Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Card Album

A few years ago, I did this post about how to have and display old Christmas cards. I just have to say, this has become the favorite Christmas decoration in my whole house. I only bring it out in December and I leave it sitting in my front room. My kids love it, my neighbors love it, I love it. Pretty much anyone who comes in and sits down in my front room, ends up looking through it and there are always comments, often giggles (usually at the expense of me and sister's big 80's hair) and comments about how my kids have changed. Best thing I ever put together. And, since I am in a bossy mood, you should do one for your family too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

I turned 37 and we celebrated by going back down to Thanksgiving Point.

Here are my kids looking at the reindeer.
Here is one of the reindeer.
One of the ice sculptures outside.
Waiting for our food
Cute toothsome #4. She chose this red shirt to wear that day because the blue one I had picked out of her was "too boring".
My "cake". I am not a big cake fan, so we always eat ice cream of some sort on my birthday. Toothsome #1 took the picture.
"Eating the zebra". When we get dessert some place, we only order one and get six spoons and call it "eating the zebra". (You know, like how lions all attack a zebra in the wild.)

It was a great birthday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I would love to sing Ave Maria in a duet with Michael Buble.

Christmas China

Dentist husband and I got married in December (the 27th).

As a wedding gift, my aunt gave us two dinner plates of the Spode Christmas tree pattern china. Throughout the years, I have picked up more pieces and now own 12 of the dinner plates as well as several serving bowls. It is a tradition that starting December 1st, we use the Christmas tree dishes for every meal until January 1st.
There is something so festive about eating on these dishes daily. And, as everyone knows, I hate to cook but knowing that I will be serving lunch and dinner on these dishes motivates me to make good meals because it is just so fun and festive to sit around the dinner table and eat on these wonderful dishes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Fun

A few years ago, I did a post about creating our Christmas Fun list. Things really haven't changed that much and the list is pretty much the same. This year, we decided to watch "Elf" as part of our Christmas Fun and in honor of the movie, I made pasta and the kids pretended to put maple syrup on their noodles. (OK, maybe toothsome #3 actually did put it on his noodles, but as a mother, I chose to look the other way).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My front porch

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lights at Thanksgiving Point

I never bring my camera, so I have no photo evidence, but every year, our favorite holiday tradition is driving down to Utah County and going to see the Lights at Thanksgiving Point. We laugh, we sing, we oh and ah over everything and then enjoy the Nativity Story at the end. We then go grab dinner at the deli inside. They even have reindeer. In my humble opinion, if you live in Utah, it is a must attend event.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nutcracker 2009

Toothsome #2 participated in her dance studio's production of "The Nutcracker." This year, she got to do two different dances--the soldier and a Chinese Dancer.
This is the one time during the whole year, that I get to be alone with her for two days and we both just soak it up. We always go to Olive Garden during the Saturday performances and I love getting to spend this time with her.

Dentist Husband is kind enough to stay home with the others while I do this with toothsome #2 but they do always come of the matinee, so see her perform. This year, after watching it he said, "Let me see, some pirate comes to a party and brings some crazy gift, laced with some hallucinogenic substance that causes Clara to see visions of people dancing?" I have been watching "The Nutcracker" my whole life, so the story never seemed that strange to me but when you really look at it, it is a little weird.
Next year, toothsome #4 will be in it too. With this season's performance over, it is now onto more Christmas fun.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This video brings back so many happy memories. Oh and Sting still "does it" for me. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving in Wisconsin

Dentist husband's brother lives in Wisconsin and this year, we decided to spend the holiday with them. Our kids are all compatable ages and it was a delightful but too fast trip.

We had to get up at 3:00 am (yes you read that right) to be at the airport on time to fly to Minnesota, then to Chicago and then drive two hours to Wisconsin. The trip there was flawless with the exception of me slowly getting sicker and sicker as the day went on. I ended up with the full on flu by about 2:00 pm (Chicago time) and was in a haze for about 24 hours. Fortunately, I felt better about 11:00 am Thanksgiving day and we were able to fully enjoy the vacation. The only casualty was me being too sick to run in the 10K I had registered for.
Hanging out, watching football on Thanksgiving Day. (Earlier, the men had all gone and played football with some friends).

