Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alma 40:12


"...the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow."

Until we meet again, Grandpa, enjoy your rest. I love you and will forever feel your influence in my life. Come and visit when you can, and please watch over my children.
Harold Corbett Allsop
11 Dec. 1925 - 28 Sept. 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Sweet Grandpa

My Grandpa Harry is such a sweet man. He is also, extraordinarily humble, generous, kind, forgiving, incredibly intelligent, patient, - the list could go on and on. I chose sweet in my first statement because that seems to be the prevailing characteristic in our conversations lately.

Some of my earliest memories of Grandpa are of him putting one hand on top of my head, and one hand under my chin and he would tilt my head and plant a scratchy kiss on my cheek. Then he would chuckle just so and pat my head twice. He's done it every time I've seen him for the last 30 years.

Grandpa's memory is amazing and having lived through so much, he has incredibly detailed stories to tell of WW2 and life in small town Idaho. I am currently transcribing a memoir of his about his experiences and the experiences of many of his friends from WW2. What an incredible project that has been for me.

He came from humble beginnings, but he's a hard worker and has accomplished much with his life. He went to college and became a pharmacist, eventually owning his own drug store in the small town where he and grandma raised their four children and lived for about 35 years.

Grandpa has served faithfully in many callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Including as a missionary in Mongolia - at the age of 70.

Grandpa has always been the picture of health to me. He's always taken such good care of himself and is very independent. He's always chopped his own firewood for their wood burning stove and he's had a season ski pass at a local resort up through this last winter, at the age of 83.

This winter might be a different story...

At the beginning of August, I got word that Grandpa was being taken in for some tests because they thought he may have had a stroke. After several tests and scans and you name it, it was determined that he has a melanoma the size of a softball on his lung, as well as several small tumors on his brain. He underwent some pretty aggressive radiation treatment for the brain tumors and went through a round of chemotherapy for the melanoma, but has had some other health issues (blood clots, low sodium, etc.) that have made the treatment more difficult for him. After a close shave last night when he became unresponsive for a time, he was reevaluated by his oncologists and they have decided to stop his cancer treatment for now - until medically, he is strong enough to deal with it.

Grandpa, however, is adamant that without some quality of life, he'd rather move on to whatever is waiting for him on the other side.

I don't know what the future holds, but I'm so grateful to have Grandpa Harry in my life. He's such a good, good man and there is so much about him to admire. I guess I'm hoping some of it carries on to my son, grandpa's namesake, Jackson Harold.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Too Many and Not Enough

Molly just lost her 2nd tooth in 3 days, which puts her at a current total of 4 teeth missing at one time! Actually it's more like 3 1/2 teeth missing because one of her top teeth has started making its way down. But still, that's quite a hole in the front of her mouth! Hopefully she'll have enough room for all those new permanent teeth to come in straight... We'll see!

Emma, on the other hand, has one too many teeth! One of her permanent teeth on the bottom has decided not to wait for her baby teeth to come out and is just coming up behind them. The baby teeth have started wiggling and the dentist said they should come out on their own within the next month. Emma's taken to wiggling her teeth like the dentist showed her, so hopefully it won't be long!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Emma doesn't say much, but when she does... wow. Here are two examples of recent Emma-isms that I don't want to ever forget.

Emma-ism #1 -
After I picked up the girls from school today, we went to the grocery store. Emma was not thrilled about this as she was "SO hungry." I told her we would hurry and that if she was good, I would get her a treat at the checkout.

The girls were good, so as promised, I let them pick an "orange-tag treat" (as we call the candy that's on sale - there are usually 5 or 6 items to choose from). We got out to the car and I told the girls they had to be buckled in before they could open their candy.

As soon as Emma clicked her buckle, she tore open her Skittles and popped some in her mouth. Then she exclaimed, "WHEW! Just in time! My tummy was overflowing with hungry!"

Emma-ism #2 -
A few days ago the girls and I headed out for our weekly Costco run. (Jack got to stay home with Daddy.) It was right after school, so I let the girls bring a snack in the car. Emma said I was "the best mom in the world" and that when we got home she was going to make me a surprise.

A ways into the shopping trip, my patience was wearing thin and I had had enough of the running around and not staying by the cart, etc. I snapped at the girls with some version of "knock it off or so help me..."

Emma went quiet and did as she was told, but then she looked up at me and said, "Mom, you are THIS close to loosing your surprise."

Love it. I just love it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


It's never a good sign when you wake up on Sunday morning with a massive to-do-before-church list. I had accepted the fact that today was going to be more of a "me feeding others" day than a "me being fed" day, and as we pulled out of the driveway with two minutes to go before church started, I knew that feeling the Spirit today was going to be a challenge.

We shuffled the family into a bench in the chapel as the opening hymn was being sung around us and my mind was already going through my to-do-at-church list. We finally got settled and I was able to put a few things out of my mind as I tried to focus on the meeting I was in.

A young woman stood up to speak and somewhere between separating squirming children and picking up fallen pretzels, I followed her enough to know that she was talking about eternal families and preparing for a temple marriage.

