Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Sickness

We had a little sickness over the holiday, too. I mentioned being in the Children's Clinic with Sarah Beth. She ran a fever on Christmas night after having a cough for 3 days before that. The doctor gave her an antibiotic. She has declared that she wants to change doctors, too. Dr. Thompson was not in the office that day, so we saw Dr. Murray.....a woman. Sarah Beth was impressed. She said she wants to only go to her from now on. So, I guess our days with Dr. Thompson may be limited. He has been our pediatrician for 14 years. I will really miss seeing him. For those that know me.....I am a little too interested in people like that. I am not satisfied with knowing a little information about a person. I want to know more. Plus, Dr. Thompson is very intriguing. He has 11 children. I want to know all about that. Just like I like to watch TLC's "Jon and Kate, Plus Eight" or "17 (18) and Counting". I kind of think Dr. Thompson's house would be like that. But, I guess we will venture into the "female doctor" land.

Then on Saturday afternoon I called Zack to touch base while I was in Lake Charles with GranJan. He sounded funny so he said, "I bit my tongue." Ok, no big deal. Well, later he calls me back and lets me know that he REALLY BIT HIS TONGUE. SEVERELY. It is bad, people. It left a huge hole in his tongue. He couldn't get it to stop bleeding and was in lots of pain. So, we got some gauze to put pressure on it and I got some Ambusol to relieve the pain. Do you go to the hospital? Do you treat in yourself? I never know, but we called his FEMALE DOCTOR and she said if we could get it to stop bleeding then it would be ok. I did not want to have hospital charges, so I was determined to take care of it ourselves. SO, I found some mouthwash from an oral surgery I had and told him to rinse. didn't burn my mouth when I used it. oooops! Poor guy is recovering.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Emotional Christmas

We have had a season of major ups and downs in our family. On December 20, we went to Houston to pick up Alex from his first semester at BYU. We were so very excited to see him and have him here for the holidays. I think I wanted to make everything that we have ever made for Christmas and make it extra special because he was home. I think having him be away makes him being home all the more special.

We drove home that night and went directly to the Pogues to do what we had been putting off for a day or two....say goodbye to our closest friends.....really more like family. I didn't really think I would cry, because I hadn't really much in the weeks leading up to this. But, it was not a pretty site. I cried all the way home with Mary Catherine sobbing in the backseat. I miss them like crazy and have cried many times.....including right now. Last night I went up to Mary Catherine's room. She was on the phone and I said, "I miss the Pogues." She was wonderful and got right off the phone to talk to me. I AM SUCH A GIRL! Gwen will think I am being ridiculous when she reads this.

So, I spent the rest of the week preparing for Christmas. Sewing.....lots of sewing...until the wee hours of the morning. But, I got it done, including 16 stockings for the girls American Girl Dolls, robes for girls and doll, and PJs for girls and dolls. A little shopping and cooking in the mix and we were ready.

We had invited the Skinners and Zack's parents and grandmother over for Christmas Eve dinner after we attended Mass with Zack's mother, but Sister Skinner called early afternoon to say her car had broken down and she was having a really hard time with the death of her son and wouldn't make it. My heart aches for her.....really. So, when we returned from Mass we were pulling in the driveway and spotted the Morris' leaving our house from dropping off treats. So, we invited them to stay. They had been sick and were planning to eat leftover chili for supper. We were thrilled to have them. It was so fun to have a baby around. My daughters followed after him and would have kept him if had been an option. He was so fun and his parents weren't so bad, either! Zack's mom and grandmother came, too and we had a great time visiting and eating WAY too much.

Santa came in the morning and the kids were up just after we went to bed.....first at 2:30, followed by 4:00, then us by 6:30. This has prompted me to think that Santa will definitely wrap presents next year. The stocking can be emptied and then we will open presents when WE decide to get up. Too much earliness with too little sleep. We had invited all 6 Lake Charles are missionaries to come for breakfast and so at 6:30 I began to fix breakfast. After eating, Zack, the sister missionaries, and I fell asleep in the chairs. Little snooze later, we got up, played some more with the kids and off the Maw-Maw's for lunch, where I fell asleep again, after lunch. Not enough sleep for me in the last few days. When we came home Santa GranJan had arrived with a new sleigh of gifts. More eating and opening and staying up late.

So, all culminated in falling asleep in the waiting room at Children's Clinic the next day with Sarah Beth, who took a picture of me all slumped over on the arm of the couch. Yeah, me!!!! Yeah, teens and pre-teens with cell phones!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dollar General and Secret Santa

Ok, so, our family loves Secret Santa, as I have already talked about. So, last night we went to Dollar General to get somethings for our Secret Santa family. The trip began with Sarah Beth and Mary Catherine--yes, the big girls--getting in trouble from the sales clerk for throwing balls in the store. I just knew it was them, or even Zack, before I even saw them. Of course, that made them crack up. So, we found what we were looking for and several of the girls then had to go the bathroom. I was about to check out when MC told me that Lily had an accident and that they had clogged the toilet. When I went to check it out, Lily had left a trail outside the bathroom all the way into the bathroom and was standing in soaking wet pants. Zack unclogged the toilet and I went to look for Lily some pants to buy. I finally found some sweat pants with a cute top. In the bathroom the girls were laughing and laughing. Bought the pants and Secret Santa items and helped Lily clean up and change clothes. Of course, there were many jokes about our wonderful FHE. I told my family that I would post about this great FHE idea! Zack responds, "yeah, go to Dollar General, stop up the toilet and pee in the ailes." You just can't take us anywhere!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I just feel too overloaded with emotion to blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Secret Santa

So, we have a tradition in our family of doing Secret Santa's each year. We draw names--all 8 of us--and then from Thanksgiving to Christmas we secretly go around doing nice things for each other, leaving little treats, and then giving a gift that is unwrapped on Christmas Eve. This is also when we are supposed to reveal who we have. Secret Santa is truly my favorite part about our holiday. It is so fun to see the kids sneak around to leave treats and do nice things. We were talking about last year's SS the other night and while it was difficult to remember what we received.....we all remembered what we gave.

