Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I dreamed about bugs last night. Not an icky, crawling-all-over-me type of bug dream but a scientific cataloging of bugs dream. Mostly it was just the evening replaying over and over again in my sleep. Rebekah's bug collection for her science class was due today. She's been hunting bugs for the past month. All of us have helped her...I've caught 3 myself. Funny thing, catching them wasn't as bad as classifying and pinning them. We caught the bugs in nets and containers and then Rebekah stored them in plastic bags and put them in the freezer. Seeing those bugs all frozen and dead every time I went out to pull out a pound of hamburger or some ice cream...well, that was kind of gross. But when we went to pin them and classify them we were nose to nose with the darn things and even though they were dead Rebekah and I both caught a serious case of the heebie jeebies more than once as the evening went on! But you know what? There was something kind of fascinating and beautiful about those bugs. And I know, you all are saying, "What?? Are you crazy?" But really, if you can dismiss the icky bug feeling and just focus on all the details, they are kind of amazing. We had a field guide with tons of pictures and descriptions and we had to figure out which bug we had. A grasshopper is not just a grasshopper. We had 3 of them and they were all different...which you probably wouldn't realize at first until you get down nose to nose with them and notice all those teeny tiny details that make them unique. These tiny little insects that are so fragile and that we squish without hardly a second thought are so detailed and intricate with all sorts of interesting colors and patterns if you really take the time to notice. That being said, I'm not sure this project will change my mind any about stomping an earwig or grasshopper if I find it in my kitchen!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

An Afternoon in the Canyon

A few pictures from our trip up the canyon yesterday afternoon. The trip doubled as a colorful-leaf-sight-seeing trip and a collect-bugs-for-Rebekah's-science-project trip. Rebekah caught 5 bugs. Julianne collected a bag full of pretty leaves. Brandon spent his time exploring and giving me near heart attacks as I wondered which misstep would send him rolling head over heels down the hill and into the rock filled stream. And although we had to keep a hand on Lilian at ALL times so she wouldn't trip over a rock or wander in the stream and she was seriously wiggly and didn't want to be man-handled, I think a good time was had by all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: Jump on Daddy Time

December 2004. "Jump on Daddy Time." This happens a lot at our house. Bryan wrestles, wiggles, tickles and plays with the kids on the floor numerous times a week. Massive amounts of shouts and giggles accompany "Jump on Daddy Time" so I can always tell, no matter where I am in the house, what's happening. I enjoy watching because it's so evident how much Bryan loves his children when he is playing with them like this....and how much that love is returned.

Tag....You're It!

I've been tagged! Never been tagged before.... kind of fun.
5 fears, 5 joys, 5 obsessions/collections, 5 surprising facts about you. Tag 5 people.

5 Fears:
* losing Bryan or the kids
* snakes (yuck, yuck, yuck)
* tight/enclosed spaces (claustrophobia)
* morning glory taking over my yard
* driving in snow storms

5 Joys:
* my family
* music
* reading
* vacations/traveling
* the gospel

5 obsessions/collections:
* shoes
* books
* blogging
* a clean house
* holiday decorations

5 Surprising Facts:
* I've never been skiing even though I've lived in Utah most of my life.
* I'm a Texan by birth...and proud of it.
* At age 35 I'm just barely learning how to drive a stick shift.
* I love winter.
* I root for BYU even though I graduated from the U of U.

I tag:
Melissa, Mary, Lori, Sharon and Elizabeth (I'd tag Katie except I think she's rather busy with a new baby!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Nephew!

Another new nephew! My sister Katie had Jackson David yesterday afternoon. Another nephew to cuddle and love. And another cousin for Lilian to hang out with when they get a little older. Katie was on my mind all day yesterday. I was so anxious to know how things were going for her. When she called with the official news and baby stats I surprised myself by getting all teary. I have the best sisters in the entire world! How awesome to know that I have four best friends no matter what...no matter how crazy life gets, where we all move to, or what life changes happen with our own little families. We will always have each other. Oh, how I LOVE my sweet sisters.

