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Rootstech 2017

February 15, 2017

The world’s largest family history gathering and don’t they look so thrilled to be here!  D was incredibly tired as he and C had gone snowshoeing with their Young Men’s leaders in the morning before meeting us at Rootstech, but otherwise we were excited to be there this year.2-32873159175_5c2ec323b6_o

I have participated in some way in every year of Rootstech, except for 2014 when Little A was a two-week-old baby.  I think that was the year they first had Family Discovery Day on the closing Saturday, but it was geared more towards youth groups.  I like the new emphasis on coming as a family instead, and I’ve brought the three older boys every year since.  Those Saturday sessions are all streamed online, but there’s just something about being there in the Salt Palace with thousands of other families and genealogy enthusiasts that is just the boost we need.

A and I went early to check out the expo hall, but it was so huge and there were so many people that we didn’t spend a whole lot of time there.  We did find and say hi to two friends who were working at various booths.  My step counter app still says I walked nearly a mile and a half that day, and that was with DH dropping us off and picking us up right at the door.  I’m sure other years when I’ve attended all three days, I’ve walked much farther, but just that one afternoon has worn out this pregnant lady.  I’m still recovering, three days later!

We watched all of the morning keynote speakers online at home Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but it was nice to come in person Saturday afternoon.  We really enjoyed President and Sister Nelson speak, along with Sheri Dew, Vai Sikahema, and Reno Mahe.  There were some amazing stories and tender feelings shared.  All of their sessions are now online at  We need to rewatch Pres. Nelson’s as C and D missed it (and I’m pretty sure I took a short nap towards the end!)  We also enjoyed Hank Smith’s presentation (the boys know him from Liahona’s Youth Conference every fall) and they are now huge fans of Jason Hewlett, a local comedian, who was the emcee for the closing event with two a cappella groups from BYU.  They especially loved his “Daddy Dinosaur” routine.  We laughed lots!

I don’t have any great notes to share; it was just so wonderful to listen to talks about families from a gospel perspective and to have reaffirmed the great importance of searching out our family members both here, and that have gone before us.  And there was cake!  There was a big emphasis on food and family this year.

One more picture:

Ancestry had this cool map with stickers that you could place where your ancestors came from.  In retrospect they probably shouldn’t have been standing right in front of the map, but just picture New England and Western Europe completely covered in little ancestry stickers.  Even the blown-up Europe off to the side of C’s head was pretty full.  Many people came from Britain!  So we added another sticker to Norway and Newfoundland (which only had one other!)

Now I need to take some time and check out the regular Rootstech classes that were streamed every day and are now online.


Books, books, and more books

February 8, 2017


What better time than February to do a “reading goals for the year” post?  I hardly read anything in January anyway.

I remember years when I had such big goals for reading books: a book a week, or the 888 challenge.  Those were the days.  I think it was baby #5 that kind of killed that.  Now that I look back, 2014 was the last year I actually kept track of books read, and I finished 26, so not bad.  Most of them were with the boys though, either for school or our book club.  Somewhere along the way I forgot how to read for myself.

2015 was terrible as that was the year we dejunked, moved half our life into storage, remodelled and sold the little downtown house, and moved.  Last year my big goal was to read The Iliad and The Odyssey with A and C, and I am so thrilled that we did it!  It was a huge accomplishment for all three of us.  I then spent the rest of the year reading fluff!

Actually, I’ve gotten into a series by Charles Todd (a mother/son duo) about Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge in the years following WWI.  I’ve enjoyed many of them, but the writing is uneven.  Some will be fabulous, then the next few are quite tedious to get through.  I finished up the last five or so in November and December when I didn’t feel like doing much of anything else, and the mysteries seem to be getting more complex and enjoyable.  A new one comes out this summer, so I’ll see if the trend continues.  They write another series about Bess Crawford, a nurse during WWI, but the last few have been so outrageously unbelievable that I don’t think I’ll continue to read those.  I think that sums up my reading for 2016 besides our book club books (which are hit and miss sometimes.  I should do a post about my favorites sometime)

Now that I’ve come out of the fog of morning sickness, I’ve felt a growing desire to do more with my brain, plus a growing stack of books next to my bed, so I figured why not try a list again this year.  It’s a goal to work towards even if the titles are somewhat random.

