Throwback cont: Part 3: Service is My Love Language

So I wasn’t convinced at first. And I was even LESS convinced to ADMIT I was convinced. But I confess that I was slowly changing my mind. I was so guarded, to be sure. Very precautious. In fact, I probably would have never even entertained the thought had it not been for the feeling that I should.

I don’t know what compelled me to ask him for help one night. I was working on a project for wedding planning, and normally would have done it all myself (which usually turns out to be a disaster because I’m only one person. Bad habit, I guess. I’m just used to having to take care of my own projects). I guess because I knew he’d ask to come over anyway, and I didn’t want to say I was busy (something else I wasn’t ready to admit to myself, yet), I took the initiative and actually asked him. He said “sure, I’d love to,” and even went that extra mile to bring me a table! I’m telling you, I bossed him around all night (in a nice, “I really need you to do this for me” sort of way) and he didn’t once get mad, didn’t once say “do it yourself,” didn’t once say “this is your project, YOU do it.” I’d ask him to do something, and as simple as that, he’d do it. And let me just say, that is a BIG deal. I’ve never known that kind of attitude. I don’t mean to bash my ex, but I need you to understand that EVERY time I had a project going on, I did it myself. I set up my own bridal fairs, I decorated the weddings by myself. I went to the store at 2 am because I needed something I didn’t have, by myself. If I had a project, I did it alone. And if I needed help, He’d say “this is your project, you do it.” And I was okay with that at the time, because it’s all I knew. I’m sort of an independent person. But for Ranger to just … help… Yeah, it got to me. I kept having flashes of Wesley saying “As you wish,” and it finally made sense!

“And even more amazing was the day
she realized she truly loved him back.”
That day was the day.

Throwback cont: Part 2: Who Needs Sleep?

Here’s part two in the story of how Ranger and I met.


Well, that was the end of taking pity on him, he didn’t need it any more. After Wednesday’s institute, he started texting me. By Friday, he had convinced me to let him come over after work (which seemed much longer until I looked at the calender and realized that was only 2 days…). I told him he could come over, but we had to stay outside, because B was at a sleepover. No Chaperones. You know, I had to play it safe, I’d barely met this guy a few days ago! Everyone I’d asked about him had said that he was super quiet. And I could tell he was quiet, but that didn’t stop us. We didn’t have a single awkward moment. We talked until 3. And I had a meeting at 6 in the morning! I honestly cant remember what we talked about. But I do remember it was cold. He put his arm around me to warm me up, it was sweet. Strategic, but sweet.

I still wasn’t sure what I thought about him, though. I was impressed, I liked his sincerity, but I was still far from being convinced. I actually have a big list of why NOT to like him written in my journal (Remind me NEVER to let him see that…), and how he would make a great friend, but I wasn’t so sure of a relationship. I could see so many flaws in that idea. For fear of leading him on, I’d tell him how I felt on a regular basis. And he was okay with it. He was okay with the fact that he liked me more, and it didn’t scare him away, or make him try harder (than normal…), he’d just understand, and appreciate what he could get. One day he asked how I felt, and I said I respected him. Which was true. I know it wasn’t the answer he was was looking to hear, but it was the truth, and I’m not one to beat around the bush. The funny thing is, I  could tell he liked that answer more than if I’d said anything else. He sort of smiled his natural, pensive smile, and said that respect was a good place to be at. And it  was true. Respect was a good place to be be continued…

Throwback: So, About That Boy

Since I’m busy unpacking, I figured I’d give a throwback post and re-publish the story of how Ranger and I met. It’s funny to re-read this because now that I know Ranger and have known him for 5 years, first impressions are often misleading. But it’s funny, anyway. This post was written 4 years ago, today. Isn’t that crazy?
Well, man, actually, but “boy” sounds better in the title.Everyone’s been asking me who this man is in my life. And, don’t get me wrong, I could talk about him all day, I just don’t. See, first of all, I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up. Especially not mine. Secondly, the voice in my head says “be careful, be careful, be careful” and I am really already sick of hearing it from others. I mean, I realize that they just want what’s best for me, but it makes me feel like I cant make my own decision. Which is reason # 3. I have asked other people what he’s like, you know, get that broader perspective, but I wanted time to like him without others knowing so that I could get my own opinion before people were excited for me or scared for me, or encouraging or discouraging.  Anyway, for those 3 reasons, I’ve sort of been mum on the whole “Ranger” subject. And now the questions are pouring in, and I never have time to talk, and … well, I’m a girl, I like to talk. Especially about guys! :c)For Starters: How we met…

