Monday, December 29, 2008


I have so much to say, so much to tell, so many pictures to post! Like, our big Mathewson Christmas party, or our fun Christmas Eve activities. I am dying to post about Christmas Day, about what fun presents we gave each other, and how fun it was to have my family over that night. I even have a few movie reviews to give! But big changes are about to happen around here, and instead, I must focus all my attention to preparing for these changes. Once we get all settled, and since I'm sure I'll have plenty of spare time on my hands, I hope to get all caught up on blogging!

Have a safe and Happy New Year! I'll say "hi" to the duckies for ya!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The following is a true account of a Christmas Eve many, many, years ago. "Dar" in this story was my Maternal Grandpa, and was one of the loves of my life. We were always blessed whenever Grandpa Dar was willing to share with us any of the colorful and sometimes sad stories from his life... and we are lucky to have a written account of this particular story thanks to his son Gary (and my uncle).


It was Christmas Eve 1931. The cold winter wind blew the falling snow into Dar's face as he walked along 31st street toward town. A passing car had cut two tracks in the snow that stretched before him like two ribbons under the street lights. He tried to walk in one of the car tracks so his bootless feet would not get so wet. Dar was eleven years old, but he felt much older. Being a child during the depression years was hard. Instead of playing baseball or cowboys and Indians, Dar was trying to earn extra money to help his family.

He felt very cold as he walked along the street. The lights in the houses were dimmed to conserve on energy. The streets were nearly deserted, as most of the residents of Ogden were home with their families. Suddenly, a feeling of warmth ran through his body as he turned the corner onto Washington Boulevard. The street was lined with shops brightly lit with Christmas lights. This season was Dar's favorite time of year. Christmas always filled him with feelings of love and giving. He did not worry too much about receiving gifts because his family was poor. There was not extra money for gifts.

Dar peered into the shop windows as he passed by them.. He thought about the 79 cents he had in his pocket. He had worked very hard to earn this extra money. Dar gathered firewood and tied it into bundles. He sold the wood to his neighbors for extra money. He also sold magazines on the street corners to help his family get through the hard times. This money in his pocket represented his savings over the last year. It was getting late, and Dar had a cold three-mile walk back to his home. He needed to find a toy shop that had what he was looking for. As he approached the shop, his heart raced with anticipation. There in the brightly lit window was what he wanted more than anything else in the world. A shiny new red truck! He gave the shopkeeper the money for the truck and turned to leave the shop. He had hoped for a penny in change, so he could buy a candy cane to eat on his way home. "This is going to be the best Christmas ever," thought Dar as he tucked the new truck under his arm and went out into the night. Three miles to town and three miles back home is a long walk for an eleven year old boy./ Especially on a cold, snowy, Christmas Eve. His feet hardly seemed to touch the ground as he walked the distance back to his home. The joy the new red truck would bring on Christmas morning made even his wet, frozen, feet feel warm.

The reason Dar felt so good as he walked along that Christmas Eve was because he was filled with the true Spirit of Christmas. The shiny new red truck he carried so carefully under his arm was not for him. He had bought it for his little cousin Bobby who lived down the street. Dar knew that Bobby would have nothing under the tree Christmas morning except the new red truck. The thought of the excitement and happiness in his cousin's eyes on Christmas morning gave Dar feelings of joy, love, and giving that have never left him.

Dar was cold and tired as he walked up the sidewalk to his cousin's house. The surprise in his uncle's face turned to deep gratitude and respect when Dar handed him the shiny red truck. "This is for Bobby," he said, and turned to leave. "Merry Christmas Dar," said his uncle in a huskier than usual voice. Dar turned to go home. He knew he would have nothing waiting for him under the Christmas tree the next morning, but he knew he had received something much more valuable himself that night. Dar stopped outside his home and looked up into the Christmas Eve sky. As he turned to go inside, there seemed to be one star which shone brighter than the rest.

