Wednesday, October 31, 2007


This is the same tree, one week later. Beautiful. Who knew death could be so lovely?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

tagged- some not-so-normal things about me

I was tagged recently by two different friends. I have been tagged before, but this is the first one I have actually participated in, not because I didn't want to but because I didn't have time (at the time) to come up with anything and then I just forgot about it. So I thought I would do this now, while I was thinking about it.
One of the tags asked for 6 interesting things about me, one asked for 7. So I am going to do 7 to cover all of my bases.

1. Up until about 3 months ago, I had lived in Arizona my whole life. (Now this doesn't count the first 23 months of my life when I lived in Utah- my birthplace. But I don't remember it, so I don't choose to count it.) I had never even visited any of the US east of the Rocky Mountains. And now, here I am.

2. I love Disneyland. I have been there well over 25 times and it never gets old. We used to go on vacation there as a family almost every year while I was growing up. (This may not seem like a lot to some of you, especially those in this camp, but to others- 25 times in one vacation spot is a lot.)

3. I can't swim. (Funny since I just told you that I've lived in AZ almost my whole life.) I'm not saying that I would drown in a swimming pool, I can paddle and tread water enough to ensure safety in that environment, but I can't do any strokes or tread water very long. I actually had to be rescued by the beach lifeguards on one occasion because, unbeknownst to me, I was caught in some sort of rip tide and my body was about to be smashed into some huge rocks. Which leads me to my next fact..

4. I don't like the beach or the ocean. I have never liked going into ocean water, something about sharing your space with other living creatures makes me feel way too vulnerable. I did like going to the beach as a kid and playing in the sand. But as an adult, it's just annoying. When you leave the beach, everything is covered in sand- your kids, their toys, your car, your house...and guess who gets to clean up all of this sand? That's right-me. So I don't like it. I do appreciate the beauty of the beach and the ocean though.

(Thank you, friend, for reminding me of the next two very important skills.)

5. I am constantly picking up things with my toes. I can grab even small things like a paper clip or cheerios (which are always on the floor at my house).

6. I can fit my entire fist in my mouth. (Actually, I don't think this is an important skill.)

7. Mmm...what else? For the few of you who don't know- Jon and I dated in high school before he left on his mission. Our first date was in March 1996. So we sort of count that anniversary along with our wedding one (June 2000).

So there you have it, everything you never wanted to know about me. Now about tagging other people, I don't know....I hate to commit anyone to do it if they don't want to. Actually, I would like to see what my sister says because I'm pretty sure I know everything about her. So Carlie, you're tagged...and any other reader who wants to take on the challenge.

Friday, October 26, 2007

a science lesson: Why do leaves change color?

I have been thinking about this question a lot in the past few weeks. As I have previously mentioned, I have never lived in a place that has a real autumn season, with leaves changing color and falling. I'm sure there are some trees where I used to live that do this, but not enough to ever make an impact on my memory. So I have been fascinated by the hundreds of trees that are changing around me here in my new home.

I guess I thought that a tree's leaves all changed color at the same time, but I have noticed that this is not the case. It seems that the leaves that recieve the most sunlight change color first, but why? And why are there so many different colors? Most trees have leaves that are some shade of green, so why do they change to a miriad of different colors- red, orange, yellow...?
I decided to research these questions and was suprised to find that there are not any easy answers. In fact, I was a bit confused at times. This is the simple explanation I came up-

  • All leaves contain chlorophyll (green color) and carotenoids (yellow and orange color). Cholorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis (conversion of carbon dioxide and water to oxygen and sugar).
  • When the days become shorter and there is less light available for photosynthesis, trees start to conserve energy by decreasing the rate of cholorophyll production in the leaves (keeping it from doing photosynthesis, basically killing it). This makes them turn from green to yellow, orange.
  • The red color in leaves is sugar that was made inside of the leaf by photosynthesis but then trapped there because the cold weather closed the leaf's veins and made it unable to send the sugar into the tree. That's why the leaves on the outer part of a tree's canopy turn color first, because they get more sunlight but then get colder and "die" faster that the leaves that are protected inside the canopy.
Probably more than I ever wanted to know about botany, but at least I got my questions answered. I felt like I was the only one living in this area who didn't know why leaves change colors, as if those people who have lived through the autumn season their entire lives just knew. But after reading through all of the explanations and stuff I found on the internet, I realized that most people probably don't.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

R.I.P., autumn beauty, and JONAS! (with updated pic)

The jack-o-lanterns that we carved last week didn't make it. (Although, they look way more "mooky" now!) Thank you pyscho Illinois weather: pouring rain one day and 80 degrees the next.