I had been going to Family Home Evenings with the singles ward for about a month. I felt like it was time to get out of my comfort zone and make some “single friends.” Well, the feeling was more like “good things are going to happen, soon, and you need to be ready. You need to be at the right place.” But I didn’t want to believe that. I was happy being single. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was eager to date, but not ready to feel anything too serious for anyone else, just yet. And then in early September, there was a fireside for young adults. I hadn’t been to one since before I got married (my ex was sooo not into that thing, and it was easier to not go than to deal with it. And I kept saying “it’s just a fireside, right?”), and decided that this would be a good step to remedy that. Besides, I was supposed to be putting myself out there, right? I walked there and arrived before the building was unlocked, and when they came to unlock it (right before it started. I was afraid I’d missed it somehow…) they were shocked, because someone had actually arrived before them. And THEN they were shocked because someone else showed up. Said it doubled their numbers on attendance! But we ended up having about 10 of us show up. I sat in the middle of the middle row. I was the first one there and that was the best seat. Then a friend of mine sat down in the same row, and then more people sat in front of us. At the last minute, this kid I didn’t know but my friend did, came in and sat down next to him. I don’t remember if my friend introduced us or not… probably. But I didn’t pay attention, he was just some kid in singles ward, and I was only lookin’ for friends. Anyway, It was an AMAZING fireside. The message really hit home. It was all about marriage and treating women with respect, and that women deserve respect, and then Elder Scott cried a little when he talked about his wife, and it was just oh so perfect! He interviewed a happily married couple, and it was a reminder to me that not only was my first marriage no where near as full of love and respect as it should have been, but that there really was an opportunity for happiness. I remember thinking it was ironic because if I were still married, I wouldn’t have had the strength to go to the fireside by myself, and there was NO way my ex would hear the message. And here I am, sitting here single, soaking up everything that was said. And loving the peace and truth I felt. And then it was over, and I had so much to think about.

As I began to walk home, in my own little world, this white pickup truck pulls over and the guy who sat next to my friend asked me if he could give me a ride. You know, because that whole fireside was on respecting women and such (come to find out, Ranger’s just that kind of guy. But there was no way I’d have gotten in his truck had I not just seen him at the fireside, and even then, if the message hadn’t said “women, let them show you respect”). So he gave me a ride. And I cant explain it. The way he looked at me… I  could tell he liked me already! I had mixed emotions about that… First of all, I didn’t want to like anyone, secondly this was a little too intense for me, thirdly, I admit I was flattered. When he dropped me off, I asked what the activity was for the next Family Home Evening. He said flag football, and I said ugh. Well, I guess I’ll go and just socialize. And he said “oh yeah, I’ll go too.” Like, he’d be watching to see if I would be there. Like he’d be there BECAUSE I’d be there. Which scared me and flattered me all at the same time.

