Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poem in my Pocket Day

Today was Poem in my Pocket Day at the elementary school.
Mark picked out a poem immediately that he wanted to carry around, but CJ was reticent until I told him a poem that my dad used to tell me.
These are the poems they took in their pockets:
Mark took
Read This Poem by Douglas Florian
If you don't read this poem real soon
I'll make you eat a rotten prune.
And if you stop just halfway through,
I'll pinch you till your face turns blue.
Don't even think to finish here
Or else I'll have to pull your ear.
But if you read it to the end,
I promise that I'll be your friend.
CJ took
I'm not sure, but that one might be by Mark Twain.
If it had been me I might have taken a good Shel Silverstein.
Do you have a favorite poem?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Flight of the Conchords

Recognizing that I have a skewed sense of humor, I think this band is one of the funniest I have heard or seen.
This is just a short version of just one of their songs. It's not even the complete song, but none of the full versions were very good quality.
Enjoy it any way.

And if you end up watching related videos for hours and laughing yourself off your chair, I take full credit.

If you don't like it, well, there's no accounting for taste.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Evening at Mt. Trashmore

Last Saturday, (yes this post is late), Mark asked me to take him to the rec center.
Well, by the time we were ready to go the rec center was closed. So we decided instead to go to Mt. Trashmore.
What the heck is Mt. Trashmore? you ask.
The story, as I understand it is this: Several years ago, before Virginia Beach was as big as it is now, this was the local dump.
The city was encountering 2 problems. First, the dump was getting too full, and second, the city was growing to close to it.
Someone had the bright idea to cover the whole pile of garbage with dirt and call it a park.
Thus Mount Trashmore Park was born.
Now this might sound like an odd idea, but it was successful. And this park is one of the best in the city.
There is an awesome wooden playground called Kids Cove. Plus several other playgrounds scattered around, (but Kids Cove is the best).
CJ and Mark played in the park while I had a quick run around the 1.85 mile paved path that circles the perimeter of the park, even going around the lake.
Mark had brought his scooter and wanted to go into the free skate park, but he forgot his helmet and wasn't allowed in. (Though I saw one teenager whose helmet was a red plastic firemans hat that they give out to kids at a local restaurant, and apparently, that was enough to get him in).
After my run and after the boys played in the playground for a little while, we ventured up to the top of the hill.
There is a good breeze on top of the hill and several people were flying kites
At the top of the hill I turned around and took a picture of the view, including the Kids Cove.
If the hill was a little higher I probably could have seen all the way to the ocean, which is only a few miles away.
On top of the hill there are 2 pipes like this one that release the methane gas from the decomposing garbage underneath us.Turning 120 degrees to the left you get this shot of the downtown city skyline. And another 120 degrees gives you a shot of the lake that I ran around.
We walked - actually, I walked and the boys ran- down the hill to the lake where they, in true boy fashion, spent a glorious 15 minutes throwing dirt and rocks into the lake. CJ likes the camera. Why is it impossible to take a picture of yourself without it looking like you are taking a picture of yourself? But since I like to give at least one of my bloggies a hard time for never including pictures of herself on her blog, I want to put one up of me.
The park closes at sundown, so I took this as we walked back to the car. It was a glorious evening, and I had a great time with my boys. Tell me when you are coming to visit me and I will take you to see Mt. Trashmore. You will love it too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dinosaur Stew

Many years ago, when I was a second grader, during our study of dinosaurs, we were all given the assignment to bring in an ingredient to make Dinosaur Stew.
I remember this clearly, and remember thinking how good the stew was.
So this month, while my cub scouts were learning about dinosaurs I decided they should have the same experience.
I made the recipe ahead of time at home, since it takes a few hours to cook in the crock pot, but I had my scouts prepare another batch during den meeting. When they were done compiling the ingredients, we enjoyed the prepared stew.
It was highly successful, and I thought you might enjoy it too.
Here's the recipe:
Dinosaur Stew
by 2nd grade teacher Dashel Watkins
2 or 3 seaweed roots (chopped carrots)
chopped club moss (chopped celery)
white sand and volcano ashes (salt, pepper and oregano)
1 can red swamp water (tomato soup)
3 stegosaurus eggs (diced potaotes)
ground brontosaurus (hamburger)
Brown the brontosaurus, add all other ingredients, cook in crockpot or stew pot.
I doubled the recipe and ended up with a second batch that the scouts made. We enjoyed it again for dinner the next night.
My cub on the left is on his second bowl here, while Mark was polishing off his stew. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blogger says I can send a text message to post on my blog.
You tell me, did it work?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Be As The Little Children