P.S. Happy Birthday Melissa!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Lilian learned a new word. "Hooray!" She learned it from a Baby Einstein movie in the song "If You're Happy and You Know It." She runs around the house now yelling "Hooray!" all the time. Check it out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monet to Picasso

Rebekah and I went to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts up at the University of Utah yesterday to see the Monet to Picasso exhibit. We had bought our tickets on-line a few days earlier...tickets that give you not only a specific day to come but a specific block of time so that they don't end up hugely crowded at any given moment. All the same, being that it was the last weekend for this 3 month visiting exhibit, we still stood in line for an hour before finding ourselves face to face with any paintings. It was kind of surreal, actually. We were looking at all these paintings, listening to the history of the artist and the work on our headphones and all the sudden it would jump out at me, "Holy Crap! I'm standing in front of an actual VanGogh!" or "That's Picasso's signature right there!" or "This Monet, that I could literally reach out and touch, (if I don't care about being hauled off by security guards) is probably worth millions of dollars!" It was awesome. Rebekah favorite was VanGogh's "Poplars at Saint-Remy." This painting was on the front of their posters advertising the showing. Rebekah said that she hadn't been all that impressed until she saw the actual work on the wall. And I second that opinion. This little copy that I've posted here really doesn't do it justice. My favorite was Monet's "The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Camille Monet." Not sure why this one stuck with me as much as it did. I loved how the red popped out of an otherwise neutral colored canvas. But that was the whole point. I would recommend that you all go see this awesome exhibit but sadly, it closes today.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: Trick-or-Treating

Halloween 2005. My kids are trick-or-treating with Deidra, Tiffany and Kendra....a tradition we upheld for many, many years. This picture is one of my favorites because of Brandon. He was excited and hyper. Sugar rush, maybe? Or maybe just adrenaline from the anticipation finally giving way to the actual Halloween holiday? Maybe it was just Brandon being Brandon. I was having a hard time getting him to stay still long enough to get a picture. He was about to jump out of frame here but I caught him mid-jump. And the look of glee on his face.... it cracks me up every time I see this picture.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Email Conversation With My Dad

DAD: "We lonely ones got together this evening for a wild night out. Jeremy is out of town so Katie was alone with the kids. Scott was off on an elder's quorum assignment so Melissa was on her own. Melissa called and asked me out on a date to Wendy's. I told her I already had a dinner date with Katie and her crew. So Melissa, Katie, and the kids all went with me to McDonalds (the kids' choice) for a delicious repaste of Mcdelights and good McDonalds ice cream for dessert. Yum."

ME: "Bryan was off on an elders quorum assignment tonight also. He was paid for his service in the form of a BBQ hamburger and chips. I had made a zucchini casserole which I thought was so yummy that I had seconds...even though none of the kids appreciated it. No McDonalds for us. Personally....it's kind of yuck for me."

DAD: "McDonalds is yuck? Whose planet do you live on? Have you ever tasted a dollar menu double cheeseburger? Nothing better than that. How about an egg mcmuffin. That's gourmet dining. I love McDonalds. Oh, and need I even mention McDonalds totally superior soft ice cream?
(Full Disclosure: I do prefer a Burger King Whopper to a McDonald's Big Mac, however) "

ME: "Yep, McDonalds really is yuck....to me, that is. I think Bryan is rubbing off on me. Wendy's and Arby's don't even sound good to me anymore. I guess I'm turning into a food snob or something. Can't handle any kind of fast food. And I'm sorry to say that McDonalds seems to be the symbol of all fast food. It's the one I yucked out on first, anyhow. And yes, if I have to eat fast food, I prefer Burger King hamburgers to McDonalds. And I thought it was Arctic Circle that had the best icecream??"

DAD: "No, Arctic Circle's ice cream is not as good as McDonalds. Yes, you are a food snob. Yes, McDonalds is the symbol for all fast food. But I like fast food. Give me a Subway turkey foot-long with lettuce, pickles, and olives. Yum. Also, a Del Taco 1/2 lb bean and cheese burrito. Love 'em.
Also, I love you even if you are a food snob."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The NEED for a cell phone