The day after Thanksgiving, we all headed up north to the Wisconsin Dells. If you read Family Fun, you will know what I am talking about. It is basically a whole city dedicated to in-door water parks. We stayed in a very nice 3 bedroom condo.
The men
The women--my sister in law, married my husband's brother, me and dentist husband's sister. She and her husband (green shirt above) live about an hour away and work for Lands End one of my favorite places to shop.
Outside one of the gift shops at "The Dells"
In the water
And, no trip would be complete over this Thanksgiving without going and watching "New Moon". Here we are recreating the cover of this book of my nieces. I got to be Bella since I am the shortest.
Fun, fast trip.

Back Home

Just got back from a whirlwind trip to Wisconsin. More later once the laundry is done and the house is decorated for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

I posted my review of the book on my "Book Blogging Babes" site if anyone is interested. Click the button on the left side of my blog.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Laughing at Book Club Dinner

Last night, I hosted our annual Book Club Holiday dinner. We meet every month at someone's house and provide dessert but once year, we have a holiday dinner. For Mother's Day last year, my husband let me purchase the remaining pieces I was missing in my china that we registered for at our wedding. So, I offered to host this year so I would have an excuse to use it. Also, a few years back, I got these Thanksgiving pieces that grace my fireplace mantle during the month of November.
We don't have a true dining room in our house, so I just set the table in our kitchen. Instead of using a table cloth, that I would have to wash and iron, I just put down paper and then "wrapped" the table with nylon netting. The brown paper brought out the gold in my china and I was happy with how it all turned out.

When my husband came home after spending the evening at his sister's house with the kids, my eight year old daughter came up to me and said, "Every time we come home when you have book club, all you guys are doing is laughing. Do you guys do anything else?"

I thought about it and I realized it was a brilliant observation. Book club is such a fun place to leave the frustrations of life behind and just chat and laugh. (And, we do discuss the books we have read.) This is not to say that many of the woman in my book club aren't dealing with hard things. We all have our own personal trials but for a few hours once a month, they don't seem as bad. We have each other and there is a lot of laughter. I feel blessed to be part of this group.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Did You Know . . .

My husband knows how to fence? He even fenced on the BYU fencing team in college. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Am I Not a Man? (The Dred Scott Story) by Mark L. Shurtleff

A few months ago, I was contacted by the publisher of Valor Publishing Group asking if I would be interested getting an advanced copy of a book by the current Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff. I immediately said yes.

For full-disclosure, part of my interest in reading this book was the fact that as a child, I met Mark's parents in Central America. I ran into them about year ago after last seeing them when I was 10 years old. Mark Shurtleff lives close to me and in one of those strange turn of events, a week before I started reading the book, there were changes in our church's congregation and Mark Shurtleff and I now attend church together. That said, I have yet to speak with him and have purposely not spoken with him until I finished his book and reviewed it.

Before starting this book, I knew nothing about Dred Scott or his importance in American history. In Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court basically stated a black man had no rights whatsoever in America and ignored years of precedent that said once a black man was brought into a free state, he was free forever. The uproar from the decision was almost immediate and Abraham Lincoln was one of its most outspoken critics. Mark Shurtleff feels this is what propelled him into the White House and what ultimately led to battle for freeing the slaves, the Civil War.

Mark did an excellent job in explaining the great importance of this case and I felt by the end of the book that a lot of pieces of American History, some of what I felt I knew a lot about and some which I knew nothing about, all fell into place. I feel like I have a much better picture of American history as a result. I said to my husband, it is like when I go to the eye doctor and think I am seeing 20/20 but then the doctor puts new lenses infront of my eyes and realize that I was only seeing 20/40. So many aspects of American history became more focused because of this book and there is no question, I am more culturally literate because of it.

