Wednesday, January 30, 2008


A 16-year-old young man we knew from Casa died this week. He was ill but he died from leukemia--specifically the horrendous effects of the chemotherapy. His name was Charles. He was special boy and I will miss him.

Tonight at Young Women I read a quote from President Hinckley about the youth:

Never forget that you were chosen and brought to earth as a child of God for something of importance in His grand design. He expects marvelous things of you. He expects you to keep your lives clean from the sins of the world. You are the line through which will pass the qualities of your forebears to the posterity who will come after you. Did you ever see a chain with a weak link? Don't you become that weak link. (Youth Fireside Satellite Broadcast, Dec. 5, 1982)

It's hard to believe that he--President Hinckley--is gone too. Maybe he and Charles are having some good discussions up there in the spirit world, enjoying their freedom from pain and sickness.

When I found out about our Prophet's death, I wasn't sad. Who can be sad when a 97-year-old man is finally called home after a long life of service? I was certainly surprised because Kara, one of my Laurels, called me to deliver the news--only an hour or two after he'd passed!--since I'd had no idea. Of course after that I read and heard the buzz surrounding it. I told our kids it was like he got a new calling. Can you imagine actually being with that God--our Heavenly Father--with whom you have communicated daily for your whole life? Whose words you have delivered to all who would hear? Whose work you have strived to do? I can only imagine that for him, the eternal reward is pretty wonderful.

I was in 6th grade when President Kimball passed away (1985). I remember going to my locker between classes and kind of feeling depressed--he had been the prophet all my life. Now Tyce is in 6th grade and President Hinckley had been the prophet all *his* life.

I love President Hinckley and I am so grateful for all the hard, hard work he did in this life to build the kingdom. On earth he was well-loved and will be sorely missed. Now he can be with his sweet wife and his loved ones who have gone before him. I am grateful that the work of the Lord goes on, and I look forward to sustaining a new President of the Church--for past, present, and future, today I truly sing, "We Thank the, O God, for a Prophet"!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Year

Bad Idea Alert!

Tyce got binoculars from Grandma Judy and Grandpa Al for Christmas. We told him to hold them up and show us how they worked, you know, like you do when you get a present. Bryce snapped the picture . . . can you predict what happened next? The flash, magnified by a million times by the binoculars, caused Tyce to snap backward in shock as he was blinded! So now you know, in case you were planning a similar photo op, that it's not such a good idea.

Cool Cameron

Cam had no problem posing for me in these sunglasses. He looks ready for his Hollywood debut, don't you think?

Happy Harrison

I said, "Hold still, I want to take a picture of you!"

He tried to run away--but I got these cute pictures anyway!

Monday, January 28, 2008


Mary yelled, "Mom! Mooooooooommmmmmmmmm! Come get me out of here!"

So of course we got the camera out to document the predicament. :)

This is a picture of the beloved horse stable AND a clean bedroom. I felt I must capture the orderliness of the space before the moment passed.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two good surprises

I got two pleasant pieces of mail yesterday (which is something I'm not likely to say again any time soon, right?). Bills, ads, and the occasional catalog is all that we ever get. Well, here are the two good things:

1) My new contract for Sesame Street came with a $50 raise!!! Woo hoo!!! It's nice to get paid for something I like to do.

2) We got a brochure from Casa de Esperanza, the organization we worked for in Houston. It was a foster parent recruitment tract and there were two pictures, one of a cute little girl and one of . . . our twins Cameron and Harrison!!! The person who compiled the brouchure now works in the office but used to be a house parent. Guess who two of her favorite little boys were?

So those are the two good surprises. Hooray!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Book Club

Oh yeah, the highlight of my week was last night! We had our meeting at my house and started a conversation about utopian society. I don't think we ended there but that's where we started. :)

In the "ideal" world into which Jonas was born, everybody has sensibly agreed that well-matched married couples will raise exactly two offspring, one boy and one girl. These children's adolescent sexual impulses will be stifled with specially prescribed drugs; at age 12 they will receive an appropriate career assignment, sensibly chosen by the community's Elders. This is a world in which the old live in group homes and are "released"--to great celebration--at the proper time; the few infants who do not develop according to schedule are also "released," but with no fanfare. Lowry's development of this civilization is so deft that her readers, like the community's citizens, will be easily seduced by the chimera of this ordered, pain-free society. Until the time that Jonas begins training for his job assignment--the rigorous and prestigious position of Receiver of Memory--he, too, is a complacent model citizen. But as his near-mystical training progresses, and he is weighed down and enriched with society's collective memories of a world as stimulating as it was flawed, Jonas grows increasingly aware of the hypocrisy that rules his world.

