Thursday, April 30, 2009

So long April!

So hard to believe that a third of the year is suddenly gone. Time is really flying. I love May. May sounds so much closer to summer than April does! I've already been rebellious with this weather we are having. It's not quite time for a cooler wardrobe, but I find myself going out in capris pants and slippers anyway. Speaking of which, slippers have been on my mind lately. You see, I own a pair of Scott Slippers. They are somewhat retro... black top and bottom with a white stripe going around the side and fuschia straps! Get this... I've owned them for 15 years! No lie. I paid about $20 for them back then and it was worth every penny. My mom is coming out in August and she's always asking me what she can bring me. I never ask for much... a little bit of candy that I can't get here and sometimes some Japanese utensils (although with Daiso in the Mall and Uwajimaya coming to Renton, there is pretty much nothing I won't be able to get in that area!) Well, I asked her to bring me a pair of Scott slippers. I told her I'd pay for them because if they were $20 15 years ago, I shudder to think of how much they are now. I went online and found some pairs I liked. Long story short, she was able to go to the warehouse and pick them up at wholesale... still $20! She said she had priced them out at Macy's before she went there and they want $48 for them now! For slippers!! So she bought me two pairs and then proceeded to tell me it was my Mother's Day gift. Isn't she sweet?

Anyway... so I bid farewell to April... farewell to April showers (not that May is much different in Washington)... farewell to Easter and spring break and cherry blossoms and apple blossoms. I welcome May with open arms... I welcome warmer temperatures, more sunshine, the start of the open markets, Memorial Day, Lei Day (although I won't have a lei to wear this year), and whatever other treats May has in store for us!

Swine Flu Pandemic - Part 3 (Back To Basics - Fever)

**As with anything, I urge all to be prayerful when considering information found on the internet. As we are told in Moroni 10:5: And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.**

Back To Basics - Fever

I have SO much I want to touch on with regard to the swine flu hysteria. I think today I’ll start by going back to the basics regarding fevers.

I can’t adequately express how often I’ve heard mothers around me say, “Yeah, Timmy’s got a fever. I just keep giving him Tylenol and ibuprofen and try to keep him comfortable.” To me, this is like nails on a chalkboard and it takes everything in me not to shout, “DON’T DO THAT!”

When SARS was the big scare of 2003, I was pregnant with my second child. I remember doing a lot of research on the topic because I worked in a hospital and we had patients on isolation precautions if they had any suspicious respiratory symptoms. The only time I ever got scared was the night I was working and 6 different patients and nurses (myself included) got bloody noses in the same shift. At Mike’s bidding, I went on maternity leave after that. It was the last shift I worked before having my baby.

In the next post, I’m going to post an article I read back then entitled “Murder In the Medicine Cabinet”. The title caught my eye and I read it with great fervor. I will admit that there were parts of it that seemed a bit outlandish but overall, I got a distinct feeling that I should straighten up and pay attention to what it said. Basically, it talked about how the flu epidemic of 1918 may have been perpetuated by the use of antipyretics (fever reducers), specifically aspirin. The way the human body fights viral infections is by raising the body’s core temperature, resulting in a fever. The fever stops the viral RNA from replicating, giving the body’s own defenses the opportunity to seek and destroy the virus. The premise of the article was that if we reduce the fever, we also knock out the body’s natural defense system against the viral attack. We feel better for a time but we run the risk of allowing the virus to replicate unchecked. This leads to pneumonia and can be deadly. Pneumonia kills a LOT of people each year.

The article made brilliant sense to me and I felt the spirit whispering the truth of it to me. I was so confident in its explanation of things that I decided to use its principles to govern the way I care for my own sick children. I began “experimenting”, if you will, with their illnesses in an attempt to see if the principles were correct. I should note that I did this prayerfully and felt confirmation that what I was doing was right. It made sense to me... I asked myself why the body would get a fever. I also asked myself why we cough when we are sick. If we stop and think about the simple answers, it really seems odd to treat those things.

The first time my children got a viral illness and ran fevers, I left them alone. I followed the spirit in how I treated them. Ethan was a toddler. I knew he was sick because he slowed down.. WAY down, and this was uncharacteristic for him. A fever followed. Evan was just a baby and all he wanted to do was nurse and sleep on my chest. So I dragged out the pillows and blankets and camped out on the couch with my children. I felt prompted to leave them completely alone. I was inspired NOT to force fluids or give any medications, as is so often the advice given. This was a complete test of my faith because it went against everything I had ever been taught. I wondered if I was harming my children and at one point almost gave in and medicated them. They were hot. Truth be told, I didn’t have a thermometer and so I had no idea just how hot. I know that their faces were red and they even LOOKED hot. But each time I felt like giving in, I felt prompted to again leave them alone. I offered fluids, but did not force them. Occasionally, Ethan would sit up and ask for a drink and I obliged. Then he’d lay back down and fall asleep.

