The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at
home in the bosom of my family.

-Thomas Jefferson

Friday, November 14, 2008

Artistic Outlet

One of the ways we try to make our together time special is to go on “Family Dates”. Last week we had so much fun at Color Me Mine, an open studio for painting ceramic pieces. We chose to paint teacups for yet-to-be-planned tea parties.

Nick was super meticulous to attain the drippy look along the rim of his cup.

Alli’s teacup went through several phases during our hour and a half session. She loved being there with just the three of us doing what she loves to do—paint. The final stages of her cup were completed using a mixed palette –as in she mixed all the colors on her palette.
I had fun experimenting with the different techniques they had displayed—mixing paint with soap and water and then blowing bubbles, combined with taping off sections to get a clean striped look.
We highly recommend this activity as it is appealing to such a wide audience and it allows for time spent with one another talking and creating something beautiful and memorable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Being a Woman of God

Recently, I have seen the need to reassess where I am, spiritually speaking. This introspection resulted in a goal to define and become a Woman of God. Based on my study of what others have said, I will share what I believe a Woman of God to be. The following are ideals, mind you, and are by no means areas that I have perfected.

A Woman of God:

  • Has knowledge that God blesses her each day with His love. She feels His love and identifies His hand in all things. She knows that she can turn to the Rock and Anchor of her faith when life seems anything but stable.

  • Serves God, others, and self—in that order.

  • Loves. She nurtures and finds opportunities to create an environment friendly for growth and views mistakes as part of the growing process.

  • Cherishes the knowledge of the sanctity of marriage and family life. She supports honorable men—whether they are in her family, civic leaders, or church leaders—and she does all she can to uphold a decent society where men are free to excel in their capacities, free from the filth that so easily besets virtuous men.

  • Is willing to sacrifice and not gloat about the perceived “loss”, thus becoming a martyr.

  • Understands that no amount of time in front of the mirror will compensate for the inner beauty that radiates from a woman of God. She knows that her body is a wonderful gift and she will not be dissuaded to embrace the worldly belief that she does not “measure” up (or down).

  • Is empowered with unshakable confidence in the gestalt (the smaller elements that are unified to make up a whole that cannot be understood by inspection of the individual parts) of God’s plan for her life.

In my quest to become this ethereal being, I want to know what my friends and family think of who a Woman of God is.

**What is an attribute that describes a Woman of God?
**Do you have a female role model that emulates these attributes? Who is she?

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I am a lackadaisical blogger (I love that word and all it's nuances). We have been busy living life and have failed to chronicle our adventures.

Here is a generic update on our goings-on:

1. Halloween was a blast with Alli living out her dream of being a witch and cackling the night away.

2. Miriam's birthday was spent in the company of her lovely parents who came all the way from The Land of Enchantment to spend time with us. Those birthday celebrations were in addition to a fun jaunt to a romantic getaway in Midway with Nick.

3. Miriam has not yet been summoned to Jury Duty (fingers crossed!)

4. Nick has started attending Toastmasters to improve his public speaking abilities--his constant drive to improve himself is inspiring!

5. We are getting ready for winter...and we still hold to the desire to have the ability to hibernate as the cold sets in.

All in all, we are happy and healthy and have a renewed goal to be a better blogger family!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Civic Hesitancy

I am proud to be an American, as goes the song which is in tune with my heartfelt sentiments. However, I’m NOT excited to serve time as a juror. The judicial branch of the U.S. government is a blessed operation and I fully support justice in all its forms. Let it be known that I dutifully sent in my acceptance form yesterday, but I dragged my feet all the way to the mailbox. My assigned dates are anywhere from October 1 through December 29. Wow.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"You said the loud part soft...

...and the soft part loud." That is a quote from Simpson's that used to crack my sister, Rachel and I up. What cracks me up now is how aptly it applies to having a four-year old whose social skills are all but absent. The odd timing and volume choice for many of Alli’s comments made in very public places gives me discreet hysteria for prolonged periods of time. Good golly, I can’t let her know how funny it is to laugh at something inappropriate like gas, burps, silly names…oh it all goes back to bodily functions! I guess I’m exposing myself as somewhat immature in confessing my mantra for coping in all situations I’ve been in, “Gas is ALWAYS funny”. I was a teacher of both first and sixth graders—gas had to be funny or I would have gagged all day long. I was a sister missionary surrounded by 180+ Elders—after sitting in Zone Conference all day after a starchy Mormon lunch, gas had to be funny. I’m married to a healthy male—need I say more?

I digress in overly focusing on flatulence.

