31 December 2009

Bring It On

Glad I'm not there, but it looks cool, huh? :)

So, the end of 2009 brings not only the end of another year, but the end of yet another decade in my life. Hard to believe that the last end of a decade was actually the end of a Century as well! Holy crap, has it really been 10 years? But I still remember what I was doing this day, 10 years ago!

Not terribly exciting, though. I was in the first few months of my mission in Switzerland. So, as you can imagine, New Year's Eve as a missionary isn't too crazy, but our ward was having a party to bring in the New Year, fire works and everything! Dang, those Mormon Swiss really know how to party! And of course there was excellent food, as always (the chocolate is just for the tourists...and me).

And who remembers the Y2K scare? Um, yeah, that was embarrassing, wasn't it. Not much came out of that except the realization that mass media has the ability to put fear into the hearts of men. And to that I say, "No one expects a Spanish Inquisition!" (all hale Monte Python)

So, tonight we celebrate J's 10th birthday (that was really yesterday, but because of visitation schedules he is ours today and the rest of the weekend...) at Chuck-E-Cheese with an insane amount of other people, I'm sure, then let the kids watch the East Coast version of Rock'n New Year's Eve (because it's over at 10pm) and all go to bed happy. Then we'll wake up to a new year, more new snow and a warm breakfast. Maybe I'll trick them and cook oatmeal :)

Good Bye, 2009. You will be a great memory but I look forward with great anticipation!! xoxox

29 December 2009

Merry Christmas to All...2009

And now it's on to a New Year!

I'm sitting here, on my couch, on a snowy, lazy day, watching the girls color and paint and draw. Hot chocolate anyone?

So, instead of thinking what to do for dinner, because we've been snacking all day, I wanted to put our year down in review so that I may have better records in order to make better choices next year.

In January, we found ourselves in a fun little apartment on campus with a spectacular view of the Salt Lake valley. I enjoyed living so close to work and the children enjoyed the close play area. We had lots of mingling and really enjoyed our University Ward.

The summer was a fun adventure. We took the family to Yellowstone and the children were such troopers with all the trails and hikes. It was beautiful to see the vegetation growing back after the fire 20 years ago. We also had a fun camping trip to Redfish Lake with Nannie and Grandpa Bartschi in August. We love visiting there and have fun going back every summer

D needed to take a break with school, so since he wasn't going to school, we had to move away from our spectacular view. It was a sad day :) But we found the coziest apartment in American Fork, just around the corner from D's parents. It has been so great being so close to family again. We've really missed it and have realized the blessings of family.

With all the moving around, I haven't been able to get the girls back into piano or other activities. And now that I no longer have a piano (you're welcome, my Sister), we are either looking at obtaining a keyboard or maybe something else entirely. I asked E the other day if she'd like to take violin lessons. Sure, she's up to anything until it comes down to practice time. We'll see how it goes. I still haven't decided.

J is still gaining in Karate skills and goes every week with his mom and other half-sister. He's showing greater confidence and enjoys showing his moves and skills with his sisters, all of them :) He is in 4th grade this year and is also a great reader and mathematician, not to mention helper, dishwasher and vacuumer. Of course, when he comes for our visits the children all play and bicker like regular brother and sisters, but he's an enjoyable part of our family.

E has been enjoying school and making friends. Every day she has another story from the playground. Good heavens, if I recorded them all, what a fantastically silly book that would be! She's become quite an artist as well. Her portraits are amazingly accurate. She can even portray emotions on the faces of her subjects! We'll need to get a full sized portfolio soon to keep track of all her pieces. She's in 2nd grade now and doing well. She's our social butterfly, and a butterfly is her favorite image/decoration as well.

L turned 3 over the summer but I didn't feel she was ready for pre-school as of September. Now, almost January, she's starting to show more coordination with her scribbling and drawing. She loves to copy E, but was able to put together a recognizable face (circle, eyes, nose and mouth) all in the right general places! I was so excited and called my mother to brag! Even just today she drew a simple flower with petals. It's amazing how quickly the little ones progress! One day they are scribbling and the next? Making faces and connecting squares! She loves anything Princess or Barbie and to dress up and dance. She also loves to sing along to songs on the radio. She's also a great helper and loves to be with her brother and sister. Good thing for D she's still takes a nap, occasionally.

D's health has been okay this year. His cancer is still staying away, but he found a few other things wrong with his liver, Hemochromatosis mainly. Between that and trying to control his blood sugar, he's been pretty tired. But now that he's managing them both better, we hope to both pick things up this next year.

I'm still working in the Neuro Operating Room and loving it, or just loving the people I work with. Either way, it works out for a good work week. I've also been called to be the Beehive Advisor in our new ward. This is my first experience in YW since I left. It's been great so far, and so much fun! Also, in my minimal spare time I've taken up knitting (a baby blanket, scarves and hats for the kids, now working on a scarf for myself) and it's been so fun to be creative with my hands while commuting! Most of my knitting time is on the train to and from work. I really do enjoy that 45 minutes up to the hospital, all to myself and my ipod, on the train three times a week.

We had a wonderful Christmas, even being able to spend a part of it up in Idaho with my family for a few days. Those days in Idaho always go by too fast and we never get as much done as we want to do! I sure do miss seeing them often. Nevertheless, with a trip to Temple Square and special FHE events, we were able to have many conversations about the true meaning of Christmas. We are so grateful to have those meanings and explanations in our lives, as well as the knowledge that our Savior lives, loves us, and wants us to be happy in the knowledge of the Gospel. May you all enjoy everything a New Year has to offer, and here's wishing we find even more happiness (and a plane ticket to Hawaii) in the months to come!!

Love, the Peay Family

18 December 2009

Where do we go from here?

And so we are coming up to the ending of another year gone by...gone by way too fast, if you ask me. Seriously, I remember being younger and hearing older people say the cliche's of "Time goes too fast...blah, blah, blah" and thinking, You have GOT to be kidding me!! Day after dreaded day of school, homework, studying...I couldn't wait to escape it all! But escape it to what? Getting a job? Starting relationships? Having children? Cleaning the house and laundry? Really?

What? No more Summer Vacation? Not even a Spring Break?

Now you're telling me I have to use Vacation Time for that?

deep cleansing breath.......and exhale! Okay, so sorry. That is all encroaching on an entirely different topic than what I was wanting to reference :)

Ya know what? I'll just go with it. I have another two weeks to talk about looking back and new ideas for next year. Plus, an idea just hit me so maybe by writing it down in cyberspace, I'll be able to have some new grasp on some of the "whys" of life :)

Rachel's Assessment To the Passing of Time:

I plan

Yup, that's it...I'm a planner, very little risk-taker (actually, one time I did take a risk and even with all my after-planning, it blew up in my face), but I can plan the begeezes out of anything. I credit that to my Dad and genetics (and OCD), and also to general schooling starting very young. We all remember homework, studying, social activities, fitting it all together. We are trained to plan, plan for today, tomorrow, money, the unexpected, emergencies (even though being 'prepared for children' seem like an oxymoron).

So, as I age and life starts happening, I start planning: planning for college, planning for a mission, planning on finishing college, planning a wedding, planning income, planning for the baby, planning to finish college before baby gets too big, planning for vacations, planning for baby's future, planning for a house...

Then that gets broken down into the daily/weekly/monthly activities that need planning :) A vicious cycle, from which I cannot brake the bands...and yet, it seems our lives would fall apart with out some sort of planning and balance and structure (ie: budgets, schedules, traffic lights).

So here I sit, just talked with D about going to Moab for the kid's Spring Break next April and we aren't even through Christmas yet! But we have to make reservations! :) And now I'm trying to figuring out the fine line between being organized and missing the whole life experience!

So it's finding the balance between organizing life and being able to enjoy the organization...organize, then enjoy the event before moving on!

