Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I had to wake Taylor, then we both went down to check it out. At this point we realized that it was not only abnormally huge, it was abnormally heavy. And I'm a wimp. But it was Christmas, and I wasn't about to let the giant mystery box sit on my porch, so I mustered up some strength and we got it in the door with about 1/4 inch clearance. We decided to wait for the kids to open it---and I doubled check to make sure it didn't bark or moo---and we went back to bed. Well, Taylor did. I'd been coughing non-stop since Tuesday, so I got ready for the day then laid in bed coughing.
Kyle came in about 8:00 and Claire about 8:15. We went downstairs, saw what santa brought, opened some presents, then got the the big present. We were amazed to find a Power Wheels Tough Talking Jeep inside. And presents for Taylor and me---jackets for each of us. Then when we opened up the Jeep's hood we were astounded to find $100 earmarked for a date for the two of us. We don't know who brought it or why, but we are very grateful. If you've ever spent time with Claire, you'd know that she's wanted a power wheels for about two years. It's her fondest dream. Yet somehow she knew it had little hope of coming true. Although we aren't destitute, we certainly don't have the cash to justify getting her one. We do look at DI and kid-t0-kid and craigslist occasionally, but nothing has panned out. And since this year wasn't a white Christmas (glad, for the first time every it wasn't), she and Kyle were able to go out and take a spin. Kyle's a little freaked out. Claire is over-confident, but they'll even out soon.
Like I said, we have no idea who did this. And about 30 guesses as to who it could be. I guess that's one of the best parts of the day---we've thought a lot of nice things about a lot of nice people.
And to round out my excellent Christmas, on Christmas Eve, before we went to bed at 3am, I checked my email (not really sure why) and found out that I won tickets to Jim Brickman on New Year's Eve! I won them in a giveaway to piano teachers from Alfred music publishing company. Jim played in SLC on my wedding day. And I really tried to make it work so that I could attend his concert between the ceremony and reception (no one would go for it). We saw him a couple years ago and were crazy about him and his violin accompanist, so we're thrilled to be there again.
Oh, and the broken camera? We took it back to Best Buy to see if they could repair it. They just replaced it---and it was on sale that day, so they gave us $50 store credit. Awesome.
Good times. Pictures to follow.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
You know how things kind of pile up? Today was that day for us. It started with an email that Taylor’s grandpa was in the ER overnight and admitted to the hospital and very sick. Kyle and I drove to Clearfield to drop Claire off at preschool, but we didn’t go home because Harvey was finally getting fixed and needed to be picked up in two hours, and if we drove home we’d just leave in a half hour again. So we hit some stores and returned stuff not needed from Black Friday. KMart overcharged me for a couple items and refused to make good on it, so that wasn’t good and I’m out ten bucks.
When we went to pick up Harvey we got bad news. (You’ll remember that getting him fixed has been a process. First Taylor stood in line forever only to be the first one turned down from the Big Fix. The next time the fix came around he got there bright and early and checked in. Only I got a call later that day saying that they couldn’t fix him because he had an undescended testicle.) Well this little testicle caused quite the problem apparently. It was so far retained that the vet made three separate 2-3 inch incisions up his stomach to retrieve it. I guess she just kept thinking that it would be in a certain place and kept guessing wrong. (Plus, he had one removed the normal way.) She finally got it, and it was tangled up in muscle or whatever. His whole bottom side is shaved. He has stitches and staples inside and out. They have to be removed after Christmas. Oh, and it cost $40 more because of this problem.
Then Taylor called to say his car broke down and was parked on the side of the rode on Riverdale. Not the best place or thing to happen.
Then we got home, got Harvey settled and I got and IBS attack. I haven’t had it in months. I haven’t missed it. I’m totally bummed because they come in groups too.
So I went upstairs. While I was otherwise occupied my children got a hold of my new camera. Sticky fingers all over it. And the lens part won’t open.
And Kyle got into my only tube of mascara and applied it TO HIS LIPS and inside his mouth. Thus making the tube unusable by my standards (I only have one eye, gotta be careful). I wanted to take a picture of it, and that was how I found out that the camera was broken.
Bedtime is in 50 minutes. Can’t wait.
Tomorrow is another, hopefully better, day.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
35 chocolate sandwich cookies
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 pkg (8 oz) , softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups plus 2 Tbsp cold milk, divided
1 tub (8 oz) thawed, divided
2 packages (4-serving size each) Jell-o Vanilla Flavor Instant pudding and pie filling
1/3 cup peanut butter
Place cookies in food processor. Process to form fine crumbs.Transfer to medium bowl. Add butter; mix well. Press firmly onto bottom of 13x9-inch dish. Refrigerate 10 min. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar and 2 Tbsp of the milk in separate bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add 1 1/4 cups of the . Mix well. Spread over crust.
Pour remaining 3 cups milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat wtih wire whisk 2 min or until well blended. Add peanut butter; mix well. Spread evenly over cream cheese layer. Let stand 5 min or until thickened. Top with remaining whipped topping; cover.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting into pieces to serve. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.
I usually put a bit more peanut butter in---I like peanut butter. Also, be sure to allow time for your cool whip to thaw; it takes 4 or more hours to thaw in the fridge, so I usually try to buy the ingredients the night before so that it's ready the next day. I've also messed up and bought the cooking kind of jell-o instead of instant, so watch that. I also use low-fat oreos, cream cheese, and cool whip---and it's just fine.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
It started two nights ago when Claire asked if we could make the houses (yes, houses. This year I committed to making 5 "mini" houses! Stupid). I said that I would put them together, but that they had to sit overnight before we could decorate them. That was an unsatisfactory answer. She cried on and off for the rest of the evening for a cumulative total of at least 30 minutes. That was fun. Although I tried to explain over and over why they houses needed to sit so the 'glue' could dry, she just couldn't grasp it.
