Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New adoption website

LDSFS has started a new adoption website, with better search funtions for birth parents. To check out our new profile, click here, continue as a guest, and "find a profile by ID or names." Just type in Greg, Heather, and Utah, and you will find us.

Let me know what you think, and what I can make better. I think it is great that so much more information is now available online (even though it took many, many hours to get all of the new information up). I like the new search functions. I also worry that I have not included enough words that will get searched by birth parents. I am really open to suggestions! What can I make better?

I also know that some of our pictures did not turn out very well, or got cut off. It says on the photo upload page that "the maximum size that will be displayed on ItsAboutLove.org is 450 pixels wide x 450 pixels tall." Anyone know how I can resize my pictures to meet their guidelines?

Thanks for taking a look and giving me feedback. This site (at beta.itsaboutlove.org) will eventually completly replace the original one, and migrate over to the current web address of itsaboutlove.org. I will update our link on the right at that time.

Exciting stuff! We really want to find a baby this year. With your help, we can make it happen!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pedicures

I finally did it! I got Greg to go and get a pedicure with me. He was inspired by his brother Kyle, who loves to get his feet done now. Greg has been having so many issues with foot pain lately (getting old and running in a lot of basketball games does not always mix) and he said the massage part was the best.

Of course it is.

I tried to talk him in to getting a paraffin wax dip (that's my favorite part, besides the massage) but he was not having any of that. He said his feet still have to be tough enough to run up and down the court.

I let the nails-girl pick my color, and she picked this beautiful, deep purple color. Not one I would have chosen for myself, but I love it.

Here's to the start of a new tradition! Pedicures and lunch at Rumbi. I hope I can talk Greg into doing this 4 times a year...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The urge to hide

One of the Institute courses I took in grad school was on the Pearl of Great Price and it was taught by S. Michael Wilcox. My friend Gwen and I are currently taking an adult Institute class from him (interesting side note - this class is sponsored by my mom's stake, and we meet in her chapel), and we make it a point to go to his classes at Ed Week and Women's Conference. The point of this background is that I lived a principle this week that I have heard him teach many times, and it is interesting how it has impacted me.

The book of Moses in the PGP is Joseph Smith's inspired translation of parts of the book of Genesis. Among other things, it contains the creation story. After Adam and Eve partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they make fig leaf aprons and hide when they hear God's voice. I remember Bro Wilcox saying in a sing-song voice, "Adam. Adam. Come out, come out wherever you are!" and then talking about how silly that image is because of course Heavenly Father knew exactly where Adam and Eve were. Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness (e.g. sins and transgressions) by making fig-leaf aprons. God offers Adam and Eve and every single one of us something better to cover our sins. He offers His son, and through the atonement we are covered. The failing of the natural man is that we try to cover our sins (lies, mistakes, rationalizations, excuses) ourselves by constructing our own fig-leaf aprons.

This week I let down some people who were counting on me when I forgot to do something that I had promised to do. In the grand scheme of things it probably does not matter much, and it can be fixed. But when I realized what I had done, my first thought was to hide. I did not want anyone to know that I had made a mistake. I wanted to hide my forgetfulness, and I thought of many rationalizations and excuses. And then into my mind came Bro Wilcox's voice saying, "Heather. Heather. Come out, come out wherever you are." I knew that I was sewing my own fig-leaf apron right there and that was even more wrong than my initial mistake.

It was interesting to apply this image to my life in such a poignant way. I am grateful that I can fix things. It is a tender mercy to know that the Savior covers me, indeed covers every single person, through His atonement.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Endure to the end

Last week in Sacrament Meeting, one of our Primary teachers gave a fabulous talk on enduring to the end. Jennifer is fun to talk to because she is well-read and totally gospel-centered. She is an English teacher, and I really appreciate the insights she gave.

She said that the word "endure" has a Latin root that means to harden or strengthen. Too often, we think of enduring as equaling suffering, but that is not how we should interpret it. Endurance, on the other hand, is viewed as moving forward with strength, or using strength and power to get to the end of a race.

We should keep this connotation in mind when we think of the phrase "endure to the end."

