"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blogger vs. MySpace

I'm not a huge fan of MySpace. It seems too geared towards teenagers. And too geared towards random people sending you friend invites. People you totally don't want to be friends with. I like that Blogger isn't like that. We aren't in a competition to see who has the most friends. We're just reading posts and commenting and enjoying ourselves.

But MySpace does have a few things going for it that I wish Blogger would adopt:

1. You can comment in general on MySpace. There are conversations I want to have that have nothing to do with a post, but they end up taking place under a post heading. And then what to do? Do I answer their random question under the post they posted it, or do I go to their newest post and randomly comment in response? I don't know! I wish there was just an ongoing conversation area like the "Friends Comments" on MySpace.

2. I sort of like the anonymity of blogger. But at the same time, I'd like to be able to hunt down old high school friends, college roommates, people I've lost track of to see if they have a blog. MySpace let's you track down people based on their high school, college, location in the world, etc. I just have to try to think of people I'd like to find that have strange names and do a google blog search. But one of my friends is named Jim Morrison. That's never going to work with him.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cinderella mops the floor





Princess Sparkley is obsessed with cleaning our floors because of Cinderella. She'll scrub while singing "sing sweet nightingale... la la la la la," just like in the movie. It's sort of nice, except she mops without wringing out her rag, like Cinderella, with a sponge or rag dripping tons of water, only we don't have a huge stone floor that soaks it up like Cinderella does. So mostly we get big puddles that then need to be mopped up again. She's in character as Cinderella and has these conversations with herself about how mean we are to make her clean the floor. It's all pretty cute.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Reading List



I have a much longer list of books I'd like to read. This is the list of books I need to read soon, either because I'm leading a book club discussion on them (ie: The Big Over Easy, Their Eyes Were Watching God), they are big releases that I need to read when they come out (ie: Harry Potter and Eclipse), they are books I was already supposed to have read for a book club (ie: These is My Words), or they are books that I have on hold at the library and will be coming available very very soon (ie: First Among Sequels, The Last Summer). Someday I'll make the list of books I own and need to get around to reading. Until then, here's my reading list for the next month or so... hopefully.

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

Harry Potter # 7 by J.K. Rowling

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

First Among Sequels: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

The Last Summer (of you and me) by Ann Brashares

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Embarrassing Moments


Owen Wilson's Nose
http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:LTBfiXXzQalF4M:http://usera.imagecave.com/wigglywiggly4/Sep27/nose.jpg

We've all walked into a window, a sliding glass door or something of the sort before. But have we all done it at a wedding?

I was out of town all week for my husband's little brother's wedding. During the reception set- up/picture taking part of the event I went looking for my daughter. I ended up walking into a window wall, next to a glass door that led from the church hallway, to the little wind vestibule area, to the outer door. I walked into it. Hard. Hard enough that there was a bang, a loud bang. Luckily there was no one else in the hallway (except possibly the photographer's friend, I didn't turn around to check who had seen). And luckily I was already at the exit door, so I just exited the building and walked around outside. I couldn't, still can't, believe that my nose wasn't gushing blood everywhere. It hurt. My top lip hurt. My top teeth hurt. I kept thinking, if my top lip and teeth can hurt, does that mean that my nose was flattened enough on the window that my lip and teeth could have contact with the window?? My nose must be broken. After wiping away the initial tears of extreme pain, I made my way back into the church and to the bathroom.

There was a cut on my nose. A small one, but totally noticeable. Great. I began to wish I was one of those women that carried make-up in her purse. I'm not. I didn't even have my real purse with me. I just prayed no one would notice. I'm not a touchy feely, let's talk about it kind of person. My in-laws are. This was the first time I had seen them since we announced this pregnancy and I'd already had to deal with a billion questions about how I've been feeling and how I was currently feeling, etc. Not something I enjoy talking about. So the last thing I wanted was a whole lot of attention because I'd walked into a window.

I made my way back toward people. I tried to slyly ask my husband to look at my face to see if he noticed. He didn't really. So I had to explain to look at my nose. Then I had to explain walking into a window, but that instantly brought tears and the need to cry uncontrollably. Which I couldn't do, not there. Then my niece who is three and asks constant questions, the ones no one ever wants asked, asked, "Why is your face so red?" So I had to mime to my husband that I was okay, I just couldn't talk or I'd cry and make my way back to the bathroom.

Moments later it was time for the groom's family picture. I held my son, angled my head and hoped that when the pictures came back no one would notice my red rimmed eyes and swollen nose.

It's one of those times when you never get all the emotion out that you need to. I needed a good long cry about the pain and the embarrassment, but this was not the place. So my husband just looked at me concerned the rest of afternoon while I tried to ignore his concern so I wouldn't start crying, again. Hoping no one would notice because then they would ask, and I'd cry in front of them. And it didn't really warrant the crying or the sympathy, it was just one of those times when you need to cry.