The most fun is Lily. She is Secret Santa SuperStar. Well, all except the Secret part. But, she tries so hard. She told me she just wants to scream it out! For the past two years she has had Zack and he just had her tied in knots, teasing her and keeping her on top of her toes. It was hilarious for the rest of us. He even kept it up all this year. He would make comments all the time about how he had the best SS. So, this year she was determined to keep the secret. So, when the moment came she was so excited. It is the first year she could read the name herself. So, she drew her paper, read it, and looked straight up at Sarah Beth! She set off immediately to clean SB and MC's bedroom. But, according to her, it was too messy. So, she went on a hunt for something to give her. This is what she decided on! (Camera won't download!) It is an old Barbie, 2 pots of Play-Doh, a green stuffed elephant, an Indian hat and macaroni necklace that she made at school. Sarah Beth found it later just piled on her bed.

Later we went to Dollar Tree and I told them they could pick one thing to give their SS. So, Lily looked all around the store---telling Emma that she was shopping by her a grown-up! She finally decided on a Christmas snow globe (Lily loves snow globes). When were home Lily got the snow globe out of the bag and promptly dropped it. Yeah, all of HER snow globes! She came to me sobbing like she just lost her best friend. I assured her we would buy another today--it's a $ and a little heart was broken. But, then she decided to give it anyway. Sarah Beth found it and went on and on like the great big sister that she is. So, then Lily disappeared again and came back with a note for Sarah Beth. It said, "I you!" Lily told Sarah Beth that her SS must have left it for her and she just happened to go to SB's room to "check on the snow case it fell off the shelf or something."

We sure have fun with this. I will post more about funny things that happen from now till Christmas. And of course, I am sooooo ready for Alex to come home to participate with the rest of us!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I am thankful for beautiful weather. I guess I have to be grateful for "not so beautiful weather", too, because that makes me realize how much I appreciate the beautiful. Today was my all time favorite kind of day. Sunny, blue skies, but still cold with the wind blowing. Now some people might not think this could be, because my second favorite kind of day is totally overcast, rainy days. I know that these two things conflict. But, I love them both. The only difference is what I like to do on those days. On sunny, cold days I like to be out and active. These days inspire me to MOVE. Rainy days, on the other hand, are the best for sitting and listening to the rain on the roof. They are perfect for reading and sleeping. They don't make my eyes hurt to look outside. AND, I think they are beautiful, their own way. I am totally happy with either, but I think my family works better with beautiful days. We went out to the river this afternoon and cleaned and fooled around. It was a wonderful day. Makes me happy to live in Southwest Louisiana!

NOT Thankful

Ok, so I am NOT thankful that I spent money to see Twilight last night. Not thankful that I let my daughter stay out really late to see such a lame movie. Did not like Bella---at all, just BAD. Edward was really awkward. Just badly done. Haven't felt this way about a movie, EVER!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I am thankful for notes that people leave me. I found this one from Emma left on top of a cute skirt that I found her at Children's Place for $4. Yes, that says, "I DO NOT LIKE THIS!" I guess she really doesn't like it! So cute.

But, seriously, I really do like people to leave me notes. They mean a lot to me. I have one in my bathroom that Zack left me eight years ago when he left to go to Scotland for business. It says, "Hang in there till I get back, Love Zack" It is still inside the cabinet door where he left it. Above that is a letter I got from my Secret Santa this past Christmas. Mary Catherine leaves me little notes all the time. Reminding me of something or asking me to wash something. It will say....."Mother....Important...please do not forget!!!! Wash my blue shirt" I love these notes and really do not like to throw them away.

I AM keeping that skirt, though. It is adorable. If she won't wear it, we will work on Lily!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I am so thankful for THIS... Ok, so we needed toilet paper and I remembered seeing that CVS had some on sale and I had $5.00 extra bucks from my last visit there. So, I thought I would see what deals I could do.

First transaction........So, I walk in, pick up the sale paper, and see that if you spend $20.00 on Duracell batteries you get $15.00 back in extra bucks and the batteries are already on sale, so that goes farther. So, I had the $5 and $1 of coupons to go toward this purchase. So, out-of-pocket cost is $17.46 for 32 AA batteries pluc $15.00 in extra care bucks for the next purchase! That is a really good price already.

Second transaction........So, then I see that they also have a new L'Oreal product -tinted moisturizer- for $15.98 and get $15.98 back in extra bucks. So, yeah, it was free and paid the $15.98 with extra care buck (ECB) from previous transaction. Tried it is great. Love it! Just the kind of thing I like to use for makeup. Yeah!!

Third transaction........So, still no TP, right? So, they do have TP on sale for $9.99 for 32 rolls, so I grab that but I need $6 more to use the $15.98 (ECB). So, another sale paper shows Crest toothpaste $3.49 and $3.49 back in ECBs. $2.50 more to spend. I found Taylor a long sleeve t-shirt to wear under uniform for school. Cute and cost $2.50! At the register, I paid nothing!!!

