Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. Its not proper etiquette to talk about someone's age....but, it starts with a 6 and ends with an 0. So young and sassy, this Nana.

My sister, mom and I got pedicures for her birthday--AND we let her pay. It was a sacrifice, but my sister and I are just generous that way. I was trying to be really cool and pick a vibrant color. My toes are so orange that they could stop traffic in the dark.

My mom is an amazing lady. Of course she is, she didn't strangle me as a teenager, and she lets me call her and whine about my life. The older I get, the more I realize that she has taught me:
  • Being a stay-at-home mom matters--even if it doesn't feel like it right now.
  • "Isn't it great that we are all different. If we were all the same, the world would be quite boring."
  • There is ALWAYS a good reason to buy a new purse.
  • It is never gossip....it is information gathering.
  • Slapping the wooden spoon on the counter doesn't scare your children, it just makes them giggle.
  • Use your voice. Open your mouth and speak up. Speak up for whats right, speak up for your standards, speak up for your family, and speak up for yourself. Always.
Over this last year, I think the Lord is showing my mom that she is stronger than she thinks she is. She is an amazing example of pushing forward, even when you don't want to. And along the way, she'll have a cute purse, a good book, and even a nap or two. Maybe 60 is the new 30.

Love you mom, happy birthday.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Windy City

I've been away. In Chicago. WITHOUT CHILDREN. Aahhhh, feel the bliss.

It's my mom's birthday--so my siblings and spouses met in Chicago to celebrate. My brother Tyler lives there. He set up an amazing 5 days for us all. He lives in a much different world than I do (think: Walmart vs. Saks Fifth Avenue), and after living in his for a few days, I think I really like it. I asked him if he would ever consider living in the same city as me. His response, "yes, just as long as you never came over."--I really think he's warming up to me.

Being with my family is an all out event. Serious fun. So much laughter, you almost pee your pants or stop breathing. Here are a few snapshots of what we did:

My sister Emily and husband Travis in Chinatown.

Me, my mom, my sister at Wicked.
Elphaba and Glinda. Can't breathe...so fantastic...
This show was so amazing. Loved, Loved, Loved!

On the airplane.
I don't fly. I hate to fly. Wait, scratch that-I'm terrified to fly.
I just had to take a picture of myself to see what I look like when I'm terrified.
Just looking at this picture makes me feel like I'm going to barf on my keyboard.

Sister-in-law Vicki, Emily, Mom, Me
Downtown Chicago.

Private Museum Tour.
My mom and my brother Tyler.

All of us at a cooking class.
We cooked a 4 course meal and then got to eat it!!

Cooking class. Me, my sister, sister-in-law Vicki

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's My Fault

I'm a loser. Its official. I'm just letting you know, what you already knew....

My kids are out of control, and I've come to believe that it's a result of their parenting. It's the only answer. I think its because I yell too much....and let them eat cake batter.

A friend met us for dinner last night. Adam. He and his family used to live across the street from us in Draper. We miss them. So, Adam is in town for work and comes to our house and then we all journey out for Texas barbeque. Easy enough plan, should be a fun and enjoyable evening.

The first thing my kids say to Adam is, "hey, you have gray hair". He smiles and laughs. He knows what these girls are like, I think it's all coming back to him. We talk for a little bit and then drive to the restaurant....in one car. Oh yes, nothing screams, 'we're so glad to see you', like riding in a dirty van with 3 girls that are fighting over where to sit.
At the restaurant, the fighting continues. We are still fighting over where to sit. Addie and Makell have decided they want to sit on booster seats when they are really too big to sit in them. They keep holding the seats in their hands and trying to spin them in the air. Then Addie starts yelling at Todd that she didn't want Sprite to drink and Makell is farting and smiling. After I tell Adam 382 times that I'm sorry, he just keeps smiling and silently laughing.

By now, Makell and Addie have crawled under the table to get out of the booth. They have ventured over to the kiddie play section. I made the mistake of letting my guard down. I look over and Makell has figured out how to stand on the rim of the long chalkboard that is mounted to the wall. She is walking on the rim (you know, the piece of wood where you set the chalk!) and she is rubbing her entire body across the chalkboard so that she is completely covered in chalk dust. She is giggling so hard that she can't hear me yelling at her.

