Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Bowl

If you're in the area and in the mood for a good 'ole fashioned Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl (football game), come to our family friendly version Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at Spanish Oaks!

We will play rain, snow or shine. I'm going to bring a batch of hot chocolate and maybe donuts if you're lucky!

And family friendly means it's not just the boys playing. It's moms, daughters, sons, grandma's, dad's- EVERYONE!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My New Favorite Store

So I'm still losing weight and finding it frustrating to buy new clothes to have them fit for a month or two- what's the point?

And thanks to Amberlyn, I am now under the impression that the only jeans I look good in or fit me are Gap ones. So since those are $50 or more per pair, I had to find a new way to find clothes that I love, look cute in, and feel cute in. As you know if you've every tried to lose weight that feeling is the most important feeling in the world to keeping the weight off. If I start to feel fat again, well, I'll just become that, right?


That's it! It's perfect. My friend told me she only buys her jeans at DI. So Amberlyn and I took a little trip yesterday up to the American Fork DI (cuz that's where the rich people are) and it was fabulous. I got 3 pairs of jeans (1 Gap, 1 Old Navy, 1 Levi's) for $6 each. I also bought a cute sweater for Sunday ($3) and a Gap jean skirt ($5) AND 1 Gap jean jacket (so cute!) for $8!

And the best news of all? The jeans were all a size 14, the skirt a 12, and the sweater and jacket a size Medium.


Oh... and I've now moved from the "obese" category to the "overweight" category on my Wii Fit.

I'll post a picture once I wear one of my new DI pieces of clothing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Huhtala vs. Spanish Oaks Elementary

As I began writing this post, I realized that I haven't shared my 2 previous, similar experiences on my blog and that I needed to catch everyone up before explaining why I feel like I'm fighting a war against my children's school.

First Experience- September
Alex came home and asked Ed what nude art was. He said his teacher showed a picture of nude art and explained some artists paint or sculpt people not wearing any clothes. Alex said he felt "yucky" about it. I e-mailed the teacher (after calming Ed down) and she e-mailed back an explanation. The nude art was on the same page as another picture of art that she wanted to show the kids. She had her hand covering the nude art and explained that artists believe the human body to be beautiful so much of their artwork is depicting the human form. She apologized for her lack in judgement and realized that even though she covered it up, she should not have introduced it in 2nd grade.

Second Experience- October
I was cooking dinner when Hannah, who was reading a book from the 5th grade reading list, asked me what an affair was. 5 minutes later she wanted to know what rape was. She was reading the biography of Rosa Parks for her October Reading Project. I sent the other kids out to play and talked to Hannah. She was a little disturbed by both definitions but we had a good, candid discussion. I e-mailed the teacher and cc'd the principal this time. My position was: 1)when the school sends home a 5th grade reading list, parents think that books on the list are age-appropriate especially if nothing on the list indicates otherwise, 2) Teachers shouldn't put books on a list if they personally haven't read them and, 3) a lot of kids would not ask their parents- they would ask friends or not ask at all. This is dangerous! I also explained that if there was an asterisk by the book or something to alert me to the fact that I might want to supervise the reading of this book that I would have read it first to determine if Hannah was allowed to read it. The teacher e-mailed me back and said that she had met with the entire 5th grade staff and that they were re-doing the list and taking off any book that had not been read by one or more of the teachers. She apologized and thanked me for bringing it to her attention. Hannah now has a new 5th Grade Reading List that contains only books that have been pre-screened.

Hannah came home and asked to speak with me privately. We went into my room (bathroom actually because you know me, I have to multi-task) and she told me that they attended an assembly at school where the "safety instructor" talked to them about good touch and bad touch. The "safety instructor" went into great detail and talked about private parts- why girls have different private parts than boys and vice verse. She also showed a video of a girl who was being molested (I don't think they showed it) by her uncle. Her uncle was touching her private parts and he was making her touch his. The girl had "a secret" that she couldn't share with anyone. Hannah said the whole assembly made her uncomfortable. She said, "I only talk about this kind of stuff with you and Dad." Why are they making me learn about it in school and talk about it? She also told me that there was a 4th grade assembly that last year her teacher opted out of because he said "you should talk about this stuff at home not at school."