So, for just a little more than I would have spent on the TP I have 32 Duracell batteries ready for Christmas or whatever, TP, great new makeup, tube of Crest toothpaste and a t-shirt! AND I have $3.49 ECB for next trip. Gotta love that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am thankful that I finally have entered the land of cute blogs!!!!! Of course, most of the options were already taken by the people whose blogs I read.....but, still! Thanks to Lisa for helping me get updated. I love it!

I can't keep up!!

Ok, I admit it, I am slow. It is too hard to keep this up everyday. BUT, today I am thankful for my daughters. Daughter #1 had a soccer game last night in DeRidder -1 hour north- and she so wanted me to come. I texted her and said it might be hard for me to come because some other daughters were sad. And, I am happy to report, at the ripe old age of almost 15, she was sad. She REALLY wanted her mama to be there. I am so thankful for that. She is sweet, good, and a beast on the volleyball court and the soccer field.

Meanwhile, at home, Daughter #2 led #3 and #4 in preparing supper and a WONDERFUL Family Home Evening for the whole family. They had the table set, refreshments made and had even practiced their presentation on-what else-being grateful. They read poems, told scripture stories, bore their testimonies, led is in "We thank thee, oh God, For a Prophet" ,etc. It was so touching. I am so impressed that they helped me to feel the Spirit in their simple testimonies of what they are grateful for and why. I told them that FHE is for helping families feel the Spirit in our home. I am grateful they reminded me of that.

I love my daughters, every one!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thankful, November 14

I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to earn some extra money working at Maplewood just a couple of hours a day. It will help so much with college expenses. I am thankful that it de-stresses Zack a little. I am thankful that I have a degree in education and that I can use it just a little bit. I am thankful that my kids have a little more interest in learning than most of the kids I work with!

Thankful, November 13

I am thankful for sales! I bought 44 cans of evaporated milk for my food storage for just $.50 a can. That is less than half the regular price. That makes me very happy. I should be worried, because it also means enough milk for pies or custard for a more than a year. Yikes!

Thankful, November 12

For those that know me, you will know that I love my accent. I love all accents, really---well, maybe there are a few I don't love, but most. When I went out to BYU I was talking to some other parents and something was said about my accent and the man sai "Oh, it's not too BAD!" What? Bad? I'm sure he meant "THICK, or HEAVY, or DEEP" In this day of "Anywhere, USA" I think it is accents that distinquish us from each other. Our cities are looking more alike, our homes are more similar, etc. So, I am thankful that when I took this little quiz I came up firmly a "GRITS"--Girl Raised In The South. I didn't see a Cajun accent on the questionaire? How would that work out? But, mine is not a cajun is pure South! Love it!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The South

That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it.

The Midland
The Inland North
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thankful, November 11

I am thankful for blogs. I know that seems a little silly, but I have friends that have moved away, plus some that I have met again through 'facebook' (from high school) who I can totally keep up with through blogs. I feel like I know so much about them. I love having a little window into my friends lives....those who live close and those that live far away. I just wish that my own FAMILY would read it. (my mother and sister and in-laws) Oh, well. I guess they think they know it all....but there is more!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thankful, November 10

I am thankful that I can get out of the car at a store and just walk in. Seriously, I know this seems silly, but it is so nice to get in and out of the car from my own door and not have to go to the other door and unbukle or bukle anyone. I remeber Gwen talking about how nice this was when Evan got a little older. I am here to tell is. Today, on our trip to see my really cute neice in Shreveport we stopped several times along the way and I was able to get out and go in. Then we came back to the car and I went to my own door and everyone else opened there own door. Wow, it has been 18 years of helping others in and out of the car. I have loved it, but boy am I glad to not have to do that. Although....losing that means losing some other good lots of hugs and kisses.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thankful, November 9

I am so thankful that Zack and I saw the benefit of me being a SAHM many years ago when I was finishing college. Our plan had been for me to work for a year to pay off my student loans, but by the time I finished I was expecting Mary Catherine, thankfully, and so we decided that I would stay at home. Now the article I have posted here I do love. I agree with it, but a disclaimer.....I am not the home economist I would like to have been. I am good, but have many areas I could improve in. I am, however, VERY proud to have done the work I believe the Lord has called me to do. I am very satisfied that this is the most important job I could have and I am constantly having to change my job description as our family changes. I am also thankful that even though I am not the best CEO of our family....Zack has appreciated and seen the value of my efforts through the years and I am grateful to his efforts for our family through the years as well. In my mind the world works so much better when we sacrifice to have mom at home--and believe me, at times it has been a very real sacrifice. Gladly made!

Hope you enjoy this article I found on a blog.

Common Sense Home Ec

Like most people, I had to take Home Economics in middle school. The class was mostly worthless. We learned how to cook things I could already cook, and we learned how to sew a pillow, a skill I have not since been called upon to use. (Sewing a button back on a shirt would have been infinitely more useful. And I can do that, too.)

But that's middle school. They teach the "Home" part of Home Ec without messing too much with the "Ec". The Ec is required in Kansas only for a semester during senior year. That's just enough time to learn to balance a checkbook, play a stock market game, and figure out that a home mortgage--even without an adjustable rate--is the equivalent of bending over, grabbing your ankles, and taking it in the wallet.

There has lately been an online boom of stay at home moms (SAHM's) who are connecting via the internet and blogging. They are looking up deals at supermarkets, finding coupons, and compounding coupons on top of coupons on top of money back rebates. My wife is one of these and today got over a hundred dollars worth of groceries for fifteen bucks. Be sure to check outher blog here.

