Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It is midnight.  The family is nestled, all snug in their beds, and I can't sleep.  I don't remember being this excited about Christmas in decades.  Maybe I never have been this excited.  I've was struck with joy the moment I helped Santa unpack his goodies.  As I gathered the stockings and toys into my arms I smelled a smell I had all but forgotten.  Rachel's new doll smells like so many Christmas mornings.  The smell brought back a medley of thoughts and feelings of childhood, siblings, Santa, and parents. I keep imagining Rachel's grin as she hurries to the tree where her doll glows, basking in the hundreds of tiny white lights.  She is going to be thrilled to find fruit snacks in her stocking.  I mean overjoyed.  She LOVES fruit snacks.  My joy is already full just imagining her beautiful little face. 

My hope is that by sending this out into the world, that maybe, just maybe, my heart and mind will simmer down so that I can get a few hours of sleep before Christmas Morning festivities begin.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Halloween, for me, has metamorphosized over time.  As a kid I looked forward to dressing up every year.  I still remember our inflatable skeleton and drawing on pumpkins.  We generally didn't carve pumpkins.  When I was a youth I would have 3 or 4 costumes for one season.  In college I denounced the whole thing as an evil tradition.  After a year or two I realized that if I threw my own parties I could control the atmosphere and activities.  Soon I was full fledged into haunted houses and creepy decorations.  I used to peruse Martha Stewart magazines looking for fun Halloween decoration ideas, themes and costumes.  I hosted a Halloween party every year for the Dallas-Ft. Worth Young Single Adults.  I continued that tradition when I moved to Salt Lake City. 

So, when I first got married I turned up my nose at Doug's plastic jack-o-lanterns and orange lights.  I wanted everything to be authentic.  I avoided anything that looked mass produced.  I excitedly decked the house out all spooky for the neighborhood kids.  This was the first time trick-or-treaters would come to my house.  We did that twice.  We even offered tastes of brain (jello) to some of our young friends. 

Now, as a mother, I've come full circle.  I actually like Doug's decorations.  I'm tired.  Rachel isn't old enough to care about Halloween.  In fact, if it is too creepy it might scare her.  I currently do not plan on turning our house into a haunted mansion again until the kids are older or we decide to throw a party.  Of course if I find a hidden supply of energy I might do it again for my neighbors.  We had quite a few ask us about it this year.

So where do I stand on costumes?  I have been a witch almost every year for a decade. The only deviation was last year when I had been dieting and could put on my formal dresses.  Last year I was a princess.  I love dreaming about costumes.  I love the idea of dressing up for one night.  I just have a hard time getting past my own weight issues.  A far too common thread in my world.

Halloween 2010 was all about Rachel.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Emphatic Punctuation!!!

Have you noticed a trend toward overuse of the exclamation mark?  I feel like I am bombarded by the little guys.  How often do our verbal sentences require an exclamation mark?  But, how often do we use them in our writing?  What about multiples?  I've noticed it in my own writing!  I've decided that it stems from a need for people to understand how much I mean something.  So, I overdose them on punctuation.  "No way!!!!!!!  Not me!!!!!"   I have also fallen prey to the multiple ooo.  "He is sooo cute!!!!!!"  "I miss you toooo much!!!!"  I guess I could add in the all capital letters to really drive home the point.  "YOU are TOO kind!!!!"  Hmmm...  Maybe I'll try to cut back.  Perhaps a punctuation and written emphasis diet.  So, don't worry if I send you a note and it seems to be missing that emphatic punctuation pizzazz.  I REALLY MEAN what I SAAAAAAY!!!!!

DISCLAIMER:  I was reading through the comments on my blogs and looking at all of the exclamation marks.  Please don't take offense at this post.  I mean it in fun.  I am the WOOORST at this!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why blog?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  People blog for so many different reasons:  
  • To make money.
  • For fame.
  • To show off, pride.
  • For family history.
  • To keep in touch with family and friends.
  • Just for the fun of it.
  • Because they like to write.
  • To send messages to friends, family, or posterity.
So, the real question is, why do I blog?  The answer is complex for me.  I blog because it relieves me of my guilt for not journaling and scrapbooking.  I blog because I want my family and friends to get to know me and my family.  I want my posterity to know me as a person.  