This is simply written down for my personal visual imprint. Everyone enjoys and lives their lives the way they see fit. I am simply trying to tell myself to slow down, organize tomorrow but enjoy today before it's all just a memory. Maybe that will be my theme for next year...

14 December 2009

To Tell or Not To Tell

...and so begins the Holiday Season, stores become transformed into Holiday Wonder-Shopping-Lands and the center of the Mall becomes a child's magical toy fantasy! Who wouldn't want to believe in the Magical Guy (aka Santa Clause) after seeing all that? Not to mention the stories...

Over the last month or so, I've been trying to get out of the kids their most wanted desire to have under the tree on Christmas morning. Of course the 3-year old wants everything she sees, so I have to remind her what it is she really wants (and what I already have for her). Now she's saying it regularly and wants to go back and remind Santa. E has changed her mind a few times too, so I waited to make sure she had decided. Then I found the perfect basic art easel that will give her hours of drawing pleasure and yards of paper. Luckily she's sticking with that for now. She may need a gentle reminder, too, though. :)

Now, J, our 10 year old son, as far as I can tell, still wants to believe...but I think he may be catching on. The other night the children were looking at the presents under the tree, finding theirs, rearranging...then began a verbal Christmas Wish List from J and E. I didn't want them to get their hopes too high, so I jumped in. "Listen, guys. It's been a rough year for everyone with money and jobs. Santa will only be giving each child one gift, and with so many children in the world, let's not be greedy, okay?" I was hoping that would be a good enough excuse to move their thoughts to other things...

J looks confused at me, "I thought Santa's bag was magic."

Who wants cookies!!

11 December 2009

She's going to add WHAT to the salad???

I enjoy food. Okay, I enjoy GOOD food. I would never venture to Food Critique aspirations (or Bizarre Foods either!), but I am open for new food experiences. I have expanded my palate as I've grown older and have tired some pretty exciting things over the last 10 years (Alpaca, cow tongue, cow heart, cow intestines, different kinds of calamari). However, when I was younger, my idea of a salad was pretty basic: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, maybe carrots, I'd pick out the onions if there were any -- ALL of it smothered in Ranch dressing!

My mother got us to first eat salad with what we called "Vinegar-Oil Salad," a scrumptious mixture of tomatoes, shredded cheese, chopped celery and diced avocado mixed with apple cider vinegar, oil, s/p, garlic and onion salts -- all tossed together with (she used) shredded iceberg lettuce, and we'd scramble over the bits left in the bowl after the lettuce was gone. Still a family favorite but all us kids have added to it our own twists.

But my Mama taught me to be respectful to others and if you were eating at someone else's house, to eat what you were offered. How she enforced this I have no recollection; maybe I'm just naturally polite :) So, one time on my mission, my companion and I (Hi, Sarah!) were with an investigator in her tiny apartment. We had to catch a train, but this lady wanted to make us something fast to eat before we left (bless her heart).

She has me cutting lettuce and Sarah cutting up fruit (strawberries, nectarines, kiwi) while she's making a vinegar dressing. Then, much to my surprise, she tossed it all together!! Fruit and lettuce?? What?? She kept saying over and over, "Lettuce is just water. You need something filling (pointing to the fruit)." And I'm thinking sarcastically, I know we're in a hurry, but do we really need to toss it all together?

With my first bite ever of fruit, romaine lettuce and vinaigrette, my vegetable life has never been the same! Wow! What have I been missing?!? If you've never tried a kiwi or nectarine or strawberry in a vinaigrette salad, you really need, no - have - to try it! This coming from a Ranch lover. :)

Expand your taste buds...your mouth will thank them!
Just leave the lobster and crab in their tanks for me :) Hey, I have to draw the line somewhere!

08 December 2009

I'm really embarrassed..

...and have to admit that what I am going to share with you is sad for me but also so darn cute I couldn't help but laugh! Then, I ran right over to them and hugged them...then we made a cake :) I hope to never hear that again.

Overheard while the children were playing and I was doing something in the kitchen...

E - Let's play house
All - Okay!
E - I'm the Mom and Jordan is the Dad. L, you can be the baby.
Some time passes...
L - Mom?
E - I'm busy
J - Don't say that!
E - Why?
J - Because that's what I'm supposed to say!

Lesson Learned
but wasn't that still funny?? :)

05 December 2009

When she called...

...I realized it had been months since I'd talked with my own Grandmother! Wow, how does that happen? We even work in the same hospital :) different days, though, but still! That's no excuse. Sorry, Grandma :)

We chatted for a bit, and she made me realize that there may be a few other people who check up on this blog, just for kicks and giggles. So, even though I feel in a rut, I need to write something before time gets too far away from me and before I know it, it's Christmas!

I've been taking pictures with the intent of using this or that picture in a post...but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I keep waiting for life to slow down...but it hasn't yet. I think, "After this then I will be able to..." or "Just get through this next week and things will..."

Yeah, No. And that's the hard part. We can't just wait around for stuff; at least I can't. I just keep going and going and doing and washing and cooking and cleaning and putting things back together...and wake up and do it all over again

Except, today I put off doing laundry and took E with me to go to a Holiday Boutique and bought myself some extra Christmas presents :) (Thanks Lori, Brook and Lina!!). Then she and I went to lunch where I made her try dipping her bread in the roasted garlic and olive oil deliciousness, and guess what? Much to her surprise, she loved it! Imagine that. Next, we went to find the perfect present for L and to find a few things for our bare tree. We made out like bandits! All the presents under the tree are driving the kids nuts! I'm considering putting them all away so they aren't tempted to unwrap them!

But there is something comforting about seeing the lit Christmas tree, even sparsely decorated, with presents underneath. It's almost like I can look at that and know things are okay. We are okay. We have food in our cupboards and in our fridge, the furnace is blowing, no one is coughing today, and the children will have something to open on Christmas. That means a lot considering the last few years. Two years ago, some generous people gave us presents, things we couldn't even give ourselves. Not that this year is extravagant by any means, but it's a good thing the kids are still young and we can get away with small gifts still!! :)

So, I guess, until life slows down, my camera will fill up with pictures :) and I'll relish times like tonight when, after I put the girls in bed, I turn on music instead of the TV and relax in the quiet and the soothing lights that are Christmas.

27 November 2009

Here It Comes!

I couldn't help myself...I put up a small, humble Christmas tree the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

I know, I know. This coming from the person who was complaining about Thanksgiving being lost between Halloween and Christmas...but for some reason, I just couldn't restrain myself! Then, once the girls saw what I was doing, they were so excited to help!

As I was getting the decorations out, I realized just how much I had downsized! The poor tree :) Even my candles became miss-shapen from the heat of the summer storage. We'll have to make some paper chains to fill in the gaps. Maybe I'll even get crafty and make popcorn balls to hang...a snack that lasts all season long! Thanks also to my Mother-in-Law for some fun additions for the kids.

As I was setting out the few Nativity sets I had kept, I told E where and why I had each one. She seemed genuinely interested; L just wanted to play with them. Glad we still have the Fisher Price Nativity so they can leave mine alone. One of the few tree decorations I kept were some ice cycles given to me by my Grandmother, from her Grandmother. I simply love family traditions.

Let the Season Begin!

26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving To All...

...and to all -- Good Eats!
Setting aside all the wonderfully yummy food, I absolutely love this time of year and especially this holiday of all holidays. This is a time of reflection, thanksgiving, sharing, caring, giving, donating, serving...

Every year, sheesh -- every day! -- there is so much to be grateful for! Just the fact that I live in a country where I can have my own opinion is such a blessing. But this year, I am so very grateful for the health of my family. The economy could be better, but I still have a job and we have a warm home and food in our cupboards. The children are growing well and D is keeping up as best as his immune system will allow. Our apartment is small, but that means less to keep clean. We don't have a dishwasher, but -- for now -- J and E fight over washing them. There is only one bathroom, but it has warm running water and everything is in good working order. Our TV is old and heavy, but we can turn it on and watch movies as a family. I have to work late nights, but my husband is in bed with me when I get home and my children are with me to eat breakfast in the morning.
So many things to remember this Thanksgiving Day, but most of all,
take nothing for granted. Enjoy!

