Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tolman Top 40 Hits of 2009

40. Lighting fireworks in our driveway with Kimi and Zak
39. Ammon scoring over 100 in youth bowling league
38. Jonah kicking the winning goal for his soccer team
37. Micah winning a school contest with his drawing
36. Josh and Kala spending the day in Twin Falls with Jason & Hailey
35. Jonah and Micah starting Kindergarten
34. Saying goodbye to Uncle Malachi before he left for his mission to Portugal
33. Ammon finding a silver egg at the annual Perkins Easter egg hunt
32. Watching Gideon & Alyssa dance at their final BYU-I Extravadance performance
31. Josh and Kala seeing Firehouse in concert
30. Kala accomplishing the task of organizing the school Halloween Carnival
29. Going to the zoo on Son's Day
28. Seeing the Shoshone Ice Caves with Kimi
27. Kala performing in the Stake production of "The Ten Virgins"
26. Throwing Grandpa Tolman's surprise birthday party with his friend Clyde, before his shocking death
25. Listening to Kanyon's speech improve dramatically!
24. Feeling Baby Zoey's sweet spirit and watching Baby Ayla grow
23. Playing with cousins at the Corbett Reunion in Salmon
22. Learning that the results of Kanyon's sleep study were normal
21. Celebrating Thanksgiving with the Entrikins and Tolmans
20. Josh & Kala spending their 11th anniversary at the Logan temple and a suite at their honeymoon Bed & Breakfast
19. Josh being chosen to visit Kansas for work experience
18. Playing with the Forsgren cousins during our overnight stay in Stanley
17. Kala's "Divine 29 Day" with Hailey, complete with pedicure and a Shakespeare play
16. Camping at Meadow Lake with the Lingers
15. Reaping the benefits of growing our own garden
14. Going to the Tolman Reunion in Mantua
13. Sledding on Christmas Eve with the Perkins cousins in Cache Valley
12. Selling pumpkins from our patch for the first time
11. Getting a Wii for Christmas!
10. Ammon showing his pig Phineas at the fair
9. Josh's all-expense-paid vacation to Alabama
8. Visiting Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Perkins in Spokane
7. Attending Uncle Gideon & Alyssa's wedding and reception
6. Ammon getting to visit Mt. Rushmore with Grandma & Grandpa P. & Trina
5. Going to Lagoon with Aunt Tawna and Aunt Trina
4. Being together with all the Perkins siblings at Grandma Perkins' funeral
3. Josh and Kala visiting New Orleans
2. Seeing Yellowstone Park with the Perkins family
1. Starting the process to buy a new home!!!

Belated Birthday

Josh's birthday was at the beginning of November. We had such a fun time celebrating it with him! We decorated the house with signs, posters, and a pot of this: (thanks Darcy for the idea!)
The boys helped me pick out his gifts and helped me wrap them, too. They couldn't wait for him to open them!! Ammon gave him a gnome to add to his yard collection, Jonah and Micah colored pictures for him and gave him some of his favorite chocolate candy, Kanyon gave him a new bedside lamp, and I got him some lottery scratch tickets and made him his favorite homemade cheesecake. After the gifts were all opened, we announced that we would be going to eat lunch at Pizza Hut in Hamilton, Montana. The boys were surprised and were so excited! We had a delightful time! After the delicious lunch, we treated everyone to shopping! Everyone had fun buying themselves their own presents with their own money they had earned! Ammon got new basketball shoes, Jonah and Micah got new play-guns, Kanyon got new Diego shoes and a DVD player, and Josh got himself some new athletic shoes. It was a wonderful day for all of us!
Happy Belated Birthday Babe!
33 is a great number! (And I think you only seem to get better-looking with age!!!)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Launching Leftovers

After we were done selling pumpkins in our patch, we had about 200 still left of the almost 500 we grew. We debated about what to do with all the leftovers! We fed some to our neighbor's swine, we took a truckload of rotting ones to the dump, we used some as target practice in our backyard, and we took another truckload to donate to the High School FFA Fall Fundraiser.The FFA's Fundraiser included Pumpkin Smashing and Pumpkin Launching. The larger pumpkins were used in a smashing contest, where each contestant picked a pumpkin and smashed it with a hammer and the winner was the one who's pumpkin pieces landed the furthest away. The smaller pumpkins were used in the Pumpkin Launching, which was held outside. They were catapulted from a trebuchet that the FFA had built. We were the first ones to try out the Pumpkin Launching. The boys each picked a pumpkin out of the pile, walked up the hill to the launch site, and counted down while the FFA members released the pumpkins one at a time through the air. The boys LOVED watching the pumpkins being catapulted! The trebuchet sat on top of a grassy hill right behind the high school, and all the pumpkins smashed into pieces when they hit the school grounds below. The grass was covered in pumpkin guts, seeds, and shells. There was 2 FFA members who drove around on a 4-wheeler with a trailer attached, picking up all the pieces in between pumpkin launches. This was such a creative and fun way to dispose of some of the pumpkins, as well as being helpful to the school's FFA club!

Fall 2009 Top 10

Since I've been working on my 25 Days of Christmas, blogging about my family has been neglected--it is now past Christmas, and I left off at Halloween! Fall is officially over; it flew by in a flash this year! I'm saying goodbye to the autumn through our completed Top 10 List:

1. Gideon & Alyssa's Wedding
(a highly anticipated event!)

2. Soccer for Ammon, Jonah, Micah
(the first time they've all played the sport, and probably the last)

3. Go to Lagoon
(one of our favorite days this year)

4. Celebrate the twins' birthday
(they're SIX already!!!)

5. Church Halloween Party
(planned by Kala)

6. Trick-or-Treating and School Halloween Carnival
(both in one evening and always loads of candy and fun)

7. Go camping one last time
(it was also the first time in our new trailer!)

8. Sell Pumpkins at our Patch
(our first attempt, and a success!)

9. Play in the leaves
(fall wouldn't be complete without this!)

10. Celebrate Thanksgiving
(we had a wonderful time--more to come about it later)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I made it!!! All 25 days of Christmas are complete, and now I've got a holiday hangover...otherwise known as the let-down after the excitement has ended! I truly enjoyed each day, and I look forward to doing something similar next year for my friends and family who were not highlighted this time. Thanks to all of you for your kind remarks about my positive project! In case you missed it, CLICK HERE to read the blog that started it all.

I'm taking a break from blogging for a few days. Enjoy your holiday hangover weekend!

Friday, December 25, 2009

25th Day of Christmas - Josh

Introducing...JoshJosh is the only person on my list of 25 that I did out of order, because I wanted to save the best for last! Josh is my husband of 11+ years, and I love him with all of my heart.

We met in June 1997. During my senior year, I became good friends with Angela Corbett. Her family owned Mowin' Ranger, and the spring before I graduated, I got a job there starting as a janitor. Angela is also Josh's 2nd cousin. After he came home from his mission, he moved down to Tremonton to work at Mowin' Ranger to try his hand at something different than milking cows and changing pipe for his own family! One afternoon, I walked out the back door just as he walked in. It was truly love at first sight for me. I felt a giant flutter in my heart, and it stopped beating for a moment. I was caught so off guard I couldn't even speak. I stared at him, said "hi" and left. He doesn't recall this meeting. The first recollection he has of me was a week later than our first encounter. I was in Angela's kitchen washing dishes, wearing a shower cap. For some strange reason, I liked wearing shower caps that summer whenever I didn't feel like doing my hair! He thought I was cute, which is even stranger considering what I was wearing at the time! We began dating just weeks before I was to leave for SUU, a college that was 5 hours away!

I loved dating Josh. He was tall, dark, and handsome! I was drawn to his "nice guy" appearance and attitude. He was quiet and mysterious. He was a good listener and so understanding to my frustrations of life at that time. He was considerate and kind to me. After a week of dating, he was the first to say "I love you" after we returned home from watching a lame Batman movie in the theater. I was caught off guard again. I had strong emotions for him, moreso than I'd ever felt for any man before that. And even though I was just a young 18, I knew that I was just as much in love with him.

It was difficult dating long distance, but we wrote letters multiple times a week, emailed back and forth frequently, and called each other daily. I was grateful for the way he could cheer me up, even from hundreds of miles away. It soon became apparent to me that I would rather spend my time with him rather than apart from him. So I quit college, along with my two scholarships, got married and moved back to Tremonton.

