Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween fun

Just bought these from Michael's today... AGG is Elphaba... DD is a kitty cat... and I'm this weird firecracker thang. We also love Mac's iPhoto Booth... it never gets old in our house.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I want it that way

Saw this shared on Facebook today... and it is all kinds of wonderful. I couldn't stop smiling, laughing... if I ever had to work...this is the kind of work environment I'm looking for.

Enjoy - HAPPY WEDNSDAY ya'll!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


.... I don't know what my problem is.

I'm in a FUNK.

... which makes me want to sing "play that funky music white boy...."

I don't feel like cleaning out my google reader... it just seems way too time consuming.

I don't feel like reading my book for book club.

I don't feel like meal

I don't feel like blogging much...

I don't feel like editing videos, organizing photos.

.... I'm sort of blah towards all those things...

Nothing is wrong... it's just weird that all these things that I enjoy... or did enjoy are sort of falling off my radar.

...weird...this funky mood of mine. I'm thinking if I just chill with it... it'll pass. You know... trying to practice patience...with myself.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I'm sure you've heard the crazy coming out of the White House. You know, the bit where the White House has declared war on FOX News... for doing unacceptable things like, oh... CHECKING FACTS.

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn... has decided that FOX News is not a real news station because it DARED to check facts. Homie say WHAT? Below are some excerpts from this article.

The White House stopped providing guests to "Fox News Sunday" after host Chris Wallace fact-checked controversial assertions made by Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in August.

Dunn said fact-checking an administration official was "something I've never seen a Sunday show do."

"She criticized 'Fox News Sunday' last week for fact-checking -- fact-checking -- an administration official," Wallace said Sunday. "They didn't say that our fact-checking was wrong. They just said that we had dared to fact-check."

"Let's fact-check Anita Dunn, because last Sunday she said that Fox ignores Republican scandals, and she specifically mentioned the scandal involving Nevada senator John Ensign," Wallace added. "A number of Fox News shows have run stories about Senator Ensign. Anita Dunn's facts were just plain wrong."

Fox News senior vice president Michael Clemente said: "Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars. The door remains open and we welcome a discussion about the facts behind the issues."

Let's not get started with how obnoxious it is to see CRAZY women running around like complete idiots, and let's all thank them for undermining the role of women in the public arena. YOU FOOLS. Let's think about how completely idiotic this administration is, how up it's own rear it is in arrogance... let's think about how they can allow a woman, Dunn who ADMIRES Mao Zedong...and said so to a crowd of high schoolers... is certifiably insane and completely unfit for public office in a democratic United States... she belongs in CHINA for the love of Pete. Let's see how much she loves it after she's had a taste of it shall we?

I am WAITING... WAITING for those that keeled over in spasms of orgasmic delight when Obama was elected. WAITING for someone to condemn this behavior. I am thinking it will not come. That they are too busy mortified... or drunk on his juice to admit any wrong-doing. Have we really fallen that far down the rabbit hole that we don't know which side is UP and which side is DOWN? Come on people... use your own BRAINS!

Any semi-functioning brain... like mine can see that these are more symptoms of an administration that is SICK...diseased... completely and utterly clueless in it's desperate, clawing attempts at all-consuming power.

For a guy that ran for office on the trumpets of rising above the fray, reaching across the aisles and ... hope? Geez... remind me what the return policy on Obama is.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's good for the gander

Tonight was a Young Women activity night. I left the girls with my hubby expecting them to be asleep or in bed by the time I returned.

Instead I was greeted with two adorable girls running around in just their undies... with giant hugs. I was able to cuddle and tuck them was nice.

Then my husband related how the evening went... and why we should not be popping popcorn at night when the girls are still awake. They follow their nose...and love to snack on popcorn.

Apparently, while I was away our five year old Avant Garde Gal with her three year old sister in tow... barged into our bedroom where my husband, Phantom, was eating popcorn and watching South Park. As soon as they entered the room he paused the TV.

AGG: I want popcorn too. I want to watch that too.
Phantom: You can't watch that.
AGG: Why not?
Phantom: Because it's not good for you.
AGG: It's not good for little kids?
Phantom: Nope.
AGG: Well, if we shouldn't be watching it, then you shouldn't watch it either.
Phantom: You know... you're right. (he stopped watching it... )

...when I was pregnant with her...and had a strong impression that she was my mentor in the pre-existence... she just proved me right.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Happy Friday.

