Learning from the Kids!

"Do you know what letter this is, Justin?"

"Can you tell me what word this is, Jordan?"

"Can you write your name, Kristi?"

Well, none of that seemed very long ago, but now they are saying to me:

"Do you use Google Reader, mom?" asked Justin.

"Do you use Google Docs and Google calendar, mom?" asked Jordan.

"Are you on Facebook, mom?" asked Kristi.

How fun to have it all be reversed, and to be so well-schooled by the kids!

Thanks, Jordan, for the tips on using Google; thanks, Justin, for showing me how it all works ; and thanks Kristi, for encouraging me on computer stuff.

You are all mighty fine teachers!

February 25, 2009

If you guessed "things seen while walking," you would be CORRECT, so

toss the hat, the scarf, the gloves, the heavy jacket....it's WALKING OUTSIDE WEATHER!

And, a special thank you to Margaret Emery from Rexburg Idaho, for the Christmas gift of the crocus bulbs...how fun to have some little flowers popping up in our yard already.


Serendipity: Rediscovering Allen's Poems

Okay, so I was hunting for something else entirely, but I came across Allen's poetry:


This line from his poem SNOW, which is talking about believing in God, absolutely resonated with me:
I loved the imagery in that line....he's very good at imagery and painting word pictures.

Lots of his poems are favourites, but one that is fun because it's so true is Potato Salad. It describes a perfect day with Kay & Norma Perrenoud from Rexburg, Idaho and then eating some of Norma's delicious potato salad...it makes me want some right NOW!

Allen should be poet laureate of something because he's very good at writing.

So, here's a picture of Allen as if he were poet laureate of something and people are walking by admiring this great poet!


It's Grandkid Time!

Kristi and Jordan both had/have Labrador retrievers. I've been with both of those dogs when they were being thrown something (stick in water or ball on lawn). Both those dogs never tired of the throw and go-get game! It would amaze me how those dogs would just keep coming back for more - even though they were very tired. Finally, the Person throwing the object would give up and say - it's time to quit.

This week, we have Miles and Eli...so fun, fun, fun. They are delightful, obedient, playful, happy, go-getters.

Last night after Family Home Evening, we were playing with balloons; tossing them back and forth to each other. I said to myself (thinking of the dogs who never tired of the game): "I'm not going to say anything...I'll just keep throwing these balloons until one of the boys says let's quit!" Wrong! They just kept playing and throwing and throwing and playing. Finally, after what seemed like a very, very long time, I gave in and said, "OK, time for a story!"

I'm wondering, really, would they still be throwing balloons if I hadn't cried UNCLE!?!?!? Would they qualify for Guinness Book of World Records if the grandmother hadn't said to herself - time for something else?

I love the enthusiasm of kids and the sheer joy they can get out of playing with an orange balloon! Thanks, Justin and Amy, for letting us play with your kids for a few days.


Gadget Guru

The last few years of my dad's life, he was really into electronic gadgets. His computer desk was a milieu of gadgets, cords, plugs, etc. He wanted the latest and greatest. I loved his enthusiasm for all the techno stuff. Sadly, as he got older he couldn't really use it or remember how to use it, but he still wanted it! Isn't that great?!?!

That brings me to MOI as a gadget guru. I'm like my dad; I want all the latest, and sadly like my father, I can't always figure out how to use it. So, guess who gets stuck figuring it out - you guessed it - the person who didn't want me to get it in the first place; and that would be Allen...my great-gadget-guru-fixer-upper-husband-of-his-wife's-toys.

Example of a gadget that needed help from my techno-savvy husband: slide scanner - or rather it should be called by its more appropriate name: slide scammer. It was a scam because it's a piece of junk, and Allen has had to try to figure out how to work it.

BUT, here's two gadgets that took no help from Allen and that I absolutely LOVE:

Are you ready for two great gadgets that I use A LOT- Here they are in full color:

You can buy these might fine products here:

Now, how do I use these mighty fine gadgets? Here's the answer: I take the IPod case to Primary and use it every Sunday to try to quiet down the little dears by playing soft Primary music? Has it ever worked? No, that is to say the IPod speakers work, but playing the music hasn't worked. I'll keep trying. I also use it when I exercise, so I don't have to wear annoying ear plugs.

As for the teeny reading light; it's awesome. It's four a.m. Allen is sound asleep, and I need to stay cozy and warm, but also need to read Bleak House. If I turn on my big reading lamp...VOILA! it wakes up Allen, so instead, I just put that little gizmo over my ear, it points right at the Kindle, and I'm ready to read without disturbing anyone.

Now, don't you agree that those are two fun gadgets?


It's a Day for LOVE

Happy Valentine's Day (and a Happy Birthday to Amy, as well.)

If the day is all about love, then I want to express my thanks and my love to my dear parents, whose great love is something that I will always be grateful for.

Here's what I had growing up:
a happy home
3 incredible brothers
a big, shaggy dog called Willy and named Princess Willhelmina
a home with a mom, dad, and dinner together round the table each night
a dad who was very busy, but always showed up when we performed
a dad who would sit at the organ and play music
a mom who was a great traditional cook - she didn't try a lot of new things, but boy, her food was
mighty tasty
a white cat called Snowball
cars, vacuums, delivered milk and ice cream which were all payments for dad's legal services
a home filled with love - now, don't get me wrong...my brothers and I argued, I argued with my parents, but underneath it all, I knew that we were LOVED.

So, on this day of love, thanks, mom & dad, for the greatest gift of all: a happy, loving home!

A Final Note on Money!