The first seven years of our marriage were difficult. But the good between us always prevailed, and we remained together through it all. The past four years have been nothing but wonderful! I look forward to many good years ahead with him! He is my best friend, the love of my life, and my eternal partner. He is my counterpart, and is the best mate for me. He has so much good in him, and I love him for who is. I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else, nor do I want to.

After delivering Ammon by C-Section, Josh helped me stand for the first time the next morning. I passed out in his arms from a lack of blood and had a seizure. He remained composed and helped the nurses bring me back to consciousness. He stayed by my side to assure everything was alright.

After I delivered the twins C-Section 9 weeks premature, he spent time in the nursery with them as I remained practically comatose for 24 hours. He gave me hope and shared the positive aspects about their situation until I was able to really see them the following morning. He helped me by scrubbing my legs because I was unable to bend over to do it myself. I was never more in love with him than that moment alone!

After Kanyon was born by C-Section, he held the puke box in front of me and rubbed my back after the medication made me so sick I couldn't even see straight. I felt terrible, but he understood and was so loving. He held Kanyon by me and he helped the nurses assist me as much as possible.

He's a great father and loves to play with our boys. They look up to him and emulate him; Ammon idolizes him and wants to be just like him! Josh makes them laugh, he does fun activities with them, and enjoys wrestling around and playing in the yard with them. He gets up with Kanyon multiple times almost every night, and he treats Kanyon with gentleness and love through all of his fits. I'm grateful for the priesthood that he holds and uses in our home, and for the example that he is to my four sons.

He loves his job as the Golf Course Superintendent in Salmon, and he's excellent at what he does. He is one of the most hard working men I've ever met. He gives his all when he is on the job. He takes his responsibilities seriously, and has always taken care of our family. He always has our best interests in his mind and heart and he provides for our needs, both physically and emotionally. He is also the best gift giver and puts so much thought into giving the perfect gift. He spoils and surprises me on Mother's Day and Christmas, and enjoys making the boys feel special on their birthdays and Christmas.

He volunteers his time for worthy causes in the community: he's coached Ammon in little league baseball, he coached the twins in youth soccer league, he coached high school cross country for many years--one of his teams even brought home the state title!, he spent years being the scoutmaster for a local troop, and he is currently serving on the school board which is a difficult and time-consuming task. No matter what he chooses to participate in, he gives it his best, and others notice that and appreciate him so much for it!

Josh is easy to get along with. He is a great listener, and makes others feel like they are worthwhile to associate with. He is generous and is always donating what he can to non-profit groups and school clubs and local causes. He has so many talents! He is intelligent and smart! He loves to read and he is a great speller. He even went to the National Spelling Bee when he was in the junior high! He is my own personal dictionary; I can ask him what a word means or how it's spelled, and he is able to tell me without looking it up. He is competitive and almost always wins games of any kind--Scattergories, Scrabble, Monopoly, Battleship, Stratego. He is a quick learner and can do something with only being told once or seeing it done once. He takes care of our property and beautifies it, and he maintains our home and cars and equipment. He loves horses and enjoys training and taking care of them. He loves riding his motorcycle, and enjoys the feel of the wind in his hair. Sometimes he shows off, and the boys are always impressed! He is always willing to help Edward around the ranch, and I think there is no sexier thing than seeing Josh work a tractor! He has musical abilities and can play the piano and played the trumpet in high school. When he was 14, he was in a motorcycle accident that paralyzed his vocal cords, but he has never used that as a handicap. He is persistent and is dedicated and never quits.

He's always been there for me during my lowest times. He's been my hero and my savior on so many occasions. He is truly a good man, and he remains by my side even though I have so many weaknesses and shortcomings and failures. One of "our songs" says it all, because he's truly been 'my strength when I was weak, my voice when I couldn't speak, my eyes when I couldn't see--and he saw the best there was in me'.

For all those times you stood by me,
For all the truth that you made me see,
For all the joy you've brought to my life,
For all the wrong that you made right,
For every dream you made come true,
For all the love I found in you,
I'll be forever thankful, baby.
You're the one who held me up, never let me fall,
You're the one who saw me through, through it all,
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach,
You gave me faith 'cause you believed...
I'm everything I am
Because You Loved Me.
ITLY now, always and forever,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We Wish You A..

24th Day of Christmas - Dennis

(Sorry about the small size of the photo, I couldn't get it any better)

Dennis is Josh's uncle. He is the father of 9 children; the oldest and the youngest are boys, and the seven in between are girls!!! He lives in the east, so I don't see him very often. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him, either at graduations or weddings or funerals. He is quiet and humble, he is funny and has a great sense of humor, he is a positive person and smiles a lot. Since I don't know him very well, I enlisted the help of his daughters who were enthusiastic about sharing experiences and memories of their dad.

Dennis used to own and run a dairy. One memory that all the girls had was of his nightly routine after the chores were finished. Every night, he sat in his red recliner and ate popcorn in a giant green bowl of popcorn. His favorite popcorn mixture was 2 cups popcorn and 1 cup butter, and if anyone made the popcorn for him, he would give them yummy Kraft caramels in return! He always had volunteers because they loved those caramels!

He enjoys spending his spare time at the shooting range. He is an excellent marksman, and used to compete. Jodi loved going with him to the competitions and being his "spotter". She would look through binoculars to see where he hit so he could adjust his sights accordingly. On the farm, Heidi picked up empty bullet casings as they ejected from the guns. Dennis taught her how to shoot as well. He didn't approve of one of her former boyfriends in high school--so he invited him over one day for 'shooting'. Dennis gave him a gun that had a big kick and a huge barrell and it about took Heid's boyfriend's arm off when he shot it!

Amy loved going camping with her Dad in Wisconsin and spending time with him, and she credits that for her love of camping now. One of her favorite memories was going to get wood alone with him and eating a special lunch together with just the 2 of them, which in a large family is always a treat. A fun memory was of when her and Justine played their rock music loudly, and he turned on the stereo in the living room much louder than their music and play Slim Whitman music (yodeling). They all ended up laughing!

Jodi said her dad has always loved animals, and she loves the calm, peaceful feeling out on the beautiful farm. She tells that he is quite the handyman. He is one of those people that can read a book on how to do something, then go and do it well. He is always very helpful with home repair projects and also mechanics. When thinking of her dad, she always thinks of his pomeranian dog Sparky, because they were inseperable. She has really enjoyed getting to know her Dad better since moving out by him!

Heidi recalls that her dad was always whistling "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" and other church hymns while feeding the cows. When they were little, he'd let the kids ride on the tractor while he scraped the corals and they'd duck their heads so they wouldn't hit the wooden beams on the top of the sheds! One fun memory from her childhood was following her dad around as he lifted hay bales for feeding. The kids would run around and try and catch the mice that would be underneath. He waited for them to get ready before he lifted the bales so they could catch the mice!

Rachel remembers when her dad taught her to drive the red truck. He needed help while picking up hay bales. Even though she couldn't even see over the steering wheel, he told her to just keep the wheel straight and he would yell for her to stop. She felt so special "driving" her dad's truck! She has fond memories of his beat-up Honda motorcycle that he took them for rides on. One day, they were coming home from the store together. She had some candy and an apple in a brown paper bag and it hit the chain and ripped. She lost everything, but he stopped to pick it up and gave her a peice of chocolate since some of her penny candy was gross. She misses being around him now.

It has been so fun learning more about Dennis! I love each one of his children, they are so fun to be around! I love seeing them all together at family functions, and being a part of their big happy parties! I'm grateful for his influence in their lives, because in turn, each one of them has affected my life in a positive way!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

23rd Day of Christmas - Amy

(sorry about the size of the photo, I couldn't get it any better)

Amy and I were in the same grade growing up, and we graduated from High School together. After I entered 6th grade, I wanted to know who people were, so I started memorizing students in the yearbook. Amy and I were never in the same circle of friends, but we had some classes together and I was friends with some of her friends, so I knew who she was.

After our 10 year class reunion, I wanted to be more "in touch" with some of my classmates, so I opened a MySpace account. It was my first attempt at online networking, and I loved it. One day, I came across Amy's page on MySpace. It said something to the effect of "I do not collect friends, and I don't want to be just a 'friend' in someone's collection either". I respected her for that, because I felt the same. If someone is my 'friend' online, I want to interact with them like real friends do! Now that I'm the chairperson for our next class reunion, I have added many of my old classmates as my 'friends' on facebook, so that I can be in contact with them for the next reunion. I added Amy, and we've corresponded several times since.