  •  The War That Saved My Life–We read this for book club in January, which then got cancelled because of illness.  It was interesting but just ok. I didn’t love it, despite the rave reviews.  I’m still wondering why if they were evacuating children from London at the beginning of WWII, these two were sent to Kent, which puts them even closer to the coastline and the Germans.  If you want to read about evacuees, I’d highly recommend The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe instead.
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind–I just finished this today for book club and it was excellent!
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn–We finished listening to this last week.  It started out as a read aloud, but I finally gave up as it was so tedious trying to wrap my mouth around Mark Twain’s dialogue with all the different accents spelled out. We listened to Elijah Wood read it instead, and it was thoroughly enjoyable.  I don’t think I’ve ever read all the way through the unabridged novel before.
  • The Freedom FactorA and C read this over Christmas and I finally finished it last week.  It’s about a young senator’s aide who gets thrown into an alternate USA where the Constitution was never ratified.  It was entertaining, and some of the issues of liberty and freedoms and government’s role are the very same ones we’re considering today.  I had to laugh though when he had to go to his upstairs neighbor to borrow an encyclopedia. (It was written in 1987.)  I take google for granted these days.

Those are the ones I’ve read so far.  Here’s what is on my bedside stack.

  • Women in the New Testament-a new Christmas book
  • Remember-a book from last Christmas that I still haven’t gotten to
  • Miracle at Philadelphia–A, C, and I are all reading it this month for history
  • The Well-Educated Mind–I’ve read it before, but this new edition has a new section on science books, plus the whole book is always great motivation for why (and how) a mother should read.
  • Our Lost Constitution–by Senator Mike Lee
  • Teaching from Rest-for homeschool inspiration
  • The Story of Science–There’s a read-along challenge on the 52 books in 52 weeks blog for this starting next month I think.
  • The History of the Ancient World–I meant to start this at the beginning of the school year, but better late than never, I suppose.  I have a schedule figured out (with note taking and timeline writing) so I can finish it and move on to the History of the Medieval World next fall when D and E start medieval history.
  • Symphony for the City of the Dead–about Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (which I am highly fascinated by)

Not pictured:

  • Fahrenheit 451 (with the boys)
  • The Boys in the Boat (our next book on tape)(on phone actually; everything’s digital these days)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (book club in March)
  • Lincoln’s Grave Robbers (book club in April)
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People (DH’s suggestion for the boys)(and me)

I still need to pick a few books for A’s literature this year (we’ve been doing short stories), and then in the fall we’re going to do some classic British Literature together that is yet to be decided.  I’m looking forward to it.

What are you reading this year?

I’m glad I’m not an elephant…

February 1, 2017

Or I’d have 17 months to go.  Some days this pregnancy feels that slow moving, but look at me: I’m on the downhill slide!  For a while there, I thought I’d never make it to the halfway point, which true to form, was finally when I started feeling more like myself again instead of death warmed over.

I still have a tenuous relationship with food though, but I’m feeling a little more adventurous.  I even had applesauce tonight!  Fruits and veggies, at least raw ones, are on my no-no list, as they were in my last two pregnancies.  And can I just say that is the most depressing thing ever!!  I’m dying for a nice juicy piece of . . . something, but I’m still afraid of what it will make me feel like.  I hate eating the wrong thing for lunch, and well, there goes Tuesday, because I will spend the rest of the day sitting on the couch or my bed feeling like crud and not wanting to do anything.

I’m more adventurous at dinner because I can usually sleep through anything so if I feel sick, I can just go to bed.  I know if I eat fruit first and follow it up with lots of protein and potatoes (I can’t get enough potatoes!) I’ll usually come out okay.  It’s kind of awful that this is a time in life when I can really eat as much of anything as I want, but it has to go down and stay down, and nothing really tastes that good to me.  I just want to eat!

At least it is staying down and I haven’t lost weight.  I remember at 20 weeks with my first pregnancy, I had only gained a pound.  Actually that was a net gain. I had gained eight pounds, after first losing seven from throwing up so much.  With C, I couldn’t seem to gain enough weight no matter what.  I had only gained one pound by 20 weeks with no weight loss attached.  My doctor told me I could eat anything, anything at all.  So a friend brought me all of her leftover Halloween candy to help out.  I don’t know that it did.

