Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sweet Annie tagged me, so here we go...

8 T.V. Shows I love to watch:
-The Office
-Law & Order: SVU
-Burn Notice (even though we don't have the channel anymore)
-and most recently I discovered the Bonnie Hunt Show. I typically HATE daytime TV, but she's so good I save the laundry for 2:00 so I don't feel guilty watching it!
And unfortunately, that's about it for TV...but 4 movie shows I could watch over and over are:
-pretty much any romantic comedy with Hugh Grant
-Frequency (Dennis, I love you. Or at least I love to see you smile.)
-Sleepless in Seattle
-The Courtship of Eddie's Father

8 things that happened yesterday:
-We had our 1st meeting as a new Young Women presidency (I just got called to be the president. Yikes!) It was 3 hours long. Thanks, ladies, you are troopers and we got a ton accomplished!
-Brett left for yet another business trip. Good thing I have photographs of him or else I think I'd start to forget what he looks like! (Love ya, babe. Come home soon.)
-I started laundry. Here it is a day later and none of it is folded yet. (Although in my defense, I had one load folded, which Carson promptly undid for me. What a helper.)
-I took the kids to KMart so Halle could buy her friend a birthday present. We had fun in the Christmas aisles pushing all the buttons to the electronic singing/dancing stuff.
-We had cereal and hot chocolate for dinner. I was exhausted.
-After the kids were in bed I worked on more YW stuff.
-After the YW stuff, I read some good stories online.
-At 10:30, Brett called to wish me sweet dreams.

8 favorite places to eat:
-Gecko Grill (Arizona)
-Tia Rosa's (Arizona)
-Greek food, so I guess Aristo's (sans octopus)
-Our moms' dinner tables (no reservations required, although dish-help is appreciated)
-Outdoors, especially camping
-Polar King, when it still existed
-Hires Big H
-Macaroni Grill or California Pizza Kitchen (it's a toss-up)

8 things on my wish list:
-That Brett would come home
-That I wouldn't feel so tired
-That I'd finally be on top of everything with Young Womens. It seems like there's always more to do.
-That the laundry was done
-That there weren't breakfast (and shamefully last night's dinner) dishes still sitting on the counter near the sink
-That I wouldn't fall asleep the moment I open my scriptures to read them
-That Wyatt's little "ouchie" would heal and get better. (A cut that's been bothering him.)
-That my nephew would let himself receive the love that is being offered to him by so many people and just come home. We all make wrong choices in our lives. The trick is to learn from them. We know you. We know you are a good person. We know you want things to be different. We love you. Wherever you are, please let someone--anyone--know you're alright.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

7th * Heaven!

It sounds cliche, but I've gotta say it anyway: I CAN'T BELIEVE MY FIRST "BABY" IS SEVEN YEARS OLD! There's something about this birthday...she just seems more grown up. Maybe it's because she's begun to leave behind some of those interests she's had since she was about three (Disney Princesses, the "preschool" shows on TV, board books, etc.). Now it's anything and everything Hannah (Montana, that is) and Junie B. Jones (her favorite books).
I love this outfit on her! Grandma K. sent it in a fun birthday package.
Doesn't it make her seem so grown-up?
We had a special Family Home Evening last week, discussing that this year is going to be a big one, as Halle will be preparing to join the Lord's Church. Each month, we are going to have one or two FHE lessons focused on Baptism or Receiving the Holy Ghost to help us all learn about the big event that will be taking place 365 days from now. It warmed my heart to see how excited Halle is for that day!
Since she had a "friend party" last year, this year we had a small celebration with our little family. It was a fun opportunity to create some memories just between us. We went bowling & then back to the house for some seriously-frosted birthday cake (a bit of advice: purple and teal frosting stains EVERYTHING it comes in contact with, skin included!). The kids loved bowling! But I was kind of disappointed the bowling alley didn't recommend the metal ramps when we paid. Of course we got bumpers, but we had no idea the metal ramps existed until we were almost through and another family came and used them (it makes is so much easier for kids...they just put their ball at the top of the ramp and then it rolls on down the lane at a good speed for the pins). We still had a great time, of course, but our only method of getting the ball to where it needed to be was to have the kids either throw it with a loud THUD on the hardwood floor or roll it; either way, it seemed to take the ball FOREVER to reach the pins. Now we know for next time, I guess.
Here are some pictures from our birthday celebrations! (Okay, a lot of pictures!)

