Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trip to Boulder

This is my "guide to travel in Boulder, CO".  It is not complete but gives you some ideas if you ever visit there.  

When driving from Utah, cut the trip in two and stop and stay in Rawlins, WY.  We recommend either the Holiday Inn or the Hampton Inn.  They both have great indoor swimming pools and the rooms are nice and clean.  There are not many restaurants in Rawlins besides fast food but if you want to shoot the lock off your wallet, "The Aspen House" is very good but pricey.  (My 11 year old had rack of lamb last time we ate there.)  I've also heard there is good Asian take-out.  

On this trip, we toured the Celestial Seasonings facility and got to wear these sweet hair nets.  You are given a free sample of herbal tea to take home and there is a big "tasting center" where you can try many of their teas.  It was a good tour but during the video portion, they talked about "the founders" and didn't mention Mo Siegel once.  Having gone to junior high school with his daughter, he is known around Boulder as the founder of Celestial Seasonings.  He sold it several years ago but it made me wonder why they excluded him in their history.  Anyway, the "mint room" is the highlight and worth going on the tour.  It is free.

You must miniature golf at Adventure Land miniature golf in Westminster, CO.  It is a short drive from Boulder but so worth it.  My husband and I had our first "outing" there 15 years ago, almost to the date this picture was taken.  (We had gone with another boy from the student ward and about a week later, he asked me out alone. )  
This place place has three very unique golf courses, all good (one with a volcano that erupts every few minutes) and they employ a full time staff of gardeners to manage the grounds.  It is just beautiful and fun there.  
Final hole:  If you get a hole in one, the totems shoot fire from their heads, if you miss, the mouths squirt water at you.  
Eat the "All you can Eat Spaghetti" at The Gondolier.  
Homemade noodles and the best marinara sauce around.  (I have tried and failed replicating it several times.)  This place has changed restaurant locations twice since I was in high school and thankfully, they are still in business.  We always go there when we are in town. 
Downtown Boulder has lots of these type of statues.  I'm not sure if you are supposed to climb on them but people do anyway.  

For and fun and quirky hotdog place, "Mustard's Last Stand" is the place to go.  It is always busy and even my ultra health conscience parents love it there.  This time, I had the added benefit of running into an old junior high school friend there.  
Dying Easter Eggs at my parent's house.  (The snow flakes were from an earlier project my mom did with my kids.)  The shirts my kids are wearing are shirts I wore in high school and found in my old dresser.  We used them as aprons to protect their clothes.  

Gathering eggs in the same front room, I gathered eggs in.  Fun to do it with my kids.  

Other good Boulder things:  Pearl Street mall (which we did but I didn't take pictures), hiking to the First Flatiron, (too cold on this trip), going to a CU football game, hiking Flagstaff, going to Chautaugua and visiting "the Hill."   (When my husband was in dental school, we lived on "the hill", less than a mile from the "flagstaff mountain entrance and few blocks from Chautaugua.  All places are are near and dear to our hearts.)  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Memories from Youth Conference

This past week, my family and I went "home" to Boulder, CO to visit my parents.  You may remember, my husband and I met in Boulder and we lived there when he was in dental school, so he likes to go "home" as much as I do.  

I'll post about the visit later but while home, I found this picture.  It is a long "panoramic" one, so I had to scan it as two pictures.  

This was taken in 1989 (I was a sophomore in high school and had a very fresh perm) at the YMCA of Rockies Boulder 1st ward Youth Conference.  At the time, Boulder had two wards.  

This picture shows most of the youth in our ward at the time.  Looking at it, there are some people missing (my friend Elyse is one I have in mind) but for the most part this is everyone.  It felt so much larger to me growing up.  