This tree is right outside our front door. I have been watching it everyday as the leaves slowly change color. Isn't it beautiful? Experiencing an actual autumn season for the first time in my life has't think of a good word- cool, educational, breathtaking?

One last note, last night Jonas did it. He climbed up the stairs. We were all sitting on the couch watching a movie and suddenly Jon said, "Oh my goodness, Jonas!" We all looked over to see him standing up on the first step holding onto the banister, smiling- obviously very pleased with himself. He continues to exceed my expectations of his mobility. I am almost afraid of what he'll do next. I find myself wondering, is it a coincidence that he is my first "climbing" child and we just moved into the first home we've ever lived in that has stairs? (Two staircases to be exact!) He is keeping me on my toes.
(I added the pic to illustrate the paragraph above. Imagine this position- which he does all of the time- only up one step. Yikes!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

I _____ public speaking

I had to give a talk in church yesterday. I was less than thrilled to say the least. I don't love speaking in church (not many people do, I'm sure). But contrary to what people may think, I don't hate it either. When our bishop called to extend the invitation to me, my first gut-reaction was to say no way! But I was taught that you don't say no, period. So I accepted and chose my topic from a list of 6 possible choices. But as you might have guessed, I didn't give much thought to it the entire week until Saturday afternoon when I sat down and wrote out about two pages of material. When I saw our bishop later that evening, he asked me if I was ready to speak the next day. Again, my gut-reaction was to say no way! But I smiled and said I sure was!
For those of you haters who try as hard as you can to get out of speaking in church, I have a few secrets to share with you. I am in no way an expert on public speaking. All of these were either taught to me at home or learned from my very limited experience.
  • You don't have to be an expert on a subject to give a good talk about it. Use the link on called "prepare a talk". Type in your topic and voila! You will have a huge assortment of information to chose from. I like to stick to quotes from the apostles and scriptures.
  • Don't give those listening to you in the congregation a reason to tune you out. Don't start off by saying how nervous or scared you are or how much you wish you weren't standing in front of them. Act like you are a expert on the subject because for the next 5-10 minutes you will be if you've stuck to the afore mentioned material (quotes from the apostles and scriptures).
  • I like to type up every word I am planning to say. That way I can keep myself from saying anything dumb and making myself look stupid. I can't think on my feet very well, so I write down every word and try to memorize the sentences (as best as I can). Even if you just stand up there and read from your papers verbatim, if the talk is well written then you've delivered your intended message. No one expects you to be witty or funny or the perfect orator.
  • Most importantly, pray for help. That is a given, obviously. And remember no one is going to come up to you afterwards and say your talk was terrible.
This post is mostly for my benefit. So the next time I'm asked to give a talk, I can remember that I don't hate it, because I always remember that I don't love it.

P.S. The topic I chose was "how to make the most of each day". So I just basically paraphrased Elder Oaks' talk about "good, better and best".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

a mooky little girl like you

Last night we carved pumpkins for Halloween. (To see the rest of the pictures, click here.) The night went something like this...

  • Mom cut the tops off of the two pumpkins.
  • Seth and Maryn each scooped out maybe two handfuls of pumpkin innards then turned the rest of the yucky scooping work over to (you guessed it) Mom.
  • Dad carved the scary tree and Mom carved the ghost into the pumpkins.
  • Everyone went outside to admire all of the hard work.
(And this activity was supposed to be for the kids?)

The cutest/strangest part of the evening was Maryn. She kept saying that the pumpkins were "berry berry mooky". It took us a while to figure out that she meant "spooky". That was the cute part, the strange part was this- Maryn has started stuttering. She has always stuttered a little bit but in the past few days, the frequency has increased more than 100%. She stutters on almost every word she says. I'm a bit concerned and totally shocked because it came on so suddenly. My parents tell me that I stuttered a lot as a child (and frankly, I still do). And Seth stutters too at times, usually when he's trying hard to get my attention. But this is way worse that anything I have heard from either of my kids. I realize that she does this because her little brain is moving faster than her speech can keep up with. But it still worries me. Above all, doesn't every mother want their kids to be normal and not have anything "wrong" with them?

welcome to the world

A new little person joined our family yesterday. We are so excited! My three kids now have three cousins, nice and even.

Monday, October 8, 2007

conference, choices, apple pie

(I wanted to make the title a true alliteration, but I couldn't think of another "c" word that was more important than apple pie.)

