Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We love having Grandpa here!

We are so lucky to have my Dad staying with us right now. I think it kind of stinks for Dad that he has to work away from home for a while but lucky us that he is here! Spencer and the girls love love love having Grandpa around and it has been wonderful for me too. Dad is working on the University in Salt Lake and since they got rid of the apartment in SL my house is the place to crash. I know it is extra driving (the wrong direction through yucky rush hour traffic no less) but we're so glad to have him here. Spencer has really enjoyed Grandpa being here every night. Tonight Spencer's prayer included special thanks for letting us have Grandpa at our house for a lot of sleepovers.
I'm trying to be a good hostess and make dinner the nights I'm home from work early enough. It is always fun to cook for more than just 2, especially when 1 of that 2 (Spencer) prefers Top Roman to any other dish I can come up with. (I need to remember this desire to cook for more than 2 in a few months when my household will jump from 2 to 7!) On the nights that I am working through dinner time Spencer tries to be a good host and takes Grandpa out for KFC or Charlotte feeds the troops at her house.
The kids love having Grandpa come to their school programs and having him here to show their artwork and homework to. Spencer loves reading to Grandpa at night too. It is no secret that being a Grandpa could easily be one of my dad's favorite things. He loves having the kids around and seems to not even mind being somewhat of a jungle gym. He always has a grandchild in his lap.
And I know that I'll miss just hanging out with him at night. I so look forward to putting Spencer to bed and having my Dad to myself to talk to and watch our nightly episodes of Supernatural.
When I was pregnant with Spencer and when he was a new baby and we lived in North Ogden our place was the crashing place for my dad and brother Stanton when they worked in Utah. I really loved having them stay with us then too. It is a great memory for me that my dad and Stanton were there the night I (finally) went into real labor and had Spencer and that they drove us to the hospital and my dad raced some teenagers down Washington Blvd to get us there! Between my years of living in Evanston and the apartment they had in Salt Lake for a while there has been no need for us to house them while they have jobs down here. I realize the past few weeks that I've missed having my dad as an occasional roommate!
We love having you here Dad!

Scrapbook page from yesterday

I thought I'd give digital scrapbooking a try. This is my first attempt. These are pictures from yesterday when we had a yard full of kids enjoying spring weather. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Elk growing up, by Spencer

I know today has been a day of many posts but I had to add just one more. This is word for word a story Spencer wrote last week. I wish my scanner worked just a tad better so you could see the great handwritten masterpiece in all of its glory but this will have to do. I am not going to 'fix' anything, the spelling and grammar are as his young mind sees fit.
Here you go:

A Elk groing up.
Once ther was a Elk he was only a Week old he coodnt open his eyes
yet. 3 years later he was big and strong. A bear senst him. he was doomd. the
bear grould he ran and the bear ran to the Elk. He made a fast turn a bear huntr
was coming the Elk was watching the huntr get ataked by the bear the elk went to his hurd, the end.

I think my favorite part is that he was "doomd". It also cracks me up that the bear hunter didn't save the day by hunting the bear but by being attacked by the bear himself!
I love Spencer's stories! He is having a great time writing them and drawing pictures to go with him. I think I am going to make a book of them, a literary masterpiece!

And to go with this tale, a picture of the Elk drawn on the driveway by Spencer.

Destrie the poet

My niece Destrie has been having a blast every time she is here making funny poems with my magnetic poetry set on the fridge. She's been wanting pictures of it for so long and finally today we got them taken! Here is her latest work of art and a few other pictures. I have so much fun with Destrie, she is so much fun! It is sometimes crazy to me that she is already 12, its been fun to watch her grow up and it is great to hang out with her and talk about all of her latest interests. She is exactly the kind of fun girl I would have been friends with when I was 12!

Our Plans for July 29th and I've been tagged

I am a fan of free local newspapers. It doesn't matter where we are I really enjoy picking up the local paper from the 'free' bin at the gas station or coffee shop. When we're out of town the news rarely affects me, but gives a feel for the town. Here in Utah one of my favorites has become In Utah This Week (aka IN). The best concert news is found here and I've really become fond of Sarah Nielson, who writes a humorous, slightly cynical article every week that always makes me laugh.
Anyway, on with the story, last week I picked up my Pepsi and In from the gas station and what is there on the second page? Motley Crue will be back in Salt Lake on July 29th! I saw them when they were here a couple of years ago, it was one of the best concerts ever! (I was a little bruised from hurdling seats and very hoarse from screaming and laughing but still, a wonderful experience!)
Also one of my first conversations with John ever was about Motley Crue. One of the first things we found we had in common was our love for this band. Keep in mind that it was the 90s, not the 80s, so it was not oh so common to be a Motley Crue fan~. And so we have planned our pre-wedding party for the 29th of July. John, myself and a couple of my maid of honors and their significant others will be enjoying Tommy, Vince, Nikki and Mic that night. How exciting! Yes I realize that it is only a couple of days before the wedding and maybe I will feel busy 'weddinging'. We're just glad they'll be there the 29th and not August 2nd!

