Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu in Seattle

Now the dreaded swine flu has reached Seattle.

My son was disappointed to discover that a few cases of swine flu in Seattle is not causing widespread panic and closing of schools. He does however hope that it turns half the populace into zombies so he can go all I-Am-Legend on them.

Oink Oink.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I gave this talk in church today....

Good morning brothers and sisters. I have some advice for you before I begin my talk. When Rob Harril calls you and leaves a message asking you to call him back? Don't. If you do, you'll soon find yourself standing where I'm standing. Secondly, if you get up in the morning before you're supposed to speak in church and think “OOH! Now's a great time to give myself a haircut!” Don't.

Rob gave me the topic of Christ's teachings. Considering the breadth and depth of this topic, you''re all going to have to sit here til oh---next year. Don't blame me, talk to Rob Harrill.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Pamela Kinnaird, wife to the amazing and wonderful Lance Kinnaird and mother to his four children. We were in this ward for ….12 years? When we made the flawed decision to sell our home and move to Puyallup, against the counsel of then Bishop Geddes. Once we did that, locusts descended, boils erupted and the three horseman of the apocalypse took up residence in our back yard there until we repented and moved back here. My husband works for Boeing, I work for the Shoreline school district as a Spanish teacher and a Spanish interpreter and in my spare time I dabble in freelance writing and world domination.

Because the topic given to me was so broad, it took me a while to narrow down what it was that I wanted to talk about. Then I realized that there was one topic that was very close to my heart lately. It relates to what Christ said about being of good cheer, of laying down your burdens and taking up his yoke. Christ often said 'be of good cheer'. He said it in Matthew 9 when the man with palsy was brought before him and he healed him. In 3rd Nephi the Savior told the nephites to lift up their heads and to be of good cheer because the sign of his coming was to come that night and on the morrow he would come into the world.

Christ said it John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world”

Perhaps I'm talking about this because it's what I need to hear the most. Being happy. Making the best of situations that come to us in life. I admit, I've not always been able to do that. To be of good cheer no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Our youngest daughter has been having some health issues for the past few months. The other morning she said to me:

“Mom? I feel like I'm going to throw up. And not in a good way”
I asked her if there WAS a good way to throw up.

She thought for a moment and then replied “You can throw up candy”

We all know that being sick to to our tummies and throwing up is not the greatest of feelings---but Ashley looked at it in a different light and thought she knew how to make an unpleasant experience better. Mom, you can throw up candy.

We are often told that we need to be happy---that because we have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives that we ought to be the happiest people on earth---and we should be. But are we always? Of course we're not. We have bills to pay, diapers to change, bad traffic to get through, socks to match and dishes to wash. For many of us our 401k's have tanked, some of us have lost jobs or are awaiting that dreaded layoff notice and the economy isn't what we'd like it to be.

in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.

Many years ago I began to write professionally and it was usually about my family. As many of you know, we like many other families, have had our ups and downs. We've had job losses, we've had severe health issues with our children, we've had a son put his hand into a blender and we've lost loved ones. None of these things were happy events but somehow I managed to write humorous pieces on some of these circumstances we were experiencing. I'm not saying that I had good cheer oozing out my pores 24/7, but it helped to make fun of the trials and tribulations we were going through. Instead of moaning and groaning, I chose to laugh.

A few months ago I was having a great deal of difficulty being of good cheer. There were painful circumstances going on in my life that were causing me an enormous amunt of grief and sorrow. I found it hard to be happy. In fact I found it impossible. These were not events that I felt I could laugh at. In fact I spent a great deal of time so sad that I felt my heart was broken and would never ever be mended again.

I came to sacrament meeting in this building one morning---with a depth of sorrow in my soul that is difficult to express. I was praying mightitly to the Lord. I knew I should be happy---I knew that I was here on this earth to have joy. I so wanted to be happy. I knew I had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ....and yet I was filled to overflowing with sadness. I felt my eyes welling up with tears as the announcments were made that day. I silently prayed to be happy. To let go of what was killing me. I was praying so can I be happy Lord? me to be happy.

As I opened my hymnal to sing the opening song for the meeting, I knew the song was meant for me to hear that morning.

“We are all enlisted til the conflict is o're. Happy are we! Happy are we!”

Oh no. Not this song. The tears came fast and furious from my eyes, wrung out from my wounded heart.

