Thursday, December 30, 2010

Merry Christmas to Me

I know I've said it before (like once a month) but I will say it again for all of you who may have missed it the other bazillion times...I LOVE my Family Home Evening Group.
If you want to give yourself the "gift that keeps on giving" all you need to do is..
  • Find a group of women that share similar values, priorities and interests.
  • Meet together on a regular basis (we get together once a month).
  • Share good food (we love having an opportunity to make and eat things that our husbands and children most likely would not appreciate).
  • Trade off hosting each other in your homes.
  • Create an environment where you can share opinions, thoughts, ideas, hopes, failures, and successes.
  • Laugh. Cry. Eat. Laugh some more.
  • Think...."I am the luckiest girl in the world!"

Rebecca hosted. I couldn't get enough of her beautiful, warm, cozy, Christmas home! I was almost on "sensory overload." I could hardly take it all in fast enough.

Lunch consisted of:
  • (Not your mother's) Hot Chocolate
  • Butternut Squash soup (the best I've ever had)
  • Chipotle Lime Shrimp Salad
  • Rosemary biscuits w/ honey butter
  • Nordstrom's Bread Pudding (what is it called?) Hands down my favorite dessert of all time.
Needless to say..I was so busy eating..I didn't really think about my camera. Plus...seeing pictures would have just made you all really jealous and hungry.
These are some of the women that inspire me... (Not shown..Kristin and Andi)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Out of small and simple things...

are great things brought to pass." That was the message accompanying a beautiful acorn necklace and given to me by a friend at the beginning of November. I thought a lot about that sentiment. I have always loved acorns-mostly I think because they are part of the beauty of the autumn season that I love so much-but I don't think I ever really gave a lot of thought to what they might represent. Suddenly I was noticing seemingly small (and simple) acts and could follow them through to their grand end. Seemingly small things like... a friend who makes it a point to rub lotion on my dry, hardened hands 3 times a week. Or busy moms who enthusiastically and willingly agree to help with a ward party during the craziest time of year. Or a ward that caught the vision of giving and service and donated generously of their means to help others in need. Or a clerk at Home Depot who went out of her way to brighten everyone's day who had the privilege of going through her check out line. Or attending a weekly scripture class with a teacher who, through her study and enthusiasm, has planted a seed of love and understanding of Isiahi's words. Small things really. And yet so big. But what is my contribution? I am guilty of often thinking that bigger is better. And in the case of Christian's ACT score or storage space, that may be true-but so little else really falls into that category. (And those two things are even debatable). Point is..I know I just need to make an effort. Regardless of how seemingly small it may seem at the time. Send the thank you note. Park at the end of the lot and walk. Have a water instead of a diet coke. Give sympathy when "someone" isn't feeling well. All tiny acorns of effort but possibly with giant oak results.

Jill is my favorite acorn. She make look tiny, but the love she gives is oh, so BIG!

  • Hosted my family+Kelli's in-laws+Uncle Dick and Michelle for Thanksgiving. Loved it.
  • Made two turkeys. Overcooked one and undercooked the other.
  • Had apple spice cake and pumpkin streussel instead of pies for dessert. YUM!
  • Saw Tangled. New favorite movie.
  • Had a little "hostess neurosis" and set down my camera two minutes after everyone came and then never picked it up again. pics.
Sure, Kelli's salad is beautiful but so are her biceps!

Cousin Kate the roommate, Hailee, Michelle

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I guess it's no secret..turns out my 2 girls really do read my blog

(Sophie fills in Jill during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional)
Who knew? The very people I started blogging for in the first place really do check in on occasion. I have had several requests from them to update. So..I'm breaking down and blogging once more.The problem now is... where do I start?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

From the archives

* Disclaimer...That is not my hand doing the pinching

Monday, November 8, 2010

I had a quiet lunch by myself today...