Halle asked me to strike a pose. Don't ask me where this came from.
"Brad" sure was a lot of fun to bowl with!
(The Bowling Alley misheard Brett when they asked him his name
so they could type it into the computer.
It became the joke of the day.)
She's been very interested in helping in the kitchen lately, so we gave her kid-size real cooking instruments
(spatulas, measuring cups, whisks, etc) and two cookbooks.
Both cookbooks are for kids.
The first one has some super ideas in it and the second one is near-&-dear to my heart:
I found on Ebay copy of the same Care Bears Cookbook I remember using as a young chef!

Halle loves her two Hannah Montana microphones. Now she can sing like a real professional!

One of the microphones even has songs recorded on it that you can sing along with. Very cool--she and Wyatt haven't put it down!

A few months ago I found the cutest, softest robe on clearance at Mervyn's,
which turned out to work perfectly with the soft slippers
Grandma Dixie made her to keep her toesies warm this winter!
Halle enjoyed taking sugar cookies to her class for a birthday treat.
This is "Question & Answer" time on the birthday rug in Mrs. Meidell's class.
Then they sang the "Birthday Dance"--Halle held up signs
like crabwalk, hop, or tiptoe and the kids followed her instruction
while they sang. It was cute--the kids could hardly move, they were giggling so hard!

Monday, September 22, 2008

kind of chewy. kind of...not what we'd expected.

Brett and I enjoyed a FABulous meal at a new restaurant (new to us, anyway), thanks to the high recommendation of Joleen. It's a tasty little Greek place up by the U...ARISTOS. I would definitely go there again. Our main course and our salads were incredible! One thing I would not order again, however, is the baby octopus appetizer. Poor Brett and Hope. Naive and inexperienced when it comes to seafood cuisine! We ordered it, thinking we were adventurous and brave. We were also thinking it came cut up and fried, much like calamari. Nope.
I wish we could have been our waiter, seeing our faces as he placed the large plate in front of us. Our expressions had to be pure disgust and repulsion! Immediately I informed him, "Uh...I can't eat that. Brett, are you going to eat that?" Brett gave a wavering, "I don't know." The waiter said sympathetically, "Why don't you try it and if you don't like it we can send it back?" OK. That sounded reasonable. Um, sure, we can do this. We can totally do it. Which part should we cut off and eat first? The reaching legs with the sucky tentacles attached or the round part--is that the head? Where the brain would be?
Yeah. We're total chickens. We couldn't even taste it. I called the waiter and sheepishly (completely embarrassed) admitted: "If I put that in my mouth I'm going to gag. I'm sorry, but this has to go back." (Before we sent it back, we first had to take a picture with Brett's phone to remember our accounter with BABY OCTOPUS.)
Next time we'll stick with pita bread and tsatsiki for our appetizer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

he loves us and so you see, we are a happy family!

Above and Below: Brett had all three kids on his lap and bounced them
up and down over and over again. They were all in giggles
before it was over. (Brett included!)
I'm just so thankful to be married to a man who lets his children "hang out" with him while he's working and who is so HANDS ON involved in their lives. He's playful, patient, and genuinely interested in their lives. Unfortunately, I know not all kids can say that about their father. Thank heavens mine can. I might sound braggy, but I don't care. I'm proud of my man and not afraid to shout it from the rooftops!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

for all you SVU fans out there...may you not be as obsessed as I am. * it's scary, really, but if you ARE, this vids for you, so turn off my playlist:

Season 10 can't start soon enough! Let's hope it's better than season 9. Something more like Season 7. (See? I'm a total L&O geek; self-proclaimed, I might add.)

