Monday, December 12, 2011

I At Least Thought About Blogging Today...

And I have a lot to say.

But that's as far as I got.


Can I fall into bed now?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Almost Christmas!

I can't tell you how excited I am to be with my family this Christmas. It's been several years since we've all been together on Christmas, and this is the first time that I will celebrate with the twins. I just love my family so much, and we have a stinkin' good time together!

I know I mentioned it before, but this has been my favorite Christmas CD this year - Glad Christmas Tidings. I just listen to it over and over again. And then it plays in my head all day at work.

And one of the things for which I'm most grateful is that I haven't heard my least favorite Christmas songs at all this year. That's right - I've pretty much only listened to my music (not the radio because the one in my car is stuck on AM and really only gets KNBR), so I haven't had to listen to the ones I don't like. AND, when a friend asked what my least favorite Christmas song is I, of course, said The Little Drummer Boy, but then I couldn't even think of the other one I dislike so much! If it wasn't so annoying that I couldn't recall that information, I'd be 100% happy that it's so far distant from my thoughts. Instead I'll be 99.99% happy. OK - I'll go a full 100%. What the heck?!

I feel like I''m rambling. Am I rambling?

I'll just say one more time...I'm excited for Christmas!

Also - our house is just magical right now. The lights on the outside, the decorations on the inside. Just magical.

Can you tell I'm exhausted?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Love Winning!

I am not the most competitive person in the entire world.


When I go to bridal or baby showers and have to play the games, I want to win them.

Not like I'm going to gauge someone's eyes to make sure that I get the prize, but I definitely put on my game face and get serious. Especially if the prizes are good.

I went to a shower on Saturday, and here are my spoils:

I also scored a butterfinger, but Ari used it for a dessert for the party, so I didn't get it in the shot. But that's a really nice candle! And I totally earned it. I mean, not to brag, but I totally killed it. Basically I brought my A-game and was totally AWE-some. It was a hard game.

Oh...and it was nice to celebrate the impending birth of the child of my friends too. :)

Fancy, Part II

The most important part of any gathering is the people that you get to share it with. I was not very diligent about taking pictures at our party, but our friend David snapped a few.

Here's our fancy music. Nicole brought her flute and Chandra brought her violin. Julie made our horrible piano sound melodic, and Jacosa graciously sang for us. It was all beautiful! This made it feel like Christmas to me.

Why don't we do this more often? In the olden days people would sing and play instruments for entertainment after dinner. I wish we would do this more often.

Here's a group shot. We didn't get a picture with everyone because not everyone was here at the same time, but this is the after-music crowd. What a good-looking group!

This was our silly picture. Did I need to explain that?

Heidi, Nicole, Christina, and David.

I didn't actually get a picture of myself or with my roommates. I knew I was forgetting something... :)

Thanks everyone for such a fun, fancy evening!

Oh, the Fanciness!

I love having and/or attending fancy Christmas parties.

There's something so wonderful and kind of grown-up-feeling about making yourself up a little bit nicer and slipping into a fabulous dress and heels and then spending the evening munching on yummy food that's elegantly presented, sipping sparkling cider, and chatting with friends. Add Christmas lights, decorations, and super-classy live music and it becomes an "occasion."

Of course, I'm writing this while sitting on my couch in my sweats.

But last night, there was fancy. I was fancy. And it was fun.

My roommates and I decked out the house (inside and out - I even helped with lights!), whipped up some of our favorite food and invited friends to come fill our home for a fancy Christmas party. It was so fun!

Here are a few shots of some of the fancy food:

Charity's white chocolate craisin cookies.

I made mini chocolate peppermint cupcakes. I should have taken a picture of them on the red plate. It looked better.

Up close. Yum!

This is something that I think I want to do with my niece this Christmas. Ariane made these hot chocolate dippers. It's a marshmallow on a stick that you dip in chocolate and then decorate. These are reindeer and snowmen, but she also did some plain ones. Super cute and fun for a hot chocolate lover like myself.

We had other food, and it wasn't all sweet. I just forgot to take pictures of the other stuff. Sadly, my lemon bars didn't cook all the way through. I don't know what I did wrong. I took them out when they were golden brown on the top, but when I cut into them they were liquidy. Needless to say, they did not make it to the table.

I'll save the rest of the pics for tomorrow so that the fancy can live on a little bit longer. :)

Also, my favorite Christmas CD this year is the concert from last year by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with David Archuleta. It's so good! My favorite new song that I had never heard is "The Cat and Mouse Carol." I just love the worshipfulness of the music. And David Archuleta is better than I thought he'd be. I've never listened to much of his music, but he's really quite talented. I highly recommend the CD. I got mine at Target. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ten Thoughts In My Head Today

1. Man, 5:30 is early!

2. This tree sure drinks a lot of water. I really hope it lives through Christmas. Or at least through Saturday.

3. Why did I only bring healthy snacks to work with me?!

4. Ooh! I love getting my hair cut! And I'm glad we went with just the blonde this time.

5. Wow - you can definitely tell that I haven't been to the gym in a couple of weeks.

6. Would it kill them to put some fans in this gym?! I'm sweating like a pig! But I'm running surprising well for my recent lack of gym time. Well...running and walking. It's all cardio.

