Ode to The Ugly Sweater

Ugly Sweaters

All Hail Ugly Sweater Day!
The pink bells actually jingled when he walked

Last week, my two teenage boys informed me that they needed Ugly Sweaters. The reason? High School Spirit Week had designated one day as Ugly Sweater Day.

Ugly Sweaters. You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you. Those fashion faux pas of the 90s. The overly appliquéd, hand painted, tasseled, fringed, be-jeweled, sequined, buttons and bows, multi-patterned sweaters of days gone by.

My boys’ school Spirit Day isn’t the first we’ve heard of Ugly Sweater themes. My daughters’ Girl’s Camp, for the past five years, has made ugly sweaters a campfire must. TV shows and commercials have recently heralded the ugly sweater. Jimmy Fallon has a 12 Days of Christmas Sweaters give-away. Good Morning America has featured them. There’s even a viral video about a tacky sweater dance: Swants, they call it.

How did something so wrong become so cool? You’d think that in our sophisticated 21st century, we’d have let bygones be bygones. And, if we have officially designated them as “Tacky” now, how is it that 20+ years ago, they were beloved by so many? Continue reading


We Are All Survivors

December 1, 2013, a San Jose, California family took a single-engine Beech Bonanza plane from Oregon (where they had celebrated Thanksgiving) and planned to travel to Butte, Montana to drop off a son and daughter-in-law. The small plane was manned by father, Dale Smith, a very experienced pilot, and member of the Blossom Valley Ward in Almaden, California. Yes, they are members of the Church.

Also on board were his son and daughter-in-law Daniel and Sheree Smith, and his daughter Amber Smith and her fiancé, Jonathan Norton. The plane flew on a very clear day, but when it reached an area over central Idaho, Dale reported engine trouble and dropped out of contact. The plane had gone down. Now the search was on to find survivors in the rugged snowy mountain terrain. Continue reading

The 4 T’s

wooden-heart-2My friends and I have a saying: “Every day is Valentine’s Day at BYU-I.”

I cannot even begin to tell you how accurate this statement is. You can’t go anywhere on campus without seeing a sap-happy couple prancing about in young, gooshy love.

Bluck. It is kinda gross, I’m not gonna lie. However, I must admit that the daily Gag Fests have inspired me.

You heard me – Inspired.

I have commenced contemplating my future and noting the qualities I want in my hubby.

Even though Elder David A. Bednar (apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) quite bluntly advised that no one should ever make a list for a future spouse, I take confidence in knowing that I have not created a list, but an agenda of qualities I wish for my future guy.

Oh, it’s not long.  Just four simple points. Continue reading

First Thanksgiving Sans Girls

We have a close family. All for one and one for all. But I am especially close to my girls. We share the same taste in music, movies, style, and literature, and we have the same irreverent humor and sarcasm for life’s quirkiness. The mother-daughter bond in this family is pretty strong. Don’t get me wrong – I’m tight with my two boys as well, but it’s different with girls. I suppose it’s, well…a girl-thing: common passions, hormones, and interests. Life is just more enjoyable when the girls are around (my boys would agree).

Maybe that’s why Thanksgiving seemed so empty.

It was my first Thanksgiving without both of them. Ashley is serving a mission in Italy and Lauren is away at BYU in Idaho. Now, I’m independent and keep busy to a fault, so their absence hasn’t proved to be too much of a problem…

That is, until the day before Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Christmas Music


Lights at Temple Square, taken by my sister

December: Over-sized sweaters and pie and peppermint and ohmygoodnesssomanythings – and my ultimate vice: Christmas music.

I don’t know why I love it so much. I hear the same songs over and over again for 25 days straight, but I don’t care. For some strange, unfathomable reason, I stay loyal to the seasonal music.

So deep is my obsession, it has almost developed its own circadian rhythm.
Every August for the past several years, about the second or third week in, I succumb to the melomania and listen to a couple Christmas songs. Try as I might to deny the urge, I always fail and shamefully hide under my covers late at night as I secretly listen to my iPod.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

The cycle reaches hyper mode the day after Thanksgiving, when I finally have a legitimate excuse to start bingeing on holiday tunes. And it has hit me hard this year. Continue reading