Even though I don't recall any real memories of Amy and I together, there are things that I know about her that I really like. She's loving and cares deeply for her family. She is a great mom, and she truly loves being at home with her two little girls. She likes doing activities together with her family, especially boating and camping. They really take advantage of being so close to a lake, and spend as much time on the water as possible in the summertime. She is fun and has a great attitude and likes to have a good time! She delights in "girls nights-out" and loves being with her friends and sisters. She is open and honest with herself and others, and stays true to who she is, and I like that about her! I'm glad that blogging and facebook have given me the opportunity to get to know this woman that I once memorized as a girl in a yearbook so long ago!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

22nd Day of Christmas - Tabbi


Tabbi is my younger sister. She was the baby of the family for 8 years, before Katrina was born. When we were little, Tawna, Tabbi, and I used to be the "three girls" (like the 3 musketeers). When Tabbi was a toddler, she had the cutest speech impediment and she called us the "thwee joals". It was SOOO adorable! My dad still refers to us as that! The three of us girls had some good times together when we were children--playing barbies and playing house and riding bikes together.

Tabbi always acted older than her years! When I was in the 6th grade, I was in the high school play "Oliver". They needed a lot of younger children for the orphanage scenes, so elementary school age children were invited to join the cast. Tabbi wanted to be in it too! Even though she was just in 1st grade, she comfortably hung out with the middle schoolers and the high schoolers during rehearsals!!!

Tabbi is fun to be with and she enjoys having a good time. She is outgoing and popular and is well-liked. In high school and college, she was voted into student council. She knows so many people and has friends wherever she goes; it amazes me just how giant her circle of friends is! Every time she goes somewhere, anywhere in the world, she knows somebody there! Tabbi pays attention to detail, and is an organized planner. She is wonderful at planning large functions! She is prepared and always thinks ahead.

She is very goal-oriented and she always follows her dreams. Growing up, she had a poster of the beautiful Washington DC temple in her room. She loved it, and always knew she would live in DC someday. After graduating from college, she decided to do just that! She knew some friends there, and she made a cross-country leap of faith! She has a big sense of adventure and she enjoys seeing the beauty of the world! Recently, she's been living in Taiwan teaching kids English. She has seen and experienced so many things that I can only dream of. I love reading her blog and hearing of all her wonderful adventures! She's an excellent photographer, and has a great eye for beautiful objects. I love looking at all her pictures and seeing her perspective through them.

Tabbi knows who she is and she has a good self-image. She is not afraid to be bold and to be herself, and I like that about her. I love my little sister, and I'm grateful for her presence in my life!

Monday, December 21, 2009

21st Day of Christmas - Scott

Scott is my brother-in-law. He is married to Josh's sister Tiffany. The first concrete memory I have of him was during New Year's Eve, four months before Josh and I got married. I had met Scott before that, but wasn't around him long enough to have a real conversation. That New Year's Eve, I went to Salmon with Josh and spent a few days. That was a memorable trip for me, as it was then that we both KNEW that we wanted to marry each other! Scott and Tiffany and their two daughters also came up to Salmon to stay for a few days as well as Scott's parents, and some of his siblings. I remember one day Josh and I were sitting on a couch, and across from us Tiffany was sitting on another couch. Scott entered the room and asked Tiffany "can I sit next to you?". I remember thinking that I was so comfortable with Josh, I would never ask if I could sit next to him, I would just plop down! I thought it was strange that after several years of marriage, he had to ask to sit next to his wife. But Scott is SO polite! He is a gentleman and treats his wife like a lady, and I truly appreciate and understand now what that simple question was really all about. I'm so thankful for the way that he treats Tiffany, he loves her so much, and it definitely shows!

Scott is the oldest of 7 children, and he learned responsibility in his youth. He's now the father of 7 children. He is a great dad and is a good example to them. He lives a righteous life, and he understands his role as a son, husband, and father. He is patient. He treats others with respect. He is level-headed, especially in stressful situations. He is nurturing and loving and kind.

Scott has so many good qualities. He is fun! He plays with his kids and enjoys spending time with them. He is so intelligent! His brain is unbelievable at gaining and retaining information! He's a computer genious! He owns his own business of building websites, and he truly loves what he does. He's funny! He's always cracking jokes and says the funniest things! He's smart! He reads and loves learning. He's artistic! He draws and colors and has his children explore their creative side too. He isn't afraid to try new things, or experience adventures! He really enjoys the simple joys in life! He's a delight to be with and to talk to, and I've enjoyed getting to know him over the years.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

20th Day of Christmas - Katrina


Katrina is my youngest sister. She is 16 going on 17, literally this coming week! She was born when I was 13 years old, and is truly the baby of the family; the youngest child before her was 8 before she was born. She was such a cute little baby, and my sisters and I used to fight over who got to hold her! When I went away to college, she constantly sent me her illustrations and colorings, and they were just precious! I looked forward to receiving them! I only attended college for a year before getting married, so from the time she was just 4 years old, I no longer lived at home with her.

She's grown up so quickly! I remember her first school crush (she was in kindergarten), I remember her getting baptized, I remember her attending junior high, and now she is in high school and is dating and driving!!! I love when she joins our family on outings, because she is so much fun to be with! She is actually closer in age to Ammon than to me, and she has spent a lot of time with him over the past 10 years. This summer, Ammon went on vacation with my mom, dad, and Katrina. They were gone for over a week and drove through 6 states going to National Parks and visiting sites. Ammon had a great time, and I know that he enjoyed spending time with Katrina (as well as his grandparents of course!). I am thankful for the example that she is to him and to my other sons.

Trina is so cute! She is super talented too. She sings and plays the piano and is learning to play the guitar. She is an excellent photographer and has such a unique talent of finding items to photograph that I never would've even imagined. She loves writing, and writes "Katrinaland" short stories and is in the process of writing her first novel. She is an incredible artist, she draws her own illustrations, and they are amazing! I always wish I had that talent! I have never met someone with so much talent in so many different areas! She enjoys decorating her room, and spending time with her friends, and collecting random objects. She has a fresh sense of humor and enjoys the little things of life. I love being with her, she is so fun and she has a great attitude and a lively spirit! I love her openness to try new things and explore the unknown. She has a passion for life and lives each day to the fullest! She is very goal-oriented and she has accomplished so much! Her future is full of great potential! I'm so grateful that she's my little sister! I love her so much!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

19th Day of Christmas - BreAnne

BreAnne is married to my older brother Cody. I met her the day before their wedding in 2005 at her sister's home in Tacoma. BreAnne is my age, and I liked her from the moment I met her! She is very congenial and so friendly. I enjoyed getting to know her and her sisters and her parents at the family get-together. The wedding was in the Seattle temple, and it was so neat for Josh and I to be there! We loved the trip we were able to take to see them get married!

BreAnne is so thoughtful and a great gift-giver. The first year they were married, she made fleece blankets for my boys. She chose fabrics that coordinated with the boys' favorite colors, and shipped them to us. They LOVED them! Seriously, they still sleep with them! I've tried to introduce larger blankets and comforters and quilts for them to sleep with, but they all insist to put their special fleece blanket on first! One year she got them McDonald's gift cards, which were HUGE hits with all of us!!! And one year, she got them toys that they each loved at the time: cars, pokemon cards, diego toys. She is so awesome!! I know my boys think she is so much fun! She loves her sisters' children like they're her own. She loves them so much! She plays with them and spoils them and loves on them! She's going to make a great mom one day!

I'm so grateful that Cody and BreAnne found each other! I'm glad that they are happy! BreAnne is a wonderful person, and I've enjoyed seeing her at family functions! She's a wonderful cook, and is always bringing new and different and delicious food items to the gatherings! She enjoys taking care of her and Cody's first home, and she has decorated it SO cute, too! She is caring and has a soft spot for children. She has a great smile and a great sense of humor! She doesn't take life too seriously, and she's so fun to be with! When we went to our family reunion at Yellowstone this year, some of the adults had a rousing game of "Apples to Apples". She was SO hilarious!!! I just kept cracking up at all her jokes! I'm grateful that she's not only my sister-in-law, but also my friend!

