Thursday, January 31, 2008


I'll leave it to Cherylyn to share the details of this week. Let's just say that when they hooked her up to the blood machine today, I had to steel myself. She also entertained me by counting needle pricks in her arms.

Clark has been delightful. Brianna has been a fabulous entertainer. I did take him shopping for some preemie clothes for his brother yesterday. He entertained the store clerk, correctly identifying colors and counting articles of clothing. She asked me what his dad did for a living, since clearly, here was an extraordinarly gifted and talented child. I said he is a lawyer, to which she nodded sagely. What I really wanted to do was tell her that his mom is no dummy either!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

and happy birthday to the namesake

Andrew Douglas Nielson
born at 12:02 am on January 30
5 pounds and 13 ounces

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

happy birthday to my man

I like a man who's crazy about me
I like a man who can live without me too
That's what I like about you
I like a man who will lay down beside me
I like a man who will stand up to me too
That's what I like about you
I don't want a man to be my twin
Under my thumb, under my skin
Don't want a man like a shadow on the ground
With nothin' else to do but follow me around
I like a man who will cry on my shoulder
Who don't mind if I cry sometimes too
That's what I like about you
You can be soft, honey you can be strong
Maybe that's the reason we get along
Everything you do you do just right
You're tender in love, tough in a fight
I like a man who will lay down beside me
Stand up to me, cry on my shoulder, crazy about me
Can live without me too
That's what I like about
Can't live my life without
That's what I like about you

(with thanks to Trisha Yearwood)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

video stake conference

Cherylyn and Tanner and Clark and Andrew came to spend conference weekend with us since their stake

was also part of the video event.

Above pictured is one of our favorite decompression activities...

...with laughs provided by Clark, as usual.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

extreme makeover

(this is the Tampa Stake Center--the one to be build in Eustis will be similar)

Originally posted on Tricia's blog March 15, 2006 was some news about our forthcoming stake center. That day we met with designers and architects to decide some of the color schemes for our new building. This week nearly two years later, we repeated the same exercise, still hoping that we will be able to move forward with the building of our long anticipated stake center.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

the villages

The Villages is a 55+ retirement community in central Florida. The current population is approaching 60,000 and is expected to grow to 100,000 by 2010.

The Villages were designed by utilizing the latest concepts in neighborhood and community planning.

The development includes more than thirty recreation centers, over twenty executive golf courses, eight championship golf courses with country clubs, a golf academy, a polo field, two fitness centers, a woodworking shop and community garden, an archery range, two libraries and more than forty heated pools.

Virtually every convenience our residents need on a day-to-day basis can be found in The Villages and all are a golf car ride away.

The Villages are in our stake. However, the errand we went to accomplish on Friday, was a personal one. Our investment advisor, formerly located less than a mile from our home has relocated to The Villages. I told Doug, it felt a bit like going to Disneyland to discuss our future financial security. A little odd!

Doug likes The Villages and asked me if I wouldn't like to live there someday. Lovely as it is, nope, I don't think so.

Friday, January 18, 2008

going bananas

I thought that I remembered someone sharing an idea of doing a pinewood derby with bananas instead of cars. I suggested it at our annual planning meeting. Everyone loved the idea. It was scheduled for our January joint activity.

But now I can't remember who I got the idea from and I would really like a few tips on how to make this a successful activity. I emailed the stake YW president. One of the wards had done an activity with bananas, but it was a personal progress activity. So I checked the internet...surely someone would post something about luck there either.

Hmmmm...well, the Bishop made some axels and we all brought strange and interesting bits.

My personal favorite was Sarah's car, which looked like something right out of a Dr. Seuss book. I only regret that I didn't get a really good picture of it.

The races were hysterical! And we brought extra bananas so that we could have banana splits for dessert! We all had a really great time going bananas!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

free day

On Wednesday, I thought I had to work...but when I got to work my teaching partner was there. She asked me what I was doing. Of course, I was wondering why she was there. We both quickly volunteered to be the one to leave! But then I had to bright idea to check the schedule. It was her day to work. So now I have a whole day that I didn't expect to's such a weird feeling like I should be doing something really momentous with these precious moments.

Monday, January 14, 2008

curious items

The word curio itself has the meaning of something that it unusual or not normal. The word, as it sounds similar to, is short for curious. The name “Curio Cabinet” therefore refers to a cabinet, or piece of furniture, where curious items are held. The design of the Curio cabinet can be dated back five hundred years to the Renaissance. This period of time was known for its eccentric thinkers, unique designs, and attention to beauty and detail. The curio cabinets of the Renaissance were the cornerstone for the modern day museum. We have been looking for a cabinet to fit our house almost since we moved in. I was so excited last week to find this one that just manages to fit our corner.