"Merry Christmas Bobby," he said... and closed the door.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Dont' worry, I'm not going to put two tear-jerking, mushy, posts in a row, but it just so happened that I had dinner with the girls in my book group last Tuesday night... one of the most emotional and vulnerable days of my year. So I think between all the emotions I was trying to conceal, and the arctic temperatures, I was bound to feel pretty delerious as soon as I walked into the restaurant (late) and saw all my sistas sitting there waiting for me. We get together each month to discuss the book we've read; we also talk about our kids, our husbands, our mothers. We talk about all the good things we've done, and the bad things too. We share each others' happiness, but we share in our sadness nearly as often. We can vent to each other just as easily as we can compliment a new pair of shoes. I don't think any of us really knows how important we each are to the group as a whole because I think we get stuck on thinking about how important the group is to us, individually. It has taken me a long time to realize how important girlfriends are. I don't feel like I'm missing anything in my relationships with my kids or with Jeff, but it doesn't mean that I don't need my girlfriends, each one. It's different.

It was Keri's turn to choose our book for January... it looks pretty good. You can check it out over there (look right ->). She also sent us this:

Oooops! I mighta lied. But, there's nothing wrong with shedding a tear or two.

(You might want to pause my music while you watch it)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Another year's gone by and here I sit thinking about you on your birthday. You'd be 32 today and of course I'm doing like I always do, going over the things I would say to you if you were here. I'd want to tell you how much I miss you, and how you are still a part of my day, everyday. I wonder what your life would be like. I'm sure you would be married with kids of your own. How many? Two? Three? Can't imagine four! You would be a good mom, a fun mom, and I'm pretty sure a bossy one as well. I would tell you that some years are easier than others and that this year is harder. I see so much of you in my Kaylee. She loves to be outside, just like you, having (or making) an adventure out of everything. She is independent, sassy, and sure of herself, just like you. The older she gets, the more I feel you around us, in our lives each day. I'm grateful for this, but it makes having you gone even harder. And Brit... you wouldn't even recognize Brit! He still remembers you a little bit. He remembers when you would sit him on your lap and put your hand out like a lever. Then tell him to flush the toilet while you let him fall through your legs, and catch him at the last minute. He has your same hands, and your nail biting habit! If you were here I'm sure we'd talk about all the funny stories we have together. The kids love to hear those stories. I'd remind you, of course, about how you would sneak out of the house stark naked when you were three and run around to your heart's content (or until you got caught). Your long, blond, hair trailing behind. And I'm sure you'd remind me of my less than humane babysitting tactics. And I'd want to tell you how much I cherish the hundreds of times I had to get up earlier in the mornings to do your hair for school. I know at the time I complained, and maybe even pulled your hair too tight on purpose a few times, but it was a time for us to have together. And when it came time for me to do your hair that one last time, I was so careful not to pull, I was so careful. I'd tell you how I've felt cheated sometimes that we never got to be moms together. I don't get to hold your little ones. But mostly I feel like you got cheated. I know, I know, you wouldn't want me to be angry after all this time, but I don't always get to choose what emotions I have. I know you wouldn't like it that I get sad and cry when it's your birthday, but if you were here, I think you would know that it's just part of what we do... the ones left here to miss you. Besides, I'm not always sad. I think you would be happy that I have such a great life and a great family. So many times I've thought about how easily life just flowed for you, and how much more good you could have done here. While I've spent countless years trying to come to terms with my limitations, and overcome my many demons, I've thought about how the world needs more people like you still in it. But maybe you would take small comfort in knowing that when you left, some of you stayed here with me, and I've tried to cultivate those parts in me. You have helped me to keep moving forward. And your leaving taught me to cherish every day I have with my kids, and Jeff, and the other people I love. I believe I am a better mother because of it. Before you left, I couldn't have imagined anything worse. Although I still don't think there are many things worse than losing you, I have come to understand that I am stronger than I thought. And I am always going to miss you, I am always going to cry on your birthday, but I am okay.