Less than one week to go until the Season Premiere. Don't bother calling me Tuesday nights between 9-10. Now that we no longer have a DVR, I will not be available one hour a week due to a television program.
And YES, I realize how pathetic that sounds.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

me quirky? nah...

Whitney "tagged" me to list Six of my Quirks, but I'm only going to list FOUR since two were the same as hers (not wanting footprints in my fresh vacuum lines) and rewriting (and rewriting!) lists)--nice to hear a woman after my same heart:

1. My nose has to be clean. As in NOTHING inside it, even the smallest, teeny-weensiest booger. I just can't stand it. To the point that sometimes my inner nostrils feel raw because I blow and wipe my schnoz so much.

2. Nothing bugs me more than when my piano students rest the palms of their hands on the keyboard while they are playing. Wrists up! Wrists up! It's hard for me to bite my tongue when they are beginners (and I do bite my tongue) and I'm always so relieved when they crawl out of that bad habit! They play better and let's face it--LOOK much better!

3. Just before I go to bed I have to do two things or else I cannot sleep--even lately when I've tried to stop being so OCD about it, I toss and turn until eventually I get out of bed and do it anyway. I have to 1) peek in on my kids one last time to make sure they are sleeping comfortably (no blankets kicked off or no one about to fall out of bed) and 2) I check the doorlocks and my scentsy burners because I'm always paranoid I haven't locked the doors or that our house will catch on fire because I've left the Scentsies burning all night long.

4. For some reason the last load of laundry usually ends up staying in the dryer until the following week when I'm ready to start laundry all over again. I'm not sure why I do this. Sometimes I think I've forgotten about it and sometimes I think I'm so sick of doing laundry by the end that I just get lazy and think "I'll get it later"...and then I don't.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ladies & gents, BREAKFAST is served...

Our kids have recently taken to the idea of "cooking" breakfast for mommy and daddy. I'd be lying if I didn't say this scares me a little. One of these days, will I wake up to the smell of smoke because they've put something non-microwavable in the microwave or gotten brave enough to try cooking on the stove top? Or will I find a lake of spilled milk dripping onto my tile floor? All fears aside, however, it is the sweetest feeling in the world to know you children excitedly conspired this sunrise surprise just for you!!!

Here's a picture of our first juvenile-made feast: toast and orange juice. Nothing like a Dora Cup of OJ to help wash down a delicious bite of toast
which has been saturated with a "healthy"-sized serving of butter.

YUM! Every bite tasted of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

What we thought was the best part, however, was the "check-list" we found that Halle had made of things they had to do. Is she my daughter, or what??? THREE CHEERS FOR LISTS!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(We did have a talk about how them cooking breakfast is such a treat because it doesn't happen that often--I think I was able to quell any desire to do it everyday by presenting the notion that surprises are fun because they are rare. We also had to cover "toaster-safety" as I had visions of them inserting forks or knives in order to retrieve a stuck piece of bread.)

Friday, September 12, 2008


I realize it's one day after the anniversary and that this post may have been more appropriately-timed 24 hours ago, but yesterday I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't let my mind go back to that day. Sometimes there are memories still too fresh, too raw...do you have those, whether about 9/11 or anything else, where you feel you just do not have the emotional reserve to allow yourself to visit those memories? That's how I felt yesterday. Any time my mind drifted to the idea that it was a somber anniversary, I found myself quickly pushing it away, trying to ignore it. Our morning had already started off on a depressing note, as my in-laws beloved family pet of over a decade had passed away...I just couldn't do more. In fact, I think I did everything I could to avoid the obvious date. I did laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, took the kids for a long bike ride, and even went out to dinner with some girlfriends. But it was after dinner. After the sun had gone down where the day finally caught up with me, in the silence of a house with three beautiful children sleeping upstairs--safe and free. I turned on the television and what did it happen to be on? The History Channel just as it was starting it's "102 Minutes that Changed America" program. Basically a minute-by-minute account (in real time) assembled from audio and video taken by professionals and amateurs on that fateful day. Watching it made you feel as though you were there...in New York...a bystander witnessing history and tragedy. I was tired and it was late, but I couldn't turn it off. I was taken back to my own experience that day. Everyone has their own that will never be forgotten. Here's mine. It's not a pleasant read, how could it be, but someday it will be important that my children read it and realize what we all went through that day.