Ironically, I had convinced my cousin to come with me to the next activity (you know, showing up with a guy to look like you’re not as single as you really are…), so he gave me a ride and we went to play flag football. Well, I’m not really athletic, and there was a little confusion so that 3 girls (me included) ended up not playing. We were all okay with it, and said we’d be the sideline. Worked for us! So I sat and talked to them the whole time, and Ranger and my cousin and a lot of other people played Flag Football. When it was all over, my cousin came back to where I was, and Ranger came up next to me, too. I confess it was a little awkward. So awkward that I introduced my cousin as “my cousin” when I’d “neglected” to introduce him that way to anyone else… It stayed awkward enough that my cousin decided he didn’t want to stay right there and went to go get my daughter from the swings where she was playing with some other kids. Ranger and I really didn’t talk much that night. First of all, everyone else was coming up to him and asking if he was okay. Apparently, he’d played tough, quite the macho teammate. They all sounded shocked and impressed (I asked my cousin about it later and he said, yeah, he did take some hits… and then look over to see if I’d noticed. I didn’t, because I wasn’t paying one bit of attention. I was busy talking to the other “sideline” girls). And also because it was sort of awkward. But he said “well, I guess since your cousin’s here, you wont need a ride home?” and I said, nope, I’ve got that covered. And he said “well, let me give you my # so you can call if you need any more rides.” And I said “oh, thanks!” and also gave him my #. I’m serious, it was so cute and so awkward at how uncomfortable he was! And then we left, he walked me to my cousin’s Jeep and opened my door so I could get in. I’ve never been escorted to another guy’s truck before! That was a little weird, but cute, too. Anyway, then I got in the car and my cousin and I joked because it was sooo obvious that this guy wanted to ask me out, and he just didn’t get to it. He even threatened to get out and tell Ranger that I was waiting for him to ask me on a date!

Well, as impatient as I am, and as much as I hate awkward situations, I blazed ahead, and on Wednesday I asked what he was doing. He said “I don’t know, why” and I said because I cant make up my mind if I’m going to go play volleyball or if I’m going to institute. Just wondered if you were going to either of them, and then I’d ask for a ride” (So forward of me! What can I say?). He said, “yeah, I’ll give you a ride.” And I said “to which one,” and he replied, “whichever one you want.” And THAT, folks, was our first date. Institute. Exciting, hu? A friend of mine was watching B, and I’d asked if she could watch her a little longer, so when Ranger asked after institute if I needed to get back right away or if we could go get a “pop” or something (I love “mountain” language. -.- ), I said we could go do something. Well, we ended up going to Idaho Falls for a soda. All the way to IF. And then we talked and walked around. And it was so weird, because I’m normally a standoffish, don’t touch me, I wont touch you kind of girl. Old scars still there, I guess. But with him, it was so easy to flirt and talk and I even touched his arm! Without thinking about it. And then thought to myself “why did I just do that? That’s totally not like me. And I’m sure it sent the wrong message. I’m sooo not wanting to get serious. And that was serious.”

To be continued…

How Much Wood Would a Wood Chuck Chuck

… the moment you have to stop and think about the difference between wood and would… I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to write that out before…


My Grandpa has a wood fireplace.

He ordered an entire semi-truck full of wood for said wood fireplace.

He is well into his 80’s. He used to tell people he was 9-squared, but he’s too old for that now. He’s also too old to stack an entire truckload of firewood, although most of the family knows he would if we’d let him. Mostly, if his kids would let him… his grandkids try not to let him, but he’s not one to take “no” too easily, especially from a grandkid.

Which would be why he has a chainsaw in his hands in this picture.

Sorry this picture is blurry (as usual). This time I have an excuse. I took it while dodging flying logs as they soared through the window.

Over a series of days, some of the kids and grandkids got together to help cut and stack Grandpa’s wood. It brought back nostalgic memories of stacking wood as a kid.

We used to be the ones sitting just inside this window, on stacks and stacks of wood, so that we could hand it down to the ones stacking it below (find that same window on the first picture for perspective, and realize that the first picture is about 3 feet from the ground). I remember complaining loudly about all the WORK the kids had to do, but secretly enjoying being with my cousins. What I DON’T remember is any of the work… I also remember Grandpa’s old “CAT” that he’d occasionally let us ride after the wood was all done. Until Jake got stung by a bee one year (he’s allergic. He’s also the kid who helped us all learn not to stick your tongue on Grandpa’s metal screen door, but that’s another story).

The grownups always made the stacks we sat on. I climbed up there this time and wondered how on earth we didn’t kill ourselves. I’m sure our parents made it safe, I don’t remember being scared at all as a kid, but as a grownup, knowing full well how it was stacked… yeah, I didn’t last long up there.

