Friday, March 28, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Super Hero!

Hi, James again... I just wanted to take a moment to tell my wife "THANK YOU!!!" Thank you for everything you do every day. If you ask Kristy what she accomplished today she would most likely say, "Not much." But let me just take a moment to brag about what she really did today... and tell her thanks along the way. I was at work today, so unfortunately I can't tell you ALL the wonderful things she accomplished today, I can only tell you what I saw or can see the results of. Kristy changed Mary's poopy diaper and didn't make me do it. Thank You Kristy. She made sure she took care of a ticket she got because I forgot to register her car. Thank you! Kristy did the laudry. Thank you. She folded the laundry. Thank you. She cleaned BOTH of the bathrooms and now they sparkle. Thank you, they look fantastic! She mopped the kitchen floor. Thank you. She did the dishes. She wiped down the counters. The kitchen is spotless! Thank you, Kristy! She made a blanket to give to a pregnant friend. Thanks! She organized the hand off of our children to the grandparents for a trip we are leaving on tomorrow. Thank you! She got the kids all packed and ready. Thank you. She prepared dinner, fed the kids dinner, AND cleaned up after them all by herself while I entertained a guest. Thank You! Now all this might sound like a big deal... but that's not even the most important part. She gave Mary that special one-on-one time she craves...several times. (That was so cute watching the two of you say prayers together!) Thank you. She didn't lose her temper with Mary when she woke up the baby, almost broke the baby's swing, almost broke Lindsay's bouncy chair, or drag out laundry Kristy had been folding. Thank you, Kristy. She made Ella feel special by letting ONLY her go with Kristy to the store to pick out some shoes. Thank you! Now, in contrast, while Kristy and Ella were at the store may I just tell you what I accomplished. Um, I held the baby. Watched some basketball on TV. Uh, I held the baby. I had Keller keep Mary busy. And boy was I tired and frazzled after all that! Whew, was I glad when Kristy made it home! She was gone a WHOLE HOUR! (Notice the sarcasm there.) As you can see I am married to a super hero of a woman. The things I've listed are only a small portion of what she did today... I was at work and so I missed lunch time, nap time, probably several kissed owies, comforting hugs, and many words of encouragement and affirmation. Thank you, Kristy. You are SO incredible with our children. You are such a wonderful mother to them. They adore you! There is a reason Mary has a melt down when you leave... you are great with the children. If I was two years old, I'd cry every time I had to be away from you too. Thank you for managing our home. You do a great job... much better than you give yourself credit for. I am so happy with everything you do and are. You are so appreciated, so loved, so adored, so admired and needed. Honestly Kristy, I don't know how you do it. You truly do amaze me. I love you so much. You really are a....

(I couldn't find a "Superwoman" logo... sorry.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Classic Cashmere Sweater by Erika Knight

This is a sweater I knitted for Kate. The pattern is found in 'Simple Knits for Cherished Babies' . Things I learned with this project:
*Mattress stitch
*Casting on at the beginning of a row.
*Casting off in the middle of a row.
*When putting stitches on a stitch holder, make sure the right end is at the point of the needle when you slip them back on!

Thanks to my cute model Katie.

This is a close up of the mattress stitch. You use it when you sew pieces of knitting together. You can't see the seam, can you? It's magical.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter: A Celebration of the Greatest Moment in Eternity

So you’re sitting in Sunday School and the teacher asks you, “What’s special about Easter?” Class in unison: “It’s when Jesus was resurrected.” And that’s that. We know that. We believe that. But do we really understand the true weight of that answer? Have we given it much thought beyond that? Often the miracle of Easter is somewhat overlooked or under appreciated. The power and importance of the doctrine of the resurrection is made clear in the Bible Dictionary.

Bible Dictionary – Resurrection

To obtain a resurrection with a celestial, exalted body is the center point of hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is the most glorious of all messages to mankind.

The center point of hope in the gospel. The most glorious of all messages. Those are powerful statements. Note that it is a resurrection with a celestial, exalted body... meaning not only salvation from physical death but salvation from spiritual death also.

Mormon also tells us that the resurrection is the center point of hope in the gospel.

Moroni 7:40 – 41

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

The resurrection is such an important doctrine that God put reminders of it in our daily life. Baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection as we are buried in the water and arise new and clean. The seasons remind us of death in the winter and yet every spring, those very trees that had lost their leaves and appeared dead bud into lush, green life. The sun is buried in the horizon every evening leaving us in darkness, yet it rises again each day. And the closest, most intimate reminder we have is when we go to sleep at night. We bury ourselves under our covers. Our bodies appear they are dead. But each morning we rise… renewed and refreshed. Restored. I can think of no other symbolism that God has placed so blatantly and prevalently in our physical world as those reminders we have of the resurrection.