Rebekah wants a cell phone in the worst way. She claims that it is torturing her to not have one. That all the Young Women in the ward have one except for her. I've told her that I'm not ready to buy one for her. She says she'll pay for it. I've told her that it's not a money issue. She wants to know if there is a specific age that she needs to reach before I'll buy one. I've told her that it's not an age issue, it's a need issue. She claims she NEEDS one. I've told her that I don't see that need...that what I see is a phone being a status symbol, a cool gadget, a way to be like her friends. She wants an example of what I would consider a big enough need for her to have a cell phone. I told her that if, for example, she was on student council at school and had to stay after school a lot and had many extra responsibilities that made a phone helpful for staying in touch with me. Today she came home with an application for 7th grade student council. Me: "Why do want to run for student council, Rebekah? WAIT! Is this about a cell phone???" Rebekah just smiled.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Visiting Teaching

Okay, so real quick.... I had to run to Costco this morning. Lilian and I were in the car by 10:15 which was good because I knew I had visiting teaching at 1:00. I was 1/3 the way there when I realized that I had forgotten to bring a disc with the pictures I wanted to get printed. Auugghh! Although I had planned to do a bunch of grocery shopping, the pictures were the main reason I was going to Costco. It made no sense to go without them. I turned around and headed back home. Got inside and frantically tried to find a blank disc to put the pictures on. Can't find one. Kari had called me at this point, a patient listener to all my frustrated ramblings. She suggested a USB drive. Duh. Of course! I had one of those! But, I didn't really know how to get the pictures on it. She kindly walked me through it, we said goodbye and Lilian and I ran back out the door at 11:00. We got the pictures printing (of course it would be a busy day for the photo lab!) and we continued on with our shopping as we killed time for an hour. I got everything loaded and realized I only had about 25 min. to make it home, unload all the groceries and make it to my visiting teaching appointments. Yikes! And I was supposed to give the message! So I called Melissa, who was sitting at her computer at work, and asked her if she would look up the message for me on the web. She said sure and said, "I think it's on divinity." Huh? I was having a hard time hearing her as I raced 80 mph down the freeway. "Did you say the message is on VIRGINITY????" That seemed a bit odd to me that the Relief Society Visiting Teaching message would be on virginity! Melissa laughed so hard she about wet her pants...being pregnant will do that to you. "No!" she said, "It's on DIVINITY!" Ah. That made much more sense. Actually, the lesson wasn't on either of those things...it was on Eternal Progression or something. But I told the story to both of the ladies I visited today. They each got a hardy laugh out of it and you know what? I really don't think they're going to remember that the message was about eternal progression. I think they're going to remember that the lesson was NOT about virginity.

Favorite Things

My baby. My Miss Mae. My little Lilian. I can't believe she is 15 months old already. Here are some of her favorite things that help get us through our day:

The favorite blanket. Soft on one side and silky on the other. When she's upset and we go find her blanket, she starts gasp, gasp, gasping for it, she's so excited. And then when she gets it in her hot little hands she puts it up next to her face and goes, "Ahhh."

Thank Heavens for the Baby Einstein movies!! And thank Heavens for Katie who introduced me to them. Lilian loves them and it's a life saver for me.

Like her siblings before her, her favorite book is "Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb." She's even got the actions down. I think I could recite this book from memory.

Shoes. Oh my. She's already into shoes. She would happily wear shoes all day...running around at home, taking naps, whatever. I'll hear her say "Momma!" and turn around to find one in her hand and her foot in the air. Sometimes she'll pull all of them out of her closet and we'll sit for awhile putting them each on one after another, after another.

This is Lilian's new stroller. She loves it. We go for walks in it almost daily and she won't even wiggle to get out! I think she likes the fact that her feet dangle and she can kick them around.

Lilian has been hugely into puzzles lately. We do them every day. Every single day...

Ah, the bottle. It took me ages to get her to be receptive to taking one. Now it's one of her favorite things and I'm starting to worry about how we're going to get her to give it up!

Yep, I'm definitely one of Lilian's favorite things. Sigh. I'm glad. It warms my heart. Nothing better than to hear her calling out "Momma!" from her crib in the morning and walking in to a HUGE smile. But sometimes, when she's attached to my hip and won't let me put her down without a lot of screaming and arms wrapped around my legs...then I wish her sisters were a bit higher on the list, you know?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: Chef Bryan