Once while i was off consoling her, Kyle found the stack of gingerbread pieces I had started to begin putting together. He came running to me with a piece in his mouth, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" he taunted. I rescued that piece, but later realized that it was not the first piece he tried to eat. The back of one house was missing, so I improvised with cardboard.
So last night was the night we decorated. Not twenty seconds after we sat down (after the "never touch a single thing without asking first" lecture) Claire decided to pick of the bowl of nonpareils and dropped it on the floor. I know it was an accident, but it was SO hard to not be completely ticked off. I'd just told her not to touch anything, and she dumped the worst bowl possible. Why couldn't it have been the gum drops? So the tiny balls bounced and rolled all over my entire dining area. Probably more that an twelve foot radius looked like this picture, and it doesn't really do it justice. The worst part was that you can't really sweep them up well because they get all static-charged and just repel away from the broom. So that was fun. And took 20 minutes to clean up. I did my best to be nice (as it is my annual patience checkup) and we started again. The original plan was for Claire to do 4 and Kyle to do 1 house. Well, 90 minutes into it we had two houses down (It's hard when you have chubby little five-year-old hands.) So Claire made the two back left houses (Made means that I did the frosting and she put the candy on). And Kyle made the front left house in a like fashion. (I did the tiny balls around the door).
I finished up the others while Taylor was getting the kids ready for bed. I quit and didn't decorate the house edges. It just wasn't happening. The icicles barely happened. As for my patience, I hope I'm improving. (I'm usually really patient, just not when it comes to cooking with them.) I found that my kids were actually really great at smoothing the frosting for the roof tops (with a finger dipped in cornstarch they were great at patting it down, and they loved it.)
Next year I think we'll make the train. It's big and requires little fancy frosting work. I just can't frost a straight line.
Oh, and the cats ripped open the frosting bag and ate some. Princess (the white one) carried it in her mouth right past us and into their closet under the stairs. It was hilarious to see her run away with it---like she could keep it from us. It has resulted in some interesting tummies for them today. I think they'll be spending a lot of time in their little closet.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
However this year I was super nervous because I haven't been able to get him to learn his shapes, colors, and letters yet. I just knew we'd (and when I say we, I mean it would be obvious that it was ME failing) get there and fail every test. Fortunately none of those things were tested this time around (phew!). It was about 30 minutes long and had 6 different parts. I didn't watch the first 10 minutes or so because I was filling out a questionnaire. One cool thing was they had these flat, rectangular blocks. The lady would do a configuration then ask Kyle to copy it. Some used up to 5 blocks which were stacked or layed out in patterns in various ways. There were probably 15-20 configurations. It was fun to see him work out how to move and hold and stack the blocks. He got most of them perfect and was really close on two. One he was not close at all :)
One of the easier ones was to name objects that were drawn on a page. Only he didn't just say "spoon," "chair," or "helicopter" he said, "Spoon that we can use to eat." "Chair that we sit on. And that one is high and we could fall off." "Helicopter that flies like this..." It was cute.
Another test was to fit things in categories. He was shown a page on a book with 5 pictures on it. Then given a card with a picture on it. He had to find the one that it went with best---like a rose with a daisy, an airplane with a helicopter, a ruler with a measuring cup (he figured that out!), etc. He was excellent at that. Although he paired a watch and a lamp once, but we can't be perfect.
At the end she warned me that they never do well at the last test. It involved showing a black and white drawing of one or two things on one page, then when the page was turned he had to find the same things among many things. Trick being she didn't say, "Now find that bear" All she said was with the first page, "See this?" Then turned the page "Where is it?" Sometimes it would show one dog then the next page had that dog and five other dogs. He was awesome at it! Claire and Kyle love to read "I Spy" books, so I'm sure this prepared him. Either way, the lady said that he'd done by far the best of any three year old to date. Gotta love that.
Anyway, it was interesting and fun to see him excel at things that neither of us knew he could do. Don't get me wrong, he's not all genius; like yesterday he said to me, "Mommy. I say you gorgeous. And i say you a pee-poo." Lovely.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
And did I show you the kid bench I painted? I took a picture of the pillows that are on my bench: Then Keli cut a stencil of vinyl for me, and I painted over it.
Then I picked the stencil off with tweezers, and voila. Fancy!
I finally finished my china cupboard. I've wanted a curio forever---honestly as a permanent place for my crown. Well those are hard to come by at the DI. So are these, but I got one in
Friday, November 19, 2010
So out came the frames. Out came the food storage. Out came my decoration that were out of season. Out came half-finished crafts. Out came the kleenex boxes, egg cartons, shoe boxes, and other items I've saved for a rainy day to use to make projects with the kids. And they all ended up in my kitchen. Some of the frames were hung. A lot of them, actually. The dwindling food storage (which once was so large and so lovely, and truly has lasted us a year as planned) fit in the pantry for the most part. We swept it out and transferred the cats. Yeah! On Monday I mopped and sanitized the bathroom, so now if you come over you can use the bathroom again. Yeah!
However, Taylor spent the day on Monday hunting with my dad and brother, and the rest of the week at work, so the brunt of finishing the giant project landed on me. It seriously looked like we had just moved in. Boxes and trash and treasures were everywhere. I tried. I really tried to deal with it. And each day there has been improvement. Today it was mostly better. Then I got a wild hair to clean out the toy room and store away toys in preparation for the upcoming holidays. Seriously that was a 4-5 hour project with two kids who found "treasure" after "treasure" with which they refused to part.
I got that done, then there was the issue of the box of toys that was in the garage---the box that we once dumped everything in because we were having a bunch of people over and didn't have time to clean. It also contained a bunch of mismatched toys that were hand-me-downs from someone in the ward. It has been in the garage for months. Maybe four months or more. I insanely dumped it out in my front room. 90 minutes later we had sorted trash, to keep, and to give away items and mostly put them away.
Then I got news that my glass shelves for my china cabinet were in. Which means that to make room for it I had to clean out Claire's little toy cupboard in preparation for the move from the kitchen to her room. This hadn't been done since we moved in. Yikes! Every little piece of plastic dinnerware is now being washed and sanitized in the dishwasher and the cupboard is ready for its new home away from my kitchen.