I was so impressed with the obvious thorough research that Mark did in preparation for writing this book and it is apparent on practically every page. It is obvious he visited places, spoke with many people, and spent hours researching. The book is crammed full of amazing historical references.

Some problems:

Mark combines actual facts with historical fiction, where he creates dialogue and scenes for characters. I didn't like the historical fiction aspect of it. It felt very contrived and his strength as a writer is not in creating dialogue. I understood what he was trying to do, but I am not sure he really pulled it off convincingly for me.

Also, the first third of the book jumps around a lot from 1852, when a higher court overturned an earlier ruling that gave Dred Scott freedom, to 1799 during the times Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to 1638 at Jamestown, where we learn the history of some of Dred Scott's original owners. All of this history is great in establishing historical reference for things later in the book, but it was hard to follow. I found myself having to go back pages and rethink things and I wonder if it could have been written differently where there would have been a more obvious flow. The last two thirds were more linear and at that point, I found myself having a hard time putting the book down. The story became very compelling and I marveled at how so many people put their lives on the line to help this one man become free.

Am I glad I read this book? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes but know what you are getting into. It is not an "easy" read because of the subject matter. Slavery was and is awful.

Christmas Card Rejects

Last year, we paid a professional photographer to take our family Christmas card photo. The photo is spectacular and it has been used in all of my husband's dental ads for the last year. (The photo is the one with us in the sweaters on the left.)

Well, it was decided we would wait to do another professional family photo until the Spring and then we will use those photos for my husband's ads and our Christmas card picture next (2010) year. So, my sister-in-law generously offered to take some family pictures for us, so we wouldn't have to do the self timer and try and run into every photo. There is one that is really quite good but I thought for fun, I would post some of the rejects. Enjoy.
I don't like my hair in this picture and my boys aren't smiling.
No bad but there was a better one. Also, that is toothsome #3 current smile for posed pictures and it doesn't really look like him.
We are all too squinty in this photo but we ended up using a photo that is similar to this one for the Christmas card picture.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Things Your Nursery Leader Won't Tell You . . .

I was reading my new copy of The Reader's Digest and they have a section called, "Things Your ----(fill in the blank) Won't Tell You."

In that vein, here is my Nursery Leader "Things Your Nursery Leader Won't Tell You"

(With a new ward, my husband and I were called as Nursery Leaders. I will be be going on 6 plus years there, which I don't really mind, since I have always been in there with my kids. I have the calling down to science now and I do get great satisfaction from running an organized Nursery.)

Nursery is a class not daycare. If a child doesn't want to be there and cries and is upset longer than about five minutes, he really needs to go back to you or you need to stay in there with him. While it may not look like we are "doing anything", we are. We are teaching them many things--how to sit and interact with other kids in a group setting, how to be reverent for longer periods of time, how to share, how to pray, how to wash hands (before snack time), Primary songs, how to be nice to others, and many other such skills. It is very disruptive to everyone if your child is crying and wants you. If they settle down quickly that is one thing but if they don't, he should be with you or you need to stay in there with him.

If you are staying in Nursery to help your child, help, don't chat with your buddies. I can't tell you how frustrating it is for workers to have parents come in to stay with their child but during lesson time, singing time, etc., they sit in the back and chat and don't help.

If your child is under 18 months, they really don't belong there. Many parents try to bring their child in before they are 18 months saying they are trying to get their child "used to it." No, they are too young and often can get accidently hurt by older kids and have a hard time participating. They also need a lot more attention then the older kids and we need to put our efforts on the kids in the class, not them. If you want to bring them in a month early and stay with them, that is OK but know we are working with the kids who are old enough to be in there.

If your child is sick, please don't bring them. This should be obvious but it is not. More than once, I have brought a child back to their parents to have them argue with me they really aren't "that sick" or "they aren't contagious." Truth be known, you don't really know if they are contagious or not and as workers, if we feel your child is too sick (or we don't want to wipe their nose 20 times an hour), than they really shouldn't be there. We don't want others to get sick or for ourselves to get sick or bring it home to our own families.