The evening just keeps moving along with this kind of joy....somewhere in there Makell and Addie started playing tag and throwing chalk at each other--long distance.
Once we finally get home, I tell everyone to get into the bathtub. No one listens. They just stand there and stare at me like I'm an idiot--which I am, because I actually continue to talk to these 3 people who don't listen to one word that comes out of my mouth.
Everthing came to a full crescendo when Addie kept hanging on Adam's legs, Makell was telling us how she called the mean boys on the bus 'rotten bananas', and Sam started singing a solo.

So...just in case anyone was thinking about going to dinner with us...you better pray about it. And even then, you better take a nap and drink some hard liquor before heading out.

I should start selling tickets.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My House

I have had numerous requests for pictures of my house. But, I've been hesitant. In honesty, I'm quite uncomfortable with my new house. Odd, isn't it.
The last year of my life has changed me. To my core. Irreversible change, I think.
My house is beautiful. Its new. Its lovely. I am immensely grateful.
But, it's all relative. I would give it all up and live in a trailer, if I could have my dad back. I have a new house and some new furnishings, and I love them. But the value they hold is not what it would have held in my life a year ago.

So, on that note--my cute house:


Family Room


Should be the Dining Room. We call it the Locker Room.
This is one of the best purchases I have made.
Each child has a shoe bin and a locker for jackets and backpacks.

Upstairs Family Room/Playroom

Friday, April 18, 2008


Last night, I announced we were having a contest. A cookie eating contest. "Let's just see who can eat the most." I knew I'd win, without hesitation. There are just some things in life that you know without a doubt. Winning a cookie eating contest is one of them. Todd just rolled his eyes and looked at me like I was a moron.

Now, these cookies are sumptuous. Seriously (I'm posting the recipe below-I don't take credit, I copied it from a friend). I make these so often I could honestly make them with my eyes closed. Warm out of the oven....ready for a contest.

Some family members did not present their best effort. Addie ate half a cookie. Todd ate 3. I ate 9. I'm the winner! I did a cheer for myself. And yes, I honestly ate 9.

The scriptures talk often about spiritual gifts and talents. I have a few of them, but one of my best, is dessert eating. If you've ever eaten dessert with me, you know this is true. And like all talents, it takes practice to perfect. Thus...9 cookies. I am anything if not hard working.

I'm thinking of making the cookie eating contest a tradition. Fond memories for the future. Do you remember when you got the top score in Pac Man and you could enter your initials alongside your score? Maybe I should set up something like that. It will give everyone a visual reminder to work harder.

My philosophy is--the bigger the dessert you eat, the happier you are. Who knows, maybe tonight I'll try for 10!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies!

1 stick of Butter Crisco
3/4 C. dark brown sugar
3/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 t. vanilla
2 1/4 C. flour
1 C. chocolate chips

Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Let cool on the tray. Have a contest.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

She's Not Heavy, She's My Sister

I am constantly wondering how she broke her backpack......

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Poor Judgement

Just a few things to think about before understanding the ramifications of this picture. In the past, the child in this picture has:
  • Thrown EVERYTHING in her bedroom and bathroom out her second story window.
  • Been bored at school and used her scissors to cut her pants (on several occasions).
  • At the age of 4, she got into the car and started it.
  • Has convinced her sister and cousin to jump into the neighbor's pool while they were not home.
  • Has held a cup over a candle flame until it melted, and then said to me, "that was fun".
  • Found some spray paint in the basement and used it to cover the walls and the ladder.
  • Placed a stool on top of the stove and then climbed on top of the stool to reach some gum that was hidden in the cabinet above the microwave--when she was 3.
For months she has begged to mow the lawn. Todd let her take the wheel--there's just no telling where she'll run with it....or who she'll run over.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He, He, He....

Oh yes, you're seeing correctly....how fantastic is this store! It's my favorite store. We drive by it on the way to church. ON THE WAY TO CHURCH! As we drive by I wave and think, "bye Chewy Balls, see ya in 3 hours after our worshipping."

I don't actually know what the store looks like inside, or worse--what's for sale (it's ice cream, I think). I've never gone inside. Makell looked in the window the other day and exclaimed, "hey there's a couch in there." Todd immediately replied, "it's to sit on when you chew your balls." Ah, such tender wisdom from a father.

