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, 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