It's been a week. I'm nearly fully recovered. I'm way past crying about it. I never got bruised or blackened eyes or cheeks. The tiny scab has fallen off. My upper lip/upper teeth stopped hurting after a day or two. My nose hurt badly for quite a few days. Now it only hurts when I actually squeeze my fingers over that part where sunglasses would rest. Thankfully, no one ever noticed, or at least no one said anything to me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tagged

Jobs I've held:
1. Cat sitter extraordinaire
2.
Probate Referee Assistant
3. High School English teacher

Places to go for a weekend getaway:
1. St. Louis, MO (grandparents readily available to watch kids)
2. a cottage/cabin on a lake with my husband, a good book, and no mosquitoes
3. I live in Kansas... I can't think of anywhere great that's close enough for a weekend

Movies I can watch over and over:
1. About A Boy
2. Ten Things I Hate About You
3. Notting Hill
4. Parent Trap (with Hayley Mills)

Guilty Pleasures:
1. Candy
2. Cookies
3. Sleep
4. Being able to shop (even for groceries) alone

Places I've lived:
1. Santa Barbara, CA
2. Somis, CA
3. Provo, UT
4. Lawrence, Kansas

What were likely the 1st things you thought of when you saw your significant other for the first time?
1. "He has a really big mole on his neck."
2. "My mom doesn't let me read books during Primary."
3. ??

Places I've been on Vacation:
1. England, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, France
2. Japan
3. Southern Utah
4. Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia

Favorite foods:
1. Potatoes (mashed, casserole, french fries, inside out potatoes, potatoe skin wedges, hash browns, potato salad)
2. Breakfast (french toast, pancakes, omelets, etc.)
3. homemade salsla and guacamole
4. thai food (not spicy though, I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy foods)

If in a "jam" with your spouse, what tactics do you use to get out of the doghouse?:
1. stop bugging him
2. make him food/dessert
3. put on something sexy

Websites I visit (ALMOST daily):
1. wikipedia
2. gmail
3. blogs
4. weather.com

Best First Kisses Landmarks:
1. my parent's driveway
2. an empty room at a full party
3. it never happened, but my friends and I picked a ton of great places in London for a kiss

Places I'd rather be right now:
1. California
2. 2015
3. England/Scotland
4. asleep

Who sent this to me:
Rachel

Now I get to pick 4 other blog buddies to do this "survey":
1. Joanna
2. Wendy
3. Cristin
4. Jamie
I'd pick Angela, but she's forgotten her password. hint hint

Naymes

What is with the cutesy spelling of names? It's cute when they are a baby. But my husband is in a college class with an guy named Jaymes. Jaymes. With a freakin' "Y." Who does that to a boy? They grow into men who don't want cutesy names. If I was Jaymes, I would have dropped that Y as soon as I learned to write my name. Or at least after the first time I got beat up on the playground for being a pansie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Homeschooling

I've sort of been on the wall about homeschooling most of my marriage. My mother was an elementary school teacher. My brother-in-law is currently the assistant principal at my old high school. I received my Bachelor's degree in secondary education. Until I married my husband, I'd never considered homeschooling. My kids would go to school like I had. My husband, however, is a firm believer in homeschooling. Not that he was home schooled, but that he thinks it's the best alternative.

We compromised at last (our daughter starts kindergarten in the Fall). Our daughter will be enrolled in a virtual school. I've heard it described as "homeschooling with someone holding your hand." Basically, it's a homeschooling program that is part of our school district. The curriculum is provided. I'm happy, because I have guidelines for what to teach her. My husband is happy because we'll be more involved in her education, know what she's learning, etc.

Yesterday I had an experience that made me realize just how happy I am with this decision we've made. I was helping a girl in front of me get food at a potluck. She's a year older than my daughter and just finished Kindergarten. She informed me that she was a vegetarian, thus, most of the food was off limits to her. I found out from her mom that her kindergarten teacher last year was a vegetarian. This is how impressionable little kids are. By people who I don't know that well, yet they spend all day together. I have nothing against vegetarians. I don't particularly want one in my family that I have to cook for. Vegetarianism is probably not part of the kindergarten curriculum. It's that stuff that comes up during the course of a day that you just don't know what it's going to be. Or really, who the person is teaching your child.

On a lighter note, here's a scene from one of my favorite movies:



Keziah: No thanks, I'm a fruitarian.
Max: I didn't realize that.
William: And, ahm: what exactly is a fruitarian?
Keziah: We believe that fruits and vegetables have feeling so we think cooking is cruel. We only eat things that have actually fallen off a tree or bush - that are, in fact, dead already.
William: Right. Right. Interesting stuff. So, these carrots...
Keziah: Have been murdered, yes.
William: Murdered? Poor carrots. How beastly!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Easy Meatballs

This recipe is for the meatballs my brother-in-law (who catered by wedding reception) made for the occasion. They taste great, and are SO EASY. I've been taking them to our church potlucks figuring my kids won't eat anything with the word salad in it, so there needs to be something for them to eat. Here's the recipe:



Meatballs

your favorite meatball recipe (if you really want to touch raw meat - I have issues)
OR better yet, a bag of frozen meatballs (without sauce)

2 bottles chili sauce (found on the ketchup aisle)

1 medium jar grape jelly

In a large pan, stir together over medium heat the two chili sauces and the jelly until the jelly is dissolved. Add meatballs. Follow the directions on your meatball bag.