Friday, December 18, 2009

18th Day of Christmas - Mick

Mick is my oldest brother. He is a very protective older brother, and always took care of the rest of us younger siblings. When we were little children living in Spokane, he walked Cody and I to school every day, making sure we safely crossed the road to get to our destination. He was always very responsible, too. Whenever he had to babysit us, he locked the front door and acted just like a parent to us! He was also very concerned about our safety and welfare. One time when I was in high school, I went to a football against our rival school in Brigham City. I was talking to a group of teenage boys, and Mick appeared out of nowhere asking if everything was alright with his "little sister" and gave the "I'm-the-older-brother-so-watch-out" glare to the boys surrounding me.

Mick was blessed with all the daughters in our family; my older sister Lisa and I have only sons! He's a good father and daddy to his little girls! He plays with them and loves them and loves to play with them! The summer before last, Ammon got to spend a week at their house. His family's city lifestyle is different than our family's country lifestyle, and he got to ride the public transportation bus, and ride bikes on sidewalk, and was in walking distance of a park. Uncle Mick introduced him to the Lord of the Rings computer game, which he played a ton, and even brought home. He still plays it, and has taught his brothers to play it and love it too! Ammon loved being at Uncle Mick's house, and begged to go this year! He can't wait to have the chance to spend that kind of time there again.

Mick is a very fun person. He has a good sense of humor and says the funniest jokes. He's athletic, and loves to root for his favorite team--the Aggies. He's a hard worker and takes good care of his family. He's nice and caring and compassionate for others. He's loyal and trustworthy and always chooses the right. He honors the priesthood and is a righteous head of his home. He loves his family and he always has their best interests in his mind and heart. I love him, and I'm grateful for the things he's done for me in my life and for the example he is to my boys.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

17th Day of Christmas - Jen

Jen is married to my older brother Mick. They were married on my birthday 11 years ago, just 4 months after Josh & my wedding. When we were newlyweds, we lived in Tremonton and they lived in Logan. We went to the USU Homecoming game and dance that year with them, and we had a grand time! We sat by them at the game and cheered right alongside them, and we danced for a bit at the dance and got our photo taken together. Afterwards, we went to their apartment where Jen treated us to a delicious chicken, cheese, and broccoli casserole dinner and then they introduced us to the game "Sequence". We played and laughed and talked for hours, just enjoying the night. It was definitely a fun double date!!

One summer, Jen got a ranger job at the Timpanogos Cave, and Josh and I went on a tour while she was there. She walked up the mountain with us, and it was delightful to watch her in her element. Jen has a true passion for the great outdoors, and it definitely showed! She is a people-person and it was a job that suited her well. She was pleasant to the tourists and she was knowledgeable and loved the caves that she talked about. I was so glad we took the opportunity to go while she worked there!

Jen is a wonderful lady and she fits in well with our family; we all love her! She is so easy to get along with and love! She is kind and fun and has a great sense of humor. She is easy-going and adapts easily, she is calm and is a peacemaker. She's in touch with the thoughts of her soul, and is an open communicator. She enjoys a good challenge, and she motivates herself to be a better person because of the challenges. She is dedicated and goal-oriented and hard-working. She is educated and smart and enjoys learning new things. She has a warm and inviting home where I know that my sisters like to go to often. I'm grateful that she is there for them, since distance prevents me from doing so. I'm thankful that she loves my brother, and I'm so glad that she is a part of our family!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

16th Day of Christmas - Emily


Emily is another friend of Josh's from high school. They even went on a date to Senior Prom together! My path in life has crossed Emily's many times, and I'm SO grateful for that! When Josh and I lived in Chubbuck for 6 months before moving to Salmon, we went to a married student ward. The first Sunday we went, we noticed Emily and Joe were there!! That was a fun ward, and I loved that I already knew somebody there, because it made the transition to going to a new ward easier!

After we moved to Salmon, her husband enrolled in the army. She moved up here to be with her parents while her husband went to training. Once again, we were in the same ward. We went to lunch or dinner together often and went to the movies several times. She was my favorite person to go to "Girl's Night Out" with. We had some great talks in the car on the way home from our girls' dates, sharing joys and hardships, laughs and tears. One of my favorite stories about Emily happened on one such date. We went to have dinner at the Coffee Shop. We were seated and then we perused the menu and discussed what sounded good. When the waiter came to take our orders, she ordered for herself and then she ordered for me. I was slightly taken aback, because no one had ordered for me since childhood. But then I realized how much I actually liked it! Since I'm the dominant personality with the loud voice in my marriage, I always end up doing the ordering. But it was nice to feel like I was in the hands of another person who was taking care of me! Emily was such a blessing when she lived in Salmon during that time. Emily was a bright spot during a dark time when Josh and I were going through a 2-month separation. She was a wonderful friend who always listened to me and let me express myself, and then she treated me either with homemade goodies or a much-needed laugh, or a girl's night out!

She moved away (far far away), with her husband who was on assignment, and years later when he was sent to Iraq, she came back to Salmon for a short time. This time around, we both had more kids and the girl's nights didn't happen as frequently, but we managed to go to group scrapbooking together several times. She is extremely talented and creative and artistic! In fact, her scrapbook pages have been featured in scrapbook magazines! I always felt dumb sitting by her at scrapbooking, because other women would come around and awe and ooh and adore her pages (and rightfully so), and my scrapbook pages were just skipped over.

I love Emily. I've truly missed her! I love her blog, as it always makes me laugh! Her sense of humor is simply delightful! Emily is so honest with herself that she is able to comically look at herself and her life and accept it for what it is. She can make the best out of any situation! Emily is super talented, and I love to see the creations she produces. She is real and tells it like it is, which is one of my favorite qualities about her. She has a beautiful smile and a great attitude. She is assertive and knows what she wants in life. She teaches her children about the gospel and invites the Savior into her home. She has a really nice husband and four super cute kids. She is a true homemaker and enjoys taking care of her family.

Emily is one of my favorite people to be with! I'm so thankful for the opportunities I've had to spend time with her, and I'm grateful beyond words for her friendship! When I think of Emily, I think of the hymn "Each Life That Touches Ours for Good" because that's exactly what she's done for me!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

15th Day of Christmas - Marie

When we first moved to Salmon, we were in the same ward as Marie and her family. I was assigned to be her visiting teacher, and I was also given the calling of Primary Pianist under her direction as Primary President. Marie had a definite calming effect on me; she was so easy-going and so pleasant to be around. I looked forward to our monthly visits as well as seeing her on Sundays. I quickly went from being her visiting teacher to being her friend. For years, I had the opportunity to get to know Marie better. I loved talking to her, and often called her when I felt upset or stressed because she had the ability to spread peace and composure to my being.

Before Marie moved away, I was working full-time and was pregnant with the twins. I was always so tired and I never seemed to have enough time during the evenings to get everything accomplished that needed to be done. I often spent my short lunchtime running errands, and usually ate a quick meal. One day, Marie called and wanted to bring me lunch. I met her at the park and she had brought a full home-made meal of lasagna as well as bread, salad, and dessert. It was SO delicious and extremely thoughtful. I often think back on that day when she performed a simple act of bringing me lunch, and the huge impact it had on me; I was filled with joy and gratitude. I was so grateful for the wonderful meal and for the time she spent making it and bringing it to me and sharing it with me. That meal meant so much to me that day, and still does. I love Marie, and this small story represents her true character. She is observant, caring, and thoughtful.

Marie has a delightful laugh, a soothing smile, and a warm heart. She is considerate and so nice! She is a supportive wife and an awesome mother to her five children. She is genuine and real and is honest in all her dealings. She is very level-headed and is able to see "the big picture". She exhibits faith, hope, and charity every day in her life. Her faith is unwavering, and she is a marvelous example to me. She has been a gem of a friend! I've missed having her near, especially as our contact over the last few years has decreased. But regardless of how much I do or don't see her, my feelings for her have not decreased in the slightest. I will always love Marie for her friendship and kindness to me!

