Sep 30, 2012

'Til we meet again

I woke up this morning to news that my Grandpa Dent had passed away.
Although he was nearing 88, his death was sudden and unexpected.
He's my first grandparent to go, so I wasn't prepared for the tidal wave of grief.
My grief isn't for him, of course.
Grandpa is happy and whole in heaven,
with his parents, siblings, and other family members who have gone before.
But those who remain,
those whose hearts are broken,
those whose daily lives now have a permanent hole,
who will miss him terribly until they are again united with him,
those are the people for whom I grieve.

I well remember the last time I saw Grandpa Dent (sadly, in April 2011),
when we ate lunch together with my mom and grandma
at The Golden Corrall after Women's Conference.
He was cracking jokes (I loved his dry humor) one minute
and pulling out Grandma's chair for her the next.
When we walked to our cars, he and Grandma held hands.

Grandpa was a tease and a master tickler.
He was fastidious about his appearance;
I never saw his hair out of place or saw him wear jeans or tennis shoes,
even when he spent a full day working in the yard.
He and Grandma have a glorious yard,
and they do all the planting and sowing and weeding and mowing and raking themselves.
I loved to watch him snooze in his kitchen rocking chair.
I loved hearing him tell stories about his life,
about his time in the military,
and about how much he loved Grandma and his girls.
I have such fond memories of Grandpa cradling my babies on his lap,
just like he cradled me when I was new.

Even though I don't live near my grandparents,
I almost can't stand the thought that he's gone,
that I'll never see his twinkling smile again in this life.
And the thought of my grandma living alone breaks my heart.

I find comfort in this Mormon Message about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin explains
that grief and pain surrounding the death of a loved one
can be swallowed up in the joy and hope
of eternal life with our Savior.

I know that someday I will see my grandpa again.
And I look forward to the reunion.

Sep 26, 2012

Things I have learned today

1.  Shampoo does not clean my hair if I forget to rinse it out.

2.  My oven's delayed baking function works perfectly.

3.  My oven, even when set at 350 degrees, does not cook food if I forget to put food in it.

4.  Broccoli does not steam without water in the bottom of the steamer.

5.  Keys, when left in the ignition, drain the van battery, even if the engine is off.

6.  The treadmill tends to stop when I accidentally brace my thumb on the "stop" button while my pointer finger presses the "increase speed" button, even during the sprint phase of a six-mile run.

7.  I cannot purchase goods at Target without money (or in my case, a wallet with money in it).

8.  Laundry does not magically jump into the washing machine just because I transfer a load from the washer to the dryer.

9.   The dryer does not turn on if I do not press the start button.

10.  I am not getting enough sleep.

Buried treasure

Confession: We have a rodent problem.

It started two years ago, while we were "summering" with my Arizona family.  For six weeks, the mice we didn't know we had enjoyed free reign of our empty house.  I came home to evidence in the pantry, and after some investigation, many other places in the house.  I was 100% horrified.  I used more sanitizing products that week than I ever had in my life.

Enter Mike the Exterminator.

Mike found entry points, sealed up all the trouble spots, set traps, and placed bait.  In a few weeks, it seemed the problem was eradicated.  Every now and then, though, we trap a couple of mice.  For two years Mike has said that the likely point of entry for the mice is our crawl space, where we keep lots of boxes and other random junk.  The trouble was that we had to remove all that crap in order for him to investigate.

[Sidebar: Remember the time when Mike came to spray for bugs and I totally embarrassed myself?  Haha.  That was pretty funny.  Slash mortifying.]

Finally, two years later, we took Mike's advice and emptied the crawl space.  I should say that Garry and the boys emptied the crawl space.  Two weeks ago, Mike's minions came in, found a bunch of mouse holes, sealed them off, fixed our air duct as a bonus, and declared us rodent-free.  Phew.

That was a really long introduction for the main subject of this post: Garry's childhood.

For amid the random junk, neglected toys, computer cables, and long-forgotten photography equipment in the crawl space, were Garry's and my boxes of childhood treasures.  I have sifted through mine a time or two due to various Young Women callings (as I tried to get in touch with my inner Mia Maid, for example), but Garry hadn't perused his belongings for years and years.  One of his favorite finds was a collection of photos from babyhood through high school.  It's pretty fun to see the faces of most of our kids in his cheeks, his ears, his smile, his jaw. 

What do you think?

Three months

One year (?)

Two years


First grade

Second grade

Third grade

Fourth grade

Fifth grade

Sixth grade

Seventh grade

Eighth grade




As a junior, Garry wrestled in the 125-pound weight class.