Monday, July 16, 2007

If you're in Utah, you can't miss this

My mom just forwarded this article from DeseretNews.com (I know, I'm in Kansas and she's in California but we still read a Utah newspaper... odd).

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah is hosting an art exhibit of Robert Sabuda's pop-up books.

You've all seen his books, they are amazing.




From The Wizard of Oz


The Statue of Liberty and New York skyline

But I'm so sad, because even though we are going to Utah in a few weeks, we'll be sticking to southern Utah at my parent's cabin in the mountains above Cedar City, and not making it as far north as Salt Lake where this exhibit is. So please, go. Take the kids, and tell me how great it is. I will live vicariously through all of you in Utah.

Ice Cream Sandwich Torte

I thought I'd share this fun summer recipe with you. It's easy, yummy, cold, and very kid friendly. You'll just need some space in your freezer.
I made this cake last year for my daughter's art birthday party.


Above is the recipe from the Pampered Chef.
Below is the Pampered Chef official picture.
Here's the link to a similar recipe I just found.


Princess Sparkley's 4th birthday party last year.

I made art apron/smocks for all the kids and we did different art projects. It was actually a really inexpensive party. I had most of the fabric on hand to make the aprons. I just had to buy ribbons for the ties. I set up the first table for coloring and gluing glitter. The second table was stamping. The third was play dough. The fourth was shaving cream finger painting. There was a sidewalk chalk station. And then cake and presents. Each kid got to take home their apron, and a box of 24 crayons I'd bought at Target's back to school sale for 20 cents, along with their "art" they'd created.

*And I just discovered these "Art Cookies" that fit this party perfectly!

Friday, July 13, 2007

100 things about me

001 i bite my nails
002 i had a pet hamster named harold fuzzball when i was little
003 i once had each of my ears pierced three times
004 i met my husband when i was 6
005 i can't swim
006 i want to be a librarian
007 i love black and white pictures
008 when i was little, i had avocado bins as my forts
009 i want to take my husband to england
010 i love sheep. especially white ones with black faces
011 i want to own a pumpkin patch
012 i love making lists
013 i've started hundreds of stories in my head
014 i love spiral notebooks
015 peanut butter m&ms are my favorite
016 i have hazel eyes
017 my husband has picked out names for 7 kids
018 at one point of my childhood we had 4 adult cats and 17 kittens
019 i read a lot and i read fast
020 i planned my own baby shower (because i wanted to)
021 my husband is my best friend
022 i love orange creamsicles
023 i've always hated that i have freckles
024 i'm a night owl. have never been a morning person
025 i check my email dozens of times a day
026 i used to hate that my eyes aren't blue.
027 i hated baby-sitting as a teenager
028 i don't really like apple pie. is that un-American of me?
029 I wish i could quilt
030 i love giving gifts
031 i love wrapping gifts
032 i can't sing
033 i'm missing two teeth. they just never came in. it's hereditary and my daughter is the same way.
034 i hate mustard, can't even kiss my husband after he's eaten some
035 i once “stole” a neighbor's cat, had it fixed, and gave it's kittens to a pet shop (it had adopted our home)
036 i've never had a pedicure. I don't like people touching my feet.
037 i sleep with my feet hanging over the edge of the bed.
038 i dream of having a huge kitchen
039 i was a pampered chef consultant long enough to get a lot of cool stuff
040 my brother and sister are both adopted. I am not.
041 i had a binky until i was almost 5.
042 i really hate the show “dora the explorer”
043 i'm a little bit of a control freak
044 i'm often indecisive
045 i've never liked my name
046 i grew up on an avocado orchard
047 i've wanted to write books since i was a kid
048 i like asparagus
049 i hate mushrooms, sauerkraut, purple onions, peas and almonds
050 i really really like peanut butter and chocolate together
051 i had the chicken pox when i was three
052 i know all the disney princess songs
053 i wish i could arrange flowers
054 i'm a good speller
055 i own a pink sleeping bag
056 i love that i can ask my husband a random question, and he knows the answer
057 i wish i could take gorgeous photographs
058 i love the kids show “charlie and lola”
059 i'm a fan of the boston red sox
060 i've recently acquired a taste for pecans and am obsessed with nestle turtles
061 i watched the entire show Alias on dvd checked out from the library
062 i loved pets as a kid, but not so much anymore.
063 i've been to a live taping of the tv show “friends” (and “home improvement” and “coach”)
064 i hate going to the doctor
065 i wish i was as good of a journal writer as i used to be
066 i get my hair cut very infrequently (like once or twice a year)
067 i've been in charge on three book clubs
068 i like the idea of camping
069 bugs love to bite me (fleas, mosquitoes, spiders)
070 i miss being a student
071 my husband still cracks me up
072 i can't watch when i get blood drawn
073 all of my best girl friends live in different states and are bad emailers (hint hint)
074 i was slightly obsessed with *nsync (and way too old to have been)
075 i should be fluent in spanish
076 i had pet chickens as a kid
077 i wish i was good at sewing
078 i love young adult books
079 i've eaten at mcdonald's in england, spain, france and possibly switzerland
080 i love that my husband still makes me get butterflies
081 i hate that i'm so out of the loop of new music
082 i currently have library cards for 6 towns (camarillo, oxnard, provo, orem, lawrence and topeka)
083 i love hugh grant movies
084 i love victorian houses
085 i wish i could play a musical instrument
086 i love baking desserts for people
087 i love that i live where there are lightening bugs
088 i spend way too much time on the computer
089 i like cookbooks with pictures
090 i pick books to read by their covers
091 i want a library in my house someday
092 i don't mind speaking in front of large crowds
093 i wish i was cooler
094 i've had the same watch for at least 8 years.
095 i almost picked a sapphire wedding ring
096 i love muenster cheese
097 i like to write with mechanical pencils
098 i hate brushing my teeth
099 i'm pregnant
100 i know the names of lots of different tractors and train cars