This experiment went on for 13 very long hours. But something magical happened in the 14th hour. The fevers broke, my children woke up, and they were happy and well. Ethan hopped off the couch and acted like nothing had ever happened. I was stunned. I just couldn’t believe it was that “easy”. Now when I say “easy”, I just mean that I really didn’t have to do anything but stay with them and monitor them. Thirteen hours is a relatively very short period of time for a viral illness. I know so many mothers who say it lasts for days. My faith had been tested... and my testimony strengthened.

Since that time so long ago, I have always treated my children’s fevers the same. I do nothing. It’s a free day. They get to lay on the couch and watch TV and sleep. I don’t force food or fluids. I allow them to dictate when they need to eat or drink. And every single time my experience has been the same. The viral illness is short lived and they are fine, typically the very next day.

Because of my experience with fevers, I also treat coughs the same way. I don’t believe in cough suppressants for the most part and my children have never had them. If we cough, it’s because our lungs are trying to get rid of something. When we suppress the cough, we allow that “something” to fester and worsen in the lungs. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and yes, our children lose sleep over it. But it’s necessary. I have said over and over and over that pain is purposeful. Pain motivates us to do things to get better. (As a side note, I often educate people about the pain involved with pregnancy labor. It is very, very purposeful. Labor pains make women MOVE. They instinctively move around in different positions to alleviate the discomfort and these movements also allow their babies to get into proper positions for birth. When we knock out the pain, as with an epidural, women then lay in bed for labor. It’s much harder for their babies to position themselves properly and we see an increase in the use of forceps and vacuums and an increase in cesarean section rates. PAIN IS PURPOSEFUL.)

So often in the world of allopathic medicine, we treat symptoms and not causes. A fever is a symptom that is sending us a message. We should treat the cause and not the fever. Coughing is a symptom that is sending us a message. Treat the cause, not the cough. The fever and the cough are vital actions that are necessary for a return to good health. I can think of so many other example. When we sprain a muscle, it hurts. The pain prevents us from relying on that muscle anymore, thereby allowing it to heal. When we medicate that pain, we may not be as careful with the muscle and that may prolong the healing process. Again, pain is purposeful.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where pain is really not appreciated. I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, suggesting that I enjoy pain. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I do try to stop and figure out what is causing the pain rather than just blindly eliminating it. We live in a world that doesn’t believe in pain. If we have an ache or a pain, we want a magic cure. There must be a pill or a potion we can take to get rid of it. Until we learn to accept discomfort, I fear we are going to continue to see illness be lengthened and worsened to some degree.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu Pandemic - Part 2 (My journey to natural healing)

My Journey To Natural Healing

With each passing day, it seems there is more and more media coverage about the Swine Flu Pandemic. My employers have gotten in on the action too (and rightfully so as they are hospitals). I remember similar hype when SARS was rampant, followed by the avian flu scares. I’ll admit, swine flu seems to have claimed more “victims” in a shorter period of time, but I’m only going on what I hear from the very biased and slanted media. (If you can’t tell, I have some pretty strong opinions about the media as well... free speech is anything but!)

As I mentioned in Part I, Teresa inspired me to start writing some thoughts about this whole mess when we had a little conversation about the media scare. Apparently, she is not new to the natural healing world. I find more and more in common with her every time we talk! While discussing things, I had mentioned that unlike her, natural healing was not always a part of my life. I grew up in a very, very allopathic world. And in fact, my work as a registered nurse still has me dappling in western medicine quite a lot, but my feelings about it are very different than they were ten years ago.

Let’s start at the very beginning (“a very good place to start... when you read you begin with A-B-C, when you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi... Do-Re-Mi”... sorry... couldn’t resist!) I will start with my birth because it was anything but natural and because as anyone knows, I have some very strong feelings about the birth world in this country.

I was born in a conventional community hospital in southern California. My mother’s experience, as she recounts it, horrifies me. I don’t think it horrifies her at all. It’s all she knew. It was just the way you had babies. She labored in the labor ward and when it was time to start pushing, she was wheeled into a delivery room. I can’t imagine being moved ANYWHERE while having the urge to push a baby! She was strapped to a table, on her back, with her legs up in stirrups. She was shaved and I was delivered. I have no idea if forceps were used, but they were quite common when I was born (the early 1970s). I was then taken from my mother to a community nursery. I never got the opportunity to stay with her, to bond with her, to have my traumatic birth eased at all. I doubt very highly that anyone handled me gently. I’d be willing to bet that the lights were bright and the noises were abundant (how could they not in a nursery filled with other babies?)

It was my mother’s intention to breast feed me. However, I was jaundiced and had to stay in the hospital for phototherapy after she was discharged and so breast feeding went out the door. Nobody bothered to talk with my mother about pumping milk. Nobody gave her any advice whatsoever. I had to stay, therefore formula was the only answer.