I blog because I am a writer at heart.  I am always composing essays in my head.  Weird, I know.  Entries come from experiences I want to share, ideas I want to communicate, and achievements or people I want to herald.  Once in a great while I will write something in hopes that a particular someone will read it.  But mostly, I blog for myself.  Add in a dash of I want my extended family to know me and my gang.  And a heaping spoonful of family history and you've got me.

Why do you blog?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


"One of these things is not like the other.  Which one is it?  Do you know?"

We learn early on to compare and contrast things in our physical world.  And, somewhere along the line, we begin to compare people.  Then, eventually, ourselves.  I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  In general, we look to others, to comparisons, to define who we are.  Am I prettier or uglier?  Fatter or skinnier?  Talented?  Intelligent?  Capable?  Spiritual?  I fell into this trap when I went to BYU.  In Texas I was a big fish in a small pond.  At BYU I was a little fish in a massive sea of talented, smart, spiritual, amazing over achievers.  I compared myself to my peers.  And, according to my measurements, I was mediocre.  It's funny though.  If you look at what it takes to get into BYU I should have thought of myself as the cream of society.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting down other colleges.  But, people really have to work hard to get into BYU.  These people are not the slackers.  It really is okay to be mediocre cream.

As a child I looked at people as taking slots of society.  Once someone is "the cheerleader" then that slot is taken.  I would compare myself with my 6 living older siblings and tick off, smart -- taken, beauty queen -- taken,  cheerleader -- taken, stylish -- taken, super pianist -- taken, beautiful voice -- taken, hilarious -- taken, computer whiz -- taken.  As an adult I see a similar propensity among the women around me and myself.  It is easy to look at the ward and neighborhood and say, spiritual giant -- taken, crafty -- taken, capable -- taken, great teacher -- taken, talented -- taken, beautiful house -- taken, gardener -- taken, spectacular mother -- taken, taken, taken, taken, taken.  What I wish we could all see is that these comparisons are ludicrous!  Sister "A" may be a good teacher, but so is Sister C.  Sister F is really musical.  Yet, does that mean Sisters X, Y and Z are not?  It means nothing of the kind.

Each person is a constellation of beautiful strengths and weaknesses.  Every person is amazing and unique.  And, what I want to remember myself is, it is important to be me.  It doesn't matter what someone else can or cannot do.  What is important is if I can do something better than I could a week ago, a month ago, or a lifetime ago.  What matters is if I am getting better.  What matters is if I am learning and growing.  The only person we should compare ourselves to is our own self.

Love yourself.  Dare to be unique.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Color is Your Crayon?

My interests and colors span the entire rainbow.  I love the cheerful playful hues of yellow and orange.  I love the earthy calm of browns and greens.  I can't get enough of the babbling brooks and majestic oceans of blue.
But, as I can only choose one, I choose red.  I have to give honorable mention to pink.  I can squeak it in under the guise of a "light red."  I love pink.  I love the femininity and playful sweetness of pink.

Why does red speak to me?  How does it represent who I am?

Red is...
adventurous, always thinking ahead.
brave, bold, and can take a hit.
takes chances.
enjoys drama and the finer things in life.
dignified and royal.  I am a daughter of Heavenly heritage.
I like red because it is fire.  I am a pyromaniac at heart.
It is romantic.
It is hearts and flowers,
and passion,
and that little red dress I've always wanted (including the body to go with it).
Red is the color of life - of flowers
and blood (our life force).
Red roars as a symbol of womanhood.
It is the safety of a beloved sweater.
It is the comfort of wonderful foods like strawberries,
spicy peppers,
and all foods Italian (pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli, etc.).
Red is Valentines,
and Christmas.
Red is me.

