover who she is and her incredible potential.




For her birthday, we celebrated by taking her to her favorite restaurant, Cinzettis on Tuesday night (things were a little too crazy tonight). Last night, we made cupcakes for her class. This morning she was thrilled that Ken was going to volunteer at school with the Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program. She loved having her dad at school with her and Ken loved watching her in her school element. In a few weeks, she and Trevor are going to have a combo birthday party. They have chosen to have a bowling party and they are so excited. I think it will be fun too. Happy birthday Morgan! I love you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Potty-training...

Over the last week Peyton and I have been working on getting her potty-trained. So not fun! After cleaning up what seemed countless accidents, I think she is finally starting to get it. (I was almost ready to give up after a few days.) I was a little upset the other night though. I have done most of the hard work in this training process and wouldn't you know that it is to her daddy that she first says, "I need to go potty" as she runs for the bathroom. No fair that for him she did it picture perfect!

After almost a week she is recognizing the feelings and going on her own. Yea!!! The suckers she gets when she goes have proven to be a great little motivator. I am now beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel. Let me just say, I am starting to get a little giddy at the thought of no kids in diapers! :)

We had a blast...


Last Friday night IBM hosted a family night at Elitch Gardens. We invited Ken's sister family to join us for the evening and we had so much fun! Everything is better when we are with the cousins. It was an absolutely perfect Colorado evening, with temps in the 70s, a beautiful sunset, and a delicious breeze. Since IBM had rented out the park, there were hardly any lines. Even the major roller coasters, we waited less than 5 minutes or walked right on. However, that does give you a little less time for working up your nerve. :)

Morgan had grown a few inches since the last time we were there. She was tall enough to join me and be my roller coaster buddy. (Ken was so nice to me and watched Peyton so we could go the roller coasters.) I was really impressed with Morgan's fearlessness. She totally loved her first upside down ride, The Boomerang. She also went with me on the Tower of Doom, one of those free fall rides. That kind always makes me a little nervous, but she said that ride was her favorite.

By 10:00that night we were all pretty tired, but we had a lot of great memories! I can't wait to go back again.





Thursday, September 18, 2008

More progress...

After a summer-long hiatus (I didn't really mean to take a break, but the summer just got crazy) I went back down to Denver for a voice lesson with Mary Ann Kehler. I was nervous because it had been a while and I was afraid that I had lost all the progress I made in the last year. In addition, I am still a little gunky from a cold. I was so jazzed that it turned out to be a great lesson.

It is so cool to sing songs well that just last year, I really struggled on. There have been many times when I have studied with a voice teacher and not really felt much progress -- sadly most of my college experience. But I am now totally loving this SLS technique because I am really hearing and feeling the difference. My voice is finally starting to make sense to me. I still have a long way to go and there are still a bunch a inconsistencies that I need to work through, but I have to be a little patient with myself, and know that all those will not go away overnight. I am just thriledl to recognize that, with Mary Ann's help, I am making progress.

I am also really looking forward to the 27th. Dean Kaelin, who is a master teacher in SLS is coming to town and doing a bunch of masterclasses. I am registered for advanced SLS technique and the application to song class. I might even get a chance to sing. If I do, I think I will sing No Good Deed from Wicked because I pretty much stink on that one and hopefully Dean could provide some valuable insights so I won't always stink on it. :)

I will put some sound clips on if you are interested in giving a listen. Yesterday I worked on an older song, The Wizard and I. I didn't quite get it to where I had it this spring, but it is not too bad. I am also putting on a little clip of There's a Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q. I absolutely LOVE this song, the lyrics have such truth in them and I really connect with them. It was the first time I ever sang it in a lesson, but it wasn't too bad. I am really excited for my next lesson when I am going to start working on The Girl from 14G!

Wizard and I link

Fine, Fine Line link

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Political musings...

I should be doing a million other things right now, but I just read my friend and former roommate, Amber's blog where she discussed politics. Although I do not necessarily agree with all that she says, it is a great post. She discussed her view of the political state of our country and I would like to take a minute to respond. I will not go into a great deal of detail, but I do want to say what I believe and why.

First off, I would definitely say that I am a Republican. I was a delegate at the State Republican Convention this spring. I don't always vote along party lines though. I do my best to find out about each politician and what they believe, before I vote. This is sometimes difficult because much of the mainstream media is skewed very left. (Seriously, I was just at the grocery store today and I could not believe the all-out assault on Sarah Palin!) I am sure I am not the best informed person out there, but I watch the news, read countless articles from a variety of sources, and tune into the debates and convention coverage like some religiously watch Sunday football.

Truth be told, I am not sure if I can vote McCain in the fall. I do not think that he is the best man for the job. Honestly, I think that he is a cranky, old man that likes power. If I do end up voting for him (and I have not yet decided), it will only be for two reasons: Sarah Palin and the fact that I find Obama's vision (although I do appreciate the fact that he has a vision) for our country a little frightening.

