Sunday, November 29, 2009

My new mud room!

I have long lamented the fact that this house doesn't have a mud room...

There seemed to be shoes, school bags, coats, church bags, piano bags, and so many other things without a home...

I finally decided to do something about it (with Ryan's help, of course)...

Each one of us has a cubby with which we can fill with whatever we like. Ryan asked if he actually GOT a cubby, or if his cubby was really another cubby for me... I gave it to him, happily, but so far he hasn't stored a whole lot in it.... we'll see how long it stays HIS.

**Do you have a mud room? (Lucky you!)
**Does your mud room allow you to display photos on top of it? (Lucky me!)

Thanksgiving Traditions

After a wonderful week with family and lots of good food, I thought I'd share a few of our Thanksgiving traditions....

We skipped a longstanding tradition of me waking up at the crack of dawn to hit the Black Friday early morning sales... although Ryan did give his best effort at getting something from Target at five in the morning (I think all of northern Utah County was there looking for the same thing for their boys who love Legos)... I loved sleeping in, and "saving money" (that I spent online later that day... at least the shopping is getting done!

Other traditions thrived this year and we found a couple of new things to do too...

For a couple of years we have loved our Thankful Wall... the only time that we all get to write on the walls and share the things we are thankful for.

Thanksgiving morning is no longer complete without our tradition of eating pie for breakfast. You know how you feel after eating Thanksgiving dinner... stuffed! To make sure we really enjoy our pie we eat it before anything else. Every year I make Ryan a pecan pie.... I don't like it, but it's his favorite. Most years they boil over and don't look great, but Ryan always says they taste good. This year I was so pleased that it turned out so pretty (I gave up my desire to use homemade crust and bought a pre-made frozen deep dish crust) and it didn't boil over... it looked so good... but when we cut into it the inside had not set up. I must have not cooked it long enough... but Ryan and his parents who were visiting from CT said it tasted great (we were so glad to have them here!).

I used to think that my making a pie each year was a labor of love... this year I decided that perhaps it's a labor of love for Ryan to eat my pie each year. The kids and I go for the chocolate pudding pie (at least they get a few mg of calcium for breakfast!).

One of my coworkers gave this to us the day before Thanksgiving... I thought the little poem was so cute. If I ever had it together enough to do Thanksgiving treats for people, I just might copy it. Until then, consider it shared.

Finally, another fun coworker shared her family tradition of making turkeys out of ginger snaps, chocolate frosting, candy corns, Hershey kisses, and a red hot candy.

They were adorable!

I feel like I have so much to be thankful for this year... not the least of which is that I have two wonderful children and another sweet spirit coming to our family. We have been blessed in so many ways these last few months and we feel so grateful for all of the prayers that have been offered on our behalf.

We hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

**Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?
**Did you brave the sales this weekend?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Chance to Remember

Today my sister Megan's son Chance would have turned seven years old... we still miss him so much. He was so full of energy and love for life. He loved cars and trucks and trains and buses and anything that moved. My mom and Mike have a stone that was engraved for them just after Chance died... it says "I saw it first" and the saying comes from a game that Chance used to play with Mike, his favorite buddy. He'd spot a bus zooming by and yell out, "I saw it first!" For Chance's funeral Mike wrote something about how Chance is seeing heaven before us, but at some point we'll join him there. Although I still struggle to understand why Chance was taken at such an early age and in a way that didn't really leave us with many answers, I have no doubts that there is a greater plan and that Heavenly Father has a purpose for him.

Olivia and I went up to the cemetery yesterday for our annual tradition of letting balloons go in his memory... it had just snowed and was freezing cold... and we had to brush off the snow to figure out which was his headstone, but we found it and wished him a happy birthday as we sent balloons off into the cold, crisp sky.

We remember Chance all year, but near his birthday we think a lot about him and wonder what life might be like if he were still around. The hardest thing about having lost Chance is that at this point we feel like we have lost Megan too. She has distanced herself from so many people that love her and won't allow herself to feel any comfort from true gospel principles. The tragedy isn't just that Chance is gone, but that she has allowed his death to prevent her from feeling happiness in life.

These last few months I have been reminded (again) of all the suffering there is in the world. My sweet cousins lost their baby just over a year ago... our friend in Georgia was just diagnosed with leukemia... and another dear friend Solange just lost her husband after he had battled Lou Gehrig's disease for several years. Solange and her husband lost their baby boy a few years ago too... and even as she shared the news of Olivier's death this week, she expressed her joy that her little David is again with his daddy. With all of these friends and family members I have been amazed at the strength and resolve they have shown. Their tragedies are sad and heart-breaking and hard, but they are pressing forward with faith and the conviction that they will again be with their loved ones.

Coleman was asked to sing in Sacrament Meeting today--and he practiced and practiced for so many weeks. (I can't let it go without saying that Ryan practiced right along with him, since he played the piano for him... and Olivia and I practiced as well, because we were the "moral support.") He sang "I Feel My Savior's Love" by Ralph Rodgers and I just love the words:

I feel my Savior’s love
In all the world around me.
His Spirit warms my soul
Through ev’rything I see.

He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior’s love,
The love he freely gives me.

I feel my Savior’s love;
Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray,
My heart is filled with peace.


I feel my Savior’s love
And know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart;
My shepherd he will be.


As I watched him sing (and very, very quietly sang by him as I was kneeling by him because at the last minute he said he was scared) and listened to the words, I was struck by the thought that so many people who experience tragedy are able to come through it stronger because they allow themselves to feel the love of the Savior.

Just after Solange's husband was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, she and I spoke at length about how we often seek for physical healing for ourselves or loved ones... and how Christ can be our healer... but in some instances it is not our physical bodies that He heals, rather He heals our hearts when we are suffering and makes us stronger spiritually and emotionally. Although none of us wish to go through such devastating losses of watching loved ones suffer and die, it is a gift so wonderful that if we allow Him to, He will heal our hearts and souls if we offer them to Him. I hope that each of us can allow Christ to be our shepherd and always feel the love that the Savior has for us. I have a special hope for Megan that she will soften her heart and allow the Savior and her family members in again... so that she can feel the love we have for her.

Happy 7th birthday, little man. We love you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Got glasses?

Another fine parenting moment for Lisa...

When school started they held a vision screening for all of the students... and Liv told us they had her go to a re-do line, but we never got a letter or further explanation or anything stating that her vision was less than perfect. I told her that they would have told us if something was wrong or if she needed glasses, even though she said she had a hard time seeing things far away.

Then Olivia started complaining a month or so ago that she was having a hard time seeing the chalkboard in her classroom. She said she had to keep squinting and that she was getting headaches from squinting so much. I told her to stop squinting.

A few weeks later we attended Olivia's presentation for her 3rd grade music class... she spent a good amount of energy squinting to try to find us in the crowd (and another good amount of energy going back and forth from the many percussion instruments she was playing... we need to sign this girl up to learn to play something new... hopefully I'll post pictures and more on that later).

Ryan and I decided we needed to take her in to get her eyes checked...

...wouldn't you know it? She really did have a hard time seeing things far away and she needed glasses.

She was so excited that she was right.

And that she got to pick out glasses.

She was devastated that it was going to take a whole week for them to be made.

She went back and forth... should she tell her friends? Should she just show up at school and see if anyone noticed? If she told one person would they tell everyone else? She even wrote on our "Thankful Wall" several times about her glasses.

When I got home from work tonight she was so excited to listen to the messages just in case there was a message saying that her glasses were ready. There was one such message.... so right when Ryan walked in the door, the two of them walked right back out the door and went to pick up her glasses. She was so excited to finally have them...

...and I must say, she looks pretty darn cute...

...and has all the personality in the world to pull off wearing glasses.

I love this girl!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Panda Express Wisdom

I had to laugh at the fortune Ryan pulled out of his fortune cookie last night.

"Put up with small annoyances to gain great results."

Earlier in the day I spent the better part of an hour on the phone with the customer support department of a discount online pharmacy where we had previously ordered my medicine.

I placed a refill order on November 3rd and promptly received notification that they had received my order and processed my credit card. I checked with my credit card and made sure that the card was in fact charged.

By November 9th, I had not received any shipping notice (they promise 1-2 days processing time before shipping) and when I logged into the site there was no order history under my customer information.

I called customer support to check on my order.... and had the most frustrating experience of my life (maybe just of the day, it seems I have had a lot of frustrating experiences lately, so it's probably just me).

It went something like this (CS means Customer Support Rep):

CS: Thank you for calling ______ Online Pharmacy, how may I help you?

Lisa: Hi, my name is Lisa Harper. I'm calling to inquire about a refill order that I placed on November 3rd. Would you like the order number that I received in my confirmation email?

CS: Can you please give me your phone number?

Lisa: Sure. It is ___________.

CS: And who am I speaking with?

Lisa: Lisa Harper.

CS: Thank you. And this order was for Lovenox?

Lisa: Yes.

CS: One moment please. (On hold for 2-3 minutes.) Thank you for waiting patiently. Yes, we show that it was shipped in September.

Lisa: Yes, that was my first order. I have received it.

CS: I thought you were calling about the Lovenox?

Lisa: Yes, I'm calling about a refill order for Lovenox that I just placed last week. I received a confirmation email and my credit card has been charged. Would you like the order number?

CS: Um, no, thank you. One moment please. (On hold for 4-5 minutes.) Thank you for waiting patiently. We show that your order was shipped on September 14th.

Lisa: I realize that my first order was shipped then. I am asking about my refill order that I placed on November 3rd. I have an order number, can I please give it to you?

CS: Can you please tell me the date that you ordered that?

Lisa: November 3rd.

CS: One moment please. (On hold for 2-3 minutes.) I'm sorry, we have no record of that order.

Lisa: I have a confirmation email in front of me. It says that my credit card transaction was successful. I have an order number, will that help?

CS: Yes, thank you.

Lisa: The order number is ____________.

CS: I need to verify with my supervisor.

Lisa: Can I please speak to your supervisor?

CS: Let me check with my supervisor. One moment please. (On hold for another 4-5 minutes.)
Thank you for waiting patiently. Who am I speaking to?

Lisa: Lisa Harper.

CS: When I pull up the phone number that you gave me I get that it belongs to Lisa Harper.

Lisa: This is Lisa Harper. That's what I just said my name is.

CS: Oh, yes. The order number you gave me shows the name Davis [something or other].

Lisa: Well, there is obviously a problem with your system. Can I please speak to someone that can fix this?

CS: Um, well, I need to inform my supervisor.

Lisa: Can I please speak to your supervisor?

CS: One moment please. (On hold 4-5 minutes.) Thank you for waiting patiently. I just need to verify that your credit card has been charged.

Lisa: I already told you, I have received the charge on my credit card. I also have a confirmation email from your pharmacy stating that my credit card transaction processed successfully. I want to speak to your supervisor.

CS: My supervisor told me that I need to get your card information and verify that it was charged.

Lisa: No, this is ridiculous. I want to speak to your supervisor.

CS: I'm sorry, he told me I need to check this.

Lisa: I want to speak to him.

CS: I'll have to put you on hold then. One moment please. (On hold 4-5 minutes).

Finally, the supervisor gets on the phone.

Supervisor: Thank you for patiently waiting.

I tell him what has happened including that I had received a confirmation email from them stating that there was a successful credit card transaction.

Sup: ...and
did you receive any type of confirmation email from us?

Lisa: Yes, can I forward it to you?

Sup: I'll need you to forward that.


Supervisor: We need to verify that your card was charged.

I gave him all the necessary information and he promised a call back when they had it all figured out.

Several hours later, he called:

Supervisor: We deeply apologize for the inconvenience. It appears there was a glitch in our system (no, really?!?) when you placed your online order. We have confirmed that your credit card was in fact charged. We are now sending you the four boxes of Lovenox you ordered on November 3rd.


Referring back to Ryan's fortune--Small annoyance? Nope--GRAND annoyance in my book... but the great result--somewhat affordable medication delivered to my door--HAS to be worth it... right?

Most days, I feel like I'm a reasonable person. I even go out of my way to be nice. After that whole exchange, I'm not so sure... if I could have reached through the phone to knock a couple of heads, I would have gladly done it. Thank goodness they are located far, far away. And today, somewhere, that customer service rep is writing her own blog post about the idiot customer she helped yesterday.

Remembering our Veterans

Veteran's Day is one of those holidays that I don't often contemplate too much. This year, I gave it a little extra pause because as a government employee, it was a paid holiday (that's my shallow confession of the day). Yesterday, however, I was running some errands and while I was in the car I listened to a few short snippets from the memorial service at Fort Hood. I was particularly moved by the words of Commanding General III Corps and Fort Hood Gen. George W. Casey Jr.:

"It's a tradition in our special operations unit to go to the Book of Isaiah when eulogizing fallen comrades," said Gen. Casey. " At the funeral, they read, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking 'whom shall I send and who will go for us?' Then I said 'Here I am. Send me.'

"The passage conveys the sentiment that applies to every soldier in our Army. The violence that led to the death and wounding of others was unimaginable and it was a kick in the gut. Their loss left 19 children, spouses, parents and untold loved ones. What happened this past Thursday will impact the Army [forever.] The calm leadership of the command and the overwhelming outpour in support from the community; their responses in the aftermath of the tragedy have been uplifting, if not heroic.

I realize that lately my emotions have been at the surface (blame it on pregnancy), but the tears that came when I heard him quote the book of Isaiah were not just for those lost at Fort Hood, but for the many, many men and women that have stepped up and volunteered to defend the rights and freedoms that we (I) tend to take for granted.

In our family we have a history of military service, but it seems to have been lost with our generation... while I'm grateful that my brothers and husband have not "had" to join the service and I hope and pray that when my son will not have to fight in any wars or battles, I feel like it's that much easier for us to forget the sacrifices that so many people have made and are currently making. I am sure I'm not alone feeling grateful for those that willingly join the Armed Forces, all while feeling huge relief that it's not me or my loved ones making that sacrifice. I hope that I can make more of an effort to recognize and support those that are (and have been) a part of our military.

I loved that our Scouts put up flags along our streets today as a reminder of the heroism, sacrifice, and service that so many have offered for our country.