As a side note, when my mother talked to me about my birth story a long time ago, I remember her saying that when she had to leave me behind in the hospital, she cried. At the time, I remember thinking, “oh, how sad.” Then I had my own children and I finally “got it”. And now it makes me cry too. Having had my own babies, I can’t even fathom being separated from them when they were that little... for really no reason at all. We were never, EVER separated from our babies in the hospital. They never went to a nursery. I think my babies were weighed in the nursery but you better believe that one of us always went with them.

As I grew, I began having serious chronic ear infections. (Hmm... wonder how much the infant formula had to do with that!) It reached a point where I had to have tubes placed in my ears. My mother tells me that she remembers me screaming when anyone would even come near my ears because I was so terrified. Incidentally, I have very serious sensory overload to this day and I wonder if this is somehow related. I am very sensitive to certain loud noises and it waxes and wanes depending on my moods and other factors I have yet to identify.

I can remember the pediatric office I went to as a child. The decor was definitely very 70s! I can remember a large fish tank and small tables with child sized chairs made of a material that can only be described as orange, plastic, wicker. But most of all, I remember the nurse who sat behind the reception desk. She wore blue eye shadow, a white smock, and a white nurses cap. She was beautiful. But she also gave me shots... painful shots. And after awhile, I hated her.

Thankfully, aside from the above ear infections, I was pretty healthy. My brother, however, was not. He was born when I was 5. Within a short period of time, he got sick. I remember it all like it happened yesterday. My mother had given him a smack on his leg for touching something forbidden and she noticed some time later that the mark didn’t go away... and there were red bumps all over it. She called the pediatrician who advised her to take him to the emergency room. We went up to UCLA medical center. I remember sitting in that waiting room for what seemed like forever, watching other families come and go. There was a little girl there who had a gash on her forehead that was quite bloody and I can recall just staring at it. Someone asked her mother about it and her response was, “her brother creamed her with a shovel.”

Sometime later, my mother came out... without my brother. She was hysterical. It is forever burned on my brain. She was crying and upset and I believe it was my first memory of seeing my mother in that state. She said something about sticking needles into his back for samples and then she held her hands up to show the size of the needles and to my 5-year-old eyes, I was sure they were a foot long. Mind you, she wasn’t saying this to me, but I was there. And I never missed a thing. Then she said he’d have to stay in the hospital.

It was about this time that I began living with my grandmother so that my mother could stay with my brother in the hospital. The next several months are a blur to me. Leukemia was the buzz word in our house. I went on with school (and it was a very difficult, traumatic year in school for me... a year of which I don’t have a single positive memory). My brother came home sometimes and his bedroom looked like a hospital room. I remember mom talking about “cleaning his lines” all the time. My other memories come back when I see the handful of photographs left from this time in our lives... our dog Akita, the linoleum kitchen floor, my Tutu visiting from Hawaii, the jello water in the fridge that was not to be touched because it was the only thing my brother could stomach, the native American print on our couch, the painting of the train on our wall, the closet in my room that I escaped to when life got painful. These are my memories.

I will never forget the day “it” happened. I woke up one morning and my grandmother called me into her bedroom. She put her arms around me and said, “R. died last night.” I just remember saying, “Oh grandma!” and burying my face in her stomach and crying my eyes out. I remember the somber sadness and the funeral. And then grandpa died of a stroke some six weeks later. I remember being told about that while I was sitting at the dinner table eating peas... and I began stabbing each pea with my fork because I was so angry that my loved ones were being taken from me.

We moved to Hawaii after all of this. It was a good move for everyone. We left behind one set of memories to start up another set. I loved growing up there. I miss it terribly now that I’m Washington. My mother began working in a hospital there in 1980, shortly after we arrived. She works for the same hospital to this day. (See, I can’t get away from hospitals... they’ve been a part of my life for as far back as I can possibly remember.)

During these years, I lost all of the rest of my grandparents, my father, my mother’s sister, and various aunts, uncles, and even friends. My brother was born in 1982 and I remember he also had chronic ear infections as a baby/toddler.

When I started college, I needed a job. My mom pulled strings and got me a job working in her hospital. I was so grateful. I worked in the medical records department and got paid a whole lot more than minimum wage. I was still going to college because I had a scholarship, not because I really knew what I wanted to do with my life when I grew up. Someone I worked with mentioned nursing and I remember thinking that it was a cool idea. So I took a job working as a unit secretary on a cardiac unit. I got to know nursing first hand and decided to go to school. I graduated from nursing school in 1997 and have been working continuously in the profession ever since.

I worked in a family practice clinic for a year and then an inpatient cardiac medical unit for about six months. Then I switched hospitals and worked in a surgical cardiac unit for about 4 years. I cringe when I think about all of the horrific dietary advice I gave my patients back then... but it was what the AHA recommended. Then I moved into the Level II nursery for four years and now I work in a hospital birth center and have been there a year and a half.

During this time, I got married and had 2 children. My first birth experience was very, very traumatic and wound up in a cesarean section. I had an elective c-section with my second although I really wanted to try a VBAC.