Now with the project mostly done I'm at a stand-still. Little pieces of toys are scattered throughout our living area. There is a medium-sized laundry basket full of crap waiting to be sorted and stored upstairs. And Taylor will be home in ten minutes. I'll be glad to have him help finish what he suggested we start last Sunday.
Not that you need to know any of this. Just know that if you come over in the next few days (which a lot of you will be coming over) and notice how clean my house is----you can know what actually went into making it that way.
And look forward to pictures of the cabinet! I can't wait for it!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Forever ago I was obsessed with the TV show Lois & Clark: The new adventures of Superman (see that colon? maybe that's why I love colons). Obsessed is a mild word to describe how I liked it. And it wasn't just me. There were 4-5 friends of mine who were in on it. It started in 8th grade. I remember the exact moment at lunch where we realized that a bunch of us had seen and loved the previous night's episode. Anyway, I digress from my reason for writing. (But, notice the picture above, how it's autographed? I chose that one, because somewhere I have a similar autographed picture. I won 2nd place in an live online trivia contest once. First place got a signed script, I was totally bummed. But happy to have beaten out hundreds of people. BTW, is that pathetic?)
Anyway, a few nights ago Taylor and I were watching CSI Miami and wondering about a character on it. I looked her up on wikipedia, and saw that she had played Lana Lang on an episode of L&C. Of course we wanted to see what she looked like. Conveniently Taylor purchased a contraband set of the complete series on DVD for me for Christmas 2004. I had morning sickness at that time, so I didn't want to watch them (afraid they would always make me sick), so I lent them to my sister almost immediately and just got them back within the last year. I hadn't watched them (sad, I know!) at all. So we popped the episode in. MEMORIES! It was the one right before they were supposed to get married (only Lois was replaced by a frog-eating clone!) and watching it just made me happy. And sentimental.
Here's why I'm writing. Watching that episode (okay, and the four others I watched last night while Taylor was out of town and I was too scared/too into the episodes to go to sleep) made me remember exactly how it felt to be a teenager. The hormones, the hope, the relative ease with which I lived my life---even though I thought I was super stressed and busy and misunderstood.
Looking back, it was so easy then! I lived for me. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. Now my life is dictated by my family. Which is fine. And how it should be. I just don't think I appreciated it back then.
We wanted to BE Lois Lane. Last night I watched Lois as a headstrong, confident woman of the early 90's and seriously wondered how much I subconsciously emulated her when my own confidence lacked as a young adult. To some degree I think her character shaped who I became.
We wanted desperately to have our own "Clarks." We used to play and replay the "romantic" scenes over and over again. To entertain ourselves during boring classes in junior high we'd send each other notes, writing down entire scenes from the show. We looked forward to the day we would be loved like that. And you know what? Watching the handful of episodes last night made me realize that I am loved like that. I got what I hoped for. He may not have super powers---but he can clean and helps out with the kids every second he can and does a great job with his church responsibilities. I look around and see a bunch of people our age who are finding that their marriage is not what they signed up for---but mine is---all that I hoped for back in 1994 and more.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Today I am having a hard day. A number of things have been minor irritations today. But one thing in particular has bugged me. While the kids finish up their breakfasts I usually go through my daily blogs and check out what’s happening on Facebook. Maya was here this morning for a few hours before Pre-School, so I had some extra time while the three kids ran after the cats. One thing kept sticking out to me was pictures people have with their kids. Just about everyone has a picture of a close up of themselves with their kids’s chubby cheeks smashed against their own. But I just don’t have those. I’m quite anti being in pictures since everything happened with my face. About 90% of pictures I’ve seen of myself (and 100% of the close-ups) since the surgery make my stomach ache. Seriously.
Some days I think I’m really over it. That it’s okay to look how I look. That it doesn’t bother me anymore. And other days I’d rather just give up and never go anywhere and never take a single picture again. Once on TV I saw an opera star who had been famous a number of years ago. She quit at the peak of her career. She never sang another note because she wanted her last note to be remembered as absolutely perfect. And I can see that that is a copout. I know that a lot of things get better with age. Seven months away from being 30 I think most things about me are better now than when I was 20. Some things are way better.
And some are worse. I’m not near my ideal weight. But I’m still in my reproductive stage (hopefully), so sometimes that doesn’t bother me. But then it does bother me when I see these pictures of close ups. Sometimes I know it’s close up because the person is thinking “The rest of me may not be ideal, but my eyes and face still look great.” Sometimes it bugs me that I don’t have that option.
I think maybe I’ll just start wearing sunglasses in most pictures. Or going for the look pictured above.
The best part of this is that I speak about this in my firesides---accepting yourself and not focusing on the outside appearance. And I do believe it. I do. I’m just not perfect at it yet. Most days are fine. Some days are great. Today is not one of those days…
Friday, September 3, 2010
This has happened to me a couple times. And I’ve wanted to comment about it on Facebook, but for reasons later explained you’ll see why I couldn’t.
I am friends with a number of people I don’t really know on Facebook. Pageants do that to you. That’s why I don’t have pictures of my kids on facebook. I don’t really know these people, let alone the people they are married to and/or living with. Usually the name sounds familiar and I accept the friendship. Then I forget about them. Or block them. Sometimes my brain makes strange connections and remembers who they are and how I know them. Today while I was making triple chocolate pound cake (it’s just out of the oven, I haven’t tried it yet, but the dough was divine---in fact I consciously had 1/2 cup of it for lunch!) I suddenly made a connection as to whom one of my “friends” is and who they are. The problem was that my friend had changed so much in appearance and values and basically everything that I was SHOCKED to remember the person I knew 10 years ago. I am so intrigued, in fact, that I really want to message my “friend” and say: “What in the world happened to you? What made you make these choices? And how can I prevent this from happening to my child?” But tact stops me. We are all free to make our own choices. It’s just that I don’t want my kids to make ANY of those choices. And I want to know why/how this drastic, drastic change happened.