I love conference weekend. When is there another weekend in which you could justify spending 8 hours watching TV? But more importantly, when could you claim that watching 8 hours of TV could give you even close to the same amount of spiritual upliftment (is that a word?- spell check says no)? Conference weekend is important to me because it always causes me to take a step back and evaluate every aspect of my life and recognize thing that I need to change. This doesn't always leave me feeling that great, but those unpleasant feelings are balanced by good feelings that stem from the hope that I can make necessary changes.

Some of the blogs I have read today cite Sister Beck's talk on Mothers as their favorite. I also enjoyed this talk because I feel like it helped to give some much-needed accolades and dignity to the work that we stay-at-home moms do all day, everyday. Only those who do it or have done it really understand what a hugely difficult job it is. There is no vacation, no calling in sick, no "leaving your work at the office".

That said, it was not my favorite talk. My absolute favorite talk was the very last one in the very last session on Sunday; Elder Oaks' talk about good, better and best. I was truly inspired by his words and they have stayed with me since I heard them yesterday. I definitely identify with his explanation that most of us face choices everday; not necessarily between right and wrong but between good, better and best. I want to be better about judging the daily choices I make regarding what I do with my time using this scale. Yeah sure, taking a nap in the afternoon is good- if I'm tired, my body needs rest. It would probably be better to sit a watch a movie with Seth (because my other kids are sleeping). But it would probably be best to take advantage of this one-on-one time and spend it with Seth doing some sort of fun activity. This example actually happened today, except that I did "D"- none of the above. I spent the time making some phone calls to get some bills figured out, which is not a bad thing- it's gotta get done sometime- but it probably wasn't the best thing I could have chosen to do during that particular time period. So I didn't quite make it up to the (raised) bar on this one today. Hoping, praying that tomorrow will be better.

One last note about apple pie. Before conference began on Saturday morning, we went to a farmer's market/swap meet. We have been once before and the fresh produce we bought there (straight from local farmers) was so good- I can't even begin to describe it to you! Also the last time we went, we walked by a long table stacked with pies begin sold by 2 teenage girls in dresses and sneakers- Amish. (I guess we live only 30 minutes away from the largest Amish community in the state. Who knew?) By then, we had run out of cash so I told Jon that next time we came, we were going to that table first. If you didn't know this about me- I love pie. I am not necessarily picky about the type, I love all types of really good pie. But a really good pie, with excellent crust and not too sticky sweet filling, is really hard to come by. I had faith in these Amish girls that they could bake a really good pie. So back to last Saturday morning, we went to the farmer's market and I made a beeline for the Amish table. Blueberry, peach, blackberry, pecan and of course apple pie. My mind was reeling with the choices! I finally settled on apple, a standard. It was a little more pricey than I expected ($10) but I absolutely had to have it. Later that day when we cut into it...ahh, heaven on Earth. It was so good, better than any pie I have ever had. Ever. After the first bite, I told Jon that next week we're going back for the peach.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

movin' and groovin'

I have been saying for a while that "Jonas is on the move", but he keeps surprising me with his newest maneuvering abilities! He is still mostly "army crawling", occasionally lifiting his tummy off of the ground to go on his hands and knees. He can also push himself into a sitting position from lying flat on the floor. He has even pulled himself into a standing postion using the (open) dishwasher door as leverage! Do most babies with older siblings progress this quickly through stages of mobility? Probably. I am worried that unlike my other two kids, he's going to be a climber. Yikes.

If you'd like to see more pictures of Jonas on the move, click on the Stone Family Pictures link on my sidebar.

the best thing about yesterday

I found this at a thrift store yesterday. I was thrilled because I have been thinking about getting one for Maryn for Christmas. It didn't have a price tag on it, so the nice worker lady said I could have it for $2.99! Finding that great deal made my day. It's funny how little, insignificant things can do that.

Monday, October 1, 2007

nothing to report

After reading a blog post from one of my friends, I was comforted to know that I'm not the only one who has not just bad days, but bad weeks. Last week was one of those for me. I think I was a little too ambitious and tried to do too many things. I had appointments on Mon, Wed and Fri. I took all three kids to all three appointments (I had to) and each appointment lasted for 2 hours. Needless to say, by the end of the week my kids were driving me crazy. Seriously, I asked myself more than once "Am I going crazy?" Thankfully this week, my sanity seems to have returned, although not in full force.
We are enjoying beautiful fall weather right now. You'd think this would help to improve my mood, and it does- a little bit. I'm excited for the leaves to start changing colors. With all the trees everywhere, it should be really beautiful.
Also, I am still pluggin away on the previously mentioned craft project endeavor. I have finished some parts and will post pictures soon. As for now, here's to hoping for a better week.