After my babies were born, I went through a period of profound depression. I remember looking at my husband with all of his health problems and my own family history and I wondered what kind of sad legacy we were handing to our children. Were they doomed to have diabetes and heart disease like their relatives before them? It upset me greatly. And then I decided that I couldn’t just give up. I wanted to try and give them a future. And soon I realized that there was more that I could do than I ever imagined.

It all started with breastfeeding. Giving infant formula just wasn’t an option for me. I wanted them to have a fighting chance right from the start. Ethan got a little bit of formula for a couple of months when he was about 10 months old. Evan has never had any formula. He was exclusively breast fed for six months and then we introduced solids at that age. But he continued to breast feed until he self-weaned at the age of 2-1/2 years. I made all of my own baby food. Something just didn’t seem right about giving my babies food from boxes and jars. I don’t eat all my food out of boxes and jars so I didn’t think it was wise to have them eat that way either. My kids have never, ever eaten baby food from jars and they’ve never had dehydrated cereal either! I worked hard to do this and I’m so happy I did it!

I started researching organic food at about that time and I began to understand more about the importance of eating locally grown, organic food. I am still far from doing that right now. It’s expensive and I’m lazy. But I do eat some things that are organic and if I could get my act together, I’d eat more.

I also started researching homeopathics and essential oils, both of which are in use in our home today. My children have never had antibiotics... ever. (Wait, I think Ethan had a topical antibiotic for a skin rash when he was a baby... but I never used it all.) I began researching raw milk, acupuncture, and other natural remedies. I’ve incorporated several things into our lives. And while I may not be a hundred percent, I do believe that every little it helps.

And in my quest to heal from my own traumatic birth experiences, I began researching natural childbirth as well. I am very, very passionate about birth education. I just wish I worked in an area where that education made a better difference. I don’t discount the teaching that I do but I feel as though women should have this education much, much earlier than they do. I think we need a completely different approach about how we teach children about birth, puberty, menstruation, and other things of that nature.

So that is how I began my journey to a more natural approach to things. It’s a work in progress. I have slowly, over the years, tried to make changes here and there. I am not going to lie. We are still addicted to sugar in this house and it WILL be the death of us if we don’t get it in check. All of the coverage surrounding the swine flu has actually gotten me a bit excited to get out of my rut and continue researching and making changes. I believe that the human body is an amazing miracle. If we think about the things humans have survived over hundreds of years, it is apparent that humans are adaptable and really CAN heal from illness and disease. But in these last days, it’s becoming more and more difficult to allow our bodies to heal when we live in a world with so much going against us. We eat food that is processed, chemically laden, antibiotic laden, boxed, and old. Then we microwave it! And we expect to be healthy. On top of that, we put products on and in our bodies that are filled with chemicals and poisons. And we expect to be healthy. Then we load up on medications that affect the health of our kidneys and livers. And we expect to be healthy. At some point, these things become too much for our bodies. We must help ourselves first. As I said, we are FAR from perfect. But we’re making little changes, here and there and I believe it is helping. My children are very healthy. They rarely get sick aside from an occasional cold and an occasional GI upset. Neither of them has EVER had an ear infection.

Now that I’ve got my journey all written out, I’ll come back in the coming days and elaborate on more specific things. I’m very excited to do this!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Pandemic - Part 1

Okay, Teresa has inspired me to start writing about this topic. (Thanks Teresa!) This swine flu pandemic has a lot of people in a panic. I don't necessarily think it's something we need to panic over though. So I've decided that I'd start writing about what I've learned about illness and caring for our bodies. I do believe there are things we can do and resources at our fingertips to help us in staving off these offenders. But you won't hear about them at your local doctor's office.

I don't have a lot of time right now to get into it all, but I would like to start by sharing a scripture to ponder. When President Hinckley (I miss that man!) challenged us to read the Book of Mormon all the way through, I took that challenge very seriously. There was a scripture that popped out at me while I was reading Alma and it warmed my heart. I have been studying natural healing rememdies for a long time now and this really confirmed what I had been studying about. So I leave you with this scripture from Alma 46:40. I'll be back in the coming days with more specific things.

40 And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land - but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate-

Project Grief

I work with birthing families. I am privileged to be present with families at the happiest time of their lives. Is there any other joy greater than welcoming a new life into the world? As one can imagine, when things go well, the joy is immense. And when things don't go well, the grief is just as powerful. Sadly (and thankfully not often) I also must walk the path of grief with birthing families. The sadness can be unbearable at times and I typically end up just sitting and crying with families as they work through the shock of losing a baby. As difficult as this task is, I wouldn't trade it for the world because I believe that these moments are the ones that shape and mold us and give us the chance to examine who we are deep down. These are the moments that force us to see life through another's eyes. These are the moments that allow us to see how blessed we are.