7. How are people buying tickets for Wicked already?! They weren't supposed to go on sale until Saturday! Drat those online codes!!!

8. If I eat a very healthy lunch then I don't have to feel bad when I just eat cereal or toast for dinner, right? Right.

9. Oh man! Has my slip really been showing like that all day? How embarrassing!

10. I love the little outdoor ice skating rink by my house. It's not New York City, but I still think it would be a fun little winter date to go there.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Christmas!

I love Thanksgiving!

And ours was wonderful this year. Food, family, and friends all rolled into one great weekend. We played new games, I laughed until I cried, and my mom and I even made our own cinnamon rolls.

One of the fun parts of Thanksgiving weekend is that we then get to prep for Christmas! Hooray!

Two of my roommates have fake trees, but we heard that WiseBuys had trees for $10, so Ariane and I decided that we should go check them out and maybe get a real one for the house this year. We looked at about two trees before we decided on one. It's a beauty! It's about 9 feet tall and it smells like delightful evergreen. I think this is the tallest tree I've ever had in my life. OK - maybe one of the Boston Christmas trees was taller, but probably not by much. This one just seems so huge!

However...somehow I always manage to get myself into projects that require putting large things on top of cars. There was the gigantic dry erase board in 2004, and yesterday there was the tree. We did pay the extra $2 to have it netted, which was very helpful. But this was a 9 foot pine tree! And Ari and I had to hoist it up on top of her car and then make sure that it didn't fall off on the drive home. And we're GIRLS!

This was no simple feat, but we did manage. I guess that's the thing about buying a tree at WiseBuys. They'll net it for you, but they can't take it any farther than their little lot. So we lugged it to the car and then got it on the roof and tied down. I got pine needles everywhere. My hair, my shirt - I even found one later that day that had gone down my pants. How does that even happen?! Also...this may not be a good omen for our $10 tree. Should it really be losing that many needles? Let's hope that it lasts at least a week. :)

We got it home, in the stand, in the house, standing up relatively straightly, and decorated. Here are a couple of shots.

Not bad, huh?

I'm now sitting snugly on the couch, wrapped up in my blanket looking at the tree with its beautiful lights, and White Christmas is playing on the television. White Christmas is one of my absolute favorite Christmas movies. 

Ahh...Christmas contentment.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Not-So-Hidden Talent

It's time for me to admit one of my talents.

I feel that I should no longer hide my candle under a bushel.

Perhaps I can help someone somewhere because of the natural gift that I have been given.

So here goes.

I am amazing at watching television.

Scoff if you will, but I believe that this takes stamina, discernment, a sharp eye, and impeccable taste. I can whip through the guide and know what's worth wasting my time on and what's not. I can learn, laugh, cry, travel, and cook all from my couch. I can get sucked in for hours. That sounds sad. But it's not because I do leave my couch and live life too. And that's happy.

Being sick this week allowed me the opportunity to put my skill to great use. Because...realistically, most days are so busy that I don't have a ton of time to devote to developing under-valued talent.

Yesterday was kind of a marathon event for me, so let's see if I can give an accurate recap. I woke up WAY too early, but then I compensated by going back to sleep from 10:30am to 1:40pm. I guess that's what happens when your body is recovering?

Here's what I watched in no particular order: The Muppets Take Manhattan (got that for $5 at Wal-mart), part of The Next Iron Chef, two episodes of International House Hunters (they were in Holland!), Survivor, two and a half episodes of Psych, two and a half episodes of Designing Women (what a find on a Saturday!), the end of the USC/Oregon football game, some of the Cal/Stanford game, the finale of Top Chef Just Desserts, Gilmore Girls, Keeping Up Appearances, the end of last week's The Sing-Off, and I think something else that I'm forgetting right now. But even if I'm not forgetting anything, that's kind of a lot of TV.

Really...days like this are only justified when I'm not feeling well. Which is probably why they're fun. They only happen every once in a while. But when they do happen, I know that I am letting my little light shine. :)

On another note, I only have to work three days this week!!! What a fun thought!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

1. I have the sniffles. So I am resting in the hopes that they do not turn into a full blown cold. Of course, I also made a deal with my immune system that if it could keep me going just long enough to get through the work week that it could let me be sick all weekend. So far so good. We'll see what happens on Saturday.

