Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Glory Days (and New Word Wednesday)

Yesterday my friend Christy and I took a road trip to our alma mater to relive our glory days. Or our glory afternoon, as the case may be. Notice that all my pictures involve food.

This thing of beauty is brought to you by one of my favorite college delis, City Bites. It's the California Club on Tomato Bread. This sandwich alone got me through three years of college. Not really, but I ate a lot of them and it's WAY better than it looks in the pic.

The highlight of the trip for Christy was a stop at Classic Fifties. (It's pretty much a Sonic, but if you tell Christy I said so, I'll deny it.) She assured me this was our favorite place to go for half price slushies. I don't really remember it, so I had to ask her what my favorite thing here was. It was not the Sprittle, it just sounded so interesting I couldn't pass it up: Sprite + Skittles = Sprittle.

It is just as it sounds: a cup of icy cold Sprite with Skittles dumped in it. Have you ever heard of bubble tea? It's super hip.
I think Sprittle is redneck bubble tea. It's super gross.

As we sat at Classic Fifties, I couldn't help but glance at the car to my right. I wish the photo was better, so you could really see what this is, but my window wouldn't roll down. There is a pile of already chewed gum on the dashboard with a dinosaur skeleton perched on top.

What do you wanna bet she ordered a Sprittle?
I know it's Wednesday and I don't want to let Melanie down. So the word of the day is inspired by yesterday's road trip. The word is:
Bonhomie (bah nuh mee) It's a noun meaning good-natured geniality; an atmosphere of good cheer. The bonhomie on our road trip made me wish Christy and I didn't live so far apart. (FYI: Once in college I made Christy laugh so hard she threw up. That's how much fun we have together.)

Monday, December 29, 2008


Gee, it looks like I took the weekend off! I guess I've been busy. I spent most of this weekend getting together with old friends who were in town for Christmas. Like we all go back to the 4th and 6th grades, that's the kind of old friends I'm talking about. Several of them I hadn't seen since high school graduation FOURTEEN YEARS AGO. That's almost HALF MY LIFE. Seriously, that's a long time. Also seriously, no one has changed a bit.

Friday night I had a long talk with my friend Bil about Matt's death. It just may have been one of my favorite conversations since The Accident. During the conversation, Bil said that I seem enlightened since Matt died. Not a compliment a girl hears everyday, ya know? That comment, plus the approaching new year and thinking about doing some new things with my life, got my wondering about something:

If we compare how we see ourselves with how others see us, how different would we be? For instance, I am currently exploring what I want to be when I grow up. I think I know, but it's something I think I would enjoy and be good at based on how I see myself. So I'm wondering what YOU think I should be when I grow up, based on how you see me.

Satisfy my curiosity: post a comment. Even you blog voyeurs who don't like me to know you're there. (It's nothing to feel bad about, I do it too. But indulge me this once, would ya?)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Quilts

Many of you who knew I was working on special projects for Christmas have asked several times for pictures. Now that Christmas has come and gone and the packages have been opened I can post some. I started out cutting up Matt's shirts to make a quilt for the boys and me, and I just decided one day that each of the families on Matt's side should have one too. So between Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas I made four: one for each of Matt's two brothers and their families, his mom, and his dad and his family.

It's not an intricate design, it's just about the shirts.

My favorite squares are the ones that still look like shirts, with the buttons and the pockets intact.

I wanted the packages to be really pretty by themselves. Presentation is everything, Matt often said.

Just a close-up of the tags I made for each quilt.

Though it was labor intensive to do that many quilts in that amount of time, I am happy with the way they turned out. I can look at each one of the squares and remember what Matt looked like wearing each of those shirts. I hope those who received them enjoy them and that they remind them of our happy times together.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

10th thru 12th Days of Christmas

It's been a full day. As I was getting closer to going to bed a few minutes ago, I started thinking about posting pictures of my Christmas projects tomorrow. Then I thought that if I'm doing that in tomorrow's post, today I'd better wrap up the 12 Days of Christmas.