These people are like family to me.  Most of the people in this picture have known me my whole life.  Our families spent many holidays, attended each other's baptisms, extracurricular events, and ward parties together.  We sat next to each other in Primary, gave talks in sacrament meeting together, sometimes went to dances with each other (even though I can't think of a time when any of us dated one another) and went to early morning seminary together.  We served as "waiters and waitresses" at Adult dinner nights, did road shows and skits at various stake functions, and often outside of church events, did things together on weekends.  (I still feel bad about jamming Alex Spong's leg with the gear shift of my pick-up truck on our way to miniature golf.  He was very nice about it but the cab had only so much room and we had crammed three people in the cab.)  We knew that if we were reprimanded by one of each other's parents, it was like being reprimanded by our own parents.  We were constantly connected and it was so good.  

I look at the individual people and reflect on where we are now.  Most of us (but not all) are still active in the church and most of us are married with our own kids.  One of the leaders, a beloved one I might add,  in the picture as since passed away.  Many of us have been given challenges that we never even conceived back then--children with disabilities, health issues, struggles with infertility, and job loses.  Many of the men have lost their hair and some of us are heavier and some of us skinner.    Not very many of us still live in Colorado and a bunch of us are now in Utah.  We have grown and changed but I love how this picture "catches" us at that moment in time.  We had just finished playing soft ball together and probably were on our way to lunch or the afternoon classes.  (I still remember a great one taught by Brother Lewis about financial goals.  I think of him whenever I pay my tithing.)  

I have enjoyed looking back.  It has been fun and I have learned, looking back can be very sweet.     

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


There is no question, I have a compulsive personality.  For the most part, it doesn't effect my life much but occasionally, it creeps up to the absurd and either I or a nice someone points it out and I have to readjust.  (Like my dear dermatologist who had to say to me, "I know you have had melanoma but you need to trust me, coming in once a month to have your moles looked at is ridiculous.)  I often like to think, "I'm not compulsive, just very thorough and conscientious ."

Anyway, one safe place for my compulsive tendencies are my snack choices.  I often get "locked" in a specific snack choice and don't vary from it for months at time.  When I was nursing my first child, and thirsty all of the time, I had to drink Fanta Orange soda daily.  It couldn't be any other brand.  I learned my local Crown Burger carried it and the workers there knew me at the drive-thru and I think would have it pre-poured and waiting for me.   (Ok, that now happens at my local McDonalds with Diet Coke, but that is another story . . .)

I've been through lots of these "snack phases".  Some examples, mint chocolate chip shakes, tomato juice, fiber bars, hummus, carrots, (I know carrots!), corn chips and in junior high school, be prepared to be grossed out, root beer and a Snicker's bar.  That sounds more like a pregnancy craving but once a week, I would buy those two items together and enjoyed every combined bite/sip.

So, lately, after running on the treadmill (I currently run three times a week--3 miles on two of those days and then a "long run" which means anything longer than 3 miles but it usually is 5-6 miles, but sometimes, 3.5 miles), I want two things and two things only.  A can, it must be a can, of Diet Coke and Natural Cheetos.  Honestly, those salty, slightly cheesy puffed snacks call to me during my run.  I often think, "Just  two more miles and I can sit down, drink a Diet Coke and have a some Natural Cheetos."  I am sure all fitness people out there are cringing and I am sure they are justified.  (I can just see that man from The Biggest Loser coming into my house and letting me have it.)  

So, I have confessed.  Anyone else "compulsive" about their snacks?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Key Pad

Dentist husband and I have been having an argument.  
Our kids are getting old enough, that they need to be able to get into our house when we are not there.  (Sigh, I liked having them young enough to stay with me always.)   

Most people have an electronic keypad that lets them in through opening a garage door.  I wanted that.  Dentist husband did not.  He wanted a front door keypad.  I did not.    

Well, then, our front door latch started acting funny.  It was hard to open.  My father, Mr. Fix It Man, tried to fix it when he was in town visiting.  His conclusion was that we need to replace our front door latch.  That opened up the door, no pun intended, for Dentist husband to win the argument.  

So now we have a front door keypad.  Our is actually quite attractive but I still think it looks like we have our house for sale.   And no, you can't have the code.  And, I can see our alarm system going off like crazy until our kids figure this all out.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Unconventional Sunday

Yesterday turned out nothing like I planned.  Sunday's are usually, and thankfully very predictable in our house.  We get up, go to church, come home, eat lunch and then enjoy the rest of day together as a family.  I make the kids practice the piano, often finish up a little homework and then we watch "America's Funniest Home Videos" together.  Lately, we have added watching Celebrity Apprentice as well.  Often my husband goes Home Teaching.  Sometimes, we play Speed Scrabble.