Monday, December 14, 2009

14th Day of Christmas - D'Neill

D'Neill went to high school with Josh; they were in the same grade. I know her because her in-laws are in our ward at church. She has identical twin boys too, and one Sunday when they were visiting several years ago, she came up to me and introduced herself. She talked to me about her experience when her twins were born prematurely, and she let me know she understood everything I was going through with my own twins' birth and infancy. I'm so glad that she felt comfortable enough to approach me, and I felt extremely grateful to know of someone who had a similar experience to mine. We had an instant connection because of it. Her empathy meant so much to me at that time. Over the next few years, whenever D'Neill was visiting, I always asked her about her experiences regarding her twins when they were certain ages. I valued her advice and her encouragement and her positive attitude!

I love being around D'Neill! I think the last time I saw her was in October of '08 at a football game. I was so excited when I saw that she was there, and I went over and sat next to her and we talked and talked until it was time to go. I love talking to her! She is so easy to talk to and is very understanding. She is one of the most optimistic people I know! She has a gorgeous smile and is always smiling! She is constantly looking on the bright side of situations and she spreads cheer wherever she goes. She is energetic and fun, friendly and outgoing. She is honest and genuine and she celebrates life! She is very righteous, and she loves serving the Lord. She truly serves Him with all her might, mind, and strength; she is generous and charitable and shares of His love with those around her. D'Neill's priorities are always in the right place. She has a cute family, and she is a devoted wife and a terrific mother to her five children.

D'Neill is a great friend, and I'm so grateful for her friendship to me and her influence in my life. I wish we lived closer to one another, but blogging has kept us in touch with each other and I'm so glad for that!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

13th Day of Christmas - Tiffany

Tiffany is Josh's only sister, and she is the oldest sibling in his family. My mother-in-law has often told me that Josh didn't talk until he was 3 or 4 years old because Tiffany always spoke for him! That story makes me laugh, because I think of Tiffany as preparing Josh for being married to me!!! Tiffany was a good sister to Josh, and other than making him play barbies with her when he didn't want to, she was kind and never bullied. She was a great older sister, and took loving care of her younger brothers, acting as the "young mother" in many instances.

When Josh and I were dating, he often spoke of his family, and I envisioned pictures in my mind of his family members. He showed me a wallet-sized photo of his family, which included: his parents, his sister and her husband and their infant daughter, Josh, and his two younger brothers. After seeing the photo, I remember thinking what a beautiful person his sister was. She is SO photogenic! I'm always a little jealous of those who photograph so well, because that is a trait that I do not have!

When I think of Tiffany, I think of opposites, because she is everything I am not: she is patient, she is nice, she is highly educated, well-versed, and poised, she is extremely giving of herself, she is a gifted listener, she acts like a lady, and she speaks kindly of others. She is the mother of 7 children (which is amazing in itself), and I'm constantly in awe of her ability to lead with a soft-spoken voice and a righteous heart. She loves her family so much and lives to serve them. She is a true peacemaker, not only in her home, but wherever she is!

I'm so lucky to have been blessed as the recipient of her kindness so many times! There was a 6-month period in Josh and I's marriage that we lived very close to her. During that time, we went through a bit of a rough patch, and needed help taking care of Ammon for a few weeks. She gladly helped out, and even though she had 3 small children and was very pregnant with her 4th, she made time for us and acted as though it was no big deal. I don't know how we could have made it through that without her! She's such a wonderful woman! She is a great role model for her children, and a good example to me. I'm grateful for the role she serves in our family, and I'm so thankful for her friendship and her support and the constant uplifting words that she gives me!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

12th Day of Christmas - Chris


I met Chris less than a year ago. She is friends with Josh's brother Gideon. She came to a family function last January, and we were introduced. We were at the temple with Malachi, Josh's youngest brother, as he went through for the first time. After the temple, Malachi's family and friends got together to eat at a restaurant. She was a fun addition to the family celebration that day, and her and I became "friends" on facebook right after.

She came up to Salmon in February for Malachi's mission farewell, and I saw her again at Gideon's Extravadance show in March, but it wasn't until Gideon's wedding in September that I really spent some time getting to know her. Chris is such a fun-loving girl! We giggled and laughed and talked and had a great time after the wedding and during the reception. I can be a bit over-the-top crazy at times during social functions, and I'm sure she got sick of me, but I truly enjoyed being around her.

Chris has a beautiful smile and an incredible spirit. She is kind and loyal and compassionate. She teaches elementary school, and most would consider the class she teaches to be a difficult challenge, but she loves what she does and she treasures her job. She is a spiritual giant; I'm amazed at her love for the gospel, her love for our Lord Jesus Christ, and her appreciation for the blessings that Heavenly Father has given her. She is a faithful daughter of God, and she radiates with the knowledge of His love for her. She was a counselor at EFY this summer, and even though it was hard at times, she enjoyed sharing her love of the gospel and her love of teaching with those youth that attended. She has determination and willpower and a cheerful attitude, even towards the challenges that she faces. I am proud of what she has achieved so far in her life, and I am so glad for the opportunities I've had to be around her! We don't live by one another, and we don't have any real connections beyond Josh's brothers, but I sincerely hope that we'll be able to cross paths again!

Friday, December 11, 2009

11th Day of Christmas - No Name

The 11th commenter on my Random Contest was an anonymous person who said, "I love your blogs. It helps me feel closer to the family. You're awesome". I still have no idea who wrote that. If that was you, and you're reading this, please comment on this post and tell me your name!!! I love my 25 Days of Christmas! It's been so wonderful for me to write positive thoughts about the 25 random people. I think about each person for 24 hours before writing the post about them, and my mind is filled with happy thoughts all day regarding others. And because I'm using the order of the people who chose to comment on my Random Contest blog, it's fun and challenging and is in no way preferential. I hope you are enjoying it as much I am! Because today is the 11th day, that means there are only 2 more weeks to Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10th Day of Christmas - Sara

Sara was my best friend during my Junior year in high school. She was a Senior, and we were both in the fall play "Noises Off". That play was SO hilarious! It had a small cast, and Sara and I spent a lot of time together. We definitely hit it off! Sara was everything I needed at that time, and I appreciated her friendship more than she'll ever know. We spent a lot of time together either at lunch in the cafeteria or in the auditorium during practices for "Music Man", Shakespeare competition, and State Competition. We loved talking to one another and we shared a lot of personal things with each other. We were so much alike and we understood each other very well.

I loved being around Sara because she knows who she is and she exudes great confidence. She stands up for what she believes in, and openly shares of her feelings, and I love that the most about her! During that one year before she graduated, we got in so many fights. We'd argue and yell about whatever the problem was, and the next day we'd apologize and cry and move on. I loved that we could tell each other exactly how we felt, that we could disagree about things, and still be the best of friends. I truly appreciated that she stood her ground, and because of her I began to express myself more freely--a trait that I still have to this day! Her friendship was the best thing that happened to me that year. I missed her so much after she graduated, I struggled for the first two months of my Senior year without her presence.

Sara has a huge capacity to love. She welcomes others into her heart and shares with them her entire being; she's honest and open and caring. She is funny; she loves to laugh and she always makes me laugh too! She is very spiritual and gives her best effort in every calling she's given in the church. She loves her family so much and is very close to them. She enjoys fulfilling her roles as a wife, a mother, a sister, and a daughter.

The last time I saw her was when Ammon was an infant. We were living in Tremonton at the time, and I had just walked out of the Dr.'s office after taking him to his 2-week check-up. I passed Sara who was going in to the Dr.'s office with her mom; she was pregnant with her first child. I remember feeling so delighted to see her! She wasn't living around at the time, but she came to town for her Dr. because she liked him and her mom was a nurse. But other than exchanging "hi's" and "how are you's", we really said nothing else because I had a newborn I was carrying in the winter cold, and she was on her way in to an appointment. I think back to that day with regret because I wish I would've walked back into the office and sat and had a chat with her while she waited.

I like reading Sara's blog, and her thoughts on life. She is just one more reason for me to love blogging! I'm so glad we've found each other and are in contact again!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

9th Day of Christmas - Candise

I met Candise at a Tolman family reunion in 2003. We're not related, but her husband's brother married Josh's cousin Shanda. The reunion was in Salmon that year, and Candise and her husband had just moved here. When Shanda and her sisters came to town, they convinced her to come out to the reunion with them. I'm SO glad she did! After introductions were made, we talked for several hours. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

I was pregnant with the twins that year, and by the end of the summer, I was going to bi-weekly doctor appointments in Idaho Falls. Josh usually went with me once a week, but because he is so busy in the summertime, I always had somebody else go with me the other time. Candise came with me a few times, and I enjoyed her companshionship in the car for the 5-hour round trip and at the Dr.'s office. I almost always had ultrasounds by that point because the twins' umbilical cords were tied in knots, and the technician had to check the blood flow that each twin was receiving. Candise was so sweet to wait by my side and help me through it.