On another note, I have been tagged by Lori so here goes..........

7 Unique things about me

1. I'm a nostalgia junkie. I love stories of 'days gone by' and old pictures and reading old journals (my grandma's were my favorite, but mine rock too!) I love listening to my parents talk about their early memories. I love nostalgia from my own life and family but also I love browsing at antique stores for treasures and wondering where they used to be and wondering about the stories of the people who once had them. And old houses, for the same reason, I Love old houses!

2. I may have to admit that I am a pack rat. I have tried so hard to not be. I can get rid of boxes and boxes of stuff any given day to take to D.I. so I really thought I wasn't suffering from this syndrome. But lately I have come to realize that I am a selective pack rat. There are so many things that I have moved with me again and again through out the years that I need to reconsider before this move. For example, Amy and I bought the items needed to make wooden purses about 4 years ago. Very cute idea, but never got around to doing it. Today I realize that I have kept the stuff (in case mood strikes to make them) for far too long. Since I don't want to make them today I am passing them on! (how liberating)

3. Speaking of stuff......Most of my "stuff" is in the form of books. I love books. Books are quite the addiction in my family. Its in my genes! I have really so very many books, of all sorts. Books are wonderful! Sometimes I go through my books trying to weed out some that I might not read again and pass them on or trade them in. ( is a fun 'bookish' passtime too) I try my hardest but can never part with more than a small handful of books each time. They are threatening to overtake the space in my home and are always a hassle when I move but I love them. I guess as far as addictions go I could do worse.

4. I do my best cleaning when I am upset. When something is bothering me I tend to do all of the deep cleaning in the house. Good thinking time maybe. Things that never get cleaned get tackled then. My goal is to keep things just as spotless when I am blissfully happy!

5. My favorite kind of days are of the gray cloud rainy variety. I need those dark gray skies and rain like most people need the sun to peek out to feel sane. Nothing is better than a thunderstorm! I wish there were more days here like that. Oregon seems like the perfect climate!

6. I still have all the letters John wrote me in high school. They have been some of the very most fun (and some emotional) reading I've done ever!

7. I am a night owl. Mornings are very difficult for me and its a struggle getting up and getting going almost everyday! I can be tired all day and then get my second wind and be up late into the night. Rarely do I get to bed before 1 or 2 a.m.

And there you have it, 7 things about me. Enthralling ay?
So now I tag Mary Lynn, Corie and Charlotte

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Homework solution for Dena

As the semester comes to a close I thought I'd share my solution for homework woes next semester!
Happy almost summer break everyone!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wedding plan update

This picture just may be of my wedding dress, what do you think? I'm still a bit undecided but so far I like this one best.
Today I made wedding planning progress! With Emily's help I finalized the fabric selection for the flower girl and maid of honor dresses. I've skipped over having bridesmaids and I have multiple maid of honors instead. I also have skipped the traditional idea of flower girls and have a mass of little girls in coordinating dresses who will all feel like princesses and have a fantastic time and make great photos!
The wedding still feels so far away that I feel very ahead of schedule with my planning. Then as Teresa was debating what pattern to pick for her dress and we realized that if she were to get pregnant today (she is currently in 'try to conceive' mode) that she would only be 3 months pregnant at the wedding. That was a reality check. In just over 3 months I'll be John's wife! So wonderful!
I still feel ahead of schedule in the planning process (what more could there be? I've secured the location and I've picked fabric for everyone's dresses except my own, I'm practically done!) I think I feel that way because the wedding matters so much less than this relationship and the marriage that comes after the wedding day is long gone. Our forever is much more important than our day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I've been tagged!