22 November 2009

Speaking of Surprizes...

...I misplaced my camera after we moved the first of September. Yes, the very camera I had to replace in August. Yes, the very camera on which I spent most of my souvenir budget so we could have vacation pictures.

Hi, my name is Rachel, and I am a habitual Mis-Placer.
Everyone, "Hello, Rachel. That's so great! That's a great first step!" cheers and applause

So, I suck it up and go without a camera, using my horrible camera on my cell phone. The pictures are so bad I don't even want to download them OFF my phone. So, I have no viable pictures of Halloween, or pretty much anything since the first of September (sigh).

I finally put my foot down (one day while looking on ebay) and found what looked to be a good deal, placed a bid, and checked back, breathless, two hours later. What?? I won the auction?? Sweet! It was even way under what my bid was! It was a newer version of my old camera, plus it came with an extra battery and a 4gb memory card. Yes, to say I was ecstatic was an understatement.

Enter here: guilt for buying it without even mentioning the auction/purchase of said item to D. My justification? "Hey, honey, my Christmas present came in the mail today. Wanna see it? I know I'll love it!" Yeah, he's cool like that :)

But here's the kicker. I received the package (aka: my Christmas present) in the mail Thursday. I found my old camera in my closet, in its little protective/invisible case, on Saturday morning.

I am not even kidding

19 November 2009

Always A Surprise

Almost every evening I'm home, after the children are in bed, I start picking up the chaos of the day.
Socks tucked away in the couch, blankets behind the pillows, crayons under the coffee table, I sware this Barbie has cloned herself because I just put her in the toy chest a few hours ago!
I moved the Kleenex box back to its original place, but it's making unusual noises...rattles??? Oh, hey! I found the Pilgrims...what happened to the Indians?
The tiny Pilgrim figures must have a cold...
The Indian figures were hiding under the chair...they found the heating vent :)
The pillows multiply and I really need to do something about the number of blankets around the house. We like to cuddle with them, though, so it's hard to keep them packed away.
Okay, better get back to focusing on Christmas. What am I making the kids for Christmas?
Oh, the irony

16 November 2009


This weekend I traveled, yet again, up to Idaho. My sister's ward was doing a craft activity day on Saturday. Months ago she was asked to organize a jewelry-making area. How fun! I told her. Those are really popular. You'll be busy. She didn't share my enthusiasm...

She brought me some things she was given to make samples. I helped her make the samples, but brainstorming how it all should be done/organized for a large group was giving us both headaches! Do we simply put kits together and sell the kits? Could do, that would be painstaking but effective. Then my overactive OCD comes out and says, "What if people don't like the kits we put together? People need choices and a variety to chose from. People simply need the opportunity to be creative, then they will be infinitely more pleased with the final result." I'm sure I said something to that effect :)

That's when I went into Big Sister mode and took over the project (believe me, she didn't mind). I've wanted to get into jewelry-making and have dabbled a bit over the years. I already had the basic stuff, just needed to bulk it up a little!

WOW, did we have beads flying!! It was so fun! People who'd come over to make just a bracelet ended up making a necklace and/or watch band to match! Some were making children's bracelets for their kids' friends' Christmas presents. Some were grand children's presents. Some were for themselves.

What looks so overwhelming and intimidating at first becomes such a creative outlet. It was so amazing being a part of that! People would ask, "Where do I even start?" Start with one bead, or one concept. And their minds would kick into gear. I can't tell you how much I enjoy being able to start that process in someone else and watch it grow!! Honestly, I get a good portion of my ideas from simply watching other people. We all feed off each other and help each other grow...grow so much that I can't wait to do the chaos all over again!! Bead Party anyone?? Anyone?? :)

14 November 2009

Good Heavens

Apparently, I need to shop for Thanksgiving items in September because by the end of October, it's too late


I'll make a note for next year


11 November 2009

To Drive or Not To Drive

Regardless how long the drive-thru line is, it is always faster to stay in the drive-thru line than to get out of your car, walk in, wait in line, order, wait for the order then get back to your car, get situated with out spilling anything then go, hoping you didn't leave the drink on the top of your car while you were digging through your purse or pocket to get the keys!
Just Trust Me on this one... Besides, you know it's true, too.

10 November 2009

Places to Visit This Week

Kmart & Robert's Crafts

Thanks, guys!!

I WILL get a Pilgrim in my house or so Help Me!!!


07 November 2009

The Holiday Retail Forgot

My Harvest/Thanksgiving decorations are seriously lacking. At our old house, for a few years I was leaving the Christmas tree up year-round and decorating it simply for each of the holidays. I no longer have that tree, or any other tree, so with it went most of my decorations.

Now that we've down-sized, I take the kids to the Dollar Store to each pick out something for the particular holiday. Mostly we end up with window clings, which is find with me! They don't take up space in our tiny place and the kids have fun decorating the windows. So, since my Thanksgiving decorations are sparse, I was looking forward to doing it again after Halloween.

Boy was I wrong!! Not only can I not find any Thanksgiving decor, Christmas stuff was out before Halloween was taken down! And not just at the Dollar Store. I've been to several large stores in the area and all I can find of Harvest is kitchen ware (table decor, dishes, etc).

I'm quite frustrated. Anyone know where I can find decent Harvest decor??? I'd hate to have Thanksgiving and the month of November feel left out :)

03 November 2009

To Be Greatful

I was given the idea from a friend's blog and thought, "It never hurts to find more inspiration." List one thing you're greatful for each day. Instead of doing it as a post every day (cuz I need my flexability), I'll do it as a running sidebar!

Please join me in remembering all that we are greatful for!

01 November 2009

Once Upon A Time...

...there was a King and a Queen.

Okay, admit it everyone. Compared to European history, American History is just a baby, an infant, barely weened from it's Mother! Okay, maybe by now a pre-teen, just starting to discover rebellion. I love history, but I love European history even more! I love learning how it all unfolded, how we came to where we are now. Because, really, American history started with European history. I Love how things work out! :)

From the Renaissance, to King Henry VIII (who actually is a distant ancestor of mine), to the printing press and the religious Reformation. Spending some significant time in Switzerland and Austria, I gained a perspective of Martin Luther, one of the main religious Reformers (not to say there weren't others) and his influence of leading people away from the corruption that was with Catholicism at the time and some of their traditions, even on pain of death. It was a great quest among the missionaries in Germany/Switzerland/Austria to obtain a Luther Bible. These Bibles were some of the first bibles translated into any other language than Latin. Basically, because of Luther and men like him, the Bible was available for anyone who could read their native language (beginning in German, later English/Spanish/French/Italian). The first copies were done by Luther himself, writing word for word by hand, later with the ever-wonderful Printing Press! Isn't technology beautiful?

Also, aside from the scandal Anne Boleyn caused, did you know she was also influential in England's Reformation? In more ways than one (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)! I spent a good deal of time reading over the last few months about different European history topics then became enthralled with King Henry VIII and his reign and the reigns of his children, especially Elizabeth I. Fascinating and yet so very sad. Truth be told, included in my self-education was "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "The Tudors" seasons 1 and 2 :) Yes, some creative liberties were taken, but it was still interesting to put faces to the famous (and infamous) characters. I guess it's like my sister's passion with Jane Austin's novels, but these are real people and this stuff really happened (loves to my Sis)! Truly enjoyable was the movie "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" where Cate Blanchett played Elizabeth. Loved it. I guess that movie really spurred my interest for learning more...and more, and more.
And now you know...the start of the rest of the story :)

28 October 2009

House Divided

D grew up in Utah County, playing football in high school, even having some high school team mates play for the Y. He routinely went to BYU football games, cheering and everything. Can you imagine? Naturally, his loyalties were blue.

