Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Oh, I am in so much trouble!

I've misplaced (I'm not quite ready to concede to "lost") Michael's very expensive, very most favorite Halloween costume: his gorilla outfit. No, Michael doesn't need his costume for anything naughty of his own... but yes, we are already in preparation for Halloween at my house--remember who I married!

As if that weren't bad enough, I also helped Evan switch into early morning seminary today so that he could fit choir into his school schedule. Now Evan has to be out the door at 6:15 instead of 7:15, and that means scripture reading gets bumped up, too. Evan's comment to me was, "I am so worried about Dad. If he didn't sleep on the couch downstairs sometimes, he wouldn't make it to Scriptures as it is!" So one way or another someone is going to miss scripture reading: Evan if we leave it the way it is now, or Michael if we try and make it any earlier!

Then, I went and broke the vacuum. Actually, both vacuums are broken, but only one of them is my fault. I'm going to blame the other vacuum breakage on "Not Me." Not Me seems to do most everything bad around our house.

Finally, I can't stop laughing over this picture of Joshua in Goblin Valley. If you don't see anything funny about the picture, then you are a good, non-naughty person, and I am proud of you. Troy, my friend, this one's for you!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007



Monday, August 27, 2007


Watch this! She's mean, too! Thanks to Lani for sending it.

I am also, by the way, HIRED. I am now officially teaching preschool 1/2 days at Oakwood Elementary School. Parent Orientation is Thursday, and I begin teaching next Wednesday. It's actually a little less money than originally thought, but still more than substituting. I'm a little amazed that it all went through, since I was pretty demanding about only wanting afternoons and only at Oakwood, but they gave it to me. I wonder where this new road will lead me?

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I have had a very nice day. Nothing in particular happened, but normal can be nice.

We went to church this morning. Lane's friend Cody was the youth speaker, and he talked about his family. He also talked about Joseph Smith and how amazing it is to him that Joseph Smith was his same age when he was touched by a scripture (James 1:5) that changed his life.

That is so interesting to me. The whole age-thing blows me away; not only that a 14 year old boy would be contemplating such things as what church to join, but that he did something about it. And then, after he had so remarkable an answer, people actually believed him (read here for more info.), and they still do today. I have a hard time imagining Lane, who is 14, going to the scriptures for guidance. I have a hard time remembering to do that myself, and I know better! I have an even harder time imagining that I would listen and believe Lane if he told me he had seen God the Father and Jesus Christ. Amazingly, Joseph's mother did listen and believe. That's a very good lesson to me.

Cody's dad also spoke. His topic was prayer. It was very, very well done and I felt inspired to be better in so many ways. One thing that stuck with me from some of the scriptures he read were these "c" verbs: call, cry, continue (Alma 34:17-19), cry and counsel (Alma 37:36-37). I have always liked alliteration, so these words appealed to me. I also like the ideas and feelings that each of these verbs elicits when used in conjunction with prayer.

After Sacrament Meeting I headed over to another ward to visit their Primary. While I was there I chatted with one of the teachers who had her recently returned missionary son with her. I asked him how long he had been home, where he had gone, what he was doing now, etc. I asked him if he would be going to the single's ward, and (this is so great!) he asked me if I went to that ward! I'm telling you, ladies, it's the MAC eyeshadow that does it!

After church I got to read a book (Lindsay's recommendation, "The Samurai's Garden") and take a nap (my recommendation). Is there anything more glorious than that (besides having a 21 year old ask if you're attending the single's ward...)?! Not much. Then, as if my day weren't great enough already, Lindsay and fam came over for dinner. What would Sunday be without our Daniel fix?

After the Daniels left we had a short family council about school starting tomorrow. Man, oh man, are my kids excited! What makes my kids want to get away from me so badly? Don't answer that! Wonderful Michael gave each of the kids a Father's Blessing in preparation for tomorrow. It really was touching. Evan's reaction was the best because he was so excited about Michael's admonition to date a lot! If ever a boy wanted to be obedient to his is this boy right now.

And, if ever there were a great and uplifting day, this was it. Thanks for letting me share.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Out with the old...

And in with the new!