If you were here, maybe we'd lay upstairs in that big bedroom, on the full-sized bed and just talk... you know, like we used to? About boys, and school, and clothes, and horses, until I finally realized that I was the only one still talking, and you had drifted off to sleep at some point. And then I would pull the covers up around you to make sure you were not cold. And I would reach over at least a dozen times to pinch your nose closed so that you would stop snoring. Then finally I'd roll over, and we'd sleep back to back, me always having to touch some part of you, to make sure you're still there. My little sister.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Jeff likes to plan our dates for week nights because of his social disability (Shhh! Don't tell him I told you) so we usually go out on Thursdays. Tonight we decided to eat at Macaroni Grill because Jeff had a $25 gift card we could use at Chili's, two other places we don't even have in Utah, or Macaroni Grill. It was the better choice for me since I'd earlier eaten a frozen bean and cheese burrito, and that was already pushing my Mexi-food limit for the day (if ya know what I mean). To be fair, Jeff would have taken me wherever I asked him to for dinner because he is trying to buy back all the love he's lost over the past three months due to excessive weekend hunting. But, I have my own vices, and spending boat-loads of his money during the holidays is one of them, so I agreed we should use the gift card tonight. And had he not spent waaaay too much time with the duckies and the dudes, and had I not spent boat-loads of money, we would not have had our dinner with Rainman. I'm not talking about Dustin Hoffman, no, no, I'm talking about the real Rainman! Mr. Kim Peek was sitting at the table next to ours. The reason I can claim we had dinner with him was that Macaroni Grill had all it's patrons snugly smushed together and Jeff's chair was literally inches from Mr. Peek. He was dining with a pretty big group and it was so cool to listen to him answer questions about dates and times and other facts that he has stored in his amazing brain! My favorite thing about Mr. Peek is that he apparently carries his Oscar with him wherever he goes, and it was so cute to see him show it to his server. He even let her hold it... for about a half-second before he took it back. I guess Mr. Peek was never awarded the Oscar himself, it was given to him by Barry Morrow, who won it for scripting the movie Rainman. Mr. Peek was the inspiration behind the screenplay. If my mama hadn't taught me to be a good girl, and to mind my p's and q's, I would have asked to take a picture with him. Instead, I have this pic I pulled off the internet.


I was tagged by my sis-in-law (at least I think she meant me) for this really, super-duper, unusually long Christmas tag. I've been a bit more grumpy lately due to a a condition I like to call COLD/PMS Disorder, so it was best for me to wait to do this tag. Otherwise questions 1-30 would have all have the same response: BLAH!

1. WRAPPING PAPER OR GIFT BAG? Both. I use what I have handy.

2. REAL TREE OR ARTIFICIAL? Artificial. Because it has it's roots in Art.

3. WHEN DO YOU PUT UP THE TREE? I TRY to get it up over Thanksgiving weekend.

4. WHEN DO YOU TAKE THE TREE DOWN? I TRY to take it down before summer break starts.

5. DO YOU LIKE EGGNOG? Yes, but I like SilkNog better. It's not so thick.

6. FAVORITE GIFT RECEIVED AS A CHILD? I honestly cannot remember!

7. HARDEST PERSON TO BUY FOR? Jeff. He always buys whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, and leaves the rest of us wondering what we could possibly get him. Stinker!

8. EASIEST PERSON TO BUY FOR? Kaylee. She loves everything!

9. DO YOU HAVE A NATIVITY SCENE? Yes, two. One is a Precious Moments Jeff gave me one year as a gift, the other is carved olive wood from Brazil. Both are cool.


11. WORST CHRISTMAS GIFT EVER RECEIVED? The year my parents gave all of us kids towels and lightbulbs... to prove a point... use your towel more than once, and turn the lights out when leaving the room. Can you imagine a suckier Christmas? Pretty sure we learned our lessons though.

12. FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE? I could never choose just one!

13. WHEN DO YOU START SHOPPING FOR CHRISTMAS? As early as January, but mostly sometime in the fall.


15. FAVORITE THING TO EAT AT CHRISTMAS? Sugar cookies. I don't really eat them any other time of year.

16. COLORED OR CLEAR LIGHTS? Both. Clear on the house, colored on the tree.

17. FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG? Again, I can't choose just one.

18. TRAVEL OR STAY AT HOME? I've only ever traveled once and it was pretty fun :)

19. CAN YOU NAME ALL OF SANTA'S REINDEER? Sometimes I can't get their stupid names out of my head! Once I hear the song, it's days before I quit replaying it in my mind.