Then with D, I had gained 12 pounds by the midpoint.  Of course then he came 7 weeks early, but even at 4lbs. 4 oz., he was larger than we were expecting.  Thankfully, the last two pregnancies and this one are more normal.  I gain about 3 pounds every 4 weeks, which for me is just perfect.

That was a lot of typing about food. . . what can I say, the major thought in my brain every morning is: What can I find to eat today???

Everything else is progressing fine, really normal and boring, just like we want it, due to my “advanced maternal age.”  One or the other of us makes an “old” joke almost every doctor’s appointment. I do have to get my blood sucked out every month because a weird antibody showed up in my initial blood screen.  It’s a rare one that could cross over into baby’s bloodstream and cause problems if baby had the associated antigen, but then last month the screen came back negative, so I only have to test once more for that, and hopefully it will remain negative.  I have no idea why I even had that antibody, but it was measuring at the lowest possible level anyway, so it wasn’t really a worry.

I have 19 weeks give or take; I’ve only hit my due date once and while we’re hoping to not have a repeat 33-weeker, this kid could very well come early.  I’m feeling so much better than I have since October.  As my doctor says, it’s the second trimester so this is really as good as it gets, so I’m trying to appreciate it before the soreness and fatigue start setting in in about six more weeks.  I’ve been feeling baby move for about 4 weeks already and I’m already having Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Those are fun!  But normal for me.  Morning sickness quits, contractions start.

I’ll admit having morning sickness while homeschooling has been a real challenge that I haven’t dealt with before except for a few weeks in May (with both E and Little A) as we were winding down the school year when it didn’t really matter.  School has been kind of hit or miss the past three months with morning sickness plus surgery and recovery for A, then the holidays, but we have a decent routine going at the moment and are hanging on awaiting the return of warmer weather, or at least days when we can go outside without the air hurting our faces!

And hopefully the next four months will go by faster than the previous three, and soon we’ll have a new baby!

Another weekend, another concert

February 1, 2017

I haven’t said that in a long while!

And now I know why I’ve bowed out of playing the previous four concerts with my orchestra. It was only two rehearsals and a concert, but it was rough.  Granted, those were all in the same week, but still.  I was completely worn out by the end of it Saturday night, and then I had to come home and be the mom again because DH was working.

Little A had fallen asleep at dinner that night and stayed asleep for a couple of hours before waking up recharged and ready to go.  If I’d known she would sleep so long, I would have told A to wake her up sooner, but I had to leave right after dinner and she’s nearly impossible to wake up anyway when she crashes like that.  I came home ready to fall into bed, but had to deal with the toddler who was still going at 11:45!***

It was good to play again though; I’ve hardly touched my cello since October except for playing with my few students every week in their lessons.  I’ve really missed it, even when morning sickness had me in the fetal position and in no condition to be sitting up playing a cello on stage.  That is mostly gone (another post in the making) so I thought I’d try to play this one concert.  Plus it was a good way to break in the new strings I bought in September and finally put on my cello this month.

(Photo courtesy of E, whose life’s goal is to see how many photos he can take with my phone.)

Every January we accompany piano concerto competition winners from the area.  It’s a quick concert with five days prep, but I’ve played it so many times that it’s usually one of the easier (and fun) concerts for me.   They tend to play the same concertos year after year, so it’s not too strenuous. (As long as they don’t play Tchaikovsky; those cello parts are wicked with only a few days prep time!) There were only six this year and I practically have the Grieg piano concerto memorized, I think I’ve now played all the Rachmaninov and Beethoven concerti, Mozart is always sightreadable, and even the Saint-Saens #2, which was new to the orchestra, wasn’t very difficult, plus I played it in college.  Overall, not a lot of practice time was needed on my end, but still, being gone three nights last week was more than I’ve managed in months!  And I’m still recovering, but I did get caught up on all the laundry yesterday.  Of course it was last week’s laundry, but I’ll celebrate the small victories!  (and tackle this week’s laundry tomorrow.)