2. I would much rather have the sniffles than a sore throat. That's how this started. Just a little scratchy throat on Tuesday morning, but by noon it was on fire. At several points I wondered if it would just be easier to rip my throat out of my body. Don't worry. Instead I went to CVS after work and bought soup, Gatorade, Airborn, and lozenges. And then I went to the youth Etiquette Dinner and prepped, plated, and served food to the unsuspecting masses. Let's hope I didn't pass anything along. :)

3. Do you ever miss a place? This fall I've been missing BYU. Maybe it's because it's the time of year when school begins and football games are being played, and there's a part of me that still longs to be in school. But today I wasn't wanting to be in Provo. I missed Europe today. I know that's very general, and I've only been to three European countries, but I just wanted to be there. And because I've lived there, I feel like I'm allowed to want to be there in a way that is different than just wanting to visit a place you've seen in the movies, you know? Like...I want to visit the Nora Ephron-created, romanticized New York City in You've Got Mail, but I can't really miss that or know what it's really like on West 89th Street, because I've never been there. But I can still see parts of Europe in my mind's eye and I can still feel parts of it in my soul. And today I wanted to be transported there. I wanted to speak Dutch and have someone understand me. I wanted to get on a train. I wanted to ride a bike and visit a museum, and be there again. And then I woke up from that daydream and I was still going through attorney's mail. Someday Europe. I'll be back.

4. Why do I love and hate Costco so much at the same time? They have so much good stuff, which makes me want to buy it all, but then I would be out of money in no time. They have the softest blankets, and fun movies, and great books - all topped off with delicious free food samples. Aaacckkkk!!!! It's a dilemma every time I walk in the door. And they've got us all paranoid that if we don't buy what we think we want the moment we see it, it'll be gone. Because everyone knows that if you wait on something that you see at Costco (especially non-everyday items), you might as well give up on ever seeing it again. Heck - you can't even second-guess yourself during your own shopping trip. You may decide that you want to walk around the store while you think about whether or not to get that Nordic-ware bake set. By the time you get back around...gone. I'll have you know that there were only four - yes four - copies of the Doris Day movie collection on the shelf tonight. Do you think they'll be there the next time I go back? NO! I hesitated and therefore I am lost. I'm sorry Doris. Next time I'll know better.

OK - I'm now going to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls (I'm in season 3 right now), take a bath, and go to bed. I was watching GG yesterday while resting, and Kirk had a great line. Rory and Lorelai each made a funny comment and he said something like, "I'm sorry. I'm a little fuzzy right now which is why I missed your comedic hyperbole." I just love a show that can use the phrase "comedic hyperbole." But my point in using this quote beyond illustrating the writing genius of Amy Sherman-Palladino is that I'm a little fuzzy tonight, and I may be missing more than comedic hyperbole. I just realized that I wrote some LONG paragraphs. The great part is that you can stop reading any time. When people talk to me they can't get me to be quiet, but when I blog people can take me in whatever dose they choose. Anyone still with me? Yep...time for Gilmore Girls. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Call Me Schnookums

OK - I haven't really been inspired AT ALL to blog lately.

But at the urging of my sister and Corrie and because I just laughed out loud with no one else around, I will post this.

My friend, Erin, writes one of the wittiest blogs I have ever read. AND she wrote a book, which I think is amazing and I want to be just like her someday. (Buy her book!)

Anyway, she has started adding advertisements to her blog. Just by clicking on them I am pretty much sending her money. Not bad, huh?

So I clicked on one this evening. It was to see if I would qualify for a grant to go back to school. But I didn't stop there. I actually went through all the questions. However, at the end they want all of your contact information, which I'm not too keen on giving out. (Besides...I apparently only qualified for one program - an online Master's of Education through Grand Canyon University (who?) with no financial aid. Totally bogus!)

So I just created myself a new internet identity. It's Schnookums McGee. I live at 501 Pleasant Way, in case you wanted to know.

The best part was at the very end when I submitted all of my information. The advertisement at the bottom said something like, "If you liked this, Schnookums, you might also like..." My computer called me Schnookums! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

This kind of sounds like the dumbest thing as I'm writing it, but I just found it hilarious.

Also - conundrum of the day: why do stores that sell skin care and make-up products have the worst lighting of all time? How do I know if that tinted moisturizer actually IS the right one? I walked around Sephora today looking in about a half-dozen different mirrors. All with very different yet equally horrible lighting. Baffling. The staff kept asking me if I needed help. I wanted to shout at them and say, "YES! Please help by creating a not lame environment for me to test your products, stupid!" So I didn't buy either moisturizer. I asked for samples of both and I'll test them in my own light. For cryin' out loud.

Today I'm thankful for a gift card that I found that I'd forgotten about and scripture study and my toothbrush.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let's Be Thankful

Many moons ago (I'm going to say November 2004), my good friend (and then roommate) AmyAnn, taped several pieces of construction paper to the closet door in the entryway of our apartment. Next to these she fastened a string with a pen attached to it. On the paper in big, bold letters she wrote, "I'm Thankful For..."