I called the office to set up an appointment with the Principal. She didn't call me back so while I was at the school today, I popped into the office. The Principal has had a death in the family so she won't be available for a week or so. That's totally fine. I left another message and told the Secretary to just have Mrs. Tingey call me when she was available and back into the full swing of things. I told the Secretary what my concern was. She told me I was the 3rd parent to complain today about the assembly and that they can't notify parents about those kinds of assemblies because what if the parent is the abuser? I wasn't going to get into it with her but this just got me going! Since when is it the school's job to raise our children? And we think it's going to get any better under Obama? AAAAAAHHHH! (sorry... that was low-blow political jab..... ignore it if you love him)

I believe in sex education in schools. I believe in assemblies that help educate children about dangerous relationships and strangers. I believe in children reading books about the 1960's , and the Holocaust, and all other historic events even if they are horrible. However, I believe that the schools should do all of this WITH the parent's permission, WITH their supervision, and WITH their support.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who's on the Lord Side?

I happened upon a blog while I was doing some research for my lesson. Here is the link if you're interested: At a quick glance, it appears to be a blog where several LDS women blog about church lesson helps, politics, and other items that affect LDS women.

On the right hand column of the page, there are post teasers that they call "chatter". One of them caught my eye. It said, "Prop 8 Fallout: where do we go from here?" I really enjoyed the post and could sympathize with the writer even though I didn't actively campaign for Prop 8. I am grateful to the church members in California for their hard work and service and I feel that Prop. 8 would not have passed without their efforts.

The comments on the post leave a lot to be desired. A lot of the comments are from "active LDS members" who opposed Prop. 8 and want to let the world know that not all Mormons want to take away other's civil rights. Some comments talk about how it's within their right to disagree with the Prophet and still get a Temple Recommend. The comments criticize the way the church is ran and how church resources (namely $$$) are distributed.

I wanted to post so badly my thoughts on this but I knew it wouldn't come out nice so I refrained. As I read down the comments, I did read a few opinions from those that held my same opinion. I do not think it's right to openly criticize the church and openly disagree with our Priesthood Leaders.

I have struggled with doctrine in the past. I have struggled with local ward leader's decisions. And I have even been guilty of gossiping about these struggles in an attempt to win other's favor and nods of agreement. Misery loves company.

I have learned that my behavior of gossiping about it and creating contention doesn't do anyone, least of all myself, any good. Now when I question something or have a hard time, I first go to Father in Heaven in prayer. Second to my husband and close friends who won't judge me for my opinions. It's during these conversations with Ed and my friends that my heart if softened, my mind is open, and my mouth is closed. I appreciate my friends who can help me find peace with doctrine and help teach me to not feed my rebellious soul.

I didn't feel that the people who wrote these posts were trying to find peace. I felt like they were spreading contention by trying to convince others that their opposition of Prop. 8 was justified. And as I read down the comments, I felt that this contention snowballed out of control. I feel sad for those who don't agree with Prop. 8 but hope that they can find the peace and freedom that comes with obedience.

As I talked about this with Ed- he read me a passage in the book, "50 Signs of the Times" by David J. Ridges. It is long but I wanted to share it:

The book is organized by stating the sign and the category of the sign (as in "Been Fulfilled, "Currently being fulfilled" and "Yet, Future")

Sign #29

"People will refuse to believe obvious truth and will instead adhere to fables and falsehood. Category: Being Fulfilled

This prophecy of conditions shortly preceding the Second Coming of Christ needs little explanation. When people get sufficiently wicked and selfish, they no longer think rationally.

Indeed, wickedness does not promote rational thought. In the face of social trends and political posturing which, to the the rational mind, will obviously lead to the destruction of society as we know it, with its built-in safeguards for human freedom and use of agency, such people stand aghast at truth and moral principles. They flush in anger at those who advocate the standards of the Bible and the gospel of Christ as the basis for the survival of society.