I think it will be even more fun to look at these pictures in 10 years or so, when our kids are a little older. I wonder who will be Garry's twin then.

Sep 21, 2012


I haven't made it to the gym since Monday, and my days have sure been long without the 5 a.m. endorphin rush.  Today I finally decided that running was more important than my quiet time during Kate's nap.

Ahhhhh.....those four miles felt fantastic, even if the treadmill was fritzy and the Littles wouldn't leave me alone.  I sure feel more like myself this afternoon.  And I'm feeling on track for the 10K race in two weeks, even though I haven't hit six miles yet in my training. I know I'll be able to cross the finish line.

Gavin took a turn on the treadmill while I stretched.  That kid is funny.  And boy, does he have some energy!  He could probably run the 10K with me.

Lexi, on the other hand, decided to take a nap on the floor.  Apparently the hum of the treadmill put her right to sleep.  Even though I am awake, I have to say that the sound was just as soothing to me.

13 months

Our cute Kate is growing up.  She has two new teeth (her fourth on the bottom and an upper left molar), can sport tiny pigtails, drinks only from sippy cups, and climbs play structures with ease.  She is busy and curious and capable.  She is also kind of ornery, but we'll blame that on the teeth.  And the pictures here are kind of lame, but I'll blame that on my cell phone and my never-sits-still subject.

Yesterday I finally took her in for a one-year check-up.  Kate weighs 22 pounds, 4 ounces (80%) and is 29.3 inches tall (37%).  She loves phones and remotes and shoes and milk and the great outdoors.  She tolerates books and diaper changes and her car seat.  Some of her favorite activities are taking rides in the wagon, walking around the yard, playing the piano (especially while I do), and snuggling in the bean bag.  Hopscotch is her constant sidekick, and she adores her binky.

Kate wants to talk.  She points and grunts and whines and shrieks but still only has four real words at her disposal.  It's a frustrating time.  We've taken away her bottles, which is probably confusing and upsetting to her.  She's certainly drinking less and crying more. These things will all work out with time, but for now, we're all a little on edge.

It's a good thing Kate is so darn cute.  Her pigtails and tights and black eye only add to her charm.

Sep 19, 2012

Give him a hand

Last night Zach had a happy scouting milestone: he earned his Webelos badge and Religious Knot.  Both awards represent a lot of hard work on his part...and some on mine, too.  At pack meeting the Cubmaster also presented Zach with four activity badges and three belt loops.  Zach has actually earned the highest honor in Cub Scouts, the Arrow of Light, but apparently our ward has decided to award those on a quarterly basis, so he won't participate in that ceremony until December.  Zach will "cross over" into Boy Scouts at pack meeting next month, right before his 11th birthday.

[Sidebar: Zach lost his scout shirt (yes! lost!) a month ago, so we have borrowed a friend's shirt for the remaining weeks of Cub Scouts.  That's why the shirt he's wearing already has a Webelos badge sewn on the pocket.]

Our ward is ginormous.  The Cub Scout pack includes 25 Cubs.  Our meeting last night was huge.

In other news, Zach hit a rock while riding his scooter home from school yesterday and crashed.  He hyper-extended the fingers in his right hand when he hit the ground, and hours later, they were still throbbing and sore to the touch.  He couldn't grip a pencil for homework or a fork at dinner.  After pack meeting, we stopped at the home of a friend who works in sports medicine.  She and her husband, a physical therapist, assessed Zach's hand and fingers.  They had a split decision on "wait and see" versus getting an x-ray.  We ultimately decided to try ice and ibuprofen and wait at least until morning for medical attention.  While Zach iced his hand (aren't his glasses cool?), I served as scribe for social studies homework.

This morning Zach was still miserable.  Garry took him to Urgent Care while I did the morning school routine.  It turns out that Zach's hand and fingers are not broken, so he has a prescription for more ice, ibuprofen, elevation, and movement.  Poor kid.  We hope his pain abates quickly.

Sep 18, 2012

Mum's the word

For Family Home Evening last night we planted chrysanthemums.  The kids took turns digging holes, breaking up the root-bound plants, placing dirt around the planted flowers, and fertilizing the plants.  While they worked, Garry and I talked to the kids about nurturing our faith and testimonies like we would the plants in our garden.  We related scriptures from Alma 32 and Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon.  And we taught them a little bit about gardening along the way.

This also was our sneaky method of completing some yard work!  I love the happy blooms so much.


