Monday, July 31, 2006


...bring your own monkeys...

A couple of weeks ago Jeremiah's uncle Dennis came to visit Grandma and Grandpa. He brought with him his daughter Kathy and her twin daughters Raven and Alexia. It was fun to see them (and meet them, too) and Isaac just adored those girls. We tried several times to tell him that they were his cousins, but he only referred to them as "my friends." I think he was a little confused by the fact that they were identical, so he didn't even bother learning their names.

One of the fun things we did with them while they were here is go to the zoo. Here are Alexia, Isaac and Raven in the play area near the kids zoo. It was fun to walk around and see the animals. We actually hadn't done this for a while. Isaac gets to go to the zoo more than anyone in our family because sometimes Nana takes him during their playdates. Most of the animals were out and about, so we got to see most of them.

For the size of our small city we actually have a fairly nice zoo. The most recent addition is an Asian Adventure area and it's my favorite. The walkway is lined with bamboo and they have some Asian-inspired architecture around the habitats.

We spent the longest time in the monkey house, reconnecting with our closest relatives. The kids really seemed to enjoy it in there and the monkeys were oddly attracted to our group.

We also had the girls over to our house and they did an excellent job of keeping me cooled off. Our kiddie pool got filled with water and they brought cupfuls of water to dump on my legs. I'm sure going to miss them!

Jeremiah and I had hoped to have them all over for dinner, but their visit was short and their dance card was full. It was so fun to get to visit with them though and we look forward to their (and everyone elses) next visit.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Book of Gwen (Chapter 28)

1. Therefore, let it be written:
2. She who cuts her brothers hair, for no fee, the same shall have treasures in heaven. For it is she who does the work of her mother.
3. And also, she who cuts the hair of her brother-in-law, even for a small fee, she too shall have treasures in heaven. For it is she who does the work of her mother-in-law.
4. She also shall cut the hair of her children. They shall learn in their youth that the hair on their head shall grow back. That, by the time they are old enough to care about the vanities of good looks, she might have perfected her methods and thus cause others to stare and snicker no more.
5. And she who cuts the hair of her spouse shall have the greatest treasure of all. For she shall not send him to Dollar Cuts, only to fix the cut when the spouse arrives at the door of his house with great asymmetries in his hairline.
6. And she shall sweep up the hairs that have been cut off their heads.
7. And she shall be allowed to go to the salon for her own hairstyle, for she has saved the money of the family by cutting the hair of each.
8. Thus, let it be so, Amen.

The Girl Who Wouldn't Smile

This is a picture of the girl who has a grin as wide as the Nile. What? You can't see it? Oh, well, that's because she refused to show it for the hour that we were at the portrait studio trying to capture just that.

We took her for her 9 month photos a little while ago. She woke up in her crib fashioning said grin. She laughed as she bathed. She coo'd in the car on the way. She clapped her hands at strangers passing by as we waited for our turn in front of the camera. Then, when placed before the backdrop, my baby turned as inanimate as a box of hair. Even so, had it been Panteen hair, it may have been more lively than my daugher. She refused to smile. She refused to even turn up just the corners of her mouth in an almost smile. We employed every stuffed animal, squeaky duck, flying brother and the like, things that, until that point, were tested, tried and true ways to make her smile. We even pulled out an Otter Pop wrapper in an attempt to put that newly-elusive smile upon her face. Nothing. Pretty soon she was just as frustrated as we were and began to fuss a little. Giving up, I smashed my head on the platform in front of her.

Giggle, giggle.

Again...SMASH!...laughter. Yes, it was working! Just a few more times...SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! Fits of laughter. Only, she was looking at me, not the camera. Oh would have to do; Mom doesn't have that many brain cells left to spare.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

By Popular Demand

I have been making applesauce cookies lately. They remind me of my childhood. But I have to admit, I hated them as a child. I don't think that I disliked the way they tasted so much, it was more that these were the only cookies everyone else in the family seemed to always want. I wanted sugar cookies or oatmeal raisin...just some variety. Anyway, as an adult I have developed an appreciation for these cookies and their wholesome goodness. And so, without further delay, I present to you the recipe.

Applesauce Cookies
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cloves
2 cups sugar
2 cups applesauce
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
4 1/2 cups flour

2 cups oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together butter, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sugar and applesauce. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; add to applesauce mixture and mix well. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes. Let sit 1 minute before removing from pan to wire rack to cool. Makes about 7 dozen.

Note: I'm pretty sure that this recipe is for a double batch and can easily be halved.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mistakenly Malicious Mascots Menacingly Masqerade at Minor League Game on Monday

Well Gwen assured you that I would contribute the riveting conversation between me and our son as he sat trembling on my shoulders at the recent minor league baseball game we attended…But first, a disclaimer or two….to begin: my son is definitely a little fraidy cat about some of the most innocent things that many kids are drawn to like ants to a chocolate covered toddler, and yet loves other things that make teenagers cower and scream.