I grew up watching sports. Our Family Nights centered around the sport of the season. Our Sunday evenings were spent watching football or basketball as a family. Well, since my parents controlled the TV then, we really had no choice, so I succumbed to the intensities that are had in close games, overtimes and Super Bowl commercials, even cheering for the Broncos and John Elway, year after super-bowl loosing year.

I learned to love the sport. Of course I had my favorite teams, or at least my favorite players, but because we were watching football and basketball so often, I would just pick a team for that game and cheer for them (unless it was Chicago Bulls or Dallas Cowboys, I have to draw the line somewhere), usually the underdog. My sister would pick her team based on the teams colors. To each their own.

So, my family's ties were all up in University of Utah growing up. Mind you, I had NO problems cheering for BYU when they were playing anyone else. BYU football had some amazing years while I was younger. I still remember the few times they played Notre Dame. Wow, that was fun! I enjoyed cheering for them because they were from Utah! Even now, they have had some great seasons these last few years, and good for them!

However, my loyalty stands with Utah, even though I married a Utah County boy, even though I am Mormon (who said religion dictates your sports' teams affiliation?). But why can't I cheer for more than one team?

I understand loving a particular team, but why does there have to be so much hate against others, even when they aren't playing against each other that particular day? Now, rivalry game days are different. People have their sides, but the hate should stay out of it.

For the love of all that's football, just enjoy the game!!
Mack, if you're reading this (which you should), I'd love to read your ideas about it all!
Also, why is the Y bigger than the U in that flag???????

21 October 2009

I Hate When A Good Book Ends!

A wonderful friend recommended this book to read. I borrowed her cds and downloaded it to my ipod. Then I let it sit there for almost a whole month before I started listening! A Whole Month! Maybe longer, actually. Anyhow, life got busier for a moment and I wanted to have it be my "train book" once i started commuting again, so I put off starting it.
The book is different, and if the name alone doesn't make you roll your eyes in amusement, reading (or being read t0) letters from her to him and him to someone else, and her to a complete stranger took a minute to get used to...maybe two. And then I was completely absorbed into Juliet's world. It's a fictitious story based on WWII German occupation of the English Channel Island of Guernsey and the post-war rebuilding. As compelling as that sounds, relationships -- of all kinds -- are born and flourish through letters. Imagine, letters! I found myself wanting to know Elizabeth myself and wishing I could express my thoughts as well as Juliet, as well as becoming frustrated with her suitor. Honestly, I just wanted to experience the Island as she had, 50 years ago, when life seemed simple...and I had just received a huge payment from writing a best-selling book so I could spend months and months someplace like that.

One time, while on the train, I was so enthralled in the story and my knitting, I made an audible GASP when I found out about Elizabeth! I then chuckled to myself. No one else seemed to notice, they all having ipods in their ears as well.

Then, last night, I took the girls to the park so I could listen some more. When we were all completely frozen, we went back home, got ready for bed. I hunkered down in my fleece PJ's and down comforter, snuggling and ready for more of the wonderful story that was unfolding when it ENDED! Happy, mind you, but ended just the same! I won't tell you how, in case you want to read it (and you DO), but I was left wanting more! What about the biography? I want to read the biogrophy of the friend she never met. What about Dawsey (what kind of name is Dawsey, anyway)? Does Sylvia ever come to visit? How does she describe the wedding? I want more!!
Loves to Nancy, who needs/deserves an island vacation more than myself

18 October 2009

Never Too Old

I've never really gotten into Halloween. Never really liked to get dressed up; just didn't want to put energy into it. I tried doing masks because the face make-up would make my face itch.

I've had a few fun costumes. The Vampire was always fun, but again, I got tired of the face paint. One year I was The Headless Horseman, using my Dad's trench coat and a pillow on top of my shoulders. It was brilliant until I got to the Halloween party and realized how HOT it was, trying to breath from a button hole, but hey! No make up :)

My most favorite: a black T-shirt (or any color would work, doesn't matter really), jeans, no make-up necessary, small boxes of cereal, plastic knives, red nail polish. Put the knives through the boxes, secure if necessary. Add red nail polish to boxes where knives enter/exit. Pin the boxes to your shirt. That's it!!

Other than waring my work clothes and adding a stethoscope, I've rarely dressed up for Halloween (some people think that doesn't count...). So, when I made arrangements to visit my family in Idaho whilst my cousin and her family were coming from Michigan, they all decided to have a Costume Party. Whatever, I just wanted to visit. If they wanted to add food, so be it.

Mom wanted us (she, myself and my sisters) to go as witches "Wouldn't that be so fun??" Can't I just bring my stethoscope? "No." Okay.

We found some fun hats and capes and false eyelashes, added some make-up and wallah!!
I didn't have my camera, of course, so I'm waiting for my cousin to email me other pictures of us together. It was a riot! Mom even won Best Costume, but I think they gave it to her because she's the oldest :) sshhh But she did look awesome! I was channeling SJP in Hocus Pocus
"Amuc, amuc, amuc..." If only you could have seen the curls bounce :)

12 October 2009

Road Less Traveled

I read this post this morning. I've been struggling with these same feelings of guilt and inadequacy in many aspects of my life for a long time, since I work outside the home three days of the week, totally and completely gone for 15+ hours of the day. I'm not able to do all of those things I would like to do, if I were there.

I know that doesn't sound like a lot of time away, but that only leaves me with 3 days of the week to do what should be done in 6 (I take my Sunday Rest very seriously). Now, not to diminish what D does while I'm at work (meals, dishes, occasional laundry, homework, etc), it's the other half of me that wallows in the "There is more that I need to be doing in life" guilt that creeps in, ever slowly, until I'm weighted down.

After I read the before-mentioned post, she had so eloquently described exactly how I allowed myself to feel sometimes. I'm lucky to get any laundry done at the end of the week, let alone start organizing pictures (thank goodness for Flicker) or scrapbooking. Journaling for the kids is seldom; making things, for myself or someone else? Non-existent. I do undergo the occasional baking session, but those are more seldom than I would prefer. Personal things like prayers and scriptures I need to do better, not to mention piano practicing and the experiences I want for the children. Basically, I'm just keeping myself afloat, and those off-times when I hit a snag, it feels more like a train wreck. The next step is to talk myself out of it and realize, thankfully to this well-expressed post, I now have ammunition against those heavy thoughts.

Rachel's Road Less Traveled
*Take care of my family and their needs, temporally and spiritually.
*Uplifting thoughts come from the Spirit. Focus on those, or at least surround myself with uplifting things.
* I really believe no one in heaven is keeping track of homemade quilts or scrapbooks or sewing projects
*I am not to run faster than I am able. I liked the suggestion of making "the daily list" so as to be concentrating on what's most important.
*As long as my children know that I love them and that I love God, and they see me live the gospel, I am on the right track.

The important things I am constantly striving to keep in the back of my mind:
Let the little things go
No one is Perfect
Everyone is different

"Now, go, and do thou likewise."

09 October 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize, the award given as anticipation of what may come instead of what has been accomplished? Really?

Go to the link below. You won't be disapointed :)

Mack's Down

05 October 2009

Writers Block...Block...Block...

What does your English Teacher tell you to do when you can't think of anything to write? Brainstorm! That or just write down anything that comes to your mind. That's actually a great way to really see/read what is in a person's mind or thoughts. This could be revealing, but I'll keep it clean, I promise :)

I need new work shoes. Rather, I would like new work shoes. Rather, I just want another pair of these shoes so I can have a pair at home, I love them so much! Sometimes I wish I had some gel in-soles. I miss my glasses. There was something comforting in being able to almost hide behind them. Even if I didn't want to ware make-up, at least I still had something decorative on my face to detract from the dark circles. Now, it's just ME, and that's uncomfortable. I could do something about the Crow's Feet and puffy eyes and dark circles......mehh.