Back to Alli’s awesome comments… She has this thing with Asia. We have a world map that we use occasionally when we try to pop our Happy Valley Bubble and think outside the box. Asia is the biggest and brightest on our map. For a while she thought our neighborhood was inside Asia. Now she wants to live in Asia after she’s married. So, when we went to the Storytelling Festival and she was delighted to listen to a talented Japanese woman (who btw was a guest on Mr. Rogers, may he RIP…he’s dead, right?). The next woman who got up was a vivacious Southern African-American woman. Right after the applause died down, she turned to me, and in a not-so-soft voice said, “She’s from Asia too, huh Mom?!” Wow, stifle those snickers, because it’s not funny! ;D

She was all too delighted to visit the Hogle Zoo and their new Asia interactive community!

This is an awesome first day of Preschool shot, aye? She's a doll!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've been tagged!

My amazing, wonderful, and lucky-to-be-related friend, Samantha (my sis-in-law) tagged me in her latest post.

8 facts....
1. I am married to a man who makes it easy for people question if we are still on our honeymoon. We love to breathe the same air and we start to miss each other if one is gone away for several hours. I hold to the opinion that when we are made fun of, it's just jealousy because everyone wants to have someone the way Nick and I have each other.

2. Alli is my tangible sunshine. She is a daughter only God could give to me. My love for her grows even when I thought I reached the limit.

3. I am blessed to have frequent moments of quiet even in the middle of the day because God knows me and knows what I need. I am not ashamed that I get to take naps on days when I am too tired.

4. I read the last pages of books…but keep reading even knowing the end. I guess it’s my way of feeding my desire to know what life will be like for me in the future.

5. I buy fun paper and fabric from all over…and rarely use it. Everyone needs something to collect, right?

6. I have bare front room walls because my vision doesn’t fit our budget and I prefer visual sterility to bankruptcy. If only we relied on a barter-based economy, I could cook tasty food to pay a savvy interior decorator.

7. Speaking of tasty food…I could eat rice and beans everyday until I die.

8. I can’t replace sentimentality for practicality. I know that my scriptures are worn and torn and have no room to write anymore notes, but the new scriptures I bought remained closed and rarely read. I know that I could sleep with any small blanket that would scrunch up just right under my arm, but my Grammy made my baby blanket that I still sleep with. I know that I could completely clean my bathroom mirror, but that would mean erasing the love notes Nick has left for me in dry-erase marker.

***This “8 Facts” tag can be passed along to anyone waiting to create a post but lacking direction in what to blog about. Or, like myself, anyone who has fallen so far behind in summer blogging even thinking about chronicling the past couple months seems overwhelming and a simple and undirected “8” theme is sufficient.***

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A hop, skip, and a jump

We’re teaching Alli to skip and despite the defective teacher (me) she has, she is surprisingly good. For whatever reason, I’ve never been a great hopper—jumping and bouncing around haven’t ever been super appealing to me. Today, whilst merrily watering the cucumbers in my garden, a teeny tiny garter snake quickly slithered inches from my Chaco exposed toes. I jumped and the height I reached in that air time might have qualified me for the China summer games. I HATE SNAKES. Loathe, despise, abhor, detest…there is nothing I like about them. Two distinct memories vividly flashed in my mind during that Michael Jordan “hang time” in the garden. Once, when I was seven, my mom and sister Rachel were at the cabin in AZ and went creek wading. A very harmless, very unknowing water snake made its way back home via the top of my immersed foot. I vaguely remember learning that snakes have ears and I’m sure he, regrettably, heard my unending screams. That’s the closest I’ve ever come to fainting. The second memory was of a trip to Santa Barbara, CA to learn to surf a couple years ago. In the quaint downtown of that seaside city there are “snake people” hanging out on the street with boxes (really, boxes) full of snakes. They let people see how many they can drape on their bodies and my friends really got into it. I sat on a bench on the street corner, trying to control my breathing. Am I just as abnormal as I’ve always joked I am?

***What are some of your phobias?

***Have you had any close encounters with unconsciousness in dealing with them?

PS I had a really hard time putting the picture of the snake up, it creeps me out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Land of Enchantment

New Mexico is called the land of enchantment for several obvious reasons. By unanimous approval it is the best state in the United States (yes, folks, New Mexico is a part of the USA) based solely on the fact that it is the home of green chile—no need to say more, but, no worries, I will say more. It is where you can find some of the best pizza and sandwiches (thanks, Dion’s), made even better because of green chile. And let’s not forget the best place for dining anytime of the day or night, Flying Star, who, by the way, also has some great green chile dishes.

Eating aside, New Mexico also offers some other really great attractions, like family. Alli loved playing with her cousin, Rachel, and the two were inseparable from the time we got there. Nick and I love spending time with my parents and brother, Matthew and his wife, Samantha and their adorable family. We really feel blessed to have such a wonderful extended family.