The way to be nice is this:

Wake up at 6:15 am and take a shower. Listen to see whether 16 year old son is getting up or not.
Be ever so impressed when you hear 16 year old son wake up and take a shower at 6:25 am.
Be even more impressed when you see 16 year old son searching for the paperwork he needs to get his driver's license.
Get in the car at 6:52 am (16 year old driving, of course).
Begin to relax and think maybe 16 year old son actually does know how to drive.
Realize that your 16 year old son may know how to drive, but that he is getting off on the wrong exit and heading southbound on I-15-- far, far away from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Try very, very hard not to FREAK OUT!
Finally arrive at DMV at 7:15 am.
Stand in line that is winding its way out the front door. Try very, very, very hard not to FREAK OUT, just because you have to be somewhere at 10:00 am!
Wait in same line for 25 minutes.
Get a number (D323, just for the record) at the end of the line. Move forward to lobby and sit on chairs to wait 57 minutes for D323 to be called. A book is very helpful at this point.
Move to window underneath flashing D323. Let DMV lady, Angie, input info into the computer.
Try very, very hard to not FREAK OUT when Angie says that Evan's mother is listed as Gaylynne Hanson, not Keri Vance, and Keri Vance must have document stating that she is a legal guardian for 16 year old son. Make a comment (very nicely, of course) about how you just went through this at the Birth Certificate Office (that wait time: 63 minutes).
Be ever so grateful and relieved when Angie says, "I totally understand. I'm in the same situation..." and begins typing "Keri Vance" in computer blank marked "mother." Be even more grateful when Angie says, "Always put Keri Vance as your mother, Evan. She is your mother."
Listen as 16 year old son chats with Angie about his "new life with license." Be impressed (again) with his ability to talk with strangers, despite the stutter that invariably starts to sound.
Pay $30 license fee for 16 year old son to be happy.
Wait for 9 minutes for 16 year old son to get his picture taken.
Wish that you had a camera to capture the moment 16 year old son is handed his driver's license.
Let 16 year old son drive home.
Listen and laugh when 16 year old tells his father, over the phone, that he was unable to get his license (sob, sob) because the DMV found out that his dad drove for UPS and they couldn't trust the training his dad would have given him! Good one, Evan!
Let 16 year old son have the car for the day.
Yes, I am very, very nice.

P.S. Just so you know, I tried to be nice on Tuesday. I repented from telling Evan he couldn't get his license that day and offered to go back to the DMV with him that afternoon. Evan said that he would rather hang out with his friend. So much for my niceness.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Well, if not beautiful...then at least the most tan I have been in the past decade and a half (and, don't worry, Dad, I did wear sunscreen, hats, and cover-ups, unlike my youthful sun-bather days...). Not that that makes me very tan (very tan would be Michael and the boys), but after 10 days in the sun, I no longer qualify as an albino.

The first 3 days of our vacation were spent in Moab, Utah, floating down a muddy brown river. Sadly for Michael, the river rafting experience was more like my ideal trip than his, but sadly for me, whether mellow or mayhem, you still can't read a book while floating down a river.

You can, however, read lots of books at Lake Powell. After I made Michael "buy" us all showers in Moab ($5 at the local water park), we continued on to Lake Powell where the Vance Family was reunion-ing. There we spent the week reading, eating, sunning, playing, swimming, gaming, hiking, talking, fishing, climbing, napping, knee boarding, water skiing, tubing...well, you get the picture!

When describing our week on a house boat at Lake Powell, the phrase, "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," is what immediately comes to mind. The Good: getting to read, being with my family, and watching all the cousins enjoy themselves immensely.

The Bad: the grown ups didn't get along quite as well as the kids did. Too many people with too many tempers in too tiny of a space...not too nice at times.

The Ugly: too many people in too tiny of a space having to use the restroom a few too many times...just plain nasty. There are times that my mother-in-law's loss of her sense of smell really is a blessing to her.

But the plan was to get the whole family (total 24) together in one place, and that was accomplished, so add that to The Good. We're all still talking to each other, and are willing to vacation together again (just no more houseboats, please), so keep the good list going and those vacations coming!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Today's classic quote comes from Evan who just tearfully told me, "You don't really even care about me!" before slamming the front door.
This is because I won't let Evan go back and get his driver's license today after we already went there once and had to come home because Evan forgot his paperwork.
We'll try again tomorrow. I can't wait to see what havoc I can wreak in my childrens' lives until then.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


On our way home from Lindsay's house tonight, Lane told me that I am mean. Well, he didn't say it like that, exactly. Instead he said that I always glare at him and give him the evil eye. He told me that I treat him differently from the other two boys, always giving them whatever they want, but never letting him have or do anything. He said that I never listen to him because I do things like make him stop talking when he puts other people down (which he has to do, he explained, in order to make himself feel better about himself. He has low self-esteem, you see, because I am always giving him the evil eye, treat him worse than his brothers, and don't listen to him).
I would probably be more concerned about this, except that:
  • I said practically the same things to my mother when I was Lane's age.