Meet Catherine...She is one of my heroes. She is the mother of 5. She gave birth to all those babies in four years (I know-I didn't think that was possible). Two sets of twins. Her life is not quiet. And yet..she has this uncanny inner peace and perspective on life. I don't know how she does it.
Here, for your entertainment, is a time lapse video Catherine took of lunchtime at her house. You will laugh out loud and never take your relatively subdued lunch for granted again...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Love and Loyalty

For either one, the rest of us are just chopped liver.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Move over Red Hanger (and Hailee)

Our local dry cleaner's got nothing on this guy. He has stepped in and filled the shoes of his older sister who used to rule the ironing board. There are two perfectly good reasons for this switch.

1. His older sister is living away at college.
2. He is driving the car his sister used to have access to.

So what do driving and ironing have to do with each other?

Ironing=Gas $$
Having kids that drive definitely has its advantages.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Lone Carver

It's messy and time consuming and I probably would have skipped it all together if it weren't for the fact that I had four kids bubbling over with holiday enthusiasm and the end result always seemed worth it-at least in their eyes.

But then one year there were only three enthusiastic carvers ready to go...and then two...
Until this year just one lone carver was left...

...still bubbling over with holiday enthusiasm.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maiden Voyage

U.E.A./Fall break for us folk in Utah was the perfect excuse to get out of Dodge and head to Phoenix. It was a "Maiden Voyage" of sorts. As in, for the first time on a family voyage, I was the only 'maiden.'
The dictionary defines 'maiden' as a girl or young unmarried woman (among other things). For the sake of this particular post, I'm going with the "girl" definition.
I have sailed to Phoenix many times but always on a sea of estrogen. Always I was accompanied by girlfriends or sisters or daughters. On this trip my companions were all of the male variety. My husband and two sons. I knew it would be different. I worried I would hold the boys back or interrupt the 'guy' flow. And how, I wondered, would I hold my own as the only shopper in the group?! As it turns out, my concerns were in vain. But I was right about one thing...It was different.
The trip started off in the fast lane-literally. Because there were only four passengers Jordan was able to drive his car. People ask me if I'm nervous to drive with Jordan. I'm not. If it were anyone else, I would be white knuckled and sick to my stomach. But when Jordan is behind the wheel, I relax. This trip was no exception -aside from two occasions...
Once when we came upon another car with a driver who was taking advantage of the long stretches of open road and his twin turbos. When the two drivers locked eyes it was like a scene out of "The Transporter." Only we didn't have stunt doubles. When the other driver turned off to get gas, and my husband once again became aware of his true age and the 3 other passengers in the car, I was noticeably warmer than I had been previously and where I had been dozing off moments before, I was now wide awake. Strangely, there was no discussion about the incident other than this: uncomfortable occasion #2: Jordan twists around to glance at our 16 year old son and, after making sure that Christian is listening, admonishes him about the perils of driving too fast. "Never, never drive this fast," Jordan tells him.

Now I'm white knuckled and sick to my stomach.

Upon our (safe) arrival at our destination, I made this declaration:
"We are going shopping."
"We will be going to these three stores: 1. Last Chance 2. My Sister's Closet and 3. H&M"
After a few (obligatory) whimpers those 3 adorable boys headed out into the blazing Phoenix heat and discovered that aside from some great bargains there was also a fabulous thing called "air-conditioning" in each of those stores. At the end of the day the back of the car was loaded with sacks filled with our treasures. And only two little sacks were mine. The boys put their sisters to shame in the shopping department.
But any similarities to their sisters would definitely end there.

Like when it came time for lunch. I suggested a quaint little diner I visited when I had been in Phoenix previously with friends. I had been thinking about the veggie sandwich and cupcake ever since. Oddly, my little diner got one vote and this place received 3....

