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HM: Hitting the target: 21 years

shooting IMG_8958

I know that photos of shooting might be controversial, but that’s only if you aren’t from Wyoming, which Lane is.

And one of the ways we nurture each other and our children is through wholesome recreational activities. In our family, learning how to shoot a target safely for fun is one of those.

Lane and I had barely started dating in January 1993, when for our second date we drove up the mountain road to a spot where we could shoot targets. I hadn’t ever done that before, but I hit the target on my first or second try. That impressed him! (I figure an unseen angel was helping to hold my arms steady since I nailed it like that.) On the way home from that date, Lane asked me how many children I wanted (!). Even though I wanted 12, I only had the courage to say that I wanted maybe 8 or 10. When he said he wanted 12 children, that hit the target for me. Now the door was open to pursue this relationship! From there to getting engaged, I’d say it was a pretty steady route.

Now that it has been 21 years since we got married, I have to say that we hit the target finding each other and taking that leap of faith. Neither I nor Lane is perfect, but I think we have been perfect for each other. He has continued to gently steady me when I am afraid or needing help, just like he is doing in these photos from a recent jaunt out to shoot targets again.

We couldn’t have done it without help. God has been there for us when we needed that help every day. I am so grateful to be “happily married,” thanks to Heavenly Father’s help and our mutual commitment to keeping our covenants.

Our family memorized this line in The Family: A Proclamation to the World last week: “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” We can attest to this. We have acted on each one of those principles, and I believe (knowing my stubbornness) that our marriage will continue to require them. Without the atonement, we wouldn’t be where we are today, and I’m grateful to get to continue moving forward, both of us holding onto each other and to the atonement of Christ.

Happy Holding Onto Your Spouse and Together to the Lord,

Liz :)


Back-to-school blessingThe best part of our family summer vacation wasn’t the long, beautiful bike ride we took to the restaurant for a delicious dinner. It wasn’t the afternoon at the pool watching crazy dives off the diving board (with the lifeguard refereeing Lane’s jumps) and playing Sharks and Minnows together. It wasn’t learning how to shoot out in the mountains or watching Cheaper By the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes and laughing together.  It wasn’t snuggling up with a good book,  watching a cooking show on TV together, or playing backgammon or Rummikub. It wasn’t the incredible Joshua Bell concert with accompanying picnic of homemade fried chicken, biscuits, raspberry jam, and chocolate chip cookies, although that was amazing. And all of those were AWESOME!

The best part of family vacation was Sunday afternoon when we got to have back-to-school blessings from Lane. This sacred time is when my husband lays his hands on each person’s head, one child at a time, just as the Savior did when he was on the earth, and pronounces the words that come to his mind about this child. It is a very reverent time in which we learn about each person’s talents and potential, and special gifts that Heavenly Father has in store for them at the advent of a new school year. It is sweet and totally uplifting. It is motivating. It helps us feel super close as a family and increases our love and respect one for another. I do not actually have words to truly describe it, but after maybe 17 years of having this tradition (did we start when Sarah was 4? I’ll have to check my journal), it is one of the highlights of being a mother!

How does a child feel after one of these completely unique blessings? I think that this drawing explains better than words. (Drawing shared with Anna’s permission.)

The best way I can describe to you what a gift this experience is for me as a mother is to say that it’s like stepping in heaven for an hour or two. The feeling is beautiful: it is at once peaceful, strengthening, calming, soothing, happy, and vision-enlarging. I get a Godly perspective on each of my children. I get a glimpse into their eternal possibilities. I get to hear and feel how much God loves each child as an individual, and how influential each child is in their circle of family, friends, and schoolmates. I have come to hear, feel and see how God has a hand in our lives, how He plans for our success, how He supports us in our trials, and How he knows us perfectly.

I wish every mother could have this experience. The great part about Heavenly Father’s plan is that if you do not have a worthy priesthood holder in your home, you can go to an uncle, grandfather, home teacher or Bishop who does, and ask them for a priesthood blessing. It truly is a sacred, beautiful opportunity.

Happy Back-to-School Blessings,

Liz :)


SOS: Six sisters, six friends

Six sistersThese six women are not really sisters. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. But they are definitely sisters in the spiritual sense. What do they all have in common? They are all widows.