One of the highlights of our vacation was the time spent at my grandparents’ cabin in the White Mountains of Alpine, Arizona (on the NM/AZ border). The real perk (for me) was no internet and no cell phone reception (since I got more Nick time). Activities there included hiking, relaxing to the big band tunes played on the 8 Track, hiking, fishing, and hiking. We even got to hike Chapache Peak (a pretty rigorous hike close to the cabin) on our one year anniversary (never fear, I plan to create a post exclusively based on our one year of marital bliss later—prepare to vomit—we’re still head over heels!).

At the amazing Albuquerque Zoo....move over, Hogle, this is a REAL zoo! Alli is soaked from having played in the water park they have there.

It's not a vacation unless you go swimming with cousins! Alli wins the 180 degree award becasue last summer Nick and I used to have claw marks on our shoulders after going swimming, but now we can't keep up with her!

Carson and Landon celebrated thier birthdays cowboy style and the party was decked out with hats, bandanas, horse back riding, crafts, a BBQ........and 60 mph winds which honestly only dampened some of the party.
These two were best buds the whole time. Thanks to Rachel, Alli had the Barbie awakening. It was so fun to see them use "Barbie" voices and trade dresses and make Barbie houses.
At first, Carson wasn't so sure how he felt about being in a boat. Being as daring as he is, I was shoked to see him being so timid.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hope Brightened by Pain

Yesterday I spent the majority of my evening reading a most remarkable blog that I had found while “blog hopping” (thanks, Force for Good for the link!). The author is a mother of four children. During the pregnancy of her fourth child, she found out that the baby would be born fatally ill and would not live beyond a few hours after birth. This woman, Angie, painfully and spiritually follows the grief journey of a mother losing her child. She is an adept writer whose talent is amplified by her experience as a psychologist. Her husband sings in the Christian group, Selah, which adds a very meaningful gospel perspective into gaining wisdom despite the hardships of life. The bitter pain of Angie’s loss is eased by her deep and ongoing relationship with the One who knows all our pains and a Father who also watched life being taken from His Son.

Angie’s anguish and unfathomable strength mirrors another mother who admirably has dealt with countless trials that have helped her become who she is today. My amazing mother has taught me about the Gospel in many ways. It has been through my mother's example of enduring a life of hardships (accompanied with countless blessings, of course) where others might crumple, she has risen above. Nephi explained best what my mother busies herself doing, “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2N 31:20).

This coming weekend will mark seven years since my sister, Rachel, passed away in a car accident. I have never felt as close to my Father in Heaven with such a clear understanding of the Plan of Happiness as during the weeks and months following her passing. My greatest understanding that led to peace in continuing on with life, despite having lost my best friend, was my need to keep up with her progression. She has the advantage of being relieved of many of the cares and burdens we carry in mortality. Her spiritual journey will continue and surpass my own if I am not diligent in daily communicating with my Maker and studying His Word through the scriptures and living prophets.

Rachel is a bright example of love, joy, beauty and side-splitting humor. Do I miss her? Yes. Am I disappointed at the way life sometimes turns out? Yes. Do I believe in a God whose understanding can turn my nighttime sorrows into an eternity of joys? Yes.

My heart right now is reaching in prayer to mothers and fathers who have lost their children. I believe that Christ “…will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces…” (Isaiah 25:8)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Discovery in the Deluge

With all the nostalgia associated with rainy days, it is darling to see that Alli loves them as much as I did as a child. The Eyre’s tell me to foster her creativity and imagination that are innate gears built into a child’s mental engine. So, when she devised a way to keep her eyes dry while playing in the rain, I didn’t comment on the perceived “waste” of two circular Band-Aids (what use are those things, anyways?) but praised her on her adept use of her resources. The result was one happy child who successfully performed her first hands-on science experiment.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Making of a Triathlete

So it was in St. George that I learned even more about the dexterity and fortitude of the human body and soul. Wow, triathlons are awesome. Wow, Nick is awesome. He ended up finishing 26th out of 128 in his age group.

We left Friday morning so we could get into town soon enough for Nick to do a trial swim at the reservoir and a run on the course. Meanwhile, Alli Jean (our newest nickname), Nene, Drew, and I spent some hard working time at the hotel pool sweating to the oldies. Nick returned donned in Sharpie pronouncing his number 1423 placed conspicuously on arms, legs, and hands. The cool thing about the marking is that they put the participant’s age on the left calf—which feeds the voyeur in me and engenders admiration for the amazing stuff that 65 year-olds can do. We attended the Tri-Club carb dinner at the park and returned to the hotel to service Nick’s bike and dowse all his gear in baby powder (to improve transition times).

