Thursday, October 29, 2009

Family History

I've 'inherited' a lot of family history stuff from Jeff's Grandmother who passed away this year.

My craft room is overflowing with boxes of photos, slides, negatives, cards, etc.

I've digitized many of these things.

And here's just a little sampling of some Vincent Family slides from 1971 - ish.

(Jeff and his sister Jennifer)


(Jeff, Jennifer and baby Becky)


I'm looking for suggestions on what to do with a bazillion greeting cards, birthday cards, Christmas cards that Grandma kept.
Do I just bundle them up and pass them along?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


In case you've missed the last few chapters of my life, I thought I'd update you quickly with the cliffsnotes version.

(Note: It is not correct to refer to them as Cliff Notes - you must include the "s" after the Cliff. Also, I have never resorted to reading a Cliffsnotes publication. It seemed like cheating.)

1. Emma's Birthday

My baby is now five.

I thought having her turn such a 'milestone' age would be hard for me. But it wasn't. It's comfortable, and I am ready to step into a new stage of life where babies and toddlers are now to be saved until I'm a grandma. (YIKES! that just freaked me out)

2. Ethan's Contacts

Ethan is the proud new owner of contact lenses. He has begged for a year to get them, and so we did. Of course I told him he needed to take care of them, not lose them, etc, etc. So when he 'lost' one at the Pirate Place (think Chuck E. Cheese runs into the Dread Pirate Roberts) where we were celebrating Emma's birthday, it was a big deal!

Let's just say:

  • That I didn't lose my mind completely when it happened
  • Ethan was devastated
  • We searched through a darkened, sticky, messy booth looking for a contact lens
  • Ethan prayed while I scoffed that we'd find the lens
  • We found the lens
  • I humbled myself and repented while thinking Ethan is the coolest person I know.

Good times.

3. Jeff is Grounded

Jeff was out of town last week. He will not be out of town for a LONG time. I suck at being a single parent and the house makes too many weird noises while he's gone. My feet are too cold at night without him. My back is ruined because of the contorted way I slept on the bed trying to keep my eye on the door, yet poised to call 911 to report a fire or intruder. I also am not the bedtime ritual parent -- managing teeth brushing, potty and story was harder for me than I'd like to admit.

4. Josh is 14 and Swims

This explains everything about my interaction with Josh. He swims well. In fact he swam a freestyle 500 in a meet against Lone Peak and AF and came in 10th - not bad for a freshman. And he dropped time in his 50 freestyle.

Meanwhile, any conversation with him is a complete mental exercise to make what I'm saying mean the same thing as he's hearing and vice versa. He has also adopted some cat-like attention spans where he'll be engaged with you one second and then WHOOSH! he's off on to something else!

Shout out to Josh, however, who should have a 4.0 in school this semester while carrying AP Geography, and three other honors classes. He has a concert this Thursday too (thank your lucky stars you didn't go shopping for all black clothes with him, that was . . . . something else)

5. Mom Sinks Into Seasonal Depression

Amongst all the fun being had around here I'm sinking into my pre-winter blues, which will be followed by my winter blues and wrapped up by my pre-spring blues. I think it all started after the Ragnar race when I mentally came apart. I have been doubting my leadership abilities since then -- and the culmination of snow yesterday and possibly today has my heart as heavy as lead.

I am planning on a recovery plan today which is:

  • Diet Coke and Pumpkin Pie for breakfast
  • Giving a talk about leadership to student council members at Melanie's school
  • Pretending I don't hate Halloween as I dress my kids up for the ward party and preschool
  • Ditching the ward Fall Party as I make Jeff take the kids to it while I go tanning
  • Enjoying more Diet Coke and Pumpkin Pie for dinner

I'll let you know how it works.

Friday, October 16, 2009




A small, unnoticed seed, the size of any index finger’s nail, can become the largest of things. Looking at trees around my neighborhood, you would never think they started from a small seed. A majority of them are taller than most of the houses. Planting a seed takes a lot of dedication. You need to plant it, water and nurture the undersized plant that has spurted from the ground, then, from that unnoticed seed, becomes a large majestic tree.