I recently had the honor of walking this path with a very sweet family. I'll call them Jane and John. I'll call their baby Jack. Obviously, these are not their real names. My charge nurse asked me to take some things down to the emergency room so that they could do footprints and measurements on a baby. Jane had lost her baby at just 17 weeks gestation. I gathered up some reading material we have on grief and loss as well as a memory box, and some printing material. Unfortunately, it is impossible get hair on a 17-week baby. If there is any, it's just a very minute amount of fuzz that is unfortunately matted to the scalp in such a manner that it is impossible to remove. When I got down to the ER, I was directed to Jane's "room" (it was more like a cubicle with the curtains drawn). When I walked in and saw her, I introduced myself to her and then my heart just sank. I looked over and saw that she was holding baby Jack on her chest... on a chux pad. I excused myself to go and get a blanket from the nursery for the baby. I was beyond frustrated by our selection of blankets for micro preemies. You see, you can't just use a normal blanket for a baby of this age. They are so tiny they can fit in the palm of your hand, head to toe. It would be the equivalent of wrapping up a 5-year-old in a king sized blanket.

We have a nurse on our unit who has taken the time to cut some flannel baby blankets into smaller pieces. I grabbed one of those but I was frustrated because, well, it looked like it was cut... it had raw edges to it. I also found a tiny knitted cap for the baby. Thankfully, we have volunteers that make caps for micro preemies. And even though it was super tiny, I still had to roll the brim a few times for it not to cover the baby's entire head.

I took these back to the ER and then asked the ER staff if they wanted me to take care of the prints. They were all too happy to allow me to do that. So I gently picked Jack up and was able to get the most perfect foot prints from him. His little foot prints were no longer than the first third of my pinky (from the tip of my pinky to the first joint). I was then able to get some beautiful, tiny hand prints on him as well. We measured him... he was only 7 inches long and weighed about a third of a pound. Then I asked Jane if I could wrap him in a blanket and hat and she was grateful that I would do that. Finally, he looked like a peacefully sleeping little guy instead of a dead fetus on a chux pad.

This experience really threw me and I decided that I needed to do something about it. So I've looked into making REAL blankets for these babies. People often don't realize how real the grief is for someone who has miscarried a baby. These babies are real and even though they are the tiniest little things, their parents love them and hold them for a very long period of time before they are separated. They kiss their babies and stare at them and marvel at them just the same way parents marvel over their full term newborns. To see a baby laying on a chux pad broke my heart. And then to have difficulty finding a blanket to fit him was frustrating.

Having experienced a miscarriage myself, I am well aware of how difficult that grief is. Mine occurred early enough that I never had a baby to hold. But the grief was no less.

I love to knit and began looking for a blanket pattern. I found a pattern that I'm trying out. The directions include 3 different sizes and I'm making the smallest size because that's the size we will use most. It's a very fast project and I think it will look nice when I get done with it. I'm hoping to make several of these. I also have a bin full of flannel fabric that has gone unused for a few years. I have several baby prints. I think that I will cut it up and make micro preemie sized blankets with finished edges and leave them in the nursery for these babies. These won't have pockets in them like the knit buntings do, but they will be small enough to swaddle the tiniest of babies.

I have said over and over again (and will continue to say it as long as it needs to be said)... Mothers (and fathers) will remember these experiences forever. They may not remember our names but they will remember the way we treated them and more importantly, they will remember how we treated their babies. We have within us the power to make these experiences positive ones for them. Parents will take these experiences with them to the grave. I remember Mike's grandmother talking to me shortly before she died about her birth experiences. Despite the fact that those experiences were more than 60 years old, she could recount every detail.

If anyone has any good patterns or ideas, I'm open to any suggestions!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Moon Poster

To say that I'm elated about the release of New Moon in November would be a gross understatement. Just had to share this poster I found...


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Mosaic 2009

When I first read about the Earth Day Earth Mosaic project, I decided I wanted to upload a couple of photos. After I picked up Evan from school we ran out and I took advantage of some very sketchy sunlight. It didn't last long. We went back down to the Dumas Bay Park Wildlife Sanctuary. I chose these two. I uploaded them to both the Earth Mosaic main site as well as the Earth Mosaic Flickr Group. It was fun!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mindy Gledhill

Oh my heavens... what rock have I been hiding under that I haven't yet heard the music of Mindy Gledhill??? I was surfing iTunes for new, uplifting music tonight when I ran across a song by Mindy Gledhill. I clicked on the sample and thought, "Whoa. I need to hear more. Could she possibly be as good on other tracks?" Oh my heavens... I am in love with her voice! I mean I am REALLY in love! That's truly an understatement.

So I've spent the last hour or so surfing the net for everything I can get my hands on to learn more about her. Not only does she have an amazing voice and absolutely beautiful music, but she's gorgeous on top of it all. It's funny... I've heard of her. I have seen her CD in the bookstore but I just never gave her a chance. I don't really know why. Perhaps I was just too afraid to spend $15 on something I might hate. That's what I love about iTunes. And truthfully, I love YouTube because there are always videos that showcase entire songs so I can see if it's something worth buying. I think I heard maybe 3 or 4 measures of each song and I knew instantly that I HAD to have her latest album. I downloaded it tonight and have been in awe ever since.