Well, yesterday did not feel like a Sunday.  We started out well.  We attended Stake Conference.  It was a wonderful meeting.  We came home and had a yummy lunch and I started to make Lion House Rolls. I purchased at Costco, their roll mix and they are very yummy and easy.  I even got the kitchen mostly clean.  

Then, my kids, while the weather is still in the mid 40s and plenty of snow on ground, decided to have a water fight.  I found toothsome #4, drawing on the walls in my family room with chalk, who informed me, "It just wipes right off."

So, I went to the basement, where my husband was trying to take a nap and joined him.  I pretended to ignore the kids upstairs.  It didn't work.  I told my husband,  "I am going to run on the treadmill."  I decided I was going to do six miles.  I was on the treadmill for less than 10 minutes, when the kids came in crying and blaming each other for the water fight chaos.  Toothsome #2 decided to do her last part of homework and needed my help.  Toothsome #1 couldn't practice the piano without my help.  I said, I would help once I was off the treadmill. The phone rang twice.  I was on mile 3.5.

Dentist husband came upstairs.  The first phone call was a Scout issue we needed to talk about.  The 2nd was a patient who needed help immediately and my husband had to go to the office.  He then said, "I hate to do this but I could really use your help dental assisting."  I was on mile 4.  I said, "Can you wait 20 minutes?"  He said, "No, but I'll just go without you."  I continued running.  At 4.5 miles, Dentist husband walked into the room in his scrubs and tripped on a toy and went crashing to the floor.  I got off the treadmill and said, "Maybe exercising on Sunday is a bad idea."

So, I jumped in the shower, threw on my scrubs and met him at the office.  We helped this very nice patient.  It always feels good to help people who are in pain and get them relief.  My husband really loves being a dentist and has no qualms about going in after hours to help patients in need and I am glad to help him.  As we were closing up the office, we looked at other.  I was starving and needing a big glass of water.  He was starving.  We called the the kids and said we would be home in 30 minutes.  We went to In and Out Burger and had a date.  I know, it was Sunday and we try not to spend money or shop on Sunday but going on a date with my husband, taking 30 minutes to talk to him and not be constantly interrupted by the kids, laughing about our unconventional day felt right.  We both needed it.

We came home.  I baked the rolls, I cut up some apples and we had a fun evening of "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Celebrity Apprentice".  We had a good talk about why Gary Busey acts the way he does (head injury caused by not wearing a helmet in a motorcycle accident and excessive drug use) with the kids.  (Always wear a helmet and NEVER use drugs.)  The day ended on a peaceful note--similar to how it started.  It was a good yet very unconventional Sunday.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Finally, they have furniture in their room

We have been in our house over seven years.  I am not a decorator and I really don't care that much.  As long as my house is clean and the kids are happy, we are good.  

However, Toothsome #3 does not feel that way.  For his birthday, he said, "All I want is a bed frame for my bed like Toothsome's 1 and 2."  You see Toothsome's 1 and 2 have bed frames because they were hand me downs.  Toothsome #3 thought that it meant he wasn't big enough for one.  He didn't understand that he has a mother who would rather read a book than shop for furniture.  Also, you can see how low the windows are in their room.  I couldn't just buy any headboard or it would cover the windows and for a natural light loving fool like me and my husband, covering windows even a little bit is a big NO.  (Notice no true window coverings.  I'm that much of a light loving fool.  I should find a valance to cover the blinds though . . .)  So anyway, beds on the floor were good enough for me.  Sadly, not for toothsome #3.  