Soldiers in the army, there's a bright crown in store---we shall win and wear it by and by.

I was really crying at this point. I wasn't able to sing or even see the words on the page.

Fighting for a kingdom and the world is our foe, happy are we, happy are we.

The world is our foe...but happy are we. Happy are we.

Later, sitting in the church parking lot and again, I was crying, I told Heavenly Father that I could no longer carry this burden. I could not do this one moment longer. I had done all I could and it was not enough and there was no joy in my heart or in my life. And I hurt. I hurt more than I had ever hurt in my entire life. So I did what I had not ever done before in my life up to that point. When we were told our daughter had had a stroke and had cerebral palsy, I didn't do this. When my husband lost his job three times during our marriage---I didn't do this. When I was serving a mission in Venezuela, I did not do this. When I lost a baby, I didn't do this. When my mother was dying of cancer, I still did not do this.

What did I do that day, sitting out in the parking lot? I prayed and cried and then I laid my burden at the Lord's feet, I handed it to Him and I found joy.

I felt a physical lifting of weight from my heart, from my shoulders, from my very soul.

I wasn't in this alone. I had help. Often in my prayers I'd asked my Father in Heaven to bless my children, to bless me to be a better mother, to feel of His spirit more abundantly in my life but I had never ever LAID MY BURDENS at His feet in such a manner.

Our prophet, in his closing remarks in Church conference a few weeks ago, spoke on this very subject.

He said, “How might we have joy in our lives, despite all that we may face? Again from the scriptures: “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.”

Be of good cheer. Despite our circumstances, despite our pain and our sorrow. Be of good cheer. The Lord has promsied to stand by us no matter what. We are not alone in our trials.

In that same talk, President Monson gave specific examples of people who faced dire circumstances in their lives and over came them. He spoke of a woman who lost all of her children on a trek from Prussia in the cold of winter. She had to dig each child's grave into the frozen ground with a spoon. When her last baby died, she did not even have the spoon and dug that grave with her bare hands. Years later she was asked how she could be happy---after all she had endured. She replied that she had the gospel of Jesus Christ and was never alone in her trials. None of us are forced to leave our homes and go out into the cold and unforgiving world with our little ones, only to see them die one after the other. We face different challenges and trials.

We are all enlisted till the conflict is o're. Happy are we. Happy are we

Further from President Monson's talk:

“From the holy scriptures we read, “Behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in [Him], they who have endured the crosses of the world, . . . they shall inherit the kingdom of God, . . . and their joy shall be full forever.

I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.

My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”

Brothers and sisters, I testify to you that we have a loving Father in Heaven. That He does indeed desire that we be happy. He is real. He loves us and He is there for us. I love what President Monson said, that the future is as bright as our faith.

Be of good cheer brothers and sisters. Hold fast to the iron rod, hold fast to your faith and to your joy. Be of good cheer.

And can always throw up candy.

I bear my testimony of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grilling and Naked Strangers

Hubby had to work today, but before he went off to the salt mines he donned his King of the Grill t shirt and grilled us up some burgers. I made a fresh fruit salad and then we feasted. Isn't he cute?

Then I worked on some things around here before taking kids too and from work, and then picking up some Rx's and whisking the two younger girls off to Golden Gardens. It was crowded with all kinds of people and some were not exactly the kind of humans I'd invite home to dinner. One in particular really caught my eye when he/she/it dropped trou and did their business right in front of me. I told the girls to avert their eyes and I drove back out of the park before we saw something worse. Ugh. So much for a nice family park.

I drove up by the boat launch so Ashley could play with her remote control car for a bit. Allison didn't want to get out---she's having kind of a rough time right now and I wish I could make it easier on her because it hurts my heart to see her hurting as much as she is. However, what she's experiencing is a right of passage and all I can do is offer her a shoulder.

So, Ashley had a good time.

And now...I have to get busy writing my talk for church tomorrow.

OH! but first, here are some bluebells in full bloom at the side of the house. The picture doesn't do justice to the color, but since I don't have a camera any more (grrrrrr) this will have to do. Aren't they gorgeous?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


"Mom I feel like I'm going to throw up and not in a good way"
"There's a good way?"
"Well, you can throw up candy"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Illegal things at school

Ashley was looking off into space at the dinner table this evening. I asked her what she was thinking about.