For instance: those commercials that have a hundred monkeys working in an office, eating paper, putting their phones in banana splits, photocopying their rear ends, (THAT’S HILARIOUS!) leave him screaming like any normal man at a Freddie Prinze Jr. movie. But a marathon of Jurassic Park, with huge dinosaurs ripping every creature to pieces, bloody parts everywhere, etc. is a riveting piece of entertainment to him and has been since about 18 months. So, the baseball game…

Isaac is deathly afraid of the team mascot roaming the stands.

I wish I could say the mascot was something nasty like The Devil or at least a little freaky like the green lobster they used to have, but no… it’s a bird. Pretend it’s a fat, grey, molting Big Bird with a hat on and you are in the neigborhood. So while this mascot roams the bleachers handing out candy and getting high fives (like my 1st grade principal on the last day of school), my son runs in the opposite direction before he wets himself.

After assuring him that it's okay and helping him high five the floppy beaked bird, Isaac insists on staying on my shoulders. About five or ten minutes later we have the following conversaion:

Isaac: (Still on my shoulders scouring the stands for the malicious mascot), "Daddy, is the bird gone?"

Me: Yes, son the bird is gone.

I: Is he all gone?

M: Yes he is ALL gone.

I: Is he coming back?

M: No, he is not coming back... (and if he does I am taking him to get a cold, seven dollar hot dog as long as he doesn't see the stupid thing again).

I: Did he drive away?

M: yes.

I: Did he go home?

M: Yes he probably went home...(really hoping that kid's contract doesn't require him to work past the seventh inning)

I: Did he take off his costume?

M: Yes, he took off his costume. ( I SWEAR that I did not tell him it was a costume, but wouldn't it have helped to know it wasn't real? I don't know...)

I: Did he go to bed in his room?

M: Um, yes, I think he went to his room.

Only then was it safe to crawl off my shoulders and take the water bottle away from his sister.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Laughed 'Til I Cried

You really must read this post over at Notes From the Trenches. It's kind of gross, but I am still laughing. Also, I am very thankful that I have not (yet) had any such experience.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Guessing Game

Let's look and see what Kenley's been eating! What do you think it is?

(And yes. That is my baby standing all by her onesy.)
Dirt? No...let's look again, how about a close up?

Poop? Thank heaven, no. Any more guesses?

It's her favorite...Oreos!

P.S. This is what happens when you teach a 3-year old to share.

Missing Bucka

My kids really miss their "Bucka." He's been in Nevada since the end of May because he's brave and went back to school to become a pharmacist. He has almost completed that task and he's in Nevada in the middle of his second rotation.

We've been going to my mom's house a lot this summer and everytime I tell Isaac that we are going to Gammie's house he always says, "And Bucka!?!" He'll be very excited when, in August, I finally reply, "And Bucka!"

Kenley has missed him too. Her favorite spot to fall asleep was just over his shoulder, and no one can get her to sleep faster! We're so proud of him and looking forward to his return from exile! Love you, Bucka!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

We went to our first ball game of the season last night. Our credit union sponsored the night so our tickets were free. Have I ever mentioned I love free? Anyway, we got going a little late so our first hour was spent huddling under an umbrella trying to shield our eyes from the sun. Mostly we just jostled around and got poked by the darn thing but I must say we were very close as a family under there. The kids did their share of fussing. Isaac was having a great time clear up until the top of the 2nd and then he said he wanted to go home.

Jeremiah bought some bottled water from the concessions stand and Isaac whined - after he'd returned to the bleachers - that he wanted Root Beer. Jeremiah told him no and after much weeping and wailing I took Isaac to get one, thinking that at least he would keep the straw in his mouth for the rest of the game and therefore be quiet enough for us to hear the only heckler at the ballgame, who we were fortunate enough to sit directly in front of. Oh, how my "good parenting" ideas go awry. Isaac was happy with the Root Beer for 3.2 seconds and then decided he didn't like Root Beer anymore. Thanks son. You owe me $3.25, by the way.

Kenley was pretty well behaved, aside from her usual squirming. She's not at a point where she's very happy to sit still, but at least she didn't bawl all night.

We sat in front of a lady Jeremiah had some education classes with and she had some connections at the ball park. She brought my each of my kids a squishy baseball and that helped them to be entertained. Also, I was kept occupied making sure they didn't roll off the bleachers.

After the sun went down the kids settled down a bit and the game was far more enjoyable. I think I even got to see some of the 5th inning. For a while Isaac and I sat a couple of rows higher than Kenley and Jeremiah. Isaac had fun going between the bleachers "just checking on dad." They threw candy between innings and I really should have paid more attention to how much my boy got his grubby little hands on. I think his sugar intake last night alone should last him a lifetime. But all that candy in his mouth kept him from whining.