I have a few favorite LDS musicians whose music I listen to over and over and over and never get tired of... Mindy moves right to the top of that list!

Okay... I've had the supreme honor of meeting Hilary Weeks in person. My life will be seriously complete if I can just meet Jenny Jordan Frogley and Mindy Gledhill! I have had the opportunity of seeing Jenny Jordan Frogley perform, but haven't had the chance to meet her. These three women have such powerful voices!! I'm so glad I discovered Mindy tonight!!

**Edited 4/24/09 to add: I think Ethan has a little crush on Mindy! Suffice it to say I've listened to NOTHING else but this album since I downloaded it the other day. It's on my iPod so I plug it in to the house speakers when I am in the house or the car or I just play it on iTunes when I'm on the computer. (Like for example, it's playing now! I think I'm having a love affair with Long Lost Child... reminds me of my sweet baby I lost a few years ago... I think that deserves an entry all its own.)

Anyway... When we got in the car two days ago and I plugged it in, this is the conversation Ethan and I had:

Ethan: "Mom, who is this singing?"

Me: "Mindy Gledhill. Do you like her? She's my new favorite singer."

Ethan: "Me too mom. She's totally my favorite singer now."

Me: "I'm glad you like her."

Ethan: "Yeah. You know what mom? If Mindy Gledhill was on American Idol, she'd win top prize!"

Me: "Oh yeah. She'd blow everyone out of the water wouldn't she?"

Ethan: "Yep!"

Is he so cute or what?! And when I say he has a crush on her, I'm not kidding. He is on a first name basis with her now. He says things like, "Mom, can I borrow your iPod? I want to listen to Mindy." And this morning, I got on the computer and didn't put on any music (GASP!) and he said, "Mom, will you please put Mindy on?" I absolutely LOVE that he loves this music. The lyrics entwined with the gorgeous music are so beautiful!!

Blossoms on our cherry tree!

We planted a cherry tree in our backyard last year for Ethan's birthday. I know it's not a conventional gift for a 6-year-old, but it's what he wanted. It had just a few itty, bitty leaves on it when we put it in the ground. We watched it bloom during the spring and then in the fall we watched it go into dormancy for the later seasons. I was so excited as spring arrived this year and I saw little, tiny green leaves coming out of hiding. But even more exciting than that was when I was getting ready for work the other night. I was home alone and in the bathroom fixing my hair and makeup. As is my usual habit, I peeked out the bathroom to see what was going on outside in our yard. I nearly squealed out loud when I saw little white flowers adorning our fledgling cherry tree!! My only regret was that Ethan was not there to share that joy with me. Of course I grabbed my camera and ran out to snap a few pictures. It's beautiful!! How can we see these seasonal changes and not believe that Heavenly Father has His hands in all things? Even tiny, perfect cherry blossoms are a testimony to me!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another perfect beach day!

Well it was another perfect day in paradise again yesterday. I worked Sunday night so I knew I'd be tired on Monday. I kept Evan home from school. I know there are a lot of people who would scoff at me for doing that, but we get SO few days like this in Washington and I do believe it's important to get out and enjoy when we can. He's in kindergarten, for heaven's sake. So I kept him home. I crashed out on the couch for a couple of hours and then we packed up and headed out. We went back to the Dumas Bay Park Nature Preserve. When we first got there, we OWNED the place. We were literally the only car in the lot and the only people on the beach. It was SO peaceful and serene. Later other people came, but there were never more than about 10 of us there at any given time. We stayed a good three hours and just had fun. I read a novel and took pictures while the boys played in the sand. The sun was SO invigorating.

Here are some pictures that I took. I am experimenting with this format. I downloaded Picasa for Mac last night and I've been playing. I'll see how this looks. If I don't like it, I'll go back to traditional uploading. Heck, I might end up doing that anyway since I want to turn this into a book. I don't know if this format will translate into single pictures when I use book loading software. Oh well... I'll just have to play around with it. I may be back to edit this entry! For now, this method is a LOT faster for writing blog entries which makes it more likely that I'll keep up with the blogging in a more timely manner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Messing with video uploads

Ethan grabbed the flip video today and took it outside. This is what he came up with. I'm testing my ability to upload my Flip videos to Blogger. I FINALLY got them to upload on my Mac! Yay!!

By the way... some video notes here...

At 56 seconds, 1:02, and 1:07, yes, that was him LICKING the lens in an effort to get it clean... ICK! And yes, you heard correctly at the end... "Turns out your car was unlocked." So he went in and helped himself to the Flip video.