Having grown up in this church I have probably heard several hundred talks on this subject and having already been married in the temple, I was taken aback at the intensity with which I found myself listening to her.

Then she read through some of the requirements that are necessary to be worthy to enter the temple and she said something like, "As I date and will eventually look for someone to marry I have to ask myself, is this person willing to live worthily so that he can go to the temple with me? Will he honor the covenants that we make there?"

At that moment, my "to do" lists were gone and I looked over at the man sitting next to me. I thought of the questions she mentioned and a peaceful, eternal feeling came over me, as if someone was saying, "Yes, he has and he will. You made the right choice. He is a good man."

It was the Spirit. I ended up being fed after all.

PS. To all of my dear friends who are not of my faith: to learn more about my faith, and how you can have an eternal family, visit www.mormon.org.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Molly Elizabeth

One day this past summer, Molly and I went out for a bike ride. Molly rode on the sidewalk and I rode on the street next to her. I could see her wobbling a little as she struggled to stay upright.

The mother in me wanted to help. "You know, if you go faster it will be easier to balance."

"Yeah, but harder to avoid mailboxes," was her reply. Yes, those were her exact words.

That's my Molly. Always the logical thinker. She has always been quick to learn and she is full of endless questions. She is so much like me it's laughable. Literally. Sometimes she'll do something and I laugh inside as my memory finds the exact same thing in my childhood archives. Molly loves to read. Every night after Dan or I have read the girls a story, Molly will climb into Emma's bed and read her two more.

She plays the violin and is working hard to continue developing that talent. She has a sweet singing voice and loves to sing to herself. She has a tender heart and has already cried in several movies. She is very helpful and there is not a doubt in my mind that she was meant to be my oldest child. She's the perfect mother hen for her younger siblings.

Molly is such a joy. Her enthusiasm for life makes it easy for me to remember what childhood is all about.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

At the dentist

This morning Emma had a dentist appointment with our new dentist. I was having fun in the waiting room playing trucks with Jack, when all of a sudden, I heard Emma talking - almost shouting - from the dentist chair.

I would have been worried except all she was saying was "May 6." Then she said it again... a little louder. Then again, louder still. Then she said "I'm going to be 5" (which isn't true - she'll be six on her next birthday) in that same carrying tone.

I finally got up and looked through the glass door into the room where she was having her teeth cleaned. Right as I looked into the room, she turned her head slightly and I saw that she was wearing "movie glasses."

The dentist was chuckling a little as she said, "Okay, Emma, keep watching your movie."

Apparently the headphones were working just fine.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Emma Joan

Today Emma and I had a discussion about fire. She was confused about the concept that air makes fires get bigger, and yet, when we blow on our birthday candles they just go out. I told her that if the fire's big enough, air will make the fire grow.

"So it's like water," she said. She did not elaborate.

After a moment, my thought process caught up to hers. "You mean air makes fires grow like water makes plants grow?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said. That was it.

So typical. I've been Emma's mom for over 5 years and I still haven't figured her out. She is a surprise every day.

Emma recently got orthotics for her legs. She's a toe-walker and we're trying to fix that by re-training her brain and her muscles to walk heel-toe-heel-toe. Again, she completely surprised me. Although I'm sure it's tiring and painful to have your muscles stretched all day long, she rarely complains. She is just an upbeat girl and her whimsical nature brings such joy to my life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

School Days

The happiness of the last two days has been tinged with melancholy. Molly started 1st grade yesterday, and Emma started kindergarten today.

I can't believe this time has already come. I feel like a mom saying goodbye to her college age child who is pulling out of the driveway with their life packed in their trunk. Have I taught them all they need to know now that they are moving out into the world?

We had a lovely, albeit small, feast celebrating the start of the school year on the evening before school started. The girls thought it was spectacular, because they got to use the "glass" plates that were the same size as Mommy's and Daddy's. It just happened to be a Monday, so we had a Back-To-School themed Family Home Evening, where we read the verses in the Doctrine and Covenants about whatever intelligence we "attain unto in this life" we will be able to take with us into the next. Then, Dan gave each of the girls a Father's Blessing through the power of the priesthood. What a blessing that is in our lives. I am so grateful that I have a husband who is worthy to hold the priesthood and to use it to bless his family.

As I went to meet Emma's bus at school to see that she got to her class okay and so I could meet her teacher and arrange her "going home plans," I was thrilled to see how excited she was. The aide that met them at the bus said that if they had a Mommy or Daddy there, they could go with them; otherwise they needed to stay with her. I told Emma this and asked her to come with me ahead of the group. Reluctantly, she followed. Then, she looked up at me and said, "I want to walk with them." I smiled at her and let her go. That, more than anything, made me feel how profoundly different life would be now.

My kiddos are growing up. I can't stop it. Nor do I want to. All I can do is make the most of every moment and make absolutely sure that they know, beyond anything, that I love them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Boys and their toys

One of the blessings of Dan's job is the plethora of days off that he gets! He got Friday and Monday off for Labor Day weekend. The weather, although quite wet in spots, was really nice. Cloudy and in the mid-70's - my favorite! Always the one for seizing an opportunity to play with his power tools, Dan decided to build the long awaited shed in the backyard. The rain was a minor hindrance but it's moving along just fine, and should be completed in a few days.