Despite the horrid temperature battles we all face while sleeping in hotels (why can’t those dang box fans accommodate us through the night!?), all three of us were up at 5 a.m. slathered in sunscreen and wearing our finest to suit the predicted 84 degree sunnyness in Dixie. Ummm, did someone forget to tell us that 5 a.m. temperatures are far below the daily high? That was my airhead moment for the trip. Brrrr! Nick’s age group put him in about the fourth wave to start the swim. He was out in the water waiting for about forty minutes freezing in his slick looking wetsuit before they called off the swim since they had to rescue about forty people from the previous waves. So, we dashed to the starting lines and watched him begin his bike ride and return to complete a record breaking run (based on his personal best). Nick did better than his last St. George tri and we are very proud of him.

I wonder what Alli really thought of the race. Maybe in her head were thoughts like these, “My mommy woke me up when it’s still nighttime, put me in shorts, and drove me to a place where we sit on lava rocks by a lake and freeze while eating raisins. We move around a lot looking at all these people who look just like my daddy when all I want to do is ‘Go back to the hotel!’ At least my mommy keeps me entertained while I watch her jump up and down and sing songs!”

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Self-Appointed Hiatus

Lest the cybershpere deem us boring, I would like to assert that we have indeed been living a fruitful life. Occasionally, I think it is healthy to just fall off the face of technology. So, we did! But, we have had several fun happenings recently.

1. It has finally stopped snowing and we have christened the BBQ and eat outdoors twice a day (if not more!). The routine of several mile-long walks have started up again and Alli was glad to be stroller-free on our last outing.

2. Alli turned four and had a successful book party full of family and new books. She has found a new passion in the recreation center gymnastics class she is attending.

3. Nick is prepping for the first triathlon of the year that will take place this weekend in St. George.

4. Miriam is loving stay-at-home mommyhood and felt spoiled to be able to attend BYU Women’s Conference

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Loving Literacy

We are book nerds. I’m not ashamed to admit that. Nor am I abashed to say that we have no TV. The truth is we prefer to read. This love of literacy applies especially to Alli. We have even decided to have Alli’s fourth birthday be a Birthday Book Bash (with her resounding approval, of course) where the guests who choose to bring a gift will bring a book rather than the traditional present pick. This is particularly useful since of late she favors feathers, movie ticket stubs, and stuffed animal innards as her “treasures”. We still have several unopened Christmas and birthday (yes, they’re almost a year old now) presents that she does not care to open and play with.

I digress…

My objective for this post is to share some of the really keen ideas for imbuing the love of literacy in little ones. Disclaimer: do not attribute any of these ideas to my own intelligence; mostly I have gleaned them from my ever-enthusiastic pseudo-sister, Shauna. She is a powerhouse of a woman and actually wrote an article for our Church magazine last spring that helped to substantiate the spiritual affirmations surrounding my impending marriage and stay-home-motherhood with Nick and Alli. So, here’s a shout out for fellow book nerds:

1. The “Book Fairy”

This is one of my favorites since I get to dress up in my wedding dress and tiara (what newly married bride doesn’t seek for that opportunity?!) Also, I made my own wand which was surprisingly gratifying. The idea is that when I catch Alli reading on her own—I quick make the Clark Kent change and come down the stairs carrying a lavishly wrapped box. By the way, the box is reusable so I don’t have to wrap each for each fairy visit—and as Shauna says, “It’s all in the presentation. It could be a D.I. (Salvation Army or Goodwill) book and it still looks appealing to them”. In my “fairy” voice I ask Alli what kinds of books she’s been reading lately, which are her recent favorites, why she likes reading, etc. and then she gets to open the box and the Book Fairy reads them to her. Alli still doesn’t know it’s me but says, “The Book Fairy had your lips” so I think she’s on to me! Also, the Book Fairy only visits once or twice a month, so it's really low pressure and enforces the pleasure of independant reading with a sporadic, big reward.

2. Book Clubs

Since I am currently a multiple book club groupie I thought it only fair that Alli gets to share in the joys of sharing a good book. Alli’s book club took place on a Saturday afternoon and lasted about an hour, so it really is not too hefty of a commitment on my part or participating mothers. The agenda went something like this: we read several books on birds (The Magpie’s Nest, Stellaluna, selected poems from Wings on the Wind, and talking about pictures from a reference guide), interspersed with finger plays and songs, we built paper bag nests with pompom birds inside plastic Easter eggs, and we ended with making edible nests from yogurt, All Bran, shredded fruits and veggies, and grapes for eggs.

Shauna’s most recent book club for her daughter, Coco (Alli’s peer), was not thematic but rather based on the fabulous author and illustrator Kevin Henkes. Really, I encourage any mother of children as young as preschoolers and every age on up to create a book club. This comes from the tremendously profound writings of….