10 Lords a Leaping (cookies with 10 frogs on them)

11 Pipers Piping (whistle pops--Brigham and Hunter thought these were among the coolest things EVER, the grown-ups...not so much)

12 Drummers drumming (a Christmas tree with 12 tiny drum ornaments on it)

We completely enjoyed and appreciated our 12 Days of Christmas. It was nice to have something to look forward to every evening. Thank you to our little elves. And to everyone:

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Word Wednesday

It's Christmas Eve, but it's also my brother Chris' 37th birthday. So we have been at his house all afternoon partying like it's 1999. Happy Birthday Chris!

Today's new word, like last week's, was again inspired by Hunter. I'll admit pretty readily that I can be bought. Offer me diamonds and I'll do just about anything. Just about. But not Hunter. There is no amount of ANYTHING that can persuade Hunter to do what he does not want to do. Someday this will be an incredible strength to him. Right now, though, it's annoying. Oh well. It's hardly the worst affliction I'll encounter in my life. On to the word of the day:

Obdurate (ahb duhr uht) It's an adjective meaning hardened in feeling; resistant to persuasion. Hunter is completely obdurate on the issue of potty training. Synonyms include inflexible, recalcitrant and unyielding.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Brigham is the little thinker of the family. His brain processes everything well beyond his years. A few days ago we were in the car and he told me a gay joke. I knew he had no clue what being gay meant, so I took the opportunity to discuss two things with him: what being gay means, and that we don't make fun of other people just because they are different from us (except rednecks, we still make fun of them). Fast forward to yesterday.

Brigham and Hunter took out the game of Life. They chose their cars and were looking confused at the blue and pink plastic pegs. I explained that those were supposed to be people, so they should put in a blue one to represent themselves, then they would add more if they landed on spaces that told them to get married or have a kid. Brigham the thinker replied, "We'd add pink ones, right? Because we're not gay."
photo courtesy of Maggie Holmes Photography

Monday, December 22, 2008

4th through 9th Days of Christmas

Okay, I got a little behind on the days of Christmas. With just a couple remaining I thought I better catch up.

4 Calling Birds (address/phone book with birds on it)
5 Gold Rings (napkin rings)
6 Geese A Laying (six geese on a wreath w/ chocolate covered pretzels)

7 Swans a Swimming (This one got the biggest laugh of the week. Can you figure it out without me elaborating?)

8 Maids a Milking

9 Ladies Dancing

These cookies were among the best cookies I have ever eaten. They were so good I let Brigham have one for breakfast the morning after they were delivered because I didn't know if I'd be able to refrain from eating them all if I made him wait until a more reasonable cookie eating time of day. He said, "Are these from the mall? They taste just like the cookies from the mall." Oh yeah, that's good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We just got home from church. Hunter's teacher made a point to tell me today that while the kids were all coloring, Hunter was sitting next to this little girl with a big, puffy holiday dress and great big curly hair. Completely serious, he leaned in to his teachers ear and whispered, "Is she a princess?"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cutest Baby on the Planet

I'm not in a great mood today. In fact, I'm in a horrible mood. So to spare you all from that and give most of you what you really want anyway, I'm just going to post the most recent pictures of the cutest baby on the planet.

And another smiley one:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Little Bling

I'm posting late in the day again today because I am finally finished with those Christmas projects I've been working on. They are beautifully wrapped, not so beautifully boxed (2 are in Pampers boxes and one is in the box we used for the target for shooting the bb gun a couple of weeks ago. As I was taping it up I noticed there's still a bb lodged in it. Classy, huh?) and ready to be shipped tomorrow. Hopefully they'll make it on time. And yes, I remembered to take pictures and I'm excited to post them after Christmas.

But now to the point. Ami and I have a new distraction:

Aren't these cute? If you can get past my man hands anyway.