I recently read the carepage of a friend-of-a-friend who's 4-year-old son died of cancer last week. His funeral was today. When I read her heart-wrenching entries, I thought a lot about pain.

Time of Death ,11:22am ... Never thought I would ever hear these words about my 4 1/2year old son. But this morning , those words got engraved in my mind and my heart forever.

Julian fought until the last painful breath. Again NOTHING peaceful about this process until , until he stopped gasping for air.

Julian looked like a fish out of the water, trying so hard to fill those lungs ,but nothing. You could see the normal breathing motions his body made, but nothing got past his throat.Finally he stopped fighting.

When he started having a hard time breathing I went to get Ken . He stood on one side of the bed and i was on there with Julian . We talked him thru his transition . We told him it would be ok . We told him we were proud of him . I told him to say Hi to Jesus for me. I told him that Cody and Jacob were waiting for him . I told him that we would be ok . I told him he wouldnt hurt anymore. I told him good night. I told him I loved him . I told him to play and run .

The nurse took his shirt off and told us to touch him , that he could feel us and we needed to feel him . I put my hand on his chest. I could feel his heart beat. Then it slowed down . Then I could not feel it anymore. I heard his first heartbeat and felt his last one.

We got the boys and told them . Sam asked if we were sure he was gone. Then he said it was wierd because he didnt feel like crying . Then he asked to hold him . I needed to clean and dress Ju first .

I held Julian . Debra gave him a bed bath , as she had been doing for the past few weeks, put lotion all over him , loved and kissed on him . 1 month ago , she didnt even know him , now she is grieving just as we are . That is what Julian is all about . LOVE, unconditional love...

Funeral home men came to get him this afternoon. Ken carried him to the van , with his blankie (his Christmas blankie he would share with every one) one of his mimis and one of his dinosaurs.

FLY HIGH MUNCHKIN ... I love you all the way to China, you are the best ,you know that? I love your smell too baby...

Your mama, your little mama ...

And then a few days later, this:

She crumbles on to the bathroom floor,an unbelievable pain in her chest... What just happened? She is bleeding . She places her shakey hands on her heart ,expecting to feel blood flowing through her fingers . She looked down at them , NOTHING...

The hole in her heart, the incredible pain, the deep sense of drifting away, it was all about HIS death...

She is hurting beyond words...How can she explain? No one understands. Alone , on her bathroom floor, she is lost... Never will she hold him too tight again, never again will she kiss his mouth, never will she feel the weight of his little bald head on her chest and never will she have the taste of his tears on her lips...
"I want him back" She cries desperatly "I want him back,PLEASE GOD "

She gets up and get in the shower, lets the burning hot water run on her face.Maybe it will wash away the tears, maybe even it will take care of the cruel pain ...Maybe when she is done, things will be fixed and will be back to normal...
She gets dressed, looks at herself in the mirror and thinks "who is this person? " Dark circles, a few more rinkles, red ,swollen eyes... It didnt go away, this is our normal from now on, our normal life now is us without him...

Out the door, she hears the laughter of her boys. One is missing... But they are laughing still... If they can laugh, why couldnt she? If they can play and smile, she can still hug and love them, forever , because she is their mother, simply because they are part of her just as he was, just as he still is...

By the grace of God, She still smiles, by the grace of God, she will keep on.
The bathroom floor will still be her refuge, but as long as the laughter rings behind the door, she will always get back up...

I can see why it would be tempting to give up all your freedom to eradicate that kind of suffering. Through the Atonement and loving mercy of Jesus Christ can healing take place and joy be felt again . . . but when?