The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back andturned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted,
"My Mommylooked back once while she was driving," he announced triumphantly,"and she turned into a telephone pole!"
A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan.
She asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"
A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."
A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark?"
"No," replied Johnny. "How could he, with just two worms."
A Sunday school teacher said to her children, "We have been Learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?"
One child blurted out, "Aces!"
Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in SundaySchool.
"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved."
"Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his Mother asked.
"Well, no, Mom. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!"
A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.
Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm.
After much practice, he could barely get pastthe first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous.
When it was his turn, he stepped up tothe microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all Ineed to know."
The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon.
One day, she askedhim why.
"Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon."
"So, how come He doesn't?" she asked.
A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, "So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That's very commendable. What does she say?"
The little boy replied, "Thank God he's in bed!"
During the minister's prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one ofthe back pews.
Tommy's mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked, "Tommy, whatever made you do such a thing?"
Tommy answered soberly, "I asked God to teach me to whistle, and He did!"
A pastor asked a little boy if he said his prayers every night.
"Yes, sir." the boy replied.
"And, do you always say them in the morning, too?" the pastor asked.
"No sir," the boy replied. "I ain't scared in the daytime."
Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served.
When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.
"Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer." said his mother.
"I don't need to," the boy replied.
"Of course, you do." his mother insisted. "We always say a prayer before eating at our house."
"That's at our house." Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On a Tuesday 12 Years Ago...

I walked into a big white building hand in hand with my best friend.

This is us with our sealer, Robert P. Manookin

We walked out a few hours later, still hand in hand, still best friends, but now joined as husband and wife for all of eternity.

Chris remembers clearly a visit he had with his bishop while we were engaged.

His bishop, a really great guy named Phil Jensen told him, "If you think you love her now, just wait."

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Chris thinks back to that conversation regularly. At the time he didn't think it was possible to love me more than he did. He was wrong.

12 Years seems like a pretty long marriage when you compare it to some marriages, but it seems like a baby step when you think that we have eternity still to go.

Is it possible that I could love him more next year than I do now?

Is it possible that in another 12 years I'll look back at today and think, "Wow, I hardly even understood love back then"?

One thing I do know is the day that we walked into that temple 12 years ago was one of the most critical days of my existence. My happiness for all of my life and after pivot on the decision, the commitment, and the covenant I made that day.

I looked in Chris' eyes and said "yes" that day without fear, without reserve. With my whole heart and understanding.

It was one of the best things I have ever done. I wouldn't go back and change it for anything.

I am so grateful I get to have this man beside me.

He is still my best friend.

And I thought I loved him then.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Diving Pics!!

One of our dive instructors, Dave, brought his underwater cam with us on our dives.
He took some pics and e-mailed them to us today.
I am easy to pick out because I am the one with the bright yellow fins, mask and snorkel. These pics also let you see a few of the fun things there are to explore at Lake Rawlings SCUBA park. This is the 3 of us who were getting certified. I'm on the left, Chris in the middle and JW on the right. We are kneeling on the sunken plane that you see in the pic below. It was about 50 feet down. In this pic we are kneeling on one of the 2 sunken school busses. Umm, I think this is JW. Not too sure though. Me on the left with the yellow snorkel and mask. Here I am doing a controlled ascent on a buoy line. I think that's Chris waiting for me to get far enough up that I wouldn't kick him with my fins. By now can you guess which one is me? That is probably Chris on the right. This is me performing a mask clear. This is one of the skills required for certification. You have to let your mask fill with water, then clear it by fitting it to your face again and exhaling through your nose. This actually clears all the water out and you can open your eyes again.

Monday, April 20, 2009

You Always Knew I Was Certifiable

So sorry I have been gone from the blog for so long.
I had an awesome weekend.
This week Chris and I are celebrating our 12th anniversary, so we had the kids stay with friends over the weekend and we took some time alone together.
What better way to spend a romantic weekend than under water? We decided this was the optimum time to get our open water dives in to get dive certified.
Both of us have been taking the diving course over the last few weeks, and all we needed was our open water dives for certification.
We arranged the dives with an instructor from Lynnhaven Dive Center and drove 2 hours out to Lake Rawlings.
Lake Rawlings is an old quarry full of fresh water that has been designed just for scuba divers.
It's essentially an underwater park. There are sunken boats, 2 school busses, a plane, 2 underwater basketball courts, compass courses, and more.
We were inches away from bass and bluegill.
I laughed when we swam past a fire hydrant at 30 feet underwater.
We didn't even get to see everything there was to see.
I can't wait to go back.
Over all we had a blast and got our diver certification.
I am also looking forward to diving in the ocean (that I live right by) when the water warms up.
As it was we were in thick wetsuits with booties, gloves and hoods.
The water was only about 54 degrees, but that gets a little chilly after almost an hour.
It was a great adventure and a great way to celebrate our anniversary.
One of the best parts for me was that we took the long way home, and went to Richmond. We stopped in at one of my favorite restaurants, Chadar Thai.
It's one of those wonderful little hole in the wall places. We hadn't eaten there since we lived in Richmond over a year and a half ago. I'm a sucker for a good curry. Bring on the Thai Hot.
Anyway, it was an amazing weekend, which was only added to when the kids went back to school today after a long spring break.
And maybe, just maybe, I'll be back to blog again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm Still Here