To solve the problem of too many bills coming in, most families do only one thing: mom goes to work. It's actually considered a matter of equality, proving that a woman can do just as much as a man. Well I could have told you that without all the protests and women's books. But how much do two incomes actually help families?
The kids get raised by someone else; There is always a battle for who gets which car on which days; School plays and field trips get missed; The home is more of an apartment than a domicile; The home garden is replaced by a lawn that is seen as more of a status symbol than a piece of nature; Meals are prepared in a hurry or eaten out, negating the ideas of home cooking and family time. (And anybody who's been to Applebee's with two kids under age 3 can attest that it is more stressful than quality time.)

Okay, so most of these are more emotional reasons for staying home, but that's where this SAHM movement comes into play. Being a SAHM isn't about just being around for the kids. This is where the real world picks up to provide that missing link lost between sixth grade Home, and twelfth grade Ec. And too many people miss it.
These women could actually be called Home Economists, if that title would not require a degree of some kind. They actually make it possible for a family of 4 on a teacher's salary to pay off all debt, including the house, early. They do all the tasks of a 1950's mom, as well as all the tasks of a 1980's CFO, minus the need for greed (A visual: give Gordon Gecko a spatula). They re-define home cooking by trying some very tasty and healthy new recipes that have nothing to do with a casserole dish. I can eat well for a month without having anything come out of the microwave. And it's done on a dime. The kids are happy, I'm happy, and I notice my wife has done a job.
It seems that an easier way of making this link--aside from figuring it out one family at a time--would be to start the Ec part earlier in school. I came to this realization not only in conjuncture with the Homemaking activities, but if I had had any real concept of money and understood the value of what professional athletes make, I would have practiced so much harder.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thankful, November 8.......My One Spot on Earth

I am really thankful for my home. It has little resemblance to the home that we bought in October, 1994, but it is better and still has that "grandma's house" feel to the outside that I love so much. We poured a concrete driveway and redid all the flower beds. We have changed the nasty garage to a great office that is quickly becoming a food storage room!! We have moved the laudry around 3 times, from outside, to a closet in the hall, to a whole room just for that. We added on to a downstairs bedroom with a new bathroom and closet to make a master bedroom. We completely redid the upstairs bath. We divided the upstairs into two bedrooms instead of one. And of course, we remodeled our kitchen twice and added on a new room connected to the kitchen. Wow, that seems a little ridiculous...but, we made it work for us and still only owe a very little on it. That makes me feel good with the current housing market.

When I am out of town...espcially far away, I love the feeling of being in places around the country (and now England!) and narrowing my travels down to my one spot on this earth that belongs to me and my family. It is this spot that most of my memories of my family come from. We have lived here for 14 years and I still love to pull into the driveway....especially since we got rid of the gravel!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thankful, November 7

I am thankful for boys who aren't afraid to be silly and let it all go.

Thanks, November 6

I am very thankful that gas is $2.01 today!! Wahoooo! I can fill up for $80.00. THAT is wonderful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November Thanks

Today, I am thankful that I have the gospel. That brings me hope and peace.
Check it out at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November is to remember Gratutude

Ok, my friend Lisa is doing this and I thought it was a great idea. Something I am thankful for everyday of November. Today is the fourth so I begin with 4 things.

1 - I am thankful I was able to get out in the beautiful weather and wash my car.
2 - I am thankful that we have a free country and in 4 years we might be able to vote for Romney again!
3 - I am thankful that my daughters are such great friends.
4 - I am thankful that Mary Catherine is not afraid to put herself out there and try things.

Stay tuned every day! It feels good to be grateful!

Election Day

As exciting as it is today to finally have the opportunity to vote, I can't help but dread the arrival of this day. I don't know that we as Americans focus on the right things when we choose a candidate. I heard today on the news that we should remember "not what our country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." I so agree with that statement, and I think in theory most Americans do too. But, when we think of who to vote for all I hear is "what are they going to do for me." That makes me crazy. The most important thing the president should do for me is keep me safe, set a good example, and watch over the general welfare of our country. Most of the rest is our responsibility. Some one asked me what John McCain would do for me with health care. I don't believe anything. Health care is a responsibility, not a right. Barrack Obama speaks often of his mother and grandparents who sacrificed so much to have him be able to go to a great college. That is very admirable. He says he wants others to have the opportunity that he did. They do have the opportunity to sacrifice!!! What he in essence wants to do though is take away the opportunity for others to grow from the experience of sacrificing like he and his grandparents did. That is what builds character. We as a people do not appreciate things when they are just given to us. This is evidenced to me by the TOPS program we have in Louisiana. This is a program where college tuition is paid for students who meet certain standards in high school. Well, lots of people get this program as freshmen and then live it up in college and promptly lose it. They are not having to sacrifice and therefore do not appreciate the opportunity that this gives them. Same with rich kids. Do not appreciate what they have. We should all build in ourselves the determination to achieve. That is what has made America great. We should ALL be conservative with tax money. Just because you CAN get something from the government, doesn't mean that we should. WE are the best answers to our problems.....not government. I hope that we have a great future in this country. I hope that we can remember the great character traits that made this country great. I hope that we can give (not in taxes, necessarily, but privately) to our country and do less taking. THAT is what will make us stronger. PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Costumes

