Thought of the Day

Always keep in mind, nothing

meaningful can come your way

without integrity; and integrity is

often challenged by adversity.

Never let the accumulation of

wealth in itself be a goal.

Be creative, work hard,

and surround yourself with

bright, honest people.

Be a straight shooter,

and follow your dreams.

But above all else,

believe in yourself,

and between you and the Lord,

your dreams can and will come true.

And in your pursuit of your dreams,

never, never forget others.

Jon M. Huntsman, Sr.

From "God Did Not Put Us Here to Fail"


The Talk

After months and months of procrastination, I finally had "the talk" with Rachel and Lucy.

Not the sex talk. Steve and I had that talk with Rachel last year, when she was eight. Over breakfast at IHOP. (Not recommended. . . nothing like a server hovering over your table to make an awkward conversation even more awkward.)

The talk that I kept putting off was far more dreadful to me: the period talk. Not only did I have to tackle this conversation solo, but it is an absolutely cruel thing to tell your child. Especially if she has OCD and needs to know every single detail of exactly what is going to happen and when. And why. And how long. And how is she supposed to know when it is going to happen. . . You get the point.

Periods are a horrible, dreadful thing, so I turned to The Care & Keeping of You by American Girl for some help:

And because I put it off for so long, I decided that I ought to talk to both Rachel and Lucy at the same time. (That was good and bad.)

The first page of the book talks about upcoming changes in a girl's body and defines puberty. Lucy immediately chimed in, "Puberty. Puberty, puberty, puberty. I really like that word." She had a difficult time being serious through the first few chapters, but she needed the information just as much, if not more than Rachel, so I put up with her silliness.

We stayed up late and read about 30 pages a night. We covered Hair, Ears, Eyes, Mouth, Braces, Face, Acne, Underarms, Breasts (lots of giggling, even from me, on that chapter), Bras, Food, Nutrition, and Eating Disorders.

And then I read, "The area below your belly button will undergo some pretty big changes during puberty." And there was no turning back. I asked them if they knew what the vagina was. Neither one of them did. . . which means Rachel clearly didn't pay attention to everything from our sex talk. I told them it was the hole that you pushed a baby out of. Lucy chimed in, "I thought babies came out of your foot."


Apparently, she knew that the lady lays down on an exam table and the doctor is sitting near her feet, and that's just how she pictured "pushing a baby out". I was dying of laughter/appalled and asked her how she thought a baby got from your belly down to your foot. She said she just thought you pushed it down through your leg somehow.

Thank goodness for that third hole down there.

And then I asked them if they had heard about periods. Rachel knew that her older cousin had learned about them at school, but she didn't know what they were. She also told me that same cousin walked out of their bathroom completely appalled one day, "Did you know that your mom hung up a poster about periods in your bathroom?"

"Yeah. So what?" Rachel replied.

"Ummmm. Must be a different kind of period."

And there I was, talking about menstruating with my daughters. As soon as she heard the word "blood", Silly Lucy quickly transformed into Terrified Lucy. She was literally near tears for most of the conversation. Rachel, on the other hand, was perfectly attentive, asked about a million questions, and wanted to know every single detail. Of course, she was utterly disgusted, especially by the page on tampons.

"What is that thing made out of, metal?!?"
"How far does it stick out of your body?!?"
"How long is it?!?"
"How do you get it out?!?"
"Are you serious?!? You have to pull a string?!?"

Even so, Rachel was clearly ready for the talk. We skipped over the "How To" page and a couple of other things that I didn't think they needed to know yet, but overall, I thought the book was great. There weren't any disturbing graphic pictures, and I would feel comfortable letting them refer back to this book and look through it again, even without me. But Poor Lucy went to bed as rattled as I've ever seen her. (It didn't help that it was super late, and she crashes fast when she's tired.)

The good news is that it didn't scar them. And we went skiing the next day, so it wasn't as if I dropped a bombshell on them and sent them off to school without a chance to process things or ask more questions. That really worked out well, and I didn't even plan that one out. The very next night they were back to asking when we were going to read the rest of the book.

We finished up with Legs, Feet, Fitness, Sleep, and Feelings, and that was that.

A very well-written book. I was glad that it only covered cramps and all of the other terrible things associated with menstrual cycles very briefly because there is no need for a young girl to have to worry about those things until she has to. It was plenty appalling without getting any deeper. And even though I bought it specifically for the chapter on periods, all of the other chapters contained useful information as well.

And I can't wait to hear what other crazy ideas Lucy has about things when we have the sex talk with her in the next few months. Steve thinks we probably ought to be ready to record it.


Just Going for a Walk

Derrick told me he was taking Kaleigh for a walk.

I couldn't help but laugh (and run out for a quick picture) when I looked outside and saw them coming up the sidewalk:

Kaleigh doesn't look very happy, but it's only because she's not always a fan of posing for pictures. She was plenty amused by riding around the block in our folding wheelbarrow. I'm guessing that most of the people who saw them were amused as well; Derrick said they got plenty of funny looks.

For some reason, it reminded me of the time Derrick decided he was going to run the half marathon. Steve had his doubts, but I printed him out a training schedule. Derrick got home from working a sixteen-hour day and decided it was time to start running. He didn't have any running shoes (or clothes), so he jogged around Washington Boulevard, 36th Street, and Harrison in his baggy cargo shorts and Air Jordans. At midnight.

Steve told him he was surprised that he didn't get pulled over. Derrick said he passed two policemen, but he just smiled and waved at them.

