Why Not the Cross?

There is not a cross to be found inside a Mormon church. This might seem strange considering that the cross is a worldwide symbol of Christ and we are a Christian church.

We absolutely believe in the resurrected Christ. We know he suffered in Gethsemane for our sins. We know he was crucified. We know he rose again. We know he lives.

So why not the cross?

In the time of Christ's mortal ministry, crucifixion was a very common method of coporal punishment. Like hanging was in early American history. Many a man left the earth nailed to wood in front of his peers in that day. We know of at least two that were hanging on either side of the Savior at the very same time on the very same day.

Although the manner in which he was persecuted and killed was gruesome, it's not what separated him from the other men who were hung up upon the crosses at that time.

What separates Christ is that he rose again.

As a church, we don't focus on the symbol of the cross as a representation of Christ. We see Christ as a literal, living being. And therein lies the miracle, that he lives.

The lack of a cross on or in our building, upon our chests or on our clothing isn't a sign of disrespect. Rather, for us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it is our way of looking toward the hope Christ provides. That we, too, will be resurrected. That we can overcome this world. That we can live with him again.


Oh My Goodness! Oh My Goodness!

You guys may not know this, but I come from a "show business" family. My grandpa was an actor in Hollywood before he settled down for family life. My mom is a gifted singer who's acted in quite a few stage performances. My dad owned and operated a night-club in San Francisco called the On Broadway Theater. My sister did improv in college.

Me? I rode horses. I played sports. I did school. I worked in Human Resources.

I was kind of the odd-man-out.

My mom sang a lot at our church while I was growing up. I would show an interest and she and my grandpa would spend hours working with me for the performance.

Game day would come. Mom and I would step up to sing. She would open her mouth and the sound of angels would fill the chapel.

I would break into a cold sweat, start crying and run. Literally, run out of church while mom finished her (now) solo piece.

I have TERRIBLE stage fright.

So, a few months ago, my sister-in-law mentioned that the local theater would be doing a production of Annie. She suggested her daughter and Lexi might like to try out for the roles of orphans.

When audition time rolled around, we got down to business. We sang "Tomorrow" all day, every day. We sang in the car. In the shower. At the table. Lexi was ready.

And then, the musical director suggested I audition.


Um. Hell no.

She explained that unless the parent of the child were to audition, the child would have to audition on their own. In a big room, under bright lights, in front of complete strangers. ALL. ALONE.

"Plus", she explained, "They could always use bodies for chorus numbers."

I thought about it. And I quickly dismissed the idea. Lexi has no stage fright. Not an ounce. She wouldn't need me.

And then. My friend (talented, gifted composer and pianist) called me on the morning of auditions.

"So, are you going to audition?"

"Um. No."

"Yes you are."


"Yes. Get over here. You're singing."

"Fine. But I'm not getting dressed.  Or brushing my hair. I will brush my teeth though."

"Fine. I'm not putting a bra on."



She played; I sang.

That night we all showed up to auditions. The kids sang. WE sang.

And we got called back.

Now, this simple plot to get our little ones involved in the arts morphed into this all-consuming spectacle.

So, we practiced some more. And we conspired about outfits and tone and parts.

What are they looking for? What are you doing to prepare? Have you heard anything? Did you sleep last night?

We went to call backs. And we sang. And we read lines. We laughed and cheered each other on.

We then waited the longest 24 hours of our lives. We admittedly filled our day with mindless tasks and continual milling while we waited for the official cast list.

Finally. FINALLY! The precious list arrived.

Lexi was cast as a chorus orphan. Yay, Lexi.

I was cast as Grace.

You know, Mr. Warbucks personal assistant. Like, a fairly substantial role.

Exactly. At least they can adapt the role for my non-dancing self.

Totally unexpected.

I'm shocked. I'm scared. I'm nervous. I'm excited.

I've never acted. Or danced. I sure hope I don't let down the entire cast, crew and director.

I think this'll get me over the whole stage fright thing, though.


Guess Who's a Sunbeam?

Turning three as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a big deal! That's when you get to leave behind the babies in nursery and go to Primary with all of the big kids.