Over Sunday dinner, Gavin related the parable of the talents as told in the New Testament.  He did a remarkably good job, complete with words like "multiplied" and "master."  Following his retelling, he said his number one talent was riding a two-wheeler. When prompted, he couldn't think of anything else. I said, "I think you are really good at feeling the Holy Ghost in your heart."  He cocked his head to one side and then grinned. "Like when my heart beeps?"  We all laughed.

Zach said that if he listed his talents there would be "like a hundred or something."  We asked him to elaborate.  Zach said, "Uh....being bored."  I said, "Try again!"  Then he listed his recreational pursuits: the pogo stick, the trampoline, and the Ripstik.

Tyler interjected that his Primary class had the same lesson.  He then whipped out a card on which he had written 28 of his talents.  They were: piano, math, puzzles, reading, art, sports, animals (being good with them), cooking, understanding, flips, BB gun shooting, archery, making friends, being ambidextrous (?!), laughing, making monster sounds, screaming "no!", being bored, playing, writing fast, writing, spelling, eating, stuffing my face, being awesome (my personal favorite), playing games, yelling, and sleeping.

I am so glad that my boys all have a healthy self-esteem.  They think they can do anything--and be great at it.  I hope Garry and I can always encourage them to be fearless and daring as they face the world and develop their talents.

Sep 15, 2012

Time Out for Women Letters

Dear Deseret Book,

Thanks for creating/hosting/sponsoring a Time Out for Women event near my city.  It was EXACTLY what my life needed this weekend.  Next year's event is already on my calendar, and I'm already trying to figure out a way around the conflict I already know I have.


The lady who left her ticket in her hotel room

Dear registration lady,

Thanks for not making me go back to my hotel room to retrieve my ticket, because I was already quite late, and I really hate being late.  And what I hate even more is making more work for myself, which I did by forgetting my ticket.  So you did a great service, not only to me, but to the people saving my seat.

The airhead

Dear Kim and Lisa,

I'm so glad you came!  Thanks for putting up with ALL the crazy plan changes.  It was such a relief that  everything turned out happy.  And it was fun to get to know you a little better.  Labor and delivery stories are just bonding, aren't they?  Let's do lunch.

The party planner

Dear Courtyard Marriott Denver Downtown,

Thanks for the swanky accommodations, and for being three blocks from the Convention Center.  You were pretty surprised when I requested a roll-away bed for our little room, since we already had a king bed and a sofa bed.  But the four women of room 409 were glad for the extra sleeping space at bedtime.  I only slept four hours in the king bed Starr and I shared, but it was the best night of sleep I've had all week.  Starr would disagree since she was allergic to the pillows and the comforter.

Thanks for having a sweet exercise facility so I could run (by myself!) at five a.m.  But no thanks for the ice machine that was broken on our floor.  I do appreciate that you let us leave our cars in the (expensive!) valet lot until our conference was over, even though we checked out at 7:30 a.m.

Maybe I should have filled out that comment card.

One of the guests in room 409

Dear Jamba Juice,

I had no idea that you sold steel cut oats for breakfast! Wow....they were tasty.  I'll be back.  Or maybe I'll cook up the steel cut oats in my own pantry.  Now there's an idea.


I'll admit that when you announced you were playing another Disney song on your violin, I rolled my eyes.  But WOW.  Your rendition of that Alladin song ROCKED.

The lady who stands corrected

Dear Chris Williams,

You are just plain inspiring.  I loved listening to your story of mercy and forgiveness.  And no offense to [the lovely and talented] Mercy River, but your "Come Thou Fount" performance was amazing.

The girl in the audience who was crying, but probably wasn't the only one

Your talk was great and all, but the take-home message for me was that the German word "kummerspeck" means "emotional overeating" and is literally translated into "grief bacon."  I am very good at grief bacon.  Mmmm....bacon.

The President of Overeaters Anonymous

Dear Jennie and April,

I love that you brought treats for everyone, like we were at the movies.  Next time I'll bring the Swedish Fish. That's all.

Tired of rabbit food

Dear Rialto,

I love that you had a special room for our party of 13 at lunch today.  The mozzarella on my sandwich was weird and I really shouldn't have ordered the fries, but the chance to sit and eat with my friends was priceless.  But sorry about the 13 separate checks.

The party planner

I'm still try to figure out how to "follow my bliss" like you suggested.  First problem: I have no idea what my bliss actually is, so how can I follow it?  Second problem: I'm not good with directions, even though my phone has GPS.  However I will accept your challenge to publicly give a list of ten of my strengths.  But first I have to find my bliss, which maybe is lost in the bottom of my purse.