Our next book is The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Out of this World

It was great to spend a day with Grandpa Al as he made his way from Texas back home to Utah. He drove to Houston to spend Christmas with Kim and Heather (Judy flew out and back over Christmas), then he stayed for a few weeks after. He says he had a great time with his girls. Right before he came to see us he'd been to Quartzite, Arizona and bought some really cool things. We were so glad to spend some time with him too. He generously offered to take us out to dinner at a really good BBQ place (Lucille's). Food and company were superior.

When we travel to California we pass a series of billboards advertising "Alien Fresh Jerky." It appears that Grandpa Al bought some and shared with Cam, don't you think?

Birthday Pictures

Here are some of the photos from M's little birthday party on the 5th. We have Sara to thank for the cosmetics, which so effectively transfomed an ordinary-looking child into the the glamour girl she obviously was for the party.


Come transform your look with the help of famous style guru and make-up artist Mary Rachel Jones!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thank you, Dr. King!

Today I rode in the third seat of the mini-van in between Tyce and Mary.

Me: So kids, if Martin Luther King were still alive and you got to meet him, what would you say?

Tyce: I'd say, "Hi. You were very courageous."

Mary: I'd say, "Thank you for all you did, because if it weren't for you then Sara and I wouldn't be friends."

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Well, I really am taking a break, can't you tell? I'm sure the three people who read my blog have stopped by now since there's not been any news as of late.

For me, it's been a combination of being really busy with YW and not much else going on. Last night we watched Part III of "Lonesome Dove", which we rented from Netflix. It was awesome . . . but not kid-friendly. Who remembered that the word "whore" was said about a million times??? "Ain't much else a woman can do 'round these parts." Ummmm . . . kids, close your ears. Again. Today we ran errands--Costco, Lowe's, etc. and did some housework. We still have to constantly whipcha (that's a real word . . . the sound of a cracking whip, right?) the kids to do their chores on Saturday and today they were hating it when friends came by and they (our kids) weren't available to play.

Here's a rundown on what's going on with us.

Bryce: Almost got a big case at work, which I am probably forbidden to mention since every time I have something *interesting* to say he tells me to take it off the blog. LOL Let's just say it was a national news story (not O.J.). He was glad to have it reassigned because it would have been really, really stressful . . . but a little sad too because it would have been really interesting. He went to the Nevada state caucus today. Bryce saw a ton of people that he knew there. He said, "I was surprised that I didn't see Angie or Darrell there," and I reminded him, "Honey, they're Democrats." The Crowthers are our exotic friends. j/k

Tyce: Is Barack Obama's 11-year-old look-alike. He fields a lot of teasing about running for election and has started saying "Thank you for your vote!" He is working on a 3-D model of a plant cell this weekend. He has his iPod in as much as he is allowed and especially likes his Weird Al songs.

Mary Rachel: Is sneaky about taking her medication lately. I don't know how she does it--we watch her take her pill and yet we still find them under a kitchen rug, in her room, or behind the flour canister. She's a flippin Houdini. She bought some seashells at Jo-Ann's today which she has been very attached to. She is watching something on Animal Planet, waiting for me to braid her wild hair.

Cameron: cried when Bryce went to vote, mistakingly thinking his daddy was boarding a watercraft: "I don't want Dad to go to a boat!" I think he was overcome with jealousy. Cam really likes "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" lately, as well as the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" book and CD. Today he played with a big purple ball by himself and I wished I'd had a video camera because the way he pounced and chased it was pretty cute.

Harrison: doesn't like the cookies I made. I baked some oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cranberry ones, which he just stuffed into his milk cup. I asked him about it, and he said, hands folded in front of him, eyebrows raised, "Sorry, but they are disgusting." He likes to ask, "What is your favorite animal?" and remembers every family member's answers. Harrison really likes playing the piano. He is a lot like Mary when it comes to being stubborn, and I think M. considers him a bit of a kindred spirit because she gave him one of her beloved seashells.