Addie earned this right of passage since she turned 3 in December. She has always loathed nursery and would often come with me to class rather than go in with the other babies. She was very excited to be a Sunbeam and "not yell, fight or cry!"

Her teacher said she was great in class on her first day. 

We are so happy for Addie and that she enjoys going to church now!


Christmas at Our House

This post can't be getting old; we've lived in three different houses in the last three years! 

So our house has this weird window thingy in the family room that is good for almost nothing.  Nothing but staging a Christmas Village.

We didn't put the presents under the tree until the 23. We knew that Miss Emily would not be able to resist that fun, crinkly paper all month long.

The Vincent men came over on Christmas Eve. I made the traditional meal of ham, potatoes, and all the fixings. We had a great time hanging out with each other. The kids loved seeing Grandpa Tweet; they run to him, grab his legs and climb up into his lap to lavish him with attention. Of course, they absolutely loved all of the fun presents they got, too.
Christmas Morning: Santa did not disappoint.

He even brought the American Girl doll that Lexi had said she'd go without since they are a rather significant investment.

I'm not sure if that excitement is about the present or the bubble wrap holding the present.

The entire time she was looking at this toy she was making a pig noise.

Grandma and Papa came by to enjoy the pandemonium.

The 'Livia-pig jumpy ball. 

As the kids get older, teaching them the reason behind the Christmas traditions we hold gets easier and easier. At the same time, their interest in the things associated with commercial Christmas also increases.  I'm sure as time wears on, we'll see by our kids' behavior, where we truly kept our focus. 

We love singing Christmas songs and acting out the story of Jesus' birth using our kid-safe manger decorations. The season affords us an excuse to see our friends and family. Traditions are made, kept and molded as our families grow and develop. These photos will help us remember the details of these days as the exact gifts exchanged and meals eaten will be long forgotten.  But what will leave an indelible mark upon us will be the feelings we have as we gather, laugh, share and give each year to celebrate family and our Savior.

We had a very blessed Holiday and hope you all did too.

A Child's Prayer

{The family kneeling in the family room for nightly prayer.}

Allen {the patriarch voice}: Addie, will you say the prayer?

Addie {resolutely}: Yes. I will.

Addie {sincerely}: Dear Heavenly Father, please bless me to not go pee pee in my pull up. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Fashion Lab: Shapewear

There was an article in the January '12 issue of O magazine about common body flaws and how to use fashion to fix them.

Problem: Turkey Neck

Solution: Scarf

Problem: Muffin Top

Solution: High waisted shapewear

Problem: Pooch

Solution: Briefs with panels
Problem: Armpit Fat

Solution: Bra with side slimming panels

Problem: Bat Wings

Solution: Ch'arms

Problem: Mom Butt

Solution: Butt padding

Problem: Chub Rub
Solution: Thigh shapewar

Problem: Cankles

Solution: Nude heels

Problem: Back Fat

Solution: Bra with smoothing panels

Problem: Double Boobs

Solution: Full coverage bra

Which got me to thinking: if I'm the problem, what is the solution?

Problem: Me




What is Addison like at 3 years old? 

She is affectionate and enthusiastic. She is athletic and driven. She is independent. Her imagination is growing by leaps and bounds. 

She is our most sensitive child. Despite her furrowed brow, Addie is very rarely angry. Addie gets hurt. She is still learning to articulate her feelings and crumbles to tears if she is frustrated or upset. 

Addie is trying to make her own way in our family. While Lexi wants to shape and mold her, Addie sometimes rejects these notions and eventually erupts with a "NOOOOO, Lex!". Other times, she willingly goes along with the whims of her older sister.

At present, her relationship with her younger sibling is far more complex. They are together almost endlessly. They are neck and neck in many ways, including the desire to play with the same toys. At the same time. All of the time. And neither Addie or Emily remembers to use words as turf battles ensue. 

In the same token, Addie is a doting older sister. She comforts Emmy. She encourages Emmy. She nurtures her and always wants to include her. 

To say Addie is smart is an understatement. She is savvy. Addie is complex in her humor but still embodies the innocence of the toddler. 

Addie is so easy to be around. She plays contently for hours. She sleeps like a champ. She travels for hours without complaint. She will sit through a movie. She is reverent at church and willingly obedient. 