I think our sleep issues were due to Little A being up late Friday night while I was at dress rehearsal.  Then we had to get up early to go to our stake family history day on Saturday, and by Saturday night, Little A just couldn’t keep her eyes open.  Luckily she made up for it Sunday night.  She fell asleep at 7:15 and stayed asleep for the rest of the night.  I was so grateful!  Just one evening now and then without the toddler to deal with is heavenly!  Because she never stops moving . . . or talking . . .


***This reminded me of New Year’s Eve when she did the same thing.  She took a 3-hour nap that evening and woke up at 8:00 and was still going very strong at midnight.  The rest of us were wondering whose dumb idea it was to stay up until midnight anyway; we were all this close to falling asleep on the couch around 11:45, all except for A who went to a New Year’s Eve youth dance and thankfully found some friends who could give him a ride home.  But then at midnight we could see three different sets of fireworks going off across the golf course and that just made Little A even more excited to be up.  Then she was mad because I refused to stay up even longer and read bedtime stories (because it’s after midnight, child!) and finally agreed to fall asleep, but only in my bed, at which point I turned off all alarms and crashed with her.

I’ve never been so glad to switch to 1 p.m. church in my life.

Birthday 2.12

January 23, 2017

“I not three!!”

Fine, you can be 2.12.

We’ve been talking up this birthday for weeks and telling Little A how awesome it would be to turn three.  She wasn’t having it.  She sure understands cake and presents though.  Every time we asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, her answer was, “Cake and presents.”

Grandma and Poppa had a stack of presents for her when we went down on Thursday.  She knew immediately they were for her.


A horsie!32476254615_061eee62d4_o

Her actual birthday was Saturday and we woke up to snow.


It didn’t phase her though.  She was thrilled to get to eat Frosted Flakes when it wasn’t Sunday.  Daddy had to work in the morning and I was really tired, so we took it slow. She watched some movies with E while I baked her cake.

We still had to go shopping for her last present when DH came home.  She wanted to open presents the minute we walked back in the door, but we convinced her to let us wrap them first.  She had quite the stack (we may have gone overboard), and she was excited with whatever she saw first.

“It’s a box!”

It didn’t even matter what was in it; it was all so exciting!

I made the mistake of telling her that her baking set was food grade and she could make real food in it, and now I have to keep my canisters hidden in the cupboard because she wants to put real sugar and real salt in her mixing bowls.



She does love to cook . . . and lick the chocolate frosting beaters.

She was enthralled with the new scooter E got for his birthday, but decided she’d rather have a trike.  It’s snowing again today, but someday we’ll be able to ride all the new toys outside.



She can’t quite figure out the pedals, so it’s probably a good thing we got the one with the parent handle.  When she moves up to a bigger trike or bike in a few years, we can pass this one down to her brother.  (We’re forward thinkers and got the one that’s adjustable from 9 months-5 years!)


Also notice her new slippers.  We’d forgotten she specifically asked for slippers until the last minute, so we’d like to thank Walmart for having at least something without a Frozen theme.  I’m not one to buy pink princessy sparkly slippers, but she swears they’re birthday cakes, not crowns, anyway.



We sure do love this sweet little girl . . . even if she refuses to be three.


It’s another…

January 15, 2017

We had our ultrasound Friday.  A didn’t have school, so everybody went with us.  The ultrasound tech was so thrilled that everybody could be there to witness this.  It must have been a good idea to go first thing in the morning because she put the wand on my stomach and this popped right up:

A perfect profile view.  He was so cooperative.  Yes, he.  Because we are having another boy, naturally!  The odds weren’t in our favor for anything else!

I will say that DH had a blessing some years ago, even before we met and got married, in which he was promised that he would be the father of sons . . . oh, and a daughter.  She was kind of an afterthought.  I really wasn’t happy when he told me that, because of course, I had always wanted daughters.  But we had a boy, then another boy, and yet another boy.  It became our joke to ask when would this prophesied daughter come???

I knew E was going to be our fourth boy.  I just knew it.  I also knew he wouldn’t be our last, even after it took many years of waiting and praying for him to come, and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to be pregnant again.  Then I had a blessing while I was pregnant with him in which I was promised that there were children (yes, plural) that were still waiting to come to our family.  When we found ourselves pregnant again, I was fairly certain that Little A would be our long awaited daughter, even before we knew for sure.