Me: I had a nice time at the combined activity this week (Human Foosball) and look forward to our class planning meetings next. I have had two 2-hour presidency meetings so far and hope that we are on track enough to scale back to a 1-hour once a month. We have New Beginnings on Feb. 6th so once that's over we'll be doing well. I love the ladies I serve with, even though I thought leaving Primary would be really hard since I loved it there too. The youth are great and I'm enjoying getting to know them very much. What else . . . I went to a cooking class to learn how to make rolled fondant last week . . . I don't know if I will ever go through that effort, to be honest. I have started to do my weekly dinner planning menu again, a baby step in becoming more organized. We are working on putting a back yard in--meaning that we have a landscaper and a plan, and now we have to get it "approved" by the HOA board. I am slightly annoyed but I guess a little Big Brothering keeps people from putting up big red barns in their backyards (which is what our neighbors did at our old house).

So that's about it. I will try to update more regularly. And get my Christmas cards mailed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm on hiatus

I've probably put in 24 hours of work into YW in the 5 days I've had the calling. I love it . . . and it is overwhelming. We have to plan everything from scratch, including New Beginnings, girls camp, etc. I want to get past this initial learning curve (which I guess defeats the purpose of "learning") and move onto focusing on the individuals. I am all about "people before programs." But first things first, eh?

Monday, January 7, 2008

And by the way

Bryce's new calling is as the ward executive secretary, which he is really excited about.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A new stage

This was written a few weeks ago:

As you know, I am the Primary secretary and the activities co-chair. When I turned in receipts yesterday, one of the counselors hinted that Bryce would be released from the WAC pretty soon (which means I'd be released too, something that neither of us will cry over). I wondered what his new calling would be, since he (the counselor) said it would happen before the first week of January. Bryce was home with the twins that day.

Later that day the Bishop called me into his office. For some reason I thought our visit had something to do with Bryce's new calling. Obviously I had no idea what he was going to say, because I was shocked to hear, "Sister Jones, we have a new calling for you . . ."


Today I was sustained as the Young Women's president in my ward, which means that I am in charge of the program for the 12-18 year old girls. I picked a really awesome presidency, which makes this huge change so much easier. Today was ward conference, so in addition to figuring out what I'm doing, I got to do it with stake leaders watching. LOL

Yesterday I was just sick with worry and feelings of inadequacy. I cried, "I'm not a good leader!" into my pillow. But you know a funny thing happened. Today I felt blessed to be *more* than I normally am, better somehow. I know I was getting divine help. For at least my time in Young Women, I'm confident that I will be able to do the job I've been asked to do.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

It's Great to be 8

Can you believe that my baby girl is 8 years old today!!??

These lyrics from the movie "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" remind me so much of my Mary:

Here I am - this is me
I come into this world so wild and free
Here I am - so young and strong
Right here in the place where I belong

It's a new world - it's a new start
It's alive with the beating of young hearts
It's a new day - in a new land
And it's waiting for me
Here I am

I can't think of that movie without thinking about my wild little horse of a daughter.

We had a low-key day. Sara came over to play and give her gift (play make up and a sparkly purse), and then I took M. to Subway while the men ran to Costco. (I'm going to be really happy to have a printer again.) Then we had cake and presents, which is the highlight of any birthday person's day. She got a variety of things, from horses to changing-colors nail polish, books to games, and oh . . . money! She was excited about everything.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

We usually spend our New Year's Eves in one of two ways: playing games with friends, or going to Chuck E. Cheeses. This year was a Chuck E. year, a tradition which started when we ran the group home.

After pizza and gaming, we came home to watch Planet of the Apes--isn't that a New Year's tradition? j/k The big kids were fascinated. It had very quotable lines. I'm embarrassed that I couldn't stop singing "Dr. Zaus, Dr. Zaus, oh oh oh, Dr. Zaus" sung to the tune from the rock song "Amedeus", which I learned from an episode of the Simpsons a long, long time ago.

With the twins in bed, we played a card game, turned on the local TV coverage of the NYE festivities (which were, on all 4 stations, sooooooooooooooo boring), and at midnight, bundled up to see the fireworks at the end of the street. (Well, everyone but the twins and me.) Bryce and the big kids report that there were some cool illegal fireworks being set off in the cul-de-sac, and you could see the fireworks from the Strip pretty well.

So what are your New Year's resolutions? Or are you like my husband and you don't make any at all? I will post mine later.