Throughout the month of November (and beyond), we (and most people who came to visit) would write what we were thankful for that day. Whenever we felt happy - and especially when we felt unhappy, frustrated, or grumpy - we were reminded to go to the Thankful Board and find something for which we were grateful.

I learned a very important lesson from this Thankful Board. Gratitude has an amazing power to change our hearts and lift our souls! And I have so much for which to be thankful!

So as we approach Thanksgiving (one of my favorite holidays!), I'm going to make an effort to be more thankful. Starting right now.

I am thankful to work with the Young Women of my ward. Tonight was their annual Night of Excellence, and I can truly say that they are EXCELLENT! They amaze me, and I am grateful that for a few hours each week I get to bask in their stellar-ness.

I'm also grateful that I get to serve with such superior women. They teach me a lot. And put up with a lot from me. So I am thankful to know them and associate with them.

This isn't all of us. We were a few short tonight. But here's us tonight.

Let's all be grateful!


This year, I decided to make my costume for Halloween. Ok - I decided to ask my incredibly talented grandma to teach me how to sew by making a costume for me for Halloween. :)

We had a great time! It is always fun to spend time with my grandparents, but it's also really fun to have a project. Here are a few of my pictures from the weekend.

Here's me in my Alice in Wonderland costume. I LOVE it!!! I really felt like Alice.

Koreen, Nicole, Christina, and I ventured to Berkeley for a Halloween party on Friday. After I finished changing into my costume in the car (quite an adventure in itself!), we enjoyed the festivities for a bit.

There was another Alice there...

The Berkeley Institute building used to be a mansion, so we climbed up to the attic to look around. Guess what we found? A tiny door! Of course, Alice had to check it out. That's what she does!

Then we found an even smaller door! So...I popped through to say hello.

And then I needed to climb through a window...

...and out onto the roof. (Sorry that the pictures are sideways).

And, I couldn't end my Halloween post without a tribute to Grandma and Grandpa. Here they are at their friends' Halloween party. Don't they look fantastic?! Hmm...I wonder where I get my excitement for dressing up? :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday, Monday

So...this may have been my sister's anthem for the day, but this totally made my night! I was listening to the english version in the car on the way home tonight. So much fun to find it in Dutch!!!

Other random thoughts of the day:

* I have found the piece of clothing that I think I could live in for the rest of my life. It's called sweatpants. I have been longing for a new pair for at least six months, and Saturday that dream came true. They are the most comfortable thing on the planet, and I wish that societal norms allowed me to wear them everywhere!

* I have got to find a way to not be gone for ALL DAY every day. I get up at 5:30, am at work at 7:30, and tonight I didn't arrive home till almost 9:00. That's p.m. Tomorrow's not looking any better. I like all of my extra curricular activities. Maybe I can cut out work? Probably not.

* At least my gym bag made it into the car today. I didn't actually make it to the gym, but I was prepared. Maybe tomorrow...

* My Halloween costume's almost done. And it's AWESOME!!! I'm so glad that I have a patient grandma who likes to teach me to sew. Now it's just the dang zipper. She asked tonight, "Are you sure you don't just want to use velcro?"

* I packed my lunch and ate outside today. I love those lunch breaks. They feel longer, and I get to read my book. And it's the good autumnal warm outside.

* A boy told me that he loves me tonight. Granted, it was Ariane's almost-five-year-old nephew, Allan. But it was so cute! I love you too, Al. :)

*Did you know that the study of unidentified flying objects is called ufology? Pronounced you-fall-uh-gee. Isn't that so funny? I love podcasts. I highly recommend "Stuff You Should Know."

Slaap lekker hoor!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Family History, I Am Doing It!

This has been a very cool weekend for me with regard to my family and family history. 

Yesterday, my mom and I were able to go to the Sacramento Temple to do the endowment work for two of my great-grandmothers. What a wonderful morning it was! I'm so grateful for temples and that they not only allow us to make sacred covenants, but that they bind families together forever. And I love being there with my family members. :)

After the temple (and a quick trip up to the outlets), we went to the Rhoads Family Cousins' Luncheon at Davis Ranch. This is a yearly luncheon that has been put on for the past 30 years by this woman, Ellen Rosa. 

I'm sorry that this isn't a great picture of her, but she's 86 and she LOVES family history! And each year we have the opportunity to gather and learn more about our family and meet distant cousins. 

See...I'm a sixth generation Californian on my mom's side. We came over just before the Donner party. And then we went back and rescued them. And then some went back to Utah, and some (like my family) stayed in California and settled all the land just east of where I live now.

