Friday, December 26, 2008

Never Never Land

Yesterday was Christmas and my entire family (plus a few friends) were at my house. Having over 30 people over in my little house was going to be no big deal because it is AZ after all and we would set up tables outside and have plenty of room. Besides, the children would be outside riding bikes, or playing basketball or football or something more fun than being in the house. Well, we woke up Christmas morning to rain. No biggie, if it is raining here in the AM that means we are sure to have a nice afternoon right? NOPE! The weatherman picked Christmas day to have the only day of the year that it rained nearly all day long. So we all squeezed into my house and made the best of it. Talk about having a close family.
The only thing that bummed me out a little was that usually when my family is all here we play outdoor games. You know we revert to our childhood and have ridiculously childish competitions. It is always really fun and we don't do it enough. I was sure the rain had prevented that from happening this year. Well, the rain let up for just a little while and my brothers found the jump ropes Talia got for Christmas because she wants to learn to do Double-Dutch. Next thing we knew everyone in the family was out there trying it. I don't want to brag . OK yes I do, but I am the official Double-Dutch champion in our family. All you younger and skinnier kids go home and practice and come back and try another day.

Bottom line, we had a great time making fools of ourselves (some more foolish than others) and acting like kids. Just like every time we get together.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On faith

Thoughts from Kerry . . .
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. This first verse of the Bible is a profound basis for a person's faith. I believe in God. I believe that he is mightier and wiser than I. I believe that he is more intelligent and also kinder and more loving than I am. I believe that I can trust Him, and that I can discover His will and pleasure regarding me and my family. You may come to know me best by these four words: I believe in God.

I once created a computer application to decipher email based on the keys contained in a military Common Access Card. My software allowed someone to retain cryptographic protection of his personal email during the mandated period between turning a card in and receiving a new card. The mechanics are fairly simple. A person in possession of my software could use his old military card to decrypt all of his encrypted mail, re-encrypt it again with a soft certificate of his choosing, and turn in his card. When he received his new card he could use the software in a reverse mode to decrypt his email with the soft certificate and re-encrypt it with his updated card. The application works. It's good.

When God created the earth he saw that it was good. When he divided the night from the day, and when he set the sun and stars and moon to deliver their light to the surface, and when he created the rocks, rivers, plants and animals he said that all of these things were good. Some use words like good and evil as if they were mysterious or subject to debate. A thing is good if it accomplishes the purpose that its creator intended. A thing is evil (or bad) if it acts contrary to its intended purpose.

There may have been a soldier who decided that my software was bad. (I was fortunate enough to not be exposed to anyone's ire, but it probably happened.) Why would he think so? He may have misunderstood my intent. He may have been unclear on my instructions from my superiors. He may have been under the mistaken impression that it was possible to encrypt email with one card and decrypt it with another. He may have tried to use it to entertain himself and found it singularly unsuitable. There could have been thousands of reasons for a person's dissatisfaction with my little application, but none of these things make it bad. My application is good. I know. I created it, tested it and determined that it fulfilled my intended purpose.

I am also an application of Almighty God. I was created as a new mortal model, and given the name of a man on my birthday. God is now testing me. He will determine whether I am good or evil, and his judgment is not subject to the interpretations of either protesters or flatterers. His purpose is for me to keep his commandments, and to repent when I fall short. His commandments are the same for me as for every other person. If someone does not understand the commandments of God he may come to understand by asking our Heavenly Father in prayer, by reading the scriptures, and by diligently doing the things which he already understands. If a person is found wanting, he may choose to change. It's simple.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Tonight for family home evening we made a list of 100 things that we are grateful for. We went around the room and everyone said one thing until we had a list of 100. The only rule was that no one was allowed to argue with any one else’s answers. It actually came together pretty quickly, my mom was here so she had some that we wouldn’t have listed - I am sure that helped.