Today our family was on vacation visiting another ward (=congregation), and we saw these six beautiful women sitting all together on one pew. Of course we were interested to know their story! In Relief Society, I got to hear a little bit about it. If I got the story right, they all are from the same state, they have become dear friends over the years, and they all have lost their husbands–some years ago, and one woman just six months ago. They had come on this vacation together to have fun and enjoy their wonderful sisterhood! They laugh and cry together. They were having such a great time together! Their great big smiles were prominent evidence of that.

I just loved seeing this! This is what Relief Society is all about! This is what women all over the world need to know about Mormon women and Relief Society, and how Heavenly Father designed Relief Society for us to help each other travel through our challenges this life. He wants us to have friends during the tough times, even other women who have “been there, done that,” and can be true friends. In Relief Society, no matter where we live, how old we are, or what our circumstances are, in our times of need, we have a safety net: each other. As daughters of God, we have this special sisterhood that if we invest in, spiritually and emotionally, which we can both contribute to and draw upon for compassionate support. What a comfort to know that whatever our future holds, there will be sisters and friends at each turn to help us on our path. What a great example these six ladies are!

I didn’t have enough time to even get their names–one of my children was pulling me out to the car as I said goodbye! (My apologies to them for not even getting any contact info! I DID get their permission to share this photo on my blog, though.)

Just had to share. :)

Happy Being Sisters,

Liz :)

P.S. My apologies to the sister that I caught with her eyes closed. If I had Photoshop, I would have swapped this photo in for her. She just radiates happiness!

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3T: Plan in pencil

back to school

Seriously! I canNOT believe how fast summer went, and how each year it just seems to accelerate. Didn’t we get out of school about 2 1/2 weeks ago?

It sure feels like it.

I walked into the school today to drop off the gerbil cage that we took home with us the last week of school. The teacher said that it was OK if the gerbils died. And they did. Even though they tried to take care of them as per directions: food (check), water (check), and love (check). Bummer.

Life goes on.

SO we returned the empty glass cage. (I am so happy that thing didn’t break as well.)

And the whole time I was in the school, I thought, “I am NOT ready to be back here. I am NOT ready to be back here.”

And life goes on! A constant river. In one week, we’ll be back to the routine: back to early (REALLY early this year) wake times, family scriptures, carpools, dance lessons, soccer games, homework, homework, and more homework.

Anna is asking me, “How come you don’t want to go back to school? Personally, I like school, because I have the best teacher in the world!”

She does, so I am happy she is happy to go back to school. Guess we better go get those school supplies.

But one thing I DO like, it’s making a new schedule. Here’s the little form thingy (FALL WEEKLY SCHEDULE 2014) I make up each year to pencil in routine commitments as they get arranged: Scouts, Activity Days, dance, soccer, music lessons, you know. And then when it gets firmed up and the kinks worked out, I print out a clean one and write it in ink. Then I stick it on my “Read My Mind” board and look at it for a few weeks of a month until it’s in my brain. Yep, that’s how I do it. Probably a lot like a million other American moms out there.

Here we go again!

Happy Back-to-School Time,

Liz :)


LOL: I should get my slippers

split pea soup in slippers

Tonight we sat down for dinner, and Rebecca saw the soup on the table. “Are we having split pea soup? I should go get my slippers.”

(If you have ever read–and loved–the George and Martha series by James Marshall, you might be familiar with the story of how Martha loved to make split pea soup for George, who hated it, so he poured it into his penny loafers under the table. When she saw the shoes, she said something like, “You should have told me you didn’t like it! I only like making split pea soup. I don’t like to eat it!” and made him chocolate chip cookies instead.)

George and Martha cookies

Happy Enjoying Dinner,

Liz :)


Cheaper by the Dozen

This month we are only reading one book, both olders and youngers: Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr., and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. (The authors were two of the 12 children in this famous family.)

If you have never read this story, you are in for a treat. It is very fun. You will laugh and be awed. You may even cry.

Lane and I read this book on our honeymoon, since we were hoping for a tribe of 12 of our own. Now it’s time for us to share this great biography with our children.

And, just FYI: If you have seen the modern version movie by this same title, you have not given it a fair shake. You have to at least get the original version of the movie and enjoy it. It’s much truer to the actual story, and much more fun (in my opinion).

Unknown-1Are families cheaper by the dozen? I would say that for sure bigger families are cheaper per child in the long run, even if it costs more all together. But I am pretty sure that Heaven has helped us with providing for each child at every step of the way. If you are willing to have your children wear hand-me-downs and manage your resources well, I am quite sure that you can raise a larger family on the same amount that many families raise only a few children.