  • Joshua told me yesterday that I treat Lane better than I treat him.

  • Evan said, "I used to feel that way, too." And now he's nice.

  • I really am mean.

Even with my evil eye, I have been able to notice a few things about Lane. He is a very good looking kid, and one apparently blessed to be able to go through adolescence without the gangly awkwardness that seems to plague most teenagers. Not only is he physically beautiful, he is physically talented. He excels at anything athletic, and does it with finesse. Lane is also absolutely charming, and has a definite flair for entertaining people with his antics and sayings. Lane is fantastic with little kids. They clamor to be with him. Lane is a fun friend. We will soon have to install another phone line just to accommodate all the calls he gets from other teens, girls and guys alike, wanting to hang out with him. Lane wants to help his friends. He was willing to give up an afternoon of fun, food, and games at Lindsay's house today so that he could go to our home ward and make sure his friend showed up and stayed at church. And, Lane smells good. He has, after all, been wearing deodorant since kindergarten. Lane is special, unique, fun, and frustrating. I love him. If ever there is a time that he doesn't like having me around, I could just remind him that it's his fault that I'm here at all, since he was the one who first talked to me in church, oh so many years ago, and got his dad to look my way. Thanks, Lane. You're worth keeping around, if only so I can keep being mean for a little while longer.


This morning Lindsay, Dana, and I sang in church. In true Slade-style, we got together and practiced for about half an hour before church, and that was it. This sort of thing makes my husband crazy, because he would want to practice daily for at least 3 weeks. Also true to Slade-style, we were fabulous--made-up words/parts/and all. This sort of thing should make us repent and start practicing our musical numbers at least 3 weeks prior to performing, but, like I said, we were fabulous. Why fix what ain't broke?
I would like to thank my mother for making this morning's music possible. I have a billion jumbled memories of our family standing/sitting/slouching/grouching around the piano, sheet music in hand, as she would lead us in some choral arrangement that we were to sing somewhere together. Oh, how often I heard our family referred to as "The Slade Family Singers!" It made me crazy!
And now I miss it.
I am so grateful for the skills our mother taught us. Our ability to read music has influenced each and every one of our lives for good. Being able to hear and sing parts has brought me so many wonderful opportunities. Recognizing the musicality of a piece, or knowing how to enhance it, has given me great joy. And although I am barely proficient at the piano, being able to pluck out a piece or two has enabled me to participate in so many positive activities. Additionally, I'm even grateful for the skill of flubbing and faking my way through a song.
Thanks for the music, Mom.
And now it's time for Lindsay, Emma, and me to go watch High School Musical 2. I hope it's as good as the three singing Slades were this morning!


I'm back. Let the laundry begin!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Buh-bye! As of 4 o'clock in the A.M. tomorrow I am out of here and on my way to go river rafting down the beautimous Colorado River (actually, I don't think I've ever seen the Colorado River, but one can only assume that it is beautimous because, duh, it comes from--or maybe goes to, or at least has something to do with--COLORADO!).

The whole family of 5 is going. This is actually just supposed to be for the youth of the ward, but either since I am so youthful, or because none of the Young Women leaders could go and Michael is the Young Men's president so he said I'd be happy to go, I am going along. If only I had known sooner, I could have planned a little better.
This is a river rafting trip with Keri in charge:

This, I'm afraid, is a river rafting trip with Michael in charge:

And guess who's in charge of this one!
See you in about a week , if I survive!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I just had seven children.
And, no, I don't mean in the "natural childbirth" sort of way.
All I did was babysit.
Seven children.
For three hours.

Seven children is what my mother had. Seven children is what my mother raised (and is still raising) for 36+ years now. No three hour stint for her. (Look here to see what she has done!)

My mother is a saint.

Not only did she raise seven of us, but I think she did a pretty darn good job of it, to boot! We all went to school, we all wore clean clothes, we all participated in various activities, we all had friends (excluding, perhaps, me in junior high), we all learned to play an instrument (or two), we all made it to college, and we all like each other.

I was just glad that Dana came home. Glad, and exhausted. God knew what He was doing when He only gave me three children, half-way raised, and well-spaced. I would have been overwhelmed by any more blessings. Overwhelmed...and...exhausted...Good-night!