Friday, January 11, 2008

california dreamin'

My friend, Sandy Teeples, recently sent me a real estate listing with these images from our former house in California. We bought the house for $135,000. It was a huge stretch for us and the girls still talk about the Christmas that they received cereal as presents from Santa.

We sold it for $280,00 after a complete remodel. We had thought that after our experience in England we would be home to California to stay. It was with a lot of mixed emotions that we moved to Florida.

Our experience in Claremont was such a wonderful one and I will always be grateful for the friendships that started there and still continue. I occasionally check in on the blogs that I know about--keeping up with kids and grandkids. I love blogs. You can go visiting many friends from your laptop sitting on the corner of your couch!

And the's listed for $679,000. I still think it's a beauty!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

back at school

I worked all this week. The kids have such a hard time getting back to work after all the fun during Christmas break. To add to their misery, I unthinkingly scheduled a really hard story for them because I would have 8 days to work with them instead of the normal 5. And, of course, next week is their 9 weeks exams. They are going to be really very happy to see Mrs. Cubbage.

Wednesday, I was wearing black cropped pants and a short sleeved shirt. As I went out the door, I decided that I better grab a sweater, which was black, just in case the classroom was cold...which it was. When Devin came walking into class he asked, "Mrs. Carter, why are you wearing a tuxedo?".

My happy news...the kids took their mid-term STAR reading test. The mean growth for my class was 8 months. That was thrilling!

But I was especially pleased for Hunter. He started second grade reading at 1.2 (first grade, second month). His mom told me that he hadn't read the entire summer. What kind of parents don't read with a first grader ALL SUMMER! for goodness sakes. Then she went on to explain that he and his sister had spent most of the summer with their grandparents.

Actually, if my grandkids were spending the summer with me, we might just play all day everyday too!!!! So, of course, I had to forgive them for that.

Hunter's mom has been particularly diligent since school started. He takes home an extra book every night and returns it read the next day. I called her Friday afternoon. We cried tears of joy together. He tested in at 2.3.

When I got off the phone another teacher having overheard the conversation called from her classroom to tell me that she was crying too!

So although it has been a long and hard has also been very rewarding!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I read on Tricia's Library Queue blog that Jane Austen's Persuasion is first up on the Masterpiece Theater Jane Austen series. It has been years! since I have read Austen's books, and I doubt that I have even read them all, so this seems like perfect timing.

I actually don't plan to read them at all, but I do plan to listen to the books. Last night I downloaded Persuasion and listened to the first segment on my computer. Then I managed to get all 5 of the segments onto my ipod...still, working on that skill :) There are also free readings for MP3 players.

After segment two I could hardly make myself go to bed. The reader is wonderful. I highly recommend this experience, especially if you have something else to do and would like a good story "whilst accomplishing it."

Sunday, January 06, 2008

seattle seahawks

Doug called and lobbied Chez and Tanner to come over and watch the game of the week or game of the year or game of the decade or whatever it was Saturday night. They agreed to come on one condition...either Chez or Tanner got to be in charge of the remote. (You can make your own conclusions about that.) Although we always enjoy seeing Chez and Tanner, and occasionally, like last night, we are even fortunate enough to beat them in a game of dominos, the other motive is to see Clarkie, Clarkie, Clarkie.

In case you missed The Game, you will definately want to check out the details of the "pulsating" experience.

In case you are wondering what is new with Clark...
He has decided to be in charge of the lights.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

scripture study guide

Today is the first day of the 2008 Leesburg Scripture Study Program. It is a program that has worked for me. I have been following it fairly successfully for the past 5 years. (Albeit, the first two years, it was the Fort Myers Scripture Study Program.) If anyone out there in blogger world is interested, let me know and I will email you a copy of the entire program which prints into a little booklet 4" x 5.5" that tucks quite nicely into your scriptures.

This reading program is designed to provide a specific outline of consistent scripture reading that will enhance your study of the gospel. If you choose to follow this program you will read the entire Book of Mormon, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (third hour course of study for 2008), Preach My Gospel, For the Strength of Youth and the General Conference talks for April and October 2008. This program requires an average of three pages of reading on a daily basis.
As the booklet says:
Consistent study of the scriptures and the words of modern prophets will guide us along the path of righteousness and bless us with the Spirit on a daily basis.