This is the second time that I've gotten to go to the luncheon, and I hope I get to continue to go. It's wonderful to hear the stories and recognize that we are where they were. It helps me to feel more connected to them. And it inspires me to do more family history so that I can spend more time linking us together in the temple.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happiness is Little Pizzas and Venn Diagrams

Thank you for all of the concerned comments, calls, and texts regarding my last post. Perhaps I was slightly more verbose about my bad day than I usually am, but I didn't mean to make everyone worry.

Let me clear things up.

I may not love my job, and it may be causing me some stress right now, but I'm totally OK. Life is still good.

In fact, tonight when I got to my grandparents' house, grandpa had made little pizzas for an appetizer.

Is there anything that could make a person happier than having a grandpa who makes you little pizzas?

You may be thinking, "yes."

If so, then you've never had my family's little pizzas. :)

And the other good thing about not loving work is that it's causing me to really look at life and what I want my career choices to be. Sometimes you need to know that you're in a situation that you don't want to be in forever to cause you to take some action to create a new situation. Right?

I've also realized that many of my jobs have come as kind-of knee-jerk reactions to needing a job and not really knowing what it is that I want.

The phrase from the scriptures that keeps coming to mind lately is that I now want "to act and not be acted upon." It's time to buckle down and make big-girl choices about where my life is heading.

So...I'm using one of the things I learned at the conference last weekend to help. It's a Venn Diagram.

You all remember what those are, right?

I think they're great.

But I'm also a little nerdy and like things like Venn Diagrams.

They look like this:

Each circle represents something different, and then your middle ground of your three variables is the answer for which you're looking.

The talk I heard related that in order to be in a VERY HAPPY place in your career, you need to put the following three things in the diagram:

1. What you love to do.
2. What you're good at doing.
3. What the world values (i.e. will pay you to do)

If you can find a career that incorporates these three factors, the likelihood of career satisfaction is very high. 

So, I'm using this as a model and making lists. I'll keep you updated. Comments about any of the three factors in relation to me are welcomed. There are no bad ideas in brainstorming. However, I reserve the right to veto your ideas later on. :)

OK - this post is too long, but I'm not editing. I'll sleep instead. 

And, yes, I did more than just learn at the conference. I met many wonderful people (read "great guys"), some of whom I'm hoping to keep in touch with (read, "Hey tall, dark, and handsome - call me!). None of this is making any sense anymore is it? I'm so glad tomorrow's Friday!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Can you be grateful and antsy at the same time?

I'm so grateful to have a job in a market where jobs are scarce. I am able to meet my needs and live comfortably. Heck - I drive a mile and a half to get to work! That's fantastic! I work with nice people who are kind to me. I have benefits.

But I'm antsy.

And since my job description got turned upside down a week and a half ago, I'm starting to loathe going to work. I mean really loathe. Perhaps despise, detest, and abhor. Well - that seems strong, but those were all words that crossed my mind today while I was trying not to cry.

And that makes me sad.

Because a couple of weeks ago I knew I was antsy because there's just more for me to be doing in life.

Now it's because I have a job that I didn't think I was going to have and don't know how to do and that might very well give me ulcers someday. Or at least a lot of anxiety breathing.

And yet, I am reminded how grateful I am that I have a job. I'm not desperately looking for a job so that I can pay my rent and eat. My life is richly blessed.

There is opposition in all things?

This too shall pass?

Every rose has its thorns?

I will try to be more cheery tomorrow, but tonight I'm going to fall asleep thinking about the Venn Diagram of Career Happiness that I learned about at the conference, not General, this past weekend.

Oh, yeah, the conference. I'll post about that tomorrow too. :) What a teaser, huh?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Boise Pictures

Here are several thousand words worth of pictures from my recent trip to Idaho. Holy moly I miss that family so much!

Dylan woke up on Saturday morning and all he wanted to do was help me put together his new high chair. And sit in it at the same time.

We like to call her hello-I-just-woke-up-and-have-crazy-hair-Claire. Not really. That's kind of a long nickname. But her hair was beautifully out of control.

Their real nicknames are Diz (or Dizzy) and Rita (or Frita or Frita-lay). And they WILL grow up to be Boise State fans. It's forced from an early age. This was right after Dylan pretty much took over Claire's toy. Oh well. Move on.

Dad started rapping to Claire and she was completely entranced. So much so that she forgot that she hates wearing hats. Dad's command of "the flow" is mesmerizing.

Danny and Dylan. Go Broncos!

I may have mentioned it before, but this girl just makes me melt!

Powdered donut?

Yes, please!

Our amazing gymnast! I got to go to her class, and she did such a good job!

Sisters, sisters! There were never such devoted sisters! So cute and cuddly. :)

I can't wait until Christmas when we're all together again!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Conference Time...But Not General

I'm going to this today.

I'm looking forward to it.

And not at the same time. 

I have a love/hate relationship with being single. 

And I think that these events accentuate all aspects of that. 