Bryan is the gourmet chef at our house. With all the traveling he does for work he has eaten many different foods and discovered lots of favorites. I guess it makes sense that he then would want to recreate those yummy tastes at home. Some of the most mouth-watering foods I've ever tasted have come from our own kitchen. This is a man who proudly wears an apron while cooking...even my floral, girly one if that's all that's available. One week he came home from a trip back east with a chefs hat that he picked up at the CIA...no, not the Central Intelligence Agency, the Culinary Institute of America. :) This picture is Bryan in 2004 whipping up some fancy soups because our friends Mindy and Mike were coming to dinner. This is just one more reason why I am completely and utterly spoiled being married to this amazing man!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7th Grade Dances and Protective Fathers

Rebekah went to her first dance yesterday at the Jr. High. She told me that five boys asked her to dance. Three of them, Ethan, Gordon and Zach were boys she knew from our neighborhood. Especially Ethan (wink, wink). Another boy was a "short" kid from her elementary school. And the last boy was someone she hadn't ever met. "He was all sweaty! It was so gross! And then! He tried to twirl me, Mom! And I'm thinking, 'Let's not do THAT again!' " So then we started talking about how she danced with these boys. You know, formal style or bear hug style. She said that when Ethan asked her to dance she told him she really didn't know what she was doing. And he said, "Neither do I, really. I think we just hold onto each other and wobble." :)

Bryan was working late last night so I told him about the dance when he called to check in later that evening.
B: Wait a minute! She's too young to go to a dance...she's only 13!"
S: Bryan, she's 12.
B: See! She's only 12! Way too young. I didn't start going to dances till I was...well, way older.
S: She's in 7th grade. I remember going to dances in 7th grade. Heck, we had a 6th grade dance at my elementary school.
B: Were those boys touching her? Oh, wait! She said that one of the boys was sweaty gross? Oh man! That means he was touching her.
S: Well Bryan, they were dancing!
B: I like the idea of them dancing NEAR her, not WITH her. Sigh. I'm going to have to buy more guns.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This is what happens when you plan out your backyard, set up a place for a flower bed, hire someone to put concrete curbing all around and then... not actually plant anything. People said, "Oh it's too hot to be planting trees and bushes, they'll just die. Wait till Fall." Apparently it's not too hot for sunflowers. At least they're colorful. Oh, but did I mention the bees?

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Pets

For the first time ever in our 15 years of being a family, we have pets. (Well, if you don't count the goldfish.) Our kids, like any other normal, red-blooded kids, have been begging for pets almost since they were born. And we always said no. (Other than those aforementioned, ill-fated goldfish.) But see, Bryan is allergic to anything with fur. And I put my foot down on anything reptile or amphibian. That leaves birds and fish. I could do a bird. I had a bird growing up. But Bryan can't stand the annoying, loud chirping. Personally, I think that chirping is kind of cheerful but yes, they are loud. And fish? Well, did I mention our luck with fish? So our kids were destined to be pet-less. But then Bryan's sister and bro-in-law, Carolyn and Treg, bought their kids two dwarf hamsters. Those two hamsters got together and had babies even though they had been assured that the two were both male. Ooops. This led to Julianne asking if maybe we could take one. "Yeah, right! You just go right ahead and ask your Dad!" was my response. So she did. And he gave her an official "maybe." Whoah! That was pretty huge. So Julianne got on the computer and researched anything and everything to do with dwarf hamsters from how to take care of them, how to tell if they are sick, down to how much cages and food cost. Bryan was quite impressed with her research and the next thing I knew I was going out to buy the cage the two of them had found on-line together. I asked about Bryan's allergies but Julianne even had an answer for that. Apparently dwarf hamsters are not as bad for allergies as normal hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. would be. In fact, Carolyn, whose family has more allergies than anyone I know, took all her kids to the pet store and basically rubbed their little faces in dwarf hamster fur to see right off the bat if anyone would react. No one did. I guess that convinced Bryan that he would probably be okay as well. Arrangements were made for Carolyn and Treg to bring the baby hamsters to Wyoming. (See post below.) We'd bring our cage prepared with bedding, food and water and we'd do the swap. We ended up with three...one each for Julianne, Rebekah and Brandon. Bryan figured that if you're going to have one, what difference does it make to add a few more? So, please welcome Cheddar, Hammie and Custard. All boys, we've been told. If not, give it a few months and I may be offering dwarf hamster babies to anyone who wants to take them.

