Friday, October 31, 2008


Jack-O-Lanterns courtesy Todd, Michelle and Me

The witch is in; come sit for a spell

The traditional chili and cornbread for dinner

Ready for trick-or-treaters
(Bishop Rife promised full-size candy bars to ward members)

Ayden Turned Four!

It was fun to celebrate Ayden's fourth birthday with him at Chuckee Cheese!

Beautiful Sunrise

This beautiful sunrise was pointed out to me by my cute sixteen-year-old son the other morning as he was leaving for school. First of all, I'm glad that he noticed it and second, that he took the time to let me know because he knew it would make me happy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Missionary Nephew

Brent with Jenny and Laura

Dear Brent:

I just read your email and the tears are rolling down my face. I'm sorry it's SO hard. I know it is hard to be a missionary. But I also know it's worth it and it's important and it's what God wants for you and for the people you will teach. I'm so glad that you're there and that you know you should be and that we both know it will get better and that "all these things give you experience and will be for your good."

I know first hand how hard it is to be surrounded by people and places that are unfamiliar and that you can't understand. Just get through one day (hour, minute) at a time and know in your heart that you are where you are supposed to be, doing what you're supposed to do and that your family loves you and we're so proud of you.

Michael and his cohorts have been playing ping pong a lot. Let me explain: it is played without shirts and the loser of each match must go up against the wall while the winner pummels him with ping pong balls, causing little pink welts. There is much screaming going on during both the game and the "consequence!" I was rather disturbed by this behavior being a girl and a mother; Rich explained to me that this is normal behavior and what makes boys into men and prepares them to do hard things, like serve a mission. I hope that at this difficult time in your mission you might remember such moments in your own youth and first, smile, and second, know that you have been prepared for your mission, not only by such silly games, but through years of lessons at home and at church and because of the great spirit you brought with you from the premortal life.

Hang in there and know that you are loved and prayed for!

with love,

P.S. I promise that you will get a dresser and you will be both speaking and understanding Portuguese - all in good time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sons of Mine/Motherhood

These handsome young men are my sons. For the first time in my life I live with all men. I have to admit I was a little worried about this as Jenny married and moved out and Todd moved back in for a short stay. But I am finding that I enjoy their company and they are good and kind.

When I got pregnant the first time I really wanted to have a girl first. So much so that I dreamed while pregnant that I had a boy and told them to "take it back, I don't want a boy." This was disturbing to my confidence as a future mother - what kind of mother says she doesn't want her newborn baby because of the gender?!? Well, Laura Anne was a girl and I was happy and relieved. And she really has been Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way" her whole life.

When I got pregnant the second time, I was expecting a boy. I think it was because I thought "been there, done that" with the girl baby. But when Mary Lynn was born I was so happy to have two little girls and imagined all the matching dresses I would sew them. I loved having two little girls and even more have loved watching them be friends. She has brought much joy to our lives with her fun sense of humor and I still love watching her dance videos.

When I got pregnant the third time, I thought "I'll probably have all girls." And I was okay with that - except for getting all their hair done on Sunday mornings before church. I thought that Rich would be antsy for a boy, but he said he adored his girls and they adore him, but he wanted a boy for me. He had just taught a Mothers Day lesson in Elders Quorum and all the men had shared their tender feelings for their mothers. He said boys have a special bond with their mothers and he wanted that for me. And Brian Richard joined our family. It was fun to have a boy for a change, and Brian was so cute with his blonde hair and brown eyes. He has a kind heart and is a born salesman/deal maker.

When I got pregnant the fourth time I was kind of hoping for a boy - wanting my family to be symmetrical and all. I was happy to have another boy in Todd Rusty. Todd was such a happy and easy baby and child; he could always entertain himself and was very low-maintenance. This has translated into a very pleasant and cheerful adult.

When my boys became teenagers and I realized that they really only valued their mother as a provider of food and clean clothes - not for her opinions or advice, I was crushed. I know now this is a stage they need to go through to find their independence. And then when they chose different lifestyles and values from my own, I was personally offended.

But now as adult men I appreciate their kindness and affection toward me, and I'm grateful for the relationship that we have. My boys have skills that their parents lack - mostly in any area requiring tools, manual labor or mechanical know-how. It's great to have someone you're related to (and let's face it, who owes you) when you need a "handy man" in your life. I love that when I have a flat tire I can make one call and have a competent son show up and cheerfully change my tire. (It was Todd last Saturday and Brian a couple of years ago) I love that they can lift and fix and work hard for me and now that they are adults they do it cheerfully and are happy they can help. I love that they hug me and tell me they love me often and ask how they can help me. What more could a mother want?

To complete the story:

When I got pregnant the fifth time I wanted another girl. Well, actually right after Todd was born I felt like there was a little girl coming to our family next. (I think this was God's way of making sure I didn't give up after the terrible birth experience I had with Todd) So, I was hoping that our little girl would come and then I would be "done." Jenny Joy did come and she has lived up to her middle name, bringing joy to our family from the day she was born right up until yesterday when she and Trevor surprised us by coming to Sunday dinner unexpectedly!

When Jenny was two years old I started thinking about another baby - I wasn't baby hungry because I was pretty much overwhelmed with taking care of five children. But "that subject seemed to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest." (D&C 128:1) And so we decided that Michael Thomas was knocking and we welcomed him into our family. Michael is a good and determined person, quieter than most Rife children. I love that he takes school and church seriously and he's currently coming nicely out of his "grunt" stage. He is also affectionate to his mother.

I always knew that I wanted at least four children, since that's how many were in my family, and Jenny and Michael are definitely bonuses, frosting on the cake. I'm glad they let us know that they needed to come our family even before they were born! They have been delightful children to have in our family and it wouldn't be the same without them.