But I'm going with a good attitude and great friends, so that should be a winning combo.

And, don't worry - I know not to surround myself with a lot of friends the whole time. I will leave myself open to meet lots of new people. Even my grandpa made sure to remind me that no guy has enough courage or ego to come up to a large group of girls and ask to talk to one of them in particular.

Yes, I recently had a dating conversation with my grandpa. And grandma and aunt and uncle, actually. :) to a new adventure! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Seven Quarters from Kallie

One more cute Idaho story:

On Saturday (after the ice cream that the twins devoured), the men took the babies home to go to bed, and the girls - me, Mom, Mollie, and Kallie - got ready to go hit one of Mollie's new favorite stores.

As we stood in the restaurant getting ready to go, our conversation went something like this:

Mom: I don't have my purse. Do you?

Mollie: No.

Jenn: No.

Mom: So that means that none of has a driver's license with us. Jenn - you drive.

Jenn: It also means that we don't have any money.

[We all look at each other realizing that the shopping trip might now be less fun when Kallie looks up with all the worry of a six-year-old.]

Kallie: And I only have seven quarters!

Ok - maybe it wasn't as cute when I wrote it down as it was when it actually happened, but I just love that girl! She's just as sweet as can be!

And, luckily, we didn't need to use her seven quarters. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's Hot Chocolate Weather

Well...for today it is, and I love it! Rain showers, a few bolts of lightning, and cuddling up with a big mug of hot chocolate and fresh peanut butter cookies. A little slice of heaven.

I know this is fake Fall, but I won't complain. That's the beauty of California. We'll get a couple of days of rain and then by the weekend it'll be 75 and sunny. Perfect combo. And then by Halloween it'll be real Fall, and I'll be ready for it.

Speaking of a slice of heaven...I got a triple helping this past weekend! How did I get so lucky to have such a wonderful family?! I just wish that Boise was about seven or eight hours closer to Sacramento. Who can fix that for me?

I accidently left my camera in Idaho and won't get it back until Sunday, so instead I'll fill you in on some of the memorable moments of the trip.

1. We hit a coyote. And I'm pretty sure that we not only hit it but that we smashed it to pieces. It ran out of nowhere on a dark Idaho highway and Dad was going somewhere in the neighborhood of 80. Who wins? Not the coyote. It did some damage to the car, but luckily no one was hurt. In fact, we didn't even stop to check on the coyote.

2. It was so fun to have Kallie read a Pinkalicious book to me! Usually I do the reading, but she's getting so grown up, and she totally read it to me. And...her handstands and cartwheels rock. Mine and Mollie's aren't too shabby either.

3. I love being the grown-up who gets to go in and get a baby out of the crib. Claire took a few minutes to warm up to me the first time, but then it was all hugs from both twins. There's something wonderful about a 15 month old being SO HAPPY to see you come into their room. Arms outstretched, laughing, cuddling terrific-ness. I loved it so much that I even broke down and changed a poopy diaper. That's big for me.

4. We had dinner at Fuddruckers on Saturday evening, and the twins were really tired and unhappy. So Mollie bought them each an ice cream cone. Say what you will about the nutritional value, but those things were golden. Plus, they were hilarious with them. Neither wasted any time diving right in.

About half way through their cones, we looked over and Claire had eaten part of her cone, but it was taking too long to get to the ice cream. So she held the cone in one hand and used two fingers from the other like a shovel - scooping the ice cream from the cone and depositing it into her mouth.

Dylan, on the other hand, turned his cone upside down and smooshed it onto the (plastic, thankfully) tablecloth. He then set his cone to the side, ran his hands through the ice cream on the table, sucked it all off of his fingers, and then laughed at himself.

Two very different, but equally effective and humorous methods. And, let me tell you, they didn't waste any of that treat. :)

5. I got to skype with Kari - TWICE! I haven't gotten to talk to her since she left and it was so good to hear her voice. In fact, we had her on skype on Sunday evening when we called my grandpa for his birthday. We put the phone on speaker and grandma and grandpa got to talk to Kari through a phone via computer. Technology is so cool that it might have made several of us cry.

More vacation stories tomorrow, but I'll end with my sister's super easy and delectable peanut butter cookie recipe that I whipped up tonight. Enjoy fake Fall!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix ingredients and roll into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork to make the cool criss-cross design. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Don't overbake! Let them cool for a few minutes or they'll crumble. For best results, enjoy with a glass of cold milk or a mug of hot chocolate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pretty Soon...

...I get to see this face!

And these two faces! (Pay no attention to the spit-up on D'd face.)

Ok- they're all way more grown up now, which is another reason why I need to go visit. I'm so excited to head to Idaho tomorrow for a quick trip!

If my blog posts get a little sporadic the next few days, please know that it's because I'm traveling or playing with the cutest kids on the planet. (Don't argue with me about this. It's my blog and I get to decide who the cutest are. Done.)