I actually was really hoping she would be twins so we could get those children and be done with it in one more pregnancy.  I was 39 after all.  (But I’m really glad she wasn’t twins, as I can’t imagine having two newborns at once, or two toddlers, or two almost-3-year-olds.  She’s been a handful lately!  I can barely keep track of one of her!)

Despite our joking before, I always knew that we would have that daughter.  I trusted in God, and in that promised blessing given to DH and just knew that if I got pregnant, we would have our girl eventually.

My thinking has been different in the last little while though.  DH and I had talked about, maybe, is there one more baby for us? But mostly, in the last year, I was avoiding having that conversation. I trusted Heavenly Father to fulfill his promise of more children for our family, but I was having a harder time trusting in myself that I could do my part in bringing about the fulfillment of that promise.  I wasn’t sure I even wanted to.  Little A’s pregnancy was quite difficult for me.  I was just so sick for so long, and in quite a lot of discomfort, bordering on pain, the last few months carrying her.  Her delivery was no cakewalk either.  But I thought about those promised children waiting for us and couldn’t just close that door to them.

Then I turned 40, then 41.  Now I’m 42, and here we are, and yes, it was actually a surprise this time.  And yes, it’s been a lot harder to be pregnant at 42 than it was at 26.  I had three boys in four years; I never thought it would take another twelve years to bring three more babies into this world.  I think my journey through motherhood has taught me, more than any other experience, to rely on the Lord.  I’m not in charge of my life; He is.  He has a plan, and it will be more perfect than anything I could have come up with on my own.

Speaking of perfect, look at this perfect little leg and foot:

I always love to see these little babies on ultrasound.  I’ve been feeling him move for several weeks now, but it’s amazing to me that something so small (6 inches long and just over 1.5 lbs now) can be so perfectly formed and moving around and beautiful.  It really is beautiful.

These 4D pictures though, they’re actually kind of creepy.   

The boys thought it was cute that he waved to us.  Little A was a little sad at first, though.  We had talked up maybe having a baby sister for her.  But when the ultrasound tech handed her the printed pictures, Little A said, “It’s my baby brother!”

Still, she has no idea what’s coming.

So we’ll have one daughter and five sons. Naturally, the choice for lunch was:

Five Guys!

E turns seven!

January 5, 2017

What does it say about us that all the 7-year-old wanted for his birthday was to sit and play Minecraft???

He’s definitely my kid.  Sometimes I too just want to sit by myself for a day and do my thing uninterrupted, without having to be social.  He asked for omelettes for breakfast and was very specific that he wanted to have cake after breakfast and open presents then.  Originally he had to go to Kindermusik right at dinnertime, which probably lead to the breakfast/cake idea, but class got cancelled last minute so that was fortuitous.  I then had no dinner plans though, so we ordered pizza.  Grandma and Poppa called this afternoon and E told them he definitely feels different now that he’s seven.

He requested a lemon bundt cake this year.  Knowing that he wanted to have it right after breakfast, I had planned to make it last night.  DH had to work until midnight and I had a Relief Society activity to go to.  When I got home, A was catching up on science classes online and nobody else was remotely ready for bed.  We were out of milk and down to eleven eggs, and I knew the cake needed seven, plus we were planning on omelettes so I’d need to go shopping.  I also knew Little A really needed to go to bed before I could go to the store.

Finally at 10:30 I made it out the door!  E stayed up to wait for me because he really really wanted to help bake his cake.  It took more time than I thought it would to juice lemons and whip the egg whites, but I think that cake finally went in the oven about quarter to midnight! He was asleep about five minutes later!  He is actually helpful in the kitchen though so I was glad of his help.  (Little A is a completely different story!)

It was supposed to cool in the pan completely for one hour, but I was not about to stay up any longer waiting to take it out, so it stayed in the pan all night and didn’t quite come out smoothly this morning.  The frosting was very thick which didn’t help matters, but it’s the taste that counts, not the crumbs in the frosting, right?



He picked out this new backpack, but didn’t know it was coming today!



He also got a new shirt and some legos.  The fun will continue at Grandma’s house tomorrow with more presents and macaroni and cheese and ham for dinner.

Trying out his new scooter:  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne day he’ll be able to ride it outside, but it’s snowing again tonight.  Oh well, we can’t all have summer birthdays.



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