Then the leaves sprout from the long, snaky branches. These vegetations will sometime have to fall. As a bird nests, they might collide with these petite leaves. As the stem connecting the two breaks, the small leaf falls unseen, it is practically invisible. This leaf falls silently and at a snail's pace. The tender leaf spirals to the emerald stalagmites below. The leaf tenderly lands on the earths surface, there it is more vulnerable. A small average kid, who is fascinated by nature, walks up to admire the highly elevated, majestic tree. The small boy steps on the worthless leaf. That small leaf is now pinned onto the flattened grass. The boy leaves the tree to do something besides look at trees. Green veins on the poor, insufficient leaf, have become murky from the filth and grime on the bottom of the boys worn out Sketchers. Edges have been folded and frayed; the leaf is now just an old antique of nature. All of this from one plain old seed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



It's been three days since we finished the Ragnar Relay and I'm still trying to process the whole event.

The few days before the race, as we had runners dropping off the team, I was having a serious mental breakdown. The thought that the training and planning would be for nothing . . . was very stressful.

However, we found two BRAVE souls who came to run with us, rounding out our team of 12. They were great sports and if any of the 12 people involved ever speak to me again, that'll be something! Cuz this was a mentally and physically tough thing for us to do.

I won't drag you through the 172 miles of the race itself, but I will share some of my 'favorite' moments:

Moment 1: My First Run

My first run came after a pretty full day of driving around, picking up and dropping off runners. I hit the trail about 5:30pm, feeling pretty worried about running 7.3 miles after a long hot day and seeing all of our team KICK BUTT on their runs. But after hanging with the run for 3 miles, it paid off with this beautiful sunset and view:

(That's me, in front of the other runner. Somehow he gets in front of me by the end of the curve . . . Freakin' awesome view!)

Moment 2: Showers

I have a HUGE personal space bubble. But something just happens during a race like this that makes that bubble incredibly small -- practically non-existent! At the first major exchange we had a chance to shower, and with salt crystals aggravating my chaffed skin, this seemed like a chance we couldn't pass up. Except it cost $1.25 -- quarters required!! Not all of us had the change, so we creatively came up with a solution. I'll leave the details out, but it involved more than one naked lady in a shower room and my bra ending up in Jaime's bag. Hysterical to think about it now -- but then, I could've cared less!

Moment 3 -- My First Hour of Sleep

My plans for a few hours of sleep in between runs, was crushed somewhere along side Lake Mead. As Lisa and I created a bed of blankets and sleeping bags on top of the gravel field at the exchange, I realized that sleep was going to be a challenge. Add to the gravel, the bathrooms with no stall doors, a CRANKY attitude, the fear that a snake will join me in bed, Lisa singing and then giggling and freakin noisy people everywhere -- there was only one hour of sleep to be had! At some point I laid on my back watching the moon cast a reflection across the lake, thinking how beautiful it was but then the reality of the crazy situation I was in HIT me and I felt like an old woman trying to keep up with a bunch of partying 20 year olds.

Moment 4: My Second Run

After kicking back a few bazillion grams of caffeine I was much more ready for my second run. The 5.9 miles wasn't going to be too bad. It was dark when I started off (about 5:15am) and as I ran I could feel the sun rising at my back. I had the van stop and get me water about 4 miles into my run so that I could anticipate the last 2 miles of my run. But about that point we were headed off the course by a police officer who said that there was an accident up ahead. I followed the new course for what seemed well over 2 miles. At one point, I turned a corner and saw a rather steep hill that would finally get me back on track. I hauled myself up it, only to see my van again, additional police and several people.

I ran up to the group of people and asked if there's was something I could do to help. The man I spoke to was crying, he told me there had been an accident. A Ragnar runner had been hit and killed. His wife, his mother, brother and team were there - wrapped in blankets. I could only think to offer my love, he wished me well on my run and I continued. I ran in a daze for a bit, but then broke down and cried. A few runner's came up behind me, gave me some encouragement and I finished up the run. It was a detour of only a mile. And while I ran it somewhat grudgingly at first - when I found out why I ran it, I only wish I could've done more.

You can see the story HERE. Meanwhile, our team sends love and prayers to the family of Jeremy Kunz!

Moment 5: My Third Run

My third run was suppose to be easy. But with as tired as I was -- my body just didn't want to move. I was breathing hard the whole way, I couldn't find my stride, my family was there to support me, but I wasn't get the energy boost I needed to make the run truly great. With only a quarter mile to go, I was DONE! I was running for 30 seconds, walking for 30 seconds and feeling like the exchange was too far away. Another runner was coming up behind me, and I was about to get passed yet again. I wanted to stop. I could see my whole team waiting for me, my family there too. I stepped to the side to let the runner pass me -- but he didn't. He slowed down, and told me to get back on the road. I did and kept running, but then I slowed again -- I was so tired! He slowed too, and then he started to whisper to me. "You can do this." / "Relax, take this easy." / "It's alright." And with him just behind my shoulder we made it through my last run.