Emma wanted to be a "Stay-at-home Mom" for Halloween. I wish I could say that she has seen me in the trenches as I enjoyed the blessings of being a mother. But, she is one of my youngest and hasn't seen me looking like she did on Halloween. But, she has been around many mothers in our lives that have been such a wonderful example of motherhood to our family, that to her this is the most wonderful thing she could do with her life. I am so grateful that she has Wendy, Kristie, and others to watch and learn from. Families touch our lives for a time and make an impact. We have had many such families over the years. I know that when we meet again we will be able to pick up where we left off in our friendship. I am also amazed at the degree to which people are willing to share their time and families with us. What a blessing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sarah Beth---My Mini Me

Sarah Beth got into my closet in Jena and tried on several of my old dresses from high school events. We loved watching her. I didn't realize I was that little then. Some of the are definitely ridiculous and the kids had a great time laughing at me. We were talking about how I didn't have a dress then that GranJan did not sew. I don't know how she did it. She would work all day, run us around in the afternoon, tutor till all hours, help us and our friends with school work, and still have time to sew really special dresses and everyday dresses. I learned to sew from her and I am very grateful that she took the time to show me how. I now realize how difficult that was....when I am sewing, I just want to be left alone. She had the patience to teach us and to show us by example that we could do it if we needed to. I am humbled at the sacrifices she made in her personal comforts and her time for us to participate in activities and have what we wanted. I didn't mean for this post to be about GranJan, but about Sarah Beth. It is very fitting that she tried them on, because she is just like me. I could just see myself in those dresses as she pranced around in them.

This one was actually my sister's dress. She wore it to her senior prom when I was a freshman and then I wore it in a pageant that same year.

This one was for a Valentine's Banquet. Perfect shade of pink...don't you think!?!Ugh!

This was my Senior Prom dress. We didn't really do very formal that year. Too bad, really.

This one was for another school pageant. The mermaid dress.....

Sarah Beth is a cutie-patootie!

Who Dat?

Sean Laughlin invited Taylor and Travis Trahan to go to a Saint's game with him and his mom, Vicki. Let's just say they did NOT have to beg. They left school a little early on a Thursday in August and drove to New Orleans...where Zack just happened to be working and who happened to be able to get a ticket for himself and met them there.

I don't even remember if the Saint's won, but I do remember that Taylor was very happy to see his Saint's play in the Superdome...even if it was a preseason game.

Yep, that is Drew Brees.

Happy GUYS!!


In late August we sent Alex out to BYU on a plane all by himself. I cried the whole day. It was tough. It was hard for him, but he managed. I am so proud of him for taking care of business and getting everything done. But, I have been soooo curious. I couldn't stand to not have my questions answered. I needed to know what his apartment looked like. I needed to meet his roommates. I needed to see BYU since I had never really even been there. Does that sound like a crazy mom???to send your child to a place you have never even seen to live? I have faith in the church to take care of him.......but, there again, I have been so curious.

We have been talking about me going on Parent's Weekend at the end of October, but I had begun to think that it was just too expensive. The Sunday before the Parent's Weekend Zack was on the computer and he said, "Well, I bought your ticket!" What!!!! Yeah!!! So, on Friday morning I flew to Salt Lake City, via Houston to Dallas. And, finally, after two months, got to see my baby! I made crawfish soup and gumbo for everyone in his dorm, some s, and a roommates family....yeah, they like me! Prepare for some cute pictures....if you like cute boys in ties!

They coordinate ties on Sunday for church. This was light blue day....last They are all great guys and made be feel very welcome. It was a great mama weekend.
So, we celebrated Lily's sixth birthday while we were at GranJan's house for my 20th high school reunion. We decorated pumpkins, played some games, and had a great time. In honor of Lily's Birthday, I thought I would list 6 things I love about Lily at six.

1 - Lily loves to give great kisses.

2 - Lily loves school and is pretty much in charge of the kindergarten at Maplewood. Gwen has seen her at the school several bringing people to office or to get ice from Mrs. Ronda. She knows everyone and everyone seems to know her. A sub told be one day that Mrs. Young has said before she left for the the day that if the sub had any questions she could just ask Lily. When we walk into school she is waving hi and shouting hellos to big kids (Mary Catherine's and Sarah Beth's friends), and little kids. She will run into a crowd of big kids to give the ones she knows a hug! Miss IT!!

3 - Lily is not really shy to get up in front of a crowd. She recently gave a part in the Ward Primary Program. While on the stage to sing she was waving to friends she could see in the crowd. That was funny, but when she got up to give her speaking part she pulled a Sarah Palin and waved at someone off to the side of her.

4 - Lily still has a cute little way of saying some of her words. It is fun to watch her mouth when she talks. It kind of pulls to the side. Such a cute little mouth.

5 - Lily loves babies. I was always worried that our last children would not grow up around babies or smaller children and so they would not develop that understanding of them......My fears were unfounded. She is very loving and understanding and softspoken with smaller children. She thinks that she would love for us to have SEVERAL more for her to take care of.

6 - I just love her. When we found out we were having Taylor we thought it would be impossible to love another child as much as we loved Alex. Not only could we love another, but we could love 5 more. Lily is a wonderful blessing to our family. It is fantastic to see her big brothers who are more than twice her size fold at her request. Lily loves to talk on the phone to Alex at BYU. She hands out hugs to soothe feelings or just show love. I am happy she is in our family. We are very blessed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Month's Absence

OK, hopefully I have figured out my life enough to get back to this. I have been doing so many new things for me that it is hard to take care of the regular things.

