Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Everyday is a gift

The other day we were driving home from church and we drove to a section of the road that splits in two ways.  Both roads lead home, but one has proven to be a little faster than the other.  Despite Romney's never ending quest to find the fastest drive home, he took the long way and I turned right.  

I had Lauren and Sophie in the car with me.  As we continued home, I could see up ahead on the opposite side of the road, that there were several police cars surrounding a nice SUV that had been carelessly pulled over.  As we approached, I saw an attractive 40-year-old woman wearing one shoe and stumbling as the officers placed handcuffs on her wrists.  It was obvious that she was either high on something or heavily intoxicated.

I have been thinking about that scene a lot.  I have replayed the "what-ifs" over and over.  What if those officers had not been diligent in keeping our roads safe?  What if my van filled with my precious cargo had been the force to end to her drive that day?  What would Romney have done if I had not pulled in one minute ahead of him?

I guess what it comes down to is that we just never know.  As I drove past that woman, I remember thinking how grateful I was that I got to continue to enjoy that perfect autumn day with crystal blue skies surrounded by my family.  I remember feeling gratitude to those police officers.  I remember feeling gratitude that I got to make it home to my family, my plans, my life. Oddly enough, I was grateful that this woman was in a police station hopefully on a path to get some help.  I was grateful that her actions did not involve a horrific tragedy.

I read this article last night in the Salt Lake Tribune and my stomach dropped.
Life is fragile.  I am trying to remind myself as often as possible that everyday is a gift and that life is meant to be enjoyed.  I think that the dishes can wait...Sophie is saying that she wants to read books.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cousins and Pumpkins

(Thomas, Cora, Lincoln, Brigham, Kate, Christian, Lauren, Sophie & Lydia)

My sister Marisa and her kids came up for a visit last Saturday.  We decided to go to a local pumpkin patch that is not too far from our home.   I had never been to a "pick your own pumpkin" patch before.  It was so much prettier than I had expected.  The wind was blowing like crazy, but we all had a great time.

We love living close enough to Marisa and her kids that we can enjoy a day like this together!!  I will say however, that Marisa and I are quick to point out that this distance does not count as "living close."  One day day.  Marisa also celebrated her 40th birthday with us.  Happy 40th Marisa!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

14 years and counting....

I had a crush on Romney when I was 9-years-old.  We lived in the same neighborhood for two years and although we never spoke, I referred to him as my "boyfriend."  I even have a childhood journal entry to prove it.

Romney and I have been together since 1993; the same year we both transferred to the University of Utah.  We met at an institute dance of all places, which is funny because we both hate dancing.  As soon as we saw each other we hugged.

We were inseparable from the start and I am sure that we drove people crazy with our our constant PDA.  I think that some of my younger siblings thought that James Taylor was our personal soundtrack.   Even my grandma would always say, "You two have the hots."

A few months later, we did an internship together in Washington DC and we even worked in the same office.  It was torture trying to keep our dating life a secret from our supervisors.  I am pretty sure that we failed, because one of them said he was sure that the two of us "went to the movies and stuff..."

I decided to serve a mission and was called to the Germany, Dusseldorf Mission.  We were engaged two months after I got home.  This picture was taken the night we got engaged.

OCTOBER 19, 1996

We were married in the Salt Lake Temple.  It was a cold and bitter day...the first day of snow that year.

Since we have been married, we have moved 10 times, lived in 4 states, owned 6 different houses, traveled to Europe, Hawaii, Florida, California and too many others to list and last but not least, we have had 4 kids.  It has been a happy journey and thanks to Romney, our days have been filled with laughter.

A lady from Romney's mission in Switzerland called him the day we got married and when he told her it was snowing in Salt Lake City, she said, "Snowy day, happy marriage."  I guess she was right.  I couldn't agree more. 

Cheers to our happy past and future!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ahhh Family...

We had Nan and Dwight and Romney's sister Elisabeth and her two kids come for a visit.  We had such a great time together and I was reminded how much I love family.  There is something to be said for the incessant laughter of cousins and the long, bonding conversations that take place between loved ones after meals just sitting around the table.  We ate well, laughed a lot and even shared some touching conversations together about the fragility of life.  We made some great memories and the time went by too fast.  We are hoping that the 7 1/2 hour drive went by quickly, so that they will want to return sooner than later.

Sophie and William are so cute together and their friendship is so sweet.  I don't think that they stopped giggling the whole weekend. 


We had amazing weather the whole time, so we spent plenty of time at the park enjoying the sun and the beautiful fall weather.  We were even able to enjoy Thomas' soccer game...they came in second, but we still had fun.

