Sunday, April 3, 2011


Wow, it's been a really nice weekend. No commitments really, just time with the fam sitting and watching general conference. I love General Conference. (If you're not familiar, it's a biannual conference held by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is broadcast from Salt Lake City around the world. The speakers are prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as other Church leaders.) At first 8 hours of listening to speakers in a weekend sounds like a long haul, but the more you listen, the more time flies by and by the end, you feel so uplifted and don't want it to finish. We watch conference over the Internet with our couch pulled in front of our computer. The boys played with Lego's, did a little coloring, got a few backscratches, ate a few snacks but were for the most part there to listen to all the sessions. To me, the talks seemed to generally fall into two different categories: first, very basic gospel principles such as sabbath day observance, paying tithing, strengthening faith, strengthening the family, loving and serving others, and attending the temple; second, reminders that the growth we seek, whether in our families or testimonies or for divine help or just regarding our eternal progress in general, is incremental. I liked Elder Bednar's examples of turning a light on in a room (instant clarity) versus a sunrise (where the light grows almost imperceptibly, moment by moment). I think I will try to remember that as I work on new goals I have made--to not expect of myself amazing progress in a short time, but also to remember that consistent small effort added up does amount to big changes. Also Elder Ballard's example taught this--that of the prospector who found great wealth and success, not by discovering big nuggets of gold but by acquiring little flecks of it from the rock, bit by bit. I need to remember, as the scriptures say, that "by small and simple things great things are brought to pass, and small instances in many instances doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls" (Alma 37 in the Book of Mormon).

The Orlando Temple, a little piece of heaven on earth.

So this week, my little efforts at being better will make a difference and I should not give up on them. It's nice to have that hope restored. :)

So having the Spirit in our home so much this weekend also led me to think about all the things I am grateful for. First I am grateful that even though it is already beginning to be fairly hot here in Tucson, I'm grateful for the beautiful sunshine that without my directly realizing it MAKES ME FEEL GREAT! It feels like liquid hope pouring into my heart and mind and seeping through my skin. I'm also thankful for a house with big windows that lets in all this beautiful light. The two big windows in my bedroom by the rocking chair I rock Graham in are wonderful.

I'm also thankful for a husband who was already pretty darn helpful and supportive, but who has on his own really stepped things up since I had Graham. He seeks every opportunity to let me sleep in if he can (actually has gotten in trouble a few times for letting me sleep in too long!). He bathes and puts Henry and Wes to bed more, does more of the bedtime stories, helps with cooking, does the boys' chores with them on Saturdays, etc. all while unraveling the earth's mysteries of evolutionary biology as it pertains to bugs. Yes, he is a pretty great husband.

Entomologist by day, domestic helper extraordinaire by night

I'm thankful for where we're at in life. I don't even know how to describe where that is. Compared to a lot of people in the US, we're not super well off. For a family of five we don't make tons. However, compared to quite a lot of the world's population, we are as rich as kings, and I appreciate that we live in a world now where we can have a better idea of how people live and I can see how very blessed we are, as Americans, as college educated people, as Latter-day Saints, as people with safety, jobs, family, liberty, etc. So let's just say I think it's great that we've graduated to a great $50 craigslist entertainment center from our $15 spruced up entertainment center we had in Georgia, which was an upgrade from our cardboard box TV stand. We have one awesome car that is still nice and reliable and serves us well. We have a two-car garage--amazing! We have a little, private yard, lots of floor space and closet space, we have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. We have a 401(k) and great benefits. We have a super treadmill and digital pressure cooker and great bookshelves. We have a great iMac that has the best picture on it. I love all these things. It feels good to see how much the Lord has blessed us. I love my house and the ability to take care of my family so well in it. It's a good place to be.

Goodbye to this little gem of an entertainment center from Georgia. Actually, given that we only paid $15 for it, it was not too bad!

Finally, I'm thankful for the experiences in my life that have confirmed to me that my Heavenly Father is real and loves me. There's not much in the way of discouragement, despair, difficulty, or lack of confidence that can stand in the way of knowing that the Supreme Being of the Universe made you and loves you. I remember my mom saying once that she was always a little amazed at how confident her children were in the face of whatever it was they decided to do, ha ha, which now that I think about it was maybe a veiled attempt to tell me I was being cocky (which, OK, may have happened once or twice). But in whatever sense it was good and that I still have that, I feel like my confidence, my ambition, my hope and any subsequent success I have comes from that belief in the nature of God, the role of His Son, Jesus Christ, and my relationship to Them.