Dear Facebook,

It was a little naughty of me to check you during a musical number today, but if I hadn't, I wouldn't have seen a comment on Friday's post about running away from my life, and then wouldn't have connected with my mom's Mesa neighbor, who was sitting in the same room as I was, checking Facebook and making comments.  I love technology.  And also my mom's neighbor.  And also bacon.

The girl with way too many silly status updates (but only one in the last 48 hours!)

You're my favorite, and not just because of all the running metaphors.  Okay, maybe it was because of all the running metaphors.  But I also appreciated you leading me to the great epiphanies I had at the end of your talk, which resulted in much crying, which I generally try to avoid in public, but I couldn't help myself this time.  Oh well.  At least I was among friends, and had copious tissues at my disposal.

Still sniffling

Dear Starr,

Thanks for your most excellent company on the long drive home.  I wouldn't have stayed awake without it, and I'm a better woman for the conversation we had.  You're the best.

An unlikely friend

Dear Garry,

You're amazing.  Instead of just "holding down the fort" while I was gone, you cleaned out the crawl space and bought six kinds of chrysanthemums to plant around our yard.  It sounds like the kids had a great time with the pizza/movie party in the basement last night, and at Home Depot, and at Sonic.  I think I need to go away every weekend.

Your grateful wife

Sep 14, 2012

No wonder it's heavy

I cleaned out my purse today in preparation for a little weekend getaway.
I found the most random assortment of things:

Extra phone battery
Tissues, both new and used
Packaged contact lens
Spool of white thread
Silica gel packet
Two of Kate's socks (not a pair)
Doll pacifier
Kate's YMCA membership card
Camouflage band-aid
Toy bracelet
Business card
Five receipts
Four Dum-Dums
Pack of gum (I don't like gum)
Two Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars
(one packaged, one not)
Soft case for sunglasses
Three tiny bottles of anti-bacterial hand gel
Orange crayon
White hair bow
Six pens
Three tubes of lip gloss
Burt's Bees lip balm
Camera lens-cleaning pen

Noticing a theme here?
Have you read the post about my kitchen cabinets?
Things like cupboards and counters and my purse
are a good gauge of my mental status.
Clearly I need an intervention.

Sep 13, 2012

Kid speak

Commentary from the Littles this week:

Gavin: We didn't play outside (during preschool) today.
Heidi: Because it was too wet?
Gavin: Yeah, but we did play in the gym.
Lexi: Does your teacher have a car?
Gavin: I think so.
Heidi: Why does Gavin's teacher need a car?
Lexi: To go to the gym!


Lexi's favorite phrase to use during a prayer: "Please help Jesus to hug us when we're sad."


Lexi: Mom, can you warm up my ice cream in the microwave?  It's too cold!


Lexi: I'm so excited to go to school and get some knowledge!

Sunday afternoon

Last week I poked my nose into a photography book and learned a little about ISO, exposure, and aperture.  Since we own a nice camera, I'd like to learn to use it properly. But there's sure a lot to learn!

One of the exercises in the book I'm reading required taking still shots and action shots using a bunch of different settings.  I'm not sure I learned what I was supposed to learn during the exercise, and the photos aren't fantastic, but I sure had a lot of fun watching Garry and the kids play.

Gavin volunteered to be my subject for the still shots, which is hilarious.  He bailed after the first one, so Garry stepped in, and then Lexi jumped on his lap.  I kind of wish they had been wearing coordinating clothing, because I took several shots that I just love...but their clothes clash.  Haha.

It was easy to find a moving target: three boys on a trampoline.  Zach can land a back flip, so now he's trying to add a spin.  Tyler is an expert at striking spazzy poses mid-air.  And Gavin has perfected his front flip ("I can LAND it, Mom!").  Sometimes it's amazing to see how high he can travel on his brothers' bounces.  Lexi would only jump with Garry.  Her fear of her brothers is completely justified.

After the trampoline show, Garry wrestled kids in the grass and tried to lift them off the ground.  Everyone was joking and laughing and helping each other, which is a far cry from their usual agitation.  

For a few minutes, I basked in my heaven on earth.  I'm glad I have the photos to prove that it actually happened.

Sep 12, 2012

Ryan & Nichole

My littlest brother, Ryan--you know, the one who is a foot taller than me--is getting married next month!  I don't know his fiance', Nichole, very well at all, but my family thinks she's terrific, so I concur.

And the happy couple's engagement pictures [by Micah & Stefanie] are stunning.

These two are going to have darling children.  But we'll start with the wedding--October 13.  I can't wait!

pass it on!

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