Paul, the Apostle, prophesied in Timothy: He said, 'For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.'

We often apply these verses to the gospel and the tendency of the spiritually blind and deaf to reject its teachings and blessings. This is certainly the case. However, no doubt these verses can be applied also to common sense and rational thought processes in all matters relating to the governing of nations and communities as well as to standards to which the media should be held accountable. The "teachers, having itching ears" and "fables" mentioned by Paul can certainly include the peers of those who would have us pass unrighteous or unwise laws, as well as the peers and fans of Hollywood and other media production centers who insist on the "anything goes" philosophy of entertainment."

I don't post this to be on a high horse or self-righteous. I post this
#1) to remind myself to stay committed to the Gospel of Christ and to not be deceived,

#2) the Second Coming is getting nearer every day and we are in the process of being separated- time to get off the fence, and

#3) to make a stand. Prop. 8 is not about civil rights. It is about the true definition of marriage. I believe that marriage should only exist between a man and a woman. I believe that by stating this that I'm following the Prophet and other leaders of the church, and more importantly, Jesus Christ.

I wonder that in the future, if the Church will make a stand that I struggle to support. I wonder if I have the strength to be obedient. I wonder that while I feel I'm on the Lord's side of the Prop. 8 issue, what will come along to make me tempted to stand on the other side?

AND.... most importantly, do I have the strength to deal with ALL OF THIS while at the same time leading, teaching, caring for, loving and nurturing my own little family?

George Lucas- you are the Man!

Dear Mr. Lucas,

Enclosed is a letter from my 7 year old son, Alex. He ordered “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” from his book order at school which he received today. As he sat down to start reading the book, he exclaimed, “I’m going to write a letter to Mr. George Lucas because I’m his biggest fan!”

He hand-wrote the letter (enclosed) and I re-typed it to make it easier for you. I had him add a paragraph to the typed version. I told him that he should ask you a question that you could answer if you wrote him back. I explained to him that you are very busy and he may not hear back from you.

When I asked him if he would be okay if you never replied back, he bit his lip, sighed, and nodded- which is his way of trying to be brave.

Thanks in advance and thanks for making great movies that entertain my husband and 3 boys. This way I can get more than a moments peace- 2 hours at least!

Very Sincerely,

Amy Huhtala

Alex's letter to Mr. Lucas:

November 5, 2008

Dear George Lucas,

Me and my Dad are your biggest fans of your books and movies. The book I’m reading right now is “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. I’ve seen the cartoon and I’m reading the book so I can see if the book is the same as the movie.

I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies except for “Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith”. I haven’t seen this one because it’s rated PG-13 and my parents will not let me watch it. My Dad says you are going to make 3 more Star Wars movies and I was wondering if this was true. If it is, what will you call the movies?


Your biggest fan ever,

Alex Emil Huhtala

P.S. You rock! And I love your last name. I’m 7 and my Dad is 36.
And… You’re Awesome!

We just sent this envelope off late last week and Alex started asking yesterday if he could check the mail. He also asked me this morning at 7 a.m. I'm hoping that it doesn't take forever and they actually write him back- he is so excited. If I don't hear back in a few weeks, I'll have to take matters into my own hands!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Nice Lesson...

Okay so I know that the RS lessons are inspired and that there is a reason we need to learn about the things in the Joseph Smith manual. I also suspect that by tomorrow at 1:55 p.m. MST, I'll be looking back on a great lesson and regret this venting session.

However... Come On! Give us teachers a break! We're supposed to teach 45-50 minutes on a lesson composed solely of a few paragraphs of Church History and letters written by Joseph Smith to Emma and the kids? Hello!

So these are my ideas so far:

1. Copy and paste each letter from the lesson into an individual letter addressed to Emma and have participants pick a letter out of a basket to read and discuss.