I'm not really looking forward to the drive, but Mom and Dad and I will have fun. Hopefully I won't drive them crazy. At least there's a very low possibility of snow this time.

And now I have to pack. I'm going to be so tired tomorrow. But I couldn't pass up the delightful evening I had tonight. I got to visit with my grandparents and my aunt and uncle from San Diego. It was even fun talking about dating. :) Don't worry Kari - they're coming for Christmas. They wanted to see the whole fam.

Did I mention that it's almost Conference weekend? Wohoo!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Season's End

As one season is just beginning (you know, autumn), another has come to a close.

Last year at this time we were celebrating the extension of the season. September turned to October and the season marched on. The fun was alive, and the people everywhere cheered for the joy that the season brought.

But, this year, the Giants aren't playing any October baseball. The season ended today. Sad.

In fact, I remember being at Disneyland last October as they were making a run to get to the World Series. People throughout the parks were in Giants gear and checking scores on their phones. We would come off of a ride and check to see if Wilson had FINALLY closed out the game. We celebrated with random people as we came off of California Screamin' and found out that the Giants had beaten the Phillies in the NLCS and were headed to the World Series. There's just nothing like the thrill of October baseball.

It just wasn't meant to be this year. Injuries plagued us. There were a few drains on our payroll.

But we love you, San Francisco Giants! And though your season ended today, we're already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventures With Food

I love working with the Young Women at church!

Even though I stress out all the time about getting activities ready every week, once we get started I'm reminded of how wonderful these girls are and how worth it it is.

Tonight the YW came over to my house because they decided that they wanted to learn how to cook a meal from start to finish.

And apparently I was the teacher.

Luckily, if you can read, you can fake your way through cooking a meal. Even if it's a meal that you've never made before.

Also luckily, the girls are very patient with my scatteredness and lack of being able to ever time a meal so that it finishes all together.

We made fettucine alfredo with chicken and broccoli, green salad with homemade ranch dressing, and homemade strawberry ice cream. Not a bad menu, right?

Too bad that I forgot to defrost the chicken. the middle of cooking I made them stop so that we could read some scriptures for Personal Progress while the chicken was in the microwave.

Also too bad that we didn't get done until 8:05. I think everyone was starving.

But they did a really good job! The meal was delicious. (Sorry about that ONE piece of pink chicken Hollie!) And they all said that they thought it was something that they could make for their families. Success!

A special thank you shout out goes to Angie for giving me a chopper for my birthday and to Jessica for letting us borrow the ice cream maker. The shallots were really making people cry until we pulled out the chopper.

And now the dishes are all done and my kitchen in clean. And I'm going to bed.

Because I forgot until tonight that I signed up to feed the missionaries tomorrow.

Good thing I can read, because it looks like I'm cooking again tomorrow. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

France. We Come From France.

I'm not sure how many of you remember the classic SNL skit that became the movie The Coneheads (this isn't a great link. Sorry!).

Whether you are watching this clip for the first time or seeing it and having SNL flashbacks of days gone by, please note the funny way in which the Coneheads move.

They are very stiff and formal. When they turn, they seem to turn with their entire bodies.

Not that my head has grown ten extra inches, but I kind of felt like them today.

I have a kink in my neck that has stopped me from turning to the left all day long.


I had to swivel my chair any time anyone came by my desk to talk to me today. It's just not normal to always have to turn with your whole body. But you also can't be rude and talk to people without looking at them.

I need Kari back here with all of her massage skills so that I can move without pain.

And without looking like an idiotic conehead. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Little Sunday Song

9. 11:30. 1. 8.

What do these numbers have in common?

They are the times of meetings that I had today (including church of course).

That's a lot of meetings in one day. I'm exhausted.

Luckily they were good meetings.

On another you know that next weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year?


In preparation for listening to our prophet's voice, I shared this little song with my Young Women today.

Isn't that a fun way to learn who the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are?

I'm not sure that they are quite as excited about Conference as I am, but I'm going to try and share my excitement with them. I handed out a "Conference Notebook" today, and one of the questions was if it was homework. No, it's not homework! It's just helpful.

And I'm very much looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Broadcast

I'm back.

Please pardon the interruption.

My internet has been seriously struggling, and I just couldn't fight with it on Thursday.

Yesterday my excuse was laziness mixed with a big dose of over-tired.

But I'm back on track. Hopefully...

Tonight I'm very grateful that I was able to watch the General Relief Society broadcast. I am blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I love that I am also a member of the largest women's organization in the world.

It's not often that I take the time to remember that I, as a woman, have wonderful innate gifts and qualities.

But I do.

We all do.

We are daughters (and sons for you boys) of God. And that is something more wonderful than i can comprehend.

I need to remember that more often. And then act accordingly.