So, I put down my book and spent about 3 months looking.  I found these at Pottery Barn.  Now everyone is happy, except Dentist husband who saw how much I paid for Pottery Barn furniture even if it was on sale.  The dragonfly painting on the right is an original Kari Christensen.  It really doesn't match his normal work but we commissioned it from him and he was more than willing to do it.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

This is a picture of me and my father.  This weekend, I was able to attend with him his mission reunion.  My father was one of the first missionaries to go to the "Central America" mission for the LDS church.  (It was created from the "Mexico mission").   This was during the Korean War and only one missionary per stake was allowed to go.  Two men were eligible before my father, but they didn't go and my father was called.  

In November of 1953, he got a bus with a man who would later become his best friend and traveled down to New Mexico.  He and Elder P. were in a bus station in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thanksgiving Day and ordered a Thanksgiving meal.  He said they were both so homesick, they just pushed the food around on their plates.  Later, they took a bus into Mexico, where they were met by President Romney's (their mission president) daughter, who helped get them passage to Mexico City.  From there, they "puddle jumped" in a small airplane and flew from city to city until they arrived in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  There was no one there to meet them.  After waiting three hours, they went to a taxi driver, (neither of them speaking a word of Spanish) and showed him an address.  He indicated he could take them there.  (They later learned the address was a post office box number).  A few blocks from the airport, a blue car pulled up behind the taxi, honking, and waving, indicating they needed to stop and pull over.  In the car was their mission president, and the first thing he said to them was, "Why didn't you damn fools wait for me?"

Thus began three of of the most marvelous years of my father's life.  His first month, he was in Guatemala City and studied the language in the morning and then went out tracking with two sister missionaries in the evening.  My father later served in Weiweitenango, Guatemala, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala and a short time in Manaua, Nicaragua.  (He was only in Nicaragua for six weeks and said it was the hottest most miserable six weeks of his mission.)  I've also heard him mention San Pedro Sula (which I think is in Honduras).  

During his time on his mission, he played for the Honduras National basketball team, even traveling by burro (across rock slides, and a river) into Mexico to play in some Pan/American basketball tournament.  He was later asked to extend his mission (thus the three years instead of the 2 1/2 he was originally called for ) to travel with his mission president, President Wagner at the time and tour the mission.  Even in his old age, my father speaks excellent Spanish.  (He once told me, he has kept it up by praying in Spanish).  At 19, my father was not only teaching missionary discussions (he had purchased something called the "Anderson" plan in SLC and translated that, as there was no formal discussions organized yet) but also was the area president, solving church problems, and interpersonal issues among members of the church.  He told me, "I was a 19 year old kid, helping couples with marital issues."  My dad still tells people he is Guatemalan.  He LOVED his mission and it was his example that made me want to serve one myself.  

So, this past weekend, I was able to go with my father and meet and watch him reminisce with other missionaries from his time about their time in Central America.  I honestly stood in awe of these men.  These are the pioneer missionaries in Central America.  They are now gray haired, shorter with age but their faces came alive as they told stories and reconnected.  There is a big push for them to record their stories and as my father's daughter, he has no choice.  When I go home later this month, I am going to sit there with a recorder and record his stories.  I will them type them up for him to edit.  I will make sure his story and the amazing history of the LDS church in Central America is recorded.

"Every time a person dies, a library burns."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cole Slaw Recipe

Believe it or not, we eat a lot of cole slaw around here.  My kids LOVE it and it is a super healthy, cheap to buy and a great vegetable to feed them.  We usually eat with fish (any white fish, lightly coated with flour and salt and pepper and cooked in a frying pan in a little bit of peanut oil) but lately, I have been making it and serving on pulled pork sandwiches.  (I made my last recipe up, I am sure there are many good ones out there, I ended up brining pork tenderloin--my favorite cut of pork--in salt and brown sugar and then cooking it in the crock pot with various seasonings on it--the only one I can remember is celery seed at the moment.)   

Anyway, just so I have it written down, here is our cole slaw recipe.  We like it "edgy" and not sweet.

1 head of cabbage, cut into small pieces (see picture)

In a jar:
1 cup mayo (I buy the olive oil mayo, they say it is 1/2 the fat)
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt (to taste, sorry I didn't measure that part)
Shake until well emulsified

Pour over cabbage and mix.  

Easy and yummy