If we bring your child to you for misbehavior, please keep them with you for the rest of church. Sometimes a child is just having a hard time at church and they take it out on others. If we bring your child to you and explain they just need a break from Nursery today, then please don't keep them out for a few minutes and then bring them right back in. We won't bring them to you unless we really feel it is beyond what we can handle that day (and personally, I always take a vote among the leaders to see if we all agree on that fact, so it is not just me making the decision), then please just take your child for the rest of the day.

We don't judge your parenting, so please don't judge how we do Nursery. We honestly try very hard to make Nursery a very positive happy experience for your child and all of the children in there. It is hard to handle many toddlers at very different development levels and keep everyone happy. It can be very discouraging to get "complaint" phone calls later. While we have been asked to serve, it still is a voluntary and it makes it hard to go back week after week if we think people are upset with how we are doing things. Feel free stay in and help and make polite suggestions, or even offer to be the a Nursery worker but please don't complain.

And please when talking about church callings, please don't say, "If I ever get called to Nursery, I will turn it down." There is a reason why I have been in Nursery as long as I have. I have been in Primary presidencies and seen how many people have turned it down often for the reason that "they just don't want to do it." It really isn't that hard of a calling and truth be known, it makes me feel like a "chump" that I am willing to do it and others are not.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday Evening Fun

My kids didn't have school yesterday and all day, they kept on saying, "When is Dad going to come home?" Mom is fine if Dad is not around but once he gets home, they all want him (with the exception of toothsome #3 who has been mine since he came out of the womb.)

So, while he was at work, we decided that when he got home, we would all get in the car and drive to Chadders in Provo. In-N-Out is coming to our area soon and we all know that we likely won't bother to drive to Provo to eat Chadders, since the reason we do that now is because we don't have an In-N-Out close by. (Sorry Chadders but thank you again for filling the In-N-Out void for the last few years.)

Anyway, the drive down was fun, eating there was fun and then we headed over to the BYU Bowling lanes for a night of bowling. For some reason, we all love bowling and we all love doing it together. None of us are very good but it doesn't seem to matter. (I always try to break 100 and usually do but with the amount of bowling we have done for the last few years, I should be MUCH better.) We typed in our fake names (last night, I was "Spare" and Dentist husband was "Strike") and we go at it.

In general, Dentist husband and I are pretty serious adults (even though my husband is absolutely hilarious) but last night, we spent the whole night teasing each other like we were 14 year olds. We both hate people touching our face and after every bowl, with our very dirty hands, we would try and rub them on each other's face while the other was being distracted by our four kids. We got them in on the act and by the end of the night, in the BYU bowling ally, I was on his back, rubbing my black hands all of his face with the kids cheering me on. We honestly spent from about 4:00-9:00 pm laughing together as a family.

It was a delightful evening.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November's Book on Book Blogging Babes: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

If you didn't like "The Woman in White", every review I read said this is very different and is in the "detective mystery" genre. Feel free to join me in reading this book this month.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

10th Annual Pumpkin Carving/Wassail Party

We had our annual Pumpkin Carving/Wassail Party again this year. This is our 10th year of doing this and it is my favorite family party.

My sister-in-law brought these "mini-carmel apples". I think she said she got this idea from Family Fun.
Toothsome #2 made these hilarious signs that she posted all over the house.
Let the carving begin . . .

Some of the finished pumpkins

One of the prizes this year were these hilarious fake mustaches. They weren't really that hilarious until we all started wearing them and taking pictures. None of us could stop laughing.

The five categories for prizes this year were:
Best Overall
Nice Try, Failed Attempt
Pumpkin Smasher's Choice
Coolest Concept
Safe Bet

We all agreed we need to add one more category next year and that will be "Best Presentation." At the end of the night, after we all sung "Ghost of John" in a round, we all take turns explaining our pumpkin designs. This year, people even wore costumes to explain their pumpkins, used fake accents, etc. It was absolutely wonderful.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009

Hermione, Snow White, Skeleton and Cockroach,
all wish you a Happy Halloween

Friday, October 30, 2009

Don't Dwell, Do

I have never been one to dwell on feelings. It doesn't do a lot of good and in my short 36 years, I've learned the best way to go about life is just get up and "do."