Hi all.
. Sorry I haven't been posting. This week is spring break and our kids are out of school. Between breaking up Wii arguments and regulating easter candy intake I have been fairly busy. Oh yeah, and dual speccing came out on WoW, so I have been busy. I'll be back soon. I promise. -Della

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why Some Wards Fit Better Than Others

Haven't we all been in a ward, or attended a church where we didn't really feel we fit in?
The ward I had the hardest time in was one where 75% of the members were all related, and if you didn't go to their family reunion they kind of wondered what you were doing in their ward.
I stuck with it though and made some very good friends in that ward.
Happily, most of my wards have been great, and the one I am in now is wonderful.
But I read this article from the Salt Lake Tribune that explains how a different makeup of wards could be beneficial.
Which one would you go to?


Find your niche in specialty wards
-Robert Kirby, Tribune columnist
Salt Lake Tribune

Most Sunday mornings, you'll find me on a pew in the Rosecrest 1st Ward chapel.
It's where I'm supposed to go to church. Lucky for me, it's also where I want to go.
Technically, Mormons don't have a choice. For church, we're bound by the geography of the ward boundary. We worship where we live.
The only time Mormons can switch wards without also contacting a Realtor is when we attend specialty wards.
For example, I went to a Spanish-speaking ward in West Jordan for a while.
Specialty wards allow members with specific common needs to worship together and support each other in their exclusive part of the Lord's vineyard. There are (or have been) lots of LDS specialty wards, including singles wards, college wards, deaf wards, ethnic wards and nudist wards.
OK, I made up that last one. There are even seasonal "snowbird wards" in places where Mormon RV owners congregate.
I talked it over with my friend (despite a restraining order) Ken Wallentine. We think the specialty-ward idea needs to be improved on in our ever-changing and increasingly divided culture.
For example, there needs to be a late ward, a ward Mormons who are perpetually late for church could attend and not feel bad about dragging their herd in 15 minutes late.
The only problem with a late ward would be showing up late for a meeting that was supposed to start late in the first place.
Eventually, you would end up with a ward that ran out of time before it started. "Welcome to the Tardy 3rd Ward, brothers and sisters. We will close now by singing hymn No. 145."
Given the high birthrate among Mormons, I thought about the need for maternity wards. Except that we already have those. They're called married student wards.
A Star Trek ward might do well. The bishop would preside from "the bridge" instead of the stand. High-council Sunday would be referred to as a "Klingon Sunday."
Harley riders congregate to the exclusion of just about everyone else. Why not an LDS biker ward? White shirts and neckties go well with black leather.
Ken really wants to attend a concealed-weapons ward. He says church would be a lot more interesting if real personal risks were involved in disagreeing with a lesson.
There could be a texting ward for teenagers. Bear your testimony with your thumb. In 25 years, they'll all belong to carpal-tunnel wards.
At the less-active ward, maybe there'll be a meeting and maybe there won't.
Testimony meeting in an anger-management ward might be interesting. Nobody's going to sleep through, "HEY! I KNOW THE CHURCH IS TRUE, STUPID!"
A big hit would be the Multi Level Marketing ward, also known as a "Gadianton robber ward." With all the financial scamming that goes on in this culture, it would be nice to have them all in one place for a three-hour block weekly.
I think a Democrat ward is a good idea, although in Utah the best we could probably hope for is a Democrat branch..