I was pregnant with Halle--in fact, she was born on Tuesday, September 25, two weeks from that very day. At that time, I was working for SkyWest Airlines and had recently transferred from the airport to their training facility downtown Salt Lake. Following my morning routine, I flipped on the TV so I could listen to the Today Show while I got ready. But as soon as the screen was lit, the television aired dramatic images of smoke that had me frozen in place. I sat, kneeling on the floor, for probably ten minutes as I tried to take in the shock of it all. Brett was on his way to class at the U and I remember thinking, "I've gotta call Brett." My other thought was that my job was going to probably be busier today as I knew air space over New York was restricted, and anytime that happens, no matter where in the country, it affects every airline in some way as passengers have to be rerouted, etc. I called Brett and told him about this terrible "accident".

Just as I was wrapping up my phonecall and getting ready to turn my back to the TV, a motion on the screen caught my eye. A burst of flames and audible gasps from Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. I recall yelling into the phone that there had been an explosion and Brett was asking me "What happened? Calm down! What happened?" I kept him on the phone as I watched and within a minute the news had rebroadcast the footage and it was very clear. A 2nd plane had flown itself into another building. It was now obvious to everyone that this tragedy was no accident, but rather something deliberate and full of hate. I immediately began to cry and told Brett I had to get to work, that I knew there would be complete chaos at the airport. I got ready as quickly as I could and drove to the TRAX station. On the way I called my mother-in-law because I knew my father-in-law was back East on business and was supposed to fly home that morning. I was in a panic as I could not reach him myself and wanted to make sure she knew to tell him to NOT get on the plane. She said she had already spoken to him and as expected, all planes were grounded. Next, I called my boss and asked her if she wanted me to go to the airport to help the ticket agents. She told me that actually, at the moment, they did not need help as they were not yet rescheduling passengers, since no one knew when to reschedule them for. How long would planes be grounded? Did airports need to be evacuated? Did all luggage need to be rechecked for security purposes? All of these questions were being presented to airport personnel. Instead, I was needed downtown to help get our crews home. That's when it hit me.

The flight crews. Rumors had already spread that the two planes had been hijacked, likely the most terrifying scenario a flight crew could face. Of course, I did not know the flight crews of those planes personally, but like most jobs, people that work in the same field feel a sense of brotherhood or in the very least commonality. Here I am, standing at the TRAX station, and I've started to sob because I've had a mental picture of what the morning must have been like for them. Starting out the day like any other: putting on their uniforms, packing their small carry-ons with the brightly-colored plastic "CREW" tags attached to the handles. Kissing their loved ones goodbye if they are leaving their home that morning, or taking the elevator down to the lobby from their hotel room if they were doing a stand-up shift. Arriving at the airport, they would have checked-in with Crew Scheduling and participated in a briefing about an hour before take-off, overviewing the flight plan and doing their preflight work. They may have experienced what I had many times when I worked Flight Operations at SkyWest...they may have stopped into Operations and enjoyed a bagel or a cup of coffee as they joked and visited with the ground airline employees. As they entered the aircraft, they would have said hello to the ticket agents who were working their particular flight. That brought a whole new range of emotion to me as I thought of that. The ticket agents. I was a ticket agent. What if you were that ticket agent who had personally exchanged conversation with those terrorists, checking them in, asking them how they were doing that morning, checking their ID, which appeared to be valid, and then taking their ticket as you bid them a good flight? Closing the flight and walking the manifest to down to the flight crew. That would stay with you the rest of your life. And even though you had done your job, the guilt that you would feel. And what about after take-off? The horror and pain the crew and the passengers went through in-flight. A lot of people may joke about flight attendants being glorified waitresses, not crediting the months of intense training a FA endures before their first flight. Their first and foremost duty is the safety of the aircraft cabin and its passengers. I suppose we'll never know every detail of those flights, but I felt physically ill as months later we heard of the audio reports from the black box of United 93 where in the background a FA can be heard pleading for her life, the pilots lay dead or dying. So many people were murdered that day. People in the towers, people on the ground by the towers, or the heroic rescue workers running into the towers when everyone else was running out. People in Washington, D.C. serving our country at the Pentagon, and all the passengers on board the planes. But the thoughts that consumed me the most at that moment were the kind of people I worked with everyday. The Captains, First Officers, and Flight Attendants, who had simply gone to work, not realizing that their "work space", their aircraft, would be their vehicle to their graves, as well as missiles used to kill thousands others.

