Find-a-Friend Friday: Meet Allison (and me)

Find-a-Friend Friday is fast becoming one of my favorite things about blogging.  I am so impressed with these women who see themselves as totally ordinary, but don’t they just shine in their interviews?  Today we are going to meet Allison, who emailed me back and asked me if I would answer all the questions too.  So I did, and she has posted *my* interview over at her blog today.  So stick around here to get to know Allison, and then hop over there to learn a little bit more about me.

It didn’t take me very many visits over at her blog to decide that Allison was a quality mother and woman.  She is the real deal.  She takes beautiful photos, and her posts are simple, yet like her blog title claims, inspirational.  Here’s a link to one of my favorites of her recent posts.  I think once you read a little bit more about her, you’ll see she really didn’t need much of an introduction from me.  Blog world, meet Allison.

One thing I love about Stephanie is that she can say the things I am feeling in my heart.  She can put to words what ends up as babbling when I try to express the same thing. Thanks Stephanie, I’m honored to be a friend.  [I just have to say that all these participants so far have said the nicest things about me, which is so sweet, but I swear that it is not a condition of being a Friday friend.  Please don’t think one of the question items is:  “Now talk about how cool I am.”  Thanks though, Allison.  You and the others have been beyond kind to me.]

My name is Allison Kimball and my introduction is much like my life: scattered, bouncing to and fro.  I’m a 37-year-old mother to 9 children and wife to one amazing and patient man (John).  I have 5 daughters and 4 sons.  My 4 oldest (daughters) are biological and my 5 youngest (4 sons and 1 daughter) are adopted.  I did not name my daughter Fred, my children all have lovely names but have chosen to have pseudonyms online {which you can see here: (the boys and the girls).}

I am left-handed as are all of my boys.  John is right-handed as are all the girls (well almost we don’t know about Loafie yet.)  I have yet to decide what I want to be when I grow up, so I have not graduated from a university yet.  I think I might have the most hours for a senior ever.  Before children 7, 8, and 9 I worked as a freelance artist in the scrapbooking industry both with manufacturers and magazines.  I am currently exploring and designing digitally.

I am the oldest of 5 children and according to my siblings I’m still bossy. I can’t wait to serve a mission again, this time with my darling John.  In fact I have asked every bishop we’ve ever had if he will accept our family as missionaries.  We have been rejected every time.  I love God more than I love my family, which is saying a great deal. I’ve told my children that if they are ever in a situation where they are commanded to deny God to save my life they better choose God.

1. What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

Hugs, kisses, “I love you”, reading together, snuggling, more kisses, working together, smiles and thank you’s, hugs from children who don’t like to give hugs, kisses on each cheek, talking and late nights, singing in the car (50’s songs are our favorites… we sing a mean “Wild Thing”), more hugs, more kisses, watching my children play and hearing their laughter.

2. What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

All the cleaning.

3. Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)

1. Seeing all my children remain faithful in their testimonies of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2. I would love to travel.  Meet new people and see the beauty of the world.

4. Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

I’m very good at procrastination.  I’m great at avoidance (check out my laundry room for proof). I’m amazing at self-deprecation (who needs enemies) and I excel in the art of guilt.

I’ve also been blessed with artistic talents, which I thoroughly enjoy and to quote Mrs. Elton (Emma), “I don’t say so, my friends say I certainly know how to make a sandwich.”

5. What are you loving lately?

1. wacom tablet
2. black and gray clothing
3. sushi (learning to make my own)
4. hearing my children practice the piano
5. my mop (lovely lime green microfiber beauty)
6. lists
7. cars with brakes that work
8. fresh chicken eggs (they are pretty)
9. black and white photography
10. fabric

6. Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

Favorites are hard to choose because, depending on my life, a new verse will have meaning. That being said I’m very certain D&C section 6 was written for me. It’s my go to section and far to wonderful to quote, but I often hear verse 23 in my mind:

“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?  What greater witness can you have than from God?”  D&C 6:23

7. What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

Reading, quilting, cooking, photography, more quilting, learning something new.

8. Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).

I have none.  Really, just when I think I’ve figured something out with one child it suddenly stops working and it rarely works for another child.  Wait, I just remembered something. If we don’t have scripture study as a family we fall apart.  I’m not joking about this, especially if I make significant time in my personal study everything goes so smoothly.  I think that the children were learning subconsciously because most are not awake during scripture study, but it still makes a difference.