I'm just happy I have finally been able to download Mac software for it and get it to run so I can put my videos up on Blogger!! Now... If I could only get my Mac to talk to Costco Photo, we'd really be in business!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Random moments

Sometimes when my camera is out I just take shots of random things. It's how I learn about different photo settings and options. Anyway... I got a few I had to post. One of them was really odd... a twin egg yolk! I don't know how common it is to get a twin yolk, but I've never seen one personally and we eat a fair amount of eggs. So I thought I'd take a picture. Otherwise, I also got some cute shots of the kids as well!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One last message for Easter

I found this on the church's website tonight and just had to share it. What an absolutely beautiful message to end this beautiful Sabbath Easter day!

Happy Easter!

I believe this Easter has been my favorite Easter... ever. I don't believe I've ever felt closer to the Savior than I do this year. I feel so amazingly blessed. I've taken the time to really try to better understand the atonement this year and to be absolutely certain that my children understand the real meaning of Easter. Between us and their primary teachers, I think we've all done a decent job because they seem to know the story pretty well.

I am still reading my book "21 Days Closer To Christ" and it's life changing. I see life the world differently. And this weekend was no exception. Everyone at church today gave such wonderful talks and the lessons were so wonderful.

I am humbled beyond measure to think that Christ atoned for
me... for my sins. And as someone reflected today, President Faust once asked, "I wonder how many drops of blood he shed for me?" It really puts things into perspective.

I am so proud of the boys. We have never really perpetuated the idea of the Easter Bunny. They know that the Easter Bunny is a fictional character in the secular festivities surrounding Easter, but they don't believe in him. If they get things for Easter, they know the things come from us. I purposefully did not leave their basket out for them last night. They wake up before we do and I didn't want them fighting over things. So I just waited.

They never asked about an Easter basket or treats of any kind this morning. I was so touched by that. We spent the weekend making resurrection rolls and coloring eggs and talking about the real meaning of Easter. I really think that that was good enough for them. They weren't looking for anything more. Right before we were ready to serve breakfast, I brought out a basket and they were genuinely surprised! It was nice to see that.

I gave them each a stainless steel water bottle. Ever since I got mine, they've wanted one. They got a small notebook, some candy, and they each got a Little Kinz stuffed toy. They LOVE these little guys. They are smaller versions of Webkinz animals. They each come with a special code that you can plug into the computer. You get an adoption certificate for your animal and virtual money to purchase things for your pet. Then you can play games to earn more virtual money. So far they are having fun with that.

They also got new shirts and ties and I just had to snap a few pictures of them... they looked so spiffy for church today!

Ethan's Primary talk

Ethan had the honor of giving the talk in junior primary today. What a fun day to be able to give a talk! I wanted to include a copy of his talk here. Mike and I were SO proud of him. I stood by him, mainly to hold up some pictures. I held up a picture of the tomb and a picture of Mary Magdalene at the appropriate times in his talk. But he got up and read the entire thing by himself! He only needed my help while reading the scripture out of the New Testament because the print was small and I just had to hold my fingers so he wouldn't lose his place. He did a great job! Here is his talk:

Brothers and sisters, Happy Easter! Today we celebrate the resurrection of our savior.

Jesus Christ made it possible for me to live with Heavenly Father again.
When Jesus died, his body was placed in a tomb and a big stone was rolled in front of the door of the tomb. After three days, the stone was rolled away. Jesus was not there. He had risen! Jesus had been resurrected.

Being resurrected means that Jesus’ body and spirit were together again and would never be separated again.

The third article of faith says:

“We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”

Because of the atonement of Christ, all mankind can be resurrected again, including me! This is how Jesus Christ made it possible for me to live with Heavenly Father again.

John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (Note: Ethan read this directly from the scriptures and not from paper.)

I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is my savior and that through his atoning sacrifice, I can live with Heavenly Father again.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Resurrection Rolls

When I attended the Relief Society Enrichment meeting last week, someone mentioned resurrection rolls. Intrigued, I went searching for them and found a great recipe! I just knew I had to make these!

Last night when we got home from Port Orchard, we gathered the boys into the kitchen and told them we were going to have a special Easter lesson/project. They were excited. Mike and I read the Easter story to them out of Matthew and explained harder vocabulary words to them. We read all the way up to the point where it says Jesus was in the tomb for three days. Then we stopped to make the rolls. We each got a triangle of crescent roll dough. The dough represents the linen that Jesus' body was wrapped in after he had died. Then we each got a large marshmallow, which represented the body of Jesus. We dipped our marshmallows in melted butter, which represented the embalming oils used. And then we dipped it in cinnamon sugar, which represents the spices used on his body. We folded the sides of the dough up and over the marshmallow and pinched it together to "seal" the marshmallow inside (they wouldn't seal perfectly). We repeated the process to use up the rest of the dough. Then we put the tray of rolls into the oven, which represents the tomb. The rolls were baked for 12-15 minutes at 350F, which represented three days in the tomb.

When they were done, I took them out of the oven and covered them loosely with a towel so that the kids wouldn't see them. I let them cool slightly and then chose the best looking ones (not the ones that had a lot of marshmallow "ooze" around them) and put them on a plate. We all sat at the table and continued on with our Easter story. We talked about Mary coming to the tomb and the angel had told her that Jesus was not there, that he had risen. We asked the boys to open the rolls and tell us what they saw. They mentioned that Jesus was gone! We said, "That is correct, because after three days' time in the tomb, he had risen and was resurrected."