After the twins were born, she helped me so much. She was willing to babysit for me on occasion so that I could have some much-needed time out. She was a fun girlfriend! Josh and I went on a few double dates with her and her hubby, and occasionally Candise and I went to lunch and chatted. I loved our heart-to-heart conversations. She always listened to me, she always supported me, she always cared about me and my family.

Candise is so gifted and I look up to her in so many ways. She is a stellar teacher! She is so much fun and so creative and so organized, and her students love her too! She is a great pianist, and Ammon was lucky to have her as his piano teacher before they moved away. She makes friends wherever she goes; she is amiable and thoughtful and super nice. She is congenial and charitable and often gives so much of herself and her time to others. She has a positive attitude and is the most understanding person I've ever met. She has a great laugh, a beautiful smile, and is so photogenic! She has gone through some difficult times, but always meets challenges with optimism. She is an inspiration to me! She has a great little family, and she is such a loving mother and wife. She understands the divine purpose of motherhood and she values it more than anything. I want to be the kind of mother to my children that she is.

Before they moved, I went over a few times to help her pack. Man, she was SO organized! She was prepared with all the packaging materials and had a system in place. I was impressed! One day we worked on packing up clothes, and she wanted me to try on a whole bunch of clothes she didn't wear anymore. She gave me some dresses and shirts and the best jeans ever! I went over to help her, but ended up getting the bigger reward for sure! Candise is such a remarkable person, and I've missed her!!!

I love Candise! Her friendship has really strengthened me, and I am definitely a better person for having her as a part of my life!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

8th Day of Christmas - Tawna

Tawna is my younger sister. I love her so much. Unlike me, she took after my mom in meekness and service and humility and sensitivity; she is always kind and generous and is not easily provoked. Tawna is so nice, and to everyone too; she doesn't make enemies--I don't think she has a mean bone in her body! I asked her a few months ago who her best friend was and she said she doesn't have "one", it's more like "thirty". She is loyal and trusting, and I think others can easily tell this about her, hence the amount of true friends she has.

Because our family moved a lot when we were children, Tawna was my best playmate. We used to love playing barbies, we'd play all day. Unfortunately, just after moving to Tremonton (when I was in the 4th grade), playing barbies wasn't "cool" anymore, and it was then that I started playing more with my friends rather than my sisters. She was 3 years younger than me in school, and due to the different school's grade assignments, we only went to the same school when we were in elementary. But even though I didn't see her a lot during the day after that, she made an impact in our family's lives. She actually enjoyed cleaning when she came home from school, and she picked up after the rest of us! She was a peacemaker and was always trying to show love in a quiet way, especially to those of us in the family that are more loud-mouthed and bossy. She was very responsible and a hard worker, she excelled more in piano lessons because she practiced more devotedly.

Tawna got a college degree in elementary education and is a very successful teacher. She loves her students and it shows: she is compassionate towards them and cares about them as individuals. She is artistic and likes decorating her classroom. She is always looking for new and fun and challenging ways to teach them.

She is very spiritual and understands that each of us have a purpose in this mortal life. She has always been very righteous, and I really look up to her for that. The Spirit is always close to her, and she feels things in a greater capacity than I do. When she decides to do something, she gives it her all, whether it be her teaching, her beliefs, her life choices, or whatever. She's not a quitter and she doesn't back out of promises made.

My boys love her too. She's such an awesome aunt. She came up to visit us in Salmon last year and they enjoyed that so much. We took her 4-wheeling, picnicking, golfing, and bowling. They've asked me so many times since then, "When is Tawna coming back to see us?" She always remembers their birthdays and gives them gifts at Christmas. But even better than those physical gifts is the gift of her love that she so freely shares with them. She hugs them and plays with them and respects them and takes an interest in their lives and shares of herself and her things with them.

She is such a wonderful sister, and I'm so lucky that she's mine!

Monday, December 7, 2009

7th Day of Christmas - Debra

I first met Debbie in Middle School. I don't even remember how it first started, but we wrote notes to each other a lot during 7th and 8th grade--the kind where you get a piece of notebook paper and after writing the note, you fold it all up and tuck it into itself so that it becomes its own envelope too. Debbie had cute handwriting and she is a remarkable artist, so the outside of her folded notes were decorated all cutesy too! Because I'm a sentimental junkie, I have kept letters dating as far back as 3rd grade. A few months ago, I decided to clean out my letter box, and I threw away all notes and cards that were dated prior to 1995. While I was purging, I ran across several of the letters exchanged by Debbie. They brought a smile to my face and I remembered what a bright spot they were to me back then as well.

I saw Debra a few years ago at our Class Reunion. She had the same beautiful smile that I remembered from our youth. She introduced me to her husband and we briefly chatted about where we live, how many kids we have, and what we're doing in life. Blogging has given me the opportunity to re-connect with Debra beyond the small talk of Class Reunions. I love reading her blog--she is cheerful, and often talks of the joys of family life. I also love reading it because she updates it about as much as I update mine. I'm always looking for something new to read, and she provides fun posts with accompanying photos!

Debra has several character traits that I admire. She is selfless and always thinks of others before herself--she is an icon of the word "sweetheart". She is a talented artist--she was our Studentbody Artist in High School. I love her work, and I'm always in awe of what she produces, especially since I always wish I could draw, but even my stick-men are unrecognizable! She is very creative, and she teaches her children using that same creativity. She is energetic and I'm constantly amazed at how much she accomplishes, especially with her 3 kids around! She supports her husband and takes an active interest in her family's lives. She is enthusiastic about learning and the growth she sees in her young and adorable children. She is spiritual and is a natural leader, guiding with patience and love. Debra is a great example to me. I'm grateful for her friendship that began during those awkward Jr. High years, and I'm even more grateful for her friendship now!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

6th Day of Christmas - Jodi


Jodi is Josh's cousin. The first time I met her, Josh and I were dating. We drove to Boise for the weekend to see his best friend Ryan who is married to his cousin Heidi. They were newlyweds and we stayed overnight with them in their new little apartment. Heidi's sister Jodi and her boyfriend Skott came over that evening too. I remember I was so nervous about meeting them all because they were so important to Josh. But I was in good company, and I soon felt at ease. We ate dinner and talked and caught up on each other's lives. It was a wonderful night and I was glad to have met Jodi, Skott, Heidi, and Ryan.

The next time I saw her was a year and a half later. Josh and I were married, and we drove to the Oregon coast to see her and Skott get married. The wedding was beautiful and peaceful. All of Jodi's siblings met together after for a family party and we joined the festivities. It was an awesomely fun party! Jodi had planned such a great get-together and I loved being a part of it! I always look back on that Oregon trip with fondness.

I enjoy being around Jodi. She is a genuine person; what you see is what you get, and I really value that quality! She is so easy-going and pleasant to be with--she reminds me a lot of Josh (no wonder they got along so good when they were children!). She is fun and has a fresh sense of humor--she always cracks me up!!! She is thoughtful and very giving. When her mom was my neighbor, she was always receiving packages in the mail from Jodi and I know it always made her day!! Jodi and Skott have an amazing relationship: they are so in love, and so caring towards each other, and respect one another. It's refreshing to see two people who are devoted to each other the way they are. Jodi is very smart and learns quickly. She adapts to new situations and places very easily. I have never lived by her, and have only seen her a handful of times since our first meeting, but each meeting with her has been a positive one. She is very optimistic and has a happy aura about her. I'm grateful that we're family, even if it is by marriage! I would choose to be related to that girl any day!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

5th Day of Christmas - Celyn


Four years ago, I started going to group scrapbooking once or twice a month. A group of women would meet at a public location and spend an evening eating, scrapping, talking, and laughing. It always felt like a much-needed mini-vacation from my home life and my depression. I desperately needed to get out with other women. When I was there, I felt free--I laughed a lot, sang a lot, and spoke rather loudly. I enjoyed myself immensely! After a year or so, the dynamics of the group changed and several of the newer women started thinking of me as obnoxious. This saddened me and I didn't feel as free to be myself. Thankfully, it was during that time that Celyn started coming. I had met her before that, but it wasn't until then that we bonded--she also enjoyed laughing and talking loud and being herself. We instantly clicked and I had found a true friend!

