There is a woman in our ward that was just destined to be in my life. Seven years ago when I was working at Bonneville Nursery I worked with a guy named Justin. We got to be good friends and even went on a couple dates ( this was RIGHT before I started dating Derek). When I was looking for an apartment when Derek and I were getting married we looked at the apartment that Justin's sister Teresa was moving out of. We now live in that same apartment . They moved into a house nearby still in our ward . For the months and years after ward when we still got their mail I would bring them to her at church and find out how Justin was doing. Time went on and I noticed that her husband was using a cane which quickly developed into a wheelchair. We wondered what happened. He had had MS (Multiple Sclerosis) since he'd been 16 without much outward signs of it but as is sometimes the case with this unpredictable disease it had suddenly accelerated. About a year later I was assigned to be her visiting teacher. I was made aware in small measure to the challenges they faced on a daily basis but they never let it get them down. She was pregnant with her fourth little boy when I started visiting teaching her .

Then this last November we were emailed a link to this.

I then began to understand all that they deal with so cheerfully. I was excited that someone was trying to help them. I wasn't able to talk with her since they found out on Christmas Eve. Today(yeah I know the END of the month) I went to visit teach her and she showed me the plans for the addition. It's going to be great! I don't know if it happens in other states as much but it seems some people in Utah don't wait around for others to help, they just dive in themselves and make things happen. There have been quite a few Extreme Makeover Neighbor Friends and Family editions here. I think it's great and wish I had the courage and determination to do the same. At least on this one I could maybe help out. We are really excited for work to begin this spring. If you have any inclination you can stop back to the website in the spring to see the progress. I'm sure pictures will be posted.

We just learned of the passing of our beloved President and Prophet of the Church. President Hinckley is really the only prophet I feel I have been acquainted with since being and active member of the Church. I have no recollection of seeing or hearing a previous President of the Church while they were serving in that capacity. President Hinckley has been a voice of optimism looking ahead as the world becomes more and more complicated. You could tell that he lived by the adage that however bleak the circumstances might be, that things will work out if you live you life close to the Lord.

President Hinckley accomplished a great deal in his near-13-year tenure as the prophet including:
  • The most rapid increase in temple building in the history of the earth, bringing saving ordinances to members throughout the world
  • Oversaw the building of temples in such historic locations such as Palmyra, Winter Quarters, and the rebuilding of the Nauvoo temple
  • The release of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" which reaffirmed the paramount importance of the family
  • The establishment of Perpetual Education Fund which has blessed the lives of countless thousands
  • The building of the Conference Center and renovations to the historic Tabernacle
  • The raising of the bar for missionaries and the establishment of an updated missionary teaching program entitled Preach My Gospel
  • Issued a challenge to all members of the Church to read the Book of Mormon and recently counseled members to give greater attention to studying the latest conference Ensign
President Hinckley always had a joke ready and had a way of putting people at ease. I don't think there is a missionary who has served in recent history that hasn't reflect on counsel his father sent to a discouraged young Elder Hinckley in England to "Forget yourself and go to work." It was difficult to hear President Hinckley speak and not feel of the wonderful spirit he brought.

I take comfort in knowing that he is reunited with dear family and friends, most significantly, his wife who was missed dearly by President Hinckley. Tonight as I reflect on the influence President Hinckley has had on my life, I am thankful for a Prophet. I also feel a resounding conviction testifying once again to me that he truly is a Prophet. He will certainly be missed by millions of people, members and non-members alike.

My sister Holly called not too long ago and said "Um, ok so I'm coming out there." To which I was ecstatic! She was a nanny for a family a long time ago and one of the daughters was getting married so she was coming out to go to the wedding. I knew she wasn't coming out first and foremost to see me but since I was one of the very few she was going to visit that would be home all day without anything specific to do I would see her the most!! I didn't want to steal her thunder since it was her visit and I'm sure she'll blog about it so I just blogged about my highlights and you can go to her blog for the whole story...if you want.

I picked her up at the airport and since the parking garage close to the airport was full I had to park in long term parking and take a shuttle in ( which ended up being an interesting adventure on the way back to the car ) I was a little nervous about Hyrum's reaction to Holly because he's beginning to get stranger anxiety. But as soon as she swept him into her arms and jiggled him around ( and was able to tear his gaze from the sights and sounds of the airport )he just giggled and smiled at her all the time.