What color is your crayon?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It's funny.  The length of time that passes between entries correlates to my concern about what to write.  When I write every day I figure it doesn't really matter what I write.  I figure the entries that are sub par or uninteresting will get lost in the shuffle.  Every day that passes makes me think that the entry needs to be profound or something.  I have a couple of such in mind for the future.

I used to study the scriptures voraciously and methodically.  I would take notes and study topics in depth.  I have hopes to get back into it.  I ran into some notes while I was preparing a lesson for Relief Society.  The topic has been pressing on my mind.  So, here is the summation.

This topic was spurred from Moses 1:20-22.  Moses received a great gift.  He saw Christ.  He saw the world and all of it's inhabitants throughout the ages.  Then, as he was left alone to ponder these things, Satan came and commanded him to worship him.

  20 And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell.  Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
  21 And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.
  22 And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.
It is remarkable to me that even this great prophet felt fear.  He had just been in the presence of Christ.  But, he still felt fear when faced with opposition on this earth.  The key is that he called upon God and received strength.
Genesis 26:24 says, "...fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee..."  Jehovah, Jesus Christ, is the great I AM.  So, from the beginning of time God has promised to be with us.
The Bible Dictionary says, "...fear is spoken of as something unworthy of a child of God, something that “perfect love casteth out”(1 John 4:18)...Sin destroys that feeling of confidence God’s child should feel in a loving Father, and produces instead a feeling of shame and guilt. Ever since the Fall God has been teaching men not to fear, but with penitence to ask forgiveness in full confidence of receiving it.
Here are some supporting references. 
Isaiah 41:10  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 
Numbers 14:9  "...the Lord is with us; fear them not."
2 Kings 6:16  "Fear not:  for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."
Psalms 27:1  "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalms 55:4  "...I will not fear what flesh can do to me."
Jeremiah 23:4  "and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord."
2 Timothy 1 :7  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power; and of love, and of a sound mind."
1 John 4:18  "There is no fear in love; but perfect love (THE perfect love is the pure love of Christ) casteth out fear; because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Doctrine & Covenants 50:41-42  "Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;  And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost."

It is so easy to get caught in the snare of fear.  Fear of man.  Fear of the future.  Fear that we won't measure up.  Fear that something will happen.  Fear that it won't.  Fear of losing.  Fear of winning.  Fear of what others will say.  Fear of what others are thinking.  Fear of failure.  Fear of dieing.  Fear of living.  Fear.  Fear.  Fear.  Fear.  Fear.  Fear.  The focus has got to be on having an eternal perspective.  Lean on the Savior.  Rely on HIS eternal knowledge and strength.  Fear (or reverence) God, keep the commandments and endure to the end.  Remember 2 Timothy 1:7.  I/we have been given power, love and a sound mind.  The great I AM is on our side as long as we call on him.  We can draw strength from Him just like Moses did and conquer our many trials.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I quit the HCG diet last week.  While the results were intoxicating the side effects were frustrating and worrisome.  I lost 1.2 more pounds the next day.  However, I am now up 3 from there.  I'm glad to be off of HCG.  I hope I can put my mind to a true healthy diet and make the lifestyle changes I need to make.  Based on history the outlook is doubtful.  But, I only have to make the permanent life changes once, right?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HCG Diet: Day 8

I lost 2.8 more pounds in the last 2 days.  In the last week I've lost 9.2 pounds, 3.25 inches off my waist, 2.25 inches off of my upper chest, 1.25 inches off of my hips.  I've lost 10.5 inches off of my total body.  It is amazing to be able to feel and see changes so quickly.  So why am I not writing this with a million exclamation marks?

I'm really concerned that this might not be good for my body.  I'm having chest pains.  Yesterday I had a killer headache that wouldn't go away no matter what I did.  I'm worried that I might be ruining my metabolism or worse, my heart.  I'm going to talk to "the doctors" again today.  I'm seriously considering stopping, moving to the maintenance phase and perhaps joining weight watchers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

HCG Diet: Day 6

I'm trying to drink 3 liters of water a day.  I'm told that it will help with the fatigue, headache and hunger.  It's funny.  I drink water so that I'm less fatigued.  But, after drinking all of this water it's no surprise that I have to get up multiple times at night.  I am somewhat less hungry and fatigued.  The headache is mild and emotionality is evening out.  I wouldn't be able to do this if I didn't have Doug.  He is quietly filling in when I can't accomplish things. 