Maybe it was the less than stellar food choices that led to all the talk about who had gas... Ah..but I digress...
Anyway- I also thought of the different feel of this trip-in comparison to one with daughters-as I took in this series of events as we headed back to our hotel room after dinner one night: We passed by the Fitness Center and the boys ran in. Normally, Jordan wouldn't be caught dead in the Fitness Center, but he made an exception that night to see if he could get the treadmill going fast enough to shoot Gabe off of it. He also tried the scale (obviously no one was in the Fitness Center). When that scale was deemed inaccurate, he tried another. Strangely, that too, was inaccurate. Leaving the Fitness Center Christian noticed the sauna. He encouraged Gabe to step in and check it out-which he did. When he turned to get out, his dad and brother were holding the door closed. Seemingly unscathed and unfazed my boys continued toward the hotel room..jumping up to touch a tree branch here, trying to give a dead arm there.... culminating in Gabe having run ahead so he could be hiding in the elevator when it opened so he could scare the pants off of us.

Different trip-yes. But I never said it wasn't thoroughly entertaining. How could I not be enjoying myself?

There was a lot of this:

..which lead to a lot of sweating. But herein I have a confession: I think sweaty boys are cute. Weird-I know.
I said sweaty boys. Not men.
There was also a good deal of this:

And then there was the football...

..that also did this:
I may have been surrounded by boys on this trip-but those boys were also gentlemen. I don't think I got my door, refilled my drink or loaded a bag into the car once on this trip. I may have been the only maiden but I was treated like a queen. And I loved every minute.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Having a 16 year old son can be scary

You know how I've said that I love having boys? How I love their ingenuity and enthusiasm? Well...lately not so much.
Meet "Manny"- Christian's most recent acquisition. He has appeared around every corner and in every unlit hallway for over a week now. He has taken at least ten years off my life.
Forget Haunted Houses and creepy son knows scary.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Note to self

A couple of Sundays ago we had the biannual privilege of listening to our church leaders teach and prophesy to us via TV. It is a lovely change of pace from the scramble to get to church-looking decent-by 9 a.m.
We stayed in our comfy clothes all day (which for Christian means being half clothed) and snuggled up in front in of the TV ready to soak up inspiration and guidance. There came a point during the day, however, when I looked around and realized that most of my crew was soaking up the inspiration subliminally. I remember back in my younger, know-it-all days when I looked forward to the day (this one) where my kids would be old enough not to be distracting and to listen intently.
Note to self...pinning away for the future is always a waste of time.
I have to say...they really did get more out of it than you would think.

The dog loves Conference Sunday more than anyone. Christian at his disposal all day is his idea of heaven. Even when he does the following torture tactics....
This was (one of) Christian's form of entertainment....line up M&Ms on your chest and measure the dog's self-control. Then eat each M&M loudly, exclaiming delicious pleasure in the dog's face, leaving only the mole on your chest as a trick M&M for the dog to lick.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"The Gift of an Ordinary Day" by Katrina Kenison

I removed my last post. It was just too whiny and pitiful and not at all upbeat. And it should have been. So unless you go to bed really late or get up really early (Sarah..I'm talking to you) you were spared my insecure dribble.

Fall, my favorite season, is upon us. There is so much to look forward to. I am, therefore, turning over a new leaf and staying focused on all things positive- enjoying the gift of an ordinary day.

A friend introduced me to Katrina Kenison years ago with her book, Mitten Strings for God. I fell in love. The book made me want to be a better person. A better mother. Her new book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, is just as lovely. Read it. Or take a couple of minutes and listen to this excerpt...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just me and G