I am always fascinated each time I see the brain exposed. I felt that way, too, the one time I saw an open heart surgery. Fascinating! I can eat a whole container of Ben N Jerry's New York Supper Fudge Chuck, in one sitting, if I let myself. I want to be to my ideal weight...eventually. I know, I know. I need to make a goal, and get myself out of bed earlier in the morning, blah, blah, blah. But I've made so many goals and gone up and down on the scale so many times that everything is discouraging any more. I'd like to get back into running shape. Blue is a calming color. Is that why it's all over the operating room? I really can't concentrate when the music is screaming.

My girls love Hannah Montana...and I'm okay with that. They also enjoy ice cream sandwiches. I'm okay with that too. I need to get more excited about drinking hot chocolate, especially since it's getting colder. Ice cream sandwich dipped in hot chocolate??? I think SO :) But, I make my kids eat hot cereal when it's cold outside, and if they want to complain, I let them call Nanie (my mom). I love under-cooked oatmeal with brown sugar. I hate driving in the snow. I miss Switzerland. My co-workers keep me sane (that and the chocolate peanuts from Nutty Guys).

Okay, that was nice to get some of that off my chest! Thanks :)

01 October 2009

Lilly is my favorite flower

...that sometimes gets overlooked. You have grown so much this past year that I'm afraid there is so much more I have missed! Actually, your height is still in the lower end of your age-group, but hey, you finally fit into all the 3T pants of your sister's and cousin's that I've been keeping! You LOVE finding clothes and would change your clothes 10 times a day, if I'd let you. The only thing about all that clothes-changing and why I halt it? The clothes never make it back onto the hanger or into the drawer. But, when you were helping me put laundry away, you figured out the hanger-in-the-shirt all by yourself!

Actually, there are lots of things you started doing and I had no clue you were able. Sometime around January, you counted some orange slices, in numerical order! You only had 6, so I quickly made it an even 10 and sure enough! You counted them all again! You love to color, anything, and are making all sorts of shapes! You also love having your older sister ready stories to you. I love that, too, and can't wait until you can read them to me. I know it won't be long.

You are so loving and always have a hug and kiss for all of us. You love to get dressed up with E, but you also loving playing in the dirt and with the bugs with J. The dirt doesn't bother you (I'm a different story, but that's beside the point). You don't let anything get in your way. Now, you are even difficult to keep up with when you cruise down the sidewalk on your scooter!

My favorite thing you do? When you sing along with songs on the radio or my ipod. Taylor Swift is your favorite and I think it's adorable! You're still so small, but every time I pass you, I just have to pick you up and snuggle you to me. Most the time you let me, but you are becoming more and more independent and sometimes express your own ideas, and sometimes that includes slamming a door.

I love watching you grow, but every milestone you achieve leaves a tiny piece of my heart behind because I know I'm watching these achievements for the last time. You are my baby, the last one to learn to ride a bike, learn to read, learn to tie your shoes, go to school. But I know that with each milestone you reach, there will be many more to come.

And we'll share all of those together too.

29 September 2009

What Happened to September??

Where did the month go?

We started the month with another move to an even smaller apartment (with a bigger storage shed) closer to D's parents. D's still having health problems that are interfering with school so he's going to take a break.

Now, the leaves are changing. We enjoyed a beautiful ride up the canyon Sunday evening, even though the warm weather is still holding on. Well, I should say D and I enjoyed the ride. E's been sick with a cold so I thought she'd enjoy getting out for a bit. Apparently, looking a leaves is "boring" and it all ended up with her getting carsick on the way back down the canyon. To her defense, though, when I was younger, looking at leaves wasn't on the top of my list either, but I don't ever remember actually telling my parents exactly how miserable I was. She doesn't hold anything back.

Now, October is looming and so are the costumes...(sigh)

The party season is starting early. I better catch up and loose the cold!!

26 September 2009

Carrera Marble

These two words evoke a literal daydream, where I go to my happy place: my dream kitchen.

I have yet to see it in a picture, but I envision it in my mind. I came very close to seeing my dream home when we went through a model home at Bear Lake's Parade of Homes over Labor Day weekend. When we drove up to the driveway, my heart started beating faster. I sat in the car for a few moments, afraid to go in, afraid to be disappointed. I finally took a deep breath and left the car, because, truthfully, I was completely curious! I couldn't wait to see what was behind the Craftsman door!

I can't even begin to describe to you what this house was like, every detail, every built-in, every reading nook. Except that, when I walked through the front door, I had to literally hold back tears because there was a sales man there to greet us. I blamed it on itchy contacts :)

There were still a few things (very few) that I might have changed if we were to build it, but if I could have moved that house down to somewhere in Sugar House (anywhere east of 1300 E), I would have signed all the paperwork right then and there.

Alas, here I sit, in our two-bedroom cozy apartment, watching HGTV and dreaming of my dream kitchen/home. This apartment is the key to our future being debt-free and someday, having that carrera marble somewhere in that dream house!

p.s. OMGoodness! This is the house!! I wish you could see the inside!

25 September 2009

Teaching Moment In A Blink

Last Sunday, I was getting ready for church and E came in and announced she wouldn't be going to church today. I wasn't really surprised, just more annoyed because she tells me this every week. I'm getting so tired of this argument/discussion. I don't want it to be an argument and I don't want her to hate being dragged to church. I want her to WANT to go, but my frustration is finding a way to get her to that point.

So, I asked her, "Do you know what the most important reason is that we go to church? Why do we even GO to church?"
"Why?" she replies, inquisitive.
And that was the beginning of a great conversation about the Sacrament and why we take the Sacrament.

Then, "What are the commandments?"

Really? My heart sank. My own child is 7 years old and doesn't know the commandments, I thought to myself.

"Who is Satan?" she continues, after I mention that the Holy Ghost helps protect us from him.

I have a great story, I said. I pulled out the scripture story picture books from the Old Testament. Before I even start the story, she looks at one picture and points to one of the men, "Oh yah, that's him. He just doesn't look nice." Then, I found the story about Moses and the 10 Commandments. I read each one then went to explain it in 7 year old language, but before I could finish the explanation, she would already be explaining it to me. The only one she didn't know was Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. :) Yeah, we aren't suppose to touch or look at other people's private parts. She took it (phew!!)

And that was it; it was over, her interest had waned. But, there was no more arguing, no more dragging feet, no more tears. I realized that her questions weren't because of a lack of teaching, but more of a desire for knowledge, details. She knew the information, just wasn't famliar with the phrasing. Having her ask questions is great, because then I can make sure she has the right information. The point is, to be available for more of those teaching moments that can pass by in a Blink!

24 September 2009

Because I'm the Mom

E asks all kinds of random questions, most of which have no answer so I'll make something up.

What are we supposed to do if the sky falls?
Grab a blanket and watch the show.
You just made that up.
Nope. I love watching the clouds and lightening.
Do you know everything?
Cuz I'm a mom. Once you're a mom, you'll know everthing too.
Why do people have to get sick?
Germs; please wash your hands.
What if it's not germs? What if it's cancer like Daddy's?
Dunno. Sometimes it just happens.
I thought you said you knew everthing.
Not everything has an answer :)

Score one for Mom!

22 September 2009

Yes, Really

Just because John Stewart makes fun of Republicans doesn't mean he's not hilarious doing it!! :) I'm not saying he's not THE ONLY MOST FUNNY comedian ever, I was just glad to see SOMEONE I KNOW actually win an award, even deserving (ie: Justin Timberlake) sigh

Your Loving Sister

21 September 2009

2009 Emmy What???

I relatively do not enjoy watching award shows, except for the Oscars. But, even then, I'll just flip to it occasionally while I'm watching something else more worth my time, like Good Eats or House Hunters or the History Channel for Pete's sake :)

Last night was no different; the 2009 Emmy's were on but we were watching a super great football game!! The Giants totally upset the Cowboys in Dallas (sorry, all my family and friends that live in Texas). Well, not totally upset but Romo's mouth needs some soap, that's for darn sure. The Giants were ahead almost the whole game. Dallas fought back in the last quarter to be up by one, then NY fired down the field in 3 or 4 plays into field goal range and made a field goal -- not once but twice, because RIGHT before the snap Dallas called a time out -- with NO TIME left!! Awwwwe---sooome! Then I watched House Hunters, then went to bed.