Dee told me a great story about money and finances.

One day, when her ex-husband brought her three daughters back from the weekend of being with him, he paid his child support in one dollar bills. That made Dee so angry! She knew he had done it on purpose just to make her angry...and of course, he had done it just to spite her. But, smart Dee....she turned it into a really great teaching moment.

She and her daughters counted the money; she had them put it in piles for all their expenses: house payment, food, tithing, car payment, gas, etc. They could visually SEE the family financial situation. She told me that it had a profound effect on those three young girls, and they didn't ask for things as much after that...because they now understood how much money was available and how far it had to stretch. They also realized that if they wanted extras, they would have to have jobs to get what they wanted.

I loved that story...wish I would have been that smart. But, it's never too late. I'm tending grandkids...maybe I can work in some money talk with my five year old and two year old (or is that too young?)

Enough of all this, but for this final note. I am extremely grateful for Allen's job over many years. It was not a high paying job, but it was sufficient and regular. Thank you, Heavenly Father for that great blessing.


Show Me the Money!

Regrets...ah, I have so many relating to parenting. But, one that is way at the top of the long, long list of regrets is that I didn't ever talk about $$$$$$ with our children. I didn't help them understand saving, spending, charging, debt, etc., etc.

There are two reasons for that:
1. I didn't understand it myself!
2. I'm extremely private - like my father. (As you can see from this blog, I have obviously changed in that arena a little.) My dad was very, very private about his finances, and I tend to be that way also. Not good. Parents should talk with kids about money & finances. Parents should have children save money, pay for their own things, not be given everything, and should have a heads up about their parent's financial situation, and so on.

I'm getting better about money than before. Allen and I used to disagree about $$$$$$, until he convinced me to use a spreadsheet and a budget. It has saved our financial marriage! I'm on a budget...I like it..it's actually FUN to try and live within the guidelines and it's so fun to see the savings grow! Sometimes, it's even hard to spend money! Well, okay, just sometimes.

Here's some things I've read or learned in the last few days that are interesting to me about money:
1. Positive/optimistic people tend to make more money than negative people. (No wonder Bernie Madoff is so wealthy...he was positive he could bilk people and he did!) Well, okay, that's not the best example.

2. People who are grateful tend to lead happier, more successful lives. While this does not relate directly to money, it shows an attitude of being grateful for what one has and thus, taking care of it, and not taking life or things for granted.

3. People can change their spending habits; even people in debt can get control of their finances and turn their situation around. But, it requires discipline, a budget, and tracking expenses. Thanks, Allen, for the great spreadsheet which makes this all possible for me.

4. Sharing what we have can be done no matter what our resources are. And, that really makes for feeling good! Don't you just love to donate GOOD items to DI or Goodwill? Doesn't it just feel so good to send someone an anonymous bit of money? OH, yeah, that's gooooooooood.

5. Saving is a kick!

By the way, I just read two conflicting articles related to saving. One article stated that because Americans overspent and saved too little, consumers are partly to blame for the terrible recession we are in. Then the other article said that since the recession, Americans are saving too much and not spending enough! Figure that one out!

The bottom line is - save a little, spend a little less. And, just enjoy life with whatever you have!

Here's a mini look at our budge with the amounts removed for more privacy (see above about privacy!)


It's Birthday Time!

That was indeed a happy day on February 9, 1970. Jeremy is one of those amazing kids that is always happy! And, he could entertain himself with his toys for a long time. What a fun child he was! When he was about two years old, our friend, Martha, who had studied some sort of facial blah, blah, told us one day, "He's got musical ears!" And, indeed he does...along with musical fingers, and voice, and entire body. At a band concert one summer when Mr. Beck had the concert outside, our neighbor, Mr. Maybee said, "I just watched Jeremy the entire night...he was so entertaining to watch as he played the drums!" I've always loved Jeremy's music from the drums to the guitar to the steel drum (which was just awesome!) to the piano...that kid is Mr. Music. Here's another story about the Birthday Boy....when he was about 5, I asked him one night what he was going to do with his children when he was a dad...his response, "I'm going to spank em, and slap em, and have home evening!" (This is NOT a reflection of our home evenings, I am quick to add!) When he was an early teen, our neighbor, Andrea, had a very bad crush on Jeremy. I confiscated a note from Andrea to Jeremy which read, "Which do you want, my body or a pizza?" Jeremy's answer, which is so typical of that kid, "How about both?"

When Jeremy was in 7th grade, he and his friend, Jim Taylor, leaned across the aisle and they said, "When we grow up, let's be doctors!" And, they both are docs! Allen and I are very proud of our 2nd son, third child. He has worked very, very hard in his career. He has a master's degree in chemistry, an MD in anesthesiology, and a Post-doc fellowship in Pain Management. He is also an officer in the United States Navy. (One of his only faults is that he doesn't call us enough or keep us posted about his life.) He is a wonderful father to three young sons.

So, on this day, we are enormously proud of our son, Doctor Hackworth! Love ya, Jeremy!


I DO love America!

We may not all agree with Mr. Obama; we may not all like his policies, but isn't it great to live in a country where many things are possible? This quote was in the paper - it just reminded me of how grateful I am to live in AMERICA!


What's Going On Here?

Something seems a teeny bit off, here.

You see, last week, I cut WAAAAAY back on snacking, ate LOTS less, exercised more, drank tons of water, and chewed more gum than the people at Wrigley's chewing gum plant.

And just what do I have to show for all that?!?!?!

I gained TWO pounds, and my pants are still very tight!

Here's to another week.....

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...