I think what it comes down to, for me, is this:
  1. I am all for smaller government! I believe that, generally speaking, Americans are a wonderful, hard-working people and we should be as self-reliant and personally responsible as possible. And when government gets out of the way, we can do amazing things! I totally believe that we should make our government smaller yet more efficient. It is crazy to think of all the waste there is with resources, meaning our tax dollars, because of the lack of transparency and all the programs that are not run effectively. Keep in mind that a smaller, better run government = less taxes.
  2. I completely support a strong military. (I realize that with my background, I am rather biased in that regard.) That is one of the few things that the government is meant to do -- protect its citizens. I find a lot of truth in the saying that the best offense is a good defense. Of course, I am not a fan of war, but there are times when it is justified and needed to do what is right.
  3. I think the free market system is the best way for us to get the best quality goods and services we want/need for the best price. I'm sure at times there are kinks, but overall, competition is a good thing. I believe that applies to business, education, and our health care.
  4. I know there is absolute truth. There is a God who has given us laws that we should follow. Democrats (generally speaking) think those laws are relative to the situation and individual. Individually, I think many democrats believe that there is a right and wrong, but I have yet to see them apply those standards to anyone else. (Don't even get me started on the ACLU!) I think it takes "I'm okay, you're okay" to an extreme. To me this is an umbrella statement for many things: homosexual marriage, abortion, taking God out of our schools and, yes, even government, pornography, etc. We are all too often worried about what is politically correct rather than what is right. I truly believe if we, as a country, try to exclude God and his laws, we cannot succeed and thrive. (I just read an article on "happiness and the things that make us happy" where there was lots of data to evaluate what kind of things, as a people, make us happy. It stated that freedom was an enormous factor in our happiness. It was interesting to me that while the data shows how important freedom is, the effect did not hold true for "moral freedom" with things like sex, drugs, etc. In fact, people that exercised that "moral freedom" were less happy. I thought that was fascinating. All I can say is... Satan is sneaky.)
For as much as I think about important things, I am afraid that nothing I say is ever very eloquent. Unfortunately, my words always seem to be insignificant in comparison to the amount of thinking and passion behind them. Hopefully, even if you don't agree with what I said, it makes a little sense. In any case, I hope I can figure out what to do on November 4th.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

BYU football...

During the fall we love getting together with our friends and fellow Cougar fans to watch the BYU football games. So far the team is off to a great start (2-0) and looking pretty good. For the first game, we assembled at the Wasden's house. The kids had a great time jumping on the trampoline, watching movies, and playing together while the adults cheered on the "Cougs"!

While out watching the kids on the tramp for a bit, I caught this sunset view off of the Wasden's deck. I will never get tired of spectacular Colorado sunsets!

Piano party...



"I love the piano!"

We have heard this declaration from Morgan many times in the past few weeks. She is starting piano lessons with her dad and she is having so much fun. And I must say, that Ken is loving it as much as she is! It is really neat for me to see/hear them sit down for a lesson or a practice session. Ken is a brilliant teacher and is so patient with her. I love watching them together.

It is also fun for the other kids as well. Trevor is chomping at the bit and can't wait to start piano lessons too. It is so wonderful to see everyone gathered around the piano. Now I just pray that our children got Ken's ability and coordination and not mine!

video

Can he still be in preschool?!?


Trevor started another year of preschool this week with Ms. Robyn. He is totally ready for Kindergarten, but he just misses the deadline by a mere 15 days. Even though I am sad for him this year, I'm sure it will all be for the best by him being one of the older kids his future classes. He has gotten all his letters and sounds down and it will be a lot of fun watching him learn to put it all together and start reading. I'm sure he will love preschool with his friends at Robyn's Nest.

Second grader in the house...



Morgan was so cute on HER first day of school (she missed the first week while we were at the reunion) on August 25th. She is excited to be in Ms. McEvers class with so many of her friends. We know she will do great this year. We are so proud of her!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Family reunion to "Lake Hot-toe"...


First off, Lake Tahoe is breathtaking! The water is so clear and a stunning shade of aqua! I had been there a lot while I was growing up, but it has been years since I was there. It was beautiful the entire time (with no flies or mosquitoes!) and I can't imagine a much better time.

Although my mom's side of the family gets together quite often, this was the first official "family reunion". I was touched by how many people made the effort to be there. We were only missing 2 of my cousins and an aunt and uncle. Codi and her family from Houston get the prize for coming the farthest. It was so great being all together! I loved being with my brothers, especially Clint. Unfortunately, he had to leave halfway through the week. He flew into Kansas, met his unit, and then flew to Kuwait to begin his year long deployment in Iraq. The night before he left, my dad along with Cyle, Ken, Uncle Jeff, Uncle Stewart, and Uncle Grant gave Clint a priesthood blessing. It was such a special and tender moment for our family. I know the Lord will watch over him as he serves our country.

We spent the week playing at the beach, going on bike rides, tubing on the boat, and sitting around the campfire and talking in the evening. One night there was even a great concert at the nearby boathouse. We all danced the night away. We had a wonderful time and we all want to go again sometime.

Of course everyone took a ton of photos. Here are some of my favorites, and you can click here to see a hundred or so others of my favorites.