So, this morning I'm getting the recap of the Emmy winners this morning. The following is a short synopsis of my thoughts:
Never heard of that show
Never heard of that show
Who's that?
Why does Alec Baldwin always win? Give it a REST already! I don't watch 30 Rock anyway, maybe he is funny, but funnier that Steve Carell? Come ON!
Gray What?
Mad Men?
House of Saddam? Really?
John Stewart, okay, yeah he's hilarious, but there is actually a vote for a variety show?? Does that mean HeeHaw gets to come back?
Little Dorrit?? What the h...?
There was actually a vote for Guest Actors...they are really scraping bottom, but Justin Timberlake can have my vote anytime :)

But what was really confusing, the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony won TWO awards...

Whatever. I hate stroking egos and ratings anyway.

I'll stick with my Good Eats and House Hunters, TYVM (thank you very much)

Go Broncos!! :)

19 September 2009

Utah State Fair (ie: People Watching At Its Finest)

Who goes to the State Fair without a camera?? Apparently I do. Not only did I leave the camera home, I also left most of my Sunny Day common sense with it (sunscreen, hats), but I'll be darned if I didn't pack jackets for everyone and blankets JUST IN CASE someone were to get cold in the EVENING! Did I mention it was 90+ degrees today?? And a very beautiful blue sky; no clouds to cover our fun-filled Fair day.

Naw, we sought lots of shade and water and the kids hardly got any color. Me, on the other hand, has a nice set of raccoon eyes and red lines on my neck that my shirt currently is rubbing...

Anyway, so back to People Watching. If this were a sport, I would soooooo be all over it. This is my most fun thing to do. But I have to do it by myself. If I'm doing this with anyone else, it can turn into a judgement session: Do you NOT have a mirror at home? Seriously? You are actually wearing that...around other people?

See? That's just not nice, even more so that they (thankfully) can't hear my awful judgements. Besides, who am I to judge what someone else deems appropriate? I just turn my head and move on with my day.

But when I'm alone, or have a few minutes alone, I just watch all the people go by and think:
Such a cute prego belly! Gosh, it's crazy that I will never have that again. For crying out loud, there are a lot of pregnant people here!
He's just not that into her. Someone should tell her...
I'm sure glad my kids don't throw tantrums
Hair extensions are fun; I can't wait to do it again
Why is everything at the Fair so expensive? Why do we pay those prices?
How safe are the rides? That thought alone creeps me out
He's not that into her, either! What's wrong with the girls? You're cute; go find someone who cares about YOU and not just some arm candy! Geez, I can see it from here!
Ouch, that's gonna be a worse sunburn than mine. Well, I guess it pays to wear something other than a bra and tank top. Burnt cleavage: not cool
Can I still get some sort of Chastity Belt with blinders? Wow, that could be a whole blog topic by itself!
Oh, good, D's back. I need a Funnel Cake and a Snow Cone!!

18 September 2009

Music Is My Boyfriend

Music is what gets me moving through my day. In high school, my alarm would wake me up with a radio station instead of giving me a heart attack with that stupid beeping sound. My alarm now is my phone and my only alarm option is the heart-attack beep, but the ipod is my "get-me-through-the-day" soundtrack. Plus, I get to listen to music all day at work, which helps. Not always my choice of music, but better than nothing :)

Driving to work today, I was be-bopping along with the tunes on the radio thinking, How would life be different without music?? Seriously. Even classical music gets me moving. How adorable is it when your 3 year old is singing the actual lyrics to a Taylor Swift song?? Even more hilarious? When she's fumbling through "Battlefield, battlefield, battlefield...Better go and get your armour."

Yeah, we listen to a lot of music. If the TV isn't on for background noise, the radio is. I can't stand being at home or in the car and having it all quiet. There are exceptions to these times, but if I'm doing housework or baking or crafting or driving, I need background noise.

My favorite? Books on CD! Awesome way to kill two birds with one stone.
BTW, Sister of Mine, I would like my Twilight CDs back :)
Thanks, your loving Sister

14 September 2009

It Really Happened

The girls were playing in their room (this sentence could lead us in sooo many different directions, however...). I hear a soft thump, a muffled snivel, a muffled thud then the culmination of cries while both hollering, MOM!

I waited, seeing if my presence was really necessary. L, all the same, felt obliged to insist on my company.

I never know who's telling the right story. E insists she's not at fault; L doesn't understand how to not-lie (as evidenced by myself witnessing a hit then she'll turn right around and tell me she didn't do it). So, this particular time, L is holding her arm, saying E hit her; E insists she fell of the chair (which could have been true; she likes to stand on it). I wasn't mad, but I sat down on the floor with them and put L in my lap and rocked her, because she was crying.

As I'm trying to talk with them about what to do next, laughing at the chaos that is their bedroom, E looked at me and said, "You love her more than me."


She was tears-in-her-eyes, completely serious.

It's easy to snuggle with little ones; you can pick them up and hold them. Bigger ones are difficult to physically maneuver (ie: toss in the air, fling over your shoulder, hang upside down, carry in your arms). I can see where she might get that. When I sat down, L was closer and smaller, so I grabbed her. Sometimes you just can't win.

But I learned a lesson (actually, I've been thinking about it but that day it was just thrown in my face with a brick) They are old enough that I need to start spending one-on-one time with each of them, especially since I'm gone so much during the week and weekends are crammed with "family time" (and that is a very loose translation, since I am sometimes called back into work).

Wow. Time for some Big Girl Bonding Time.

09 September 2009

In a Cave with Sunglasses?

Seriously? Yup. We took the family and met my in-laws at a condo in Bear Lake over the holiday weekend. Bless their hearts, they had a ton of fun things planned for us to do. Good thing: I didn't have to spend the weekend entertaining the kiddos. Not-so-good-thing: I just had PRK done on my eyes and couldn't see, much less keep them open very long. But, I wanted to be supportive of their family activities. They love helping the grandkiddos experience interesting things.

So, I'm one day post-PRK and using artificial tears every 2 minutes and wearing large, black, industrial-size sunglasses to keep random things from blowing into my eyes. And we drive up to Minatonka Cave. Yes, that's right. We are going into a dark, damp cave and I have to wear sunglasses :) Picture that. Can you imagine the looks? REALLY? Then, at the very back of the cave, the guide turns out the light so we all can experience TOTAL DARKNESS BUT I CAN STILL FEEL THE DRAFT and I don't want anything to fly into my EYES!

Bonus: LeBeu's Raspberry Shake :)

30 August 2009

Back to Reality

Enjoying summer vacation is interesting, now that I technically no longer have a summer vacation. :) I'm a grown-up with a grown-up job. If I want to have a spring break, I have to use 'vacation time'. Instead of just making up missed assignments when I don't "feel well" I have to use 'sick time' (sick time is relative to me).

Anyway, back to reality, right? Literally hours before leaving for our last summer get-away mid-August, we found out that E's biological father was killed in a car accident the night before; thrown from the vehicle, died at the scene, killed (I'll spare the other details).

Just like that...gone, and he really hasn't been a part of her life the last few years, except for the occasional birthday/Christmas card, but I was literally shocked at the sense of loss I felt in those first few moments. For the first few years of E's life, he was a part of mine. More pain than joy, as I watched him struggle with addictions and frustrations of being torn by those addictions. That chapter of my life really opened my eyes to the devastation addiction has on a person. It doesn't let go, and if you don't let it go, it will never leave. And I couldn't make any of that better or make it go away.

At least that was his plight, because of his choices, bless his stubborn heart.