*What is his name? John D. Clinger
*How long have you been married? We've been engaged a few weeks and will be married August 2, 2008!!
*How long did you date? well, about 3 years back then and now we've been dating a few months
*Who eats more sweets? I think he does, he can do things I just can't, like start the day with a Mt. Dew
*Who said I love you first? Back then John did, this time around I beat him to it by about a second
*Who is taller? John is by a foot
*Who can sing better? together we give great car concerts, our kids are really impressed anyway!
*Who is smarter? I think John is, he can figure anything out, he can do anything. And he would probably say that I am.
*Who does the laundry? I do mine and he does his (he does live 5 hours away) but when we're married I'm sure we'll share. Or wait, there will be plenty of kids for that! haha
*Who pays the bills? We both pay the bills but he is the main breadwinner for sure
*Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? His bed right now is a twin so I bet he sleeps in the middle and as for me, I sleep on the side of the bed that doesn't have the pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded! (my worst habit right now!) But this too will all change in August!
*Who mows the lawn? right now there is no lawn mowing needing done, especially at his place, but I'm sure when the lawn needs mowed John will probably do it before I even think of it! He's so great!
*Who cooks dinner? A lot of the time when we're together we cook together
*Who drives? we both do, we both have a lot of driving in our lives all the time right now so when we're together I think we each offer to drive so the other person doesn't have to
*Who is more stubborn? I am. John is so laid back and giving
*Who kissed who first? John kissed me first (then and now)
*Who asked who out first? back then I asked him to dance first then he asked me out first, this time again he asked me out first
*Who proposed? He did! I'm so happy!
*Who has more siblings? He does, he has just 1 more than I do but it feels like a lot more because they get together in larger groups than my family does
*Who wears the pants? We both do, we're a team, no power struggles.
And now I need to tag someone- So I tag Mindi!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Gone to live with the Easter Bunny

Spencer is a little sad this week as we have decided that we have somehow become home to too many guinea pigs! So Stripe (some of you know) is the "mean" one and therefore he's been "voted off the island". Poor Stripe. We did name him after a Gremlin (and the meanest Gremlin at that!) after all so what could we expect in the long run?
Still it is hard to see my boy's heart hurting. Even a little sad for me to see Stripe go. We definitely come from a family of 'animal lovers' and that gene didn't skip either of us. So many of my friends don't understand why we'd have a dog let alone our turtle or these rodents. We love them. I love that Spencer can look back on his childhood and have memories of these pets he loved and the things he can learn from them.
Something I'm thankful for in my own childhood is that no matter what new pet we'd come home with my mom wouldn't complain, she'd help us make it a bed, or a box or a cage to live in and help us learn how to take care of it. Something we learned growing up is that when you make a commitment to care for an animal it is a real commitment, you don't just pass it along when you get tired of it or neglect it when it isn't fun to take care of. To my tender hearted little boy I must be passing this along as well, because he is awfully distraught about Stripe leaving when as he put it "We''re the only family he's ever known! What if he doesn't like it somewhere else??"
I knew it would be important for Spencer to be in on this decision making so we've talked a lot about it. I know I may be projecting some of my childhood issues onto him ...and with that here goes my little side note.....When I was very young, maybe 3 or 4, (I know it was that early because we moved to Wyoming when I was 5 and this happens before that) I had a bunny. I think his name was simply 'Bunny'. One day he was gone. My parents told me that he went to live with the Easter Bunny and be his helper. I was a heartbroken little girl but tried to be happy that my bunny would be living with the Easter Bunny. Years later, I was perhaps 8 or 9, we were driving in my mom's van and along side of the road there was my bunny! He was the same golden color, hopping along happily, waiting for us to pick him up (or so I was thinking). But when I excitedly told my parents to pull over because there was my bunny and we needed to take him home they kind of laughed at me. Then continued to inform me that it could not be my bunny because the true fate my little bunny faced was this: We went on vacation. My older sister stayed home. She was supposed to take care of said bunny. She didn't. He died. My parents covered with the tricky "going to live with the Easter Bunny" story. I was very disillusioned. How could they have told me such a thing? We had no funeral!! I was crushed! And it caused me to question all sorts of things, like that crippled baby bird I had saved and tried to love back to health, did he really fly away to his family while I was at school? And later, when my beloved cat Muffy disappeared did my parents really not know where she was? (On this one I have to say that my mom, even recently, swears that if she did know what happened to Muffy she would tell me~~so don't worry Mom, I know you are not keeping her fate from me to spare my feelings...right?)
Back to the subject at hand. Stripe. I knew he had to go and I wanted to be as honest with Spencer about it as possible (no "going to live with the Easter Bunny" here!) So we talked. Stripe has been mean to Rhino (the other male guinea pig) and we're afraid that he's going to kill him. Rhino happens to be Spencer's most beloved tiny creature and so in discussing our problem Spencer has finally agreed that we can find Stripe a new home. His first solution was for us to make another cage (I say us, I mean John) but I vetoed that idea because the thought of a third cage to clean is not in the cards! Yes it would be a third because the girls, Princess Ostrich and No Name, live in the second one. Stripe is now looking for a new place to live, and in the meantime he is in a makeshift cage we put together. So far no one is interested in adopting a mean guinea pig. Shocking isn't it that there is such a small market for such a creature? The only offer I've had is someone who wants to feed him to their pet boa. I turned it down. Hey, I don't want him but after caring for him for the past couple of months I just can't bring myself to feed him to the snake. (I'll note here that even the goldfish that we get to feed to Timely, our turtle, get 'rescued' and put in the fish tank in Spencer's room if Timely isn't quick enough at dinner time that week).
Maybe I'll just give Stripe to nieces Deja & Darien. Then when he 'disappears' it can be in Charlotte's hands to explain how "He went to live with the Easter Bunny". Because as parents sometimes we do what we can to protect those tender little hearts.