The vegetables are the hardest part of the diet for me (besides hunger and general snackiness).  I'm already tired of celery, tomatoes, and lettuce and don't like a lot of the vegetable choices.  I'm hoping I will be able to subsist on asparagus and cabbage.  I'm going to try spinach.  I'd just give up on the vegetables if I didn't know it was important.  Again, the results keep me going. 

Results:  4.6 lbs in the last 2 days.  My handy dandy scale says that is 3% body fat.  My tape measurer shows 2 inches off of my waist.  Pretty cool.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

HCG Diet: Day 4

I don't know whether it was because I was at church, or the increase in HCG drops taken, but I was less hungry today.  Still very hungry - just less so.  It could also have been the drastic 3 lb drop on the scale this morning.  Funny how success can fan the flames of determination. 

Fatigue, lethargy, cold, and moodiness are still my companions.  I have to admit I'm still a little worried that this is going to backfire and damage my body somehow.  My mother-in-law had to have heart surgery because of phen-phen.  But, so far I like the results and the diet theory sounds solid.  I can only pray for divine guidance and the ability to keep up with the regimen.


Most children, as I understand it, develop a certain fear of strangers around 9 months old.  Then the parents grapple with crying and separation anxiety for a period of time after that.  My little one turns 1 year old this week and is friendly to most everyone.  She waves at strangers in the store.  She claps and smiles for most anyone that pays attention to her.  That is, she is friendly to most everyone as long as she knows we approve and are around.  I know that I'm going to have to teach her to be more wary of strangers than she is today.  I know there will always be a worry that she'll be lured away by strangers at a park.  But, at this time in our lives it is pretty great.

Today I handed her to someone that she didn't know.  She didn't cry or fuss.  She "visited" this new friend for a few minutes and then happily returned to my lap.  I don't know if it is just Rachel's bubbly personality or why she is so comfortable but this little experience reminded me of a story Marvin J. Ashton told in General Conference many years ago.

"A beautiful little blind girl was sitting on the lap of her father in a crowded compartment in a train. A friend seated nearby said to the father, “Let me give you a little rest,” and he reached over and took the little girl on his lap.

A few moments later the father said to her, “Do you know who is holding you?”

“No,” she replied, “but you do.”

I wish I always trusted my Heavenly Father with unwavering peace like the girl in the story.  I hope that Rachel never loses her confidence when interacting with strangers.  At least those "strangers" of whom we approve.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

HCG Diet: Day 3

By the end of day 2 I was so sick of eating I could hardly stand it.  Plus, the acid reflux day 1 gifted me kept me up a good part of the night.

Today is the first day of the actual diet.  So far I am hungry, hungry, hungry.  I'm also seriously cold and completely drained of energy.  I'm curious to see what measurements say tomorrow.  But, I'm not sure that I can keep this up.  When I visited the clinic the ladies said that if I was hungry that I was doing it wrong.  I hate that I can't talk to the doctors until Monday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

HCG Diet: Day 1

I've decided to go ahead and try the HCG diet.  I've had some friends and family do really well on it.  I am hoping that it will help me jump start into a healthier life. 

Day 1:  Gorge Day
I LOVE fattening food.  I love rich pasta sauces, pizza, cake, peanut butter cups, hamburgers, fries, chocolate milk, hostess, etc.  I have a really hard time leaving it alone.  It's amazing how being told to eat tons of fat food takes the fun out of it.  I've been diligently eating this stuff all day and I am sick.  I am feeling sooo gross.  I understand that it helps the body get using the HCG.  But, for me, I think I'll be glad to eat grilled chicken and tomatos.  I think by the end of the second gorge day I will be ready to not eat for a week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Photo books

These photo books have changed my life.  I am going to make a book for Rachel's 1st year and a book commemorating Elizabeth.  Then I am going to take my blogs and transform them into books.  I love that this relieves me of the guilt I've carried for not getting my scrapbooking done.  I have bought a lot of scrapbooking supplies over the years.  But, I am not a scrapbooker.  I am a blogger.