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Today is Fast Sunday, and, as many an immature Mormon will tell you, it is anything but fast. We did get to have dinner at my Aunt Laurie's house, though, so it is true that good things come to those who wait! Thanks, oh Lovely One!

In Sunday School we talked about the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit poured out upon the people gathered together in celebration of this feast. Many wonderful things happened, and the people were able to speak in tongues (see Acts, chapter 2).

12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine

Those little scriptures reminded me of a fellow I knew in Japan who called me "Dorunku Shimai" (Sister Drunk). I always thought he called me this because I was so happy--this was in my last area, and I really was happy: I loved the people, I loved the work, I loved my companion, and I loved being almost done. After reading these scriptures again today, though, I would like to think that I seemed drunk, like the New Testament people, because I was filled with the Holy Ghost. I'd even like to believe that I could speak in tongues when testifying of Christ. Yeah. I'd like to think that.

Most likely, I was just a little crazy.

I would like to tell you, though, that I have felt the Holy Ghost many times throughout my life. I felt it just today while listening to other's bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I felt it this afternoon when Joshua offered a sweet but simple prayer that our friends' baby will be born healthy. I felt it yesterday as I entered the chapel for a Stake baptism. I felt it as I played the piano and heard the congregation sing "Scripture Power." I felt it when I worked outside in the yard with my family. I felt it when Michael held my hand in the kitchen. And those are just some recent moments.

37 ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

I have been pricked in my heart, too, and know that what I should do is tell you that I know Jesus Christ loves me. I know that He sees me for me, rotten stinking inside secret weaknesses and all, and only wants me to be true to who I really am, and will love me all the way there. He is my Savior. He reaches my reaching, and lifts me to a higher place every time I am ready to climb. I am grateful to have the Holy Ghost as my constant companion. I have been comforted, taught, guided, and witnessed to through the influence of the Holy Ghost. I also know that our Heavenly Father has a plan for me. I even know that I am fulfilling that plan, at least in part. My heart tells me so. And the thing is, I know that these things are true for you, too, and that you can know it just like me. The Holy Ghost will tell you how.

26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Yoo-hoo! Is your phone ringing?

Now, for some Sunday evening questions-and-answers...

Question #1: "What was your favorite activity between the ages of 5-10?"
Question #2: "Write a want ad that describes you."
I can't. A want ad implies that I want to be wanted somewhere else, or why would I be advertising? And I don't want to be anywhere but here.
Question #3: "Describe your wedding dress."
It was white and shiny. It had long sleeves. There was a kind of lacy fabric at the top that my mom and I drove to Mexico (from El Centro, CA) to buy. I think it is what you would call an A-line, but I could be completely wrong about that. I wouldn't fit into it anymore. I am not wrong about that, although it is sick and wrong that I am a bigger woman now, and not in a good way. My cousin Britt wore it as her wedding dress, as well. The back of it got a scorch mark on it from the brake light in the trunk of the car Michael and I drove back to Utah from our reception in Colorado. I have no idea where my dress is now. Maybe my mom's closet? I guess I won't be wearing it to the prom anytime soon.
Question #4: "Describe a typical day in Jr. High."
Enough said.
I would be depriving you, though, if I didn't give you a little insight into my Jr. High life. What should we start with? The boys who barked at me as they walked past in the halls? How about the "friends" I made when I first moved to Colorado, the ones who's favorite joke was something about "Master Bates"? It took me a few years before I clued into that one. Then there was the fabulous CSU basketball game where Bryan Haynes et al yelled across the bleachers, "Keri Slade hurts..." several times before my dad stormed up about eight rows of bleachers to grab Bryan by the collar and instruct him in a manner I can only imagine. There was the one school dance I dared attend; a spectacular event which left my bum sore from sitting the whole time. Lunch time was exceptionally lonely. So were school assemblies. I could go on, what with glorious glasses, beautiful braces, and pretty pimples (I remember the afternoon I almost passed out from the pain when I accidentally bumped my zit on a window I was looking through). But let me close with a personal favorite, my memories of Jr. High P.E.: as if it weren't bad enough to be the proverbial "last one picked," I also got to be the first one in my row for daily stretches and jumping jacks--jumping jacks which were invariably punctuated by the expulsion of stinky gas which, unfortunately, has not been limited to just my Jr. High years. Just thought you'd like to know.