"You don't know what you were thinking about?"
"I spent 8 hours thinking today. I can't think anymore"
"What were you thinking about for 8 hours?"
"The WASL. I had to do the writing part today"
"What did you write about"
"I can't tell you"
"What do you mean you can tell me?"
"It's against the law"
"It's against the law to tell me what you were doing at school today?"

At this point I was laughing and so was my father.

"It's true!! I can't tell you about it! They told us we can't talk about it"
"Maybe I should ask your teacher about it"
"She doesn't know either"
"Your teacher doesn't know what it was you were doing in class today?"
"Nope. She doesn't even get to see what we did. We have to send it somewhere else"
"Where does it go?"
"I think it goes to Yakima"
"Yeah, there are special teachers there to look at that stuff"
"Your teacher isn't special?"

Oh how I love this child of mine.

Monday, April 20, 2009

18 years ago today.....

I went under the knife. I'll spare you the gory and painful details, but the end result was a man child. We named him Christopher, but called him Critter. He goes by Chris to his friends.

Today he turned 18 years old.


He wanted to go to Red Robin for dinner so that's where we took him. It was just me and the girls. Before we went, he made me promise not to say anything to the waitress about it being his birthday. He didn't want to be embarrassed by the singing and clapping that they do.

"I promise I won't say a thing"
I didn't promise I wouldn't write a note to the waitress on a napkin.

I held it up to her as I was ordering and he was looking somewhere else. She winked at me and I knew the singing and clapping was assured.

So while we waited for the burgers and fries, Steph and Chris did a bit of coloring.It's nice to see that although some things change, a lot of things don't.

Before the burgers came, he opened his cards and gifts from us and his Grandparents. See how happy he is? Ok, he doesn't LOOK happy, but trust me, he's happy.

The burgers arrived and there was the satisfied munching of all carnivores present. Then came the fun part! The singing and the red face of my son.

Allison asked to make the cake for Chris and she's been planning it for weeks. She made fondant for the very first time and here's the end result.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Earth Day

Lance and Ash went to volunteer at an Earth Day event in Carkeek Park. They picked up trash on the road

Ash had a good couple of hours flagging on the road to keep the other volunteers safe from cars racing down the windy roads to the park. She's the one in the blue jacket carrying the orange flag.
She then stenciled on drain grills to make certain people know that they drain into streams where fish and other wildlife live. Didn't she do a good job? Afterward they were treated to pizza and juice and the satisfaction of a job well done in defense of the environment.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I was sitting in a meeting with parents and teachers, therapists, speech therapists, and other school officials on Wednesday. I was interpreting for the meeting and at one point the teacher stopped talking and just looked at me and told me that my hair was the prettiest color she'd ever seen.

It made my day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This is my 12 year old Allison and the flowers her 'boyfriend' gave her today at school. Apparently it's their four month anniversary.


He didn't actually hand them to her---he gave them to his friend to give them to her.(How Middle School is that?) This is the text message conversation that my husband and I had after I sent him that photo.

Lance: "FROM JARYD??"

Me: "Ayup"

Lance: "GET MY GUN!!"

Me: "Ayup"

Lance: "I'm happy for her but scared for us"

Me: "Ayup"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How do you get to the point.....

Where you think it's a good idea to go off into the night and smash the windows on parked cars and then steal what's inside?

How do people get to that point? We're all born the same. Tiny infants, innocent babies who are loved and cuddled and hopefully taught right from wrong, taught the Golden Rule.

Where do these people come from? Did they start out telling little fibs to their mommy and daddy and get away with it? Did they steal penny candy from the corner grocery store and never get caught? Or if their mom caught them, was she too tired and embarrassed to drag the child back into the store and march them up to the counter to have them give the candy back and apologize for what they'd done? My Niece did just that the other day with three screaming children in tow. Hard? You bet. Worth it? Very. I had to do the same thing when my four children were small. It embarrassed the daylights out of them----as well it should.

You should be mortified when you do something wrong. When you lie, when you steal, when you swear at someone, when you drive drunk, when you hit someone or when you hurt someone's feelings.

I think perhaps some of the problem is that parents are disconnected from the their children. I also know that that's not always the case either---the best intentions of the parents and all the teaching of wrong vs right to a child should make a difference but children also have free agency to do what they will.

And some do just that.