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ageism

PHOTO FROM: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/journaleditorialreport/images/tony0211.jpg
I can remember being a teenager and hating the looks I'd get as I shopped at certain stores in the mall. The middle-aged women eyeing me like any second I was going to stick fancy coasters in my bag, or try to steal a ceramic statue of a cow. I didn't dress crazy as a teenager. I didn't have multiple holes in my ears, nose, lip or eyebrow. I spoke proper English. I was just browsing, seeing what they had, probably shopping for my mother. I always resented that just because I was a teenager they judged me.

Yet here I am today, having my entire mood dampened because I live in one of three connected townhomes that went from three families, to two empty townhomes and us, to one townhome filled with six 18 year old boys recently graduated from high school, us and the other one was just shown to another group of teenage boys. And I don't want them here. A judgement based purely on their age (and their sex, I guess).

I don't want their loud music. I don't want their late nights. I don't want their smoking and drinking and partying. I don't want their friends coming and going at all hours. I don't want to hear the loud base of their car stereos. I don't want their yelling and joking and loud laughing all night long.

But is it fair to assume that because they are 18-20 year old boys, all of the above will apply to them? Maybe they'll all be engineering nerds who study calculus all day and go to bed at 8. Maybe they'll be banging on our wall when our kids are still talking to each other after 9.

Nah, I don't think so. They moved in beer posters and giant cut outs of beer ads. They all have long hair and dress sloppy or in way too trendy a fashion to be nerds who only listen to classical music set to volume level 2.

I think I'm going to bake them cookies this weekend. So that even if we do bang on the wall every night, they'll at least know that we are sort of nice people and that maybe if they are nice to us, I'll bake for them more. Isn't that how to win teenage boys over?? There I go judging again. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

12 weird things i like to eat

cantaloupe and cottage cheese (it was my grandma lund's favorite)


apples and peanut butter or carrots and peanut butter


doritos inside a ham and cheese sandwich


a block of cream cheese with salsa poured on top and corn chips


breaded and fried eggplant with lemon juice, lawry salt and ketchup (my mom's favorite)


cottage cheese with lawry salt sprinkled on top


ketchup on scrambled eggs


vinegar on broccoli (everyone in my family does it)


cucumbers with lemon juice, salt and pepper


cucumbers with vinegar, salt and pepper (also garden fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper)



squished avocados with lemon, salt and pepper



vanilla milk shakes with orange juice blended in (essentially a yummy orange creamsicle milkshake, but when i order this at restaurants, people look at me like i'm crazy)


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Alf Birthday

I told Cristin I'd hunt down this picture and post it. I finally found it.




When was Alf so popular? According to Wikipedia.org (it's not all scary), Alf aired from 1986 to 1990. I'm thinking I was maybe 10 or 11 for this Alf birthday party. My mom tracked down an Alf cake pan. I wore one of my two Alf shirts. I had an Alf stuffed animal that talked. And I invited all the girls from my class at school. Was Alf ever really that cool? But I was all about Alf. What's funny is that I think I was all about Alf because it was my dad's favorite show. He totally loved it. And maybe that was just the act he put on to entertain me. But I think he genuinely loved the show Alf.

Princess Sparkley saw this cake picture and asked me who Alf was. How to describe Alf? I basically said he was a sort of part monkey, part aardvark looking, really furry alien that ate cats and was stranded (?) on the planet Earth. My husband added that he had a girlfriend named Rhonda. It's hard to believe the show aired for four years isn't it?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

How I Met My Spouse: Jamie's Challenge

Okay, here's to Jamie's challenge. I put it off because I always feel dumb telling this story, at least the beginning. It just sounds better if my husband (who I call Jed---well, I don't call him Jed. On my blog, he is Jed.) tells it. These are the tidbits, here and there of how we've interacted over the past 23 years (I know, it makes us sound old). Some of the exact years are guesses.

1984:

These are our first grade pictures. We "met" the summer before this school year.

Jed's family moved to Camarillo from Ohio/Pennsylvania. We were six years old. According to him, his Primary class sat behind my Primary class since I was a Star B and he was a CTR A, or whatever we were back then. He noticed me, thought I was cute and said to himself he was going to marry that girl.

At some point, while driving around town he'd pick out houses that we would live in when we were married.

His older brother, dad and he wanted to go on a bike ride. My husband, (already obsessed with maps), had looked up my street, C----ton, and suggested they ride to it. His brother thought he meant Croydon, which was just a couple of streets over and thought his little brother was being wimpy.