As I stood in the partially completed structure, I couldn't help but think of the pioneers. "Their houses weren't much bigger than this," I thought, "and they didn't have Home Depot down the street with pre-cut lumber." It was humbling.

Jack's new favorite toys are the Rocket, from the Little Einstiens, and any type of train you can find. I pulled out our little train set the other day and now that's all he wants to do all day! He even napped with two little train cars in his hands the other day. I can't believe he actually fell asleep!

I love watching his little, pudgy hands push the train cars around while he makes chugging sounds.

Since the girls are both in school, I'm excited to get some more one on one time with my little man... and his toys.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I don't have a favorite season. I've found that at the end of each season, I'm SO excited for the season that's coming. I guess that living in a tropical paradise would not be paradise for me. I have to live somewhere where the seasons change in traditional fashion. You know, a few snow flakes in the winter, a few really hot days in the summer, lots of flowers in the spring and colorful leaves in the fall.

That being said, I have loved the season that is now ending. We got to travel some and see lots of family, which, to me, is what summer is all about.

We went to Star Valley,WY, for the 4th of July for my family's informal family reunion. That is one of my two favorite places in the world, and the memories made there... priceless. Then, on to Salt Lake City, UT, for a week with both my parents and my in-laws. And lots of playtime with long lost cousins. Then, on to San Diego, CA, for a week of fun in the sun. It was a whirlwind trip, but so worth it.

It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful it is to get home again when you've been away for a long time. There's just something about home. As one song puts it, home is "not the place where you live, but the place where you belong." That is exactly how I feel about coming home. This is where I belong.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The fourth time I hit the snooze button on my alarm this morning, I finally realized - resistance is futile.

So, I turned my alarm off and laid back down, knowing I was not going to fall back asleep, (if only I could be so lucky).
As I lay there, in my oh-so-perfect bed, I started thinking about time.

There are some people in this world who completely amaze me. They are so inspiring and have accomplished so much. I want to be like them.

But no. I'm not them. I'm me. Who's "me", though? Am I an inspiring or accomplished person? Not really. But why? There are just as many hours in my day as in theirs.

So then and there I decided. I was going to make something of the time granted to me today. I was going to be the best version of myself that I could be.

Then my oldest child walked in the room. Here goes...

"Good morning, Molly!" with a big smile on my face. (Best - check)

Fast forward to breakfast time. Kiddos start whining about... everything.

I sing happy songs as I pour the milk over their cereal. (Best - check)

Sniff sniff. Poopy diaper. It's my son's.

I whisk him away to the changing table and sing and laugh with him as I clean him up. (Best - check)

As I'm changing his bum, my middle child, Emma, walks in and says, "Mom, do you like changing poopy diapers?"

It was a teaching moment that I couldn't pass up.

I told her that it wasn't that I liked changing poopy diapers, but that there was a poopy diaper to be changed and I might as well be happy while I'm changing it. We used that metaphor all through chore time this morning and it worked like a charm.

Once the chores were done, the girls wanted to do something fun. With my committment to myself to make something of this day, I decided that making something of MY day meant making something of my children's day.

They wanted to do a lemonade stand. Forecast said the high would be 74 degrees.

They wanted to do a punch and cookies stand. Forecast said it would be raining.

They wanted to make cookies and deliver them to their friends. Now that, I could do. We made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, strapped the baskets to the bikes and headed off.

We had never been on a mom-pushing-brother-in-the-stroller-while-sisters-ride-bikes walk before, and 3 minutes into it I'm thinking we should have done a trial run.

After a crazy busy street crossing, we finally make it to the first friends house. Emma was so excited to give them the cookies that she promptly crashed at the end of their driveway, and ran over the cookies which had flown out of her basket. A band-aid and 30 minutes of chit-chat later and we're off to the next friends house.

By now, I call Dan to bring the van and rescue us, because I'm fairly certain that we're not going to make it home before midnight. He obliges and meets us at 2nd friends house, where we end up visiting for the next 2 hours.

Finally, it's time to call it a day.

Now, I'm not so naieve as to think that my morning chore woes are over, or that I will forevermore be the best version of myself that I can be, but I am grateful for this happy morning and that I took the time to make something of this day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I dream in color

They say that people with active and/or creative minds do... And although I'd like to believe that my mind is both active and creative, I think a more accurate word would be frazzled. I love to think and analyze and plan, but putting my thoughts into action, or any semblance of order, is where I stumble.

My sweet grandpa recently told me that "a life worth living is a life worth recording." (This in response to a discussion of his volumes of journals that he's kept since the early 1960's.) I guess this blog is my attempt at taking his advice, and for once, trying to organize my thoughts into something comprehensible.

I am a very complex person, that is to say, I have a very complex mind. I don't feel stupid, but my thoughts have a very jumbled way of organizing themselves and they escape me sometimes. So, wish me luck as I try to make sense of my thoughts and give you an insight to my wonderful life.