Celyn is full of life and love. She has the most amazing spirit about her; she is in touch with her soul and is honest with herself. She has helped me through some really difficult times. She's uplifting and really friendly. She is open about her life lessons. She freely gives and shares with so many. She is incredibly gifted: she's very organized and has a beautiful voice and is very creative and is a wonderful wife and a terrific mother. I have also never met a cleaner person; she thrives on cleanliness!

Last year, she moved away from Salmon. I haven't done any real scrapbooking since. I miss going out to girls night with her! The beauty about our friendship is that even if we haven't spoken for a long time, when we get together, we can still talk for hours as if we were never apart! When I visited my grandparents this summer, I stopped by her house on the way home and spent the night. My boys played with her daughter and I relaxed in her presence. She is such a great listener and so sweet. She has one of the most thoughtful, kindest hearts of anyone I've ever met. She fed us, made up beds for us, listened to me rant. My sons aren't the easiest boys to have as guests: they broke one of her daughter's toys and they ran around the house and one of them got sick on her floor. But she acted as if it was nothing and cleaned up the mess and didn't make a big deal out of anything. I appreciated her so much for that!

I absolutely love Celyn! I love her desire to remain a faithful daughter of God. She doesn't gossip, she doesn't judge others, she doesn't let what others think affect who she is. I love her for her trueness to herself. And she has always let me be myself around her--she knows my weaknesses and my struggles and my inner demons, and she still chooses to love me and be my friend. It is rare to find friendships like these! She feels like a sister to me. I am so blessed to have Celyn as my friend and I know that our friendship will last forever!

Friday, December 4, 2009

4th Day of Christmas - Heather

Introducing...HEATHERHeather was my childhood best friend and so much more. My family moved around a lot when I was younger--I went to 4 different elementary schools in 3 states. I had a few best friends before her, but each one only lasted a year or so, until we moved again. When my family finally settled down in Tremonton, I was in the 4th grade. Heather's family lived just across the street and one house down. Within just a few blocks, there were several girls my age. I was SO lucky!

Heather and I used to walk home from school together, and we'd swing on the big tree in my yard along the way. We'd play make-believe in the summertime, my personal favorite was our own restaurant "JB's" and our sisters would be our pretend wives and children. We spent a lot of time at her house, jumping on her trampoline, playing in her outdoor playhouse, playing downstairs in the family room or in her room. We'd have endless sleepovers, playing games and watching movies and making popcorn and laughing 'til the wee hours of the night. I have so many great memories with Heather, it's impossible to even begin naming them.

During the Jr. High years, we started going through the whole pubescent stage and having horrible hormonal phases. So during those few years, our friendship was on again/off again. When we were friends, we'd still walk home from school together, through the large field that distanced the Middle School from our homes. We talked of classes, of boys, of our likes, our families, and our daily lives.

By High School, we were back to being constant friends, but we were in different friend circles--I was in the drama nerd group, and she was in with the athletic group. She played soccer, and basketball, and track. I missed walking home from school with her, because she always had sports practice or I had play practice. But we did still see each other quite frequently: we went on some double dates together, we still had sleepovers occasionally, we were both in choir, and she was in a few plays. We were in the same ward, and I loved having her in my class at church. We went to YW camp together, got our YW Medallions on the same night, and graduated from Seminary together.

After high school, our lives became separated. We started off attending different Universities, but we managed to stay in touch. She threw a fun bridal shower for me when I got married. She waited outside the temple for me on my wedding day. She helped throw a baby shower for me when I was pregnant with Ammon. I went to the temple with her as she went through for the first time before her mission to Russia. I went to her homecoming when she came back home. She is now married with a gorgeous baby girl, and I'm sad to say I haven't spoken in person with her for a few years, the last time being only by chance on a Black Friday early morning!

I will always love Heather. She was instrumental in me keeping friendships. It was difficult for me to KEEP friends since I was used to moving around. I struggled with it for a while after living in Tremonton. I felt bad that everyone else had grown up together and had pictures of each other as toddlers, and in Kindergarten, and early school years--I didn't even know the names of the kids in my class pictures. After a few years, I didn't have a problem with it anymore because I had memories with Heather and the neighborhood girls, and I no longer felt like the "newcomer" but rather a "BFF". I finally felt like I belonged somewhere! So when I think of my childhood best friend, I always think of Heather, even though our friendship didn't begin until 4th grade.

Heather was so easy to love. She has a delightful sense of humor, a contagious laughter, a kind heart, a fun and positive attitude. She was trustworthy and kept my confidences. She always let me know how she felt, and I loved that about her. We have similar family structures, similar backgrounds, similar beliefs, similar likes, and similar personalities. She always understood me and I felt validated and comfortable around her. She is extremely spiritual and very goal-oriented. She always knew what she wanted, and she was never afraid to follow her dreams. I couldn't have asked for a better childhood best friend. I always felt better about myself when I was around her. I miss her tremendously.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

3rd Day of Christmas - Eve

Eve became a part of my life during the good old high school days. I had a love/hate relationship with her. I loved her because she had an amazing talent in the theater department, and I hated her because she had an amazing theatrical talent! I used to love acting, especially during my high school years. Eve got the starring role in almost every play, and I was JEAL-OUS. Between Eve and Charlotte (another girl with incredible talent), I never even had a chance! I wanted to be just like her. I wanted her talent. I wanted her confidence. I wanted her beauty.

Eve is one year my elder. I have some great memories with her: Shakespeare Competitions, State Drama Competitions, multiple Plays and parties, Drama Club events. I remember looking through her Theater Sterling Scholar portfolio with much awe; I was so impressed with all that she had already accomplished! After high school, she furthered her education and her acting. The last time I saw her, it was on the movie "RM". During the movie, I was jumping up and down and telling my family "I know that girl! I went to high school with her!!!". It excited me so much because that's the life I wanted to live, and I was thrilled to know somebody who actually did! I wanted to be in community theater plays as an adult. I wanted to get a college degree in theater. I wanted to be famous for my performances on stage. I quit after one year into my theater scholarship at SUU to get married, and I've never done any real acting since. But Eve has. She is a professor, she is still acting, she's everything I thought my life would be. Thankfully, I've matured over time and I'm no longer jealous of her, just really happy for her.

I've never known anyone like Eve. She has the most beautiful mesmerizing eyes, and her hair is just glorious! Her confidence is like a magnet, drawing in those around her. She is funny. She is stylish. She is in touch with her inner self. She is intelligent. She has real-life experiences, and is so understanding of others because of it. She isn't afraid to try new things. She is so awesome! I'm grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with her now after all these years; I'm thankful that Eve has been an influential part of my life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2nd Day of Christmas - Gina

When we first moved to Salmon, we rented a home down the same road on which we live now. There are only about a dozen families on this 2-mile-long road. One of our closest neighbors back then was Gina and her husband David. Shortly after moving in, she invited Josh and I, along with baby Ammon, over for dinner. We accepted the invitation and looked forward to it. The evening was full of good conversation and good food. For being a young wife, Gina was an excellent cook, and I was very impressed with the meal. After consuming it, we looked at some of her scrapbooks. She showed me her wedding book and I remember thinking how amazing it was that she was so caught up-to-date with her books, especially since I was still working on my own childhood scrapbook and Josh's missionary books. She's an excellent scrapbooker! Her style has evolved from those days, and it's been fun to see her creativity manifest itself onto her pages.

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to get to know Gina better. We are no longer neighbors, but we have children of similar ages and we are currently in the same ward. She is very down-to-earth and has a hilarious sense of humor. She is a very good listener, and I've noticed people call her all day long because she offers an understanding ear. She is very real, and I like that about her. She loves to take care of her husband and her children. She enjoys her role as a wife and mother, and her priorities always revolve around her family's needs. She grows her own garden, and an impressive one at that! She has an immaculate and comfortable home, and it is decorated very nicely.