I am still so moved by how much a stranger's support has meant to me. Why should he care if I finish my run? Why would he care if I was struggling? But he did - and it meant the world to me. His quiet whispering support is something I'll never forget. Running is something you do on your own, but when you run Ragnar style - you have support you never thought existed.

(My support - Wonderful mystery runner on the left and my great family on the right!)

Moment 6 - Finishing

I never run with the thought in my mind that I am going to WIN the race. Today, I've had several people ask me if I won the Ragnar Relay. And I've told them "YES, I did win." If they look at the results they'll see that I finished second to last -- and probably think I told them a big, fat lie. But I really think I did win - I won the right to hold my head up high for doing something hard, I won the right to be proud of myself and of the incredible women who joined me in this, I won back some of the self confidence that the world sometimes tears away from me. That's the best kind of winning!

(Note: The Wasatch Back Team is being formed already. Who wants in on the Saints & Sinners medal for 2010?)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Thoughts From The News

So, I have been hitting my favorite website this week and have found stories that have really made an impact on me.

The other day they ran a story about a lady who adopted a child and gave him up after 18 months. Click HERE for the story.

The basic details are that she had three biological children, wanted to share her life with another child and adopted. The adopted child had been abandoned by the side of the road and was taken in by this lady. Taken in, after she had taken classes, researched adoption, gone through an agency that could help her, etc. And then 18 months later gave him up, because there was no connection being made.

Thoughts? Feelings?

I have plenty. But not maybe the kind you think.

After we adopted Ethan we were told through LDS Social Services that we couldn't adopt more kids. They had enacted a policy where two kids is all you got - no matter the circumstances. I was upset at the loss of control I had in choosing how many kids I could have! Being told you can have no more than 2 kids is extremely frustrating.

Jeff and I turned to foster care in the hopes we could adopt a child from there. Our first placement was a shelter care placement of 3 kids. There was a total of six siblings, but we took just three for the initial time. They were eventually placed in foster care with a sweet older couple who look all 6 kids.

From there we were given a newborn! A beautiful little baby girl, placed in my arms when she was only 24 hours old. I was in love. And in three weeks she was jerked from my arms and heart with no notice. I was heartbroken.

Next was a placement of a little 18month old boy. We were assured that this little boy would never being going home to his family. Parental rights were going to be terminated. This was our child. Drew, was his name. I was so excited, until things didn't seem to be going right. He hated me. There was no getting close, or getting through. Visitations with his mom confirmed that he was already connected, deeply, to a drug addicted mother who was unfit to be a mother. I tried. It was tearing me apart, and was hard for the boys, and Jeff. I had been told how devastating it is to return a foster care child -- we should work through it. I would be hurting Drew worse to return him than keep. But I knew, I felt, that this was not the right situation. There was NO bond - not even that of a day care worker. It was scary.

I finally took the big step and called social services to place him somewhere else. They begged me to keep him - told me we could adopt him eventually. But I knew something was missing. We took him to a new foster home. I was a failure, he stayed at the new foster home for a few months until he was returned to his mom.

We had one other placement after that. It was short and I was fine with that. But I stopped completely after that. There is something basic, primal in a connection with a child and a care giver. Without it, there is nothing. I do believe that to raise a child without that connection would be ruinous. I also don't think you can manufacture that feeling -- it's too primal to be made. Love may grow deeper and more enduring, but that connection, or the basic flicker of that connection has to be there first.

I am sorry that this lady didn't make that connection, but I'm more happy that she corrected the situation. I believe that God will step in and help both the child and the lady to heal and be better off. I also know that there is a horrible side of this story that happens all the time in America, where for No Good Reason, children are tossed aside for selfish reasons.

Maybe this whole story just reconfirms to me that we shouldn't judge too quickly or harshly without going through the same thing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Babysitting is O.U.T.

I love the government.

This is different sometimes from

I love my country!

My love for government has been halted, because in

Michigan you can not watch your neighbor's children,

Unless you have a daycare license.

Because doing a good deed, or a trade -

Isn't allowed.

Thank you to the few, who are messing it up for the rest of us!

Who is a daycare provider who can watch Emma for me next week while I run the Ragnar?

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