Friday, September 25, 2009

Puddle Hopping

It's finally finished and we are ready for the big unveiling...

A friend of mine tried to talk me out of the boulder on the baja step before it was mortared in, but having already had 7 kids in the pool at one time, I can tell you that jump rock is a screaming success.

All the pots light up, we just had one on to test. I acknowledge that there is a certain amount of common sense expected of ones children when open fire is right next to designated diving platforms...I'll let you know how it goes. If in subsequent posts my kids are sporting gauze bandages on any extremities, that's your sign that it hasn't gone well.

These columns are probably my favorite feature. The sound of the water cascading down, the flickering of the fire, the glow of the interior pool light at night. Buddha would be happy. *gasp* Brainchild! I should become certified to teach yoga and have classes poolside at night!

The kids are all so excited the pool is finally done. The chemicals were just balanced on Wednesday and they've already been in 3 times.

Tomorrow the cinder block wall will be painted, landscaping and patio resurfacing next week. Then we'll be ready for the full before and after. If you're going to come swim let me know quick--the water is just going to get colder from here on out!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Medians

Since you've all graciously returned following my recent angst, I figured you're due a fluffy post.

Back in the olden days, Sundays were a day for entertaining. Almost every week we invited friends over. Matt would put on quite a culinary performance in the kitchen and I would spend the next day and a half washing every pot, lid, bowl, whisk, baking dish, spatula....that took up space in our kitchen. I'm not complaining, it was a fabulous arrangement for us. Matt viewed cooking as an art form and I would (and frequently do) choose cleaning over food prep any day.

Now that it's just me and my littles, we never have friends over for Sunday dinner. I don't enjoy show cooking, and knowing I'd have to come up with something fabulous for dinner and clean up afterwards is hardly motivating. But Brigham asks constantly who we can have over for dinner. I knew we needed a compromise, so we began Sunday Sundaes. Brigham can invite over the family of his choice, we make a big bowl of homemade hot fudge, and everyone gets to decorate their sundae with a smorgasbord of toppings. Brigham gets his socializing and I have minimal prep and clean up. Perfecto.

Today we are all in various stages of monster colds/flu so we couldn't invite anyone over for Sunday Sundaes. It was just us, but Brigham handled it well. (I keep forgetting that he wants to be called Brig. He doesn't like having a name with "ham" in it. He's okay eating it though.) This is the best and easiest recipe you will ever find for homemade hot fudge:

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
4 Tbs. butter (please don't use margarine)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbs. water
microwave for about 30-45 seconds at a time until the mixture can be completely combined. Stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla when you're finished microwaving. (Vanilla, chocolate and microwaves don't mix well.)
Mine is the one on the top. I'm a sundae puritan with just vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. Hunter's is the bottom left. He gets a little more decorated adding sprinkles and mini M&Ms, and Brigham...ahem, BRIG... is the most complex with all of the above plus crushed Oreos and mini chocolate chips.

The happy chefs made their own sundaes...

...and I, of course, cleaned up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stomach Issues

I've been trying to get all geared up today for a fluffy post about the progress in the backyard, but things just aren't shaping up that way. Sorry...

Have you ever noticed how your stomach shrinks when you haven't eaten in awhile? When you're not used to eating enormous quantities of food it takes less to fill your stomach than it does when you regularly put away a lot of food. Every time I've ever fasted I think about all the food I'm going to eat when I'm done fasting. But inevitably I don't make it even half way through my list because my stomach feels full pretty quickly once I start eating again.

I think this is the basic premise behind gastric bypass. Shrink the stomach so it holds less and lose weight because you can't eat as much. Unless you gradually eat more and more, then the stomach gets stretched out again, you eat more and start gaining the weight back. But if you never get your stomach all stretched out to begin with you don't need tons of food to fill it in the first place. This is of course an uneducated summary of the stomach shrinking phenomenon, but it sounds reasonable to me.

Right about now you might be wondering what the heck this has to do with anything. Last night I fell asleep thinking about the moron who said "Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." I can't decide which side of the love fence he was sitting on, but I can tell you that the side I'm sitting on, the loved-and-lost side, feels really crappy. (That is censored for my more sensitive're welcome.) So naturally thinking about this leads me to think about shrunken stomachs because the same thing that happens with our stomachs happens with our hearts and souls...

I was a month shy of 25 when Matt and I got married. By Mormon standards that was old. Ancient practically. So I spent a decent number of my adult years being the subject of the why-hasn't-anyone-scooped-her-up conversation among enquiring minds. Sure I wanted a guy, wanted to love and be loved and grow old creating a fabulous life with someone amazing. But it was fairly easy to fill the void with college stuff and work stuff and friend stuff. Because I never dated anyone I actually wanted to marry and I had no idea how awesome being married could be, there were plenty of ways to stay busy. Truthfully, I didn't really know what I was missing.

Now I know.

If I'm ever in a situation where I have to pick a campfire to sit by, I'm sitting with the guy who said "Ignorance is Bliss".

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009


I read somewhere that a moment is defined as a significant period of time lasting approximately 90 seconds. Life is defined by these significant periods of time, these moments. The moment you know you love someone more than you've ever loved anyone else...the moment you look into a new baby's eyes for the first time but you feel like you've seen them before...the moment you realize for sure what you're destined to do in this life...the moment the sun hits the horizon in the most spectacular sunset imaginable...the moment your life changes and it will never, ever be the same...moments.

Recently I visited with some old friends. The conversation turned to the day Matt died and one of my friends mentioned that looking back on it, the day must be a blur. You'd think...but it isn't. It was one year ago today and I remember every tiny detail.

Matt began traveling regularly (and by "regularly" I mean he was out of town more than he was in town) when I was pregnant with our first baby. I always felt down in my gut that something would happen to him on one of these trips. I remember several times he would come home late at night after hours or days of driving and flying and I would breathe a sigh of relief and think to myself "not this trip." We'd have long talks about my feelings and every time he would tell me that nothing was going to happen. "How do you know?" I would ask. "I just know," he would answer. And I believed him...mostly.

The moment I saw the Highway Patrol officer standing on my doorstep I just knew. It sounds cliche, right? Because that's exactly how it happens in the movies--hours after the loved one should have returned home there's a knock at the door. It's a Highway Patrol officer. He introduces himself before he asks to come in and sit down. He says something along the lines of "I'm sorry to have to tell you that there's been an accident..." I remember with excruciating clarity exactly how I felt at that moment. I've only felt that way once before...

When I was in high school I went to Mexico as part of a student exchange. An insanely high fever and some other issues that I don't blog about landed me in a hospital there. I remember the commotion going on, a little boy screaming his head off behind the curtain next to me and then out of nowhere someone stabbed my shoulder with an enormous needle and pumped into my body what felt like acid. It burned through every vein in my body like wildfire in a forest. When the burning stopped, the fever was gone too and I was left with the most bizarre feeling of emptiness...

After the officer left I called my parents. I could hardly catch my breath and when my dad answered the phone all I could get out was "Matt's dead." As soon as those words passed my lips I knew I had said them another time, in another place, in another lifetime perhaps...but those exact words in that exact way.

I've said many times over the last year, "We don't get to choose our trials." But what if we do? What if there is a time in our premortal existence...a moment...when we are gathered around a huge pile of trials and challenges and obstacles and we point to part of the pile and we say "Give that to me. I can take it."

What if Matt and I agreed that we'd rather be together for just a brief time on this earth than not be together at all? What if I looked ahead at my life at all I would have gained and learned and experienced and I decided it was worth the heartache and pain? What if I chose this?