I've always tired of people who talk about "feeling inadequate" Again, don't feel "inadequate" just go about your life, working hard and you don't have time to feel inadequate.

That said, personally for me, the last month has been a hard one. From managing my four crazy kids, one of them being a very strong-willed three year old who fights with me on everything (like a lot of three year olds I know, so I know there are many mothers dealing with hard toddlers), to trying to be a caring, consistent wife, to full-filling assignments asked of me from family, friends, church and school, I have dropped the ball on many things this month. Dinner has been made in my house, I think 10 times this month, my house is always messy, a job that should take 10 minutes seems to drag out for hours because of constant interruptions from phone, family and friends. At one point this week, I discovered I had cross-scheduled five different things--parent-teacher conference during piano, volunteering at the Book Fair (the one volunteer thing I do at the school because my husband can be home with my kids and I don't have to leave them with babysitters) at the same time as my kid's golf lessons, a piano tuner coming when my kids were doing their Halloween programs, etc. And, just an FYI, my kids are only allowed one musical activity (piano) and one sport (golf/dance). My kids are not scheduled for every whim or activity on the planet. I have been very methodical about this.

At the end of the day, in trying to figure out why things are the way they currently are, I had that crushing feeling of "you are inadequate." It was overwhelming and sat on me like a load of bricks. I am not "that person" and truth be known, it scared me. I honestly, stood up out of my chair to try and physically remove the emotional feeling. (It didn't work.)

Why am I posting this? Because I often am the first person to tell people to "suck it up" and my basic message to the world is just that, "Don't dwell, do." Well, for the record, I get it now. I get how easy it is to dwell and replay over and over in one's head thoughtless things said, get offended and carry that around. I now get how easy it is to not fight back the feelings of inadequacy and let them come tumbling around you.

That said, last night, as I was wiping away my 5th round of tears in 48 hours and I am not a crier, (honestly, ask my husband), I decided to fight back. Lists are in place, a plan is in action and I am getting back my "warrior" feeling. Time to "not dwell and just do." Time to get to work.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BBB Book Review

My review of Infidel is posted on the Book Blogging Babes site.

Memories Tuesday

When I was 21, I was a missionary for my church in downtown Salt Lake City on Temple Square. I spent my days giving tours in English and Spanish.

On Sunday mornings, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir does a live broadcast from The Tabernacle. A few minutes before the broadcast would end, we sister missionaries would stand outside the Tabernacle with our signs letting visitors know that they could get a tour in their own language. I loved standing there with my fellow missionaries waiting for the tours to begin. It was always so exciting and fun knowing we would all be sharing our beliefs to people in many different languages.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Story of the Miata (also known as the MX 5)

Once upon a time, there was a young girl from Boulder, CO who fell in love with a dental student from Salt Lake City, UT. This boy loved cars and this girl didn't know or even care much about them. Whenever they were in the car together, dental student would point out cars and say their names, cost, and what made them special. Young girl would smile and nod because she was in love but she didn't get it. However, one car would grab her attention and she would say, "Hey, I like that one."
Dental student would roll his eyes and say, "That is a Miata. That is a neat car, one of best cars to come out in the early 90s but there so many other amazing ones out there now." Dental student and young girl got married, moved back to Utah, bought two different houses, two different dental practices, and had four kids. During all that time, every time she would see a Miata, she would say, "Dentist husband, what kind of car is that?" It was always a Miata. It became a joke between the two of them. He would say, "There could be a $100,000.00 dollar car next to a Miata and you would always point out the Miata."
Dentist husband surprised his wife, Janice, with a new retractable hard-top Miata. He called it her "Book Club" car since it has no practical value and can only hold two people. But, this Miata says to her how much he loves her and how much he appreciates having been with her for 14 years. She got teary, they laughed and hugged each other and went for ride, just the two of them.

