Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society...

... was my companion for my drive down and back from Atlanta this weekend. As I was driving down Tom called coming home from a demo. He was working in South Carolina and heading north and I was heading south. We realized we were only a few minutes away from each other so we decided to meet at the Cracker Barrel in Gaffney South Carolina for dinner. Right next to the registers to pay was their selection of books on CD and Tom suggested I get one for the drive. What a thoughtful husband who TOTALLY knows me. I didn't know anything about the book but this is the one I picked. It takes place right after WWII and it is done in a collection of letters where the main character is pen pals with several members of the society. She asks them about themselves and their time spent during the war. I loved hearing it on tape since it is all done in letters, each character has a different voice. It was great company. I didn't start this blog as a book review though. One of the characters in the book related a story about when they sent the children to England's countryside to protect them from air raids and invasion. All the sudden I thought back to one of my favorite books, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and realized they too were at their Uncle's staying int he countryside during the war. I guess I always assumed that was just part of the plot of the story. I didn't realize that people ACTUALLY sent their kids away during what was probably one of the scariest times of their lives. It is true!! Not just part of a plot of some story. See the wikipidia article here. I thought about the kids not having their parents nearby to comfort them. I can't imagine sending my kids away not knowing when or if we would ever see them again, not knowing who would be taking care of them, or even if they were taken care of at all. What courage and faith both the parents and children had to have had. I know the world has to be at its breaking point when the Lord comes again. I can't imagine what it is going to be like if the atrocities of WWII didn't fulfill that requirement. I love my darling girls so much and I would never want to be seperated from them. I hope I never have to.

Friday, October 16, 2009

And Then There Were Two....

I have been meaning to post about my beautiful Aunt Arlene's life for a while. We tease in my family that I have no heart, but really I tend to keep a lot of my emotions close to my heart. I really love my Mickelsen relatives. Arlene Mickelsen Waters died on July 26. I know, I know, I told you I have been meaning to write. I really just wanted to share some of my favorite memories of her.

My earliest memories include going to see the Rose Parade as a child. Of course we stayed with Aunt Arlene and Uncle Ted. I remember thinking how warm it was at their house. I learned to love Pastrami sandwiches at the Hat, just around the corner from their house. I loved dancing and playing "Princess in a Tower" on their front porch smelling amazingly fragrant flowers. I remember calling their house incessantly when my mom was there recovering after surgery not long after she was diagnoised with cancer. I can remember so many long conversations with Aunt Arlene in her living room in California. I don't have very many trips to Disneyland without also having a visit with the Waters. How can you not love an Aunt who is linked with your memories of the Happiest Place on Earth?

One summer I went to live with the Gainey's when they were in California. Officially to help with their kids, but let's be honest, I am sure I was more hassel then help. I secretly think my parents were worried about a summer of me never leaving my bedroom like I spent the summer before. Either way, I had a great summer, even though I really missed my family and my Tara. (Don't ask to see the phone bill from that summer.) I remember going with Aunt Arlene and Lacey to get her hair and nails done and our many long talks of family and religion. I can think of the countless nights of chatting around the table or helping her in the kitchen. I can think of her showing me how to make General Authority Sandwiches (Anyone have the recipe?) and telling stories of all the different General Authorities who have stayed with them and things that impressed her about each of them. I alway love how those Mickelsen women tend to teach us gospel lessons without us even realizing it!!
During High School I took a trip to watch our football team play against a San Diego school. I went with Billy Pierro and he told me it would only take 3 hours to get there. Uhhh, yeah right. Not even, especially not with traffic. It was after 9pm when the game was over and close to 10pm after we have found something to eat. I was living with the Gainey's at the time and called Tonya and decided it may not be a good idea to come straight home. It was close to 11:30 when we pulled up to Aunt Arlene's with no change of clothes, toothbrushes, anything!! But she just hugged us and found us some new toothbrushes and already had bedding out and ready for us. That year I also flew down and spent a weekend just me and Uncle Ted and Aunt Arlene. President Hunter was in town speaking at their Stake Conference right ater he was sustained as Prophet. He had been the Stake President of the Pasedena Stake and my grandfather was a bishop during that same period. They got me tickets to go to Conference with them. Being with family was as much of a highlight as seeing the Prophet in such a close proximity. Even though I moved after High School and wasn't as good about keeping in touch, I always tried to visit the Waters when in Vegas (which wasn't that often). This June went the girls and I went to Vegas we had Sunday dinner with all the Waters. I am so glad that we took the time to go over. I keep thinking of Arlene watching my girls and laughing at their little quirks. In my mind I am imaging her going to heaven and telling my mom how much those precious girls have grown since she sent them down to me and maybe even teasing my mom that she got to hold them last.

Right before my mom died.