She's still the most caught-up-to-date person I know: her scrapbooks are current, she posts on her blog immediately after an event, her giant garden is planted and cared for and harvested precisely when it should be, her holiday decorations are always put up right on time. She is very dependable and very organized.
She is compassionate and always tries to offer a service to those around her. She's babysat for me and made meals for my family numerous times. I keep trying to repay the service, but it is an impossible task and I always come up short. I appreciate Gina for her righteous attitude, for her abilities to serve, for her example of a loving wife and mother, and for her friendship to me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1st Day of Christmas - Linette

Introducing...LINETTELinette is Josh's aunt. She is married to John, who works in the golf industry as a fertilizer salesman & consultant. It is because of John that Josh has his job. When we got married, Josh worked for a lawn care company. After 3 years in that job, John informed him of the golf course superintendent job opening in Salmon, and we've been here ever since. We will always be grateful to uncle John for informing us of the opening that has afforded us the opportunity to live in Josh's hometown of Salmon.

I first met Aunt Linette when Josh and I were engaged. We were living in Utah at the time, and we drove to Eastern Idaho to see Josh's grandpa get an award. We spent the night at Linette and John's house because their daughter was getting baptized the next morning. Not only was she very welcoming to me, but she also had a great sense of humor, a fun attitude, and a generous heart. I immediately liked her, and was thankful for the chance I had to meet Josh's extended family before we got married.

The first couple years of marriage were hard for us. We were young and immature and had so much to learn about ourselves, each other, and marriage. After 6 months of marriage, we got into some big fight (I have no idea now what it was about!). I decided to leave for a few days and calm my emotions and straighten my mind out. I didn't tell Josh I was leaving. I wanted him to miss me and be sorry about whatever we were fighting about. I packed up while he was at work and headed for someplace far from home, but where I could feel rejuvenated. I thought of Aunt Linette. I drove the 2 hours to her house and stayed there for a few days.

She was so sweet to take me right in. She made me feel loved and she listened to me and offered her understanding and support. I enjoyed spending a few days with her family. One day we spent burning the leaves in a garden fire. One night she took me to a haunted house with her. We spent time talking and doing errands and taking care of household chores. It was so wonderful for me. I appreciated her thoughtfulness and her kindness. I don't even remember the ending to the story with Josh--I can't remember if I ended up calling him and letting him know where I was or if I finally came home and surprised him with my presence, but I do remember that the retreat to Linette's house was just what I needed.

I love Aunt Linette and Uncle John. I love her delicious food (especially her homemade raspberry jam), I love her beautiful smile and her laugh, I love the goodness of her heart, I love her ability to give so much of herself to others, I love her courage to press forward through difficult times, I love her sweet spirit and the example that she is--she's a wonderful mother and an excellent friend. Thank you Aunt Linette for being a great role model for me and for always being there for me in times of need through the past 11 years!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Random Revealings

Thanks to all of you for commenting on my last post...the random winners are #1: Linette, #7: Debra, and #17: Emily. Please email me at with your address so I can send your Christmas Advent Calendar prizes to you! Now for the rest of the story as to why I did that random contest...

Blogging is so good for me. One of my main reasons for doing it is so that I can focus on the positive things that happen in my life. In the beginning, I only blogged when I was in a happy mood, which as I look back, was only a few times a month. Then last fall, I was in a slump of confusion and depression, and hardly blogged at all. This spring I had a moment of clarity, and decided to blog through it all, happiness or depression, and force myself to focus on the positive. I've become pretty good at sharing the positive aspects of my own life. But because of what happened to me last fall, I have difficulties in having a positive attitude about others and their influence in my life. Several of you inquired in January about my post TEN LESSONS OF 2008. I'm finally ready to share with you what some of what happened last fall, so that you can understand why it had such a major impact on me and of how I view others now.

There was a woman who I'd been friends with for 8 years. She is the kind of person who thrives in crisis situations. She loves drama and she loves being needed and helping others when they really need someone. She came into my life in 2001, when Josh and I were separated for 2 months. She entered my life again after the twins were born in 2003. She helped me during my post-partum depression, and she became extremely attached to my twins. A very unnatural attachment, as she was in her 40's and had her own children. The older my twins got, her attachment to them became strange. She invited us over for dinner frequently and would persuade me to let the twins stay overnight so I could take a break. Then she started buying things for underwear, new toys, new clothes, new coats. She cut their hair without asking me first. She had them sit in the hot tub with her. She took them places without telling me. She started having them sleep in bed with her when her husband was out of town. I didn't like the way she was taking over, one step at a time. She loved it when they accidentally slipped and called her "mom". I knew she had some major faults, but I also knew that she had a lot of good in her, so I overlooked her manipulations, her lies and tales of gossip, the way she tried to control my life, and the way she made me feel like I was less of a mother.

Last fall, I was working on a home improvement project of creating cubbies. She came with me to the lumber store to help me pick out supplies. After leaving the store, she told me to buckle up and I told her no, that I don't buckle up. She asked why not, and I told her it's because I don't care if I die. She slapped my cheek and we didn't speak again in the car. After I left her at her house, she called people in my ward (bishop, relief society president, ward members, and my friends) and lied to them all: she told them that I had said I would put a gun through my mouth and kill myself, and that I would put a gun to my children's heads. Her husband is in the bishopric, and everyone just believed what she said. She called the police, who interviewed my husband at his work and came to my house and questioned me in front of my children. She called C.P.S., who came out to the house and had to walk through it taking pictures and asking us questions. The man from CPS is also in our ward and has twin baby boys that I gave all my boys' hand-me-downs to. I was SO angry. Beyond angry. I went ballistic. I felt betrayed by my supposed friend. I felt defensive because nobody believed the truth. I felt worthless. I felt alone. I learned through that whole ordeal who my true friends were. Besides my husband, I had one person who stood by me, believed me, supported me, never gave up on me--and for that, I will always love Hailey.

I don't know why this woman sought to destroy my life; it's been a year and two months since I've spoken to her. But I do know I'm a different person because of this whole ordeal. I'm closer to my husband and my children. My twins are better people without her negative and possessive influence in their life. And frankly, so am I--it feels good to not have her twisted life mess with mine anymore.

But what happened has also affected me in a negative way. I ignored this woman's faults for so long and she used them to hurt me. Now I don't trust people anymore. Once I discover dishonesty, gossiping, manipulations, or controlling behavior in any of my friends, I immediately shut them out of my life, afraid that somehow their faults will eventually be used to destroy me. After that, I can't see past their faults to see their goodness anymore. I used to be a people-person, but now I don't like to be in social situations. I used to be a very open person, but I will never let myself open up enough to be hurt like that again. I constantly feel like a victim. It isn't good for me, and I know it. I've been to therapists and I read a lot of self-help books. I can analyze myself very well--I can tell you why I do the things I do, why I say the things I say, why I react a certain way. But regardless of all my analyzing, I have difficulties with changing myself to who I want to be rather than who I currently am.

So for me, blogging is therapeutic. It forces me to focus on the positive things of my life, and share them with my friends and family from a distance. I feel that I have a relationship via my computer with people who are my true friends. People who trust and believe what I write. People who care about what happens to me and my family. People who accept me for who I am. People who won't hurt me. I'm okay as long as I keep using blogging as my inner outlet and have my fellow blogging friends and family as my close contacts. My blogs are all true parts of my life and my fellow blogger's list is comprised of all true people I know in real life, so even though it's all in a virtual world, it feels real to me.

Just the other day, Josh and I were talking, and I was telling him about some of my thoughts regarding someone I know. He said to me "I don't remember the last time I heard you say anything positive about anyone." I started telling him people who I do like, and the things I like about them. But the list was really short. I want to be different, I want to be the good person that I make myself believe I am when I blog. I asked him what I need to change. He said "You need a change of heart". And I know that he's right. I do.

A few weeks ago, a dear friend posted THIS on her blog about me. It really touched me. I think I've read it like 20 times just to boost myself up. Between what she did for me, and what my husband said to me, I have an idea to start my change of heart: Beginning December 1, I'm going to write good comments for 25 days about the random 25 people who commented on my last post (except the 11th person--"anonymous"...who are you?) December is a great time to start my change of heart, as it is the season for giving and sharing, so for me this will be 25 days of Christmas--just like an advent calendar! I will write positive thoughts and good memories about each person, one day at a time. I'm excited for this self-challenge. Change is good, especially when it's for the better. Here's to all of you for being a positive part of my life!