3. Jim Trelease

His book, The Read Aloud Handbook (aka “The Literacy Bible”), has not only changed my life but helped to solidify many of the methods I was already involved in with Alli. I am inadequate in my writing to sufficiently shed light on this remarkable book. It is jam packed with reasons to READ READ READ READ. Please buy this book. You will want to write in it, take it with you to bookstores and libraries, take it to the restroom (what better place is there to ponder on the betterment of mankind?), sleep with it under your pillow….

**What are some of the things you do with kids to boost book lovin’?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Buzz

Every third bite of food we eat is bee dependant, that’s over $15 billion worth of crops. But, where are the bees going? Scientists and beekeepers are stumped at the mysterious disappearance of the nation’s bees. There have been other declines in the bee population before now, but they have all been regional as opposed to this widespread absence. The cause is unknown since the bees are not returning to the colony to die. However, scientists have several hypothesis—diminished number of beekeepers (and consequently less bees) but still more crops to pollinate, stress (a little bee has a lot of work, you know!), a virus, pesticides, or mites. Something I never knew is that most of our honey is imported from…guess? Yeah, China—what isn’t these days? It is also sent to us from Argentina. Because of this outsourcing, the US honey market is depressed which has led beekeepers to create “pollinating contracts” where they actually pack up the colonies (hives) into 18 wheeler trucks and travel to agricultural sites. So, we will keep seeing the amber colored Sue Bee bears at Wal-Mart for the same price because of our idiocy in saving a penny while in return endangering the nation’s crops.

So, less doom and gloom and more proactivity always helps me to sleep better. What can we do to help our little fuzzy friends? Start locally by planting bee friendly flowers: lavender, glory bushes, jasmine, rosemary, coreopsis, violets, thyme, wisteria, bluebells, trumpet vines, sunflowers, cosmos, and cone flowers. Another way is to support the beekeepers by buying local honey and bee products (i.e. honeycomb, beeswax candles) and by using natural honey instead of sugar at home and in restaurants. Also, you can EAT ICE CREAM to help keep the buzz alive—twist my arm! Haagen Dazs is donating to the bee cause anytime we buy “bee-dependant flavors” such as almond, fruit, or honey flavored.

Many view the disappearing bees as a sign of things to come. I’m not a bee expert, and maybe I’m being paranoid, but I love fruit more than I love any other food and it makes me scared to think of arriving at a grocery store to find empty produce aisles. Let’s help the little striped guys!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Costco writes my shopping lists for me. I had no idea I "needed" a seahorse kite, but I'm glad that despite the overwhelming snow drifts, I had the foresight in January to buy it. "Kiting", or the act of flying a kite, was a wonderful way to begin the routine of sunny family outings. Have we mentioned yet that we pracically shed tears of joy that winter has finally ended?

"Seriphina" is the newest addition to the family. The Easter Bunny purchased it as an impulse buy--but the rabbit was obviously inspired. It will not be long before the white kitty is dingy-the cat goes EVERYWHERE with Alli since the arrival of the basket. Seriphina is a perfect fit since Alli's alter personality is a cat.

Nick is a hottie while handling the kite. And of course, no picture taking would be complete without some mack action!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Springtime Easter!

We were really blessed to have Nick's mom and little brother, Drew, stay with us for the past several days and they were able to join in our pre, during, and post Easter celebrations. This year we tried to find some fun traditions to not only maintain but start, as well. For example, Good Friday tasted sweet with Hot Cross Buns (Alli can now sing the tune, even while eating them). We also did Easter "devotions" every night--using cutouts to reinact the last days of Christ's life, singing songs about the life of Jesus, and opening 12 plastic eggs each containing a bit of the Easter story (a broken piece of bread, a miniature cross, nails, etc.).

Of course, Paas came through with flying colors. I really despise the smell of hard boiled eggs, but Drew and Alli had a blast experimenting with the palatte of vinegar extracted rainbows, so I just tried my best to block out the sulfer smells.

The Easter Bunny delivered Alli's basket on Saturday. I highly recommend starting that tradition since the din during the Sunday service was obviously sugar based. Alli got all dolled up for the day, princess hair inclded! (She's so cute waving to Nick who was inside the house trying to hurry us out the door)
The whole family came over for the dinner and egg hunt. Nick and I love to cook and we were pretty proud of our chosen menu and the success of it's tastiness. We had ham, curried fruit, funeral potatoes, green bean cassorole, and more hot cross buns. While the cooking process took place, the adults gorged ourselves on caramel rum pecans with shaved What a celebration of new life and the love we have in our beautiful family.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Unfortuantely Perfect

It is sad to discover a tasty recipe sometimes. Drat the internet. The least I can do is pass along the calorie laden goodness in recipe form since Nick and I have devoured most of the baked goodness known as: Unbelievably Good Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ cup sugar
¾ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch chunks [I just used half of a 12-oz bag of bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips]

1) Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

2) Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars on low speed until it is smooth and lump free, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.