1. First, I started substituting. That was a while ago and when I said I was ready to begin, I was called everyday. THAT was overwhelming to a mama who has been home exclusively for the last 15 years. Having to get up and dressed at the same time as everyone else. How do you do that? I have ALWAYS brought the kids to school in my PJs except for the occasional field trip day or work at school day. Rough beginning.

2. I have also been working out MWF mornings at 5:00AM. That is right...not a typo..AM. I know...can't believe it myself. I have also been the kind of mom who NEVER wakes up until the last minute or until a kid wakes me up. This is not like me..but..I love it. It gets me up and going. Good thing we started the week before I started subbing because I would have thought there was NO way I could do that and then go get ready to go to the school. But, newsflash, I can! It is a great workout and I can really see a difference in my body...not really lost weight..maybe 5-8 pounds....but my shape is different. Worth it!! Come join us!

3. After subbing for a little over a week, I was offered a "job" tutoring at the middle school at Maplewood. I tutor a class of 10 or so kids to prepare them for the LEAP test they have to take in April to pass to the 9th grade. YES....math. Crazy. I have to study to make sure I know what I am doing. I am there for 1st hour and 4th hour. I can leave in between and come home and still have 5 hours to get work (or blogging....or nap!) done before kids come home. All good. I make $22 an hour. That will help alot when we have a missionary. And...I really like it. I wouldn't want to do it all day, but I think I am a decent teacher. I hope so. I want to help these kids. It takes awhile to know how to keep them engaged. Still have lots to learn. It's great, though.

4. I have a new neice...My brother and SIL have been married for 15 1/2 years and just had their first baby girl. She is adorable. Her name is Julia Marie Braud.

Isn't she cute? Can't wait to see her and smell her!

5. I had my 20 year reunion. I gloried in the fact that when we moved to Sulphur I was the youngest mom I knew. I teased others and reminded them how young I was...probably more by my actions than by my teasing!! But...I have no such claim, now. I now know MANY younger than me and I am NOT young anymore. But, anyway...It was awesome to go back and see people I have not seen in 10-20 years. Some of my best friends from high school were there. It was SOO fun to see them and talk about old times. One girl reminded me of how we would come to my house between school and dance practice and eat a chicken breast cooked in the microwave with Italian dressing. She said her daughter eats this now as a snack. I totally forgot about that. Some have changed drastically and most for the better. Everyone looked great. Zack and I definitely have the most kiddo's. I love it. Hear are some pics...excuse the beer bottles.....
I was told constantly how much I look like Janis....True, true. That is a great compliment, I think. But, this girl was second for mother look alikes....

Daphne Roberts....dead ringer for her mother,former Homecoming Queen, and sweetest girl in the school!!

Kenny and Valissa McGuffee...Kenny went to West Point...farther than anyone else in our class and ended up being the only ones in our class to marry. How ironic is that. They are a really cute couple.

In the middle is Buddy Sirikul. He is the cutest guy...Buddy has slimmed down alot since high school. We found out that he teaches and runs often with my BIL who also works at Southeastern in Hammond. Crazy, huh? The other girl is Penny LeGrande. She was my BFF. I guess not the forever, though because we have not seen each other for over 15 years. That is sad. She is very much the same and looks great. Sooooo good to see her.

These two I haven't seen in 20 years...even though we were the only ones to go to LSU..oh, well, one other. Cheryl left after a couple of years and went to LSU nursing school in New Orleans. I have been anxious to see her for years. Johnny is a lawyer in Baton Rouge, now. So, cool. Fellow Tigers!! We went to school together from Kindergarten through LSU. That my friends, is a long time. I love that.

Well, that is an update on the high points of what has been going on in my life. I will post later about Lily's 6th Birthday and going to UTAH!!!! Sorry for the extra long update.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I'm am in Utah having a great time with Alex. We went out to eat tonight at this great Brazilian restuarant. It is all you can eat and they bring the meat to your table and cut you a piece. It was wonderful. We went with Alex's roommates and one set of parents. It is a little cold, but not too bad. It is Friday night and I think I am starting to cramp Alex's style just a little, so I'm about to head to Spanish Fork to stay with my mom's cousin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Omaha Steaks!!!!

Ok, I know that it is funny that I haven't posted in a over a month and this is what I am posting, but I just got $25 plus in free meat from Omaha Steaks and thought you might like to do it, too. Go the the link below to save!!! It is great!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random Thoughts

Back to School around here, again. So many ups and downs this year already. The kids have already missed 7 or 8 days of school this year. Bye-bye Mardi Gras! We don't know how they will have to make it up yet. It may mean a shorter Thanksgiving break, also.

I think we are going to go back to our no TV on school nights rule from last year. It worked really great. We let everyone have an hour a week. It helped us to concentrate on homework and doing things together so much better.