Mickelsen Women with cousins Karen and Roberta at my wedding.
I know this is long, but hey, it is my blog right? I was thinking about all my aunts and wanted to tell my Aunt Kathy and Aunt Margene how much I love them and what an inspiration they have been in my life. I wish I had done this a few months earlier. I don't have as many memories of Kathy since we both lived away from most the family when I was younger, but my first memory is going to my very first movie "101 Dalmations" at the Scera with them. We even got popcorn! I remember their neighborhood, which is now an apartment complex. I can't pass the intersection without thinking of their little trailer park. Once they moved to Provo permenantly, I was so excited to see them more. I have randomly just dropped by their house when visiting Tom's parents when taking walks or bike rides. I love having family so close you can just walk over! I have never had family that close before. I am so thankful for the help picking up our flowers for our wedding so it was one less thing we had to run and do that day. I still can't believe the trip I took to Chicago and ended up getting seated right next to Uncle Bill. I still get teased by co-workers for hugging a "random" passenger after that flight. We talked the entire flight and I really got to know about some of the beginnings of Bill and Kathy's marriage going through school in Chicago. I have so much respect for their hard work getting their degrees and struggling to get through school. I have always admired a picture in Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bill's house of the Salt Lake Temple. They gave me a copy for my birthday one year and it now hangs in my bedroom. I feel like it is still a connection with family.
I have always have a great bond with my Aunt Margene and Uncle Bob. I have spent the most time with her of all my family. Growing up we would visit my Hill Grandparents a few times a year and always stay at the Halls. This is also when I cemented my friendship with Lorilee. I honestly can't tell you my first memory of Margene, she has always just been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love you! Aunt Margene was such a support for me growing up. She was the adult I could go to when I couldn't talk to anyone else about my mom and her cancer. After my mom's death, I spent several weekends in Utah with their family. She became somewhat of a surrogate mom to me. She was someone I could vent to when I was having family problems and retreat to when I felt no one understood me and I could feel like I was still unconditionally loved. When I graduated from high school, she was there for me, then helped me move to Utah. I lived with them for almost two years. Thank you so much for your love and generosity! No words can describe how grateful I am to you. I miss our late late night long conversations about anything and everything. We would stay up much later then was good for either of us. I can always count on Margene having great family stories, pictures, whatever you are looking for. I can't think of the the Jazz playing without imagining her in the kitchen intensely watching the game, yelling at them to go and getting frustrated when they were struggling. What a true fan! I am sure she still watches them, I am just not there to share in it anymore. Who says girls don't love sports! Aunt Margene's has always been a gathering place, not just for our family, but for all the Mickelsens. Everyone stops when going through because it has always been such a cental location.
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful legacy of amazing women. I hope I can be half the mother, aunt, family member and person that each of these wonderful women have been to me. I love you all so much and I will miss Aunt Arlene intensely (even if I don't always show it.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I am trying to re-commit to blogging! It is already 1am tonight though, so just not tonight. I am heading to Atlanta area to work for the weekend so with no kids and not much to do at night I am hoping to get an update done. Plus, if I post it on the blog that I am going to update, then I will have to do it right? Really my goal is to have at least one blog a week.

I do have to blog one thing about my cute kids. The girls were taking a bath tonight and Audrey was playing with the bath toys. Audrey was holding up the whale and calling it Mommy and the Hippo and calling it Daddy and then having them chat and kiss. I am think it may be time for Tom and I to head back to the gym.....we need to shed the Hippo and Whale persona. Love you girls!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This last weekend was General Conference for our church. What that means is that instead of driving over to our local chapel, we watched church on TV both Saturday and Sunday. We got to listen to apostles and our Prophet. I always love listening to conference. When living in Utah, conference Saturday was usually spent in the mountains, or after we were married, doing house work or ward work while listening to conference blast out of the radio. The Saturday was our ward work day. We planted flowers and re-mulched out flower beds and I was able to blast conference from the computer speakers out the windows. It worked pretty well.

I had lots of favorite talks, but one of them just really struck me on what I need to be working on. Between Sunday sessions of conference, they showed a special on BYU working on creating Merry Go Rounds that generated power to be used for laterns so students could work on their homework after dark. They talked about how we sometimes take for granted that we go home and do our school work and then have light to do all our other activities and these essentially would end for these students after the sun would go down. During Quintin L. Cooke's talk he mentioned that we need to be teaching our children the gospel in our homes. It wasn't even the entire theme of his talk, but in conjunction with the special on the African students, this really struck me. These kids know that if they want to be able to go farther in life they have to come home and study. I can't expect my kids to survive or go farther in life if I only teach them the gospel on Sundays. I try to use things we experience as life teaching experiences. My mom taught me so many things by just explaining how our beliefs differed from some of my friends in every day life. I am not sure that is enough any more. We really need to sit down and teach them everyday, just like we practice numbers, alphabet, etc. Last night we pulled out "My First Book of Mormon" and chose a story to read with the girls. I plan on this becoming a nightly tradition. I know that not all my friends are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. I had so many wonderful friends growing up that weren't members of my church, but were so encouraging to me any way because of their faith. It helped me strengthen my own. I hope my kids will have wonderful friends both in and out of the church they can look up to. And I hope I can teach them everything they need to know when they are ready to step out that door.


My kids have loved using their old Halloween costumes to play dress up lately. For being pretty inexpensive costumes my kids have sure gotten a lot of use out of these. The skunk was Ella's costume 2 years ago and if you could see closer up, the pants are super short. It was a huge costume the year she wore it. I have really been having a lot of fun with the girls lately and they have been having a lot of fun with each other. Everyone told me that things would get easier when they got older and they really have. Girls I sure love you!

Audrey has been dancing all over the place lately. Madison has taught her some sweet ballet moves. There is nothing funnier then watching toddlers try to jump. If only the camera could catch her enthusiasm.