We were a year apart in school, lived in different cities, were in the same ward, but in different Primary classes. I just sort of knew who he was. He was tall, skinny and blonde. He read a lot, and had a really big mole on the side of his neck.

1985:
My mom was Primary President so I attended my husband's baptism with her. He claims to remember thinking that it would be pretty cool to tell our kids one day that Mommy was at Daddy's baptism.

1986:
He has my old phone number 987-4135 written in his journal. At some point, I'm thinking around 3rd or 4th grade, we got a 386 phone number.

This is the first picture of us together. The legs and tutu on the stage are me, performing at a Halloween ward talent show, or something. The curly, colorful back of a clown head is my husband, watching me. We were probably nine.

1987:
When we were in Virginia visiting my husband's sister over spring break she pulled out a journal entry she had come across. She was a teenager and my husband walked past and told her to write in her journal that he was going to marry [my name]. (She's supposed to be making a copy of this to send to us. I'll have to remind her.)

1990: (age 12)
Jed was convinced for awhile that I had the hots for him as well. (Which would be great for the sake of the story, but sadly was not true). He has a journal entry about how our eyes met across the chapel during Sacrament meeting and I smiled at him, or something of that sort. I don't remember it.

1992:
This picture is me at 8th grade graduation.
During recess at my school, my husband had a kid from church a year younger than us, come tell me that [my husband's full name] had a crush on me. I was sort of like, "oh, okay." According to my husband, he was laying things in motion for us finally being at the same school the following year when we started high school when he would make his move and I would be his girlfriend.

1992:
We are in the same Freshman Orientation class for high school. (Cristin, I wish I could track down all our ID cards like you did. They are in a box... somewhere.)

I was quiet and shy and didn't really know anyone, he took advantage of that and sat by me in seminary the next week figuring I wouldn't ask him to leave. I sort of remember appreciating that. I didn't really know him either, but he was a familiar face, and that's what I needed.

Alphabetically, we were sort of seated next to each other in Mr. Wagner's Freshman Health class. We flirted. He tickled me. He asked me out (like 9th graders going out... then, not now. So basically it involved talking on the phone, passing notes, talking to our friends about each other, and possibly holding hands) a lot. I said no, a lot. He remembers dates better, but eventually I said yes. We went out (everything up to hand holding) for a few weeks. I broke up with him. I felt guilty "going out" with someone when I wasn't supposed to "date" until I was 16. Plus we had become really good friends, and I didn't want that to be ruined. It ended up ruined, for awhile.

Most of our sophomore and junior years of high school we didn't speak. I say it was his choice. He says it was mine. Basically we were both upset about something trivial, he said if I wanted he'd leave me alone, I didn't say anything. We stopped talking.

1995:
It's the end of our junior year. I've missed him as a friend. I'd even told my best friend Jenny that he was the only boy I could see myself marrying. I write him a lame note and leave it under the windshield wiper of his truck.

That summer he is away at a creative writing workshop/conference in Santa Clarita, CA. He writes me letters. When he comes back, his hair is blue . . . like smurf blue (see picture below).

Our friendship is rekindled. Our first kiss was November 13, 1995. We date, pretty seriously for high school seniors, but then he's always been convinced we'd get married.

1996:


Backwards Homecoming and Prom 1996
My senior picture His picture in the yearbook

I turn 18 and leave for BYU the same day. Long Distance relationship ensues.

1997:
He leaves on his mission in February. He isn't set apart as a missionary yet, so we get to kiss goodbye in Provo. I see him off at the MTC with my best friend Angela and my now mother-in-law. I've never cried so much in my entire life as I did as soon as I stepped into my apartment after saying goodbye to him.


Standing in two states or counties at once, or something.

Here's another part of the story I don't like. Basically, I dear johned him. Sort of for another boy (on a mission, out more recently than my husband - he will make sure that gets in there). Sort of because I had feelings for someone else and didn't want to lead my husband on if things were turning in another direction. Sort of because I didn't really know how to have a boyfriend on a mission. Sort of because he wanted to get married a month after he got home and that freaked me out a tiny bit.

1998:
He gets home from his mission in December. I call him. I had still written him sort of frequently for the rest of his mission, wanting to preserve a friendship that meant a lot to me.

1999:
He is up at BYU. We see each other. He takes me out for... a bagel, a smoothie, I can't remember the details. I remember wanting to look hot for this "date," but in a, "but I don't want to date you" kind of way. Why are we all so dumb before we get married? Apparently at the end of this date he says something like, "so I'll see you around." I respond with, "Yeah, if you ever get lost or need help getting around, let me know." He takes this as a blowing off since he's like a walking atlas. I don't remember this conversation. I assume I was trying to be clever and funny, knowing that he is a walking atlas, but not really knowing what to say or how to act around him.

He dates and is engaged to another girl. I hear this through a mutual friend from home I run into on campus. It freaks me out a bit that he's moved on so quickly. But I didn't want to date him, or marry him. I didn't really know what I wanted.

We don't really see each other or talk. The other boy I was writing comes home. Nothing happens. I see Jed on campus and just sort of say hi awkwardly. I'm getting ready to student teach and graduate.

2000:
He emails me a happy birthday note. I haven't talked to him in a long time. He's never emailed me. We start exchanging friendly emails.