So I’m writing it here. Does this happen to you? Doesn’t it freak you out? Lots of people turn out for the better. In fact it’s so refreshing to me to see most of my childhood friends grow up to confident, decent, and loving parents. It gives me hope for the world. But then there is that handful of people that just leave me wondering. Like today.
And really, check out the link to that cake recipe.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Today is Taylor’s 31st birthday and Claire’s 5th birthday. I love that their birthdays wrap up the summer. Already it seems the winds are changing and there is a slight bite in the air in the mornings. Things are starting to smell different, and fall is certainly on its way.
I titled this post “Happy Birthday Thing 1 and Thing 2” because the are the first people/things that have belonged to me. And as I don’t think this story has been told on this blog, here is how I managed to capture Taylor:
We met during the summer of 2001. We don’t specifically remember meeting. Taylor’s mom was the seamstress for the Miss Utah Organization and I, fortunately, was Miss Utah. So I spent a lot of time there during my preparations for Miss America. I remember him mostly as going to or coming home from playing basketball. And once he saw me in a strapless gown (which was later turned into one with sleeves) and I wondered what he would think of me---strapless and all. Rumor had it he had just returned from a mission to California, and I was waiting for a missionary who was serving in California (the not-dating kind of waiting). Somewhere along the line Kerry Lynn, his mom, asked me if I’d be interested in going out with Taylor. I told her that I was waiting for a missionary. And that was it.
I competed at the Miss America Pageant in September. Being Miss Utah was a lonely job. I was driving to and making appearances alone about 80% of the time. Everywhere I went I was offered male company in the form of a blind date. I politely declined for a while, but near the end of October any type of company seemed wonderful. Plus, who was I to deny all of the suitors? So I emailed Kerry Lynn and told her that my 18 month hiatus from dating was over and I was ready. I guess Taylor was seeing someone at the time and I didn’t hear from him. And that was it.
So I started dating a ton of boys. I saw a few more than I saw others. I saw my trainer a lot in the gym and out of the gym. He was kind of a jerk (ok, really a jerk) but he was fun to look at. I went to California with him over New Years to visit his family and see the sights (and mostly as a get-away-from-Rhea excuse). We drove home from California together. It was clear to me after that ride home that things were not going to work out with the two of us. He really was a selfish jerk. Taylor called the minute I walked into my house with the trainer upon our return from California. He asked me out. I accepted. And that was it.
Our first date was on January 8, 2002. We went to a dinner, a movie, and played miniature golf. I made that hole-in-one at the end and I’m sure with that Taylor knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. We had a lot in common--or so we thought. Now we know we covered about all we have in common on that first date! He kept asking me out, and I kept accepting. A couple times he picked me up at Harmon’s grocery store after I spent the evening signing autographs for the Special Olympics in the frozen foods section. He came to my long, probably excruciating, days spent delivering 4-7 presentations about organ donation to drivers ed or jr. high health classes. He was a super boyfriend---however unofficial as I continued to date slews of boys. I knew I liked him because I gave him my precious free time, but each time he called I was genuinely surprised that he wanted the relationship to continue. I was a little confused because although we went out weekly, and he made a couple attempts to hold my hand---he never kissed me. And that was it.
However, despite his inability to get the guts to kiss me, I fell in love with him. Every time I’d see him (which quickly became more than just weekly) I’d giggle to my parents on how he didn’t dare kiss me. One night, in particular, I spent 45 minutes saying good night to him in freezing temperatures and still he chickened out. A few days later on March 24, 2002 I was invited to a fireside in Kaysville. Vanessa Ballam was speaking at it, and she was my favorite Miss Utah, so I didn’t want to miss it. Taylor, ever willing to be with me, drove me to Kaysville in my truck (yes, I drove a truck back then) and we went to the fireside. On the way home I fell asleep, as I was prone to do then (I was so busy with appearances and piano that if I was sitting in a car for more than a couple minutes I was instantly out). I remember waking for a few moments on the freeway. We were holding hands. He looked at me and smiled. And I felt comfortable enough to go back to sleep. My last thought before consciousness was the strong impression that I would marry him. We watched the Academy Awards later that night at his house. I slept through most of them and realized I was coming down with a cold (likely from the 45 minutes of freezing and waiting for him to kiss me just nights before) When he walked me to my truck it was nearing midnight and very cold. I wasn’t about to have a repeat of standing in the cold, so I climbed right into my truck. He pulled me out. Kissed me. Kissed me again. And that was it. Forever.
Don’t worry. We did make out (very chastely, Mom) for about 4 hours the next day. It made up for lost time. Every time I hear the song “It feel like home” it reminds me of that night. I just felt so comfortable, so “at home” with him. And that was something I’d never felt before for anyone. And it continues. I can be more myself with him than with anyone else I know. Eight years later it just gets better every day. He is my true north, my center, my home.
Happy Birthday, T!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Until I was pregnant with Kyle I was still heavily involved in many organ donation things in Utah. I was on the Community Advisory Board for Intermountain Donor Services. I attended many functions and meetings. I firmly believe that there is a time and season for everything we want to do in life. Though it was very, very difficult to do, I resigned from my position on the Board and decided to concentrate on my season of mothering. I had a wonderful season of community service. And I have every intention of returning to further my involvement with organ donation once I am no longer in my full-time mothering season.
I spent every Thursday during my reign as Miss Utah fund raising and speaking and schmoozing and doing all sorts of planning to make it possible to have a monument to organ donors on Library Square. Two things happened: The monument was made and dedicated in 2004. And my life was forever changed as I spent my days with Jeannene Barham, Lisa Hawthorne, and Maureen Schwendiman. They tutored me in service, life, religion, and love as we tirelessly crusaded across the United States in support of organ donation.
