Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas is all about family

I've been remiss in not posting about Christmas at our house.  It was so much fun.  We loved having all of our children home and enjoying talking to them and watching them talk to and play with each other.  That is a mother's joy, to see her children loving each other.  I also got to have a long conversation with my mother and my only living sibling, my brother Larry.  That was deeply satisfying, to connect with my family of origin (sounds so cold, but how do you say it?), too.  I wish we all lived closer.  I promised my mother that the next day I would post pictures and I'm sorry I didn't, Mom. I couldn't choose just a few and wanted to put up a slideshow, but I never figured out how to do that.  So, I'll just put up as many as I can so you can see the fun we had.  I took a lot of pictures and if I ever figure it out I'll send a slideshow, too.

Christmas Eve Josh grilled steaks for us-to order- and they were delicious.  Unfortunately, some of us including me had been sick all day.  I only ate a few bites of steak and of some lovely garlic mashed potatoes that Jen made.  But, don't worry, we saved the left-over steaks in labeled zip lock bags and I had mine two days later.  It was still delicious! Everyone was able to be at the Christmas Eve dinner, except Courtney, who was with her parents and family.  She joined us later and we had the sibling present exchange.  That was a lot of fun, as the kids saw what their siblings chose for them.  
Chelsea, finding out what her brother and sister in law thought she deserved!
Ooh, they like! Oh, and Chelsea is a ham.
Emma was feeling terrible at this point.

I also gave Bill something I typed up and printed on nice paper and framed with a frame that was already hanging in our house. Talk about recycling! Well, I just didn't feel well enough to go to the store.
He'd done something similar for me a few years back and I finally got around to sitting down to do it for him.  It's a lovely idea and I really loved the one Bill did for me.  Bill was getting sick that evening so I don't know that he appreciated it all that much then, but he did later.
The next morning I woke up feeling perfectly well, so I quickly finished wrapping presents and stuffing stockings (yes, I still do that for the girls) and we started unwrapping presents.  We had the kids go up the back stairs from youngest to oldest and come down the front stairs where we took our traditional Christmas morning on the stairs picture. Sadly Matt and Mir had not arrived yet so they weren't in the picture.  One year we'll get everyone in there! By then, Josh was feeling sick but he was heroic and came over Christmas morning anyway, although he ended up falling asleep on a couch before it was over.

Christmas Morning 2010

Matt's family, although Isaac is a little confused about which holiday we're celebrating.

I have a lot more pictures that I want to post from Christmas day, but I'll have to do that later. I hope all of you had wonderful Christmases, too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

OOh, pretty lights!

Emma's fort with lights.  Hers were the only ones up for weeks.

I think I'm finally in the "Christmas mood". 

1. All my little chicks have come home to roost for the holidays.  Hayley came in Wednesday night and Drew and Courtney came in Sunday night.  Has anyone else noticed that flights are ALWAYS late nowadays?

Courtney and Drew and Emma at the Greenery

2. Last Monday (a week ago) we finally got our tree up with the help of all of our kids and kids-in-laws.
2. I think I'm actually done with all the shopping, not the food part, but I'm close on that, too.
3. Most of the gifts are wrapped and all the girls have been a great help with that.
4. Bill, with Emma's help, put Christmas lights up on our house!

Our house with lights

5. And yesterday for FHE we all went caroling to our neighbors taking them homemade fudge, divinity and pecan pralines, which I made yesterday afternoon. We also gave everyone a copy of Drew's new CD, "What a Wonderful World".

It's officially Christmas! Now, I can't wait for everyone to open their presents!

Oh, PS: I didn't have to have the epidural after all. My back is much, much better. Thanks everyone for your concern.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a pain in the ...back

Thursday, a week ago, I went to my cardio/core/sculpting class at EP Fitness.  I'd worked with this teacher once before and I really liked her energy and her ab exercizes.  She's twentyish, hispanic (what are the odds:), and dresses like..hip hop? I don't really know.  This picture is something like, only she wears a cap instead of a scarf and her pants have all these black strings hanging off them and there are metal studs around the waistband. Anyway, she obviously doesn't have back problems and that's where my back pain comes in.

It wasn't exactly like this...
We were in the cardio/core portion and using a ball to make figure eights in front of us as we twisted and turned our waist. I twisted right and bent slightly over as I did so.  I felt something in my back give immediately and stopped.  I tried my usual back exercizes and kept going as best I could for the rest of the session and then went to a yoga class thinking that might help stretch it out. All that day I kept doing my McKenzie back exercizes and my back felt better the next morning.