100 things we’re thankful for . . .
1. Talia (she was the scribe, we were very grateful for that)
2. Gravity
3. Grandkids
4. Gospel
5. Lisa / Wife
6. Shoes (that wasn’t even me)
7. Clothes
8. Fudgesicles
9. Faith
10. Kids
11. Husband
12. Jesus
13. Plants
14. Friends
15. Kitties
16. Parley P. Pratt (he is the childrens 4th great maternal grandfather)
17. Atonement
18. Book of Mormon
19. Sun
20. Carmen
21. Phone
22. Living Prophet
23. Warrior Book Series (Tobias has become an avid reader)
24. Earth
25. Water
26. Chocolate
27. Serena
28. Tobias
29. Music
30. Piano
31. Happiness
32. Yard
33. House
34. Car
35. Rocks
36. Bed
37. Sugar
38. Parents
39. Godhead
40. Food
41. Computer
42. Freedom / Country
43. Family Home Evening
44. Discipline
45. Meat
46. Internet
47. Job
48. Eyes
49. Humor
50. Free Dress Day / No uniform
51. Hard Work
52. School
53. Paper
54. Electricity
55. Plumbing
56. Bible
57. Stars
58. Technology
59. This activity (I have clever children)
60. Pine Trees
61. Understanding the real meaning of Christmas
62. Holy Ghost
63. Priesthood
64. Flowers
65. Make-up
66. Basketball
67. Neelah
68. Modern Medicine
69. Temple
70. Cadence
71. Cute People
72. Hare
73. Planes
74. Socks (again not me)
75. Free time
76. Health
77. Camera
78. Ocean
79. Daryk
80. My Piggyback
81. Money
82. Hair Holders
83. Lacking Knowledge
84. Learning
85. Words
86. Eric
87. Easy chair
88. Cookies
89. Brain
90. Vegetables
91. Watermelon
92. Yeah Me|
93. Queen Creek House / Pool
94. Winning
95. Tooth Tools (brushes, floss, etc)
96. Cherry Pie
97. Tennis Shoes Book Series
98. Showers
99. My Voice
100. Sabbath Day

Monday, December 8, 2008

This kid is confusing!

Tobias aka: "the boy" is seven years old and in second grade. Sometimes his accademic ability just baffles me. It really seems like he has retained everything he has ever read or heard. And trust me when I tell you, he reads a lot. The other night we were riding in the car and the children were listening to a book on CD (caught myself there I almost said book on tape). In the story there was a greek philosopher who was explaining to some children that he had discovered using mathmatics that the sun doesn't go around the earth, but the earth goes around the sun. Tobias said, "hey, that was Galileo." I coulndn't stand it I asked him how whe could have possibly known that and he said that he read it in a book somewhere. I spent the next few days thinking that this boy can not possibly be only seven years old.

Then, we went to our ward party and I was trying to take a picture of the boy and this is what I got. OK, so maybe he is just a 7 year old boy. A seven year old with a LOT a facts in his head. Either way it is going to be a very short time before I am completely unable to help him with any of his accedemic duties.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Still a boy!

I finally downloaded the pictures from Thanksgiving. I couldn't help noticing that quite a few of them were pictures of Kerry wrestling with his nephews. Luckily, his sister Karen is used to teenage boys and didn't seem to mind the rowdie behavior in her living room. Some of the boys are getting pretty big and Kerry had his hands full, but held his own very well. At least it seemed that way, until that night when we went to bed and he told me he had pulled something in his shoulder. Of course, when it happened, he didn't say a word to the kids but kept right on playing.

The most entertaining matches were what the boys called "push-up" wrestling. After looking it up I learned it is also called "alligator" wrestling basically, they come head to head, in a push-up position and the first one to knock the other to his stomach gets a point. I have to admit, it was fun to watch.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I love Thanksgiving. To me, it is a day that offers warm feelings of love, family, and gratitude without all the hoopla that the Christmas season typically imposes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and everything it offers; I’m just really glad to have a day to reflect before it all begins.
This year, our family spent Thanksgiving with the Kerry's family. Let me first express my gratitude to Karen for letting us extend the “letting someone else cook for us” stint. Karen spent countless hours being the gracious host and our family was a grateful beneficiary. For me, getting to know some of the family a little better was a wonderful blessing. For Kerry, being home again seemed to be a great sense of contentment. While the children just enjoyed some time playing with their cousins.
From the day Kerry and I announced our wedding Kerry’s family has gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable and accepted in their family. I am so grateful for that. Sheesh, they even laugh at my jokes – that can’t be easy. I really loved sharing the holiday with them. I especially loved how happy it made Kerry to get to spend some time with his parents. Kerry credits his dad for most of his good habits. So, I am very grateful that Dad is a loving, kind husband who cares for his wife in every possible way and for Kerry who works so hard to emulate his father.
Being away from my own family gave me an opportunity to realize how much I love them. I am grateful for a close family who plays together, laughs with (and at) each other, and look out for one another. I missed them this year and I am glad to have a family that I enjoy enough to miss when I am away.
Our family has been so greatly blessed.