I am lucky because I have the monument as tactile proof of my efforts. Though it certainly didn't happen solely because of me, I'd like to think I was a big part of it. The other day we were at the Salt Lake Library, and I thought about showing Claire the monument at Library Square. I don't know why I hadn't shared it with her before. But I'm glad I waited.
It was a perfect spring day in April. She wandered around loving the statues and waiting for the water to come from the fountain. It was everything we had imagined in those early planning stages: Children coming to a place where they would laugh and play and learn.
This is a picture of Taylor and Claire waiting for the fountain to turn on. We designed it so that it would turn on at random intervals and the viewer had to wait for it to turn on----much like those who are waiting for organs, never knowing just when the moment would be.
This is my favorite picture of the day. I love her shadow, the waiting water, and the hope of spring in the pink trees. We explained to her that it was fun to be Miss Utah, but the thing that was important was what the monument represents: lives have been saved, and lives will continue to be saved because of organ donation. The top picture is a stone with my name and title engraved on it. Miss America gave special permission for part of my scholarship to donate $1,500 toward the building of the monument, so I got a paver. It's a reminder to me of my season of service. That one person (combined with a lot more great individuals) can make a lasting difference. I love my season of being a mother. And I look forward to another season of community service. I still think there are big things ahead of me.
Friday, July 23, 2010
We have been busy. We've had little trips, little projects, and a new little baby come into our lives in the last little while. My scrapbook will do most of the recapping, but for a bit of it: Taylor, Claire and I went to Cowabunga Bay with Rob and Whitney during the first week of July. It was fun---but I'm glad we got 50% off passes online. Taylor's back and shoulders got burned beyond recognition. He had blisters covering his shoulders and back down to his trunks. I got a bit burned, but nothing in comparison. We put sunscreen on Claire. She was still pasty white upon our return.
We went to Lagoon on the 14th. We had a great time. Celia found some great tickets for a great price. She had 8 of them. Somehow she and Maya got two of them, and my family members got the rest of them. We took Claire and met my parents and Suzy and Paul at Lagoon. We were bummed that Celia got sick and was a party pooper (that's what you get for being pregnant), but we partied until they kicked us out. Claire was literally still running around at 10pm. She never ever stopped that day. Big thanks go to Bethany for watching Kyle ALL DAY LONG. You may ask why we don't take Kyle on these adventures---as Bethany found out, even swings are too scary for that little boy. He likes his feet firmly planted on the ground.
Taylor's sister, Whitney, had a baby on July 15th. Little Zane as had some breathing problems since then. But tonight we have word that he's getting a trial run in her hospital room (just one week late) and may go home tomorrow. We have prayed so hard for this little guy. I have cried more in the last week than I think in the last 3 or 4 years combined. We were so sad that he was so sick, and that Whit and Rob didn't get the chance to just take that little man home as soon as possible, but grateful that prayers are being answered and that he is healing. He is so handsome and just radiates love. We can't wait until we can cuddle him. Kyle and Claire haven't been able to see him yet. They're about going crazy wanting to hold him and ask to see his pictures every day.
I managed to create some ridiculous problems in my right big toe. The pain has stopped me in my tracks---literally. We think it's a bout of gout or something like it (who gets that anyway?). However I'm in between insurances, and I'm not about to go to the doctor and spend hundreds of dollars for a dumb toe. Let's just say that I've got some medicine that is working and I'm eating cherries by the handful and drinking water by the quart---and apparently I'll be okay soon. I guess the joint fluid in my toe has crystallized and is cutting stuff up or something like that. The pain was so intense Tuesday night that I was losing my mind. The swelling was incredible. I felt like my toe nail would just pop off and fly across the room. I was certain my skin was tearing around my calluses. After sleeping maybe an hour and trying large amounts of ibuprofen, at 5am I finally gave in and dug around for some of the "good" drugs I had after my last surgery. They took the edge off for an hour.
My friends took great care of me. Renee came with medical ideas and picked up my kitchen (the night before was our best attended craft night to date) while I held her baby. Good trade. Kyle went to a birthday party and Claire played at Shannon's across the street while Shannon made us dinner (how's that for a friend? She watched my kid AND made my family dinner at the same time). Celia rounded up the day and brought a bag of cherries to take the acid out of my system and a gigantic water bottle that I'm supposed to fill twice daily in order to flush out that acid.
My mom came up to help me the next day, and Renee was back to do glitter toes for me. She guided me through doing toes for my mom and Claire. We're not professionals but we're pretty good. Mom got her FIRST TICKET EVER on her way home from our house. We were a little bummed that her service to us ended on a low night.
So that's about it. I'm thinking I'll blog more once summer is over. Just too much fun for now.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
So we started yesterday evening. Taylor took Kyle to Best Buy (looking for a camera which explains the lack of pictures to document the event----but not really my lack of blogging for an entire month), and we had the house to ourselves. She did great at learning her finger numbers. She was excellent at hand position---it's so natural for her, and usually it's the hardest thing for my students to remember. But I totally noticed when she was a baby that her hands rested in perfect piano position (probably that last comment will show up on seriously so blessed.) And this is my blog, so I can say that. Playing the piano is definitely in her genes, so I'm happy to see it expressed.
Long story short, it was my favorite piano moment ever (but really close to my patriotic medley when I gave up my Miss Utah crown). She was so great. She paid attention. She didn't goof off or push random buttons/keys while I was explaining things. Her attention span was far beyond usual. We had a great time. She learned four songs and is practicing them (and the next ten songs in the book) as I write this. She learned her flashcards almost immediately. She'd shout "Quarter Note!" while holding up one finger. "Half Note" with two fingers. "Whole Note" with four. "Double bar line means the end!" and so on. It was adorable.