I've thought about going inside--but I can't. I'm giggling too much. I just have this vision that the moment I walk in, if any employee yells out, "welcome to Chewy Balls!" I know I will double over and pee my pants from laughter. And come on, how becoming can that be!? What if everyone is wearing a shirt that says ,'Chewy Balls'? Maybe they would sell me one and I could wear it to eat lunch with the kids at school.

I am working on my giggle stamina so that I can get inside and steal copious amounts of napkins. I want to have them at the house to use when we serve guests. Especially those from church.

See what an incentive it is to come and visit us! I'll let you eat your food with a Chewy Balls napkin tucked right on your lap. If you use good table manners, I'll even let you take it home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Driving In The Car With Addie

"Eewwww, there's something dead over there in the grass......I think it's an elephant."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Angel Mother

I have called my mom many things, but angel has never been one of them. This weekend she receives a new title--Angel Nana. She watched the girls. For 2 days.
One should never agree to watch my children without giving the matter some serious consideration and prayer. My mom kept them...willingly...without being bribed.

Todd and I went to San Antonio (about 3 hours away) for our anniversary--thanks to Nana. 45 minutes out of San Antonio is a mecca. The most ubber amazing outlet I've ever seen. When you drive in it feels like manna falling from heaven. It occurred to me that on the 2nd day of the creation of the world--you know, when the Lord seperated the light from the dark--He also created the outlet mall.

I walked into the PotteryBarn outlet and almost started a frenzy. Goodness everywhere I looked, and all the goodness was discounted AND on sale. I could see Todd staring at me while he was thinking, "OK, seriously just calm down and pace yourself." I took deep breaths and soaked it all into my system.

So, after my weekend, I think I'm going to have a pretty good week. I have partaken of manna. Really good, discounted manna. Some people find spiritual fulfillment at church, I found it at the outlet mall.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Sometimes daily life can feel like a slow torture.
But then...you blink....and time unravels faster than you want it to. Where does it all go....
There are those fleeting moments when I just want to hold them a little longer, before it all passes by too quickly.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This is my sister. I love her. I want her to move to Houston. Actually, its more of a need than a want.

I have tried many things to sway her to move here--at first I tried begging, with some whining added in for embellishment. Didn't work. Next I tried lying. I wanted my mom to convince her that she was suffering from parent abuse-from me. You know, like not letting my mom buy any more books or purses. That's abuse. I just knew that Emily would need to move here to save my mom from all the suffering I inflict upon her. Again, didn't work.

So, I have been pushed to new extremes. Blackmail. Its my latest form of persuasion. Sisterly love at any cost. She hates this picture, and I hate that she doesn't live nearby. So, I decided to turn this into a win-win situation. I'm just going to have to post even more flattering pictures of her until she moves. Could there be more flattering than this, you ask? Oh yes....and she knows it.

I love her. I really, really love her. She brightens my world, and I need her here. If blackmail doesn't work, I wonder what I'll have to do next? Mail my kids to her, I think. Hmm, families are forever.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Today is Todd's birthday--and our anniversary. Todd is now 'mid-40's', and we have been married for 13 years. It almost makes me giggle when I realize how old Todd is. A couple of weeks ago he was complaining that his back hurt, and he would hold onto it when he walked. I laughed so hard I almost suffocated. I think maybe he should start pricing out dentures. The teeth go first, and then hair grows in your ears.

I actually think I married way up, and that in heaven, he was the only one willing to promise to be with me for eternity. I've learned a lot from Todd in the last 13 years:
  • Bubble gum can bring you happiness.
  • I really shouldn't worry about all the stuff I worry about.
  • Most bad words are 'farm words', not swear words.
  • Giggling is an appropriate response in ANY situation.
  • Telling your wife that she looks like a chia-pet (right out of the shower), is showing love.
  • Wearing ties to work should be forbidden. Or, instead of wearing it, you can just carry it.
  • No one should ever be loud or yell--especially your spouse.
  • Forgetting half of what your spouse says to you can really simplify your life.
  • You can be raised on a dairy farm, and still grow up to shop at Banana Republic and wear Kenneth Cole shoes.
  • If asked to make a choice between family and A&W Rootbeer....Rootbeer wins every time.