That and the fact that as the only female helping stack that day, my brother told me I was too delicate to be there because he was afraid of tossing in the logs and hurting me. He had no qualms about tossing logs in on and hurting the other brother. I should feel loved.


Instead, I stacked after the piles were thrown down. And when the pile got too tall, I brought armloads into the garage and stacked them myself.

We also had a little help from this young helper. He was pretty cute. There was one time I had a little log in my hands and I called him over and told him it was too heavy for me to carry and I needed him to help… Then about 5 minutes later, he brings ME one over and makes ME carry it. It was “too evy, Aunt-Keeaa, too evy!” Well played little man, well played.

BeFunky Fill Light on iPhone

The rest of the time, he was “helping” Grandma pick chokecherries by distracting her every few seconds to push him on the swings.


On the way home, we saw a red sun! I wish phones could capture the amazing grandeur of the sky, but they don’t seem to do it justice. I just thought it was fitting to see a fire-sky after stacking fire-wood.

The whole fam-[uh-what?]-ly

[warning][disclaimer! This isn’t a big fancy photographer. It’s real (really real) candid shots I took on the fly. No one looks good. Sorry. I didn’t really aim, just point and shoot style. Sorry to everyone (and their random appendages) that made it into my pictures.

Cary on…][/warning]

This is Uncle Bob.

The M. Family reunion was at Uncle Bob’s house this year. Uncle Bob never grows up. He’s like Peter Pan.

Uncle Bob could tell that no one was playing in the pool. So he decided to teach the kids how to “dive” in. AKA he slid into the pool with big splashes, slip-slide-style. Then, all the sudden, the pool is full. and fun again.

See that house? It didn’t used to be there. I miss those days. I’d come to Uncle Bob and Aunt Deb’s house 2 weeks out of the summer. Alicia and I would go for walks and explore. That house is new to all those adventures. Now, all of Aunt Deb’s kids have kids. She’s called Grandma more than she’s called Mom. It’s crazy how life changes, isn’t it?

Luckily, there are still constants. Like these people. Family. Cousins. They’re a big part of my childhood, and they’re still a big part of it now, if in a different way.


Take Alicia. She’s one of my best friends. I don’t see her much any more. And she’s way more social than I am, so she probably doesn’t count me as more than a cousin, but this girl, she’s a rock! I <3 her. She’s always good for a laugh. Shauna wasn’t there as a kid, but she’s an amazing cousin, now. She’s had so much experience in her life! I love real people like that.


These are their kids. The new version of cousins. The cycle continues. Truth is, I’m kind of jealous of how close their family is. It’s the family I always wanted. I’m just going to have to force my way in, I think. Count myself as family. Think they’ll notice?

2 funny anecdotes about the last 2 pictures: Shauna, Alicia, Paul and I went out to dinner. Shauna’s the only one not blood-related and she married Alicia’s brother. Paul, Alicia, and I are all cousins. We all decided to go to Red Robin, because Alicia’s and Shauna’s husbands were trying to get a new door installed in the kitchen and it was causing some problems, so we saved our own evening by going out to eat. As we’re walking in, Alicia says “shoot! We’re going to look like Sister Wives!” (seriously, only in Utah… In my neck of the woods, they woulda just thought that the only guy cousin was into guys, too…) So as we’re sitting down, Alicia says “I need to order this for my HUSBAND, to go” and Shauna does the same thing. So when it’s time to go… instead of getting 4 separate checks, they combine Paul’s and my ticket. II didn’t say anything about a husband, so Paul and I had to be together. Even though he was at the opposite end of the table… Yep, everyone’s married in Utah… even to cousins.

Second story: Alicia has a 3-year old. All of the sudden, his eyes just LIGHT UP! we look to see what’s caused this type of reaction in a 3-year-old and there’s a nice older gentleman with a white beard at the table next to us. Her son starts saying “Santa! Santa! Santa!” Sooo cute! We all busted up. Alicia was pretty embarrassed, but she took a picture of the guy anyway, so she can tease him with it when he’s older. Wouldn’t you know it, Santa vacations in Utah during the summer.