I student teach in the Fall of 2000. I'm pretty much in my own student teaching bubble, only really socializing with the people I live with because they are there and it's easier than trying to keep up with other friends. He emails me and we talk on the phone a lot. I call him to take him to a playoff football game my high school students are playing in in Orem. He isn't home. I go alone.

Right before Christmas he asks if we can hang out while we are home in California. I'm sort of vague about things. When in California I always feel extra awkward around him, especially if other people are present. Like everyone is watching us with the knowledge of what we once were, and where we are now. So he tries to talk to me at church and I sort of blow him off. Mostly because I feel like 800 eyes ( I'm paranoid) are watching our every move.

Eventually he talks me into going to a New Year's Eve Party with him at his friend Pat's. We don't kiss at Midnight. He just sort of squeezes my hand. It's sort of weird to be back in a high school friend scenario when we're barely friends again and last time they saw us together we were making out while they all got drunk. We play a game of darts, which I win. He tickles me. We kiss.

I had moved home after finishing my student teaching. He had gotten kicked out of BYU for bad grades (not honor code violations like people always assume when one mentions he was kicked out of BYU). He goes back to Utah, goes to the temple, prays about moving home, and decides it's what he needs to do. He moves home. At this point, the decision to date him for me is essentially the decision to marry him because if I was going to date him, we were going to get married. That's how obvious it was in my mind.

2001:
February 10 - he proposes with a ring on the steps of the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura, CA.


This isn't the exact engagement picture. But you get the point.

April 28 - we're married in the Los Angeles California Temple


2007:
We celebrated our 6 year anniversary.

This picture is from November of 2006.



Brown Thumb

http://gardening.about.com/od/yourgardenphotos/ig/Your-Vegetable-Gardens/Vegetable-Garden-Overview.htm

I wish I could say this was my garden. I wish I had a green thumb. We always had a little garden growing up and I loved eating the tomatoes and cucumbers that we had grown. I was also a cat sitter/garden tender for my neighbors growing up, and their garden put my family's garden to shame. It was remarkable because they were out of town for weeks at a time over the summer. For most of the summer! My only job was picking the vegetables so they didn't go to waste. I didn't even have to water anything, it was all set up on sprinklers. When I was even younger we'd visit my mom's aunt and uncle in Milford, UT and I can remember being amazed at not only their lucious garden, but their real-life cellar (just like in my favorite kid's book "Button Soup") full of stuff from their garden that they had canned. (Why is is called "canning" when you are really putting it in jars? Did they used to do cans?)


I had a plant all through college. Well, two plants. But the demise of Leo, my first plant my mom bought for me when she dropped me off in a dorm room, was not my own fault. I left Leo, after keeping him alive for three plus years, in the care of a roommate while I did study abroad one spring. On my return, Leo had been replaced by a similar looking, yet much smaller version of his former self. Someone finally spilled the beans that Leo had died, and the roommate in charge had replaced him.

I don't think I realized how brown my thumb actually was until I tried my hand at my own garden or even house plant, post Leo.

I always thought we should have a house plant or two after we were married. They all have died and I've given up on that. For a long time, our really large book shelf actually had a pretty blue ceramic pot with one dead curled up leaf and really dry soil on top of it because I couldn't see it up there and knew it was dead, so just let it be.

The last two years we've planted "container gardens" of a sort. I think the problem is that my containers are too small. I need to invest in some of those giant orange buckets from Home Depot.


This 4th of July we visited my husband's brother. He bought a farm (10 acres) about two years ago, built a house, and is slowly acquiring farm like stuff. My kids still aren't convinced he has a farm since there is no red barn, and until the recent addition of sheep and chickens, the only animals were two dogs. He has a green thumb. He's been growing an avocado tree, from an avocado seed, in Kansas for several years now. He showed me the tiny little pomegranate plant that he's growing, also from seed. He offered me a second tiny pomegranate plant, I turned down his offer saying that it would just die at my house. His garden before they moved to the farm, looked very similar to the one pictured at the top of this post. I want his green thumb, not my brown one.

Los Angeles



There are a lot of Californians that attend BYU. Plus one of the first questions you are asked by anyone new you meet in life is "Where are you from?" Unless you are in St. Louis where my father-in-law and brother-in-law claim that the only thing people care about you is what high school you went to. Weird.

So I was asked where I was from a lot at BYU. What I said varied over the years and depended on who was asking and what kind of mood I was in. This was the range of answers I'd give:

California.

Southern California (because you would undoubtedly be asked which part since everyone either knew someone from California, or was from California themselves).

About three hours north of San Diego/Mexico (because as soon as I said Southern California, people would assume San Diego or Orange County).

Ventura County.

About an hour north of L.A.

Los Angeles area.

L.A.

Camarillo.

Somis.