(picture is Mom and Dad Thurber at thier wedding over 50 years ago)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Honeymoon . . .

As I have mentioned before when Kerry and I first got married, we decided that it would be really important to spend some time having some fun together as a family so instead of taking a week to go on a really exotic honeymoon, we went to the mountains for a few days and then took the children to Disneyland for the rest of the week. It was a great trip and a good decision. We knew when we decided to do that that in a few months after things settled we would go on a "real" honeymoon. So last week we went on a 7 day Caribbean cruise. What a beautiful and fun trip. Rather than write all about it, I am going to plagiarize my husbands e-mail report to his family.

I'd just like to begin by telling you I won't be a bit offended if you don't read all of this. Consider it Kerry's journal account of his cruise.

Lisa and I used the Hawaii mixup as an excuse for a second honeymoon and went on a cruise! Lisa used her exclusive status as a frequent Marriott denizen to pay for the cruise, and also an extremely fancy hotel the night before in Ft. Lauderdale. They brought us a strange but wonderful appetizer and two beautiful bottles which contained water. I was so impressed that I used the morning newspaper to wrap up the the empty one and take it with us. I guess I was a little like the pauper who was mistaken for a prince, and filled up his pockets with free nuts. We took a moonlight walk on the beach and went and found the gym. I refrained from using it at 2:30am.

The next day we boarded the ms Eurodam, a 2100 passenger ship that's the newest in the Holland America fleet. It's almost five months old, and it's decked out from starboard to port in fancy. We enjoyed the three-and-a-half story chandeliers, the staircases and the open observation deck, but were a bit miffed to be disallowed from the Hal club. It had foosball, pinball and lots of exciting games for children only. Our childlike countenances didn't count. After about 64 hours I discovered that they also had a gymnasium.

I was surprised when we arrived at Grand Turk island, a part of Great Britain, because they let us off the boat. The water was so clear and beautiful that I wanted to stay there. The beauty of the island had been marred by Hurricane Ike, but no discount was offered. The wild horses were even more wild, as their borders had been broken down by the winds, and they now roam the streets and find their shade next to advantageously situated walls of homes. It reminds me of all the loose chickens on Oahu--a hurricane freed them and nobody has ever bothered to re-domesticate them. Maybe animals like hurricanes.

When Cheryl sent us pictures of Puerto Rico I was sure I would never find myself there, but on Tuesday, there I was. They let us off the boat again. Why was I under the impression that we would be on the ship the whole time? Rhetorical question. We used the opportunity the try out Lisa's new amazing camera. She's a very good photographer, and I got her an early Christmas present for the trip. It's fast, clear, automatic, and a lot of other things that I don't understand very well. We ducked into the rain forest for a little bus tour and I marveled at the bananas, coconuts and bamboo (which I mistook for bananas at first.) They have bread fruit which grows there and I tried to get some but was informed that you have to cook it and it wouldn't be allowed through customs. We settled for some green-fried bananas. :-) We wouldn't describe them as tasty, but I wanted to do something a little different and Lisa was a good sport.

We went up to the Christopher Columbus fort and took lots of pictures of the 30' thick walls, a lost iguana and some dancers we happened upon. Wow, they put on a colorful performance. One of them asked Lisa to dance but she was too shy. That night on deck there was a musician by the name of Justin Miller, who plays a classical guitar. Lisa and I were both suitably impressed and I wished that Dad could be there because of his playing talent of course, but also because of his genius in presenting the music. He has stories about each of his songs and quite masterfully draws you in.