But hopefully the early training they receive in life will bring them back around to living an honest and decent life after a time wallowing in scummy walk ways of life.

I do not know the person or persons who smashed in the window of my suburban on Thursday night. I know they took more than my purse, my camera, wallet, pictures, money and for some reason my novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. They took my sense of security as well.

At first I was devastated and angry and crying.

Now? I've replaced my purse, some of my Spanish teaching materials, gotten a replacement drivers license, canceled all my cards and had the window fixed but my sense of security is still missing. I don't think it will ever come back.

And as for the thug who did this.....I do hope you find your conscience again. I hope you come to understand that taking something that's not yours is wrong. Plain wrong. You take so much more than physical objects when you destroy someone's property and rob them.

I hope you turn your life around and become the person God intended you to be and not the thieving cretin that you are now.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

This goes above and beyond the call of being Blond

My son. My delightful seventeen-soon-to-be-eighteen son.

Every morning he gets up and drives himself to seminary (for those of you non-LDS, it's a morning scripture study class for high schoolers). He takes our small car and then parks it in front of school when he gets there.

Hubby and I get up and we take the girls to school each morning a few hours later. Then I drop hubby off where The Boy has parked the car, he drives it back home and then drives it to work.

Are you with me so far? Good.

So he leaves the house around 6:20-6:30 every morning. Seminary is from 6:30 til about 7:15 or so. He then drives a few blocks to school and parks the car.

In theory, and usually in practice, this is when he TURNS the car OFF, removes the key, locks the door and walks into school.

Not so today.

When I dropped hubby off at the parked car, it was parked all right. It was even locked. The problem? IT WAS RUNNING. Key in ignition, car running.

For over an hour. Sitting in front of the high school. Running.

This is one of those moments when my husband and I look at each other, brows furrowed and attempt to figure out how he managed to do what he did.

Thus far, we've yet to come to any satisfactory conclusion to any of the things he's done.

I'm sorry, but even being blond doesn't quite cover this.

Does it?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The duckie of comfort strikes again

Thankfully we didn't need him on Tuesday when she was feeling pretty good and we went to Children's Hospital for her swim therapy. Trina, her swim therapist, really worked her hard. I was so proud of her.

Then we had lunch outside in the glorious sunshine at the hospital.

I snapped this picture of Daddy and his girl. Such love.....

And then it all went downhill from there.

Another bad night for Ash and back to the pediatrician we went.

Then of course we were sent to Children's Hospital for a blood draw. Apparently we're testing for everything under the sun and a few things on the dark side of the moon.

This did not please Ashley Rose. Boy did it ever not please her. Thankfully we had her Occupational Therapist there to offer comfort. She's better than a tranquilizer.

There was a mix up at the lab and things were not going very smoothly so I promised her if she'd not put up a huge fuss I'd get her a stuffed duckie at the gift shop afterwards.

It worked. The Duckie of Comfort. Much like the Cheseecake of Comfort, but with less calories and no guilt. Ok, who am I kidding. There's guilt. There's always guilt.

Bit I digress. We're also supposed to catch/collect/gather and otherwise retain, samples. If you'd like to know just what kind of samples, watch this Youtube video. Ash actually sang this song to me while were at the pediatrician's office after we were told what we needed to collect.

I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I got drilled

by this. Today was Dental Day for our family. I hauled all six of us to the dentist for cleanings and to get my tooth repaired. I broke off a filling and part of a tooth last week.

For the record, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Dr. Madsen is the best. I barely felt the needle. I will shamelessly recommend him to all my dentally-challenged friends.

There were six cleanings done and not one cavity was discovered! See? I knew all this investing in toothpaste and fighting the kids every night about brushing their teeth would pay off in the end.

When we finished up we drove around our old haunts and shopped at the grocery store there that has food (in some instances) at half the price of what we pay here in Seattle. We over-shopped, but mostly purchased necessary items. Like hair coloring and strawberry pop tarts.

You may think the hair coloring is for my daughter and the pop tarts are for me, but you would be mistaken.

Which reminds me. I didn't make it to the gym today. Or yesterday. Ugh. See what happens when there's no school to keep me on a schedule? I go all wonky. Tomorrow I'll have to go and do double time on the treadmill for my sins.

That will be after we do another full frontal assault on the basement room. There WILL be a family room in the basement.