On the other hand, he was the most caring father and person you would ever meet. He would give anyone the shirt off his back to help anyone else out. He would always carry E everywhere because he loved holding her. He would play with her and her toys on the floor for hours. He almost enjoyed the toys as much as she did. He also let her do whatever she wanted. :) Sometimes Mom would have to reign them both in.

So, back to that morning, I'm thinking to myself, "What do I do?" Do I tell her now, moments before we are to leave on a fun-filled, much-anticipated week? Or do I wait until I know when the funeral is? Or do we go to the funeral at all? I guess those were my options. Of course I would take her to the funeral. She's old enough to know about death and I know she would need the closure. But, I decided to wait to tell her. Probably because I didn't know what to say or even how to act. We haven't seen him in a long time and D adopted her last summer; things were a bit awkward. Plus, he had remarried, had 5 step kids and another child. E has another half-sister. So, I waited.

We found out the funeral wouldn't be until the following Monday, so I figured we'd enjoy our week then I'd talk with her after we get home Sunday. We stopped at the Mall on our way home to pick up some simple outfits because we obviously hadn't packed any clothes fitting for a funeral. She was excited to get a new dress, but I didn't tell her why. I totally chickened out, but I didn't want to talk to her about it then, in the Mall. Sheesh. We went back to my parent's house, and I wanted to go see his Mom and talk with her before the viewing the next day. So, I took E to get some ice cream. Then, while we were eating our ice cream, I just came out and said, "Sweety, Justin was in a car accident a few days ago and he died." She got it right away and started quietly crying. Wanna know the first thing she asked me? "When did this happen?" A few days ago. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" I don't know, I told her. I didn't know what to say or how to say it. I'm sorry. I just held her for a few minutes until she asked, "Is that why I got a new dress?" Sheesh, nothing gets past her.

By the time the funeral was over, I realized I should have told her when the rest of us found out. I should have let her have those moments to grieve. We could have grieved together. She would still have had a fun, great week. She was fine. We talked about heaven and resurrecting and Heavenly Father and she was completely okay with it. By trying to protect her, I only prolonged the pain, even for me. And I'm usually a 'get-it-done-and-over-with' kind of person. But she's moved on and is healthfully playing and bickering with her siblings and life is back to our state of normal. But Southeast ID will always hold all kinds of memories...

26 August 2009

Redfish Lake 2009 Outlet Campground

Get the flash player here:

25 August 2009

First Day of Second Grade

D took E to the school yesterday to find her new classroom and meet her teacher. It's hard enough sending her on the bus, so I wanted her to at least know how to get to her class. She came home excited, but with all the talk of "going back to school," L came up to me on Sunday, solemn and with a frown. She said, "Mama, why does E have to go to school? I will miss her." They've had fun staying up late together, reading books together, watching movies, playing dolls and Lego's, not to mention coloring...everything there is to color. I didn't even imagine there would be a separation anxiety, considering how they can make each other scream with frustration :) I told L we could do our own school; that seemed to appease her for the time. Time to get out the workbooks!!

Get the flash player here:

19 August 2009

Expect the Unexpected

So, D and I discussed (if you want to call it that) using some of our souvenir money to purchase a new camera for our camping trip. I was close to tears thinking about spending a family vacation without any documentation! It was well worth forgoing over-priced T-shirts or silly toys that break within days of purchase.
We went to Redfish Lake up in central Idaho, about 70 miles east of Sun Valley, tucked away in the Sawtooth Mountain range. There really is nothing better to me than camping among the pine trees (with or without flush toilets). We took D's dad's fishing boat that has a small motor on it. Nothing too powerful, but it had enough "umph" to pull the kids on an inner tube. They had a blast! The lake is glacier-fed, but once your skin numbs up, it's quite comfortable to stay in :)

I still need to organize pictures but I'll leave you with my favorite one, a view from our beach where we'd maroon the boat for the evening, looking west toward the Lodge.

08 August 2009


Off to spend a week in the mountains of central Idaho!!

P.S. I saw this morning that my camera is broken, so there may not be any pictures...

I'll just have to write it all down :)

05 August 2009


I couldn't sleep last night. When I came home from work, everyone was already in bed... sleeping. So, I fixed myself something to eat and tried to see what was on TV. What did I watch? Absolutely nothing. TV programing is such a complete waste of time. Maybe I just don't have the right provider... :)

So, I'm laying on the couch; TV is on but I'm texting a friend so I'm not paying attention; too tired to read or concentrate but not tired enough to go to sleep. What do I do? Re-organize my kitchen cabinets. Isn't that what you'd do? That's what I thought.

What's this? An empty laundry basket in the hall? Does that mean... (look quietly into the kids' room) Yup! The laundry is PUT AWAY!

Thanks, D :) and girls

Few! Now I can sleep

01 August 2009

What Have I Been Doing These Last 3 Years??

Good question. Sometimes I ponder that question... a great deal.

I still think I remember my labor with L (she's 3 today, btw). My mom and I were discussing this today. I tried to do it "au-natural" and made it up to the point when the doctor said something like, "We have to get that baby out now!" But, as I remember the labor, I was able to manage the pain pretty well with the coping skills I acquired and prepared for during that pregnancy. My mom was there and apparently remembers it differently, but she doesn't take pain well anyway. However, I must admit, the c-section recovery (though longer) was more preferable than the stretched out vaginal recovery, for me anyway. :)

So, for 3 years I've been growing another daughter and encouraging the older one to be a "helper." The 3 year old, L, enjoys being doted on but is also extremely independent (unless she's tired). She's learning new words and skills every day. I am just amazed at how much they are able to learn in such a short time-span! She loves to run with her older sister and brother and even has mastered the scooter (and can't wait for the bike!). She loves to color and make me all kinds of pictures! She'll eat anything that has rice in, on or around it, unless it's green (but Daryl gets her, somehow, to eat almost anything anyway!). Her favorite food is yogurt and rice. Her favorite color is purple, green or pink. She loves anything with Aurora or Tinkerbell or Barbie and loves to play dress-up. I love watching her "read." She'll sit next to E and they both read their books. It usually ends up with E reading L the story. She loves every page.

It's hard to believe 3 years have gone by so fast. We moved from her first house, too. At least we have a huge playground for them to enjoy. Hopefully, before she's too old, we'll have a house we all can grow old in together! I sure do love my princess!

26 July 2009

The Perfect Mind of a Three-Year-Old

We were playing one day. I was saying the animal and L would mimick the animal sound.

Me: What does a dog say?
L: Woof, woof
Me: What does a cat say?
L: Meow
(You get the idea)

Me: What does a chicken say?

L: Everybody run! The sky is falling!

Seriously...really? I didn't even know she had seen Chicken Little. Wow.

24 July 2009

Days of '47

Here's to re-living our heratage, and getting a paid day off :) Thanks, Pioneers :)
Get the flash player here:

21 July 2009

And We're Moving On...

That was fun. No, I didn't make this pie; I bought it from someone at work who was selling them for a Scout fundraiser. I just let it un-thaw then zapped it in the micro for a few seconds. After I took this picture, I added two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and enjoyed sharing it with my hubby after the girls were in bed.
Why am a showing a picture of a piece of a pie I didn't make...? I was sick of politics and didn't have any chocolate :) This was the best I could do. Plus, it was delicious!! :)
Enjoy the small things, because before you know it, they're gone (like chocolate chips)!

15 July 2009

Politics, Schmolitics II

Now, I'm not one to get on a soap box and make everyone around me listen to my opinion. I respect other's opinions and in turn you respect mine. In some respects, I tend to be a bit more liberal than my parents, but who cares! I'm not bashing anyone with Obama/Liberal propaganda (I voted Constitutional party, and yes I know that's very conservative, but hey, it's my vote, right?).

But, I am about FED UP TO HERE (hand flying to my forehead!) with Government Spending!