(Photo: Dena and Bunny 1980ish)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Intergalactic student exchange program

My niece Darien has a gigantic imagination and has been a foreign exchange student to other planets many a time. Now the really interesting part is that each time she goes to another planet the alien child comes here in her place. And so begins the teaching of the alien child all about living on earth. Yesterday I found out that Spencer went with Darien into the exchange program and this week I am living with Aggiggi from the planet Azuka and Charlotte at her house is hosting Ado from Azuka. These little aliens are cousins from Azuka who wanted to learn all about earth so it was a perfect opportunity for Spencer and Darien to head out to another planet for the week.
These silly aliens even needed educated about what is ok to eat. On their planet evidently they eat "things" not "food" so we had to direct them to the edible options for dinner. Darien, er, I mean Ado, says she much prefers walls and tables for dinner than this strange earth food. Spencer (oops, I mean Aggiggi) informed me last night that eating broccoli can kill alien children and he must avoid it to live. It should be an interesting few days ahead!
Good thing we didn't have anything big and important planned for this week! I can't wait for Spencer to get home to tell me what it was like in outer space!
Have I mentioned that these kids are some of the funnest around? I love seeing what they come up with, they are always having so much fun!

Our weekend

This past weekend was PBR. It was like Disneyland for Spencer! He loved it! He especially loved when bulls he recognized (the 'famous ones') came out. He was so enthralled and happy the whole 4 hours we were there. He wore his boots and cowboy hat all weekend long. No cameras were allowed in so we didn't get any great pictures of the event but I am sure this is still a memory Spencer will keep with excitement. He has been teaching his cousins Darien and Danica all about it since we got home. They have all had turns riding 'White Magic' (a swing on Charlotte's swing set is standing in for White Magic) and becoming excellent bull riders. Bull riding is a play pretend topic that happens a lot with these kids and Spencer is sure that he and Darien will grow up to be famous bull riders. I can actually see that, except for the days she decides to be a princess instead.
It was a quick trip (we headed to Nampa on Saturday morning and came home Sunday night) and John was feeling like he was on his death bed because the cold I've been trying to get over for weeks finally caught him so the drive was a little hard for him but all in all it was a fun weekend! And as always, great concerts ensued in the car! Much of John's family was able to make it and it was so much fun just hanging out with everyone.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Spring is here... for a day!

It is so nice that Spring has decided to show up for a little while! The snow this year has been amazingly long winded. We have been spoiled with plenty of sledding weather but also feeling so ready for nicer, no snow boot kind of weather.
And Today, for at least a day we have bike-riding weather! There is supposed to be more snow this weekend so we're trying to appreciate this little bit of sunshine (I use the term sunshine very loosely as it is actually overcast...just not Snowing!).
Spencer and his friend Bryson have been out riding and racing. Jordan (Bryson's sister) is along for the journey as well but her legs are much shorter so her time is spent riding a few paces behind yelling "Wait for Jordan!".
These kids have so much fun together! When we move something we'll miss is having them just down the street!
But for today, while our street has no snow on it, they can play and laugh and enjoy their bikes and their sweet friendship.