But, when she isn't agreeable, everyone knows about it. There's no guessing about what she's feeling. When she's tired, she has zero patience. She cries at every suggestion. 

She also manipulates her Dad. Oh man, does she have his number. 

Addie is great at giving hugs. She spontaneously says, "I love you, Mom" several times a day. But she doesn't just give it away. Addie is guarded with her affections until she feels comfortable with a person. Once you've earned her acceptance, she's very generous, but you've got to earn it. 

She's adept at cutting, coloring, and her fine motor skills. She is learning the alphabet, but doesn't have it down pat yet. She is very good at puzzles. She loves pretend play. And sports. She's been riding her scooter for over a year and now rides her bike anywhere she wants to go too. She almost never falls down. She can dribble a soccer ball across the field. She has a heck of an overhand throw. Oh, and she's left handed. 

She's your normal toddler going on preschooler in many ways. She challenges our patience. She talks too loud. She wiggles. She cries at silly things. She's surviving on, like, five different types of food and isn't even considering trying something new. She's stubborn about random and inconsequential things. 

But she's so much more than that to our family. She binds her sisters together and bridges their developmental gaps. She heals the heart with her comfort. She is undeniably sweet and demure behind that scowl. I've had many people I know whisper "she's my favorite" with a wink. Of course, she's no more or less loved than her sisters, but boy does she have charm. Such charm. 

Three years have gone by so fast for us with Addie. It really does feel like she was just this happy little baby yesterday. We just love our Addison so much and feel so blessed to have her in our family. 

Zoo Lights

The Oakland Zoo decorates each Christmas season with millions of lights. This was our first trip to see the attraction. 

Bundled up nice and warm.

The animals were literally sleeping.
Some parts of the zoo were closed off, but the kids play area was open. Allen got caught in the spider's web.
Emmy and Grandpa Bob. Notice the missing shoe. Didn't slow her down one bit.


There was a light show timed to music in the meadow.

Poor wayfaring girl of grief. Someone's getting tired.
Not Addie!

Year In Review

My favorite posts from each month of 2011:

(hint: click on the title)


Like Waterboarding

Only more torturous.

I'm talking about living through the month of December AND sticking to my healthy eating plan. It was a test of willpower like no other.

I think it's akin to taking a recovering alcoholic to the bar every night and expecting him to say no as you offer him a drink over and over and over again.

Plus, I love to cook and bake. The Holidays are a great excuse to make lots of yummy treats that are only available once a year.  I didn't want my family to go without our traditions because of my past mistakes. I did not refrain from making those family favorites. I did not nibble, lick, bite, or taste them in the process though.

But it was so, so, so, so hard. My mouth literally watered at times. My resolve became much more than just an emotional component of my being. It was like a physical entity and I could feel it becoming weak and start to crack as the month wore on. 

I had moments of exhaustion. I was physically drained by the constant battle waging within. The cravings and old habits would creep up in my mind, trying to entice me to give in just the once. I felt mental fatigue as I said No. No. No. No. NOOOOO!

I was engaged in a war. A war with years of habit. A war with real, physical responses to food. A war with myself about how I'd ended up here. The guilt and disgust of a thousand bad choices came bubbling to the surface like a backed up drain.

In all honestly, simply lusting after all of that sugary, savory and oh-so delicious food felt like I'd cheated all month long. Then, to my own surprise, I hit 55 lbs. lost the week of Christmas.

I knew that there would be a few "free" days for me in the month and I planned accordingly. I was true to my commitment and I didn't cheat. I made extremely healthy choices to help balance the holiday fare I knew I would be enjoying at certain times.

The entire experience is almost surreal. Saying no and choosing health over and over and over again was such a struggle for me, I feel like I've almost wiped it from my memory. Like childbirth. So hard. So awful. It nearly rips you in two. But the reward is so great you know you'll do it again.

That may seem dramatic, but for me, it was that intense. I am so extremely satisfied with how I coped with the temptation. I know I am the boss of my mind and body. I am not a pawn to be controlled by my cravings.

This is what losing 55 lbs. looks like for me:

Lexi and me: end of May
Super awesome picture, huh?

Only 20 more to go!

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.