And then we just about died laughing when we saw what he had packed in the backpack that he took on his four-mile run: a liter of water, a gallon-ziplock sized first aid kit, some snacks, and the largest, heaviest Maglite we own. I suppose he could have used it as a weapon?



February is usually a slow month for our family, but not this year. It flew by and I wouldn't have known where it went, except for these pictures (mostly captured by our phones) that document our month.

Sonora Grill sponsored a Weber State University Men's Basketball game. We gave away a free trip to Mexico and the kids got to meet Damian Lillard. He was so nice to them and signed autograph after autograph.

Rachel and Lucy thought it was pretty cool to play on the court after the game.

Inspired by the thought of an upcoming trip to Mexico, Steve went to the gym for the first time in about two years. But just once.

We went to the Treehouse Museum with Rachel Miller and her kids before they moved to Georgia. (I stole this picture from her blog.) Rachel/Ellery, Lucy/Bennett, Adam/Reagan, and Kaleigh/Campbell all match up in age within a month or two of each other. But Rachel is about to have number five. . . and we aren't.

Steve and Ethan volunteered at Snowbasin for the Dew Tour while Rachel and Gracie went skiing and collected free swag.

They also made lots of silly AT&T Fast Face videos.

Mike invited our family to go ice fishing. I opted to stay home with Kaleigh, but Steve and the three older kids went. They made some great memories and the experience is definitely deserving of its own post. . . so I will more fully document the ice fishing trip another day.

Becky was in Salt Lake for a hunting convention and came up to visit. While we were at Debra's house, we tried these dried coconuts from Costco, and they are surprisingly good. You won't like your first bite, but they will grow on you, and then you will find yourself craving them.

Adam danced in a halftime show at a Weber State University basketball game. It was a fundraiser for the Spirit Squad. I signed Adam up because he is really into dancing and Steve says with parents like us, he has no hope. I made the mistake, one day, of saying something about Adam's cheer clinic. That didn't go over too well with Steve.

In contrast to the hundreds of girls, there were only four boy dancers, and they danced a very boyish dance. This is the video that I took during the practice because it's a better angle than the once I got during the game. At the end of the video, the cheerleader tries to get Adam to make a "W" with his fingers, but Adam tells him that he just wants to show everyone his muscles.

Adam was so hyper the night of the performance. I convinced him to wear this headband and he told everyone we sat by that he was going to be in the halftime show. He fell on his face a bit when he was doing his spin-around-his-hand-on-the-ground move. Afterwards, he told me in his serious voice, "That part was not funny." I would definitely let Adam participate in the halftime show again. . . but probably not the girls.

Steve and I went with Sam, Kacie, Dalton, and Holly to Mist: Salt Lake. The sixteen-course dinner lasted almost four hours. I really should write about this separately because it was incredible.

We helped Dave & Leslie move into their house. Rachel and Lucy were both good little workers.

And I happened to see this awesome school assignment of Jake's.

I deleted Netflix from the iPad (Why doesn't Netflix offer parental controls?) and Adam wrote me his first note. Actually, I head him go up to Rachel and ask her to write "unhappy" for him and then he added his name, hung it on the fridge, and walked away with his shoulders completed slumped over. He later tried to convince me that he had learned the bad words. . . more like "potty words" from PBS Kids, so I should have deleted that instead of Netflix. Silly boy.

Rachel gave a report on the first 13 Presidents of the United States of America for Family Home Evening. (If you live in Ogden, you should be able to name them without looking them up because the main roads from Washington to Fillmore are named after them.) Rachel took her assignment very seriously and gathered enough information for a two-hour presentation. My twelve minutes of video is far too long to post, and not quite exciting enough to edit. But we learned lots of fun facts. Our favorite was this story:

John Quincy Adams customarily took a nude early morning swim in the Potomac River. Anne Royall, the first U.S. professional journalist, knew of his 5 a.m. swims. After being refused interviews with the president time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes and sat on them until she had her interview. Before this, no female had interviewed a president.

And my favorite part was when she concluded by saying, "And nude means naked!"

I tried out quite a few recipes from Pinterest. One of my favorites is this Citrus Mint Salad. (Which was posted as a summer salad, but I think it makes a fabulous winter salad.)

Steve, Adam, Kaleigh, and I spent 2.5 hours in waiting room at doctor office and I never even got seen. And thanks to our iPhones and iPad, it wasn't even a big deal. I have a funny little video of Steve and Adam playing red light, green light, but I can't get it to upload.

Alyzah Horner came over to play and posed in Lucy's glasses. (Rachel passed her fake glasses onto Lucy.)

The six U.S. citizens in our family received their passports.

Kaleigh's preschool class went on a field trip to McDonald's.

And got some ice cream.

We went to another Weber State Women's Basketball game. The activity was deemed a success when the kids were shown dancing up on the JumboTron. It almost turned into a failure when we lost Adam after the game. . . .

The kids skipped a day of school and we went skiing at Brighton with Gracie and the Looslis.

Lucy thought the bunny hill was the funnest thing ever because the slope is so gradual that she didn't even have to turn and could just fly straight down.

Can you see why Rachel gets mistaken for a boy? I need to get that girl some pink gloves.

And Rachel and Lucy completed their first month as official members of the Barracuda Swim Team. My friend recommended that I take a video to look back on after they have improved. . . so this is Lucy's "before" video, which was taken at the beginning of February:

Happy Presidents' Day