Circumstances this past weekend made it so that for a couple of days it was just me and the G man. I would say that the two of us had some great quality time together but really any time with Gabe is quality time. Seriously. My twelve year old son is probably one of the most positive and upbeat people I know. He is generally always happy. Even when he takes off for a 15 mile bike ride with the scouts only to discover a mile in that he has a flat tire. A flat tire that went beyond the basic repairs. For hours he pedaled twice as hard with half the progress. He came home a little discouraged with shaky legs but not beaten down-ready to go again. I would have cried. Ask him how his day was, his killer soccer practice went, or the outcome of a service project for someone's Eagle project and the answer is always the same; "Great!" Or I get this response a lot: "That was so much fun!" Not only is Gabe happy and positive but he is genuinely NICE. All the time. He thinks of others. He looks out for others. He hates it when anyone is sad. His prayers are filled with requests for others. I attended parent/teacher conferences the other night. Of the 3 teachers that I talked to that night, each mentioned something about Gabe needing to tone down the friendly chatter. I pursed my lips and tried to look a little concerned but inside I was thinking, "good for you, buddy. Be their friend. Chat."
Saturday morning Gabe decided that he wanted to make pancakes for the two of us. He was determined to get the 'flip' down. Even after this one got stuck to the wall.

Friday, September 24, 2010

(post edit: Labor Day! Not Memorial Day. Thanks, mom)

This year's Memorial Day weekend was probably my favorite ever. And I started out pouting. We had made arrangements to have the family condo in Park City. The whole family had assured me their schedules were cleared and they were excited to go. Since I was already in Park City for Swiss Days, I waited for the family to arrive Friday evening -excited to have my whole crew together again. And by one my kids discovered they had other (better) plans. I was bugged. And hurt. That night I was joined by Jordan and Gabe. We had planned on meeting up with friends and I worried that they, too, were going to be disappointed in our small numbers. But then I received a little perspective from the wise council of my friend who turned out to be experiencing a similar scenario on her end. "I've decided that I'm going have a fabulous weekend and carry out all of my plans with whomever decides wants to join me." So instead of wallowing, I decided to join her in her attitude. And wouldn't you know it...the rest of the family decided to join us as well.

We gathered with friends, breakfasted on the patio, rode bikes (down the mountain and rode the bus back up the mountain-it was perfect!), we swam and played tennis and attended the art market and the sheep dog calling competition and played a rousing game of "Guess Who" with friends..all the while Radman kids trickled in...until late Saturday night we were once again a unit. Complete. And my heart swelled with love and contentment as I witnessed my family loving each other and loving being together. I loved seeing a teenage brother confiding in his older sister, chivalrous acts from my sons with doors held open and compliments given, hours of tennis played with dad and brothers and sisters and the sharing of sleeping space and secrets each night.

Recently a friend shared this quote by Elder Marlin K. Jensen:
Sometimes after an enjoyable family home evening, or during a fervent family prayer or when our entire family is at the dinner table on Sunday evening eating waffles and engaging in lively, good-natured conversation, I quietly say too myself, "If heaven is nothing more than this, it will be good enough for me!"

As I looked around that weekend, that is exactly how I felt. It was like experiencing a little slice of Heaven. As lovely as that weekend was, I know that my kids are growing up and gaining their independence from us-their parents. That is exactly as it should be. If you've read any of my posts, you are probably aware that I am a little possessive of my time with my family. I want them with me. With any one of my children gone, it changes the dynamics in the home dramatically. The noise and excitement level drops with each exit, and I am left to contemplate my purpose in the silence remaining. It is a process. I am learning. And part of that learning process is allowing my kids to learn on their own-sans me. But be aware...I plan on savoring every minute in between.

We woke up to a hot air balloon launch right outside of our condo.

My favorite season starts now in Park City. The cool mountain air, the colors...ahhh...I was in heaven.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can't get my fill of Jill

Jill is the youngest in a family of four girls. That means there has got to be a little drama and a lot of cute clothes. Jill is the best of both worlds. Since Kelli (my sis) had to work, she let me borrow Jill for a little "pick-me-up." This is a sample portion of my entertainment:

Lori to Jill: Who is the nicest in your family?
Jill: Dad. And Mom.
Lori: Who has the most friends in your family?
Jill: Me
Lori: Who has the cutest clothes?
Jill: (incredulous that I would even need to ask): ME!!