Happy Reading (Rearing?) and Calculating,

Liz :)

P.S. Just a flag about the book: there is some language (the father had quite a personality and some “colorful” language to go with it), so this makes a great read aloud that can be easily edited by the reader! :)


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Crime and PunishmentWe figured out how to do those summer reading assignments for AP English Lit (i.e. Crime and Punishment and Their Eyes Were Watching God).

1. Get a copy of the mp3 recording of the book.

2. Get a printed (or digital) copy of the book.

3. Put the recording to play at 2x or 3x the regular speed. (Laugh a lot to hear the drama that fast.)

4. Follow along in the book and finish in a VERY reduced amount of time.

5. Celebrate that you finished Dostoevsky during summer vacation in only 3 days…by starting the next book on the list!

Seriously, if I had known about this in high school and college, WOW! Would that have helped! I am such a slow reader! I really like to think about what I read. But when you have to read to get through something in a specific period of time, this way is AWESOME.

Happy Listening and Reading,

Liz :)




RTW: Open doors of opportunity

violin scroll

I feel satisfied. Today was my last summer violin and French lesson. I have never taught violin lessons, nor have I taught French via Skype. Both have been wonderful experiences!

To be honest, I didn’t want to teach violin. I love music. I love children. I love teaching children music. But I didn’t want to add another responsibility to my life.

But sometimes life provides you with challenges and opportunities, like open doors that you can choose to walk through. And I chose to walk through that door this summer by teaching private lessons.

Today, when I heard my French student read all of Bonsoir, Lune (Goodnight Moon) in French so well (after only 6 lessons!), I was SO satisfied. And when I heard one of my violin students do a beautiful job playing a Twinkle variation, reading her rhythm and sight-reading pages, and remembering some of the new keys she has learned, I was SO satisfied. And when one of my students brought by some work her dad did on a piece of furniture for our family, I felt so grateful. Teaching is very satisfying!

I want to thank each of my students for working hard, even when it was summer vacation. And I want to thank their moms and dads who supported them. Teaching a child is a partnership. I’m super blessed to have wonderful students!

And now the school year is about to begin. And another challenge of combining teaching into our school-year routine is the next open door I will walk through.

(Say a prayer for me!)

Happy Stepping into New Opportunities,

Liz :)


Mmmm: Homemade pasta and pomodoro sauce

pasta sauceWe celebrated Sarah’s birthday with our traditional dinner-of-your-choice last month, and her choice was homemade pasta and sauce.

Eliza specializes in homemade pasta ever since Grandpa Morley taught her how. She said making it makes her feel “cheffy.”

homemade pasta

Here’s a tutorial on making homemade pasta from David Lebovitz.  The Food Nanny’s proportions that we used are a little different: 3/4 cup flour to every egg and a pinch of salt. So you can figure out how much you want to make from that. We wrap the pasta in plastic wrap after diving the dough, and let it rest before rolling it in the pasta machine and cutting it. (You can roll it by hand. We roll it through an attachment on a mixer and then cut it by hand.) Then it needs to hang to dry. (We have a little pasta rack that you can see in the photo.)

My dad taught me how to make pomodoro sauce a long time ago. (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato.) Lane was eying my efforts suspiciously and kept offering to take over for me. I told him, “Hey! My dad taught me this, and he learned from Marcella Hazan, so let me do my work!”  After he tasted the sauce, he approved.

Seriously, it’s not hard to do. And I LOOOOVE fresh sauce over store-bought any day. It simple takes a little more time than pouring it out of the bottle.

But when you’ve got fresh basil growing outside, then you just have to make fresh sauce.

Buon appetito!

Liz :)



RTW: Penny per practice

practice penniesTo say that this week has been a hard practice week would be an understatement.

To say that prayers are answered would be pure truth.

Today when Peter started practicing his cello, I was counting off the repetitions he was supposed to do (as per teacher’s assignment) when he skipped a rep, or perhaps I miscounted. The idea came to mind about practice counters, which I don’t own, so I thought of what I did have on hand that he could tangibly move to see how many reps he had done. I pulled some change out of a jar (10 pennies for the 10-rep exercises, and 3 dimes for the 3 times through perfectly reps) and put them on a high chair next to Pete. He moved the coins from one side of the chair to the other when he completed the rep.

This really seemed to help him focus, and he worked through his practicing to finish it. When I told Anna it was time to practice, she refused. Peter said, “Practicing is fun!” (GASP).

Wow. Thank heavens for blue skies some days!

Happy Practicing,

Liz :)

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