Happy Birthday, Adella (a post I never published)

This is an old post I never got around to pushing the little publish button for, so you get it now… 3 months later than I intended. I’m great like that…

Most of my family has birthdays during 2 semi-annual spurts. Instead of having family reunions, then, we have family birthday parties. We used to do 2 a year attempt to hold 2 a year (we never seemed to get to the second one… and my birthday falls in that category. I was sick of getting jipped (I’m going to get history buffs and politicals mad at me for that word). So we made it an annual thing instead of semi-annual.

We share gifts with each member of the family (I don’t know how much longer that’s gonna last. I like it, but you never know. When we actually start getting a ton of grandkids/ nieces/ nephews, that will get expensive.)

Last year, we had big plans for the family birthday party… and they all got canceled. Instead we held a funeral for my sister’s stillborn angel.

So this year, as we were sharing presents, we all took a balloon outside and let it go (Yes, I’m going to have the environmentalist groups hounding me now, too). It was a birthday present to Adella.


How did she thank us? Giant hail balls.



Grandma (my mom) barely made it in alive! Just kidding, she was fine, but that was still some scary hail!


At any rate, happy first birthday, Adella. Nice aim.

Painting tootsies

We came to visit my mother who was visiting my grandmother and made a girls’ night of it. Painted nails all around. Here are my and my daughters’ nails.


my favorite colors. Didn’t bring anything with me to clean up the messes, sorry.

Something fun for my fingers. I added another coat of green after this picture. Interestingly, I got TONS of compliments on this bold nail choice.

Little miss’s nails. I think these are her 3 favorite colors right now. We’ll see how long they stay favorites. Funny thing: I had these exact three colors in a hair wrap when I was just a little older than her. I’ll go look for a picture.


who says you can’t be patriotic after the 4th? I loved this setup. I’m going to keep it in mind for next for of July.

Grandma’s hands

These are my grandmother’s hands. I’d like to tell you about them.


This summer, I have taken the drive to visit my grandparents during frequent intervals in order to help them out and give my grandma a haircut. I’m not very good at it, but she can’t tell me that anymore, so I do it anyway. It helps out Grandpa, and the nurse that comes in to help them always raves about how great the new haircut is, so that’s good enough. Even though I am nervous every time. Hair grows back, right?

But let me tell you about my grandmother’s hands. These hands picked and shelled peas and snapped beans to fill jars destined for the canner. These hands served lunch to hundreds of school kids (the rolls were amazing!). These hands made one heck of a “squamwich,” taught me how to embroider (while never giving up on me), and thumped my head with a thimble when I got too rambunctious under her quilt.  These hands were never still! When she was sick, or resting, they’d tie knots in all of the quilt strings. When she was listening to conference or the radio, these hands would knit bandages for foreign aide. When she was talking on the phone, these hands did crossword puzzles and doodled on any paper available. Especially little swirly flowers. Those were her favorite. Even eating dinner, grandma would run her hands over the tablecloth texture or across her buttons under the table. If there was absolutely nothing else for her hands to do, grandma would resort to twiddling her thumbs.

Grandma’s hands cut out cute sayings and glued them to magnets for her magnet board. They bought magnets from all the places Grandma visited. These hands gave hugs that always made you feel loved and wanted. These hands sent secret messages when no one was looking. If she caught you at something, she’d rub one pointer finger down the pointer and index from the other hand. It was grandma’s way of saying “shame shame” when she didn’t want the grownups to hear she’d caught us. She’d also rub her thumb across the pads of her first two fingers to show  mock sympathy (“this is the world’s smallest violin”) Grandma’s hands would even laugh when she laughed, resting across her tummy and jiggling when her grandkids would so something funny and clever. Her hands were connected to relief society arms, which always made her embarrassed, but gave much better hugs.

One time, these hands threw a fork at me in a restaurant! We were teasing my grandpa about fliping food in a restaurant, and grandma’s hands slipped! That fork ended up right in my chin.

Oh, and these hands threw away all the skip cards in every new deck of phase 10 cards Grandpa would buy! She hated the skips. She said they weren’t good for anyone! The person playing them had to get rid of a card, the person being skipped didn’t get a turn, and the person at the other end of the skip couldn’t pick up a card to keep playing.