Unfortunately I had to referee at a two day swim meet 45 minutes away.  The swim meet wouldn't have helped but the hour and a half drive each day was the worst part.
Michelle did well and I got to see her on the winner's blocks each time she swam.

I've been in pain for all of this week.  Monday I am scheduled for an epidural steroid injection.  Hopefully that will take care of it.  Meanwhile, I'm a pain in the back, officially.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nutty Putty Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving we were short six people: two of our sons and their wives and two grandkids.  But, we gained four through a happy circumstance.  Matt's wife's sister is friends with two young men who are bicycling the width of the country from Huntington Beach, Virginia to San Diego, California, with two other friends.  It just so happened that their path led through El Paso and that they would arrive the afternoon before Thanksgiving.  We happily offered them rooms and Thanksgiving dinner with us.
I knew they would be interesting to talk to, but they surpassed my expectations.  Dan, Eric, Jon and Oliver are four of the nicest young men you could ever wish to meet.  They are all BYU students, but they have taken off a semester to do this ride for the adventure and for charity.  Dan's sister, Emily, was widowed a year ago yesterday when her husband was stuck upside down while exploring a cave and died.  She was left with a 13 month old daughter and pregnant.  Dan wanted to help his sister so that she could go back to school, but she told him people had already been so generous in helping her that she hoped he could help other widows with young children. So, they signed up with the Liz Logelin Foundation and they have raised over $7000 already.

They are called the Nutty Putty Cyclists because it was the Nutty Putty cave where Dan's brother-in-law died. They have a website at If you click on this link and then click on the word blog you can read about their adventures. There is also a map showing their trail and you can even donate to their worthy cause.

These guys had ridden across empty West Texas before arriving in El Paso and had ridden 110 miles the day before.  Yet, they got up early and ran in a Thanksgiving 5K race here in El Paso and one of them came in 2nd in their age group.  After they came home from that they went with Bill and Chelsea and helped clean up after the annual Thanksgiving parade which is what our stake does every year.

The next morning, since they were only going to Las Cruces and spend the night with some people there, they left at 11am and Bill and I rode with them.  We rode a little over 9 miles with them when Bill got a flat tire.  They fixed it for us, they're quite expert by this time, and although we had considered riding all the way to Cruces, I had talked to our kids and everyone had gathered again for left-overs so we decided to turn back and spend time with the family. 

Later we took Emma to see "Tangled" at the movies.

I hated to see those boys go.  They were so incredibly nice and helpful and polite and thoughtful.  It was a pleasure to be with them and I look forward to reading about their further adventures.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's here!

The day we've been waiting for has finally arrived!
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD is available NOW at iTunes, AmazonMP3 & at our Official Online Store.  Or buy a physical copy of the EP at  You can click on this link and it will take you there.  I've already downloaded the album and have been listening to it non-stop.  You won't be disappointed!  The voices of each of the three young men are beautiful and the harmonies they arranged are heavenly.  The three are such great musicians alone.  Together they are unbelievable!

DEBUT ALBUM available NOW worldwide! (click on album cover BELOW for OFFICIAL ONLINE STORE!)

Release Date:U.S. Release: November 9, 2010
Label:Bandhouse Music Group


Debut project from the classical crossover/pop trio: Drew Boushka, Daniel Fritch and David Beck.

.Track Listings


2 ADESTE FIDELES (O Come All Ye Faithful)


4 O HOLY NIGHT (Cantique de Noël)



I can't decide which is my favorite.  But, "Worth" and "Dream On" are in my top three. That's Drew's voice at the beginning of "Worth" in case you can't tell.
Now, this what's really important.  Their next step, career-wise is getting on other labels. As their manager/producer put it: "I have been talking to several folks about licensing our next record (which will be the "Wonderful World" CD expanded to a full CD, but without the Christmas songs) with foreign labels. This is the next step we will be taking career-wise, to start working with labels outside the U.S. They will actually be promoting and marketing AFTER DAYBREAK in foreign territories, and setting up opportunities for career growth, radio and TV opportunities, and eventually, touring. Our sales numbers are VERY important for these labels...another reason why we MUST have a great first week. "
So, please, don't wait!  Buy the album for Christmas presents-because it's only six songs it's very inexpensive, but is an impressive gift.  The CD costs $8.50 and the download at iTunes is $5.94. Help us get the sales numbers for this first week up to numbers that will convince other labels to pick it up.  Thanks!
And another reason this is a special day is that our youngest child is 11 today!  Happy birthday litttle caboose. You're growing up too fast!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why is (techno-)life so hard? Or, here are the halloween pictures, finally.