This past weekend we were able to feast on the words of our Prophet and apostles. It was a great weekend ... one I hope to carry with me until the April when we get to do it all over again.

These are some pictures from how we enjoyed our conference weekend.

DD loves to flip through books - she actually begged me to read during a few talks. AGG loves to draw. I like to tweet conference. It's like taking electronic notes.

I know you're loving my heart pajamas. My lovely sister gave them to me last year. Yes, I wore those PJs for two full days...they are too soft and comfy to take off.

I made Martha Stewart's Applesauce-Spice Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting... and yes, it is really that good...and easy peasy.

We went to get Brunch at a local breakfast spot on Saturday...

We also enjoyed family cuddle time.

...there's nothing sweeter or more fulfilling and joyful... than being with my family. I am grateful everyday for these simple pleasures. I am grateful to know that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me with an all-encompassing love. I am grateful for a Savior, Jesus Christ who constantly calls to us, and saves us. I am grateful to Joseph Smith who courageously asked our Father in Heaven what was right. I am grateful to the prophets and people who sacrificed so that I could read, conveniently, from the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Christ. I am grateful to our current Prophet, Thomas S. Monson and our apostles who lovingly lead us, guide us and teach us. I am grateful for the sealing powers of the priesthood and Temple ordinances that allow me to be united eternally with my own little family. I am grateful for the security I have in knowing that motherhood is the right place for me... and that I genuinely love it. It's hard not to feel so blessed ... in light of all these gifts. Dang we are a lucky people.

Have a fabulous weekend... my Hubby and I celebrate our 8th anniversary on the 10/10/09. In Chinese the number 8 is lucky... and 10 is the number of perfection... so I think I'm going to get perfectly lucky on Saturday... *wink, wink*


Our five year old has been to Hawaii and Disneyland three times. That's more than half the years she's been alive. Ditto with her sister who is three and has been to Hawaii and Disneyland twice.

I know that most people say, "why take a kid that young, they'll forget it." And... they are right. They will forget it... IF you let them.

My husband has a knack for telling stories. He has the most soothing voice, and is quite skilled at weaving an interesting tale. I'm the go-to gal for reading story books with silly voices. My husband is the one the girls call-on for an off-the-cuff made up story... that's sure to feature themselves on some daring adventure.

Due to his marvelous talent, he tells the stories of our vacations. It helps that he has a photographic memory, just like our oldest who is five. Due to his constant telling/retelling of our actions - the girls remember, in detail what rides we went to at Disneyland, who they rode with... every step of the way. They also remember the food and the beach and the fun they had in the islands of Hawaii. They love it when he pauses to ask what happens next, and they always know the answer... even when I have forgotten.

I've discovered that my girls love nothing more than listening to a story that includes the members of our family. They don't get bored. They can't get enough. And... those memorable family vacations stay present in their minds.

Best advice I could give for those that are kid-trippin... keep it alive... by telling it over-and-over. Plus, what's more fun than family cuddle time, and hearing all about each other?

Yep, this also happens to be homework... check-it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Today during General Conference, President Henry B. Eyring got up to the pulpit and humbly mentioned that he'd forgotten to release a few of the brethren from their callings. I didn't see any embarrassment, any care of what people thought of him, I saw him just say what needed to be said.

I love that.

I believe we're here to learn - and we make mistakes. I personally like to make light of mistakes and foibles, because I think laughter lightens the mood. I know not everyone is like that. It seems most people are so hung up with trying to appear perfect, trying to appear like they know everything about a specific subject, topic, etc... that they forget - it's okay to not know everything, it's okay to appear human.

I don't think any of us is going to point, or jeer at President Eyring that he forgot earlier in the session to release those brethren. We'll recognize that "hey, one of the Presidency of this Church makes mistakes, perhaps it's okay for me too, and for me to acknowledge it, and then make it right."

Trying to appear perfect, or all-knowing when we're not - does a disservice to us internally, and to those around us. It's not honest.

My favorite phrase is "I don't know" when I'm asked millions of questions from my daughters. But I follow that up with, "let's find out". I think the fact that they know their mother doesn't know everything, is good. I think that when they know we can learn for ourselves, if we don't know something, is great.

I don't know a lot of things, that's why I love to learn. I know I can find an answer if I search for it. It also increases my confidence and my peace of mind knowing that I don't have to know everything. Phew!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Agenda

With Sheri Dew - third from the left.