Now these hands have a lot less to do. Grandma doesn’t say much anymore. Grandma doesn’t do too much, either. Unless reading the same Friend magazine or watching the same rotation of pictures in hr digital picture frame count. Grandma’s hands can barely feed herself breakfast. But They’re still Grandma’s… They still twiddle or feel the texture of the tablecloth. They still jiggle when you make her laugh. Some things don’t change with age.


see her hand feeling the tablecloth?


Grandpa gets pretty tired lately. It’s hard to make up the difference of all that those hands used to  do. I am so glad I get to go “help out,” because it lets me reminisce in what life was like with this bubbly old lady, her jolly husband, and her hands.

I love you Grandma.

All’s Fair

Every year my family tries to have a booth in the local fair. This year, our booth turned out pretty good, but we still didn’t get many visitors. I’m hoping that’s just because the whole fair didn’t have as many paricipants as it normally does.


My sister-in-law crocheted a few mermaid fins and owl hats. I can’t believe they didn’t sell better. I think it has to do with how hot it was.

I made babylegs and singed flowers. I’ve got a few pictures of final products, I’ll post in their own post. My kiddo made the ever-popular (at least for now 😉 ) loop bracelets.

Another sister made a ton of crocheted earrings and barrettes. They’re so cool! I wish more people would have come and seen them. My mom had a ton fo stuff, from hot pads to baby toys.

HI mom! 🙂

The wind was pretty crazy, and it dropped the big whiteboard on my foot. It swelled up pretty big, but I’m better now.


sorry my feet are so gross.

I’ll try to get some of the crafts on my sale site and actually get it running. I wanted to already be moved b now (are you as sick of reading that as I am sick of typing that?) and then I could devote more time to it. alas… I might just have to get it going before I move, but I’m procrastinating.

Huckleberry Heaven

My husband, daughter and myself all love camping, but can never seem to find the time to go. Every time we tried, this would happen:


This time, we just gave up and went. It still sprinkled on us each night we stayed, but we had a blast anyway, and we didn’t let the rain get to us. We found an amazing camping spot, and plan to make a tradition of it.


We went just to go camping, but these little berries made it that much better! We ended up picking 2 gallons. Too bad most of them were used for a certain family member’s wedding… it was still well worth it though.


It was so nice to get away from everything pending in our lives. Up there, it’s just you, your campsite, and the side of the mountain. Oh, and the family picking on the hill next to you that locks themselves out of their car, raids your huckleberry patch (she was determined that by picking the whole branch and then collecting the berries, she’s doing the bush a favor. I’m pretty sure she’s crazy. Anyone know if she’s really right?) All I know is she blazed through our berry patch and didn’t make me all that happy to have to share the hill. She also had strong opinions on everything. Her husband was cool though.

One thing we’ll check for next time: making sure the firepit is clean! It’s kind of a no-brainer for my eagle scout husband, but we were in such a hurry to get the tent up in the minimal time between rain and dark that we forgot. Ranger heard the pop and knew what it was, but we didn’t find the evidence until morning. Soooo glad it missed us all…


Seriously! I was pretty disgusted with the cleanliness of the campsite, anyway (why do people think it’s a good idea to mix beer, guns, and camping? sounds pretty …. not so thinky… to me…), but it made it pretty easy to leave it better than we found it!

On a much different note, did you know that there are lizards in this area? I had no idea! I thought they’d gravitate toward a much warmer climate. I’ve got my feet up on the rocks next to the fire while the kiddo is sleeping in the tent, and suddenly Ranger freezes, staring directly under my feet. That’s the thing of nightmares! WHAT IS UNDER MY FEET! But eventually, Ranger points to a crawly thing circling our firepit. He made a complete circle and went back up into the woods. When I got back to civilization, I looked him up. I think he was a Long-nosed leopard lizard. Apparently, there are a few varieties of lizards in the area, but they were all news to me! Lizards in Idaho! Blew my mind!

Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard