New Years Food-A-Palooza

You going to a New Year's Eve party? I am! My guys and I will be adding decibels at my in-laws'.
We'll be having pizza (of course) and assorted other snacks. My contribution includes:
  • makings for my favorite BBQ chicken & blue cheese pizza
  • Salsa ala Joni Blandford
  • my BFF's habanero jelly (she mailed it to me!) to top cream cheese on crackers
  • a spiced cherry cheeseball, AND
  • Russian tea cakes
How's that for a symphony o' flavors? Happy end of 2009 y'all! See you in 2010.


Christmas Letter Wordle

I tried something new this year for my Christmas letter. I created a wordle.
I'm all about tradition so I mailed my fair share of cards, but I also believe in being green.
So - for those of you who live closer to me here's my Christmas letter.

Have a happy holiday season!


A Little Diva This - A Little Diva That

I think I'd rate last night's Diva fit about a 7.3. It wasn't out of control, but it was heated. I don't even remember what it was about.

Jon and Carson were downtown looking at the lights at Temple Square with the other young men & women from our ward. So it was just me, Evan, and Griff. I was sitting here working on my Christmas Cards and Evan and G were standing in the hall. I heard Evan ask, "Is it here yet?"

Footsteps running down the stairs.

The garage door opening.

Griff replying, "Nope!"

Footsteps running back up the stairs.

A few minutes and tirades later, Griff braved my door, walked up behind me, gave me a hug, and said "Here Mom, the DC [that's Diet Coke for those not in the know] truck just dropped this off." He placed a nice, cold can of DC on my desk and walked away.

Then I heard Evan say from his room, "Jeesh. I sure hope that helps!"



So - depredation. Know what it is? For a long time I thought it was a word made up by my brother. Guess what. I was wrong. Gack - I know! Right? According to Merriam-Webster, the word means
to lay waste: plunder, ravage OR to engage in plunder

My brother runs a depredation services company. [He guides coyote hunts] Anyway. If you will pull out your Dec 09 - Jan 10 Field & Stream, Cory is featured on pg. 50.

Just thought I'd share the love.

Way to go brother of mine!


Thanksgiving Primer

I am thankful for:

  • Free therapy sessions with next door neighbors and far away friends.
  • Little boys who get their teeth pulled without being sedated.
  • Older boys who ask to play Phase 10 (or "just Phase 3 tonight"). Every. Single. Day.
  • Middle boys whose eyes light up while he drools over Star Wars Lego sets in the toy aisle.
  • World-stopping hugs from my hubby.
  • Friends and family who have or are having babies.
  • Surprise visits from my brother.
  • Conversations with sisters-in-law.
  • Coworkers who laugh at typos in my emails (Go tit = Got it).

And that's just in the last few days.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


The Engineer and the Sentimentalist

So - The Actor and the Housewife. Have you read it? Are you going to? I only gave it two stars on Goodreads, but boy has this one given me a lot to think about this week.

A friend of mine said the book made her uncomfortable because it would make her husband uncomfortable. She also said that I probably wouldn't have that same issue. Hmm - consternation. My own hubby doesn't seem to have a jealous bone, but do I give that enough consideration? Do I give him cause to be uncomfortable?

I think my man is one of the best. Another friend described him as a huggable, teddy bear-type, and she nailed it. She said that as she gets to know him a little better, she will be hugging him. I love that. I enjoy hugging him often.

I have always had a few, really good, male friends. Growing up it was Shawn Stewart and Mike Verville. High school - Philip Walstad and Christian Faulconer. I met Matt my freshman year at Utah State. Kyle came on scene early sophomore year. I did a good bit of dating, but I don't remember spending more time with anyone than Matt & Kyle.

Matt & Kyle made up all sorts of names for the guys I dated, but they never could come up with one for Jon. We'd gone to Seattle for an ASCE convention in February 1993. Jon was picking me up at the airport. Our plane landed in SLC at about 11:30 pm on Valentine's Day. Matt & Kyle hurried to get off the plane before me, and they were stalling me in the tunnel leading up to the gate. I happened to look up, and Jon was standing there patiently with a rose. He proposed on the way back to Logan.

June 1993. Matt & Kyle were graduating. I was getting married in a month. Matt was going to Seattle to do his masters at UW. Kyle was staying to do his Masters at Utah State. Jon & I would be living in Logan while I finished up my undergrad.

My apartment was packed, and my car loaded. I'd gone over to Kyle's while he was packing up his house. Matt was there. I remember Matt all of a sudden saying that he had to go. He gave me a big hug and walked out the door, got in his truck, and waved. I stood there watching him drive away, thinking that I may never see him again. Shortly afterward I hugged Kyle and left myself. I cried the entire way to Salt Lake. I remember being so frustrated with my future MIL because she didn't understand how I could cry over these two guys when I was going to marry her son.

Kyle brought a girl named Kim to my wedding receoption. My MIL drove me to the airport when I flew to Seattle for Matt's wedding (he found Kathy at UW - they had an incredible romance that Matt shared in various emails). I was pregnant with Evan when a kilt-wearing Kyle & Marion were hitched (he went all the way to the UK to find her). Both of them have two kids that I've never met but get to see in Christmas cards.

I like to think that I had as much of an impact on Matt and Kyle as they have had on me. But, there is still another man that I chose over them. He is the one I created a home with, the one who I created our 3 boys with, the one who makes me laugh every day, and the only one that I miss when we're apart for long weekends.

So - Becky Jack - I completely understand why you couldn't choose Felix. He just isn't Mike.


That's Some Pie!

Oh the symphony of flavors! Butternut squash -pecans - gorgonzola. This is one amazing pie!

I had to make two since the recipe only calls for half a squash. What was I going to do with the other half?!

I shared with my neighbor, and word on the street is that they loved it at their house, too.


Dupe or Delight - Prank or Pleasure - Halloween Thesaurus

1:29 pm Halloween afternoon.

Made waffles for breakfast. Cleaned the kitchen. Grandma Norris dropped off sugar cookies, frozen berries, and jam. Spent an hour talking to one of my most favorite women (I love you Mom). Pumpkins are carved. Cleaned the kitchen. Boys are playing Battleship because I can't handle any more TV noise. Grandma's cookies are all gone. Cleaned the kitchen. The boys discovered the glazed doughnut stash. They're all gone. Cleaned the kitchen. See how my day has gone?

Jon's going to the U game tonight with his brother, nephew, and neighbor. I'm staying home to enjoy all of the ghouls and goblins that will knock on our door. I've got about 900 pieces of candy. I really hope I don't have a whole lot left over, but I can't imagine that many kids requesting treats.

I typically make some sort of festive dinner (tonight I'm planning hashbrown headstones, link sausage appendages, and scrambled body parts laced with ketchup streaks. Should be easy - right?)

Things to do pre-haul. Shower. Walgreens - face paint, pumpkin candles, and reading glasses. Candy in bucket. Figure out who is supervising each boy during candy gathering. Thread cross stitch needle. Feed boys. Anxiously wait for door bell ringing to begin. Whew!

Sit down. Start next row of cross stitch (I'm using linen that is much smaller than I thought - hence the reading glasses). Open door. Try to name each treater and remember their costume so that I can talk to them about it later. Close the door. Sit back down. Do few more stitches. Open the door....Then the evening will wind down and I'll start getting upset that so many older kids are out without even dressing up (had a bunch last year that showed up wearing backwards hoodies - using their hoods to hold candy. They got mad because I wouldn't let them in to have a drink of water. Not looking forward to that part. But until then...



To Market, to Market

Week 3! Only one more week left. This has been so much fun!


Yoooo Hoooo! (said as I open your door and allow myself inside)

You guys!

Look what I got asked to do!

My cousin, Miranda, has asked me to participate in a panel discussion about one of my favorite places - my kitchen - and what goes on in that beloved spot.

She's also hosting a giveaway... Check it out!


Skiwampusly Using My Think Juice

Evan was quietly standing behind me this afternoon while I was watching a video feed online. I had just set my Diet Coke with Lime on the desk and was typing a new web address into my browser.

He loudly asked, "Is that your think juice?" Made me stop and consider how many cans and bottles have been placed in the receptacle at my side. I discovered that
Yes, Evan, DC w/ Lime is my Think Juice!

And my dear boy - here is what I'm thinking about:
  • Griff brought me a handful of M&Ms that had seen better days. He informed me that he'd picked them out of the Mountain Trailmix bag. Love it when that happens. He then showed me a blue one and said "Mom - how did this get so skiwampus?" I want to know how he came up with that particular vocabulary word...
  • It's supposed to be in the mid 50's today, but I'm looking at a thermostat right now, and it says 47 degrees.
  • Why is it so annoying and time consuming to apply for life insurance?
  • If I Google Tongan and Samoan funereal customs, will I find out how long my street will be clogged with visiting mourners?
  • Should I feel worse than I do about telling my boys the Xbox has to be turned off until tomorrow night - even though they are out of school for a couple of days and it results in one of them throwing anger tantrums in the basement? What's so bad about going to a friend's house (to probably play video games) anyway?
  • Will the neighbors hire my anger tantrum thrower as a professional wailer?
  • Why am I craving no-bake cookies?
  • Why does my scanner keep putzing out on me - especially when I really need it?
  • How do I let the day get away from me?
Gotta go do damage control and make the house a little cleaner than it was when Jon walked out the door this morning. I haven't done a thing, and I'm pretty sure I don't smell all that great. Thank me for sharing...


Nomenclature (or - I Like the Way That Rolls Off the Tongue)

Hey! Guys! This is it!

100th POST!!!

My cousin, Miranda, is contemplating a blog title change. I was typing a response to her post and decided that the topic of blog names would be perfect for numbero hundredo. So - let's talk evolution of blog names.

First I did Go Tell It On the Hills that didn't work because my blog is about my Hills - not THE Hills. It sounded like I was going to be posting gossipy insights about every single Hill. There are a lot of those, and I'm not paparazzi. I decided I wanted something more personal and less hymnish. And I can hear all of your snickers about my hills. I know what you're thinking...

So - Random Deliberate Cogitation. Thesaurus anyone? Still one of my favorite titles, but it now graces the cover of my journal with a Volume 1 in smaller text below (just in case there are a volume 2 & 3). If they don't open the cover my progeny are going to think that I was one pompous diva. If they do open the cover, I think they'll lose the pompous perception, but the diva will pounce like a tiger sprung from a cage.

For now I am completely thrilled with Consider My Monkeys although I keep spelling monkies when I type it out or write it down for someone. Not so good. I love the title because in my mind and sometimes outloud my boys are referred to as apes, oragutans, and gorillas depending on what they're climbing on, how loud they are, how large of a mess their room is, whether they're flinging monkey poo, or if their mother has gone APE SHIT crazy... Sorry - got away from myself there.
Anyway - thanks for putting up with me through 100 posts, and please stay tuned for at least 100 more.

Oh - and I'm sure I could figure out some kind of give away if any of you can tell me how to fix the post header so that it doesn't cut off words...)


Yummy Fall Pot Pie - No Meat!

Butternut Pot Pie
1/2 of small butternut squash - seeded, peeled and thinly sliced
3 T butter, melted
1/2 t Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
2 T Honey
2 T Maple Syrup
1/2 Spanish Sweet Onion, sliced
1 large Portobello mushroom, grilled and sliced
1/4 cup chopped Pecans
2 T butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
Slice of white cheese - Havarti or Swiss
2 9-inch refrigerated pie crusts

Mix 3 T melted butter, pumpkin pie seasoning, honey, maple syrup, salt, and pepper together. Pour over sliced squash and set aside to cool.

Saute onion in 1 T butter until carmelized. Remove from pan.

Add remaining 1 T butter to pan and saute mushrooms and chopped pecans over low heat for 5 minutes. Mix with onion and cool.


Place sheet of parchment paper onto large, flat pan (pizza pan, cookie sheet, etc) and sprinkle lightly with flour. Place one pie crust on paper.

Drain sweetened and sliced butternut squash and arrange on top of dough, leaving a 1-inch border.

Sprinkle squash with layer of Gorgonzola cheese, then cover with onion mixture.

Fold outside edge in over filling, pleating and pinching dough about every 2 inches. Place white cheese slice in center of hole. Using second crust, decorate pot pie using shapes, pastry "roses", etc.

Whisk one egg yolk and 2 T water. Brush over entire crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool to slightly warm before cutting.

Serve with a salad on a nice, sunny Fall afternoon.


Whip it - Whip it Good (Ode to Heavy Cream)

This month my book group read Saints Well Seasoned: Musings on how Food Nourishes Us-- Body, Heart, and Soul It's a collection of 37 essays from LDS authors about food. Our assignment was to not only read the book but to write our own little ditty about our favorite food. So - here goes...

A few years ago I took some taking photos of my confectionary process and was going to compile them into a very personalized scrap/cookbook, but then I found Cooking for Engineers, and the need for me to create such a book was negated. So - these photos have been waiting for my attention near the bottom of my to-be-scrapped pile.

As I looked through the photos I discovered most of my favorite recipes have a very common theme.


Here are 10 cream trivia-related facts for my house.
  1. It's in Potato Soup, Twice Baked Potatoes, Rice Pudding, Alfredo Sauce, and Cinnamon Roll Frosting.
  2. I love watching the butter and cream whisk together when making alfredo sauce.
  3. When Jon whips cream, he adds a little bit more vanilla than sugar.
  4. We prefer our whipped cream over the spray variety.
  5.  The favorite application of Jon's whipped cream is malts (at the top and bottom of the glass) and waffles.
  6. I prefer the cream in screw-top containers that Walmart used to carry over the carton ones that don't reclose.
  7. I liked Walmart's screw-top packaging more than Costco's.
  8. My kitchenaid whips cinnamon roll frosting much quicker and creates fewer blisters than beating that stuff by hand.
  9. You can make potato soup with just milk, but it just doesn't taste as good.
  10. I have to hide cream in my refrigerator because my boys (all 4 of them) think they need a not-so-little bit in the center of their bowl of cold cereal in the mornings.


School is cool...

The past couple of weeks have been very emotional for me. First of all - Carson started Middle School. He's quit talking to me other than in one word spurts when he gets home. Jon can get a whole string of stories out of him, but me? Not so much... A friend at work suggested that I wait a couple of hours to start asking him questions. I've done this the past couple of days, and CJ has taken to seeking me out and asking if something is wrong with me! Love it...

Evan started school the day after Carson, and it's his first time going without his older brother. I should have thought this through and realized that this would be a slight problem. We dealt with it by going out to breakfast before school on the morning of his big day.
Griff was the one I was the most hesitant about. I'll be the first to admit that I amped up the "He's my baby..." this summer. Jon informed me that I had to quit because I was stressing the boy out. Does this looked stressed to you?
This morning was pretty funny. Carson woke Griff up to give him some big brother advice about entering kindergarten. Evan hung back until Carson left. Once that happened, Evan swept into full on defensive big brother mode.  I don't even know why I was here! Griff didn't need anyone else - it was all Evan. Notice the hand at Griff's back guiding him where he's supposed to go? The other hand was on the other shoulder...  Also notice the length of the bus driver's beard. The kids are calling him skinny Santa, but his name is Jim.
I'll leave you with this beautiful image. I'm off to pop open a Diet Coke and bask in solitude on my front porch. I love today.


Now that's a samich

Boy howdy did I make a scrumptious sandwich for dinner this evening.

It was Back-to-School Night at the Middle School, so I needed something quick.

Started with wheat kaiser rolls, sliced & spread with Caesar Mayo.
Added some chopped sun-dried tomato & blue cheese. Topped it with sliced roast beef and then broiled it just enough to start to brown the beef & melt the blue cheese. I think the only thing that would have upped the taste quotient would have been adding french-fried onions.

Served it up with a dill pickle spear & Maui Onion potato chips.

Mmm, Mmm, Mmmm....


I kissed a boy...

Griff and I had an evening alone while we waited for the other guys to get home from hunter education (Both CJ & ED passed!).

We split a gyro from Apollo Burger, each had a slice of that crunchy stuff that falls apart - aka baklava, and shared a Diet Coke.

Then we went to the hospital to see our adorable new niece and cousin - Leah. Got to watch her first bath and left just in time to avoid a feeding and impending bed button pushing.

We've never been to the new hospital, and there are lots of new roads leading to/from the place. We drove on some of those and found houses that Griff didn't want to live in.

We went into Target, and I told G we'd look for a shirt and a pair of shoes for school. On the way in we stopped at the $1 Spot, and he found a Power Ranger sticker and activity book (a must for this boy of mine) and Spiderman socks.

Next we walked through shoes. He found some - although he was quite upset that they weren't "wheelies". Wasn't worth the fight to tell him the correct name - and then we walked through the boys section. He walked along the t- and polo-shirt risers, grabbed one of each shirt - regardless of size - tossed them in the cart, and proclaimed, "FINISHED!" Huh - that'd be the easiest trip ever if I really could have just waltzed on up to the checkout.

I had to talk him out of a few and be talked into one other. Ended up with 4 shirts for under $13 when one of them ended up being on clearance. Love it!

We meandered the CD/book area and the end caps with other clearance items. We found Color Wonder mini coloring books with 3 pens for $0.97! Grabbed a few of those for bday presents and sacrament meetings. Also found a fake potted rosemary plant for the same price. It somehow ended in our cart too.

We were finally headed toward the checkout when we found that machine that lets you sample all the misc music cds dispayed beneath it. Griff of course wanted to push each button as he matched it's photo to the CD below. I was looking at some of the college dorm decor next to the display when I noticed Griff bowing to me. He said in his most proper voice, "May I have this dance?" We swayed and spun a couple of times while Classical Music for Reading played. Both of us ended up with smiles, and I saw a couple of other customers smiling with us.

He said it was time to go then, so we headed out.

We finally pulled into our garage, and I was getting Griff out of the car. He puckered up, and I asked him what he was doing. He said, "Dad told me that when you go on dates, you usually kiss goodnight." I laid a huge one on him, and that's the end...


Are Those Minnie's?

Jon, Griff and I were at Kohls last week. Griff was being very persistent about wanting to look at the toys. Jon was looking at shirts, and G went walking off by his independent self. He came back when I called him - but he was carrying a zebra print bra.

Now - G is definitely a boob man (lets me know what he can see when I float on my back in the pool, can demonstrate exactly what happens up front when I've got my bra on v. when I don't...). He holds the bra up saying that it would be really pretty on me. Then Griff slung the thing on his head, cups kind of over his ears, and asked me if he looked like Minnie Mouse. Jon was not really paying attention but looked up long enough to say under his breath (which doesn't come out as much under his breath as he thinks...) - Now, that's my kind of toy!

I'm sure you can imagine the conversation going on in the car when we left the store... I just looked out the window and let Jon deal with it.


1 dozen annual celebrations!!!

Happy Birthday Carson!
I loved you before I saw you, and even when you push my limits I love you more.
With you I get to figure stuff out.
Thanks for making that so enjoyable.


When a Librarian Says "SHHHHH!!!!!!" You Better Listen

This afternoon the boys and I ran over to the library to pick up my on-hold books, renew the checkout on Griff's Justice League DVD, and let Carson and Evan check out a book or two. Sounds like a plan, huh?

I'm a pretty lax library mom. We have a deal that Griff and Carson head to the kids DVD section. Evan grabs a book and then relieves Carson. I swing into the hold room and then stop by a computer to see when my next hold is going to show up. Then we all meet at the DVD section and narrow down Griff's selection. A boy's family should only have to put up with so many TMNT, Goosebump, and Sonic videos creating ambient noise you know?

Anyway - shortly after that we stampede to the auto checkouts, and see who can get finished first. While we wait for the others, we get to watch whatever animal happens to reside at our library. We've had chinchillas, sugar gliders, and now it's rats.

WELL, today we were approaching the checkout counter, and I discovered that I'd left my wallet home. This was a problem because not everyone has their library card bar code memorized (what is wrong with Carson, Evan, and Griffin?!) so most of us could not check out our selections.

Never fear - a plan popped into my head. The library has a program that allows you to read away your fines. You get $1 for each 30 minutes of reading done in the library. See that little earlier mention about renewing the checkout on Griff's Justice League DVD... Carson and Evan wanted to sit and read anyway, and Carson said he'd read to Griff. Please note that I was completely apprehensive of leaving Griff without my supervision, but the librarian said that as long as he was reading, he would be all right without me. That's as good as permission! Right??

So home I ran. Then the thought occurred to me that I needed to get the boys' Hunter Education Registration Certificates so that they could start the class tonight. What better time to do that than when I've got no boys with me? I took heed of my friend, Julie's, facebook status.. While I was waiting for the certificates to print, I remembered that I'd thrown my very short grocery list in my purse, AND I WAS OUT OF DIET COKE WITH LIME!!!!!

A mere 30 minutes later (that's 30 minutes after I decided to run through the grocery store) I pulled into the library parking lot. Now - any mom out there will recognize the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I tell you that the librarian was standing outside - WITH GRIFFIN. I parked, walked over to them, and made some comment about how Griff must not have been reading. She replied, "Nope!" with a very strong emphasis on the "p", turned, and walked into the library ahead of me.

Good news is that Carson and Evan completely read away their fines. As for Griff? She gave him fine credit, but I ended up paying for the Justice League DVD because it's been missing for about 5 weeks anyway.

I hope I don't see that librarian for a while.


Sometimes I Don't Get It

We were driving to Provo yesterday afternoon, and Griff starts asking me: Mom? What do blue and yellow make?

I responded: Green (which was NOT the answer he was looking for)

This went back and forth with increasing frustration on both our parts.

Griff finally said: You're supposed to say red - it's a joke.

A few minutes later: Mom? What do blue and yellow make?

Now - I know I'm supposed to say red, but that was not the correct answer, and I was in one of my moods...

I responded: Green

Completely exasperated sign from the back seat.

Evan pipes in: G, sometimes women just don't understand.


Lookin for Some Summer Magic

So - Friday afternoon.

Jon and Carson are doing a whitewater trip with Jon's brothers and some of the older cousins.

Evan's at a bday party.

Griffin's playing power ranger megablox in the basement.

I'm sitting here at my computer almost chilly with the ac and ceiling fan working so well, listening to the boys across the street - one is mowing the lawn, and the other is steam cleaning a rug on the driveway. Uh-oh must be doing something wrong - Mom just came running out...

As soon as Evan comes home we're going to head to Provo to swim with Grandma Norris. All right - I probably won't swim. I've got a couple magazines that I'm going to peruse poolside.

When Jon leaves town I typically find myself either making large purchases (china cabinets, kitchen faucets, hall book shelves) or undertake a project. This time I opted for the project. Got my supplies from Home Depot last night, everything gathered today, and am going to spray paint metal ceiling tiles this evening. Tomorrow morning I'll faux finish the tiles and stain the wood for the frame. Hopefully tomorrow evening I'll be putting everything together. I've had this particular project in mind for almost 2 years, so it's about time I got it finished. I'm hosting book club in two weeks - that's my motivator.

Anyway - what do you think the chances are that some sort of summer magic will whip through while I'm gone this afternoon, fold and put away laundry, and get everything painted and stained so that all I have to do is assemble? I'm thinking the chances are about as good as me rolling 6 ones in my next game of FARKLE...


Summer Vittles

Can I just say that I hate to cook during the summer? I love to eat grilled food, but I strongly dislike the prep. I think I'd be happy to set out a buffet of fruit, sun chips (or Stacy's pita chips), olives, pasta salad (one sweet, one savory), rice (jasmine rice [I think it's 4 cups], 1 can coconut milk, and 1 can chicken broth), and whatever meat came off the grill and just let everyone pick away. Notice that I said set out. I don't want to create any of these dishes - except the rice. I can handle open and dump methodology.

That doesn't happen very often, so I have a couple of standby's for hot evenings...

I don't have a name for this, so I suppose you can call it
Staci's Chicken Cucumber Pitas.

Chicken Breast
Parmesan Cheese
Ranch dressing

Grill teriyaki marinaded chicken. You can also marinade in soy sauce & minced garlic. Or - you can buy and heat the frozen, precooked Mesquite Chicken Breasts from Sam's club.

Cube cooked chicken. Place in large bowl.

Cube cucumbers. Add to large bowl.

Toss in parmesan cheese.

Add ranch dressing to taste.

Serve on pitas.

Jon and my boys (except Carson) love this. I love it because it's yummy, quick, and doesn't heat up my kitchen.

Here's one more. It's another chicken pita deal, so I don't know what to tell you to call this one.

Maybe Staci's Chicken Food Storage Pitas

Canned chicken, drained and rinsed
Fresh garden-grown tomatoes, cubed
Mayo (I sometimes use a Caesar Mayo recipe that I found in Taste of Home - see recipe below)

Mix all together

Place desired amount on a Pita and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff - not Kraft's processed stuff). My boys like to grate the parmesan directly onto the sandwich because we have one of those cool spinning graters...

Broil until cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and serve.

I've made this one while camping, and that worked out great - we just didn't broil the cheese...

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese (I use the processed stuff here)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

How about you? Have any cool kid-friendly summer dinners you'd like to share?

How about recipes for pitas? That's the one thing I have to go to the store for every time. I think I could make a good pita - or focaccia for that matter.


Now that's summer!

It's been a great summer so far - Moon Lake, 4th of July, 16th wedding anniversary, cub scout day camp, 20 year high school reunion, visiting the Stauffers & McIlleces, and the Egan family reunion - and school's only been out since July 2!

I was going to say that the past week has been busy, but then I realized that school has only been out for that week. Dang - no wonder it's been such a good time.

Carson's week is indicitive of the type of summer I think every kid should enjoy remembering. Monday night he did a sleep over with a friend. Last night we all went to a Harry Potter midnight show (4 thumbs up from our house - I'm sure it'd be 5, but Griff fell asleep during the teasers, and there was no waking the boy). Tonight he gets to sleep over at Grandma & Grandpa Hill's so that he can leave EARLY in the morning for a hike to Blanche Lake with Grandpa, Evan & some cousins.
I can feel a grumpy kid coming on.

I'm gonna share my 2nd pedi of the season with you...

Can you stand it?! I think it's adorable - and so eye catching. I have to be careful when I'm walking because I catch myself paying more attention to my tootsies than to where I'm going. Dang I really am blonde sometimes.

One final thing that I completely enjoy each summer - reading Jennifer Cruisie's Bet Me. Doesn't necessarily take place during the summer, but I love Jen Cruisie's sense of humor, and Cal and Min are at the top of my all time fav couples list. I was reading it this afternoon and was reminded how much I love the little thing.

How simple is that? Cute toes and a great paperback. I love summer...



So - have you played Farkle on Facebook yet? No? Well you should at least give it a try so that I can have more Farkle friends and get more Farkle chips.

Is there a strategy to this game? I don't think so... It's just a matter of rolling some electronic dice, which has me a little suspicious because how random can the dice be if they're programmed? I know it's probably using some random number generator, but I still don't trust that it's as random as rolling dice by hand. Right?

Anyway - here's my Farkle methodology. Please note that this doesn't necessarily work for me. I can't get a max score over 8,350, and I repeatedly Farkle away rounds where I've got over 2,000. This morning I got greedy and rolled away a round that was over 5,000. Had to walk away from the computer after that one. Anyway...

I roll the dice and keep rolling until there's only 1 die left. I know there's still a 1/3 chance that I'll be able to use the number, but the odds in that just aren't good enough for me.

If there are 3 or less dice to roll and one of them is a 5, I will reroll the 5. I think that this increases my chances of not getting a Farkle. Probably doesn't, but it makes sense to me.

I bank my score if it's over 1000 and there are less than 3 dice to roll.

I also bank my score as soon as I get 300 if I've already had 2 Farkles.

Honestly? I think I'm spending too much time Farkling.

Oh - and by the way... My nephew Jeff started chemo yesterday. Keep him in your prayers, all right?

Also, my friend Lori was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma this week. She's got 4 kids - one of them a new born (less than a month old). Pray for her too. OK?

Have a safe and enjoyable 4th!


Moon Lake 09

This year's trip to Moon Lake had some definite highs and lows. Lows:

  • - Rain (all day Wednesday, most of Thursday, and again Saturday while packing up)

  • - Cold (one rainy night & day followed by night time clear sky does not make for warm temperatures)

  • - Bathrooms had been torn down for improved facilities, which weren't constructed yet. Portapotties were not one of the better parts of the trip.


  • - Family (35 of us including 2 nieces who flew in from San Antonio specifically to go to Moon Lake)

  • - Friends (Mary, Josh & Julia Tipton and Debbie & Gary Davis all came along) - Yep - that made our group 40 in total. Funny thing about this photo of Jules - I honestly don't remember her being this happy during the rain storms. This little girl has a set of lungs on her that she is not afraid to use - during any of the 24 hours in a calendar day

  • - Being completely disconnected from my phone and computer

  • - Spending an extra day (went up a day earlier than usual)

  • - One on one time with all 4 of my guys. Every. Single. Day. (Including a boat ride that was just me & Jon - I think Jon would have succeeded at making me a member of the Across-the-Lake club [;-)] if another storm wasn't blowing in.

  • - Playing mafia with nieces/nephews every night

  • - Smores - even though I apparently made quite the spectacle of myself on night #2 trying to get my mallow over the fire because the mallows disappeared on night #1 before I got to roast one.


What a morning...

Guess whose kids typically ride bus 1402...

My boys missed the bus this morning, and Jon drove them to school. They drove through the intersection and saw the whole thing. They're pretty shook up.

By the way - the bus driver was not drinking. The driver of the truck apparently was.

I asked Evan how everyone was doing at school, and he said that his friend Braydon O was bloody (that's Braydon's mom on the news clip) and that Woody was really bad. Woody is the bus driver.

Evan says they may never see bus 1402 ever again because they'll probably scrap it. Evan was very disappointed that Woody was not there to drive the kids home and wants to find out which hospital he's at so that we can go visit him.

Woody is a great bus driver.


Left Out

Do you ever feel just plain left out?

Last night Jon and I were talking about what we wanted to do today. I honestly couldn't see past the chaos in the house. Jon's very much a play all day on Saturday guy. When he's got his mind made up that something is out there to be played, there really isn't a way to change his mind.

This morning he went to Lowes to pick up a sprinkler for the back yard and came home all fired up about the boys not being dressed. I had been reading and hadn't showered or gotten out of bed.

The boys hurried to get dressed and he said they were all going to go to the air show at Hill AFB. I'd already said I didn't want to go because after years of working up there, I really wasn't interested in hearing planes ALL. DAY. LONG. The boys however were all sorts of excited to go.

So I'm sitting at home, rotating laundry, working on work stuff, and cleaning rooms. To tell you the truth, I'm feeling awfully sorry for myself.

There are an awful lot of memories being made and I'm not part of any of them. I need to change that...


Have a Swig of That

So I'm driving toward home this morning (I'd been to a work meeting in American Fork) and I drove past this guy sitting on the side of the road chugging away on a GALLON of sky blue liquid. I know that there are all sorts of colored sugar-water out there, but this sickeningly resembled windshield-washer fluid.

I have to wonder what it was that caught my eye:
  • the gallon size container
  • the man himself just sitting there on the curb
  • the blue liquid

Problem is that I just kept driving while I wondered, and I don't really want to go see if he's now a dead guy laying on the side of the road with an empty gallon size container.


2:00 Friday

When I woke up this morning I really did plan on getting a lot done today.

I was going to

  • rotate laundry loads, put one away, and start a new one from the boy's hamper
  • take Griff with me to get my blood drawn - checking my very low vitamin D levels and my very high cholesterol - has to be done after fasting for at least 12 hours
  • take Griff out for breakfast because I'd convinced myself I would be starving by then
  • Do a conference call for work from the car while I watched G swing/slide/run
  • swing through Costco
  • Return home to rotate laundry
  • Deliver Scentsy orders
  • Feed G & me lunch
  • Finish the permit schedule and quality checklist for one of my work projects
  • Rotate laundry
  • Begin placing rocks that Jon's dug/raked/sworn out of the back yard in strategic places in my flower beds

  • I had figured that about the time I was starting to get the rocks placed my older two boys would be home from school, and they would happily help me finish this chore.

    W E L L
    Carson and Evan will be walking through the front door in about 13 minutes, and I've yet to rotate a single load of wash.

    I've been sitting here looking up ways to do my newly chopped tresses. Wednesday afternoon I had my favorite hair dresser cut off just over 3 inches. I've never had hair long enough to cut off 3 inches and still have hair left. I knew I was tired of the hair on my neck, and it was definitely time for a change. BUT HELLO?! Chopping off my hair (it's still in a short bob) made me discover how insecure I've become. I'm pretty sure that none of the clothes in my closet go with short hair. Yesterday I had to wear a collared shirt to cover up some of my neck. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but wow.

    BTW - today I found out that if left to his own devices long enough, Griff will grow weary of telling his mother he's hungry. He'll look through the fridge, smear some stuff on a tortilla, cover it with cheese, microwave it for 1:50, and roll it all up when it beeps. Makes for a crunchy tortilla, and I don't really want to know what he found to smear. I think mine had banana, apple sauce, and bacon. He added some blue cheese cause he knew it was my favorite. Honestly? It wasn't that bad.

    And I still haven't showered...


    I Don't Love My Kids' Dentist So Much

    All right it's not his fault that it's been entirely too long since we had a good trip to the dentist. In fact, we don't even see the same dentist every time. We get whoever happens to be at the office the day we schedule our appointment.

    Did I mention that every one of the 4 male dentists is incredibly attractive? That 3 of them are nearly perfect height? That every one of them has an uncanny ability to make you feel like you are the absolute most important person in the world? That you have to be a member of the pretty people club in order to be one of the assistants? No? Well - there it is.

    Today was not one of our better trips. I have a strong ambivalence toward the dentist's office so I'm sure I let that rub off on my children.

    Anyway - Carson went first. He has done a much better job brushing and flossing. THAT'S GOOD NEWS!!! But he has 6 cavities! AND Carson has no more baby teeth, so these all require fillings.

    Next was Griff. This little guy really does try to brush and floss. He loves going to the dentist to get a new toothbrush and a toy from the treasure chest. He does NOT like the sedation crap they've had to force him to drink on trips past, and he reminded everyone that would listen today. This kid had his share of cavities (one of which is a repeat offender - we've filled the same tooth 3 times folks. This one now gets a lovely crown) AND we found out that he has something called hypoplastic molars.

    I have been a bit concerned lately with the color of his 6-yr-old molars, which are all in the process of pushing their way through his gums. These four teeth are a lot darker than his others, and they are not standard tooth shape. Some of them seem to have extra cusps or have cusps that don't appear to be connected.

    Apparently hypoplasticity occurs as a result of high fever, infection, antiobiotics, or flouride dosing. When the evil moons of Endor align during pregnancy or early part of life and one of these events occurs, hypoplasticity can happen.

    So - what do they do? Well in a patient as young as Griff, apparently they fuse a glass isonomer to the tooth's surface. This is supposed to hold things together until he has permanent molars that will help hold a crown in place. Hypoplasticity apparently does not have an impact on permanent teeth.

    Oh yeah - the dentist happened to mention that G is probably in pain when he eats. Every. Single. Time.

    Evan got on the chaise last. He had one cavity, and it's in a tooth that should be falling out soon. So, we're just going to extract that one. Don't go thinking he let me off easy after his younger brother...

    One of Ev's molars had a large filling, and the tooth somehow broke underneath the filling. While it's been broken, it's wedged itself up against another tooth. Guess what... That one broke too. You'd think I would have noticed something while flossing or that Ev would have been experiencing some sort of pain.... Nada. Both teeth need crowns.

    So, here's my dilemma: things have been tight in the financial dept around here. I do have decent dental insurance, but I still have to pay 20% for most fillings. I have to pay 50% for the crowns. There is no way that I can just get all 3 boys immediately back to the office for their required treatment plans. But how do I decide which one of them goes now and which have to wait a few months?

    Griff's in pain, so he's the one I chose to tackle first. Problem with that is his is the most expensive, and the dentist won't let me take the others in until I've paid all that I owe...

    Guess now isn't the best time to mention that I also need to get Evan in for an eye appointment (he failed his school vision screening back in October) and I still need to take him to an ortho to have his knees evaluated.

    How bout them apples?

    I think I'd better head off to FaceBook for some Mafia Wars. Do you think taking out a rival family will help my frustration?


    Changing My Template - AGAIN

    I loved that Notepad Chaos template, but the photobucket sponsor reached it's maximum bandwidth, and I didn't want to mess with trying to contact the template designer.

    So - it's spring - and now we get a new template. Change is good. Right?


    A Gorilla, the Easter Bunny, and a Great Example

    The Easter Bunny didn't show up at our place until yesterday afternoon. The door bell rang, and when the boys opened the door there were all these baskets on the front step. Pretty freaking ingenious.

    Griff woke up yesterday morning and ran downstairs without even coming into my bedroom for his usual morning snuggle. I just laid there with a ball of dread in the pit of my stomach. Guess what I'd forgotten to do the night before...

    Jon went to the top of the stairs to see what was going on and said, "Guess the Easter Bunny forgot to stop here." Griff was so resolute. He just stood in our entry way, shrugged his shoulders and replied,

    "Nope. He just knew I've been being bad."

    Griff's been pushing some limits lately - tracing his hands on the wall of his closet, writing his name on the bathroom mirror with a particularly disgusting bodily waste product, and not listening. We've been very frustrated and have spent the past few evenings trying to decide how to deal with this 5 year old that we love so dearly.

    But to unintentionally crush him on one of the magical mornings of childhood? How could I?!

    Today he and I enjoyed a beautiful spring morning playing Sonic on Xbox 360, drawing carrots, swimming his turtle toy in the bathtub, eating carmel eggs, and laughing. I had a conference call for work at 11:00.

    He was very quiet while he was downstairs. When the call ended I asked him what he was doing. He said, "Just a minute, Mom!" I looked down the stairs and found him on his knees with his arms folded on the couch. I waited until he was done and smiled at him as he finished. I raised my eyebrows to question what was up, and he said,

    I was just praying that the Easter Bunny would make it home safely and that Heavenly Father would help me be better. I think I'm gonna need some help with that.


    Nuckles Milano

    Our good friend, Nuckles Milano (you know who you are), deploys tomorrow. Just wanted to take a minute to thank him for doing this. We are humbled by the sacrifice you offer so that we can continue to enjoy our way of life. We are already looking forward to your safe return.

    We'll help keep things under control here at home.

    Really Dave, we love you!


    Trying for a Fabulous Friday

    I'm not feeling so fabulous today. I've got a case of vertigo that roars upon me every time I turn my head. The weather is drizzly and overcast. Actually I think it's snowing.

    This morning I tried reading while laying on the couch with Griff watching Super Why - didn't work so well. The words swirled every time I turned the page.

    Took a nap - worked but only while I was sleeping. I also had a dream that if you looked into the drizzle you could make out something that looked frighteningly like the space shuttle. There's a Frito Lay plant a few miles north west of my house, and in my dream they were the complany who had launched this ship. I awoke hollering for Griff to come and see - he kept looking out the window and I was getting upset with him because I needed him to look at the window that was apparently installed in the couch while I was asleep. He was all sorts of confused.

    Did a phone call and a couple of emails for work - fine if I looked directly at my computer screen or closed my eyes.

    Found a review for a blow dryer that I think I must obtain on my next retail therapy trip. Of course the video with the whirling hair strands did nothing for me.

    Made Griff some mac & cheese for lunch. Wow - who knew boiling water and tumbling macaroni could make a woman so nauseous!

    Entered the codes from misc Coca-Cola products at mycokerewards.com. I'm only a few lids away from a magazine subscription. I was entering codes to get free 20 oz bottles of my favorite daily elixir, but it took almost 3 weeks to get my first voucher. Like I'm gonna wait that long people! I decided that I'll go for the mag subscription so that I can drink away while I'm perusing pages once a month... My boys have really been helping me out. Everytime they find a coded lid they bring it home - it's better than seeing a penny and picking it up! I'm trying to decide if I want to get

    • Cosmo (because couldn't we all use some of those incredible monthly nookie tips?)
    • Redbook
    • Country Living
    • Popular Mechanics
    • House Beautiful
    • Cookie
    • Glamour
    • W
    • O

    Honestly? I've tried the positive attitude thing, but the nausea is getting worse, and I'm starting to get chills. I think I need to head to my nice, cozy bed and hunker down for the afternoon.

    Maybe not so fab after all...


    You Silly - Ladies ALWAYS Go First...

    Today Jon and I had one of those rare days where we were out & about, together, on a weekday without any children.

    Griff will be the first to tell you that I had to go get my girl parts checked. He was very upset that he couldn't go with me because I get to go whenever he gets shots. There was absolutely no way G-man was going to that appointment with me. I can just imagine the questions flying out of that kid's pie hole. Yikes.

    Anyway - Jon dropped me off and then went to get my vehicle's safety & emission tests done - because he "knows" the guys at Jiffy Lube. Whatever. The thing passed, and he paid for the sticker right there so that I wouldn't have to go to DMV. He even put the sticker on the plate for me. That's one wonderful man that I've got.

    After picking me up we headed to the same place that we always go when the kids aren't with us and we're on the south end of the valley - Pei Wei. Jon had the nerve to walk in the restaurant ahead of me and let me hold my own door. Now I do this on a regular basis when he's not around or if the entire fam-damily is together, but COME ON! It wasn't like he was out for lunch with the guys! It was just the two of us. I won't even begin to tell you what else he did before I got the chance this afternoon...

    Again - anyway. While we were driving home we were talking about the books I've been reading lately. I had The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why with me because I can't read the thing at night. It makes me think too much, and I find myself wanting to share passages from it with Jon and talk about whether we agree or disagree. It's fabulous.

    So - this morning I finished Maggie, which is the sequel to one of my top ten favorite books - The Dead Don't Dance. These are the story of Dylan and Maggie Styles. Maggie hemorrhages after the birth of their stillborn son and slips into a coma. TDDD is about Dylan living while Maggie sleeps. Maggie is about what happens between them when she wakes up...
    When Maggie opened her eyes that New Year’s Day some seventeen months ago, I felt like I could see again. The fog lifted off my soul, and for the first time since our son had died and she had gone to sleep–some four months, sixteen days, eighteen hours, and nineteen minutes earlier–I took a breath deep enough to fill both of my lungs.

    I was curious what my hubby would do if something happened to me. I asked him if he'd sit next to me in the hospital while the monitors beeped. His reply?
    "Nah - I'd make a recording, repeating that it's gonna be all right - go toward the light. You'd see me soon enough."
    I was completely flummoxed! I just sat there staring at him. So then he said,
    "What?! Someone'd have to watch the boys!"


    The Princesses Across the Street

    Griff just came running upstairs to tell me that there is a great big wedding going on across the street. I looked out, and there are 5 couples standing on my neighbor's front porch while mothers are taking pictures.

    It must be prom. There are some b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l dresses, and I love the tux/vest/tie/cumberbund/formal shoe/vans combinations that the guys are wearing.

    My guys have all been watching out the window and are now wrestling while they discuss which dress they like the best. We're all partial to the olive green one and the white one.

    Sorry I don't have photos for you - I didn't want to seem like too much of a stalker / neighborhood watcher.

    Can I just tell you that it's a beautiful day for prom? 68 degrees and sunshine right now. So perfect!


    A Fish Named Abraham

    Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a scrapbook retreat in Bear Lake. It was absolutely fabulous! I was warned that I should stock up on Depends because the amount of laughing would necessitate their use. I honestly had no idea that you really can laugh for 48 hours straight. That includes the time I kept laughing as I was telling Jon about the weekend. It's Tuesday, and my abs are finally slightly less sensitive.

    While we were cleaning up on Saturday afternoon, I received a voice mail from Evan. Here's a transcription:

    Hey Mom? Um. I got a goldfish at Henry's baptism. So that's pretty cool. But Dad and Carson are gonna try and kill him. So if you don't call me back they'll probably kill him. So yah. Talk to ya later. Bye.

    Now - let me remind you that Evan is my easily-attached-to-animals child who hoards stuffeds like there's no tomorrow. The boy mother-hens them all every night by gathering them in his bed and sleeping on top of them. This sadly spoken message really did pull at my heartstrings!

    When I got home Saturday night Griff had just dropped the jar with the fish on the kitchen floor. The jar didn't break, and they'd gotten things cleaned up. The poor fish was suffering from post-traumatic shock, and he wasn't swimming quite right. By Sunday afternoon he was still having entire-body convulsions followed by sporadic, backward darts. We put a plastic bucket over his Mason jar (we haven't had fish before so we don't have any fish bowls) to let the poor thing recover.

    Evan made sure to check on him while the lights were out. I'm not quite sure how much this benefitted the fish. I mean - how would you feel if you were surrounded by a whiteness that suddlenly lifted to reveal two gigantic circles? I just don't think it would be all that rejuvenating.

    While we were getting ready for church on Sunday morning Evan informed me that if the fish did die, he'd like to cook him and take just one little bite. (Evan is also a child that has an incomparable love of all things sea food).

    Anyway - we fed the fish some bread crumbs on Sunday night (we also didn't have any fish food), covered the jar with the bucket, and left the poor thing alone. As Evan was climbing the stairs to go to bed he said, "I think I'll call him Abraham."

    Abe did just fine yesterday, and we bought him some fish food after Evan got home from school. We're going to hold off on the bowl, rock, and sunken pirate ship purchase for another week. We figured that's enough time to ensure he's recovered and going to be around a bit longer.


    Put a muzzle on that one!

    Yesterday morning we were enjoying warm muffins that my friend, April, had whipped up for breakfast. This was before Jon and the boys headed out the door for church - AND before we realized that daylight savings time had begun without us. My guys were a mere hour and 20 minutes late for worship.

    Anyway - Griff was sitting across from April, and he stunned us all by asking her

    How come you have boobs?

    Nice to know that my children are completely comfortable with my friends. To April's credit she was the first to understand that he didn't really want to know about her twins - he was following up on an earlier conversation the two of them had about boo-boos.

    April - really - thank you for an incredible weekend. The boys kept asking when they could see Coal again, and I just kept wishing that you hadn't had to leave.


    Hot Chicken

    Griff came home last night doing this thing where he tipped his chin up real quick, raised his eyebrows, and said, "Hey Hot Chicken!" Took me a bit to figure out what he was up to...

    I started asking questions and found out that two of the "hot chicks" at daycare had been calling him "Hot Chicken" all day because he's handsome.

    G was just sharing the love.


    3 Strikes in an Otherwise Enjoyable Evening

    Jon and I enjoy watching movies after the boys have gone to bed at night. Jon will watch anything, and he remembers everything. I am a little more selective in what I'll watch (no horror or monsterquest for me), but occassionally I'll try something just for the heck of it. After a couple of years pass I have a hard time remembering if I've seen something - especially if it didn't make a big impression the first time around.

    Somewhere I'd recently seen a review for Fireproof and thought it would be a good one to pick up from Redbox. It sat in my purse for a couple of days and then Jon suggested watching it Tuesday night. We made it through about the first 20 minutes of the thing.

    If you've had to endure watching seminary movies, you have witnessed better acting in a Christian film than this thing possesses. I now understand that this movie is a plug for the book The Love Dare, but boy is it transparent! Maybe we would have liked it more if we'd stuck it out, but in the best interest of our marriage it had to be removed.

    Next we tried one of the movies I checked out at the library (what's better than a free DVD that you get to keep for a week?!). I checked out Gross Pointe Blank (which is one of my all time favorite movies. We've seen it multiple times but will watch it repeatedly. Last night just wasn't a GPB-type of night), Little Miss Sunshine, and Conversation(s) with Other Women.

    I put in Conversation(s) with Other Women. It looked somewhat quirky, and it definitely lived up to that expectation. We made it about half an hour into this thing and could no longer handle the split screen.

    I suppose that may feed into why we don't like picture-in-picture or scrolling text while watching TV either. If you're watching TV to relax, how much stimulation do you need to force on your brain? Wait - let's also flashback in one of the splitscreens (and flash forward in at least one instance). You gotta be at the top of your game to keep up! How can you do that when the dialogue is very quietly delivered, sometimes under a breath, and not all that stimulating anyway?

    We ended up watching the news and had a heated discussion about the benefits of applying dead carp as fertilizer (that's right I did say C-A-R-P). I have an involved history with carp (well, my younger brother does), and Jon grew up across the street from the brother of man using the carp. This morning I can't believe how stupid we were to even be arguing over the topic - we were obviously not in the best spot after watching the beginnings of two doozies. It was not a pretty end to our evening.

    Some Curious Things Happened as I Started My Day

    This morning I stumbled out of bed while being reminded that "Parents and Pastries" started at 7:30. CJ & ED really wanted me to go. I walked them to their bathroom, flipped on the light, and pointed at CJ's watch and then the mirror. There was a simultaneous "Oh", and we turned out the light.

    Now that I'm letting my hair grow out (it's near shoulder length!) I face the mirror as Medusa each morning. This is something new for me, and I don't really know how to tame it other than to pull it back in a scrunchy until I can start my morning ablutions.

    Anyway. I continued to stumble downstairs and could hear G rumbling about. He typically sleeps in so I was surprised to hear him that early. He bum-slid down the stairs as I was measuring the milk & water for Germade, walked into the kitch with one eye closed and his nose all crinkled up. I turned around to look at him, and he goes, "Wow! I think we both got visited by the hair fairy!" A few weeks ago he & a friend decided to cut their bangs. Jon and I decided to force him to wear his actions instead of fixing them for him. But that's gone on long enough, and the kid is in serious need of a trim-ala-Jon.

    So - I stirred the germade into the warm milk & water. ED got out some bowls, and I looked out the window to see Jon out poop-scooping. Snow melt reveals the staggering amount of crud produced by Kona & Hilo over the past few months. They use one particular part of the yard (affectionately known as the mine field by the boys), and varying snow layers tend to cover the deposits. When the snow is gone - boy howdy! Problem is that you can't just go out there to scoop - you have to wait for slight dessication. You also can't do it too early in the week. You need garbage day to be tomorrow. Today was apparently the day. My knight-in-camo-armor just trudged out there without saying anything to anyone. Geesh - and I was having hair concerns!

    Finally - ED & CJ had left to catch the bus - each trying to kiss me first so that they could be the first one out the door. I was a titch mean and held CJ back so that ED could have a head start. Really, I just don't get as many kisses from CJ these days so it was an excuse to lay some on him. I'm sure I forgot to mention that I got him some new shoes this week, and he's wearing a men's size 8! That's my size! Gack.

    G & Jon were gearing up to head out the door, and all that was missing was G's socks. I just folded some last night so I grabbed them off the laundry room shelf. G stared at me in amazement. "Mom, you're magic!" The poor child doesn't know that socks should just be pulled out of a drawer each day instead of having to hunt through stacks of unfolded clothes every time the sun comes up.

    My reward? G grabbed a Diet Coke out of the garage fridge and handed it over while he kissed his dad's woman.

    And that was all before 8:00!


    Smile and wave boys. Smile and wave...

    Boys are gonna be boys I suppose. I know there are adventures ahead that will result in me hiding in my bathroom, curled up in a ball, practicing deep breathing techniques and rocking back and forth while repeating, "They will live to get older!" I mean their father sets up BB-Gun shooting ranges in the basement for heaven's sake. Things are definitely going to happen.

    My boys really aren't bad kids. They're roudy and restless and physical, but they are pretty good about staying out of trouble. I've heard all kinds of stories about what happened when men were younger, and I know that Wednesday's episode is just the tip of the iceberg around here.

    I went into the office on Wednesday and left Carson in charge of the other two monkeys. It was a rather quiet day - I actually had to call and check on them because they weren't calling me every 12 minutes to complain or call each other names while they're in separate rooms on separate phones. That's always fun, and I'm sure my cube neighbors love those calls. Anyway I was mistakenly thinking that maybe they really could be trusted to stay home by themselves...

    I was finishing up some things online Wednesday night, and Griffin came in to tell me what a great kid he'd been. He said that while Carson and Evan were out climbing on the roof he stayed inside the window just like Carson had told him. I blinked a few times, and the mom-demon came out to play.

    Apparently they were practicing Christmas Eve trap avoidance maneuvers (OK - at least I've taught them to be prepared). Evan was on his stomach holding on to Carson, who was hanging off the side of roof (a little further to the left of this photo)while trying to climb to the ground or directly onto the front porch. Huh - funny thing is that while there may not be snow out there now, it's typically there in December. Wouldn't that be a fun one to explain to Santa...

    Anyway. Jon explained why he and I were so upset, and the boys were sufficiently humbled through disciplinary action. I may not survive the next week without X-box, but they'll understand that we are serious about their safety - at least for a couple of days.

    Today is another beautiful day so they are outside. This morning I found them scaling the bricks under the living room windows. They also managed to cut down an entire limb from the tree that our neighbors park under. (To their credit, the limb is low enough that trucks, SUVs, and mail vehicles frequently get snarled up in it) They are now having dueling wars with their scooters. This is where one of them parks perpendicular to the driveway and the others coast down without turning and see who can hit the one at the bottom. When one of them manages to hit the parker, the two colliders hop off and swing their scooters in circles until the scooters smack together. I haven't figured out who wins this game, but it sure keeps them busy...

    About now I'm figuring out that the happy pill Rx I renewed yesterday is well worth the cost. Those pills are definitely working...


    From This ... To This ... A Valentine Sneek Peek

    Last year I went public with my valentine's gift for Jon. This year I'm gonna keep it just between us - well except for this little snippet.

    Here's the cover of the book I'm making him:

    Page one:

    Page two:

    (BTW - after scanning this and previewing it here I saw a way to vamp her up a bit. If you use your imagination, I think you'll see baby doll to teddy...

    Amazing huh?

    Page two started out as this

    and went to that ^. I was looking through my scrap paper, and this idea just popped in. She's not quite as sexy as I'd imagined, but I do have some artistic limitations.

    Oh - and Happy Valentine's Night to you, too!


    Scratchin My Head

    I know that I just posted a bunch of questions from G that make me think, HUH?!, but Ev may have topped him in the stupify-your-mother contest.

    A couple of nights ago Ev had just gotten out of the tub. He typically takes a while drying off. I think he enjoys standing in the warm humidity - especially when the heater is on and blowing additional warm air into the room. This particular evening he quietly opened the door and snuck into my office behind me. He had his hand over his chin, and he proceeded to tell me that he'd burned his hidden chin on a lightbulb.

    I'm not posting this photo so that you can see how blah the boy's bathroom is (although please note how clean the counter was today), how the lightbulbs don't match, how the towel isn't the right color - at least they've got a towel in there!, how the star towel hangers have scratched paint off the wall or how some vinyl lettering also removed paint above said hangers. I'm married to a painter, folks, all of that really is an easy fix. Oh - and the vinyl lettering was really cute - it used to say "Boys don't bathe, they dust off". My boys are getting a bit big and stanky for that kind of saying. They really do need to bathe.

    Anyway - Evan - Poor kid. Scorched the top layer of skin right off - it kind of looked like a rug burn. Two questions:
    1. Just how did that chin touch a lightbulb? AND

    2. What was he doing with his chin at that elevation anyway?

    I was working on our taxes, and Evan was sitting on the floor wrapped in a blanket. A while later he said, "Mom, if I was a girl, this is the kind of picture I'd draw." Because girls, chainsaws, and flowers have so much in common?!

    In case you're wondering - he is the one who chopped it up with a paper cutter - not me... He said he was making a puzzle for G.

    Finally - Evan has a difficult time sitting still during Sacrament Meeting. Last week was not a good one for the boy, and Jon and I were a little anxious about what this week was going to be like. I'm the first one into the chapel because the guys are all tied up in primary. Evan joins me before anyone else, grabs my face in his hands, gives me a kiss on each cheek, looks me directly in the eye and says, "Mom, I'm really sorry if I end up being bad today."



    All right - I asked FarmWife to send these to me. Hopefully this will provide you with a different snippet of my mind/life/me.

    1. Given your choice of any single super power, what would you pick? I'd pick something along the lines of 24-yr old body memory so that any time I gained weight, had a kid, etc my body would just pop back to how it was in my mid 20s. I'd want to keep the appreciation that I have now for that 24-yr-old body, so please leave my mind as it is right now.

    2. If you had a week with zero responsibilities (no work, no spouse, no children, nada) and an extra $5,000 what would you do?
      • Day 1: Wake up early, walk 5 miles in Butterfield Canyon - preferably with walking companions, shower & read the rest of the morning away, take my neighbor Debbi to lunch at Archibalds and walk through Gardner Village for a couple of hours, purchase a kitchen island I've had my eye on for a couple of years at Country Furniture, get it home and in the house, rearrange the kitchen, watch Count of Monte Cristo, and head to bed.
      • Day 2:I'd fly to Portland OR very early in the morning, pick up my cousin, Rochelle, and then spend the afternoon walking along Cannon Beach near Haystack Rock and catch up on the past too many years, eat a seafood dinner, drop her off, drive back to Portland and fly to St George to see April
      • Day 3:Spend the day in southern Utah with April
      • Day 4:Fly to Bozeman for a day with Dixie
      • Day 5 would find me in Chicago with Catherine.
      • I think I'd be pretty tired of traveling by Day 6, but I'd head back home and spend the afternoon with my mom & Graham. I know I'd be aching for my own bed, so I'd head home before it got too dark.
      • Day 7 I'd sleep in then get myself ready for the day, grab my book, and read until I heard my guys in the driveway.

      Wouldn't get to see near enough of my friends, but that little break sounds just about fabulous.
    3. If you could re-live any one day in your life, what would it be? I think I'd relive my wedding day and be able to really enjoy each person who came to celebrate with me. There were a few people who came a long way, and I know I wasn't nearly appreciative enough.

    4. You just got a call from Universal Studios. They're making a motion picture based on your life. They want your input on who could play you. Who do you pick? Honestly? Bonnie Hunt.

    5. And last but not least, who would you rather be, Sam from Bewitched or Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie? Sam from Bewitched - see my response to Question 1. I don't think I'd be comfortable in genie garb.

    Want to play? Let me know and I'll send some questions your way.


    Things That Make Me Go, "Huh?"

    Griff's brain does not go easily into the good night. The kid is either physically or mentally going full bore until it all just immediately stops and he falls asleep.

    Now I know that I'm not doing him any favors by snuggling him up next to me until he shuts down each night. But he is my baby, and I gotta tell ya that I'd be missing out on a lot of little things if I didn't do this.

    Here's a small smackling of questions that he's asked me lately while I've been trying to lull him to dreamland.

    1. Why don't little boys have girlfriends? (I said that I supposed he could have one if he wanted. He replied: "No thanks. I'll wait til I'm older so that I can think about who I want it to be for a while.)

    2. If everyone we know was really small could we all fit in one mom's tummy? Would that be fun?

    3. If we got a new puppy and Hilo made it bleed, what would we do with the puppy?

    4. Get ready - this one's my favorite... What if Mesico (spelled just how he said it) was our neighbor and we were all turtles?

    You did it didn't ya? That last one made you go, "Huh?"


    I've Got One of My Own...

    Last night Jon took me to see Australia. I was a little let down by the music - I was expecting something along the lines of Out of Africa or Man from Snowy River. Somewhere Over the Rainbow is one of my favorite songs, but how about something original that facilitates you getting all swept up in the moment?

    Musical score aside, I loved this movie! We only got one phone call from the boys, and we got to sit front & center to see Hugh in all his fantastic glory.

    At one point, Jon leaned over and asked, "So when are the blades going to pop out of his hands?" I know how much Jon likes X-Men, and Wolverine is one of the favored characters at our place. I did one of those eye-rolling head shakes and squeezed his knee. At least the man has humor.

    Hugh eventually made his white jacket appearance. My heart palpatations had me clutching my hands at chest level. I have a feeling that Hugh's wife ain't the only lady gettin turned on...

    I happened to look at Jon out of the corner of my eye and remembered my own hunk of a man walking across the room toward me at our wedding reception. There was a sweetly familiar zing in Jon's eye that was also there 15 years ago.

    Ya know what? I think he likes me ;)


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