I want to do this! I want to view enduring to the end as moving forward with strength, as I use my endurance to win the race.

I really appreciated her insight on this. It is a tender mercy to continue to learn new things.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our nice neighbors

Just wanted to give a shout-out to my really nice neighbor, Russ Jolley.  It has been warmer lately, so Greg has been working on breaking up the ice skating rink we had at the bottom of our driveway. I chipped away at it today between the magazine job and piano lessons and made a dent in it. Then, after piano I decided to do a little bit more. After about 10 minutes I was totally done, but up the street comes Russ. He brought a cool tool and his muscles and basically broke up the rest of the mess. I would never have been able to finish it all - but he took care of it!

We are surrounded by really wonderful and nice people. This is a great place to live.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My friend Mary

I just have to tell the world how amazing my friend Mary is. She is kind, organized, a wonderful mother, and I want to be just like her when I grow up. Sometimes I am in awe because she is living the life that I always imagined for myself. We have been married the same amount of time, we basically have the same wedding ring, she has 4 amazing children, they take piano and practice as a chore (because they don't live on a farm) and we have a lot of the same parenting philosophies (she says on her blog that The Power of Positive Parenting by Dr. Glenn Latham is one of her favorite books - and I call it my green bible). I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture!

She was the secretary in the Primary Presidency until Sunday, when she was called to be the Relief Society President. I know exactly why she was put there, because she is a rock star (as Darci would say) and she will be amazing. I am really sad, though, because I feel like she is irreplaceable.

She is the glue that holds our presidency together. Mary, in her gentle way, would remind us of what we needed to do. She was my rock in suggesting ways to handle difficult suggestions. What will I do without her?

I know we will remain friends, but it will not be the same without a weekly meeting. Thankfully, Greg and I sit in front of Mary and her family at church. I will still get to soak up her spirit on a regular basis.

Good luck to you!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

my iPod

Sometimes I spend way too much time playing around with my iPod. Today, for example, I have spent quite a few hours ripping in some audiobooks, and getting album artwork for many CDs (a lot of the LDS CD's and audiobooks that I have are not in iTunes, so I have to find a jpeg of the cover and then copy and paste it into the info for each CD - and for an audiobook with 5-25 discs, that is sometimes a pain). And I created covers for all of my Christmas mixes on scrapblog, and that was way fun but took waaaaay to long.

But now everything is up to date and I have the satisfaction of knowing everything is organized. I have also deleted a bunch of songs I never listen to, and recommitted myself to listening to my-learn-to-speak-Spanish CDs. Although, with Kylene in Montana I will have to find a new practice partner. I guess I could always talk to Paul, since he went to Mexico on his mission. He's just not as pretty as Kylene!

This week has been fun getting back in to the swing of things. It was great to have days off and to see all of our family members and many of our friends over the holidays - but I was ready to get back in the routine. Of course, in 2 more months I will be very ready for more vacation days (good thing we are taking a vacation to Dubai in March). Is that the classic case of always wanting what we do not have? I try to always live in the present, but sometimes I fall a little short.

This makes me think of Elder Wirthlin's stellar advice in his farewell address:

I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it.

As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say, as did my mother, “Come what may, and love it.”
I think recognizing tender mercies helps me to "come what may and love it."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I feel better now

I feel much better now. I have been at work for 10 hours and have been steadily slogging through all of the tasks required to get my new online course up and running. I have a syllabus (emailed to my TA to proofread), my website is designed, my welcome message is posted, my first week's lecture is written and posted, and the first assignment is detailed. Once I get feedback from my TA, the syllabus will be posted and I will officially be one week ahead of my students.

This is no time to rest on my laurels, but it is time to go home and eat dinner. Tomorrow I will strive to get week 2 completed!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Panic Attack

I am starting to hyperventilate as I think about how much I still have to do to get ready. I am starting a new online class, and I have not read the text book yet, or prepared any lectures, or come up with cool weblinks on updated information, or even written the syllabus.

Class starts Monday.

Yikes! I need to get at least one week ahead of the students. I am off to work on it right now....