I actually love this day. I love Todd. Even now, 13 years later, I am in awe that the Lord saved him just for me. Beyond a doubt, I know that he waited until he was 30...just for me, and I am so very grateful. The day we got married is my most cherished memory. I looked at him across the altar and simply couldn't believe I would get to be with him forever. He is more than my best friend. He is my sweetest treasure...even when he's annoying.

Happy Birthday and Anniversary Nescau.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bad Parenting 101

I could write volumes about being a bad parent. I actually think I'm quite good at it. For a while, I thought that the things that happened around here were a result of Todd and I's DNA mix--it just didn't mix right. But now, as I try to view things with an outside perspective, I have come to the conclusion that I'm just a bad parent. What else could be the answer?

So, I offer 2 tips today:
  • Deceive your children. I don't necessarily find anything wrong in deception, but maybe I shouldn't find so much entertainment in it. I convinced my kids that it was my birthday (when it's not). It started innocently enough, and I just rolled with it. I had them REALLY convinced that my feelings would be hurt if I didn't wake up to find a present on the table. I actually overheard them in the car saying that, "we better wrap somethin'". They even told Nana it was my birthday, and she tried to tell them I was just joking. Again, bad parenting skills--I told them that Nana is a liar. Then, just when I had them, Todd showed them the calendar where my birthday is written down in May. What a wiener. I just wanted to see if I could wake up the next day and they would all be nice to me because it was my birthday. I thought about making myself a barbie doll cake. I made pumpkin bread instead and quietly wished myself a happy birthday.
  • Let your children play in the unfinished house next door. I'm not quite sure what is so enticing about that house, but they love it. I think they sweep in there. I've seen them take brooms with them and I always hear them say, "we better wear our shoes." So responsible, those girls. A better parent would check the house out, and make sure it's not dangerous. Not me. They go running out the door and I think, "oh good glory, it's finally quiet."
So, the next time you feel your life is a little drab, just tell your kids that tomorrow is your birthday. Just make sure that Todd doesn't hear....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Singing In The Rain

Sam the Safety Patrol (or a yellow canary)

Catching raindrops on my tongue.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


A few days ago, I was driving in my van with Sam and her friend Madi in the back. They are talking, talking, talking, oblivious to the fact that I exist. And then I notice this conversation:

"Sam: Women have different shapes. Some are shaped like an hour glass, some are shaped like a pumpkin, and some are shaped like a squash. I'm a pencil.

Madi: Which one do you think your mom is?

Sam: (pause)...a squash.

Madi: well....not a very big squash, but yeh, she's a squash."

Ya know, I can remember back when I was pregnant with the child in this story. I was thrilled to have my first baby. I just knew being a mother was going to be so fulfilling.
How the crap did I get here!? Wiping the counter 438 times a day and being compared to a squash! I have a college degree and a bubbly personality--and I look like a squash.

At least it's not a very big one.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

True Friends

Our wonderful friends, the Powells, have stayed with us for the last 5 days. Its been an overabundance of fun. We need a vacation from ourselves...and our children.

When they arrived on Friday night, we opened the door and it felt like time stood still and we all still lived in Utah. True Friends. It felt like home.

I have realized many things over the last several days--True Friends know what your children are like, and they are still willing to come and stay with you. True Friends are fun to be with. True Friendship lasts forever, even when you live states apart.

As they drove away today, I again realized many things--since last July I have desperately missed my old home. But now I know that it is not the location, the city or the surroundings that I miss, it is my True Friends. Those people that were brought into my life because I lived in Draper, Utah. True Friends that I will cherish always.
I also miss my old life. The one that was easier. The one that held my dad. The one where I heard his voice everyday. Hanging out with the Powells reminded me of the life I lived before cancer arrived a year ago. As I looked at our friends, I could almost reach out and grab that old life. It wasn't a life that was easy, it was just easier than this. One that I wish I could have back, every day.

Surviving our challenges is a great test in this life. But maybe the greater test comes in how we survive when times are...easier. Trials make you realize what you are grateful for, but how often are we grateful for those same things when life is....easier. As life rises and falls, maybe the Lord wants us to learn to really SEE what we have been given. Especially when we are not forced to.

So today, I am grateful for True Friends.

The Crew

Sweet Baby Issac

The Wild Ones

Friends Forever

This is what happens to Wade when he is forced to spend money.