Sometimes I would start with Somis, which is a town that barely makes the map. Every once in awhile I'd just say L.A. because everyone knew where that was and I wouldn't have to explain. Maybe with every place I said people formed an opinion of me and who I was and where I'd grown up that was far from accurate. But I think the "L.A." answer threw people the furthest from the truth. They assumed I'd grown up in the L.A. they saw on the news. That I was a tough girl from a big city. I guess L.A. as my hometown doesn't accurately describe that the county I actually grew up in is highly agriculturally dependent. That my childhood home is on a 2 acre lot filled with avocado trees and other fruits. That in order to get to "town" (ie: Camarillo or Moorpark) I have to drive on a two lane state highway past hundreds of citrus trees, green pepper fields, onion fields, rows and rows of berries, and a handful of fruit stands, just to drive the few miles to "town." I'm kind of liking that I don't run into as many Californians in Kansas, or people who know Californians, because I can say that I'm from California, and that's enough.

4th of July Fireworks


My husband has this brilliant idea a couple months back. We should go to a Kansas City Royals baseball game on the 4th of July to see a great fireworks show. We've done this a few times before. One of our first dates (although I'm not sure it really counts as a date since he actually had another date and asked me to join the group after the fact) was to a California Angels (back before they were the California Angels of Anaheim- or whatever they are now) baseball game on July 5th, 1995. I'm pretty sure I've been to other baseball games on or around the 4th as well.

So I went to MLB.com and bought tickets. We left my brother-in-law's house right after dinner, missing the fireworks show he'd just purchased across the border into Missouri where firework stands and adult stores reign like corn fields do in Kansas, braved a severe thunderstorm warning, and made our way to the ballpark.

It was perfect. The rain had stopped. The temperature at the start of the game was 71 degrees. The sun wasn't beating down on us. We found our seats... they were wet from the torentual downpour we'd been through earlier but the nice people behind us let us use their napkins to dry our seats. We showed up a little late, after the Seattle Mariners had already scored four runs. The only four runs of the entire game. I had to stand in line for 30 minutes to buy two bottles of water (for $4.25 each, 20 oz. of water).

But we were still happy. Our kids genuinely enjoy baseball games. Boy got really into it for awhile, after he's gotten over the nervous excitement of being there. Princess Sparkley got the whole run down of the game of baseball from her dad, asking him every question under the sun.

The game ends, no one leaves their seats. They turn off the stadium lights. The fireworks are about to begin. The announcer starts the intro to the firework show three different times. Each time followed by no fireworks, or a few fireworks followed by a very very long pause. Eventually the announcement is made that the firework equipment is too wet from the rain and the show cannont go on. Boos fill the stadium. But... they will count our tickets as rain check tickets, so for free (plus the bundle we had to pay to park and get food) we get to come back for another game. Maybe the Royals will actually win. They better have some firworks.

We left our seats, used the bathrooms and exited the parking lot. Outside is a fireworks display in the parking lot. It seems as though everyone who had fireworks in their cars was setting them off. It was pretty cool. Thanks to all those people who made sure we saw some fireworks on the 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Good Burrito

I'm craving a good burrito right now. I guess since it's been six months since my last trip home to California and my many many lunch excursions down to Somis Market for some of their tastey food. It's funny how my visits home revolve around what restaurants I need to eat at. Somis Market and In N Out Burger were always at the top of that list with Surf City Smoothie following close behind.

At Thanksgiving time my husband's sister's family came to visit. Her husband is from the Washington D.C. area originally and has since lived in Utah, Texas and Kansas before moving back to Virginia. While he was here he wanted to take us to dinner and really wanted Mexican food. We all thought it was pretty hilarious that he had to resort to Kansas for good Mexican food since he apparently wasn't satisfied with what he was finding in Virginia. And since my in laws moved to St. Louis from California, there are no California vacations planned for his future. So Kansas Mexican food it was.

But now, here I am craving a good burrito and the only thing that really sounds good is a Combo from Somis Market. I once flew a Bean and Cheese Burrito from LAX to SLC to a friend at BYU. Where's a friend like that when I need it? Mmmm... my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Monday, July 02, 2007

4, no 5 posts in a day

Wow, this is my 5th post of today. So if my theory is correct (which I'm sure it is not) you should all be commenting like crazy and my profiles viewed number should shoot up drastically. You should all start reading my blog daily and I will become uber popular in the blogging world.

Start commenting!

Fourth of July recipes

I have A LOT of recipes I could share with you for 4th of July.

Slow Cooker BBQ beef sandwiches, Tangy BBQ Beans, Coleslaw,Pasta Salad, etc. Someday I'll get them all up here.

I'll email them to you if you really want them. But since dessert is my obsession, I'm going to share with you my two favorite 4th of July dessert recipes. Both of which I will make this week, but neither on the 4th of July. On the 4th we'll be visiting our newest nephew on our way (sort of) to a Kansas City Royals baseball game (so we can see the fireworks after the Royals lose.)

My classic family 4th of July included my mom's Peach Cobbler. I think it was originally my Grandma E's recipe. We'd sit out on our balcony and watch the fireworks set off at the high school (which I heard they are doing again this year instead of the airport) while eating peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream.



Peach Cobbler (or which ever berry or fruit you want it to be)

Ingredients:

6 cups peaches

1 cup sugar

4 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

4 tbsp. butter

2 cups flour

4 tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2/3 cup salad oil

6 tbsp. milk

2 eggs


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange in 13 x 9 ½ x 2 pan: 6 cups of cut up, peeled fruit (peaches, raspberries, plums, etc.). Sprinkle with a mixture of 1 cup sugar, 4 tbsp. flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon. Dot with 4 tbsp. butter.