Seriously, bailouts, spending, national health care...where is all this $$$$$ coming from??? Oh yah! That's right! Yours and MY freakin' paychecks! It's just burning my britches...oooo

I don't want to throw anything into anyone's face, but if you would just please read this, humor me. Just read it and think about it. I know it's sarcastic, but just think of the consequences.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this, just like my Dad let's me talk to him about civil unions. We hear each other and have a nice discussion and can still hug each other at the end of the day :) (and then he calls me back to see if I was really serious...)

Indulge me on this and I won't bring it up again :) Enjoy!!

Your's Truely, Rachel xoxox

11 July 2009

49 Questions

1. Do you like blue cheese? Moldy cheese? Seriously?
2. Your Favorite Shoes? anything that make my feet look cute
3. Do you own a gun? not yet :)
4. Your favorite song? depends on my mood...right now I could go for a little Handle...
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Only D's Dr appointments
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Not unless you buy them from a street vendor in NYC, but Costco's are pretty darn good!
7. Favorite Christmas song? Oh Holy Night
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Milk
9. Can you do push ups? Yup
10. Are you afraid of flying? Nope, want to learn to fly a plane
11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring
12. Favorite hobby? baking
13. Animals: love them or hate them? Neutral
14. Do you have ADD? Umm....oh look, a squirrel!
15. What do you hate about yourself? Goodness, that's a harsh question! I'd rather not focus on that list right now...
16. What is your middle name? Ellen
17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I'm tired, Lydia is going to the bathroom again? Does D have a clean dress shirt for tomorrow?
18. What's your favorite number? 11
19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Dt Mt Dew, Dt Coke, Water
20. Current worry right now? I'm on-call for work until 11pm... :)
21. Current hate right now? What's with all the hating??
22. Favorite place to be? In the foothills and anywhere watching my children enjoying the wilderness
23. How did you bring in the New Year? I don't remember. I think I slept. I was probably on-call.
24. Where would you like to go? Hawaii, Italy, Philippines
25. Name three people who will complete this? ????? anyone who reads it because I would love to read theirs.
26. Do you own slippers? Yup, 3 pairs
27. What shirt are you wearing? Semi casual
28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Good heavens, No! All that static, we'd shock each other all night!
29. Can you whistle? Barely loud enough to hear a tune.
30. Favorite color? Green
31. Would you be a pirate? Oh yah! I love adventure!
32. What songs do you sing in the shower? What ever song is in my head
33. Favorite girl's name? Besides Eliza and Lydia, next would be Claire or Gwendolyn
34. Favorite boy's name? Luke
35. What's in your pocket right now? a penny E found and asked me to hold
36. Last thing that made you laugh? D joking about a dream he had
37. Best bed sheets as a child? Some with flowers and a matching spread
38. Worst injury you've ever had? I broke my left ring-finger once in high school playing volleyball. That's about it. Oh, wait. I fell out of a tree house! Fell about 30 feet, blacked out on the way down, woke up on the ground, scratched up my leg really bad but didn't break one bone!
39. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2
40. Who is your loudest friend? Brooke, and I miss you :)
41. How many dogs do you have? None; it'll have to wait until we are back in a house
42. Does someone have a crush on you? D :)
43. Favorite Book? Love John Gresham novels
44. Partying hard or Laying low? laying low
45. What is your favorite candy? Peanut M&M’s
46. Favorite Sports team? Denver Broncos
47.What were you doing 12 AM last night? Looking at someones brain while the surgeon was sewing a vein graft to bypass an aneurysm. Freakin' amazing!
48. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Didn't I just do this
49. If you are married, where did you meet your WIFE/HUSBAND? Blind Date

Your turn! I'd love to read yours!! :)

07 July 2009

Yellow Fish and Red Stone

That title was something the kids made up after J confused Yellowstone with Redfish Lake and it came out something like "Yellowfish Lake." Then they spent the next hour showing us all the Red Stones on our drive throughout Yellowstone Park that afternoon. :) Ahh, 7 and 9 year old humor. They also got a kick out of how red/purple their tongues would be after drinking pints and pints of Kool-aid. I don't think I've heard them laugh that much at one time in a long time. We just listened and reveled in the moments.

So, yup. We took our first family camping trip, all by ourselves. No other in-laws or family, just the 5 of us. We packed up and headed off to West Yellowstone, MT for 4 days. And, considering all the rain, only forgetting the chairs was an accomplishment! Everyone had clothes and shoes and toothbrushes and waaaayyyy too much food. We even snacked so much during the day that we weren't hungry enough for lunch, so we just skipped lunch and went back to our camp for dinner. Oops! It's too wet to make a fire. Guess we'll fry some hamburgers. What's that? You want grilled cheese sandwiches? Then, by George! Grilled Cheese it is! I'm adaptable, especially when it's been raining all day.

However, despite the rain, we had significant pauses enough to enjoy many, many of the foot paths and trails to see the beauty and awe that is Yellowstone Park. The kids were such great sports and loved looking for the different kinds of animals. L mistook a buffalo and said "Bear" one time. After I crawled back into my skin and realized what she meant, it became a joke for the kids. Because we all know there are no bears in Yellowstone Park ;) I have really yet to see one, thankfully.

Anyway, I may write more about it later. We took enough pictures for a small book (which is exactly what I'm going to do with them) but I'll leave you with a few of my favorites! Enjoy!
My Munchkins

Old Faithful

L being one of the Big Kids

Tounge Coloring Contest

View from Grand Canyon

29 June 2009

A Moment As A Parent...

...when you think, "That could have gone better..."

Me: Can . We . Fix It?

L: No . We . Can't!

Me: Really?

L:'s not funny, Mama.

Okay... let's move on then...

25 June 2009

Is There A ______ In The House?

I've had a bee under my bonnet for a little while now, and maybe - if I put it out into the www - I'll be able to be rid of it for a time.

I've been contemplating going back to school...

***Keep breathing, Mom. I haven't jumped off any bridges yet. I'm just thinking out loud***

I guess that's what happens when a person is surrounded by academia. D is going to school. Practically everyone I work with is in some form of school. Obviously my whole social network (since we live on campus) is going to some form of school. Goodness, even the kids are going to school!!

So, do I feel left out? Or do I think I'm missing something? For a long time, after I graduated, I was so grateful to be DONE with school and papers and research and long nights at the library and more papers... **sigh**

Actually thinking about taking the GRE gives me anxiety, but I looked into it last night. I also looked at some programs at the U last night. Baby steps...I guess I'm admitting to myself that it's not a question of "If" but rather "When." I'm still incredibly nervous about the idea and have butterflies even now while I'm typing.

Anyone need a Pharmacist??

18 June 2009

Summer Time

It was SUCH a beautiful day, and it's been so long since I've had the kids' picture taken. Unfortunately, paying a photographer is not really in the budget, so I did what any starving student family would do...grab my trusty ol'......... anyway, we took some pics down with the flowers (and other brides) at Temple Square. Just thought I'd share, cuz I think they're so darn CUTE!

12 June 2009

"Teeth Pulled 7cents. With Wiskey 12cents"

Even with the stormy weather, we enjoyed yesterday an eye-opening experience at "This Is the Place" park in SLC, right across the street from the Hogle Zoo. That is, the entrance is across the street. The Park itself is acres and acres of a working pioneer village. Rows of houses and cabins (some replicas and others are actual re-locations!) offering explanations and demonstrations of simply living, everyday. There was even a stand-off at noon in the town square! We saw it from the Hotel balcony as we were eating our picnic lunch!

This day happened to be a "free day" thanks to the Huntsman Foundation and the family we went with said there were never this many visitors at one time. But even with the crowds, it did not feel crowded. Goes to show just how expansive this place is! We started our visit with a motorized train ride around the park and got a small idea of where we'd like to visit (didn't visit half the things we wanted!). The pony ride was a favorite, but for the E and our friend's oldest daughter, I think they just enjoyed running, and running...and running, together. :) Thanks, again, Lori and I can't wait to go again and experience more things!