At Time Out For Women they asked each of us to have a question in our hearts. I had a lesson to prepare for our YW regarding worthy thoughts, purity... and since that was what I had been pondering in my heart - the material pretty much presented it to me in those two days.

They also asked us to share with someone, what we KNOW...after this conference, or what we've always KNOWN to be true.

I have a lot of other topics I want to write about - but I'll start with what I KNOW.

I wish I could take what I KNOW and toss it into every man, woman and child out there. Because I believe that if we KNOW who we are - we can move mountains.

As children growing up in the LDS Church we are taught who we are. The first songs we learn are "I am a Child of God". It's instilled as soon as we can talk. This simple message is vital to our missions here on this earth. Because we all have a mission. We are here to fulfill those missions. The fact that we're here, in this body demonstrates our support of God and his plan for our salvation. That is powerful to know... to truly understand and KNOW in every fiber of our being.

I didn't always know who I was. In fact, my soul took quite a beating as a child. I often felt out of place. I remember the feeling I had often as a child, standing amidst a crowd of kids, and feeling completely alone, as if I was a cosmic lab rat. That all these crazy experiments, the taunting, the emotional havoc, the physical hurt, was all something conspired to test when I would go crazy. It was in those moments that I called out to God. That I asked him to rescue me from my predicament. I wasn't rescued in the way I wanted, but my faith was always strengthened. It would have been so easy, so incredibly easy for me to take the path into an unhealthy, unstable lifestyle, I'd have all the excuses I needed to go down that dark, and twisty path, but I didn't, because the Lord increased my faith. I learned at a young age, that He walks beside me.

I discovered early on that if I wanted to become like the people I admired, the ones with faith, with joy, with generosity, that I could become like them, by working hard on myself. That I could make myself the person I would want to be, with the Lord's help. I haven't always been outgoing, or warm. I think if you were to look back at my childhood - you'd find a girl who hid in bathrooms, was scared and awkwardly alone. I used to be the one who would wait to have someone, anyone come say hi to her. That's not me now. Because I didn't like sitting the on the sidelines. I chose to be the person I wanted to be. My Savior gave me the strength to do so.

I found examples, good and bad that I could learn from. I found a co-worker who didn't know who she was without a career - I knew I wanted to know who I was without anyone or anything to distract from who I was at the core.

Just recently I have started to learn the joy of finding out what it means to be loved unconditionally by my Father in Heaven. I've discovered that with my Savior there are no strings attached. He loves me no matter what choices I've made, what mistakes I've made... He loves me, right now, just as I am. Some of you have already learned this ... reflected in those who've raised you - that's miraculous. Discovering it now... has expanded my soul...joyfully. It's such a strange way for me to think and feel - to know that I am lovable, without having to follow any set path, rules, guide, or expectation... it's indescribable.

There are still lessons I'm learning, things I'm constantly struggling with, working on, because I'm not yet the person I want to be. I don't know if I'll ever be that person completely, here on this earth, but I know I can work at it each day.

I think about how, there have been challenges I've lived through, and still am working through... and I think about the way my life is now. If you asked any of my old friends from college, and even some of the boys I dated... I don't think they would have thought of motherhood as a natural fit for me. I certainly would not have imagined that 10+ years after graduating BYU I'd be as centered and happy as a mother, as I am now. In fact, if you had told me I would love to bake and cook, and read cookbooks for enjoyment, own a sewing machine... and actually sew semi-straight lines... I'd probably ask if you were smoking crack. I've only just begun doing these things... in the last five years.

If you had told me that going back to a career is totally unappetizing to me now... I'd try to talk some sense into you. I've discovered that loving the role I have as a wife and Mother is a blessing. It's a blessing because so many women, so many blogs, so many talks from our leaders try to convince a multitude of women that their highest role, their greatest gift to humanity, is to be a Mother. I don't have to be persuaded - I know it. I KNOW it. I OWN it. I genuinely raise my hand to the bar and shout AMEN!

Of course... I wish this knowledge came with a cliffs note manual so I wouldn't be so awful at it... I make mistakes... daily... every minute. I find myself apologizing, on my knees asking to help me to be more patient... but in return I'm blessed with the feeling of fulfillment in this role. I know that this season with my little ones is short... too, too short. I can feel it slipping through my fingers like sand every moment and my heart aches, my mind worries... I still have so much to learn and do for these precious girls.