Ami did these two, and we went to the craft store today to load up on the stuff to do more in different colors. That's how much we like them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Word Wednesday

Did you think I forgot? Were you waiting all day to incorporate your new word into your vocabulary? So sorry. We've been suffering the after effects of an ice storm and today was the first day since Sunday that it was safe to drive on the streets. SO I GOT OUT OF THE HOUSE! It was liberating.

I chose today's word because of a conversation I had with Hunter yesterday. We were talking about the really smelly black and white animal. Hunter kept calling it a "stunk" which I found hilarious because without realizing it he was combining what it's called with what it does. So the word is:

Noisome (noy suhm) It's an adjective meaning stinking or putrid. The dead mouse trapped in the walls produced a noisome odor. Synonyms include disgusting, foul and malodorous.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday morning at 5:30 Hunter came running into my room squealing with excitement that "It snowed, it snowed!" What it had really done is sleeted, but my little desert rats don't know the difference. The high was only in the 20s but the boys were so happy with their "snow" they played outside for hours anyway.

A family in the neighborhood came by pulling a sled with their riding lawnmower. The boys thought that was one of the coolest things they'd ever seen and made friends with them right away. That's Brigham in the front and Hunter in the middle.

After warm showers (Hunter's pants had sheets of ice on the legs) and cozy jammies, the boys capped of their perfect winter day making a gingerbread house. I made a mild attempt to contribute, but Hunter shooed me from the room. I wasn't upset.

When we set up the boys' bedroom here we decided to put their beds together like one big bed. Last night when I went in to check on them before I went to bed, this is what I found:

They do like each other! Do you think they'll still hold hands when they sleep when they're 16 and 13?

Monday, December 15, 2008

First 3 Days of Christmas

Friday night Brigham, Hunter, Seth and I had a little surprise on the front step. Someone around here is celebrating the season with the 12 Days of Christmas and we are the beneficiaries. Whoever it is, they are seriously creative:
The 1st Day of Christmas: A Redbird in a Pear Tree
The 2nd Day of Christmas: 2 Turtle Doves (they are turtles carved out of Dove soap!)

The 3rd Day of Christmas: 3 French Hens (They're cornish game hens with French phrases all over them!)

So funny and so much fun to look forward to every night. Though this does create a bit of a challenge. What to do with three cornish game hen...I don't enjoy cooking. But this could be fun. Those of you who do like to cook, or those of you who just like to eat, if you would be so kind--I challenge you to find the best (and easiest?) cornish game hen recipes you can find and put them or a link to them in a comment. Surely there should be a prize for the recipe chosen, but my whole life is packed in a storage warehouse, so I don't really know what it would be.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Target Practice

First, before I really begin my post for today, my sincere apologies to any of you Quaker types out there who may find today's post disturbing and/or offensive. That said, check this out:

Yesterday I went out to run a few errands, took a wrong turn and came upon the gun club. I went in to see if I could register for a class, but it was full thru the end of January. Apparently I have really nice eyes that are worth an impromptu mini class. I ended up shooting instead of picking up corduroy at the fabric store. Look how rusty I am! I haven't been shooting in a year. You probably can't tell from where you're sitting, but I'll admit that there are three bullets completely unaccounted for. On the target of the guy in the lane next to me perhaps? I'll keep you posted on my progress. I probably won't get worse.
Sidebar: It occurred to me a few minutes ago that I have a really cute blog that many of you may think I did myself. While this is flattering, it's also untrue. My sister Ami is my blog guru and she did it all. She's good, huh?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cookie Exchange

The following confession will hit some of you pretty hard. It will be met with the same incredulous, jaw-dropping, mouth-gaping awe that my never-been-to-Disney-Land confession receives. There's no easy way to say it so I'm just going to take a deep breath and let it out.
Up until last night I had never been to a cookie exchange.
There. I said it. It's out there and I can't take it back. I know what you must be thinking: "And you call yourself a woman?!" Alas, it's sad but true. Last night I went to my first cookie slash ornament exchange. I wish I could say otherwise, but the truth is that the experience was completely lost on me. Here's why:
  • Who wants just one of every cookie? I mean, there are some at every party where one is more than enough. But more often than not, people have pulled out their holiday best. There are mostly those cookies, soft chewy tasty looking cookies, that let you know right up front that one wouldn't even come close to being enough; especially when you know you're taking the plate home to little people who need everything to be exactly fair and even in order to insure their survival. That puts the necessary minimum for each type of cookie at three and that's just not reasonable at the average exchange.
  • Random ornaments?! Any of you who know me well know that I don't do random. Any tree that I have ever decorated of my own volition has had a theme, or at the very least a color scheme AND ORNAMENTS ARE ONLY PUT ON IN SETS! If there's just one of something, hang it on your rear view mirror! I watched last night with complete fascination as the other women oohed and awed over the ornaments and commented on how cute a particular one would look on their tree and I just thought: BUT HOW COULD THAT BE? THERE'S ONLY ONE! Don't get me wrong, there were cute ornaments. My friend Shandolynne, who I went with, summed it up best. During the exchange she leaned over and whispered, "Let me know if you see something you like and we'll go out tomorrow and look for eleven more."

Despite my neuroses, I did come home with a plate of yummy cookies that has already been attacked by the little people this morning and a very nice ornament that will be gifted to one of you random ornament collectors or hung from my rear view mirror.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Three Little Men

I didn't post yesterday! Wanna make something of it? Yesterday was a relatively full day. I got home around 10:45 pm and, honestly, I could have posted something. But I just didn't feel like it. The morning was full of regular get ready for the day stuff, the afternoon was set aside for lunch with a new friend, and in the evening I went to a community theater production of "A Christmas Story" with an old friend. It's lunch that I want to tell you about. But first a game of count the rugrats. How many do you see down there?

Just three, right? (I'm singing the hallelujah chorus in my head right now.) So yesterday I took Brigham and Hunter to McDonald's where we met up with my new friend and her two youngest for lunch. The kids played in the playplace for 3 hours (how many disgusting diseases do you think they were exposed to in that amount of time?) while we talked about life. New friend's name is Becky, she's 34 and she's a lot like me, with a couple of key differences. One month ago she lost her husband to liver cancer. Isn't that awful? This is where the key differences come in. She spent months watching her husband die and she is now raising SEVEN children on her own. I know she's grateful for every one of those children, but that's a huge challenge. See how much harder life could be? No matter how bad we think we've got it, there's always someone out there with a trump card.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Word Wednesday

I recently started studying to take the GRE (the grown-up equivalent of the SATs) so I can begin the application process for grad school. As part of my study materials I have a huge deck of vocabulary words I'm supposed to learn. I've decided that you all could stand to enhance your vocabularies as well, so around these parts Wednesdays will now be known as New Word Wednesday.

I chose today's word from the deck because it surprised me so much. Not only did I have no idea what it meant, but I had no idea it was even a word separate from the religion--and I'll bet you didn't either.

The word is CATHOLIC. It's an adjective meaning "universal; broad and comprehensive". ex. sentence: "Hot tea with honey is a catholic remedy for a sore throat." Synonyms: extensive, general

Be honest, did you know this already?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Lights

Last night my friend Shandolynne and I took our kids to see Christmas lights at one of the local hot spots. They had the best time running around outside together and the weather, while a little rainy, was a balmy 65 degrees.

Brigham, Quinlynne and Hunter (w/ a grape mustache)

They always seem to have their mouths open and their hands out...

And a nod to the folks back home.

I left baby Seth with his grandparents and aunts while we went to see the lights. This is the picture I found on my camera when I got home. I see plumbing in Seth's future...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hunter's Honey

Don't be fooled by the mild-mannered exterior. By 5:30 this morning Hunter was up and bouncing off the walls. In groggy desperation I told him to quit being such a freak. "Honey, I not a freak!" he said.
Nice, huh? I call my kid a freak and he calls me honey.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some Days are Better Than Others

I'm watching a Hallmark movie with my sister right now. The narrator in the movie just said "Hope is a hard habit to break." It made me wonder about my level of hopefulness. How do you know if you're a hopeful person?

Today it has been three months to the day since Matt's accident. Overall I think I'm doing pretty well, but of course some days are better than others. I know I'll feel some degree of sadness every day for the rest of my life, but I feel like I've made peace with Matt's death. I don't know why my life is the way it is now, but I know it is the way it is.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Projects

So I was just heading for bed when I was struck by the thought that I hadn't posted anything today. Not wanting to ruin my record, I'm posting. I don't have much to share today, though, because I spent the entire day working on some Christmas projects. And I do mean almost the ENTIRE day. I took two breaks: one to run on the treadmill and one to go to GNC for sleeping pills for my kids. DON'T JUDGE. If your 3-year-old went to bed at 10 pm and got up at 5 am, you'd slip him a little something every now and then, too.

I've had some requests for pictures of my projects, but on the off chance that some of the recipients are reading, that will have to wait until after Christmas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Would You Want to Know?

Brigham and I just finished a pretty philosophical conversation for a 6-year-old. Brigham asked me if I would want to know the future if I could. I said I wouldn't because I think it would be too hard to live our lives day after day if we knew all the bad things that were going to happen to us. I asked him if he would have wanted to know Matt was going to die when he did. While he thought about that, he asked "What if we could just know the good stuff?" I asked for an example of what he thought a good thing to know would be. He said, "Well like what a baby is going to look like before it's born." Before Seth was born Brigham spent hours imagining what he would look like, so I asked if Seth matches what Brigham imagined. He replied, "No, I thought he would look more like me."

Those feet up there are Brigham and Seth's. They look a lot alike to me...

Going back to whether or not he would want to know his dad was going to die when he did, we decided it's a lot easier to be happy when you don't necessarily know what's around the corner.

(photo courtesy of Maggie Holmes Photography)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree

Brigham and Hunter have adapted well to the wide open spaces here. This is a new favorite pastime. To the untrained eye or the uninformed observer it might appear to be an apple tree. It's not. It's a spaceship.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blessing Day

Since all my family was in town for my sister's wedding last weekend I decided it would be a good time to have Seth blessed. These are the men in my family who participated: (left to right) new brother-in-law Jeremy, my dad, my brother Andrew, my brother Derek, and my brother Chris.

Derek performed the blessing. Here is a portion of it:

"Seth, you are named after Seth of ancient times who we learn about in the Doctrine and Covenants, The Old Testament, and The Pearl of Great Price who was given to his parents, Adam and Eve, as a comfort and consolation for the loss of their child, Abel.
You are likewise born in the shadow of your father’s passing and we bless you to learn all that you can of him and to be and feel close despite his absence and to be a source of comfort, brightness and hope to your mother all of her days."

Isn't that beautiful?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Every Family Needs a Cheerleader

It has long been my belief that every family needs a cheerleader; someone whose role it is to lighten any mood, to get off-the-charts excited when their toast is ready, to truly believe that things stop hurting when you kiss them, to be a sort of household court jester to cheer both king and common folk. For us that person is Hunter.
A couple of days ago while Brigham and Hunter were playing in the backyard, Hunter was accidentally hit square on the top of his head with a gardening hoe. It could have been really ugly, but he managed to come away from it with just a 3/4 inch gash and the complaint that "Brigham do dat wit a shove."
Yesterday I wanted to take a peek at the battlewound to assess the healing progress. As I leaned in to inspect his head, Hunter cheerfully called out, "Nope! Nobody's there!" Yes, Hunter. We know.
(photo courtesy of Maggie Holmes photography)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Seth Smiles

I've been waiting for something really noteworthy to kick of this blog and I have come to the conclusion that it's just not gonna happen. But I do have a little something...

Seth smiles! He even let me catch one with the camera. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but he's also developing Matt's widow's peak. Cute, huh?