The kids just walked outside to leave for seminary and they said how cool it is outside. Yeah...I think I will call someone to go for a walk this morning. I love to walk outside. On that note, Zack and I are thinking about looking for a treadmill. It is is time that we concentrate on losing some weight. I have my 20 year reunion this year....Yikes. I will not want to go like this. I would like to lose at least 15 pounds. So, we need a treadmill and I need to start writing down everything I eat. I am going to start "Take-off" today. That is a thing I did when I went to LA Weightloss. You do it for 2 days and you only eat meat and green vegatables. It really jump starts your weigtloss. You are supposed to drink this juice that they sell and eat these bars they sell, but I am going to do it without that and just drink extra water to make up the difference. I will have to forgo the bars for now....also, I just remembered that I have some at LA Weightloss that I already paid for. I will go pick them up and maybe get the juice while I am there. OK, I am ready. No bread and no sweets.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

All Is Well.......Kind Of

Well, the storm passed and tonight is very quiet. I did not sleep until about 4:00 Saturday morning. Just kept worrying about the tree we have behind our house. It is dead and I just was afraid it would fall and we would have to act fast to make sure we moved everyone to a safe place. At 4:00 we were having regular gusts that were scary to me, so I went to wake up Zack. He came into the living room and said that he would not go to sleep until I woke up. We both woke up around 6:00. We had no damage to anything we owned. Calcasieu and Cameron parish did very well on the wind side of things. There were a few trees down around, but no wind even vaguely similar to Rita. I remember coming home after being gone three weeks and one of the things that stuck out was that there were barely any leaves on the trees. Not this time. But, Ike wanted to make his own mark on us. The flooding is actually worse than Rita. That means that those places that flooded with Rita, flooded again, plus more. They said on the news tonight that all of Cameron Parish is under water. That is hard to imagine that after just 2 years of getting things rebuilt. It is unbelievable. And of course there is all the damage in Houston, Galveston, and other small cities between here and Houston. It is really, really bad. We will have to remember them all in our prayers.
I am so thankful for my testimony and the feeling of peace I can get through Christ.

I love hurricanes..............not

Well, here I sit, in my first hurricane. We decided not to leave and I have been awake almost all night....till about 4:00 am. The sun is starting to come up now and the winds are just as strong as they were last night. The electricity went off at about 2:00 am. Yeah, Zack. We are sitting pretty good, because Zack got us a generator after Hurricane Rita. It sat in the spot that he was going to install it until the day before Hurricane Gustav this year. Then he installed it. It runs off natural gas. What a blessing. So, I sat up and did a puzzle until I couldn't hold my eyes open. Then I woke Zack up and asked him to sit up and watch things so I could sleep. He promised he would stay awake until I woke up. I just couldn't stand for all of us to be asleep and something happen and we need to move the kids or take care of something else. Just felt like someone should be up. So, with the sun up, I can't see any damage. We fretted about this tree that is close to the house all night long and it did drop some limbs, but it is still standing! So, far!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Plan

For the last 16 years that I have been hurricane watching, we have evacuated to Jena, the small town in North Louisiana where I grew up. It has been very handy, easy, comfortable, and safe. But a few times we evacuated there we ended up having worse weather there than we had in Sulphur! Three hours north of here! That should not happen. This last time we ended up having to bring mama and Aunt Theresa home with us for a couple of days. Of course, this just prolongs the party, and mama helped me alot with things around my house, but the power out was still a little inconvenient. Not to mention, when we get back into town, we hear of everyone else evacuating to places where they go to waterparks, museums, shopping, etc. Yeah, Jena has a Wal-Mart! And even a Sonic!
So, I don't think we will go to Jena this time, unless things are predicted to move away from there. Of course, then I worry about my mama being there and needing to leave with no one to help her. What to do?
I'm getting a little stressed out with IKE brewing closer and closer to us. They just canceled school for tomorrow and the kids already have Friday off for a teacher in-service day. I think we may just go to work with Zack tomorrow. I really just want to be with him. We have been apart too long. I know we will be ok if we are with Zack. So, that is the new plan.
I feel more stressed with this storm than Gustav. Seems potentially worse and more scary.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why didn't anyone warn me???

I have to say....yesterday was one of the most difficult days in my life. I know that may seem extreme, but it is definitely true. Alex left home at 5:00 AM with Zack driving him to the Baton Rouge airport to catch a plane to Salt Lake. It didn't really hit me then. I tried to sleep a little because we had stayed up really late, but I just couldn't get settled. So, I got the other kids off to school and came home prepared to sleep for a while. Couldn't do it. I cried and cried and cried. For a large part of the day. I just couldn't shake this overwhelmingly sad feeling. I know he is in the best place he could be and I truly want him to be there and have a great time, but, dang-it, I'm sad. I am sad that I am not there with him, I am sad that my family will not all be together, I am sad that I am at this point where my family will all start to splinter, I am sad that I can't see him until Christmas, I am sad that I can't hug him and laugh at his jokes, I am scared that I might have missed teaching him something he really needs to know. I am going to miss that boy. All said, though, I don't want him to come home. The ultimate double edge sword.
So, enough about me. He is there. He got all settled in yesterday all by himself. He has met his roommates and his sweetmates. He called me several times along the trip. I tried to take the Newton's news is good news. While he doesn't seem to be having a raucous good time, yet, he seems very satisfied. He went to the Creamery twice already. I was just mildly irritating.....calling and asking tons of questions. He was a good son, though, and humored me. He promised pics today.
I am so much better today. I haven't even called him, yet. I teared up a little writing this, but all better. One thing is....I got some sleep last night. Exhaustion does exacerbate sadness for me...yeah, not a good combination. I am determined to go to the gym today and to clean my house in preparation for this storm looming. Today is looking up. I hope to get alot done and keep myself busy.
Will post pics later!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


What will I do? Lily has been wanting to give the best kisses lately. Big, fat, juicy, full lipped kisses. They are so sweet. She happily gives them and sometimes wants to give them at inconvenient times. I get a little impatient with her. Well, today I realized that anyone of those kisses could be the last I get from her or any of my kids. She will be six in Ocotber and will all of the sudden outgrow this wonderful phase. I can only cherish it while it lasts and then wait for grandkids. Sweet Lily!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