I haven't always kept my eye on the Savior... there are times I slip. But I have testimony of what Sheri Dew stated so eloquently at the TOFW conference, "When we focus on the world we don't see the Adversary or the Savior. When we focus on the Savior we love Him, we see Him and the effects of the Adversary."

When I think of all the things of the world that ail women who happen to also be mothers... the list is endless. From their body image, their need to compare, shopping labels, cliques, wanting it all, an extra job, or owning your own business (when you don't need it), reputation, degrees, titles... there's so many, and they are so varied. If we aren't centered in who we are, we focus too much on what we think others think of us... we forget that others don't matter. We forget that GOD loves us. We forget that all this superficial dressing, superfluous activities and wants... don't matter. We forget that what matters are the lives we influence. Because when we focus on the world - we are influenced by the world. When we focus on God - we influence the ones who are most important.

Sheri Dew told us that there are three things we MUST KNOW.
1. KNOW who you are - I Am a Child of God.
3. KNOW how to Receive Personal Revelation

1. Dew stated that there are two things nearly ALL Prophets teach. First, they testify of Christ - they witness His divinity, and two they preach of US. From Adam and Eve down to this dispensation of the fullness of times - they preach of US. Dew asked "do you think the Lord would take a chance on men and women He couldn't count on? No way." I am here for a purpose. You are here for a purpose. We are a generation different from all others. Ours is the only dispensation that will NOT end in apostasy.

Imagine that. We will always have the priesthood. We will always have temple ordinances. We will always have Prophet who will lead and guide us. The magnitude of that kind of miracle... that we participate in is heavy. It is powerful. We owe it to those that came before to fulfill our missions. To FOCUS on the Savior, to stop our self-pity and constant comparisons with our neighbors. We need to do remember who we are. We may feel inadequate at times, but the Spirit testifies to each of our souls of our power. We are the noble and great ones. Will we live up to that?

2. Dew stated that Christ came with a doctrine of healing. He came to heal us from our heartache, sin, emotional weakness, physical weakness, mental weakness, depression, sorrow, loneliness... everything that makes us feel small, or insignificant. It is vital to our mission to understand the healing power the Atonement.

3. We need to learn the language of revelation. Dew said that we need to learn what it feels like, what it sounds like. That we need to work at it. She said that way the Lord speaks to her has changed over the years. Yet, she is still working to learn, because sometimes she gets it, and sometimes she doesn't. He wants to talk to us, we need to learn to hear it.

Dew also stated, nothing surprises our Heavenly Father. In '98 President Hinckley prophesied about economic collapse. Look at us now. Heavenly Father knew when the world would start to fall apart, and He wanted YOU and me. We weren't placed here accidentally.

We have been sent here to DO.

As a woman I see that my role in this season is to influence for good. Whether that be my most precious daughters, the friends and people I interact with on a daily, or less frequent basis - I have a job to do. I am not craving any other "seemingly more sparkly" position, or one that I, in my small perspective of eternity, deems more important. I already have my call from the Lord. I know who I am. I know God will strengthen me to fulfill my mission joyfully.

When I go through my day I need to remind myself by asking "Who's agenda is this supporting? Christ or the Adversary?"

I KNOW. I know that I am a Child of God. That's just what I know.

With Jenny Oaks Baker, second from the left

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Make-up Work

It's incredibly, embarrassingly, late.

...let's face it... there are other more important things in real life I am enjoying.

So...let's get to the HOMEWORK it so I can get back to la vida.

~Think about an old person you love or admire. Write a detailed description of the character and experience reflected in their face. Use a thesaurus if necessary to find the most precise words. (Ideas: conviction, spunk, wit.) What do you hope to look like when you're old?

I love President and Sister Hinckley. They were both incredibly faithful, determined and hard-working. I loved their sense of humor, their raw humanity. I love reading Sister Hinckley's letters to her children, her grandchildren and her husband. Reading her thoughts confirm what I believe - genuine women are real. They have spunk, they have great days, they have bad days, they get riled up when one of their own children are messed with. They are courageous and steadfast. I love the intelligence they both shared, as well as their real-world wisdom. I adored their humor, their ability to poke fun at themselves, and not take themselves seriously.