“Our reading the scriptures, even one verse at a time, does penetrate into their hearts the words of our Heavenly Father. The faith it takes as a parent to simply do it will invite the Spirit of the Holy Ghost to permeate their hearts and our homes. Reading the scriptures with children is like learning a foreign language. In time the natural rhythm of the words and the interpretation become clear. Alma compared the word unto a seed. Even among children the word “beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me” (Alma 32:28).”  General Primary Presidency

9. What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?

I don’t think there is anything. I’m an open book. I will open the front door and invite you in even if I’m still in my pajamas.

10. If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?

Girls night includes my four favorite girls: Munch, Arnold, Gus, and Fred (Loafie can start coming when she gets bigger).  We love to get sushi (some of us more than others) or great Italian (never Mexican, we know authentic and it’s hard to duplicate).  We often go to a movie or play.  When I asked Arnold what we do (because I couldn’t remember) she said, “We mostly talk. That’s the most important part.”

11. Friends are great for venting.  What’s been frustrating you lately?

Anything that comes out of the body that doesn’t land where it should (ie. vomit). Toilets, don’t like cleaning toilets.  I also have a thing about emptying the dishwasher, not sure why.

12. What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

God lives. Jesus is the Christ. Faith, not fear. I am nothing with out a merciful Father in Heaven.

Tell us about your blog:

I blog at, (“simple inspirations”). I blog:
*to remember the silly moments in our lives.
*so my children will have a visual record of who they are and what we believe no matter where they are in the world.
*to express myself artistically.
*to share the talents the Lord has given.
*for our birth mothers
*for parents who faithfully serve missions.
*because it challenges me to be a better writer (still working on this one).
*to have another excuse to take more photographs
*to stay connected to friends and family.
*to remember how much I love my children on the difficult days.
*because I love hearing my children talk about what I have posted.
*to help me see the Lord’s hand in our lives.

I love it.  Thank you, Allison.

My anthem.

I listen to Christian radio in the car. You should try it some time. It really makes you feel better, especially if you crank it up really loud so you can’t hear your children.  Anyway, this is my new favorite song. Let it say what it will about my life.

Here’s a link if you can’t see the video.

(p.s.  Today is the last call for girls’ night out.  See here for more info.  If you said yes, you should have received and replied to an email from me so I know to buy you a ticket for sure.)

Crunching Numbers

Here’s what the math facts are saying around here lately:

15:  the number of people who said they want to come to the Girls’ Night Out!  Actually, there were a lot more that said they wanted to come, but they had silly excuses like 28-hour drives or previous commitments and stuff.  (We’ll miss you.  *Sniff*)  If you said “yes,” go check your email RIGHT NOW.  I need a confirmation before I buy your ticket.  It’s not too late to join the fun.  Here’s all the info, so just leave a comment on that post to let me know you’re interested, and I’ll forward you the email about it.  I’m going to purchase tickets Thursday night or Friday morning.

The rest of the ugly numbers . . .

7: the number of days left before my husband has to take the Bar exam.
3000: the number of dollars it cost to buy the prep materials for the Bar exam.
0: the number of times I smiled when I told him that if he doesn’t pass this test, he’s a dead man.
90,000: the number of dollars we owe the government for allowing us to have 4, now going on 5, years of school-related stress and husband-related absence.
30+: the number of times I’ve put the kids to bed by myself while he has been studying (because he has to, not because he’s lazy) since Christmas.
0: the number of trophies I will win as “most supportive wife ever.”
6: the number of months we have lived here because all of that work really did help him get a wonderful job, even though we had to move across the country.

changing subject, but still counting . . .

6: the number of “breakfast” purchases I just saw on Clark’s school lunch purchase history. He eats breakfast at home every day before he leaves, mind you.
3: the number of the hour in the morning that I stayed up until last week watching “The Locator” on TV? Have you ever seen it? They help reconnect lost or estranged family members.
4 and half: the number of gallons of tears I shed while watching multiple episodes of aforementioned show.
2 1/2: the number of books I’ve read in the past week. Yay me.
1: the number of really decent meals I’ve cooked in the past week. I’ve cooked a few others, but they don’t really fall into the decent category.
57: the number of degrees that our house was when I woke up the other morning.  I about died. I think I might have felt the same if I had spent the night inside our refrigerator. I awoke to Grant standing in our doorway wrapped in a quilt.
5: The number of books Natalie read this week. Natalie learned how to read this week!!
12: The number of phone calls I had to make to get Natalie an appointment with a pediatric endocrinologist that could see her before April. (I’ll say more about this a little later when hopefully I have more answers.)
10: The number of children that were baptized at the same time as Grant the weekend before last. It was not easy for me to make the transition to what seemed like a conveyer-belt approach to baptism, but I’ll bite my tongue and try not to complain about it (publicly). Despite my frustrations, it was a lovely day, mostly because a lot of family was here to share the  day with us. And, of course, because Grant was happy.
4 or 5: the number of times I have wanted to put Grant in solitary confinement this week. Incidentally this number is down about 235% from last week.
-4.61: the number under the column “available balance” in my checking account right now.  (Sorry, honey)
623: the number of words in this post.  Egads, I’m wordy.
2: the number of times I thought about chocolate while I was writing this.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Wanna go on a date? I’m serious.