3) Add the vanilla and egg and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.

4) On low speed, add the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate chunks and mix until they are just incorporated. If using a hand mixer, use a wooden spoon to stir them in. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.

5) Preheat oven to 350. Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Spoon the dough using a cookie scooper 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. (makes about 23 3-inch round cookies)

6) Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Wait at least 5 minutes before serving or 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rec Center Gems

One of the best parts of not joining a “gym” but rather reaping the civic benefits of a community recreation center is the morning conversation in the women’s locker room. I’m a bona fide eaves dropper and since the water aerobics ladies are such a riot, there are several giggles I’ve had to stifle to mask my unknown involvement in their lives. Sometimes I prolong my pre-swimming rinse off just to catch the rest of a conversation thread. Here are a few of the bits of wisdom gleaned from ladies who spend their mornings gabbing in the buff:

1. As a woman’s body form changes, it is important to become “crease conscious” in the shower—and it’s okay to tell your friend in the next stall to do the same

2. Use a cane to drop over an unattended, locked shower stall and shimmy the lock it to get it opened. “Mischievous little kids!”

3. Grandkids spend too much time with electronic toys

4. All children really want is to spend more time with their elders

5. When one lady noticed some of the scars on my legs, she exclaimed, “You’re too young to have had a hip replacement!” When she found out that wasn’t the case, she resigned, “Well, I guess we’ve all got something, huh?”

6. It is not acceptable to have a friend that goes “cold turkey” on eating out with the girls for lunch just because she wants to watch her weight and save money

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fashion Savvy

The only fashion advice I've been able to successfully impart to our little diva has been "no pink pants/shorts with a pink shirt"—something about walking pepto disturbs the senses. However, I don’t dare try to squelch her creativity by telling her what some of her choices really look like. Oh well. Honestly, who am I to judge when there are many days when I walk out of my house knowingly committing a fashion faux pas of the grandest sort? Panties being worn on the head and polka dot shoes with unbuttoned capris is acceptable as a preschooler just as it will be when she's teetering around as a toothless granny. Who says fashions don't come back in the same lifetime?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Knitting Friends

There are no major happenings in the Nick and Miriam family except the pleasant ebb and flow of life. Nick stays busy putting his genius to good use in creating computer masterpieces for the hungry audience called “clients”. He maintains his sleek physique as he continues training for the multiple upcoming 2008 triathlons. Miriam LOVES being a stay-at-home teacher, laundress, tailor, chef, chauffer, nurse, librarian, interior decorator…she is an incognito mom hiding behind those other titles. Alli is enamored with Junie B. Jones and giggles at all the right places. She is truly a princess in attire, attributes, and adoration. We are so blessed with copious evidences of God’s love in our family.

Blog title disclaimer: we don’t knit. Earlier last week I began pondering the intense friendship between Jonathan and David described in 1 Samuel, “…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam 18:1). That stands out to me as perfect imagery for the intense love that we feel for each other in our family. Every day we play a game with Alli called “I love you more than (fill in the blank)”. It is really something special when a three year old tells you that she loves you more than chocolate and swimming. We’ve also tried to quantify in the game but she pretty much just understands that when you love someone “all the way from Barbie’s to Ladd and Sophie’s house” that it must be a lot and tells us that our “all the way to the moon” is not as much as her choice. There is no doubt that we bask in perfect, soulful love for each other—which certainly helps to make up for our imperfect foibles as mere mortals.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Flippin' fun

Just as a fun update--I bought myself some swimming flippers. They are the best purchase in my history of fitness expenses. I'm highly reccommending that anyone who knows anyone who swims and does not own a pair yet that the $19 is well worth it. Wahoo!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Truth is nobler than a crown"

My sister, Anna, believes in what she refers to as "Baby School" and "Kid School". These are the innate institutions of higher education for our little ones. Nobody taught a baby how to spit out food, thus covering mommy in strained carrots--Baby School taught him that. Little boys think passing gas is funny--hey, thanks, Kid School. Drama queen for a little girl? Oh, yeah, that's a class at Kid School, too!

Being the mother of a three year old, I often find myself pondering on the development of childhood virtues--how much of what she does comes from Kid School or from what she sees in her environment? When she comes to me as her face is covered in pilfered chocolate it is her instinct to deny that she has ever eaten anything her entire life without asking first--especially not something containing sugar. Or when she tells me, "Mom, don't look at me right now" because she's about to do something naughty. When there is a mess in the toy room she is certain that it was made by a friend--although they haven't been over to play in weeks.