The next day we docked in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. After Grand Turk and San Juan, this island was ho hum. Still, they had good deals on souvenirs and we managed to stave off the jewelry peddlers. We spent a lot of time getting Psuedophedrine HCl. On our way to the K-Mart a taxi driver hollered out to us to ask if we were going to K-Mart. Yes we were, and how did he know? "Ain't nothin' up there but K-Mart" he muttered, offering to take us to some exciting jewelry dealers instead.

Thursday we happened upon some 20' waves, and despite the enormity of the boat we felt them. We ended up spending most of our time in the stateroom--a fancy name for our sleeping quarters. Even the shampoo and the TV were ridiculously deluxe. I had to skip dinner and I was not in the mood to try any new medicine (dramamine). Poor Lisa. We ordered dinner to our room and during the night we lost the waves. The food was definitely the most luxurious I'd ever been served with four and five course meals available at most times of the day and night. Some less fancy fare is available to be delivered to your stateroom at any time. We began to be worried how we would handle it when we became responsible for our own cooking and dish washing later.

The next day we arrived in the Bahamas. This was the most beautiful place yet! The water if possible was even more clear than off of Grand Turk and we have some pictures of some white fish that wanted our hot dog buns. We got to ride on a glass bottom boat, and after I procured a suitable life preserver I had a great time swimming with Lisa out to the deep end. I did not expect to ever have such a fancy vacation! Were I ever to go again I would spend a whole lot more time researching the stopping places and available "excursions".

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Family Home Evening Works

Recently, Kerry has been very concerned about the children's eating habits. Specifically, the need for them to eat more fruits and vegetables. So, a few weeks ago he had a Family Home Evening and went over in great detail the instructions given to us in the Word of Wisdom. Last night we took the kids to Golden Coral for dinner (going places like Golden Coral is one of the sacrifices that you make when there are children in the house and you are out voted). So, the children got to go to the "pick-your-own-food" place for dinner. Tobias, the carnivore in the family, sat down to eat his meal and I noticed that he had both fruit and vegetables on his plate. I was impressed that he chose a fruit and a vegetable all on his own, so I thanked him for doing that, and told him I was happy about his good choices. His response "yes, but I think this is too much meat for the Word of Wisdom." He never stops surprising me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quit being so cantankerous . . .

I have a habit of disagreeing with my children just for the sake of disagreeing. It extends the conversation and makes them talk to me a little longer. In the end I nearly always end up agreeing with them, but I do sometimes take it too far and let them get frustrated with me before I give in. A few days ago I was playing this game with Serena, my 9 year old, she finally got exasperated with me and said . . . "Quit being so cantankerous!" Oh my! She shut me down, where does a 9 year old child learn the word cantankerous? I'll be honest, I had to look the word up on to be able to spell it! I am in big trouble. She made me laugh though. It is fun to have children who can both make me smile AND keep me in check. What a great blessing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Festivities

Saturday we threw a big halloween bash it was a lot of work (mostly because I get really carried away when we entertain) but, we built memories so it was well worth it. We spent most of the week making costumes, caramel apples, and popcorn balls. Friday we decorated the house and drove all over looking for Rootbeer concentrate for the homemade rootbeer. It's Halloween, 'tis the season for homemade rootbeer. Several stores told us they carry it, but they were out. Finally, we gave up on driving all around and made some phone calls until we found a store that just got in a new shipment, who would have thought that would be so difficult.
The children were so excited to throw a party. In fact Carmen woke up and said, "I am more excited than Christmas." Honestly, that made me more significant for me than how incredibly the party turned out.
Everyone seemed to have a good time that night. They enjoyed the food, especially the homemade rootbeer and ice cream that Kerry made. Actually, everyone even seemed to enjoy taking their turns cranking the ice cream maker.
The only thing that disappoints me is that I got through the whole party Satuday night without even thinking about taking pictures. When we were falling into bed I said, I can't believe it, but I didn't take one picture tonight! Honestly, I would love to have those pictures to show off!Perhaps I will remember to take a picture of the children in their Halloween costumes when they get dressed up again for Halloween night.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"It's your age girl!"

In case any of you are wondering, kids have the ability to listen and retain information, even when they seem completely uninterested. Our son Tobias reminded me of this today . . .