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Drifts


More snow last night, along with a lot of wind! It started out by raining, and then the temperature dropped and the wind started to blow. When we went out to shovel, there was a layer of ice underneath the snow, and an icy crust on top.

The picture of the fence is to show the snow plastered on the fence - and this is behind the fence on the side of the house, where it is a little more protected. But that wind gets through everything!

I am grateful that we have a warm, comfortable house with a working furnace and good blankets. Greg got home from his game safely and we were snug as bugs in a rug.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I just have one thing to say:

GO UTES!

Alabama did not even show up...

My new favorite quote


I am frequently fascinated by myself.

This is my new favorite quote. I found it on Janette Rallison's blog (she is an author that I enjoy - especially her alter-ego Sierra St. James). Enough said...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

More pictures from Jon & Teri's wedding

My cute cousin Russ took some pictures at Jon and Teri's wedding and has posted them on his website.


Here is photographic proof of my cute 93-year-old Grandma helping pick up the chairs. Go Grandma!


Here is a montage of the boys packing Teri's car in snow. Not too destructive for the car prank...

Resolutions

I just barely got used to writing 2008, and now I need to get used to writing 2009. Time just flies by! Here are my New Year's Resolutions:
  • Continue to recognize the tender mercies in my life
  • Be a better friend
  • Return phone messages more promptly (should I go so far as to resolve to return phone messages as promptly as emails?)
  • Stop saying "um" and "like"
  • Mop the floor more often
  • Spend less money
I think that is enough to focus on. What are your resolutions?

New Year's Eve

My New Year's Eve started with a phone call from Amy. She was calling to tell me that it was already the New Year in Dubai and that she had fun at her party. It was great to talk and get caught up. She had recently seen Twilight - and it just amazes me what a worldwide phenomenon this is! She said the waiting list for the books at her school library is months long, and the library has multiple copies. Interesting!

Then we had Greg's family over to hang out and ring in the new year. Our house always feels huge to me until we have 20 people over. Here is the list of attendees: Mom, Dad, Daniel, & Tammy; Todd, Rachel, Clayton, Jace, Cassie, & Tylan; Paul, Staci, Dallin, Parker, & Kyralyn; Tanya, Dave, & Andrew; and Kent & Jessica. Brayden did not come because he was with some friends, trying to stay awake for 72 hours straight. Seriously, he is trying to stay awake for 72 HOURS STRAIGHT! Apparently, it is an assignment for his Psychology class. Every 12 hours they have to read something and write a summary of it. It is supposed to test their comprehension as they get more and more sleep deprived. Interesting idea. Apparently only one kid has ever made it the entire 72 hours in however many years this teacher has been doing this assignment. Brayden is trying to make it at least 60 hours before giving up.

So we ate lots of food and watched some football and some James Bond and played some games. I got a new game called 5 Crowns for Christmas, so we started by trying that. It was really fun and easy to learn (a variation of Gin Rummy). While our group was playing that at the kitchen table, Greg and Kent were having a backgammon tournament. Then it was on to Settlers of Cataan. It was a nice night! Here are some group shots showing us packed in to the family room.


Andrew was not feeling very well, and he would not let me hold him. He just wanted to snuggle with his mom and dad and Auntie Tammy.


At an exciting point in Goldeneye, everyone stopped what they were doing to watch for a minute. And, of course, Dan was directing the scene!


Dallin spent most of the night in our bedroom watching Star Wars movies and playing games with the other kids. I went in to take his picture, but he wasn't very excited about that. But then Kyralyn climbed up on the bed with him, and he let me take their picture together. What a nice big brother!


Kyralyn got a doll for Christmas, and her name is New Baby. Very creative name from the 2-year-old, don't you think? Kyralyn is so pretty!


Tylan stole a little smokie from Clay, and then let me take a cheesy picture. He was trying to eat it without getting his fingers dirty. (I really appreciate that!). And, Dan had to give Jess a kiss.


2008 has been a great year. It was nice to get together with family to celebrate the beginning of another year. Here's to the best year ever!

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