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Update (and More)

Thank you, everyone, for your concern about my family and our school.
Apparently the drama still wasn't quite over after that young man was arrested.
Another youth, one of the first ones friends, took a bottle of flamable liquid to school and was found carrying a razor blade and a threatening note.
Read more about that >>>here<<<.
Hopefully that will be all.
The 10 year anniversary of Columbine is this month. It is my guess that these kids were planning a reunion copycat event.
This is really scary. It is reminding me of an e-mail I got recently.
A guy named Darrell Scott lost his daughter when the Columbine shooting happened.
He spoke to a special subcommittee of Congress.
This is what he said;
'Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence.
The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.
'The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field.
The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association.
The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.
'In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA.. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended.
If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent. I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies!
Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves.
I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question 'Why?'
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need! '
Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc.
Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our 20 major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact.
What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA.
They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties.
We do not need more restrictive laws.
Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors.
No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre.
The real villain lies within our own hearts.
'As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school.
I defy any law or politician to deny him that right!
I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools.
Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain.
Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him.
To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA -- I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!
My daughter's death will not be in vain!
The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!'
Keep praying for my family and our school. But pray for all of our schools too. It could not be more apparent that our schools need prayer.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It Almost Happened to Us

Word of Warning: Grandpa, you may not want to let Grandma read this one.
Yesterday a student at Landstown High School, in Virginia Beach, where my kids go, was arrested for planning a Columbine like attack at Landstown.
One of his friends turned him in to the police.
When the police searched his home they found 28 pipe bombs, molotov cocktails and other devices as well as the ingredients needed to make more.
I meet with the teachers regularly at this high school, which I consider to be an excellent school.
Many of the students, (and parents) are still shaken.
You can read more and watch a short news video about it >>>here<<<.
I can't believe this almost happened to us.
Thank God it didn't.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hail the Conquering Hero!

Most of you have hopefully noticed the yellow ribbon I have had in the top corner of my blog for almost a year and a half.
My brother Mike left to serve our country and the world in Iraq 15 months ago.
He was able to come home for about 2 weeks around his halfway mark.
Mike has literally been counting down the hours until his deployment was over and he could return to the USA and his family.
2 days ago on Saturday he flew in to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina where he was met by his wife, Niki.
He is back for good. Or at least until he gets orders to deply again.
I am thrilled because he and his awesome family will be about 3 hours away from me for the next year and a half.
I can't wait to be close to family again, and be able to spend time with these people that I love so much.
While he was in Iraq, Mike had the opportunity to meet a few celebrities who travelled there to support the troops.
This is R. Lee Ermey with Mike.
And I think Mike was a little too big to sit on this guy's lap.
Welcome home, Mike.
Thank you for serving our country.
We are glad you are home.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The April 2009 Children's Conference Packet

It's here again.
April Conference.
For my non LDS bloggies, this is the semiannual event, where instead of going go chruch on Sunday, our church leaders in Salt Lake City broadcast 4 sessions of a General Conference all over the world.
From Alaska to Virginia and Australia to Zimbabwe, church members are able to listen to the radio, watch on the internet, travel to a meeting house to watch a satellite broadcast, or in my case, sit on their couch and watch on television to hear the leaders of our church, including our phophet, Thomas S. Monson, speak to us.
There are 2 sessions on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.
It is our family tradition, since I was little, to put together a large puzzle while we listen to conference.
If that isn't enough for your kids to stay busy here is a children's packet that you can print out and have your kids work on while they watch.
2009 April Conference Packet 2009 April Conference Packet earl-girl8086 I updated the packet from last October. Happy Conferencing!!!
I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy conference.
And Melissa, (or anyone else), if you want to check it out, I'd love to have you over to watch a session or two with us.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Give In

I have debated for months whether or not I should allow my daily blog hits to assist me in more than merely puffing up my self esteem.
You may notice the new ad banner at the top of the page.
Hopefully, this new banner will generate an income for me from my little blog.
If this is a frustration to the 8-10 of you who actually know me and check my blog regularly, I apologize.
Much of my decision was based on the fact that more than 75% of my hits come from people who do not know me, and find me randomly through web searches.
I love that these people visit my blog, and is it a bad thing if their visits earn me a couple of cents?
I think not.
For my beloved followers who love me and my blog, feel free to ignore the ads, and continue loving me and my blog.
I love all of you too.
By the way, I am currently using Adbrite for my ads.
I heard about it from Aaron, Stock Investor Kid who also has some other great income generating ideas, as well as a great sense of humor.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Harvard, for Free?

I got an e-mail that sounded too good to be true.
I snoped it, but it wasn't even on Snopes yet.
I googled it, and found out it is true.
Harvard University is offering FREE tuition to lower income families.
Apparently, it occurred to them that 90% of their students come from the upper 50% of the income class.
Recognizing that kids whose parents make less than $60,000/yr can still be smart, and in an effort to even out the playing field, Harvard is offering free tuition for "lower income" students.
Specifically, a student from a family with an income of less than $40,000/yr. will not have to pay tuition.
Families that earn between $40,000 and $60,000/yr will have a reduced tuition rate.
You can read more about it >>>here<<<.
How awesome is that?
(And this is not an April Fool's joke, btw).