I guess that's the source of my good mood tonight after listening to conference. No weakness in my character that currently gives myself or others grief need stay a part of my life. There are no insurmountable hurdles when it comes to choosing and doing what is right. I'm excited to make and live up to ambitious plans about the good I can do with my life, shaped and directed by my Creator's plan for me and His much better knowledge of what He would have me do. Yep, it's going to be a good week. :)

Who wouldn't do anything in the world for these sweet boys? And now I've got three!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Grahamster

Here are a few pictures we've taken the last few weeks of our sweet little Graham. He'll be 4 weeks old on Tuesday. (this is being typed one-handed by the way as I'm holding him upright in my other arm because his indigestion keeps waking him up, poor guy. I'm currently on a strict no dairy diet to see if that is the culprit like it was for Wes.)

Ahhh...there's nothing better than snuggling with a sweet, peaceful newborn to take you off into your own heavenly, blissful sleep. This happens to me far more often than James--he just never thinks to grab a camera.

Henry is a very great, involved big brother. He adores little Graham and helps a lot. Wes is a great helper too. When Henry began getting sick with the flu this afternoon, he asked James to give him a priesthood blessing specifically so he could get better soon and not get Graham sick. He genuinely loves his little brother. Wes is more shy about how to interact with a baby, but he is extremely protective of him.

Apparently H has a pattern going with his bed hair. We never noticed that before.

Chillin' in his bouncy seat--his favorite place to sleep.

Fortunately, he likes the pacifier decently well. Thank goodness for that!

Snoozing with his good friend, Mr. Giraffe.

Lots of sleeping.

Not a fan of sponge baths, although he likes the part where we wash his hair. This is his classic "I'm not happy" face.

Every once in a while he has the good fortune of finding a finger to suck on. Here he is doing it at about 5 days old in Grandma Eyring's arms.

And again a week later in Grandma Robertson's arms.

And later on a sunny afternoon in his room.

But there's nothing more irritating than when those hands get away...

Life is hard being a baby.

But he already knows that hearing Mom's voice means help is on the way! Aww, I love my little guy.

And finally, a few pictures of the crazies. Is Graham doomed to the same fate as his brothers?

Let's hope not.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Graduation and Other Events

The happy, long-awaited day finally came on July 31st! James became a Doctor of Philosophy in Entomology. What a culmination to an awful lot of years of study, preparation, hard work, diligence, and sacrifice. I was very proud of him. He did an awesome job on his dissertation and had so many other great publications and awards and travel and great opportunities. It was a great experience for him and we all had a lot to be proud of and celebrate that day. Besides the actual graduation, it was a real highlight to be able to go to his dissertation defense. He spoke for an hour on "Phylogenetic Systematics of the Cerylonid Series of Cucujoidea," and yes, the remainder of his talk would make about as much sense as that title does to most people. He sounds like he's speaking a foreign language, though fortunately after all these years, I'm able to follow a little bit. He just sounded amazing and gave such a great talk. I wished all his family could've heard him because they would've been so proud. I was so proud. And relieved. :)

Here's a faraway picture of him on the big screen being hooded by the Dean and by his advisor, Joe McHugh. He looks happy, doesn't he?

Lots of pictures were taken, but for some reason, the handful taken with our camera aren't that hot. But as you can see, I was pretty darn happy too. And a little emotional at times. Even the boys knew what a big day it was. We were very happy to have my mom and dad there, as well as my sister Liz and her daughter, Jessica.
Like I said, my pictures weren't great. Sorry I got one of you looking down, Floyd. On the right is Joe McHugh, James's highly talented, capable, amazing professor. He and his family are not just incredibly smart and accomplished, but they are also some of the kindest people we have ever known. I don't know if it could've happened with anyone less amazing than Joe. We owe him a lot.
That evening we had a fun graduation party for James (thrown together at nearly the last minute) with my family and friends from work and church. It was all about showering James with his favorite things and some unexpected gifts. Here are his two favorite sushi rolls from his favorite restaurant, Utage, as part of the refreshments. He deserved it and so much more after seven years of hard work!

James, Henry, my dad, and Joe visiting in the kitchen.
My mom and a few of our Georgia friends.

Immediately following graduation, we traveled to Orlando with my family for a mini-reunion with my parents and siblings followed by a special family event. My sister and her husband, who recently finalized their adoption of baby Jessica, were sealed together as a family in the Orlando Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A temple is a place similar to temples you read about throughout the Old and New Testaments. It is more sacred than a church building, and in them, special ordinances are performed through the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Among these are the ability to bind or "seal" families to be together not just in this life but in the next as well. It's a very wonderful feeling to know that death can not permanently separate your family. That we will not only just hopefully all make it to heaven, but that we will still be a family and my children will always be my children and my husband will be my husband. We will always belong together, which is what brings us our greatest happiness.