We LOVED this activity and I think we may need to make this an Easter tradition!

Coloring Easter Eggs!

We had SO much fun coloring Easter eggs yesterday! I think we came up with a pretty nice bunch of eggs! Truthfully, I got a different type of kit this year. You put the eggs in baggies and the put drops of color in the bag and roll them around. It was a MESS. We did have fun, but I probably won't do it that way again in the future. The day before, I had cooked some beets on the stove. I made sure I saved the beet water, which was VERY red because I had cut the stems on the beets a little short so they bled a lot. I added some vinegar to that water and dyed three of the eggs in that and I LOVE how the color turned out! In fact, I think next year I'd like to do natural egg dying. I'll boil up some beets again and other vegetables for different colors. The colors aren't as vibrant but I like how natural they look. Besides that, I've done a lot of research on food dyes and they scare me!

Anyway... here are some pictures from the day:

Quiet moments

On one of our rare sunny days last week, I caught Ethan basking in the sunshine and enjoying some quiet time on the trampoline. There is nothing quite like some quiet time in the sunshine!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Baptism for Savana

We had the special opportunity to attend our niece Savana's baptism today. I was honored to have asked to give the talk about the Holy Ghost. I got up very early to prepare for the day. The boys got up and we colored our Easter eggs and then got ready and headed out to Port Orchard.

The room was full and the presence of the spirit was almost overwhelming. It was nearly a physical presence in the room. I believe that every person who spoke that day made some mention of how strongly the spirit was being felt. Savana's aunt gave the talk about baptism and then she and Jay entered the baptismal font. Mike served as one of the witnesses. Right before Jay began to speak, he paused and it was so silent in the room. The feeling was so amazing. And then he spoke the words of the baptismal ordinance and baptized Savana and it was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't help but cry.

Then it was my turn to speak about the Holy Ghost. I was sooo emotional. It was difficult to get through that talk without bawling because I just felt so strongly about it. There were times when I just lost it. And then Jay confirmed Savana and that was such a beautiful prayer.

What a beautiful baptism. So, so beautiful. There just aren't words in our vocabulary to express my feelings.

My only sadness in the day is that I never got a picture of Savana. I can't believe it. We did get some other pictures and Jay was kind enough to take a few minutes outside to get a picture of our family. What a wonderful way to spend the day before Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Twilight and Harry Potter shrines

Lest anyone wonder about just how freaky I am about
Twilight and Harry Potter, I thought I'd post pictures of my bookshelf shrines. In truth, I got a new telephoto lens for my camera last week and was just playing around with it, seeing how far I could zoom in on things. What better thing to test out than my shrines!? So here they are, from a distance and up close. I know I'm a freak for having four copies of Twilight, but if you look closely, they are each unique and different. I am lucky that both of my copies of Breaking Dawn are signed by the author, Stephenie Meyer! It was a fun experience getting to meet her! As for Harry Potter, I'm not quite as freaky about that series (though Deathly Hallows might just be my favorite book of all time!) so I only own one copy each. Here they are...

Finally some NICE weather!!

I was so bummed out that I had to work all weekend. It was sunny, beautiful, and temps in the 70s! Oh well... such is life right? I did get Monday and today off and it was still sunny and beautiful. It wasn't
quite as warm as the weekend, but still lovely nonetheless. I took the boys to the beach yesterday. We tried out a new beach. I am ashamed to say that I had never even heard of this place and it's right in my own backyard! In fact, it's closer than Dash Point! It's the Dumas Bay Park Wildlife Sanctuary. It's about a quarter mile hike from the parking lot down to the water, but it's well worth the walk. Plus, the walk is on a trail that is so beautiful with thickets of trees on either side. I guess that shouldn't surprise me. After all, it is a nature preserve. It wasn't crowded at all. There were just a few other people there and after a time, we wound up being the only people around. We went with Nathan, a boy in Evan's kindergarten class, and his mom Corrine. She goes there a lot in the summer and showed me the way. I'm SO glad we went!!

It was just warm enough to be comfortable outside... warm but not hot. Now I must say that I was SHOCKED when Ethan got into the water. Just because it is warm outside does not mean that Puget Sound is warm enough to swim in! But Ethan is never afraid. He was DYING to go to the water. He would adore living in my Hawaii home. He's a water boy... has been since birth. He walked right into the frigid water and sat down in it. Just like that! Someone asked me if that was a bit of sunburn on his back. Um, NO! That is what happens when you sit in FREEZING water! Hahahaha!

I recently got a new lens for my camera. Costco had a great deal on the lens. I've been wanting a telephoto lens so badly and the technology I want is finally available at a decent price. So I had fun playing with that lens a lot. I am sooo looking forward to more days like this in the coming months!