Here's a link to some highlights of the meeting. It is more than worth the time to watch or read the whole thing, but if nothing else, the highlights are good too.

I particularly loved President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk.

I'm going to try really hard to "forget not" the principles and truths that he taught.

Also...I went to the mall today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day Dreaming

Here are a few examples of places I'd rather be tomorrow instead of work. I'm grateful for work, but tonight I'm thinking that it would be better if tomorrow I could be in...


the Temple (doesn't have to be Salt Lake),

at a Giants game (especially since they're making a late run for the wild card),

Mexico (or Costa Rica),

Idaho (to see that cute family that lives there),


Disneyland (or World - I'm not picky),

or even San Diego.

I may not get to go to any of these places, but at least I get to go visit Gram and Gramps. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Totally Know Her!

OK..."totally" might be an extreme word.

But I do know one of the cast members of this season of SURVIVOR!

OK..."know" might actually also be a strong word.

But I did take English 251 from this lady at the good ol' Brigham Young University.

That's right. She was my teacher. We had the big blue anthology book that I think I still have packed away somewhere. I can't remember why, but one of my classmates did a presentation and used the song "One Night in Bangkok." And we had one of the McConkie grandchildren or some sort of relative in that class. I'm also pretty sure we read something by Poe. Weird the things that you remember.

And now she's on Survivor. And I totally know her!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Artsy, Smartsy

One of my favorite things about living in the Netherlands was finding random Dutch art. I loved it! I have so many pictures of sculptures or exhibits in the middle of cities, soccer fields, anywhere.

So you can imagine how much I loved the art that was everywhere at Villa Montalvo. I only took a few pictures, but here's a little sample of what we found. Most of the art was created out of repurposed materials.

This was a manual wind chime (if there is such a thing) made out of fire extinguishers and bicycle chains and wheels

In oder to get the chime to start, you had to pull the cord, which was attached to the wheel (shown here) that's above Koreen's head. So fun to use!

One of my other favorites was the wishing tree. There's a huge pine tree on the great lawn, and there are these tags on which you can write a wish or your gratitude and attach them to the tree. Here are a few of the tags that I thought were just great/funny.


Yoko Ono?! Not sure why, but ok.

This is my back-up birthday wish every year! I had to take a picture. "And...I really do want world peace." (That's another movie quote quiz. Anyone?)

And, last but not least, is the bike in the air. Actually, I believe it was titled "Luck of the Irish." Hmm...what is that saying about the Irish? I have no idea, but I think it's fantastic and hilarious all at the same time.

I love places with random art.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Birthday Adventure

Here's where I got to spend the day yesterday: the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA. Not only was the weather gorgeous, but we spent the day on these immaculate grounds. Doesn't it feel like something from an Austen book or movie?

This is a view of the villa from the Formal Garden (filled with roses and sculptures).

Here are Koreen, Nicole, Ariane, and Charity in the courtyard of the villa. The area just in front of them used to be a pool, but now it's just grass. That would make this bench like a lounge chair?

On our hike/nature walk. There are 2.5 miles of beautiful trails. We seemed to like to take pictures on the bridges. :)

Mix pine and eucalyptus trees and you have one of the best smelling walks ever.

A very nice couple stopped to take this group shot for us.

After our walk/hike, we spread out our blankets on the great lawn and had a very relaxing picnic.

Very relaxing.

Then we walked down to the Love Temple and Formal Garden. They were setting up for a wedding down under that white plaza space in the background.

In the garden.

On our way from Montalvo to the Saratoga Village (where we walked around and got ice cream), we found a house that was not only for sale, but it was open for an open house. We totally stopped and took the opportunity too peek inside once of these huge fancy homes.

When we were upstairs, I told Nicole to get in the bathtub and I'd take a picture. She was afraid we'd get caught, but she said she couldn't say no because it was my birthday. I like that rule! Sorry Nicole! really is a fun picture. :)

This was the house. It was ok. I've decided to take my 4.75 mil somewhere else though. Because we all know Nancy's home-buying rule: Never buy a house on a street with a double yellow line. But it was fun to look. Hooray for spontaneity!

Here's one more shot of the villa from the great lawn.

I'm so glad that my parents took me here as a kid, because I really loved going back and visiting as an adult. It is a beautiful, serene place. And it was every bit as wonderful as I remembered in my mind. Which is nice. I'm glad that I didn't have exaggerated memories that were shattered when I came back. Instead, my memories were validated and new ones made.

On the way home, we stopped at Mom and Dad's house for a BBQ. Not only was it delicious, but I just love being home. Home and family and friends are just such a warm, comforting, happy combination. Then add tri-tip, home-grown tomatoes, yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and the Giants winning again, and could the day get better? I don't think so. Well...if BYU hadn't gotten slaughtered by the U it could have been better. But we'll let that one slide.