I couldn't find the cord to connect my camera to the computer to download the pictures from Halloween.  I took my office apart (and there it remains) looking for it, but still couldn't find it.  I finally stop at Radio Shack and buy a universal cord, now my camera has died and it must have power to download the pictures.  I can't find the battery charger that plugs into the wall.  Again, tear apart the office.  No charger.  I remember I took it on the last trip and it's in a little zippered bag somewhere, but can't find that.  Meanwhile, Emme shows me the little slot in the front of my laptop where I can put the SD memory card and get the pictures off my camera, so I finally am able to download the pictures.  This morning I find the bag with the battery charger.  Hurray!  Wait...where is the battery in the twice-torn apart office?  I-don't-know! Uggggggg!!!!!
Gardner with the Red Queen

Anyway, here are the pictures:
Garden Sprite

Watering the garden

Beautiful Garden


Ketchup eating a hot dog

Do you get it?  Michelle was the garden sprite, Chelsea the garden and Emma the gardner, who later changed into a ketchup costume.  Now, the precious grandchildren:

Cheerleader with her Doctor Daddy


Captain Moroni


Monday, October 25, 2010

Crazy Days

Because it's Homecoming Week at the High School everyday is dress up day for the high-school age girls. The Senior girl dressed like someone from the 80's. She borrowed clothes from the mother of a friend and jewelry and make-up from me. The freshman was supposed to dress from the 50's but she was too tired last night to look for the poodle skirt we have in the dress-up box. Too bad. She would have made a cute teeny-bopper.

At the elementary school where our ten year old goes to school, it was crazy hair day.  Last year this is what we did with a water bottle and hair bands:

But, today, the ten year old remembered about Crazy Hair Day just as we were leaving the house. Great. She grabbed several hair bands and an empty water bottle and we hurried to school. We carpool and although it wouldn't bother me too much to be late, I can't make someone else's child late. So, once we dropped him off we turned our attention to her hair. It's a lot shorter than it was a year ago and I didn't think the bottle trick would work again. Plus, I found out she didn't bring a brush or any hairspray, both of which we needed. I tried to think of what I had in the car that we could use. Duct tape?...Nah, that might be painful. Hmm. I have that phone that I need to take back to Radio Shack because it doesn't work. Maybe...yeah!

 The day was saved!  Panic is the mother of ...well, something.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What a Wonderful World by After Daybreak (Official Music Video)

I'm a proud mom, I know; but this is something so special. The story is moving and the music is heavenly. Drew, you and the group have done something wonderful. I can't wait until the CD comes out in a month. I hope it takes off like a rocket!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hello, again!

I don't usually respond to challenges to answer questions about myself , but I couldn't turn down my favorite Canadian daughter-in-law.

1. What's your favourite day of the week and why?
Sunday would be my favorite day. Since we make it a practice not to work on the Sabbath I have a legitimate reason to not do any housework and laundry.  And then a lot of our family come over after church for dinner and discussions and fun!  Today Matt and Mir made supper (so delicious!) and Emme made an incredible cake (Wow!).  It was delicious and we all had such fun just talking and joking around.  Hayley surprised everyone by coming into town early so that made it extra special.  After all the dishes were done and the kitchen clean, Matt and Mir left to put their kids to bed.  Mike and Emme stayed and after scripture study we played a game.  It was a great day!

2. Recount an embarassing moment.
There are SOOOO many to choose from.  My favorite one takes too long to tell.  So, I'll just choose the three times I've asked someone when their baby was due only to have them tell me they weren't pregnant.  I don't ask now even if they are in labor.

3. What was your favourite toy or game as a child?
My parents, in fact my whole family, roller skated when I was a child.  We went to a skating rink every week and I loved that. I started skating when I was eighteen months old and my mother said I could skate better than I could walk.  But I remember when I was really little that I liked to sit on my dad's skate at home and roll around in the house.  I was so little and his skate seemed so big and it was like a little scooter.

4. What does your name mean?
Well, Courtney, Elaine is Greek and a variant of Helen, or French and it means "light" or "shining light". And, though you didn't ask, I've always liked my name a lot. Thanks, Mom.

5. If you could have any occupation (and you had no limitations of obtaining that occupation), what would it be?
Hmmm.  This one took a while.  I think when I was younger my secret dream was to be a country/western back-up singer.  I would love to speak multiple languages fluently and be a translator.  Anything that took me traveling around the world.  But, honestly, I'm just happy doing what I'm doing: nurturing, loving my family and trying to make our home a beautiful, clean, safe, loving environment for the most important people in the world.  I feel lucky.

6. What is your guilty pleasure?

Candy, specifically: chocolate caramel pecan candy, pralines, divinity, and fudge.  I don't get to satisfy that pleasure too often anymore. I've been dreaming of making pecan pralines.  Maybe Christmas.

7. If you could change anything about your appearance what would it be?
I would love to change my teeth and hope to do so in the next year or so.

8. If you could raise awareness about one topic (education, poverty, AIDS, etc.) what would it be?
Child abuse.  Every child is so innocent and vunerable and deserve all the love and tenderness their parents can give them.  It breaks my heart to see children treated unkindly or to hear of abuse in any form.  Parents need more support and training.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Hike in the Franklin Mountains

This morning I awoke at 7am to the sound of Emma crying on my bed,
"We missed it! They already left!"
 I would have loved to sleep longer. I really would have, but it meant so much to her.
"No, we haven't missed it. We're supposed to meet at the pool at 7:30. Quick! Go get ready!"

We made it in plenty of time to join the rest of her summer swim team for a hike up the mountain at Mt. Franklin State Park. We covered ourselves in sunscreen. Emma put red Gatorade in a camelback. I put water and food enough for a week in my backpack plus a first aid kit in my backpack and we were off.

It was hot and it was hard. There were huge rocks on the trail, whether intentionally or from a rock slide, I don't know, but it made for very difficult walking. Had it just been dirt it wouldn't have been nearly as hard. I twisted my ankle a couple of times and Emma slid over a cactus and got spines in her behind, but other than that we were good. Emma saw a couple of large lizards and some scary looking bugs.  I was just glad we didn't see a tarantula.  On the way up the group stopped a couple of times for water breaks and once we reached the top we stayed and ate our lunches.

The way back down was quick but treacherous. I realized part way down how lucky I was to be there. If I hadn't lost all this weight (58 pounds at this point) and gotten back into shape I could never have made it. I would have had to let Emma go by herself. I'm so glad I could do this with her, that I didn't have to tell her as I have so many times,
"Sorry, Em, you got the "old mom".
That made me a lot happier about the whole hike!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Feminism and Motherhood: Can they peacefully co-exist?

Live and let live!
Respect and RELISH differences!
That is my philosophy.

I re-read Julie B. Beck's talk entitled "Mothers Who Know". It made me feel guilty, but I recognize truth when I read it. My darling daughter-in-law, Emme, wrote an excellent post about the topic of motherhood and feminism and how distored the world's view has become on the subject with reference to this talk. Then there were some excellent comments and as I wrote my comment it turned out to be a page and a half long. I realized that I just needed to make a post of my own.

My son, Mike, always says that I am a feminist. I am to some extent, I guess. Maybe I need to look that up and find the true definition. Okay I did and if you want to know more here is the link. I do, apparently qualify as a feminist of the Third Wave. But, this is my version of feminism: I believe that women are equal- to each other and to men. I hate chauvinistic, misogynistic remarks and jokes. I hate when my own daughters use terms for parts of their body that were coined by men who consciously or unconsciously (it doesn't matter which)intended those terms to be demeaning to women. Example: "boobs". A "boob" is a stupid, witless person. Hello?
And all other word substitutes for breasts and buttocks imply that we are simply interchangeable body parts for the use and exploitation of men. If believing that we are more than breasts and vaginas makes me a feminist then I'm a card carrying feminist. And, I feel sorry for women who don't get that!

But, if believing that I have to work outside the home to gain respect because rearing children isn't as worthy and valued an occupation as any work-for-pay job is what defines a feminist-I'm out. I once prayed to Heavenly Father telling him I could do so much more (in church and in the community) if I weren't always pregnant or nursing babies. His reply was, "You could do more, but you couldn't do better." I understood. But not everyone is called to have nine children. I understand that, too. It's an individual decision made between three people: the woman, her husband, and Heavenly Father. If you leave Him out of the decision you could be making the mistake of a lifetime.

But, when you make the decision to have children you should take full responsibility for them and not hand them off to some "care-giver" who, quite frankly, doesn't give a damn. I've worked in a day care. I have been a paid babysitter and I have talked to other women who have and, please, believe me, no one-NO ONE- will love your child or really care for them as you do, or will. It's just a job, and an under-paid job at that. They might not abuse them, and hopefully they will be nice to them, but they WILL NOT love them. And, it takes love to raise a child-24 hour a day, seven days of the week love. And, no one will give them that except you. I once heard a woman say, "I brought them into this world, I figure it's my job to show them around." Pretty simple, don't you think? Julie B. Beck said it in a more refined way: "Mothers who know are always teachers. Since they are not babysitters, they are never off duty."

So, these are just my opinions and feelings. Does that mean I look down on or condemn a working mother? No. I don't know all her circumstances. I can't read her heart. I'm not living her life. That's why I say, "Live and let live." Most people are doing the best they can with what they've got. Everyone is at a different place dealing with things we'll never know about. I like to think the Golden Rule applies to our thoughts as well as our actions. "Think about others the way you would like to have others think about you." I hope everyone is cutting me some slack, so that's what I try to do, too.

Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Emme, for her post “Slightly Controversial” and to my daughters-in-law, Miriam and Courtney, for their comments. That was a very thought provoking post, Emme.

And, to my own wonderful mother, “You go, girl.” That was a great comment! And, thanks, for being there for me and my brothers. It sure went fast, didn’t it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Engine, engine number nine

This post is all about our ninth child. Our adorable caboose (to continue the train metaphor). She is as the song says "a strange mixture of a woman and a child". She is only ten, but sometimes acts much older.

She enjoys dressing up, doing make-overs, and playing with the boys in the neighborhood, especially our next door neighbor (and best friend since she was three), Reed, whom she used to call "Weed".

She has turtles and catches tadpoles and bugs for them, wants a rabbit again badly, but Mom doesn't, and loves our dogs, Jack and Pearl. She loves having a cell phone, handed down from our short-time foreign exchange student. She will happily make me a gourmet salad at the drop of a hat (or plea from me)and enjoys using her play baking oven. She has loved pink, pink, pink all her life, but is beginning to like green and torquoise,too. She likes to climb trees and goes everywhere barefooted. But, she loves to cuddle with Mommy and DaDa still, and that's my favorite part.

Being the youngest has some perks, but also some challenges. Before she was born her oldest brother, 24 years her senior, told me, "You know, she will never really know me." It turns out that he is her favorite and closest sibling.

She loves being an aunt to her three nephews and one neice. And they love her! They come in our door shouting her name.

I wish she could stay this age forever. But, she will grow up and I just hope she can be one of our easier teenagers. We are, after all, getting older. The other day she asked me how old I would be when she graduated from high school. "Sixty-two", I tell her. "Why?", I ask.

"I just wondered if you would be still be alive to do that thing where you made fun of Hayley (the Senior Salute) for me."

"Yes, I'll still be alive when you graduate from high school and when you graduate from college. I'll still be alive when you get married and when you have children. Remember, my mother is almost 87, thirty years older than me, and she's still alive. I'll probably live a long time, too. I may not be alive when your children get married, but I'll watch from heaven, okay?" "Okay."

I just hope I don't look like this at her graduation.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Quick (not) Summary of May

I really fell off the blogging wagon. In fact, I was derailed after the wedding/makeover of our house/reception. Whew! So, now for a quick (and probably incomplete) rundown of our lives during May. May 6th-8th: Bill, Hayley and I load up our van and drive to Utah. We spend a few hours in a hotel in Cortez, Co and arrive in Provo on Friday around 11am. Bill and Hayley make it just in time to the appointment (made on the way up) with her college advisor. He is a great help and valuable source of information about classes, teachers and everything Hayley needed to know to get registered for school. Bill "the Bulldog" Boushka goes with Hayley to the financial aid office and convinces them to re-instate the scholarship she had been offered even though it was well past the deadline. Hurray! We all look at apartments around campus to get an idea of what they look like and how much it will cost. Hayley spends the rest of the trip on my laptop reading reviews of teachers and classes and getting registered for all of her classes. There are waiting lists for pre-nursing classes, but she manages to get most every class she needed by the following week. Yea! Friday night we attend Courtney's graduation from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Afterwards we go to a Mexican food place (I know, Mexican food in Utah, but it's very good!)and stuff ourselves. The next morning the three of us go to the gym in our hotel and try to make up for the night before and the upcoming night. Courtesy of Courtney's grandmother we all eat at The Roof, an incredibly good restaurant in downtown Salt Lake. Bill and I go to the Salt Lake Temple to do a session afterwards while Hayley goes to a movie with Drew and Courtney. The next morning I catch a shuttle to the airport while Bill and Hayley head for home in the van. May 9th: I fly to Dallas where I catch the shuttle to Tyler, Texas where my mother lives. It's Mother's Day and I've planned to surprise her. The shuttle drops me off in front of the house next door and I sneak in front of Mom and Jack's house and call from my cell phone. "Mom", I tell her, I know you told me not to send you anything, but I couldn't resist. Take a look on your front porch." "Okay", she replies, "I'll look right now." And, with cell phone in hand she opens her front door expecting to see flowers. She is looking down telling me, "There's nothing here, Elaine." "Are you sure?" "Yes, there's nothing here." "Why don't you look up, Mom?" Then she sees me standing there and can't believe her eyes. It was a great surprise! I love surprises and love it when I can pull one off. Mom and Aunt Lou Mom and her twin sister, Reta May 11th: Mom and I drive to Bowie, Texas to visit my Aunt Louise who is 90 years old and recently moved to an assisted living residence. She is as beautiful as ever and it was wonderful to visit with her and see that she is happy and doing well. She had lived in her home for around 50 years and I wondered how she would make the transition, but she is very resilient. May 13th I flew home. May 15th: Hayley's Senior Prom. She has the dress, the shoes, the jewelry, oh yeah and the boy, but wait. Morning of he calls and cancels. They were just friends and he now finds that he is getting back together with his ex-girlfriend and has to take her to prom. What? Hearing of her plight, Hayley's ex-ex boyfriend calls and insists on taking her. Gallant? Almost. They get into a big fight at the prom and ruin the night totally. Well, I tell her, you'll think it's funny someday. At least you have a memorable prom. May 22nd: Michelle swam in her first swim meet in over a year and I was the referee. It was great to watch her. It was also great to feel good and to feel tired but not totally wiped out by several hours on deck. May 24th-May 28th: The last week of school for the girls. Yea! It was a hard week. It seemed as if there were some end-of-year school activity everyday, sometimes more than one. It was hectic, but some good memories. Chelsea 'graduated' from eighth grade and besides being on the A honor roll all year, she was given the "Einstein award" for thinking outside of the box. Her teacher said he pities her high school teachers next year because she will keep them on their toes and he envies them because they will enjoy a lot of intellectual discussions and challenges. That night was also Senior Salute at our church. It was the 16th annual Salute. The seniors are honored by their friends and family and 'roasted' by their parents. They march in dressed in their graduation gowns to the processional music, there is a photo montage of them from baby hood to adulthood. And it is a custom for the parents to choose a funny hat that has some bearing to their personality or talents and tell stories from their life while hanging small object from the hat. For instance we hung a picture of a life preserver from Hayley's hat (a princess hat) and told about the time she saved Michelle from drowning. Then we gave her a scepter and said that she never let Michele forget it and forced her to do things for her because "I saved your life." As I was preparing this I found out that in middle school Hayley made Michelle call a boy and break up with him because no one could tell their voices apart on the phone. A couple of months ago Hayley tried vainly to force Michelle to go into the store where she (Hayley) worked and quit her job for her. Thursday morning was an 8th grade breakfast at one of the student's house and I helped with the preparations for that. Friday night was a dinner dance for the eighth grade. Friday afternoon we gave an end of the year school party for the fourth grade at St. Mark's hosted by Emma at our house. It was a lot of trouble, but a lot of fun, too. We had two jumping balloons, one a slide with water and a small pool at the bottom, plus they swam, played in Emma's fort, had a water pistol war and ate lots of junk food. Thursday, May 27th: Michelle models for a friend at school who designs clothes. It's at a tech high school. Bill and I get to watch and it is cool! Michelle is 5'8", 125 lbs and gorgeous. She seems to be a natural and have the "it" factor. Who knows? May 28-29: Mike and Emme invited us to join them in driving to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend the temple. We left Friday evening, staying in a hotel in Albuquerque and attended the temple in the morning, ate at a good cafe, visited an impressionist art exhibit in the Albuquerque Museum and drove home. It was a very nice little trip. Now we are all caught up, but I guess I lied about it being "quick".