The rest of that day was spent trying to find hotel and travel accomodations for the many SkyWest crew members who were now stranded in cities, unable to fly home. I was at the front desk but I could hear coworkers in the copy room watching the news on an antenna television with poor reception. At one point, I could hear from that room my coworker Amber stifle a scream. She came out seconds later sobbing, "They're jumping! Jumping out of buildings. I saw them jump, holding hands!" That night Brett just held me as we both watched the TV and cried. Eventually, he said we ought to turn it off, that it wasn't doing us any good to keep watching the footage over and over. I cried myself to sleep with my husband's arms around me, and all I could think of were all the spouses who's arms were empty.

Looking back into the days and weeks that followed, don't you find it interesting that at that time, no one objected to public prayer or public expressions of pleading for Diving Intervention? Flags were everywhere. Patriotism was everywhere. So was God. And everyone felt so desperate, felt a need for a God, that nobody objected. Nobody protested or felt their rights were violated.
How soon we forget.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

confessions of an odd-eater:

There is something about Brett being gone that puts me into absolute ANTI-COOKING mode. For some reason, when he is not here, it's more difficult for me to get the kids to eat the more "grown-up" meals (you know...normal stuff, like chicken and rice, lasagna, blah-blah-blah). So I don't even try. Instead we have "kid stuff"...mac 'n cheese, Campbell's chicken noodle soup, pancakes. Stuff I don't have to force feed with a back hoe. The only problem is none of that kind of food appeals to me after a long day of single-parenting, so what usually ends up happening is me sitting and visiting with the kids while they eat their dinner. Then, after they go to bed, I eat whatever sounds good but does not require much preparation. Here's where things get interesting. When I am the only responsible adult around, I eat the stupidest stuff. There. I admit it. Take last night for example. Once I had the house to myself I settled down for a real pathetic feast. First, I finished off the last half of a small jar of green olives. Then I moved on to the three remaining dill pickles that have been sitting lonely in the back of our fridge for a month. I was thirsty, but had a hankerin' for something sweet, so I had a large glass of chocolate milk. Popped in a DVD. Watched half of it before deciding the olives and pickles didn't cut it. Paused the DVD while I set myself up with 3 slices of bread and a generous puddle of A-1 Sauce to dip it in. Don't forget the string cheese and a tall ice water to wash it all down with. I know, I know. I'm nuts. Now, I must defend myself (if it's at all possible at this point) by saying typically I fill my nights with a heaping bowl of cereal. But after three days of Marshmallow Maties and Honey Bunches of Oats, I was feeling a little "cerealed-out". How I made the leap from cereal to A-1, one will never know. I think I've mentioned in the past how much I love sauces, so I guess at the time it didn't seem "off". Heck, at least I was eating it with bread instead of a spoon! Now that would just be weird.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

i'm just a kid who's four, each day i learn some more...

Wyatt has been looking forward to his new PRESCHOOL ADVENTURES for many, many months now! So has Mommy... It's weird to have him gone, even if it's only for a few hours twice a week, but I am so anxious for him to have more social interactions with other children and he is more than ready to learn, learn, learn! He's such a sponge, absorbing everything around him. He's attending Foxtales Preschool and so far we feel great about things. His teacher, Miss Amy, seems more than qualified, and I like that she is so organized and purpose-focused. Here are some pictures of his preschool "firsts":
At "Meet The Teacher" Night
Making a "frame" Miss Amy was going to glue his picture onto
Getting ready for a storytime


Rico Suave on his first morning of school, September 2

Like his new duds?