This Easter season may we all ponder a little deeper, and appreciate a little more what really happened on the glorious morning of Easter Sunday.

I leave you with President Hinckley’s final testimony of the resurrection and of Savior of the world. (“We Testify of Jesus Christ” by President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Mar. 2008)

"He is the chief cornerstone of the Church that bears His name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no other name given among men whereby we can be saved (see Acts 4:12). He is the Author of our salvation, the Giver of eternal life (see Hebrews 5:9). There is none to equal Him. There never has been. There never will be. Thanks be to God for the gift of His Beloved Son, who gave His life that we might live and who is the chief, immovable cornerstone of our faith and His Church.
We know not all that lies ahead of us. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the Polar Star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith. In sunshine and in shadow we look to Him, and He is there to assure and smile upon us.
He is the central focus of our worship. He is the Son of the living God, the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten in the flesh. He is “risen from the dead, … the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). He is the Lord who shall come again “to reign on the earth over his people” (D&C 76:63; see also Micah 4:7; Revelation 11:15). None so great has ever walked the earth. None other has made a comparable sacrifice or granted a comparable blessing. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I declare His divinity without equivocation or compromise. I love Him. I speak the name of Jesus Christ in reverence and wonder. He is our King, our Lord, our Master, the living Christ, who stands on the right hand of His Father. He lives! He lives, resplendent and wonderful, the living Son of the living God."

-- Happy Easter everyone. Love, James.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Whole Life Story

In an attempt to take everyone to new heights (or is it new lows) of boredom, I've decided to post my life story every week. The reason I'm really doing this is that I've been meaning to write my personal history on Sundays and now I'm going to do it. It seems like a pretty good Sabbath activity.

This post will be about a couple of my ancestors and what they mean to me. The photo above is George Wallace Armstrong, my Great Grandfather on my dad's mom's side. I love this photo. That was his football uniform at the University of Idaho in Moscow. It looks like the football pads were built right into his pants.

His mom gave birth to 16 children, 15 of whom lived past their youth. I can imagine her in her homestead on the farm sitting down probably for the first time that day to answer the questions of the census enumerator. Sixteen kids. And this is before all the housekeeping helpers we have now. Imagining her workload just scrambles my brain.

On my mom's side, there is a branch of the family whose last name is Lindsay. They were from Scotland. The father, William Lindsay, and the sons worked in the lead mines.

"Oft times in the winter time we scarcely ever saw the daylight except on Sunday. We were in the mine before daylight and didn't get out until after dark. In the spring of 1861 we moved into the town of Kilmarnock and were there only a few months when our dear and loving father was killed by a large stone falling on him. Brother James and I had left him all right and were gone about thirty minutes and returned to find him dead. We were two frightened little boys and in our haste to get help our light was knocked out to make it more terrible. This was a dreadful time for all of us especially our dear mother. Our home where peace and love had always reigned supreme was turned to one of sorrow. It seemed all our hopes of ever getting to Utah were blasted. Some of our friends, mostly LDS members, aided us at this time and our dear father was buried in St. Andrew's Churchyard in Kilmarnock....
(me at St. Andrew's where William was buried in Scotland)

for a time we were so grieved we were at a loss which way to turn. But mother did not give way to despair and said to us boys, 'Never mind, we will get to the Valley yet on the very first ship next spring.' ...The words came true...but it was the emigration fund of the Mormon Church that got us here. Then the word came giving us notice to sell everything not needed and to be in Liverpool by the 21st of April, 1862 to go on board the sailing ship John J. Boyd, where passage had been secured for our whole family of eight children and mother. Some people have quite a trial in leaving their friends and their relatives and native land but we were happy in having the privilege to do so."
When I have a difficult day and my spirits are low, sometimes I think of these women, my ancestors. Mary Elizabeth Armstrong, who cooked for, sewed for, cleaned for, taught, and raised 15 children on a farm. And Christina Howie Lindsay who had to bury her husband in Scotland and then take eight children by herself on a 39-day sea voyage to New York and then over the plains and mountains to Heber, Utah. When I think I'll never pull through my trials I sometimes remember them and think "Their blood runs into mine...I'm made of the same stuff that they were...I can get through this...this is nothing, don't make them ashamed to call me their posterity."

Friday, March 14, 2008


Note: This post is taken from a journal of mine. It was written solely for my benefit. I thought it might help others, too. I just didn't want to sound like I was preaching a sermon, or like I was perfect.