On Saturday, we spent a few hours roaming the charming streets of Boulder.  We ate lunch at an amazing BBQ place.  My mouth still waters when I think about those ribs and that BBQ sauce.  YUM!

Downtown Denver

On our last evening together, we let the kids decorate some sugar cookies for Halloween.  It was great.

Saying our tearful goodbyes.

It was a great weekend and we are already longing for more visits from family...who's next????

Friday, October 8, 2010

What does it mean to "Live Rich?"

Several years ago, a dear friend of ours Rich Lloyd was diagnosed with a stage 4 malignant brain tumor.  He was 35 years old, had 3 kids, a darling wife and had just started an exciting business career opportunity.  Cancer did not fit into his plans, yet despite his valiant fight, he died 8 months later. Those who followed his journey to beat his cancer were in awe of him.  It was an inspiration to watch as he reflected on his life and shared his perspective on life's purpose. During his battle with cancer, he and his family came up with a slogan.  They used the term, "Live Rich."

They made red wrist bands for all his friends with this slogan on it.  I thought it was interesting however, that Rich was always quick to remind us that the slogan was not meant to be words of encouragement for Rich to "keep living," rather they were words to remind us how we should be living our own lives.    

I bring this up today because last night we heard about another young dad who is also fighting his last battle with a brain tumor and like Rich, he is losing that battle.  (His name is Ben Jacobsen.  We don't know him personally, but he is the cousin of one of our friends.)  Cancer did not fit into this guy's plans either.  He wrote on his blog some of the things that he will miss in his life.  I thought it was interesting that his list focused on the little things like soccer games, hikes with his wife and making Christmas memories with his kids.  It was obvious that he will miss the things that have made it possible for him to "Live Rich."

I am not trying to be "Debbie Downer" so please forgive me for the heavy post.  I have just been thinking about this guy all day.  It has made me feel more determined to enjoy the little and let's be honest insignificant things in my day.  Every now and then I have to say to myself, "what will my kids say about me?"  Will they say that the way I "Lived Rich" was to have a clean house?  I hope not.

My kids have a remarkable way of enjoying life.  I watch them make a game of everything.  Their laughter is contagious and their imaginations are inspiring.  No wonder that their days are full of laughter and fun.

I can't help but think this is probably why kids are rarely diagnosed with high blood pressure. They truly get what it means to "live rich."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I think I got the gene...

For those of you who knew my grandma Helen, she was a delight.  She was so full of life and passion for everything she did.  We always teased her that she was a child stuck in a woman's body and she took it as a true was.   She played with us and when we were with her, she gave us her full attention.  It was magic.

She loved toys and she LOVED holidays.  It was always so entertaining to go to her house because there was always some crazy toy decoration for every holiday.  She loved things that lit up and especially loved things that made noise.  I don't know where she would go to find these things but she had the most unique collection of dancing santas, snowmen, fish, gorillas, etc.  For Halloween she always brought out the most disgusting, creepy witch sitting in a rocking chair.  When we would walk by this witch, the eyes would light up with red lights and it would begin rocking and making the sickest cackle noise.

My grandma loved this thing and recognized immediately that it was a "treasure" so she bought one for each of her daughters.  My mom must have inherited this same, "I Love Decorations Gene," because she too has a deep love for holidays.

Every year for as long as I can remember, my mom also pulls out her creepy, little witch and sets her up in a prominent place for all her guests to see. Like my grandma, she loves to watch the grandkids get scared to death by this toy.

Confession...I have to say that I have always kind of hated this witch.  She is so sick.  Her face and hands and her sick gray hair!!

And let's just be honest, her cackle might be the most annoying thing ever.

Well several years ago, before she died, I was visiting my grandma at her beloved condo at Old Farm.  She was still in great health and we had just come back from feeding the ducks.  Halloween was in full swing and of course her little witch was set up for the kids to see.  Before I left that day, she offered her little witch for me to keep.  I almost turned it down and told her no, but I did not want to hurt her feelings so I took it.

I remember thinking, why in the world would I want this thing in my house?  But in honor of my grandma and my mom, every year I pull out my little, creepy witch.  As the years have passed, I can't help but laugh as I have noticed that she has gradually found a more prominent place in my living room.  As I watch my kids play with her and squeal to the point that they are scared to death and convinced that she is alive and really watching them, I laugh to think this is exactly what it is for.  Thank you grandma and mom for keeping me young at heart...I get it now and I too, LOVE my witch.

Other than witches and pumpkins, not a lot is happening.  We had a great weekend cuddled up on the couch watching conference.  After priesthood session, we decided it was time for our annual caramel apples.  I added too much water to the melting caramel, so they did not turn out exactly how they should, but don't worry, we still ate them and I am sure our future dentist will thank us.

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