2. Break into groups and have each group pretend they are leaders of 5000 women and have to write one letter to this group of women that will be read in smaller congregations. We'll make this a latter-day experience. For example, these women are living in uncertain times when men threaten to take away all that these women hold dear, including the sanctity of families. What do they tell them to uplift, encourage and give them strength?

Ya- that's all I got. I've been thinking about it for a few weeks. I know it's late notice but does anyone have any profound ideas? Before you do, glance at the lesson to see what I'm up against.

Come One, Come All- Thanksgiving Hodge Podge

So for the first time in 4 years, Ed has Thanksgiving off! He works New Year's Eve and New Year's Day but has Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day off. I'm so excited and really looking forward to it.


There is always a but, right?

I was assuming (since I never heard different) that Ed's Mom, Susan was doing her traditional Thanksgiving Day at Grandma's. Come to find out..... Ed and Susan are going to Brigette's (Ed's sister in WA). Which I think is great and I'm glad they are visiting her but leaves us without Thanksgiving plans. (BTW, she told my Ed a few weeks or months ago.)

So I've decided to put on Thanksgiving here and I'm looking for those who would like to join us. So if you know of anyone in the Utah County area whose family members are far away and they don't have anyone to celebrate Thanksgiving with, please let me know. I thought about inviting my ward friends but most families have other family members in Utah and I knew I'd have to get through 25 invites before finding someone who would like to come. That kind of rejection would kill me!

Out-of-staters: This goes for you too. If you know someone here in this area or a member of your own family who can't get home for T-Day, and think they would have fun at my Thanksgiving of Fun- please let me know.

I'm thinking we'll eat around 1 p.m. and then about 3 p.m. or 4 p.m., hit a movie. We're not that much into Football but we do have the one TV in the basement for sports fans.

And, we do have a guest room for any one needing a place to stay for the night or weekend.

So, come one, come 50, to the Huhtala Thanksgiving Feast of Fun!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Civic Duty

I am working the polls today.

I got to take an oath and everything.

I thought it would be an easy, quick way to make a $100. Turns out it's easy but long hours and the money isn't so quick. I'll be lucky if I get the check before Christmas.

But it's tax-free. Yippee!

And since my grandmother was a poll worker, I feel like I'm carrying on a family tradition in some sort of odd way.

I hope somebody acts crazy and I get to kick them out or something. It will shake things up a little. Hey, I did take an oath to defend the constitution and every citizens' right to vote freely and without fear. I take that oath seriously.

Did you know that you can't wear an Obama or McCain hat or shirt? You don't get kicked out or anything but you do have to take it off. Or, you know, turn it inside out if it's the only shirt you're wearing.

Anyway- happy voting. And if you come to vote at Larsen Elementary, bring your I.D. because I can't verify your identity even though I know you.

I took an oath!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ice Pie Comb?

Every day, Aidan asks for an "Ice Pie Comb". This is toddler speak for "Ice Cream Cone." I'm not sure what started this.....

This summer, we made a lot of homemade ice cream. And if we stopped for a treat it was usually an ice cream cone.

He started out attempting to eat the entire thing, patiently licking the dripping sides. Occasionally, the scoop would fall out but he wouldn't fret. He just continued by eating the cone.

On our Disneyland trip he asked more than once a day. Finally, on the way home, we stopped at a Dairy Queen. He took 2-3 mouth fulls of the ice cream and was done.

He still asks, everyday, for an "ice pie comb". After the Beaver Dairy Queen experience, I started replying, "maybe later" to which he said, "Otay."

Today, instead of an "otay", I got, "But why?"

Are you serious? Already with the "whys?"

On the way home from Hannah's dentist appointment, she asked to stop for ice cream. Aidan was thrilled. He got 3 licks off the baby cone before the "ice pie" fell on the van floor. While Hannah cleaned up his mess, he ate the crunchy, stale cone. Yum!

Hannah and I determined that as far as Aidan was concerned, it's all about the "comb" and not the "ice pie."

Oh dear.

Happy Halloween!