BFF Ring

The BFF ring is here! Here on my finger (where it feels wonderful) as we speak!
There is nothing in this world I can think of that would be better, or more of an answer to my prayers, hopes and dreams (and daydreams!) than spending the rest of forever with John. He is truly where my heart is.
A while back he told me that if I wasn't careful he was going to ask me to marry him 'when he grew up'. I suppose I must have stopped using caution at some point because a couple of weeks ago he did ask me, and I did say YES!
One night a while ago we were laughing and talking and I told him that he really is my best friend. He said I am his too, then he says "I'm going to get you a BFF ring someday!" Which led me to translate "Is BFF ring code for engagement ring?" And him with his sideways glance and a shrug "Maybe"
There were plenty of what he called 'practice proposals' along the way, where he would inform me that he was going to marry me someday, and that I should be his wife. I would always jokingly say "is this it, is this the real proposal?" and he would tell me it was another practice proposal. One of his practice proposals really had me going, there was rummaging in his pocket (I thought for the ring) and the whole nine yards.
So with all the practice getting engaged we did I was a little surprised at myself when the real one came just how emotional I was. It is such an emotional moment when you realize your dreams are coming true and you have a real happily ever after starting with the person you are meant to be with. And so I cried. And how wonderful it is to finally be crying those happy tears! So much time has been wasted on the sad variety of tears. I am savoring the happy ones and these moments that go with them.
In July I will be Mrs. John Clinger. How amazing!
I told him my hand would look great with a ring on it!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Easter 2008

Easter looked a little different for me this year. We had Easter in a hotel in Thermpolis and it was a blast!
I have long been not so much of a fan of Easter, and having Spencer always makes it a fun time anyway, through him I've become more fond of it all the way around. This year, however, was Spencer's dad's year for Easter so he headed to Kemmerer for the weekend and I went on to meet John and head to Thermopolis. It is always hard to have Spencer gone and especially when he's gone for holidays and such (but much harder on me than on him~he had a fun Easter!)
Anyway we went to visit Sammi in the hospital then on to pick up the other kids. We knew we wouldn't be back before Tia's birthday so we decided the weekend would be split between celebrating Easter and giving Tia a 'turning 12' celebration!
I had a cooler packed with hard boiled eggs, dye kits, crayons and vinegar. I was a little worried about coloring eggs in the hotel (worried for the hotel cleaning crew) but it went great with only a few stained hands as casualties (mine included).
Natalie loved her eggs and carried them around with her, which so reminded me of me and my brothers Stanton and Colin when we were little. Our mom would have to make more eggs separate from the ones to decorate if there was to be any egg salad or deviled eggs, for our eggs were much too "loved" to eat! I commented on Natalie caring for them and it gave Tia the great idea to draw faces, write names and come up with personalities for each of her eggs. I'm sure had the eggs not been forgotten in the cooler in the trunk by the end of Sunday they would have provided many days of imaginative play! As it turned out John had hard boiled eggs in one form or another for every meal the next week!
Saturday night was spent playing games (or game) we all played a 10 year round of "Life Twists and Turns" then David and I played another round, this one a 55 year one lasting hours while John helped Tia download music on his laptop and watched cartoons with Natalie. A wonderful relaxing evening!
Sunday morning we woke to find that the Easter Bunny had brought baskets, but some were easier to find than others. I think had Tia not been the Easter Bunny's assistant this year she would have been worried when all the other baskets had been located and hers was still missing. That sneaky bunny put hers in the shower!
Sunday we had to check out of the hotel at 11 and spent the rest of the day "adventuring". It was wonderful. We went hiking and on a picnic and to the park. We talked and laughed and took some great pictures (that are on John's computer and I need copies of!). It was a wonderful peaceful day. At one point I asked the kids why we have Easter and it was a very touching experience to have Tia explain that its not supposed to be for the Easter Bunny but for Jesus. That was exactly the point I was going to make by asking the question in the first place. Hearing it in her words was beautiful. The day was so much fun! The only thing that could have made it better would be to have Spencer and Sammi with us. That's the plan for next time!
5 p.m. came much too early and it was time for the kids to go back to their mom's and for us to get on the road. We didn't rush to get home (as is proved by the fact that we didn't get to Star Valley until the wee hours of morning). We had a nice relaxing drive home. Our drives are full of great conversation and great concerts that we put on! I am constantly struck by how lucky I am, how blessed that I am to have John in my life again. He truly is my best friend.