The End.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Car Coming

Dentist husband came home yesterday and said we needed to clean out the garage to make room for a surprise that is coming home this weekend--a new car. I don't have any more details. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Best Kiddie Kandids Experience Ever

I took toothsome #4 for her three year old picture. I have used Kiddie Kandids for all of my kids until they start school. I have had some good and some very bad experiences there. But, I must say, that when I have had a bad experience, they have been wonderful at fixing any problems when I have asked to speak to a manager.

Toothsome #4 can be very strong-willed and I never know what I am going to get from her either, so with some trepidation, I took her in. Well, it was the BEST Kiddie Kandids experience yet. Just look at these photos! And, there are five others that I haven't included that are just as good.

Used Book Give Away

During the summer, I bought Shannon Hale's "The Actor and Housewife". I read it at the beach and didn't like it. I was glad to be done with it.

However, most of my friends who have read it really liked it. That is why I bought it for a beach read. These are friends who I trust their book recommendations. But, again, I did not like it and don't want it taking up space in my house. I will never reread it and I won't recommend it.

So, with full warning, I am willing to give it to anyone who wants it. It is hardcover and has a little bit of sand in its pages. First person to request it, gets it. If I don't have your address, include it in the request. I have a ton of things I need to mail by the end of the week, so if I need to mail it to you, it will likely leave my post office by Friday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Costume Preview

I bought this cockroach costume in the summer. I noticed it three years ago and spent the last three years waiting for it to go on sale and to talk my 10 year old into wearing it. I think it is hilarious. Maybe because I remember cockroaches about this size (ok, slightly smaller) when I lived in Costa Rica as a child.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book Blogging Babes--New Book

We posted the new book for the month of October on the Book Blogging Babes site. It is Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Liz picked it and her reads always stretch me. I often get stuck reading more "fluff" and she always tackles hard, but important subject matters.

If you want to read it, feel free and then post your review on your blog at the end of the month and I will link to it from the BBB blog. Just leave me a comment on the BBB site, so I can find you.

I love books and I love to share that love with others.

Happy October

If you remember this post, these shirts are the ones I ended up purchasing. My 10 year old is starting to NOT want to be in pictures. Maybe later, I can get one with all of them in it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interacting Kids

Today, I took my kids to the bus stop and noticed a small, almost imperceptible change but it was indeed there. All of the kids were playing together more than they have in the past. I noticed groups of girls talking and laughing, boys playing football and general running around. This goes on daily but since Sunday, there seems to be a better sense of unity. I rethought it several times to see if I was "making this up" but it was indeed there.

Why? Sunday they announced ward boundary changes and for the first time since we have lived here, all of the kids in our "closed " neighborhood (meaning we have three entrances off the same street that are the only way to come and go into our neighborhood) are in the same ward. (Which for the handful of non-Mormon readers means we will all be attending the same church at the same time on Sunday.) As adults, we were thrilled and my kids seemed excited about it but I wasn't sure if they got what the ward boundary changes meant.

Looking at the bus stop today, I think they do. They seemed to be nicer to each other and feel good about including every one now that they knew we were all going to be together on Sunday. That might not seem like a big deal, just one more day when they have six other days in the same neighborhood but in the Mormon culture, that one day is not just one day. It means that during the week, the girls will go to Activity Days together and the boys will go to Scouts together. It means Primary parties, ward parties, church visits, service projects and often more such activities together. So, even though they are young, they got it. They were even more friendly with me. Before, I was the crazy mother, who always drove her kids to the bus stop and waited and watched until the bus came. Occasionally I hollered out to one of them to not run into the road or stop throwing snowballs at cars but for the most part, I was just a presence to let the kids know an adult was there. Today, I was Sister Janice Dentist Wife, the lady who is going to be in their ward.

I can just feel how good this is all going to be.

Saturday, October 10, 2009