I'm not naive enough to think that this will last forever, or even that her enthusiasm will last for the entire month of July, but for now it's so precious. It's so rewarding for me to see her enjoy something that I love so much. Piano has always been a huge part of my life, and I'm so happy to share it with her. And I've also started teaching a few more kids (5 committed students so far) after a two-year hiatus from teaching. I'm so glad to be doing it again. I really love it. I'm looking for three or five more students I think, so if you know anyone who needs lessons, send them on over.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Taylor was called to be the 1st counselor in our new bishopric on Sunday. Well, technically we got the calling from the stake on Wednesday, but he was confirmed Sunday. He also became a high priest. We’re so proud of him, and happy for him to get this experience in our church. He’ll be serving with two great guys, Brother Hadfield and Bishop Michel. Believe it or not, at the tender age of 30, Taylor is the OLDEST member of the bishopric!
I’m not really looking forward to spending Sacrament without him as he’s the one to make the bathroom trips, take kids out, and do most of the general disciplining that happens during the meeting. And even worse he’s the one who gets the kids ready every morning before church. This is going to call for some changes in our family, but good changes.
When we got the call to meet with the stake, Taylor just hung up the phone and looked at me. We nodded at each other and nothing more needed to be said. We both knew what it meant---but we were ever so grateful that he didn’t end up being the bishop. Counselor seems like a breeze in comparison.
Claire did manage a slip-of-the-tongue at playgroup the next day. Someone asked what Taylor’s calling was. I said he was the ward clerk, but Claire piped in, “No. Remember, Mom? Remember last night? He’s not the ward clerk anymore!” I tried to cover. The report from fellow attendees was that they didn’t notice, but I’m sure they’re just being kind. They had to have had suspicions---as did Gene across the street who saw all of us dressed up on a Wednesday night after the children’s bedtime headed toward the stake center. He also figured that one out real quick.
All-in-all this will be wonderful. And please, if you’re lonesome on Tuesday nights, don’t hesitate to call or come on over.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I finally got the recliner back together. We were hampered by sickness, or this project would have been completed much sooner.
First of all, the couch before (remember my $50 DI find?):
Thanks to Kerry Lynn for all the help with recovering the lovely couch:
I still need to stain the frame, but it looks pretty great. I also need to get a family picture print to hang above the couch. I love the finished product though. The pillows were a gift from Kerry Lynn for Mother’s Day.
Next is the baby rocking chair. I got it at DI for $10. The springs were out of place, but I just took it apart, put the springs back, and it’s good as new. This is how it was before:
Now the $17 Craig’s List 1975 recliner (the manufacturing slip was still inside it. It left Detroit in March 1975). Here it is in it’s glory:
And the 12 hour redo thanks especially to Bethany for her 12 hours of stapling and to Keli for the use of her compressor and stapler which saved us many a blister.
Isn’t it great? Here are a few more pictures:
A little bit of the process: and
The worst part was taking it apart. I guess in 1975 things were made to last, because it took me and Gene across the street about 3 hours to take it apart. (Have I talked about Gene? He’s a retired guy across the street who works in his garage on wood projects about all day. He’s also an electrician. He’s very useful and he likes me a lot, so he helps us out a lot.)
I removed very little of the upholstery. I just covered the existing stuff right up. We folded most of the edges under to make it stronger and avoid fraying.
To get into the back to do tufting I literally sliced the back of the chair open with a razor blade:
The tufting was interesting. I learned that you really do need upholstery needles, waxed thread, and most important to put a button on the back too, or the thread will just pull right through the cushion.
And here’s how I did the little rocking chair. I put the pad in the fabric. I pulled the sides tight and pinned it all around except the bottom. Then I pinched it together on the outsides and traced where I thought the seam should be. Then I took the cushion out and sewed on the line. It worked perfectly. I shoved the cushion in and hand stitched the bottom. Easy as can be.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I have been bitten by the bug. I started doing genealogy on Monday. Today is Thursday and I have stopped in the evenings only because Bethany has been kind enough to come over and help me re-upholster our recliner (which is looking FABULOUS. We’ve spent 8 hours so far and have 4-5 more to go. Thanks so much, Bethany). I even dreamed about genealogy last night. I even have gone to such lengths as to give my kids shovels and turn them loose on our dirt front yard while I sit researching on the porch.
Last night was somewhat of a victory. See this picture?
On the right is my grandpa, Lester Holcomb, who was born in 1905. The boy on the left is Harold H Owen, also born in 1905. They are cousins, and Harold was a special friend to my grandpa. Grandpa was not raised a member of the church (his conversion story deserves it's own post), and only the work for the direct Holcomb line from father to father has been done (and boy, is it done! it’s all the way back to the 1300s.) This leaves a lot of work.
Anyway, last night I was able to find Harold H Owen and his family. Did you know that you can research your genealogy and then get it all ready to go to the temple from the comfort of your own home? https://new.familysearch.org/en/action/unsec/welcome allows you to find your family, see who hasn’t had work done, then reserve ordinances online? All I need to do is print out the names I have ready, take them to the temple, and they’ll print out the cards right there for you. It’s THAT easy! And I love it. I have at least a hundred ordinances ready with plans for a bunch more.
So this has replaced my indexing obsession temporarily, but I think that’s okay. One thing is for certain, the spirit of Elijah is alive and well at our house!
Friday, May 7, 2010
"We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so, in a series of kindnesses there is a last one which makes the heart run over. -Samuel Johnson
I love that. We've moved a lot. Some moves have been easy. Some have been hard---oh how my heart broke when we left our friend in Murray. When we moved here I knew it would be a place we could finally have roots. We plan on being here 5 years or so. Whenever job or family size makes our house not work for us. Already I'm sick any time I think about moving because we love it so much here.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Anyhow, the list of things to do/accomplish/be before this time next year:
1. Paint my bedroom walls.
2. Improve upon my housemaking skills
3. Quilt, bind, and hang my wallhanging that I love so much
4. Establish a daily routine/schedule. This involves getting out of bed earlier.
5. Become pregnant (to have a baby before my next birthday I need to conceive by or on July 7, and that's not going to happen, thus the goal to become pregnant.)