Wyoming Weekend

We drove to Wyoming this past weekend to go to my nephew Andrew's baptism. Good company and good food. But mostly, the awesomeness of being there for Andrew's big day. I always get emotional watching a baptism. But Wyoming itself? Hmm. Never been there before. Kind of a dry, dusty state. Kind of a blah drive. But then we came up over this hill and stretched out before us were just oodles and oodles of these HUGE windmills. They were fascinating! Yes, I know. Apparently I am fascinated easily...fences in western NY and now windmills in WY. But it totally made me excited for the drive back home, looking forward to those windmills again.

Family News

I have a new nephew! Little Kaden Gregory was born this past Tuesday the 2nd of September to my sister Mary and her husband Ryan. And I'm feeling sad that I don't get to hold him or snuggle him or smell his baby newness or even lay eyes on him, other than in pictures, because they live in another state. I'm missing my sweet Mary alot this week. She used to live quite close to me. We hung out at least 2-3 times a week and when she moved away a few years ago I cried and cried. Honestly, I don't think you'll find anyone more generous, good, honest, kind, or optimistic than Mary.

In other family news, today is my parents 36th wedding anniversary. I'm not sure words can even express how much I love my parents. I hope, I hope, I hope that Bryan and I can be as good of parents to our children as they have been and continue to be to me. Through them comes my love of music, education and of the gospel. Because of them I have fond memories of family walks, summer vacations to California, popcorn on the stove, sleeping under the Christmas tree, the Blue Plate Special, and singing "Happy Birthday" in 5 part harmony. They are good and they are kind and I had the best growing up years any kid could ask for. And they are still in love after 36 years of marriage. What a wonderful example for all their children to follow.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: "Rachel!!"

I've heard that some bloggers do "Flashback Fridays." I liked the idea...posting an older picture from years back....a good excuse to re-live and share a bunch of memories. But I think one of the rules of this "game" is that the picture has to be pre-1985. Well, I was 12 in 1985. So, for one thing, I don't have oodles of pictures to choose from. For another thing, that totally eliminates any pictures of my kids. So I'm doing my own version of "Flashback Fridays" and just calling it "Favorite Photo Friday." If you noticed, I was kind of doing that on the side of my blog anyhow. So here's my first Favorite Photo:

This picture is from October 2006. Bryan and I had taken the kids on a vacation to visit Niagara Falls and Palmyra, New York. My sister Rachel was on a mission in Palmyra and was acting as tour guide at the Joseph Smith Farm there. We had made plans through email to meet her there and have her be our own personal tour guide. She had been out on her mission for over a year already so we hadn't seen her in quite awhile. Rachel had been waiting, waiting all day for us to arrive. (We'd been delayed by a massive blizzard that had hit Buffalo and our drive to Palmyra took us twice as long as normal). So when we arrived, the kids were only a few steps up the walkway when Rachel came tearing out of the building with her arms open wide and the kids all yelling "Rachel, Rachel!!" She dropped to her knees and wrapped them all in a HUGE hug. I was crying, she was crying. So this picture is one of my favorites because it reminds me of how great that was seeing my baby sister after being apart for so long and of how much I love her.

Now, really this picture shouldn't be here. It's Favorite Photo...not Photos. But this is also of the Joseph Smith Farm with the Sacred Grove in the distance. And look at those fences! Aren't they cool? I couldn't get enough of the fences!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kitchen Help

We had corn on the cob for dinner. In my opinion there is no better summer food than corn on the cob. Lilian wanted to help schuck the corn. Despite the fact that the garbage can was right next to her, that she was watching me throw the husks into it, that I told her and showed her countless times that the garbage was the place for the husks, on the floor they went every single time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day weekend

Labor Day weekend at our house consisted of the following things:
*A hot, windy Saturday with no air conditioning
*And then, rain...glorious, wonderful rain
*Thunder and Lightning
*Finishing the Book of Mormon
*Singing in what is probably the best Master Class I've ever done
*Maybe because it was my birthday
*Or because Bryan was there
*Eating at Cheesecake Factory (with no kids)
*Eating at Braza Grill (with kids)
*Driving Bryan's stick-shift car
*Talking music theory endlessly with Bryan
*Watching Bryan research everything he could about music theory
*Listening to Bryan play the piano everyday
*Finding enjoyment in his excitement over our new piano
*Teaching primary
*Trying valiantly, but not succeeding, in keeping the house clean