Our team won and it was a fun outing for our family. After the game was over, they opened up the field and let the kids run the bases. Jeremiah and Isaac ran around out there taking special care to touch each base. They looked like Calvin and Hobbes. All in all, it was a fun night. I really wish we would have had our camera, but since blogger isn't letting me post them anyway, I guess the internet hasn't lost anything.

Stay tuned for Jeremiah's post of a conversation he and Isaac had about the bird mascot.

Poultry's Just Another Way of Sayin' Chicken

Yum. Yum. And, oh yeah, yum. Last night I made an awesome rotisserie style chicken right in my oven. I wanted to use the rotisserie attachment on our new grill, but I didn't have an extension cord so I found this recipe instead. It was super easy to prepare and tasted so great! It was the most tender chicken I've ever made, it fell right off the bone. I scaled it down to only use one chicken, but I think next time I will go ahead and make two so that we can use the leftover chicken for soup or something - like Kate's newfound Chicken Tetrazzini recipe. You really must try it!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Long Time No See

We finally have our bathroom finished. Well, at least functional. All that's left is putting on the floorboards and caulking around the window casing. It's been time consuming but it was fun for me to work on it with my husband. It took about 9 days, but we didn't do anything on it for at least 3 of those days because we were playing lazy waiting for caulk and paint to dry. It looks pretty good, even though we're amateurs. I'd post some pics but blogger hasn't been allowing me to post 'em. But I'll get some up some time.

Hey, I didn't say it would be an interesting post.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And The Winner Is...

This year's "Most Generous, Unexpected Gift From a Visiting Relative Award" goes to....

Aaron and Mary Foust
of San Deigo California
for the 32" Stainless Steel Grill
and accessories - pictured below
So naturally everyone has an open and standing invitation to mosy on over for a BBQ*. We'll fire up the grill in all it's glory and stick on a kabob - or whatever your drooling heart desires - for ya.

*For those who have attended our previous BBQs and waited patiently while we messed around with the charcoal, lighter fluid and matches, we promise we won't make you wait an hour or so for dinner, like we did last time,

Monday, July 10, 2006

What It's All About

The other day our little family went shopping. It did my heart good to hear Isaac observe, "We're all together. We're a happy family."
We may not get to be all together very often right now but our family is full of love for one another. One of Isaac's favorite things to do at bedtime is have me list all the people that we love. We have so much family (and many friends) that we care about, he often falls asleep before we finish the list.
We are so grateful for family!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Project is larger than expected.
Have to replace entire tub surround, greenboard and some plumbing.
New tub surround is 3 feet shorter than old tub surround.
Have to tape & texture walls above new tub surround.
Have to replace plumbing stems for faucet knobs.
Have to caulk around new tub surround and bathtub.
Have to paint entire bathroom.
Not enough damage for an insurance claim.
Want to take shower in my own home.
Want to bathe my kids.
Want to go to bed before 2 AM.
Want to put up pretty new shower curtain with coordinating towels.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What Lies Beneath

This should be a pretty interesting day for us. We've had some water damage accumulating in our bathroom for a while and we've finally decided to make the necessary repairs. Jeremiah started the project yesterday by locating the source of the leak. We were very fortunate to find that we just needed a tighter seal on the pipe for the shower head. We still have to pull off the tub surround on the wall with the faucet though. There's been so much water leaking down there for who knows how long that we need to replace the greenboard behind it. We're thinking that we can salvage the tub surround and put it back in place (author laughs a nervous, yet hopeful, laugh.) So we will have the water shut off for the majority of the day.
I said yesterday what a fun project this would be and Jeremiah told me that cosmetic changes are fun, repairs are not "fun." That's probably because they're something you have to do instead of something you choose to do. And also repairs usually snowball. But we're hoping for the best. In the end all our work should make our bathroom look exactly the same. However, we'll know, that like so many things, it's what's on the inside that counts.
On to the repairs!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why I Love My Husband

Here's the short list.

He honors his Priesthood.
He never comes home and asks "Why isn't dinner ready?" or "Why didn't you get the laundry done?"
He is an active father to our children.
He is a hard worker.
He is intelligent.
He has the best sense of humor.
He tells me I'm beautiful, even when I don't have on any make-up and my hair is not styled.
He has never complained about it when I've asked him to stay home with the kids.
He supports me in all my personal decisions.
He listens to me when I need him to.
He has a cute backside.
I know that I can trust him.
I know that he truly loves me.
He has conversations with me at night even when he's really tired.
He has never said no when I've asked him to give me a foot massage.
He watches movies with me that I know he's not interested in, but does not complain.
He is very kind to me.
He has never spoken angry words at me or belittled me in any way.
He supports me in my role as a mother.
He is an excellent teacher.
He saves every note that I write him, even if it only says I've gone to the store and I'll be back soon.
He does not act like he's my father, he acts like he's my partner.
He laughs at my not-so-funny jokes.
He is kind to others.
He makes me laugh.
He lets me cry for no reason without asking questions.
He makes me feel safe.
He changes poopy diapers.
He shows me affection.
He does not get upset when I want to spend a lot of time around my family.
He often chooses to spend time with us while we're awake and finish his other things after we've gone to bed.
He doesn't put his own needs before the needs of the family.
He is not conservative with the words "I Love You."
He never tells me that I call him to often at work, no matter how many times I call him just to say nothing.
He never speaks ill of any of my friends.