This is the book I made about Doug and me (100 pages).  I used MyPublisher through Costco.  I am super happy with the quality of paper and the printing.  They have different sizes of books, styles and layouts.  And they often have great deals.  These books would normally cost about $92 each.  I payed about $140 for all 3 copies.  I love that if I want more I can just order another one any time I want.  Love it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bog of Blogs

I'm mired in a bog of blogs.  Bloggers bog is completely different than it's cousin bloggers block.  It is not that I am without ideas.  It is that I have too many blog entry ideas.  I have too many pictures.  And I have too many stories.  Many of these entries are meaty and can't be posted lightly.  Some entries require stories that are long and involved. 

I keep a running list of topics and will get to them as soon as I can.  Meanwhile, Rachel is crying, hungry, needs a diaper change and her mother.  Her life and story is more important than them all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Senses

I once heard that while everybody uses all five senses they tend to favor one above the others.  Over the years I've tried to pay attention to this idea.  I had a roommate who liked to go unusual places just so she could smell them.  I have a sister who can locate things because she is visually dominant.  She remembers where I left my shoe because she saw it misplaced in the living room.  I have a sister that says the plastic of a new doll reminds her of Christmas.  The smell of a doll doesn't do that for me.  Some people focus on the way things sound.  Many people remember colors, shapes, sounds, tastes and smells that I don't even notice. 

I am a toucher.  I like to touch and feel things.  I always have to touch someone's cool granite countertops, the texture on the church walls, the fluffy teddy bear, the divets in a piece of wood, my baby's soft cheeks, etc.  I love the tactile sensation of the cool grass on my bare feet.  I adore the feeling of fresh beach sand between my toes.  That is, until it dries out.  There are fabrics and textures I love and those that I can't stand.  I absolutely HATE flannel pajamas and sheets.  Flannel gives me "princess and the pea" syndrome.  There are some synthetic silks that make me crazy.  I'd probably run if somebody tried to make me wear clothes made from them.  I can't stand lotion because it's slimy.

I could probably write an entire separate entry on slime.  I have problems with textures when it comes to food.  I can overlook texture when it comes to foods that are familiar.  The texture may be an issue for me if it is foreign fare .  I don't like touching raw meat, lotion, some sauces, jello, shampoo (yes, I still use it), mud, oils (bath and otherwise), ointment, and a host of other things.  Slimy, pasty, soggy, greasy, creamy, oily, syrupy things are just difficult for me.

I suppose it isn't surprising that some textures would be hard for me to handle when I favor touch so much. 

So, what sense do you favor?  Smell?  Taste?  Sight?  Touch? or Sound?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Key Lime Cheesecake Pie

I debated whether to share this pie recipe or not.  It's sort of my secret weapon.  It tastes rich and wonderful but is extremely easy to make.  It's even simpler if you use ready made pie crusts.

Pie Crust:
1.  Grind up a package of graham crackers.  
1 small box of graham crackers will yield about 3 1/4 cups of crumbs.
1.  Mix 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar and 6 tbsp melted butter or margarine until well blended.
2.  Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
3.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.  Cool.


1.  Mix together softened cream cheese and 1 can sweetened condensed milk.  You get a thicker, creamier, easier to dish up pie if you use high fat ingredients.  If you use fat free sweetened condensed milk and fat free cream cheese the filling will be looser but just as tasty.
2.  Mix in 1/2 cup lime juice.  The lime juice (or lemon can be used in a pinch) is the coagulation agent so add it last.
3.  Add 1 drop of green food coloring.
4.  Pour into prepared pie crust.
5.  Decorate with sliced limes.
6.  Chill for an hour before serving.