Why is gossiping so harmful?
In a ward setting, it creates tension and destroys the feelings of love, acceptance, trust, and inclusion that should exist within a ward. It hurts people's feelings! It damages reputations of sometimes innocent people. It makes people feel uneasy: "What are they going to say about me when I walk away?"

How to stop yourself from gossiping:
Beware of gossip's disguises: "I like Cindy a lot but..." Often it is done with a thin mask of concern: "Is something wrong with Lisa? She lets her kids run all over the neighborhood...I'm worried that she's depressed..." then the conversation takes off about poor Lisa. These women aren't "concerned". If they were, they would lovingly watch out for Lisa's kids, and drop them off at home if they wander too far or get into a dangerous situation.
Find other topics of conversation, read the newspaper, talk about your own life, various gospel topics, politics (!?), recent family vacations, etc.
Realize that when you gossip, you sound rude, critical, unfriendly, and unChristlike. Is this the vibe you really want to radiate to your neighbors and friends?
Along with gossiping, a close cousin, is backstabbing. Backstabbing (or backbiting) is unkind remarks made about another person who is not there. It's just as bad or worse than gossiping.
*BE HUMBLE*: What are your own weaknesses and failings? What excellent qualities does the person you are tempted to gossip about possess? The thing is, we are all different! The way I choose to raise my kids is different from the way my neighbor does. Why must we tear down another person to prove that the way we do things is the "right" way?
Look for the good in others instead of the bad. This can be hard at first if you're not used to it. In the beginning, you will probably have to make a conscious effort to shut out the negative thoughts that enter your head about people. A wonderful way to break this habit is to replace every bad thought with a thought about what makes that person good.

How to stop others from gossiping: We can't control what other people say or do...but we can make it harder for them to gossip (at least when we're around). Some things we can do:
Change the subject. It can be useful to keep a mental list of interesting topics of conversation that can used to gently steer the topic away from people.

Gossip is ugly. It's mean. It's a weakness that is an overwhelmingly female trait. Let's all try to do better. We are better. Let's be sisters.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Green Hour Pix

It took me long enough to get these pictures added. Life with a newborn...
Anyway...this is a cool rock we found on our nature walk. It had a shiny spot with shimmering rainbow like flakes of rock that would peel off...

This is one of the peelings from the rock.

Keller and Ella getting excited about some crocuses that were blooming.

A tiny little pine cone. Ella called it a baby pine cone.

A leaf Ella was excited about. I don't know if we'll keep doing this...I've got a lot going on already. The kids loved it though. And now... we're off to tour the State Capitol Building. By the you love Keller's mismatched outfit? He looks pretty homeless.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hotel Mother's Day

I'm opening a hotel, and only moms who have had really bad days can go there. It will have a massive hot tub in the lobby where moms can congregate, soak their feet, and share stories of their bad days. Also in the lobby there will be a gigantic dessert bar with an emphasis on chocolate. There will be a large staff of massage therapists, child psychology experts, and shrinks. There will be a mandatory lights out at 11pm to ensure that each guest gets a good nights sleep. Courtesy wake up calls will be available for those who need to get back home to get kids off to school the next morning. I will charge $5/night. See you there.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Green Hour

We've decided join the Green Hour Challenge! We're committed to spending an hour outside a week, just observing nature and learning more about it. I'm excited to get this going. I know the kids are gonna flip. They love this kind of thing, especially Keller. He's such an outdoor boy. We'll start tomorrow and I'll return and report.

From the Teacher's Desk

The lazy girl's guide to the library:

1. Go to your library's website.
2. Choose the books you want (you can browse around by author, subject, title, and more) and put them on hold using your library card number. It doesn't matter if the book you want is already at your regular library, put it on hold anyway.
3. Check your library account in a few days and make sure all items you've put on hold for the week are there.
4. Go to the library where you've chosen to have your books delivered.
5. Go to the hold shelf and locate the letter of your last name.
6. Pick up your books and check them out. Make it out of the library in five minutes flat, even with four kids in tow.
7. Go home and read.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I Have Something I Need to Get Off My Chest...

Okay. The self loathing and anxiety attacks every time thank-you notes are mentioned need to end. Here it is:


How tacky. How ungrateful. How rude. How thoughtless. How lazy.

James and I were overwhelmed by the kindness of every one who attended our wedding and brought gifts. We were so appreciative of those gifts and the friendship of everybody who gave. Why then, didn't we take the time to send out thank-you cards? I have no good answer.

Despicable, isn't it?