FHE Surprises

We were sitting in the Living Room about to start FHE tonight, when we heard a child's cry. This is not an uncommon occurance in our home, but everyone was in the room with us. Zack even did a quick head count to make sure. So, we dismissed it, but then heard it again. Alex went to the door to find the Jorgensen's all coming to our door with cookies, a card, and a super sweet song for us. I was so impressed that Faith gathered her sisters and brother and lead them ALL the way through Families Can Be Together Forever. Of course, we love this family so much and all were so touched and excited to see them. It was a wonderful surprise.
So, later, I asked Alex to bear his testimony at the end of our FHE. He was a little, or a lot, uncomfortable, but he said that he thought the Jorgensen kids had it right. Family can be together for ever through Heavenly Fathers plan. And he always wants to be with his family. Well, I lost it. I have been pretty much a rock up to this point. I am thankful that he has a testimony and was willing to share even a little portion of that with us. Thanks, Alex.

Lily has been all over Alex for the last week. Randomly hugging him and telling him that she will miss him and that she loves him. I have several pics of them like this, and I LOVE everyone. Super-Sweet.
Incidentally, I think we are going to make that a weekly event in our home. One person called on to bear their testimony. Good for us all to do and hear.
Thanks for the inspiration, Jorgensen's........and the great cookies!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Elder Tracy, for one more day!

We went to the airport tonight to welcome home Elder Ryan Tracy from his mission in Washington DC. He worked at Zack's for a couple of years before his mission and we used to tease him that they were his stores. I assured him that we tried to take care of them while he was gone. He is such a hard worker and I am looking so forward to hearing more details about his mission. We had to laugh because his parents were actually late to the airport. We found a camera and took pictures of him walking from the plane --since LC has no building at the airport since the hurricane-- and of him seeing his parents for the first time. It was pretty great. I asked my boys if they wanted lots of people there for them when they get home. They DO! I guess I understand that. We went to Sonic afterwards for treats. Ryan seemed a little unsure of things, but I'm sure he will do just fine adjusting.

FHE Olympics

After being so inspired by Michael Phelps and the Olympic in Bejing, we decided to have the Zachary Family Olympics for the second time ever. Sarah Beth led Emma and Lily in making medals for us on Sunday afternoon. They were really cute and I thought pretty inventive, using things we had around the house. Zack was out of town and Taylor was working for the beginning, but we had so much fun. We had a lesson about being and acting like Daughters and Sons of God. We all have that inside of us, and because of that, we have potential to be like Him. I am thankful for that knowledge and hope that we were able to teach the kids about their Divine Heritage. Then, after the running with the torch, let the games begin.

Team Flying Eagles--Sarah, Whitney, Gwen, and Brad

Team 2--Evan, Mary Catherine, Sarah Beth, and Lynetta

Team 3--Katie, Emma, Lily, and Alex

Team 4--Taylor, who took GOLD in the bubble gum blowing event!

Everyone went home with medals. We had the hula hoop pass, the paper airplane toss, the Lifesaver pass, and the bubble gum blowing events. Thanks to our friends for having fun with us.

2008-2009 School Year!!

Ok, I finally was able to add pictures to my blog. I have started a post about 5 times only to not get the pics up.
So, this is the first day of school around here. Strange site. Alex has been working all summer and getting up by himself a little before 7:00. Honestly, no one in the house even knew when he left everyday. For some reason, I guess because Zack and I were actually up earlier, we felt the need to remind him of the time and say, "Alex, don't you think you need to get up?" I guess we think we are so needed but can lay in bed and not think about it. Nevertheless, no school for this man, today.

But, not for THIS . Lily started Kindergarten today. She was up early and absolutely thrilled for the new start. She has Mrs. Young, who is really young. I think she is the youngest teacher we have ever had. Younger than me for the first time ever! She told me that school was LONG and FUN. She brought her lunch, her new backpack, and Sarah Beth's blanket for nap time. She keeps telling Emma that she can do things by herself....Emma wants to check on her and bring her to the bus. Was mama a little sad? Maybe a little, but it has been 18 years home with children and I am going to be ok. Not sure how I will fill my day, but I'm sure I will manage. Don't you love her pink shoes?

And this is in third grade. She is telling everyone that she has the best teacher in the school. Not only is she right about that, but Mrs. Bowen is the best teacher in the parish as far as I am concerned. She is kind, teaches things that the kids are excited to learn, and still she pushes them to do their best and achieve more than they thought they could. Emma is going to do great with her. I am so happy that they will be working together.

I guess that Sarah Beth is too cool for the traditional first day of school picture! She is now in the 7th grade. She is happy to be going back to school. She is much happier with a schedule and loves to get things organized. I hope we can keep her excited about it. She is not too happy that she has PE with the sixth grade this year, but I'm sure she will handle it. She was up and running around pretty early, too.

After being at Maplewood for 13 years, we ONLY have 9 more to go. They will be so happy to say goodbye to me in another DECADE. WOW!

These are my current Sulphur Tors. Mary Catherine started the 9th grade, and Taylor is a junior. Mary Catherine is very happy about leaving Maplewood, finally, and loves the 9th grade school. She says everyday that school is fun. I am so glad she is having fun. Taylor is driving them both to school and I think is happy to have MC there with him. They are really good friends. I know he will miss Alex, though. He loves driving the truck and says that Everybody notices it. How cool is that? Taylor's schedule is really tought this year. He has 2 AP classes and an Advanced class in addition to Chemistry. Junior year is tough, but he is determined to do well. What great kids.