A few days ago a few of members of the family were watching a DVD of President Gordon B. Hinkley's 95th birthday celebration. Tobias was in the room, but really did not appear to be paying any attention to the television at all. After several musical presentations President Hinkley stood up to speak, the first thing he spoke of was his love for his recently passed wife, Majorie Pay Hinkley. Those who are familiar with Sister Hinkley remember her joyous and fun outlook on life which, I think, was the catullus to her to clever and keen sense of humor. So in telling about Sister Hinkley, President Hinkley shared an anecdote from a conversation that he and his wife had a few years back. He said that he would wake up in the morning feeling a new pain or ache and she would cheerfully say "it's your age boy!"

So today I have been working on Halloween Costumes for the children all day, at one point Tobias was walking out the back door when I stood and stretched a bit and stated that my shoulders and neck were getting really stiff and tired. He poked his head back in the door and without missing a beat said, "it's your age girl!" Then went outside and shut the door. He made me laugh, then he made me think - it probably really is my age.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

That is one colorful child!

As most who know me would agree, I have a tendency to be a little OCD about things matching. Things like, clothes, shoes, and socks. Now, I have four new children who are not as concerned about this as I am. I have struggled with where the line is between helping them and making them feel criticized. Right after we got married, Kerry and I took the kids on a "family moon" to Disneyland. The second day in Disneyland Serena got all dressed. She had on a pair of lavender stretchy pants and a red Christmas shirt with gold pin-stripes through it (I know it was a Christmas shirt because I bought it for her last Christmas). The shirt and pants matched really well with her turquoise socks. I know you can't see it all in the picture, but you just take my word for it. I remember it vividly. In the morning, I said to her (remember I am trying to help them make more suitable choices without being critical) "You know Serena, you will probably get hot wearing that long sleeve shirt today, why don't we go see if we can find something a little more suitable for the warm weather" To which Kerry, who really was trying to help, jumped in and said, "she will be fine." So we took Serena to Disneyland wearing red and gold, lavender, turquoise, and last but not least pink and white striped sneakers. By the end of the day, I was really patting myself on the back, after all I had spent the whole day with her dressed like that and had not had any less fun than if she had matched perfectly. One the way out of the park that afternoon Serena somehow got separated from the rest of us. We found a safe place for others to wait, Kerry doubled back to where we had last seen her and I went and found a security guard. Can you guess his first question? "What was she wearing?" So, I described exactly what she was wearing to the guard, right down to her pink and white sneakers and turquoise socks. He wrote it all down then took a glance back over his notes and said "that is one colorful child!" Less than 3 minutes later Disneyland security had located her and came to get us to take us to where she was. I cant help wondering if I would have said she is wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt how long it might have taken us to find her.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


So I wrote one post and then disappeared! Well, I really do have a good excuse. Less than a week after I wrote my first post I got engaged, so I have been busy making wedding plans and becoming part of a new family. On April 26th, I married Kerry Thurber in the Mesa, AZ temple. Kerry has four children: Carmen, Talia, Serena, and Tobias. Our life together so far has been a wonderful adventure. We went away to Sedona for a few days and then came home and took the kids to Disneyland for a “Familymoon” it was a great way to start our life together as a family.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Trying something new!

So . . . in an effort to join the new millenium and see what the buzz is all about, I have now learned to send and receive text messages, though admittedly not well enough to keep from finding it completely frustrating. I do love the technology, as far as it makes my life easier, but text messaging? How is that simpler making a quick phone call? Still, I have found that if I want to stay in touch with those younger than me, I better be willing to utilize the text messaging capabilty. Next, I think I will try blogging. I do think this will be a fun way to record my thoughts, and at least I get to use the whole keyboard to put my words down. So, here goes . . .

I am in working in San Diego this week. What a beautiful place. I got to my hotel and turned on the news just in time to catch a weather report. The expected temperature here tomorrow is 70 degrees! BEAUTIFUL! There is a cold front traveling though most of the country, storms and blizzards everywhere. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and put on my short sleeves and head to work, now that is something to be grateful for. Speaking of being gratful, I think I will use this little spot as a gratitude journal of sorts. I absolutely believe that a person is only as happy as he or she decides to be AND only as blessed as he or she chooses to notice. My goal is to choose to be more happy and grateful and to use this blog as a tool to help me accomplish this. Make it a GREAT DAY!