All The Fun Things

We had a fun Independence Day. We slept in until 10:00 and then got ready to head up to my brother Ben's house to join in his hometown's festivities. We hit the craft fair first and I found a great floral arrangement at an awesome price for my front room. (But I don't know how it looks in my house yet, I left it at Ben's!)

Then we went around outside and looked at all the vendors' booths. We weren't in the market for a lot of the wares, but we let Isaac "go fishin'" about 8 times in the fish pond. He wasn't interested at all in the prizes - which is understandable since they looked like someone had been saving every Happy Meal toy for the last 8 years - but he was intrigued with the mechanics of putting that bent nail into the hook on the wooden fish. He caught a couple on his own and then resorted to hand fishing. After picking up some BBQ pork sandwiches we walked out to Main Street for the parade.

I don't know what it is about parades but I get really excited watching them. I often yell "Yay" and even a few "Whahoo"s. I time it well though letting my excitement escape just as those who are tossing candy to the kids are passing. I'm a sucker for free candy! Last year I was 6 months pregnant but that didn't stop me from elbowing the youngsters competing for my salt water taffy! Not that I need any more candy at my house, I have an entire bucket full. And that is not an exaggeration.

By the time the parade ended we were all pretty hot, so Ben let us into his house to cool off. We hung out for a while and Isaac played with the dog. A big step for him. A week ago he would have been screaming his little head off just at the sight of Judah - the schnauzer. But we've been working on that with him.. but I digress...

We left their house in the early afternoon so that we could get home in time to entertain Jeremiah's dad and brother. Since I hadn't planned on feeding company and had no meal ideas handy we stopped at good old Wal-Mart and picked up some fried chicken and potato wedges. I also made a pasta salad - so what if it was from a box - and Brent brought some strawberries. I made some pink lemonade and I must say the whole meal hit the spot.

Jeremiah and Brent set up my swamp cooler too. Boy am I thankful for that thing! After they were all done we headed over for the biggest fireworks display west of the Mississippi. I love watching the fireworks. I like to sit close enough to feel the vibrations from the explosions thunder in my bones. I couldn't help but think last night as I watched the show how thankful I was to live in a country where I could hear that many explosions in rapid succession and not fear for my life. I am so thankful for the USA! I know it has its problems but we are so blessed to live here! I can't help but tear up when I see that old Star Spangled Banner accompanied with the same titled hymn.

Anyway, after that we headed home. Jeremiah was so clever and got us home within minutes avoiding the usual traffic jams and detours. We sat out on the front porch and watched the neighbors across the street light off their own fireworks. It was just a fun day for us. The thing that made it best was that Jeremiah actually got to experience a paid holiday and not have to work! I'm really glad that we were able to spend the holiday together as a family.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

In Which Isaac and I Discuss Death

My great uncle passed away recently. I went to the funeral on Wednesday and I had to take my kids with me. On the way to my mother's house Isaac and I had the following conversation:

Isaac: Are we going to Gammie's house?

Me: Yes, but only for a little while. Then we are going to a funeral. Gammie's uncle died.

Isaac: Gammie's uncle died?

Me: Yes. But do you know where people go when they die? Their body stays here, but their spirit goes to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus.

Isaac (echoing what I had just said): With Jesus.

Me: Yep. We have funerals so that we can say goodbye to the people we love. But we'll see them again when we go to live with Jesus too.

The car was quiet for a minute and then Isaac spoke these words, "He fell down and Jesus picked him up."

I was very touched at these words and in awe of the comprehension of my little 3 year old. I'm grateful that I didn't make up an explanation for death, such as "he's sleeping" or "gone bye-bye". I am glad that I could tell him what happens to the spirits of those who leave this life. I'm thankful to have that knowledge and that I can pass on my testimony of Jesus Christ and the Great Plan of Happiness to my children and others.


I could write about my recent experience at Education Week with my gal pal Kate, but she writes far better than I do, so I will direct you to her blog for the highlights. I will just add that I was very happy that our husbands agreed to take on a few extra responsibilities for a day or two so that we could have this time out to better ourselves. I really enjoyed it not only because I learned a lot, but because I got to spend a great day with a great friend.