We stopped at the requested "Training Table" for lunch and headed to the Joseph Smith Memorial building to watch "Joseph Smith: The prophet of the Restoration" movie. Something happened there that to my knowledge has never happened before...I spoke for Holly. Holly has always spoken for me when shy nervousness or just hesitation kept me from speaking fast enough. But this time I spoke for her. It was a surreal experience.

The next day we went out house hunting or at least house peeking and we almost got the cops called on us by an unsuspecting man in his pj's at 11 in the afternoon.

Holly actually played Nikki and called the realtor about that house posing as me to find out about it. Alas, it is out of our price range, all fireplace, nice backyard, hardwood floors, nice new big windows and all.

Derek didn't get to see Holly as much as me so we went to the reception and I showed up wearing almost the exact outfit Holly was (and I even knew what she was going to wear but forgot) I think people were waiting for us to put on a show.
Sunday came all too soon and we had a family dinner at our apartment celebrating Holly's visit and Hillary and Del's ( and Gillie's ) birthdays.
We wish she could have stayed longer ( and she probably should have too ). But next time we hope she brings the rest of the family with her.

We love Aunt Holly and that's for sure....we don't love anyone as much as her! :)

Hyrum was about two months old and we were at a friends house. I was commenting to Derek that Hyrum wasn't doing the marching thing when we put his feet on the ground anymore. We both beamed with pride that our son was moving through the developmental milestones. Our friend who was holding him had him standing on the counter "This is all him" she said "I'm not holding him up" We looked at each other with mouths open. Was this normal?

From that day forward Hyrum loved to stand. He was the happiest if he was upright, examining the world. Just not in water. ( as you may recall )

Then at the end of his third month came the unexpected solo stand leaning up against the couch. I was so amazed seeing him just standing there all by himself. I had one hand on the camera and one hand ready to catch him as I snapped pictures. At that point he was JUST beginning to sit sometimes ( when he didn't straighten his body to insist on standing )

Four months brought him pulling himself to a sitting position if he was at a sufficient angle. There were times when I would come in to see him laying back on his Boppy pillow crying. "You can sit up from that angle" I would say and hold out my fingers. He would lock his body straight and pull until you stood him up. If you kept him at an angle to try to sit him down he'd just stay there his face grimacing with the effort of keeping his body straight.

Six months heralded the attempts to stand on his own. In his baby bath he'd reach for the other side until he was in an upright fetal position and push with his legs but his arms and hands weren't strong enough to hold him and he'd fall backward.

Now at eight months his hands have enough grip to hold him standing while hanging on to an edge of something if someone stood him up. It was nice that he could hold on now and could stand successfully without human help for quite a long time.

Then the yesterday we were in his room looking at something on the computer while he watched his "fishy movie" which is his Ocean wonders crib entertainer (thanks mom and dad) and I turned around to see this...

"Did you stand him up?" "No, Did you?" We asked each other. Surely someone stood him up without remembering so we sat him down and this is exactly what happened...

It's a good thing he can't sit up from a laying position (although he's working on that) so all we have to do is lay him down and he can't get far. But one thing is certain...we are in trouble (and need to move the mattress down a notch.)

For weeks Hyrum would try to scoot. He'd get his little toes under him and try to push but his feet would always slip with his socks on. I thought he just wasn't pushing down hard enough so I'd try to work with him to no avail. Then one morning I'd just gotten him out of the bath and had his clothes on him but not his socks yet and I put him on the floor to do something and after a few minutes looked down and he was moving FORWARD. Up until this point he'd just roll to get anywhere. I told Derek and he asked if I'd gotten a video so I got the camera and encouraged...he just rolled over. I got on the floor and enticed with a toy...he just looked at me. I decided to get the tripod to put the camera on it to help him and when I came back into the room there he was scooting on the floor. I grabbed the camera and started filming. This kid does not like to perform on demand. He's been like that from the womb. If he knew we were "watching" (ie putting our hands on my tummy) he would not kick. It's funny how kids are just made with some attributes. So you need to ignore him for him to do tricks. :) Keep that in mind when watching these videos

My first attempt

Ok so he doesn't show you his mad scooting skills on this one but he does show you his favorite new word. "THU" ( It's what he "says" right before he starts sucking his thumb. )

My second attempt

Ta Dah! Like most kids his age he loves eating paper. (please tell me it's like most kids) So even though he kinda knew he was being watched the paper could not be resisted. He looks so studious when he looks at the paper doesn't he. :) And he's even figured out how to scoot with socks on! Sometimes he gets his knees up (to the side) so he may be just instinctively figuring out crawling. We are in trouble.