I just don't have it in me to tell her about the blatantly telltale signs of her mischievousness--then she might wipe her face after she sneaks chocolate or just to do the naughty deed quietly.

I hope that she never learns the "art" of sneakiness, I hope that Stealth is not a class offered at Kid School. I'd much rather her alert me of her plan to sneak out as a teenager so that I can lovingly intervene beforehand. However, how long can I shelter her in our safe family bubble from the absolute filth of deceit that awaits her outside our door? This dishonest environment creates fraudulent businessmen, prompts backroom political deals, and teachers who help their students cheat on federally mandated tests.

Rest assured that we mothers also have ample amounts of "secrets" --things we learn at Mommy School. Some of the best kept ones are the simple God-given gifts bestowed to all of us who embark ignorantly on the best ride of our lives known as Motherhood. These are things like unconditional love, genuine thrill in receiving crumpled drawings, snuggling up warm in bed with a pile of books, and more utilitarian skills like cleaning poopy panties in Home Depot restrooms. However, Mommy School is not nearly as fun as Kid School. There are no sick days and tardies are unacceptable. The worst part is that grading is a NIGHTMARE since we are own cruel judge.

However hard I am on myself based on my own view of my mothering as well as what I interpret others' views on my mothering, I feel confident in my "fierce" mother instinct (citing a friend's choice adjective). Daily I'm on my knees learning from my exemplar Parent. I am supernally grateful for His guiding hand as I am such a recent graduate from Kid School myself. As the one who is given the opportunity to nurture, I can gladly say that I waste and wear out my life in keeping my daughter close to me during these tender developing years. These slightly naughty (but not malicious) moments are, in my eyes, prime moments where she is clearly defining the nobility of truth and honesty.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Post Perennial Narcosis

My mission president coined that term for the almost drugged-like condition hundreds of missionaries experience after having eaten a nice, Mormon-made starchy meal. It's a state of mind I don't dislike. Sure, it's hard to concentrate when my pants feel too tight and I just want to fatdoggit on the couch for a couple of hours...because eating is about the experience. Before, during, and after a meal should be so well orchestrated that the aesthetics of the event is forever engraved in all five senses.

Reality check...everyone should know that the Nick and Miriam family meal times generally do not qualify under said caliber. Three year olds learning about the hilarity of "see food" and conversations that hover around mishaps at the grocery store and knock-knock jokes are cherished but not savored delicately.

Thankfully, Nick and I are strong believers in the division of labor. If somebody wants to cook good food for me AS WELL AS clean up not only the cooking but eating mess...sign me up!! Maybe the only reason we exercise is so that we can eat fattening food, sure, can you blame us?

If you want to experience some of our good eats which result in that pleasant post perennial narcosis, here are some of our favorites that you may want to check out!

1. Blue Plate Diner (Sugarhouse, SLC, UT)
Great vintage atmosphere including a genuine counter and soda fountain from a Mom and Pop diner in good ole' Salina, UT. They serve comfort food in HUGE portions and offer breakfast all day. Our tried and true delight is the Cobb salad and buffalo burger.

2. Red Rock Brewing Company (Downtown, SLC, UT)
We waited almost an hour to be seated here and it was well worth it. Luckily, we browsed through their souvenir items while waiting and learned an awful lot about the beer-making process from their featured book, "Beer in the Beehive, a History of Brewing in Utah". Up until then, we were uninformed that there is a difference between a lager and ale. Once seated, we enjoyed the Four Cheese Italian Dip as an appetizer and it seemed anything coming out of the wood-fire oven looked delicious. The root beer (which I disdain anywhere else) was PHENOMENAL--they brew their own beer, as well as the root type.

3. The Cheesecake Factory (Fashion Place, Murray, UT)
The Beehive State can now be put on the map, she has arrived!! This was another awfully long wait (even in the early evening on a weeknight!) but the caloric intake CERTAINLY made up for it. Fried macaroni and cheese?! I know, it sounds dreadful, but don't pass it up as an appetizer! Any of the entrees are guaranteed to be delectable and plan on one dish for 2-3 people. Of course, the cheesecake it divine. Possible choices (there are probably over 20) are Snickers, Godiva chocolate, white chocolate macadamia caramel, and black tie.

4. Bobcat Bite (Old Las Vegas Highway, Santa Fe, NM)
There are approximately 20 seats and a counter to accommodate diners in this destination location, so aim to come during a meal time lull. The green chile cheeseburgers are famous, with good reason, since they grind their own hamburger from steaks and hand form them into hearty patties.

5. Thai Village (Main Street, American Fork, UT)
Who knew that a little town in Utah County would have such delicious Asian dining? The atmosphere is unique since the building is a renovated Pioneer-esque type house on Main Street. Nick and I favor the take-out to the dine-in only because it travels so well and compliments sitting in front of an action movie (remind me, why is the population of our country obese?).

6. Jak's Grill (Front Street, Issaquah, WA)
If you are planning a trip to Washington, know someone who is planning to go, or if you are anywhere near the state, this is certainly worthy of the effort to partake of the unsurpassed quality of red meat they serve. We have eaten at Ruth's Chris and this is far better than any beef I've ever had. Arrive early and while waiting, visit the used book store in the shopping strip mall across the street.

7. Happy Sumo (Gateway, SLC, UT)
This is the famed location of the blind date Nick and I went on, so chalk it up to good food or chemical compatibility it's a great place. The decor is new age complete with concrete floors, draped sheer fabric, and unfinished ceilings. The rolls are unique and our favorite is the Vegas Roll. We have successfully duplicated many of the basic rolls they offer in our kitchen, but the deep fried ones have proven untouchable to the ammeters we are.

P.S. The displayed photo is Nick bravely downing an entire squid from his seafood dish at an Asian restaurant in Seattle, WA.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Heartfelt Musings

Due to our severe case of newlyweditis mixed with our aversion to television, I have decided that Wal-Mart is my official Seasonal Advisor. Owing to the onslaught of marketing Chinese-made plastic goods for even the slightest hint of a holiday, I am calendaring events well in advance. I stifled a guffaw when I spotted Cadbury Easter Eggs but the naked Cupids started me thinking...

All this hubbub about HEARTS.

There are certainly enough metaphors using hearts so that from a medical perspective, the semantics have transformed this vital organ into something quite interesting. We claim that hearts are the source of our love, we feel that they can be hurt, they can be full, hard, tender, and the Lord even tells us that they should be broken.

Last Wednesday I had an awesome--that which inspires awe--opportunity to take a closer look at my own heart. In order to make sure that the collagen in the lining of my aorta was strong (a VERY rare occurrence of aortal damage is associated with my bone disease, osteogenisis imperfecta, I, however, have a healthy aorta!) the doctor ordered an ultrasound to be performed. The nurse/technician was kind enough to amuse me during the procedure by pointing out all of the parts of my heart. I was overwhelmed with love for the Master Physician and His well-planned blueprints that resulted in the human heart. By no concerted efforts of my own, my heart beats 100,000 times a day which involves countless and intricate muscular pulsations resulting in the correct directional blood flow and literal "life blood" flowing throughout my body.

Prior to the ultrasound, during the consultation, the doctor congratulated me for taking good care of my heart since he mostly sees patients that have gone too far in the other extreme. He probably gets tired of telling people to get their acts together. He's right, of course. We need to be meticulous in the care of our physical hearts. Cheerios tells us that the tasty o's are good for our ticker, women should wear red to support female heart disease awareness, we should exercise, eat less red meat, eat more chocolate (okay, so in our case "more" would be difficult)...the list goes on and on.

Based on our knowledge of this organ, good ole' Saint Valentine helps remind us of the same kinds of things that Dr. Carter tells his patients, "Take good care of your heart!!"

I believe the best "heart" exercise is to open our hearts to others. Take Nick and Alli, for example. I never knew that I could feel such intense love until I opened my heart to the two most important people in my life. Every day I find that I am happier when I give the love to them that the Lord has given to me. Even potty training has been an exercise for my heart becuase I have worked and prayed really, really hard and I can honestly say that I do love it now (maybe that's why she's finally doing so well!).

Considering my constant state of spiritual forgetfulness, my most cherished experiences have been born during a time of diligent remembrance--truly an exercise of the heart. I consciously remember the heart of the Good Shepherd and find that He can fill my own heart with His incomprehensible love and wisdom.

Just as a summation of all these "Heartfelt Musings", an excerpt from an excellent book, Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem by Ester Rasband:

"One of my favorite verses about Solomon is in 1 Kings 10, in which it says that all the earth sought Solomon to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. We who think in terms of human wonder and intellect think of wisdom as a thing of the mind. But it was Solomon's heart into which the Lord was able to put wisdom. And it must be our hearts into which the Lord puts our earthly level of perfection. Not our minds, not our muscles, not our training or our beauty or anything that is seen of men. It must be put into a perfect heart. Or at least, as Alma reminds us, a heart that has a desire to be perfect."

PS There is a fascinating clip of a simulated heart beating at

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The love of my life

Nick is the love of my life!!