Sunday, November 30, 2008


Since the beginning of November I have been contemplating all that I have to be thankful for and more importantly how I could express my gratitude. I have found myself making long lists of things I am thankful for and in my idiocy, I actually believed that I had thought of almost everything for which I had to be thankful for, but yesterday something I had never really thought about came into my mind. I ran to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk and found my cart loaded down with what I would term non-essentials such as candy, a magazine, chips, and a couple of beautiful poinsettias. As I was checking out I looked behind the counter and noticed something strange. I noticed that all of the baby formula in the grocery store was locked inside of a case. It occurred to me that the only logical explanation for baby formula being locked up would be that people had resorted to stealing it. I spent the following few seconds feeling really sorry for people so desperate that they had to steal baby formula and I felt that if their baby was that hungry maybe they were justified in that action. Next, I saw a young mother ask the store manager if he could unlock the case so that she could buy some formula and I watched as she counted out her dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies to buy the formula. I noticed that she had only enough to buy the baby food not a penny more. There were no non-essentials in her cart, just one can of baby formula.
Living in a city like Washington D.C. you have the benefit of enjoying a great deal of diversity. The amount of diversity was frightening to me when we first arrived, but it is now one of the things I enjoy most. In our ward alone there are 22 different nationalities represented. Many of the individuals in this area have sacrificed much to be able to live in this great nation. Most live in small apartments with many family members, few own cars, and many work more than one job, English is always a second language, and poverty is commonplace. As I looked at this beautiful young woman counting her pennies to buy the baby food, I realized something I definitely hadn't thanked my Heavenly Father for and that was opportunity. I have been blessed with great opportunities. I had the opportunity to be born in this country. I have been blessed with the opportunity of being raised by parents who loved me and were able to provide a good home for me. I was blessed with the opportunity of an education and employment. I was blessed with the opportunity to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ from a very young age. A clear realization came to me as I looked at the mother. I certainly was not smarter, more talented, braver, or more kind than her. It was clear to me through her tired smile that she had a great capacity to love others, something I often lack, yet it was also clear that her life was difficult and the one thing that was different about the two of us was that I had been given opportunities and she was working hard to create some opportunities for herself.
So, this Thanksgiving I am so thankful for the gifts I have been given and for the opportunities that our Heavenly Father has provided to me. I hope that I can make the most of these opportunities and use them in a way that can bless the lives of others, especially those who are struggling like the mother at the grocery store.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Jokes on Me!

At least there was lots of good food!
Happy UTE Fans!
So, diplomatic! An equal number of BYU and U of U Cupcakes!

Okay, so I have spent the day eating crow or humble pie or whatever it is you eat when you are prideful like I was this week as I made fun of the Utes. Actually, I am eating University of Utah cupcakes which is definitely the nastiest humble pie I have ever consumed. But, hey, there is always basketball season and while BYU's basketball team is looking great, the Utes lost to Southern Baptist last week-how sad! Jeez! I really can't let a dead dog lie. Quoting my mother, "Let it go Melisa. Just let it go." Anyway, we had a great party despite a devastating Cougar loss. Our Ute friends won gracefully and we are still able to call them friends. We had almost 50 people at the house and I am convinced our living room was louder than Rice-Eccles Stadium. Scott made a bet with one guy and ended up having to wear a U of U tie to church today. It was truly a humbling experience.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Day, Another Joke

A ventriloquist is working in Salt Lake and during his show a Utah fan stands up and yells,"HEY YOU! ONSTAGE! You been making smart-butt remarks about us Utes being stupid all night long! We're not all stupid ya know!" -"Relax" said the ventriloquist, "They're just jokes!"- "I'm not talking to you, sir!" The Ute replied. "I'm talking to that little jerk sitting on your knee!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ute Joke of the Day


A man from USU, Utah, and BYU are all standing in the restroom taking care of business. The man from Utah finishes first. He shakes, zips up and heads to the sink. He uses an obscene amount of soap to wash his hands and pulls all kinds of paper towels to dry them. He goes on to say, "At the U they teach us to be really clean." Just about that time, the man from Utah State finishes. He shakes, zips up and heads to the sink. He only uses a little bit of soap to wash his hands, and only one paper towel to dry. He says, "At Utah State they teach us to be clean, but economical." At that time the man from BYU finishes his business. He shakes, zips up and just walks out the bathroom. He says, "At BYU, they teach us not to piss on our hands."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thankful Turkey's

Tonight we made turkey's out of construction paper. We then wrote what we were thankful for on each feather. Next we placed our turkey's between two pieces of wax paper and ironed them. Now we each have our own personalized Thanksgiving placemat. As a side note Atley was thankful for America, and his name. Nash was thankful for milk, blue, night-night, and puppies.

Let the trash talk begin...

It is rivalry week. That's right, it is almost time for BYU to take on the Utes from the University of Utah. This football game is more commonly known as the Holy War. In fact, if you type in Holy War on Wikepedia it actually talks about the BYU and U of U rivalry-forget the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, we are talking college football here. This game is played for the highly coveted trophy- "The Beehive Boot." This being the most anticipated game of the season it becomes my privilege and opportunity to make fun of the Ute's as much as possible throughout the course of this week. This year effective trash talk is especially important because we will be dreadfully out numbered by Ute fans at our football watching party on Saturday. However, we will attempt to compensate for our few numbers by being louder and more obnoxious than our Ute friends and neighbors-and if you know anything about University of Utah alums being louder and more obnoxious is going to be a difficult task. Please check back daily this week for a new University of Utah joke. Here are the first jokes of Rivalry Week 2008!

1. Q: What does the average Utah player get on his SAT?

A: Drool.

2. A woman received some bad news one day. It seems that her husband had been in an accident and was brain dead. However, the hospital had perfected a new brain transplant procedure and luckily there were two brains available. A Cougar brain transplant would cost $10,000. A Ute transplant would cost $100,000. Curious, she asked why the Ute brain was so much more expensive. The reply...."The Ute brain has never been used."

3. Q: What do you get when you breed a Utah Football player and a groundhog?

A: Six more weeks of bad football.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pumpkin Cookies...yummm!

1/2 cup Butter
1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Cream first three ingredients. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and add to mixture. Add chocolate chips. Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 35o degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Day in the District

Today the boys and I went into the district. I really wanted to go to the National Archives. Each time we choose to go into town our experience is full of ups and downs! It is actually an emotional roller coaster. Here is a synopsis of the "ups" and "downs" of our day in the district.

Up #1: The tourist season is officially over, until Thanksgiving weekend that is, and we actually found a parking space directly across from the National Archives. This is exciting stuff!

Down #1: While in the National Archives, Nash had a melt down when we were told by the security guards that he could not carry his sippy cup near 250 year old documents. I guess we kind of knew that.

Up #2: We saw them! Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence and we only waited for 30 minutes.

Down #2: Nash refuses to ride in his stroller so I end up carrying a 30 lb. baby, pushing a 50 lb. stroller, and yelling at a 35 lb. four year old to keep up with us before he gets kidnapped or hit by a car.
Up #3: We went to the National Air and Space Museum for the 38th time and ate at McDonald's in the museum for the 38th time. (Yes, Atley is wearing his pilot costume.)

Down #3: We went to the National Air and Space Museum for the 38th time and ate at the McDonald's in the museum for the 38th time.

Up#4: According to the moon scale at the Air and Space Museum I only weigh 20lbs. on the moon.

Down #4: According to the Mars scale at the Air and Space Museum I weigh 80 lbs. on Mars. This is great but 80 lbs. on Mars equates to 240 lbs. on earth. I am hoping that the scale is more than a little off or we will not be going back to the McDonald's at the Air and Space museum for a very long time.

Up #5: A visit to any museum is always educational.

Down #5: A visit to any museum always culminates with a a trip to the gift shop and a temper tantrum for another toy.

Up #6: The fall weather was beautiful and the trees are gorgeous.

Down #6: I picked the day that Obama went to visit Bush at the White House. So, upon returning to my car that I parked so proudly on Constitution Avenue next to the Archives, I realized that Constitution was closed for Obama's motorcade.

Up #7: While sitting in traffic waiting for Obama to make his way to the White House I took a lot of random pictures of some pretty cool stuff, such as crazy D.C. protesters, our country's great flag waving proudly next to the EPA building, and of course Washington Monument behind Washington's Autumn trees.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm officially scared!

My reaction to the results of yesterday's presidential election "looked" very similar to the reaction of Obama supporters in Grant Park last night. I am referring to the individuals with tear streaked faces clinging to their loved ones. However, I wasn't crying tears of joy. My tears were more of the panic and pain variety. I am actually not joking. I am officially scared. Have we reached a time in American history where the majority of the people are choosing evil instead of good? It certainly seems that way. Forgive me for being an alarmist, but we will soon have an executive and legislative branch controlled by individuals who are pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-big government and pro-socialism. Obama will most likely also have the opportunity to appoint three new supreme court judges, which means that the same type of individuals will also be controlling our judicial branch. Why am I feeling like the end is closer than I had been anticipating? I listen to many Obama supporters and they honestly feel that he is going to save them from all of their problems and despair. People are so lost and confused. Everyone is looking for a Savior but no one is turning to Christ, they are turning to the democratic party. Are we going to take four years of this nonsense and then regain our moral compass and elect people who also have some principles? Or are we going to be mislead further by Satan and his minions who currently have the majority of American's thinking that all of this feels good? I don't know the answer to these questions, but I know I am going to take the counsel of our church leaders a little more seriously. I am going to work harder to be physically and spiritually prepared. I am going to pray like crazy that this country is protected from the debauchery of our elected officials. And to quote our new president-elect I am going to "cling to my guns and my religion."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The only thing I hate about my mom coming to visit is the inevitability that she is going to have to leave. When she goes home I feel like I am in a funk for a few days. It takes me awhile to get back on track. I hope she realizes how much we all love her and how thankful we are for all that she does for us. We wish we could convince her to come live in our basement but we haven't been too successful with that argument. I hope those of you who live close to your family don't take that for granted. My childhood was spent very near my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins. It was a great environment in which to grow up. My children will most likely never have that same experience so visits from family and friends from far away are so important to us and so important to the kids. Thanks for coming mom. We miss you and we miss all of our family members who are so far away from us.