As most of you probably know, I've had a cold/respiratory illness now for nearly 2 months now. After three rounds of different medications, (and some powerful cough syrup) I think I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Since I've been neglecting my duties of posting cool websites/tools for a while now. I thought that I would penitently try to catch up and post the My Top 5 Online Tools from 2007....

5. Tools
  • I'm lumping a few sites under one umbrella, although this could probably be a post in itself (as I'm thinking of this I'm thinking I might have to expand this list and devote an entire post to just tools like this). Here are some of my favorites which you may or may not be familiar with:
    • Church Publication in Compressed Audio Format
      • Several Church publications in .mp3 format that you can download for free including the Standard Works, General Conference Addresses, the Ensign Teachings of the Presidents of the Church and Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. Several individuals have even set up various podcasts to help you study the different materials put out by the church.
    • Church Videos
      • The Church has recently made several videos available on its website and seems to be updating this on a regular basis with new videos. Some of the videos included are the Book of Mormon Study Guide Videos (including one of my favorites, Boyd K. Packer's the Mediator), Church Growth by Stake, General Conference, the World Report and the last two Worldwide Leadership Training meetings. I hope they continue to add to this especially as video iPods and the like continue to be more prevalent.
    • Interactive Music Player
      • I love to sing hymns, but I have never learned to read music and learn mostly by ear so to pick out the different parts has always been a struggle for me. In the past I've had friends record the base part to certain songs so I could try and learn them. The Church came out with this interactive music player where you can select which part(s) to include and it will play just the notes for that particular part even allowing you to change the key and tempo. It has been really helpful (when I have time to use it) to help me learn the bass and tenor parts of hymns more easily.
  • is a social booking marking site that provides an alternative to managing the myriad of bookmarks while given you the ability to share those bookmarks with your friends and family. I bookmark a lot of sites and it's easy for standard bookmarking to just get big enough that it's impossible to find anything. let you organize your bookmarks with tags (similar to blogging tags). Also, there is a Firefox plug-in which nearly seamlessly integrates the bookmarks into your browser. (If you aren't using Firefox, I would strongly recommend it regardless if you decide to use or not).

3. Netvibes
  • I have beeing using Google/IG as my homepage for a while now and recently happened upon a cool site that I think does a lot better job called Netvibes. You can set up different widgets of things that interest you or to create a one-stop-shopping for things you get on different websites. On my page, I have a widget that shows me my Gmail Account, my Hotmail account, stocks I like to follow, a calendar and some news feeds (to name a few). Currently there are over 100,000 different widgets that you can add.
2. Lifehacker
  • This is one of my favorite places to read about cool websites or random tips to improve your life. I have found lots of cool websites through it (Netvibes, Animoto, and Mint just to name a few) and it is usually a good read. A lot of it is geared towards tech tips, but might be a good read.
1. Mint
  • I blogged about Mint a while back and so I wanted to include it again in case you missed the last post. This is seriously the coolest little tool that I have found in a while. It allows you to import financial information into a single location and then helps you create budgets and analyze where all your money is going. If you haven't checked it out, give it a go.
Anyway, there's my list. What cool tools did you come across last year?

Ok so I'm still playing a LITTLE catch up. We came back from Idaho early because Thursday was the only day that week that it wasn't going to snow. I was happy about that because my cousin Emily was going to be in town from Arizona and I don't get to see her enough. So we spent some time together on Friday night and Saturday morning before she headed south

Hyrum loved his second cousin (once removed?)! She got him some books for Christmas which is one of his all time favorite things. She even read to him.

Saturday we went over to my other cousins house so Emily could see Hillary and her family.

And we took the obligatory family picture for posterity. :)
Man! When did my hair get SO dark ? No wonder everyone has been asking me where Hyrum gets his blond hair from. I've been so perplexed, since I've always considered myself a blond. What do you think? Should I fight the darkening or grow darker gracefully? The problem growing darker gracefully is that growing grayer gracefully comes into question.