You always knew exactly where you stood with the Hinckleys. I don't think they minced words. I love their frankness, done with love. I love their honesty, sincerity... they ROCK.

They were two petite little people, who were giants in my eyes of what I would like to be. I admired that because they were united, they grew to look like one another. I hope to be like that. Sister Hinckley and President Hinckley had these naturally aged faces full of JOY. I don't want the plasticized, over-glopped mask that so many opt for... I want to simply radiate JOY. With any luck... I may just get my wish.

~Blog about something you never leave home without. Prompt: "I never go anywhere without double-stick tape. I use it for _________.

My iPhone, or any cell phone. Can't leave home without it. I'm a big... in case x happens, I need to be able to call for help. I've accidentally been driven into "ghetto" areas by my hubby...not a peaceful, stress-less experience, cell phone is important... also navigation so you don't accidentally get caught in a seedy neighborhood.

~Do you remember a special book from your childhood? Who read it to you?

There was this book my Mom read to us kids when we were in elementary school. She read it in Chinese - so I can't remember the title... but it was about a boy... who dealt with some tragic things in his life. I can't remember details, but I remember how I felt. I remember crying listening to the story, I remember holding my breath waiting to find out what would happen next. I remember how the words my Mom read could transport me into the story. That's why I love to read... it's why it makes my heart happy that my children love it when I read to them.

~Come up with ten words that describe you and your image. Ideas: current, attractive, confident, casual, unique, elegant. Look your words up in the dictionary and let the definitions inspire you. Write a Personal Style Statement such as, "I project a sophisticated, unique presence," or I present an image of confidence, elegance and quality."

Ten words... that is going to be a stretch - but here goes (I guess it could also be what I want to be)
1. Honest
2. Quirky
3. Sincere
4. Thoughtful
5. Loyal
6. Determined
7. Intelligent
8. Centered
9. Funny
10. Confident

I present an image of a woman who knows who she is, and where her power comes from.

~List 8 ways you've surprised yourself lately. Ideas: "I'm a better cook than my mother-in-law." "I was too nervous to get out of the car."

1. I prefer being a mother to being a career woman.
2. Anyone can cook.
3. There are few women who really know who they are - it's a little unsettling.
4. My kids teach me more than I teach them.
5. We're not as smart as we think...that's why I like to keep learning.
6. I don't care what anyone else, outside my circle - (God, hubby, kids) thinks of me.
7. I never wear make-up unless it's for Church or some outing. Even then it's minimal.
8. I can learn almost anything I put my heart into.

~What books or movies about World War II would you recommend?
1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Band of Brothers
3. Schindler's List
4. Life is Beautiful

~Write about a tradition that has influenced your life in a positive way. Idea: "Our family always had family prayer before we opened the Christmas presents; my mom always wrote a letter to us on our birthdays; my grandpa always told us he loved us at Thanksgiving Dinner."

One tradition from my family is the family good night prayer. We do this every night on our knees, holding hands in a circle. We pray for each member of the family. It's great fun hearing the girls pray for each member of the family when it's their turn. I prefer traditions centered on faith than superfluous materialistic traditions.

~Write a thank-you letter to someone who has inspired you.
Did this without even realizing it... so awesome to check this off the list. If you wanted to know - it was for a friend of mine who bore a sweet testimony.

I'm also looking for a Laurel Teacher I had in YW - Valerie Hauber. Thought I'd throw it out there. She is by far my favorite YW leader of all time. She inspired me through her grace, elegance and her lessons. I still have every handout she made for us young women. If I never find her, I hope she knows how grateful I am for her influence on me.

~Write a line from a song or poem that speaks to you. Explain why.
Idea: "Doodely-do-do-do. The steel strings caught my attention over the raucous giggling in the back seat. I was chauffeuring the kids along the old Wasatch Boulevard to visit Mom when I first heard Paul Simon sing 'I'm a poor boy, empty as a pocket, empty as a pocket with nothing to lose.' I could relate. We had just come home from a year in England empty as a pocket with nothing to lose . . . "

I am horrible at memorizing lines of songs... I always sing the wrong words...and usually on repeat.... so I'll leave it at Phil 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." I've found in my life - that as long as those things are righteous... He always, always gives me that strength. One of my great roommates introduced me to that verse. I have tried to locate her to thank her for that in my life - and haven't been able to find her either... perhaps you can help me, Holly Gillaland Hodgson.