6. Be more physically fit (while this is kind of messed up to put after goal #5, I think it's okay to list. I'm getting a bike for my birthday, so hopefully that can contribute)
7. Quit texting while driving (I think this should be a process, it's too hard to go cold turkey)
8. Begin writing seriously and consistently
9. Finish and print my wedding album
10. Teach piano lessons again, and devote some time weekly to enjoying my talent
11. Become a coupon-using grocery shopper
12. Recharge my love-affair with the scriptures
13. Index 1000 names each month
14. Sew a bag/purse for myself
15. Do a kind thing every day
16. Play with my kids more
17. Read to my kids more
18. Blog with pictures more (did you notice the picture at the top? I know...I'm pretty good at this list already!)
19. Appreciate the sunset more often
20. Get back to cooking from a monthly menu
21. Actively strengthen friendships
22. Talk to my sister more
23. Finish my quiet book project that began like three years ago (BRITTEN!)
24. Tell my husband I appreciate him more
25. Find one way to be more "green"
26. Potty train Kyle
27. Actually plan family night lessons instead of having impromptu lessons
28. Play the piano in church
29. Actually try some of the crafts/food/sewing projects I bookmark
30. Plan the party for next year---convince Lee (my cousin who was born 3 days before me) that we should repeat our 15th birthday party in some way with all our old friends
So that's it, friends. With luck I'll keep you updated (if there is no update, there is no progress, so don't ask!)
And you've still got until Friday to get my presents, so let's get shopping!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I've only been back once since we left in August, and that was for graduation in December so it's been a while. It's no secret that I didn't love Logan. It's not Logan's fault. In fact I think I'm the only person who has ever lived there who didn't love it and wanted to leave. It's lovely. It's slow-paced. We lived across the street from horses. The mountains were moments away. We could see the temple from our bedroom window. And yet, I did a happy dance (literally) when we moved.
As we drove around yesterday I couldn't help but think that things were exactly as we'd left them, only very different. It was strange to see things without the weight of the world on my shoulders. Rewind 2.5 years, and you'll remember that we moved to Logan 6 weeks before Kyle was born. Taylor commuted for the first semester to West Valley every day and went to school full-time. I was alone with Claire and very pregnant. We had Kyle, Taylor quit his job (and thus we lost insurance benefits and a salary), I had my eye removed, I had no friends, and then things got worse with my eye. That was all in the first 6 months we lived there. Logan and I got off to a rocky start. We were poor; I was disfigured; I had two tiny babies; Taylor was at school/work all day; and I was very alone. It was my hardest, most painful two years yet.
Yesterday at the park I thought how different it felt there to be light and free. To not have endless worries. It was wonderful. Our life is so much more stable now. We have a home, income, and my face is almost back to acceptable. We drove past our little townhouse. The flowers Claire and I grew from a seed were starting to come back to life. It was as if I could close my eyes and walk inside. My mind flashed to bringing Kyle home from the hospital and walking in that door. We parked in the back to see the yard where we spent so much time. Aside from our swingset missing, everything was much the same---down to our old broken yellow hose still coiled by the back door. This is where Claire and Kyle were small. For those moments I will always be grateful. For long afternoons spent reading and watching Claire play on the swingset. For all of the barbecues and evening spent with our family eating outdoors followed by Frisbee until bedtime, I will be grateful. Those moments are in my heart and in my scrapbook.
And for the weight of the world that was so heavy on me while I was there; I left it there. Consciously but not effortlessly. I think I will continue to visit occasionally, to look back on who I was and how far we've come.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The doctor was fine doing the surgery without anesthesia, and I am fine not paying for anesthesia, so it was another fun time holding Taylor's hand while I was conscious and under the knife. They did give me a little anti-anxiety medication which probably saved me. They started with three or four shots to numb the area all around the inside corner of my eye. Those suckers hurt. Taylor said they really bled. At one point after one I felt hot blood running down my cheek, and I wasn't sure how I'd handle the rest. Next they covered my face in iodine. Taylor snapped this lovely picture (I thought I ought to wear lipstick if I couldn't have anything else on my face): Then they cut my eyelid open. They have a machine that will cut and cauterize at the same time. It smells awful. Taylor says it smoked---well, not it, but I smoked. Yuck. That part took a while. It didn't hurt, just was freaky to know what was happening. Next they had to find all the places they wanted to work on so there was some digging around. They ran into some scar tissue from previous surgeries. They scraped at that. I could hear it scraping and feel the pressure. That wasn't fun. Then they had to attach muscles in new places to ligaments or tendons which wouldn't numb very well, so that was really hard. Especially when I could hear the doctor saying "Pass the needle" and "Do you have a flesh hook handy?" Flesh hook. Taylor said it was like a fish hook, hook and all. They did this at three different spots. Four or five times I had to sit up and open my eyes so they could see how the adjusting was going. That was unpleasant to have to use muscles that were mid-surgery. Toward the end the numbing stuff was wearing off so I got one more shot and they stitched it up. That was quite painful too.
As I rested and recovered that evening at my parent's house my thoughts turned to Joseph Smith. I was 28-years-old and had to have surgery while awake. But I had the valium-like drug to start out with, numbing shots for the middle, and incredible pain-killers to end it all, along with the modern comforts of home. He was seven and had no drugs before and refused alcohol. I was okay for about 40 minutes, but towards the end it took some serious, serious self-control to remain calm and hold still. I'm sure his surgery was longer than mine. Not to mention the extreme age difference and absence of modern everything.
Throughout his life he endured all kinds of physical pain. I am in awe of his life and devotion to the gospel and its teachings. I am sure that his prophetic training began years before he knelt in the grove. I only hope that the trials I experience can, in some way, strengthen my love of the gospel and my dependence on my Heavenly Father.