I started this post about my sons, but all in all I'm SO grateful to be a mother of six wonderful children. I can't believe God entrusted ME with these spirits and helped me to keep them alive (and hopefully teach them a little something) so they could become the wonderful adults that they are.

As I was watching Laura's video of Andrew walking I was remembering that I had those sweet moments with each of my children - when they were learning to walk and I sat on the floor and cheered them on as they stumbled into my waiting arms for a hug.

I love you Laura, Mary, Brian, Todd, Jenny and Michael.

Fall Beauty

It was such a beautiful fall day I got a couple of friends (Heather and Kathy - my "little friends" of Sundance ski lift fame) and headed up American Fork Canyon to enjoy the autumn colors. We went to Silver Lake and part of the way up the Alpine Loop. We're a little late for fall colors; I must remember that once it's pretty in the valley, it's too late in the mountains! But it was lovely to be out in nature with good friends.

A great view of the back of Timp; Silver Lake Reservoir was disappointingly low. I've been here before when the reflection of the Timp in the lake was just gorgeous.

It was a "good cloud day." Jenny says I say that every day, but living in Utah there are a lot of good cloud days and I love them all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

UEA Road Trip

These two went to Layton to see these four:

And brought new jammies to these two:

Then they went to Logan to see these two:


these two hung pictures and pretty things in the master bedroom

And these three bonded:

It was a great day with people I love!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You Say Tomatoes

Here's what I did with the tomatoes from my garden:
Blanch, skin, cut up, put in containers, freeze=fresh salsa in the winter

And last night we had fresh pasta sauce over ravioli!

Dear Sons of Mine:

I just spent an hour cleaning the "Texaco" bathroom. UGH!!! I love living with you guys and your help with yardwork, dishes, etc. is much appreciated. But I really never meant for my basement to resemble a FRATERNITY HOUSE!

Here's the deal - that job chart I made for Saturday chores was NOT a suggestion! I meant for you to do it EVERY week, ideally WITHOUT reminders from me. This is what I ask from you for your rent free, free food (for two of you) and free car, insurance, gas & allowance (for one of you) life. I EXPECT you to do it EVERY weekend.

Your signature below says that you GET IT and will take care of this from now on.

All my love,

Thankfully, there are no pictures with this post

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Planting Hope

Today Todd helped me "winterize" the yard. We cleaned out all the beds of annuals and the garden. We turned off the water and Todd worked on blowing out the sprinkling system. Then the fun part: for the first time I planted fall pansies that (barring the deer eating them) will bloom in the spring as well. And I planted 122 bulbs! I haven't done bulbs for years and I'm so excited to see them come up in the spring. It feels so hopeful, putting those little bulbs to bed in the earth so they can sleep and grow and bloom when it's just beginning to get warm. Plus, I'm also happy to know that I don't really need to do any yard work for about six months! On to ski season!

I love this front porch bed since we got rid of the oversize blue spruce and bushes and it looks cleaner. The pansies and new bark make me happy!

We had too much water after the recent snow melted so I improved the run-off situation so hopefully we won't have water in the basement window!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday four friends and I played hooky from our daily responsibilities and went on a GIRLS ROAD TRIP TO ST GEORGE. We had a lovely time just visiting and having no schedule. The four hours in the car each way were just a delightful time to visit. I love having friends who are my sisters in the gospel and everything we discuss has a gospel spin to it. It's so great to have friends that you can share your challenges and struggles with as well as gospel insights and silly jokes. ("take a deep breath, it's not your last meal!") I love you girls!

The big rocking chair at Beaver

Tuesday night we saw this:


Dinner at Iggy's

We made these with beads; no girls road trip is complete without some creative crafting time!

We ended our trip with a session at the St George Temple and our last stop out of town:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Conference Sunday Dinner

When we had dinner at Elder Song's home a couple of weeks ago he said, "Sister Rife, I miss your cooking!" Since this particular sentence has never been said to me before, I asked what he missed and he said it was my taco salad. On our mission I always served taco salad to the zone leaders at Zone Leader Council. So, of course, that's what I made for dinner. Basically it's just all the fixings for a Mexican meal and people can just put it together however they want : taco-seasoned ground beef, black beans, lime cilantro rice, (Cafe Rio recipe) chips, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, sour cream, onions, ranch dressing, cilantro ranch dressing, (again, Cafe Rio recipe) guacamole, salsa. Mary brought the homemade salsa she made and bottled (70 jars!) this week and Jenny and I made some fresh this morning from the tomatoes in my garden.

Gramps, Elder Song and son, Logan, Gram

The cute newlyweds, Trevor and Jenny.
It was so fun to have them home all weekend!

Michelle and Todd

Ayden and Mary ~ always a joy to have the Hammer family for a visit!

Rich and I with Yesol Jung, the daughter of one of the Stake Presidents in our mission who is here atttening UVU.

All the girls

Rich and I with Elder Song's cute family, and Gram

Unfortunately, some of our guests left before we pulled out the camera; we were also happy to have my brother Keith's family, Adam Rife and roommate, Brian & Anna, Michael and Braden, Sonhee Cho and her boyfriend, James.

While Boys Are Away The Girls Will Craft

While the guys were at Priesthood Meeting, we got a babysitter for Ayden and Sophie and Mary, Jenny, and I went to a craft store for a project, ate at Chili's and then came home to get crafty with beads. The girls made these cute watches and I made more bracelets. (yes, I am obsessed!)

Mary's watch

Jenny's watch

I made Jenny and me matching "animal print" bracelets