I have a plan full of love and friendship and all things Valentiney.  (And if we’re going to be honest, I also have a fear that this will turn into that party I tried to host where no one RSVP’d and I felt like a total dork.)  How would you feel about a Girls’ Night Out of monumental proportions (based solely on the criteria of cool and classy and hopefully that more than 3 of you will come)??  I’m also going to try really hard not to put parenthesis at the end of every sentence I write (Really.).

Here’s the thing.  I am a big Jane Austen fan.  I think some of you are too.  About a month ago, I received an email from BYU Arts — it was just a newsletter mailing; I don’t mean to make it sound like I got some exclusive invitation–, and my eyes focused on the bottom of the page where they announced their upcoming play:  Persuasion.  Eeeek!  I love Persuasion.  It is my very favorite Jane Austen novel, and was actually my first introduction to her work when I saw the movie production of Persuasion at BYU’s International Cinema forever a few years ago. And I love plays!  And they’re doing a play of it!  You’re probably starting to get the idea . . .

Tickets go on sale today.  I asked Matt if he would go with me, and he painfully consented, kind of like I would have if he asked me to go see a play of Star Trek or Ghost Hunters.  I thought to myself, “This is more of a girlfriend thing.”  Then I remembered that despite living here for six months, I don’t really have any girlfriends yet.  I posted an open invitation on my neighborhood’s blog, but only one person expressed any interest. (By the way, if you see this Yolanda, you’re totally invited.)  So then I started thinking, “why not invite some blog friends?  I bet some of them would be interested.”  (This whole thing is starting to sound a lot more pathetic and desperate than I intended it to be.  Oh good grief. It’s not.  I promise.)

So.  Here’s what I’m thinking:

Saturday, March 19.  7:30 show. (If tickets are not available, then I’d shoot for the following Saturday.)

Maybe preceded by a fun, chatty dinner, like at 5:30. . . either a restaurant or a potluck (Preference?)

Leave your husbands in charge of the kids or get a sitter.

Come have FUN.

This invitation is open to anyone who can travel to the BYU area.  (Unless, of course, you are a 50-year-old creepy guy named Guido who poses as a Mormon mommy blogger just so you can meet the faces behind all these glamorous stories.  In that case, you are most certainly NOT invited.) Here are a few reasons that you might be thinking of that could keep you from coming, which I will now immediately debunk with my crafted rebuttals:

“That sounds really fun, but …”

1.  “… I’ve never even met Stephanie and it would feel really awkward to just show up as a stranger.”  Two things:  First of all, who cares?  Chances are that there will be several other people in the same boat and we can use this as an excuse to meet each other.  Second, I’m sure that the small handful of people who actually have met me in person can testify to this:  I am not worth getting intimidated over.  I’m pretty normal, and down-to-earth, and I promise I will make you feel welcome, even if you are a “stranger.”

2.  “… I feel really self-conscious around people I don’t know very well.” Come anyway.  I will wear sweatpants and no make up if that makes you feel better.  I’ve done several bloggy get-togethers, usually small-group lunches, etc., and I’m always surprised at how quickly we connect and how easy the conversation is, even though we’ve never stepped into the same room together in our lives.  The fact is, we have a lot in common.  Besides, half the evening will be spent in a dark theater and you don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to. Oh!  And one more idea: bring a friend.  🙂

3. “… This sounds stupid and I have no interest in meeting Stephanie anyway.” Well, in that case, you may want to stay home.

Now that I have alleviated all your fears, let’s talk business.  Let me know in the comments if you think you’d be interested.  I’ll respond with an email that has more details about ticket prices, how to pay (yes, you will have to pay for your own ticket), etc.  I think I’d like to buy the tickets by this Thursday so that I can reserve a large chunk of seats together.

Is there anyway to say “please come so I don’t look like an idiot when my first attempt at girls’ night out turns out to be only me and my grumpy husband” without sounding desperate?  If there is, then insert that here.