Sift together in a bowl: 2 cups flour, 4 tbsp. sugar, 1 ½ tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp salt. Add: 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 6 tbsp. milk, 2 eggs. Stir with a fork until thoroughly blended. Drop in spoonfuls over the fruit. Lightly spread with a spatula to cover surface of fruit. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350.

Serves 12.


The other recipe is for an all American apple pie. I'm not really a huge apple pie fan. No offense to my sister-in-law who worked at Frontier Pies while she was at BYU and makes apple pies for all holidays. Apple pie just isn't my dessert of choice. But this apple pie is delicious and super easy.

Speedy Streusel Apple Pie

a Pampered Chef recipe

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (15 oz.) refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts), divided

1 egg white, lightly beaten

¼ cup pecan halves, chopped

¾ cup plus 2 TBSP sugar, divided

1 ¼ tsp cinnamon, divided

5-6 medium red baking apples (Jonathan, Rome or Braeburn), about 6 cups sliced

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

3 TBSP cornstarch

Powdered Sugar


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Let pie crusts stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Gently unfold one pie crust onto lightly floured surface. Roll to an 11 ½ inch circle. Place in pie plate (not metal) pressing dough into bottom and up sides. Brush with egg white over bottom and halfway up sides of crust.

For streusel, dice remaining pie crust (it’s not necessary to unfold it). Place in bowl. Add chopped pecans, 2 TBSP sugar and ¼ tsp of cinnamon; toss and set aside.

Core and slice apples leaving peels on (or off). Cut apples into quarters. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, and vanilla; toss to coat. In small bowl combine cornstarch, remaining ¾ cup sugar and remaining tsp. cinnamon; mix well. Add sugar mixture to apples stirring to coat evenly. Spoon apple mixture into crust; sprinkle evenly with reserved streusel.

Microwave on HIGH 8 minutes or until apples are very hot, rotating dish after 4 minutes. Remove pie from microwave; immediately place on bottom rack of conventional oven. Bake 18-22 minutes or until topping is deep golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand at least 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar; if desired. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 8 servings.

View my recipe notes here.


Enjoy!

Names

I had a new nephew born yesterday... boy number five of six in that family. And all Bible names. Michael, Benjamin, Elijah, Ruth, Joshua and Daniel.

I'm okay with Bible names. I'm not going to go out of my way to find a Bible name I love for each of my kids' first names, but it's highly likely that either their first or middle name will be scriptural in importance. So far, that's been our trend. Our daughter's first name is from the Bible. (Although that's now what she goes by.) And our son's middle name is from the Bible. I guess we just want our kids to have some aspect of their name that has meaning, that we didn't just chose it because it was a cute name.

I guess we want out kids' names to be different then everyone else's, while at the same time not being so different that no one has heard the name before because we've made it up. There are people out there who are naming their babies the most common names or the most made up names in the world. I guess we're all just doing what we want to and can. If I'd had a kid when I was ten he would have been named "Aristotle" and I would have called him Todd. My husband will never let me live that down since I told him.

Not that I'm doing any better with the whole naming thing. I just has swim lessons with my son, only to find out that another little boy in swim class had his same name. And that little boy's older sister... has my daughter's name. Ugh. Maybe we'll have to jump far away from the trend and name our next kid Zipporah or Mable or something.

The Boys

The boys made dinner last night. On those lazy days when I can't think of what to cook, I often ask my kids (ages 4 1/2 and 3) if they want to make dinner/lunch. Usually they tell me they don't know how to cook and I try to convince them that they could totally pull of quesadillas or noodles (with a little help) and definitely peanut butter sandwiches. Yesterday I asked who wanted to make dinner and my son (3 years) said yes. He actually does really enjoy helping me cook. Then, curious as to what he would say, I asked him what he was going to make. He immediately answered "eggs." Which I should have guessed. There were a few weeks when every time I started dinner he'd come dragging a chair behind him to the counter requesting to be the one to crack the eggs (even if dinner didn't involve eggs). The funny part is, he doesn't like eggs. To eat. To crack, he loves them.

So last night Daddy took the reigns on dinner and with our little chef, they made us a Crustless Quiche. Apparently the highlight was while tearing up the ham to put in a bowl my husband's ham always landed on my son's hand so my son insisted that they needed to take turns so only one hand was over the bowl at a time. And when dinner was ready. He ate eggs. Woo hoo.

Thanks to the boys for a yummy dinner, and me not having to do anything.

My failure as a blogger

I'm pretty sure my blog would get a lot more hits if I actually posted something every day. And I get really committed to do that, have all sorts of ideas, and sort of pull it off for a few days. But then I run out of anything to post for days, weeks, and months. So people stop checking. I've been trying to come up with something to post for two weeks now, and nothing has come to mind. Or if it has, it was the wee hours of the night as I was falling asleep when everything seems like a really great idea, but in the morning either I realize how lame the idea really was, or I've totally forgotten it. I need some sort of daily writing prompt for what to blog about. Maybe then (cross your fingers) I'd actually have something to write about.
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