I loved all that was said about motherhood and mothering. It was just what I needed to hear. I've already re-listened to each of the mother talks, and can't wait to get my Ensign to mark up. I had a little moment of epiphany early on in the conference. Someone mentioned the prodigal son. That parable has always bugged me because it seems that the "good" son, the one who was always there doing the right thing all along is kind of ignored, and that the reward is the same for both in the end. I realized this weekend that the greatest blessing for the faithful son was his constant nearness to his father. While the prodigal strayed, the faithful son was never far from the father nor far from the blessings of being near the father; thus the faithful son not only received half of the father's estate, he received the blessings of constantly being in the father's presence throughout his life.
If I were to put us in one category, I'd like to say we've always been faithful--and maybe that's why the parable may have bugged me. This realization during conference helped me realize that though we have often felt quite tested by our trials, we have always be supported by and loved by our Heavenly Father. As long as we have remained faithful we have been blessed. And right now our cup overflows. We were saying the other day that we are now "living the dream" we've always dreamed. We cannot believe how we have been blessed lately, especially for how we have struggled in the past. We are so grateful and hope that we continue to live faithful.
Oh! And we got a tiny kitty for Easter! He/She (it's debatable) is a tiny ball of fur. It's so funny to him run around the house at about 60% fur. It's wonderful to see Claire so in love and happy with the kitty, and Kyle is learning to be gentle (hopefully learning soon!). Pictures to come :)
Monday, March 29, 2010
Here is the backyard after Horse pushed all the dirt back with his fancy machine. Our backyard is about 1.5 feet down from our neighbors (way to plan it, builders) so we had a slight hill to deal with. We decided on a rock retaining wall. We got the rocks from a place where someone forgot to put up a no trespassing sign in North Ogden.
Here it is as it is now. I'm going to put a garden and other growing things in the area behind the wall. I've got about 8 feet to work with. I'm excited.
And when I uploaded the pictures I found this beauty. Apparently Claire took her own picture. Apparently she had eaten cinnamon or some other strange thing she's allergic to. And yes I just ended that sentence with a preposition. Is that something you have a problem with? Here's the picture I wrote about:
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
On occasion there is nothing orange available, and she is presented with another color. This often results in her letting us know "But I wanted ORANGE!" Sometimes the orange plate is even obviously headed her direction and she starts to holler "I want orange!" a little panicked that it may somehow go to Kyle.
It's made me think. How often does God present us with the things we want/need and we offer little gratitude, just expect it. And as soon as we don't get what we feel we're entitled to we start into the whole disappointed, "But I wanted..." How often does he plan wonderful things for us, only for us to constantly remind Him that we somehow innately deserve that gift and more? I try to be grateful, but I think I need to be a little more grateful and a little less demanding.
This also comes into play when Claire asks for things. Sometimes it's inconvenient (get up and get stuff for her knowing that my dinner will not be warm upon return or my cereal will be soggy), sometimes it doesn't make sense (Not THAT cup! and I have to dump her milk into another cup, adding to my dishwasher workload). When these requests come and my first response is to say "No" or "Later" I remind myself of all the ridiculous things I ask Heavenly Father for, and then I get up and fulfill the request, hoping to add Karma to my Heavenly requests.
Weird how parenting is such a great way to learn about God.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Anyway, for whatever reason it bugs me to cook with the kids. Every once in a while when I'm feeling overly generous and willing to test my patience I allow them to cook with me by my choice. I am getting better. The other day they helped me make homemade pizza. It was good, and I didn't freak out.
Last night I made a copy-cat recipe for Sizzler's Malibu Chicken. It's been on TV commercials a lot, and for some reason I just love it. I looked up the recipe and was thrilled that I could cook it from my pantry staples without any special trip to the store. I burned a couple pieces, but even they were delicious. It cooked so quickly and easily. And it was kind of fun. And my kids stayed out of the kitchen.
Here's the recipe if you're at a loss for what to make and don't want to go to the store (For the ham I used the Canadian bacon I keep frozen in my freezer).
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (pound 'em thin)
- 6 slices cooked ham
- 6 slices swiss cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup fine dry breadcrumb
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
Stir egg and 1 tablespoons water together with a fork.
Combine flour, salt and pepper and coat each chicken piece, dip into egg mixture and then coat with breadcrumbs making sure to press crumbs in firmly.
Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Brown chicken 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
Place browned chicken on cookie sheet or oven proof platter, top each piece with a slice of ham and slice of cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees, until cheese melts.
For the dipping sauce combine mustard and mayonnaise.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Do you like the house the picked for me?
I did the interview while I had swine flu (the interviewer had been vaccinated and took the chance). I don't remember it at all, so it was fun to see what I said. We are inside Whitney's house during the interview.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
And isn't Kyle the cutest little boy ever? He knows Be Still My Soul too now:)
Oh, and news of the week is that we are going to have our first nephew in July. Whitney, Taylor's sister, is expecting the little guy. We couldn't be happier for them.
Monday, February 1, 2010
It continues though. I left my scriptures at church yesterday. Then I was making a meat pie for dinner. I was making the crust and made only one layer instead of two. I'm beginning to worry.
Anyway, wasn't it fun to have someone win Miss A and actually have picked her as the winner? Wow! We were happy. My dad put together a "Party Bag" for everyone complete with programs and Miss Utah buttons and my crown. Everyone wore a button and got a picture wearing the crown. We stayed until 1am chatting, which wasn't so great for 9:00 church. Not to mention that the same group of us were out until 10ish on Thursday and spent the night together Friday (not me, I left at midnight). Our husbands may not be up for "girl's night" again any time soon :) And maybe the lack of sleep and excitement of adult conversation is why my brain isn't working...
Two things: Still didn't love the open-leg stance for swimsuit. SOO SOO SOOOOO glad that I didn't have to be in a reality show or called up for talent with two second before I had to begin.
And one more thing: Did you watch the Miss A preview show with Clinton Kelly? Wasn't he class-less? Boobies bouncing? He said that was his favorite part. Then they aired some negative comments about some of the girls while they were competing. If that were me I would cry when I saw it, and it would ruin the whole Miss A experience for the poor thing. Hated that part!