24. FAVORITE FOOD FOR CHRISTMAS DINNER? Crepes are a Swensen tradition that I love.

25. WHAT DO I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR? Well I know I DON'T want towels and lightbulbs!

26. WHITE OR WARM CHRISTMAS? Mmmmm... our warm Christmas last year was really nice. But if I can't have warm, I'd rather have snow for Christmas rather than just cold.

27. FAVORITE THING ABOUT CHRISTMAS? How Christmas brings out the sweet in people.

28. FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITION? One of my favorites is making treats with kids for all our neighbors.

29. FAVORITE CHRISTMAS LOCATION? Anywhere as long as my little family is there too.

30. WHO DO YOU TAG? Whoever feels the urge to do a 30 question long Christmas tag!

Monday, December 8, 2008


We decorated the house over Thanksgiving weekend and I am finally posting the pictures...

The tree doesn't really have a theme since we've been collecting decorations for the past 18 years.

Part of my Christmas Village

If ever there were a "shady" side of town in my make-believe little village, this would be it. I'm a little suspicious of the guy in the boat. And you really have to wonder what's in that bag slung over the weary traveler's shoulder!

Over on the other side of town, proper folks are exchanging pleasantries...

...Singing and making snow angels.

I don't have as many decorations as I used to. It's a lot of work to get everything out, but it seems like more work to put them all away after the holidays, so I had to scale back. To be honest... I'd probably still have all of it if my complainy family hadn't given me such a hard time about the tree still being in the family room for Easter. I still don't see the problem!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Today this kid, this 15 year old kid kept bugging me about how he's done all his studying, and now he's ready to take his tests for his Learner's Permit so he can start driving me to the grocery store, or on short trips around the neighborhood. This is not my child, no, because there's no way I'm old enough to have a kid who will be driving ME around! But he kept on bugging me, and so to prove to him that he was crazy in the head, I took out his birth certificate and showed him that HE was born in 1993. Ha! See, that means he is only 1,2,3,4,... well it still can't mean he is 15. Because there is just no way I am old enough to have a kid that age! And he said as long as I was looking at his birth certificate I may as well get out his social security card cause we were gonna need that too... later when we went to the DMV. He said he learned all about what he'll need to bring to get his Learner's Permit. So now he's a Mr. Smarty Pants too! So I said, "Fine, we'll go all the way down to the DMV, and we'll stand in all those lines, and we'll show them all your papers, and then you'll see that I can't possibly be your mother because I'm just not old enough to be a 15 year old, Mr. Smarty Pants' mother."

So we went all the way to West Valley City to the Driver's License Division, and we filled out the papers, and we stood in line to get our number, and then we waited again to be called up to our window again, and then we waited while the kid took his tests. And you know what they told me? I AM old enough to have a 15 year old kid who, now, can legally operate a motor vehicle with me, a licensed parent in the front passenger's seat!

And he was pretty excited that he passed his tests and got his temporary permit. And he was all smiles even when I MADE him stand out in front of the Driver's License building, holding up his permit so I could get pictures of it. He tried to get out of it, he pointed out that none of the other moms were torturing their kids this way. But all the other moms WERE old enough to have kids that age!

Congratulations Brit! And... for the record... I am so proud and grateful to be your mom.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Main Entry: de·press
Pronunciation: \di-ˈpres, dē-\
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French depresser, from Latin depressus, past participle of deprimere to press down, from de- + premere to press — more at press
Date: 14th century
1obsolete : repress , subjugate
2 a: to press down b: to cause to sink to a lower position
3: to lessen the activity or strength of
4: sadden , discourage
5: to decrease the market value or marketability of
— de·press·ible \-ˈpre-sə-bəl\ adjective

No, I'm not going through a time of uncontrolled sadness. I am just so slow! Everything about my daily routine is "depressed." It takes me twice as long to do my regular stuff and to be honest, I don't have that much extra time! Anyone else feeling this way? I get this way when the weather starts to be below 50 degrees and so here's my theory... I was a bear in a former life.
Yep, that has to be it. That must be why I spend the entire summer and fall eating everything in sight, and then by December all I want to do is sleep until spring. If you do happen to see me in the next few months, I'll be the one in the shaggy fur coat, (not real fur of course) stumbling around stupidly, and growling at people. Sorry, but you can't fight nature!