It was very special to be with Liz and Dave as they were sealed to this sweet little angel whom we all love so much and whom they waited so long for.
Here are Henry and Wesley (and WALL-E) with my Grandma and Grandpa Bosen. It was great to see them in Florida. It had been such a long time!

Random Life

Well, much, much, MUCH has happened since my last post, as most of you know. It has been one of the busiest seasons of our lives. Everything changed. I thought I would write a couple posts about the last few months with some pictures. Pardon the randomness of it all.
Speaking of random, here is one of Henry's great Lincoln Log creations. He definitely thinks out of the box.
Not sure what to say about this one except that I was a little freaked out when Henry surprised me with his "mask." Luckily Wes didn't get too far other than one piece stuck in his hair.
Henry's graduation from Friendship Presbyterian Preschool. He had the best year imaginable with the sweetest teachers ever, Miss Chris and Miss Lisa. They are missed. Here he is with one of his good friends, Layla.
Our 4th of July celebration consisted of going to the downtown festival in Watkinsville. I'm going to miss all those cute, old-fashioned, smalltown events. We had a great time with our friends the Francoms, minus both James and Greg. Us grad student widows have to stick together, I guess. James worked literally around the clock all through June and July, so it was always me and the boys trying to stay out of his hair.

A particularly delicious pizza we made with some of the fresh basil and other produce from my awesome garden. Well, awesome until it was neglected by me and the heat wave hit. But it was a pretty great first try. We particularly enjoyed all the fresh herbs.

Actually this picture is a little ironic because what shortly ensued after the creation of the pizza was the sickest first trimester of pregnancy I've had yet. About the time of my last post (Mother's Day--nice timing) I found out our lives had yet another MAJOR change coming up. Kiddo #3! When it rains blessings, it pours. But it did complicate things a bit. Food was my dread and my enemy, and all my tastes changed from loving to cook and loving fresh foods, Asian, homemade this and that, to only being able to stand all the things I formerly avoided/disliked: processed foods, fast food, doughnuts, soda, junk, junk, junk. Were it not for my all consuming craving for orange juice and a few other items, I probably would have been admitted to the hospital for malnutrition. Fortunately, the sickness subsided quite a bit by the time James graduated at the end of July.
Henry played soccer this spring and was a pretty awesome player by the end. He really developed his confidence and abilities and was scoring great goals by the end. And thankfully, it was also the last season where poor Wes, the truer soccer lover, had to watch from the sidelines and be told he was too small.
Wes with his favorite puzzle. He can put together all 50 states by himself and there are no lines or pictures as clues or anything. Wes is a wild one but he is also one smart kid!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My first successful blogpost in a year and a half

No I have not forgotten how to blog--I expect nearly everyone except for 2 people have stopped checking my blog. There are a multitude of reasons for my being such a slacker, all of them quite good. But I'm back, courtesy of the iMac, and here are some recent Mother's Day pictures taken outside our home with Henry (5) and Wesley (3). I had wonderful Mother's Day by the way. Nothing scheduled, nothing stressful. After a lovely and inspiring day at church, it was just me and the fam at home, just the way I like it. James made delicious Swedish pancakes for dinner and I had a rare and glorious 3 HOUR NAP on the couch. Woohoo! My boys were very sweet to me today. It's good to feel loved. They are pretty patient with their mommy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Watkinsville Scarecrow 5K and Fall Festival

It's our yearly tradition to participate in the race and fall festival. This year I ran the race and James tucked the kids snuggly in the stroller to watch. Don't the look cozy? Doesn't it look cold? It was at first.I was happy with my time--28:47, as you can see. Slowly but surely I'm am getting a little bit faster. Woo hoo! Our good friends Brett and Alyson and their son Will did the races too. They all got amazing times.
Here is Henry, getting ready to start the kids 1 miles fun run. You see those clenched fists and that tense posture getting ready to run? Henry took this race very seriously. We "practiced" for it a few times ahead of time and he was very determined to be a fast runner and do his best.

Here he is at the end, holding his little finisher's ribbon. He ran the whole time without stopping and finished the race in 12:10. I was very impressed by his determination! He loves running. The highlight for him was finishing before James, who ran it with him. All he could say was, "I was faster than my dad!"

Here are the boys on a tractor from the hay rides in their lovely matching overalls. We didn't get any other pictures of the festival, but we did the usual--funnel cakes and shish kabobs, looking through the rock collectors' booth and all the craft booths and riding the pony and playing in the corn crib at the petting zoo. It was fun hanging out and we saw lots of friends there too. Good old Watkinsville. We sure will miss it.