He was so pumped about wearing new school clothes!


Miss Amy, Mr. Wyatt, and the bright Sunshine

on our FIRST DAY!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

leavin' on a jet plane...and eating bean dip.

Well, this Sunday evening I find I have the entire house to myself. OK...myself and my three beautiful, funny, and at the moment, hyper-active children. After lunch and FHE, Brett hopped on a Southwest jetplane for 113 degree weather in sunny Arizona. He'll be gone for a week, enjoying the life of a bachelor (the kind that wear a gold wedding band). I, in the mean time, will enjoy days filled with kid-friendly dinners (when he's gone it's usually mac 'n cheese or pancakes for dinner) and hearing every creak this house makes at night (my "manly-beefcake" won't be here to protect me from the imaginary home-intruders that my mind conjures up in paranoia). It will also be an interesting week as it is our first to "endure" with downgraded cable. (But it feels soooo good to save $$$!) No more DVR. No more HD-TV. No more channel above 25, and really, we don't get that many since about 6 of them are either shopping networks or in a language 4 out of 5 people in this house do not understand. (I'm actually starting to wonder if Brett really has legitimate "work" down in Phoenix or if he's using it as an excuse to get himself back to CABLE TELEVISION... Hmm...I definitely have my suspicions.)
While he is there, I asked him to please eat at our favorite restaurant in Gilbert. If I can't go there myself, I'll "eat" vicariously through him. Moly Moly, I miss the bean dip, the horchatas, and the shrimp-mango quesadillas at Gecko Grill. (Any East Valley Arizonan knows exactly what I'm talking about!)
So honey, know that I'm (we're) missing you while you're away. Try to have fun during your short time free of family responsibilities, and...we'll keep the light on for you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

gearin' up for another year of learnin'

The all-important backpacks.
And here we are.
Halle, the mighty 1st-Grader standing in front of Washington El.
with her co-student & gal-pal Hannah Banana. (I'm loving the legs crossed!)
Is this the door opportunity knocks on?
Wyatt had fun helping big sister find her seat.
Oh, and he just had to wear his backpack, too!

Here is Mrs. M.

Remember how much you idolized your elementary school teachers???

I wanted to grow up to look just like and be just like my first-grade

teacher, Mrs. Womack...I thought she was the nicest lady and so perdy...

It was probably disruptive, but I couldn't resist:
I snuck in one last picture after the bell rang and class started.
There's our A-student!
Day 2: Riding the bus to-and-from:
I love how she looked that morning! I wish I would have gotten a better picture without the glare of the sun! Her bus stop is super-convenient, being just at the end of our street. It was a leap of faith for this over-protective mommy to let her baby be driven back and forth by really a stranger on a bus that potentially could be occupied by a few children with values that may be less than ideal, but it's been a good growing experience for us both. Mostly me (let's be honest). She's doing great walking home by herself (with Mom watching out the window like a hawk!) and has even told me about when the "older kids" were being bullies or vulgar and how she chose to change seats closer to the front.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
That's my girl.


Playing with sweet friend, J., at the bus stop.

Talking to daddy and telling him all about school!

toothless wonder

On the back of our pantry door I have a list of chores the kids can do to earn money. Halle has been saving her pennies to buy a new clock/radio/CD player for her room. She's got $7 out of $10 earned already ($10 is Mom's special price). Let me tell you...at the rate she's going, she's not going to have to do any more chores to make up the $3 difference! In the past month, the tooth fairy has paid her for three, yes THREE, chompers! She's losing teeth left and right! I keep teasing her that soon all she'll be able to eat is applesauce and pudding! The third tooth (the bottom one) she lost at school, which made it all the more EXCITING!
"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson