Sunday, December 30, 2007

Olivia's Dance Recital

Finally, we get around to posting Olivia's dance recital on December 18th. She's been taking dance for a few years at the local Rec Center and she LOVES performing. See the video below--Olivia starts at the front right end and ends up on the back row, far left.

(Above) This is Liv before the recital. (Below) All the proud dance mamas: Amy, Jessica, Isabel, me, and Sherri.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Someone Cares!

I just got a very interesting phone call--one that made my day. Most of you know that I am extremely opinionated and enjoy sharing my opinions with anyone who will listen (some might call it "blowing smoke"). Today I got a phone call asking me to be a part of a small focus group (only 12 people) that will meet for 90 minutes to discuss political ideas. Not only do they want my opinion, they are going to pay me for it, and as I just shared with Ryan, make me feel like they really want to know what I think. The caller told me I'd get refrehments to boot, and our meeting is at Thanksgiving Point, so I'm pretty sure the treats will be tasty!

How lucky is that???

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Favorite Christmas Gift

I love giving gifts. In my family, we draw names (so as to not have to buy for 7 siblings and their families) and this year I got to give to my youngest sister Lindsey. She just had her first baby and they just moved into their first home, so when she said she'd love something for her house, I got very excited! Ryan did a photo shoot with their family several weeks ago, and I think we put together a really neat gift--since we won't see her on Christmas, I got to give it to her a few days ago when her sweet baby Jonah stayed with us for a couple of hours. I am sure this is the favorite gift I gave (or will give) this year and she loved it too. How could we go wrong with such a precious baby photo?

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

This Christmas, Coleman has had a freakish obsession with gingerbread cookies and he's asked almost every day this December when we could make some. We decided yesterday to do it in celebration of school being out and Christmas vacation starting. The kids LOVED decorating their ginger-people and eating the spoils afterward. In the picture are some friends (left to right: Addie, Olivia, JD, Coleman, and Jared). There are enough sprinkles on each cookie for a whole ginger-family, but the kids loved them. Even though we made a huge mess, it's a tradition we'd like to keep.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Look

You know how every so often you just need a new look? I know my blogging history isn't extensive, but I've come across several blogs that use the same generic template"Dark Dots" that I had before and decided that I needed a new look, my own look, desperately. My friend Sally's blog had an advertisement for "thousands of free templates" and I found one that I think I really like. So what do you think? I'm not too fond of the orange ad running along the top, but I guess that's the price for such a cute blog template that's free. Installing the new template erased my list of recent reads--but since I've not read anything new in awhile, that's okay. I'll try to stick to this template, lest you think you've lost your way the next time you stop by.

Out of the mouth of Coleman

Coleman's prayer tonight was too cute to miss recording. He said:

Dear Heavenly Father, we're thank thee for Jesus. We're thank thee for Mary. We're thank thee for the snow and that we could eat carrots. We're thank thee for Joseph and that he could be with Jesus sometimes. Please bless all the people to not see snow monsters. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

What I wouldn't give to get inside that kid's head and really see how he thinks!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Cookies

My cute friend Marilynn (who is also hostess extraordinnaire) has hosted one of my favorite Christmas traditions--her annual Cookie Exchange. We all bake 6 dozen cookies and go to her house to eat delicious appetizers and exchange our cookies and recipes. How can you go wrong with good friends and good food? Last night we went to her new home in PG and ate tasty treats and brought home a beautiful assortment of cookies and treats. Marilynn's new house has TWO kitchens--which will be perfect when she starts her own catering business, which she will be great at. Below is a picture of all of us girls before we dug into the goods. Marilynn and I were overcome with the tantalizing smell of all of those cookies while we were kneeling for the picture. I wanted to eat them with my face, pie-eating contest style, but I was able to restrain myself. Some of my favorites: Chocolate cheesecake peppermint bars, Oreo Truffles, Andes mint cookies, and Marilynn's Cinnamon Crackle Cookies (that have orange zest and lemon zest and lots of good spices--they sort of have a wassail-like flavor to them, yum-yum!). Thanks to Marilynn for carrying on the tradition (and to all the ladies for sharing their cookies and recipes!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Books

Do you love Christmas books as much as I do? When we first got married a woman that I really admired told me of her family's holiday tradition--each Christmas they would purchase a new book for their family. We decided (okay, I told Ryan we were doing it and he agreed :)) that we'd like to do that also. Some years we've gotten great books--other years have been just so-so, but we are slowly building a library of Christmas books to read with each other and our children. I'm going to share a few of my favorites--in no particular order, except for the one pictured above. The book Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed is hands-down my favorite non-religious Christmas book. My buddy Kyle introduced it to me our senior year of college and it's been a favorite ever since. The illustrations are amazing, the writing is intelligent and witty and hilarious, and the story is a good one about believing in Santa and understanding the true meaning of Christmas. Each time we read it, Ryan and I laugh out loud. In some places I start laughing way before the funny parts, just because I know they are coming. You are in luck too, because for several years, this book was out of print, but now is available for the low, low price of only $7.99 on I strongly recommend this book for kids young and old!

Others that we love:

The Tale of Three Trees (retold by Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrated by Tim Jonke)
I Believe in Santa Claus (Diane Adamson and M. Chad Randall)
The Polar Express (Chris Van Allsburg)
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by PJ Lynch)
Christmas Oranges (Linda Bethers, illustrated by Ben Soward)
A Christmas Dress for Ellen (Thomas S. Monson, illustrated by Ben Soward)
The Light of Christmas (Richard Paul Evans, illustrated by Daniel Craig)
The Night Before Christmas (Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Mary Engelbreit)
Christmas Day in the Morning (Pearl S. Buck, illustrated by Mark Buehner)
The Littlest Angel (Charles Tazwell, illustrated by Paul Micich)
Snowmen at Christmas (Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner)
New this year: Queen of Christmas (Mary Engelbreit)

What Christmas books do you love?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Cards

I love Christmas cards! I love to make and send them and I love to write a cheesy update letter. I feel like it's a way that we can stay a little connected to all the people we care about in our lives--mission friends and companions, high school and college friends and roommates, cousins, aunts and uncles, and people we've worked with. We love to get them in the mail too--it's so fun to find out how our loved ones are doing. We post them all on our coat closet door and the surrounding area so we can look at them all month long. The kids love to look at the pictures and ask who all the people are--it's a great opportunity to "introduce" them to the special people in our lives. We spend a few minutes telling them how we know them and a little something about the person or family so Olivia and Coleman can get to know them too. Ryan laughs at me because I hang up ALL the cards we get, even the one from our dentist! I save all of our cards from year to year too (can we say pack rat?) so that I can get ideas for our next card or just to reminisce about years past.

No guilt if you don't send out Christmas cards or if you send them but we aren't on your list--just know that if you do send us a card or picture, we've got a spot for it for all to see. If you haven't gotten a card from us, it's because we've lost track of you (or it's coming with your gift!). Send your address our way and we'll get a card your way!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Breastfeeding Cafe--Slow News Day

It must have been a slow news day at the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday--they finally ran the article on the Breastfeeding Cafe (which was in August!). Many of you know that a good part of my life this year went to the planning and carrying out of this activity, so to have it be "newsworthy" even 3 1/2 months late is like getting a shiny gold star for my forehead. The article was very well written--just a bit late to encourage the masses of people we wanted to see at the City Library in August! You can read the article here. The cute ladies in the picture are Jean (who scheduled all volunteers--close to 100!) and Nicole (with her youngest daughter) who did all the work with the City Library to get things arranged. I co-chaired the Cafe with Vanessa (not pictured), who lamentably has moved on to greener pastures and recently relocated to London. There were so many people who put their hearts and souls into this event--and hopefully we helped inspire thought and conversation about breastfeeding. Thanks SLTrib for (finally) covering our event!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Tunes

I love Christmas music--and in the past few years I've really enjoyed finding music (actually, having Ryan find music) by popular artists. Don't get me wrong, I'll always love Christmas songs by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other classic groups and singers, but I've really loved these newer versions of songs. Below is a list of some of the songs on my 2007 mix (I get a new mix each year--partly to put newer songs on, but mostly because it's inevitable that right after Christmas, I lose the CD). Tell me in the comments about any of your favorite Christmas tunes.

  1. I Saw Three Ships (Sting)
  2. Oh Holy Night (Tracy Chapman)
  3. Mistletoe (Colbie Caillat)
  4. 2000 Miles (Coldplay)
  5. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Barenaked Ladies featuring Sarah McLauglin)
  6. Rudolph (Jack Johnson)
  7. The Christmas Song (Colors)
  8. Elf's Lament (Barenaked Ladies)
  9. Winter Wonderland (Macy Gray)
  10. Maybe This Christmas (Ron Sexsmith)
  11. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Harry Connick Jr.)
  12. Green Christmas (Barenaked Ladies)
  13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Coldplay)
  14. Gabriel's Message (Sting)
  15. What Child Is This (Gypsy Soul)
  16. Noel Album--the whole thing is great! (Peter Brienholt)
  17. Mr. Grinch (the kid's favorite, by the Coats)
  18. The Christmas Song (Hootie and the Blowfish)

**Update--We just found two more cool songs--Frosty the Snowman (Fiona Apple) and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Chris Isaak). Did I mention I love Christmas songs? And did I mention that I love my cute husband for always finding me the songs I want?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Olivia's Piano Recital--Take Two

Olivia played in her first piano recital last Saturday and played a duet with Ryan. She did great! Our videographer (that would be me) didn't do so great the first time around and forgot to press the record button or something, because it didn't record, so we did a re-do and got it on film.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


For some strange reason, I made it to 33 years old without ever hearing a production of Handel's Messiah. Last December for our book club we read a (historical) fictionalized account of the writing of the Messiah, called Hallelujah by J. Scott Featherstone. It was a good book (and great to read during the holiday season) and it made me really want to get to know the music better. Of course I had heard snippets of the more famous songs and the Hallelujah chorus many times, but I was not familiar with the whole work. For the last 12 years the Timanogos Festival Orchestra and Chorus has put on "The Messiah Sing-In" at the Alpine Tabernacle, but we haven't ever been able to go. My girlfriend Tiffany called yesterday and asked if I wanted to go--so Ryan and I found a last-minute babysitter (we love Mattilyn!) and went, and I was amazed. When Ry was in high school he and his mom sang in a production of the Messiah, so he knew what he was in for, but I had no idea. They had four amazing soloists (the tenor was George Dyer, whom I had heard before) and the orchestra was incredible. We had music to sing along during the chorus/audience parts, so we were able to follow along during the production (apparently, that's what you do at a "sing-a-long" :)). I don't know where I got the idea that it would be a really casual, low-key event with us all singing the whole thing around a piano or something. To say it was excellent would be a major understatement. I was so moved by the music and the talent that was there, and really appreciated it more because of the book that I read which gave so much truthful background about how it came to be. Thankfully I had a woman sitting behind me with a great voice and a knack for reading the music, so I followed her lead, even though I only got about a fourth of the notes right. I usually sing soprano (because it's easier for me to sing melody), but last night, I was an alto, because she was. Through several of the numbers it was hard to sing through my emotions--I was so moved. I want to sit down and really study the scriptures that inspired each part of the oratorio.

A funny aside is that we sat next to a couple of adults from a group home. They were well-versed in the sing-along process, and the man next to Ryan was very familiar with the music. We surmised that they had struck a deal with each other--the guy next to Ryan got to have the copy of the music during most of the production, but had to pass it down the line during the chorus/audience part. The first time he had to surrender it, he was very angry that he didn't have it anymore, but by the second or third time, he was content to get rid of it for a few seconds so that he could "conduct"--which he did with as much enthusiasm as Jimmy Stewart conducted the Tabernacle Choir in the movie "Mr. Kruger's Christmas." It was good for some comic relief in such an emotion filled night, but at the same time it was very moving to see how the music so wonderfully written about our Savior had affected all of the people that were there, including this cute man.

I'll end with the same thought that I started with, I can't believe it took me this long in life to go to a sing-in. I'm going to make sure that my kids go to it when they are young--maybe not starting at 8, which is the age that they allow children to attend, but certainly before their teen years. The Messiah is something that all followings of Christ should be familiar with!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tooth Sealants, According to Olivia

Today Olivia had to get sealants on her molars. Since we didn't know the process, I asked Olivia to tell me all about it when she came out. Here's her story:

"First they put that air sucky thing in your mouth. Then they put the soap on your teeth, you know, the teeth soap to clean them. Then they put in a sponge thing to catch all the slobber. Then they paint on the sealing stuff. Then they do the other side. Then they give you a token. Then you get to choose a toy like the bouncy ball I chose. And it tastes yucky. The end."

Monday, December 3, 2007

Once There Was A Snowman

We had our first real snowfall of the year last Saturday--a fitting way to bring in December! The kids were so excited to go out and play in it and were successful in convincing Ryan that he needed to go out and shovel. The guilty look on his mug is just after he chucked a shovel-full of snow at me, the innocent photographer. Olivia and Coleman loved being in the snow and had a good time building this snowman. Today, in the sun he melted, small, small, small. Goodbye Mr. Snowman!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My First Wedding Cake

Okay, so I didn't really make this cake, but my dear friend Carrie Beth let me "help" with it. That means that I got to put on a few of the fondant dots and paint on the edible sparkle dust. CB just graduated Le Cordon Bleu California School of Culinary Arts and got her diploma in Patisserie and Baking. Impressed? I am! She came home to Utah this last week for her sister Mollie's wedding and let me watch in awe as she decorated this cake that she made. Not sure I am ready to do my a cake on my own, but if we can get Carrie Beth to move back here and open up her own bakery, I sure want to be considered as an apprentice. At least I could do "product control" and help with taste testing, right? And if you didn't know, fondant looks lovely, but tastes HORRIBLE! Here's to baking and decorating!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Queen of Everything

Olivia has some magic wands and Coleman likes to cast spells. Tonight just before we knelt down for family prayers he told me he had turned me into a queen. I told him I liked being a queen and asked him what I was the queen of--he said "Everything!" and then Ryan and Olivia filled in that I am the queen of treats and candy and cookies and the Queen of the House. Then Coleman added an important disclaimer and said, "Sometimes you're not the queen." I said, "Like when I get mad and yell?" and he nodded. Olivia said, "Yeah, then you're a DRAGON!" We all decided that I could then be the Dragon Queen, so at least I can still be the Queen of Everything.

"I Think I Can" Festival of Trees 2007

Today I got to go decorate a tree with Megan for the Festival of Trees. Unfortunately I was too busy this year to help Megan much with the project, so I just contributed the tree skirt. She did so much work and put together quite a collection of train toys and ornaments! Lots of people contributed money and items so that she could do it and it turned out great! She had a ride-on Thomas train that went around the tree and a table with a wooden train set. She made the cutest toy box that looked like a box car and had it filled with quilts and toys of all kinds. There were books and puzzles and blocks and stickers and trains of all kinds. Chance loved trains and Megan had a great picture of him on a Thomas train (to the right). Megan has done a tree each year since Chance died, partly for us all to remember Chance and partly to pay back in a small way all that the great folks at Primary Children's Medical Center did for Chance while he was there. If you live near the Salt Lake area, the Festival is at the South Towne Expo Center and runs Wednesday, November 28th through Saturday, December 1st. Your small entrance fee goes to Primary Children's Medical Center--it's a great cause and you can look for Chance's tree in Aisle F (#5).

Meg, I know I promised I wouldn't post this picture of us, but it was too cute. Here is me with my Mom and Megan after we spent a few good hours decorating the tree. Missing is our other sister Lindsey who also decorated with us!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Candy, Candy, Candy

So today we had a shower for my brother's wife Ashley--their baby Samuel was born on September 30th and they were here from Connecticut for Thanksgiving. He is such a darling boy, and very mellow. Two weeks ago I was at a baby shower for my cousin's wife who will have twin girls and they had the neatest candy bar with pink, green, and white candies. The first time I saw anything like this was at my cute cousin Katie's wedding reception and when I saw it with a baby theme, I knew I had to copy it! After many trips to various stores to find the right kinds of candies in various shades of green, yellow, white, and blue and glass containers of all sizes (the dollar store and the For Every Body warehouse in Lindon are great for cute, cheap containers), I created quite the cute candy bar if I do say so myself. We even had little footprint tags to seal up the bags. The only downside (if you can call it a downside) is that we have so much candy left over and not another shower in the near future, so we might be having a selection of sour apples, laffy taffy, life savers, caramel apple sugar babies, jelly bellies, sour apple rings, York peppermint pattties, lemonheads, buttermints, and hershey kishes for the next few days. I think I can live with that. Remember how I said I'm not a very good dietitian? This is one of the many reasons--I love candy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Coleman's List of Thankful Things

1. Candy

2. Friends

3. Mommy

4. Daddy

5. Olivia

6. Beds (so we don't have to sleep on the floor)

7. Pillows (so we can have pillow fights)

8. Adam and Eve

9. Heavenly Father

10. Jesus

11. Walls (so we don't go through stuff)

12. That we could have a family

13. That we have a TV

14. That we could watch movies.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past

There is so much to be thankful for. Some of the things I am thankful for include great holiday memories, including past Thanksgivings. There was the year when I was in college and I went to a drag queen breakfast in San Diego with my dad (none of us participated, just observed). Later that day I sat down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my dad, my dad's boyfriend, my dad's boyfriend's wife, and my dad's boyfriend's wife's boyfriend. Wrap your brain around that--and there is even a somewhat logical explanation for it. There was 1996, in the MTC, when I was brimming with joy and excitement about sharing the gospel. I just read in my journal how humbled I felt that day and realized how much I had to rely on the Lord to succeed and grow--what a good reminder for me now. The next year I was in Valparaiso, Chile and the missionaries in our zone decided to have Thanksgiving dinner together. There was not a turkey to be found, but we made do with some rotisserie chickens. I was in charge of the stuffing--and wouldn't you know it, apio (celery) is very hard to come by in Chile in November--not to mention the stark lack of Stovetop. The stuffing wasn't so good, but it was nice to recognize the holiday while sitting on the basketball court at the Edwards Stake Center. In 1999, just a few months after Ryan and I got married, I woke up on Thanksgiving morning to my very first kidney stone and quickly learned how very much I like morphine. That year, I was very thankful for the people who miss holidays with their family to administer drugs to people in need. Years since then have been mostly uneventful, yet full of family craziness and adjustments. Last year we started a fun tradition of eating pie for breakfast. Who can turn down pie on an empty stomach? Every year that we are at my mom's house we get to write down something we are thankful for and then everyone guesses who wrote it. We all roll our eyes that we have to do it, but I for one appreciate the opportunity to contemplate and share what I am thankful for. This year, I am grateful that I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful, intelligent children. We have a great home, Ryan's got a good secure job, we all have our health, and we are members of the true Church of Jesus Christ. We have wonderful friends, extended family, and so many opportunities to do good things. What more can we ask for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Olivia's List of Thankful Things

Olivia made a list of the things she is thankful for:
1. Family
2. World
3. Jesus
4. Friends
5. Food
6. House
7. Trees
8. Pet (we don't have one, she's hoping!!!)
9. Money
10. Teachers
11. Me
12. Sun
13. Water
14. Brother (Coleman :))
15. Freedom
16. Thanksgiving
17. Grandmas
18. Grandpas
19. Aunts
20. Uncles

Monday, November 19, 2007

Boys and Boogers

What is it about boys and boogers? Last night I caught Coleman digging in his nose with his thumb, then sticking his thumb in his mouth. I reminded him that we don't do that and he nodded that he understood. Shortly after we knelt down for family prayers and I admit, I peeked at him to make sure his eyes were closed (something we've been working on). There he was, with his thumb in his nose again, he snuck a peek at me to make sure MY eyes were closed and when he discovered he was home free, it went straight to his mouth! A couple of seconds later, he repeated the process while watching me to make sure he wouldn't get caught. After we said "amen" he closed his eyes and non-chalantly went on his way as if he hadn't just consumed his nasal waste. I repeat the question, what is it about boys and boogers???

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Coleman and Cookies

Leave it to our sweet little ones to receive inspiration. Today in Sacrament Meeting Coleman had a revelation that we should do something for a friend. One of our good friends just completed a round of chemotherapy and today spoke about seeing the hand of God in our lives. She was reflecting on the fact that we could feel sorry for ourselves for whatever reasons, and listed a few of them including, "because no one brought me cookies today". Coleman is our little Cookie Monster. He loves everything about them--making them, eating the dough (with a grimace from me because I know the risk of salmonella from those raw eggs, but what can I say, I love cookie dough too!), eating hot ones with milk, eating cold or stale ones, he'll eat cookies any way they come. So he heard the word "cookie" over the pulpit (nods to his parents for teaching him to pay attention while he's busy with his "Activity Book") and realized that our friend was sad that no one had brought cookies to her today. His eyes lit up and he whispered as reverently as he could, "Hey, I know! We should make some cookies and bring them to her!" He was so excited to have the idea and as soon as we got home, we got on our aprons and got right to work. I'm so proud to have a son who receives that nudge from the Spirit to do something for someone else, and I love that we got to make cookies in the process.

Chance's Birthday 2007

Yesterday we went to Hogle Zoo to remember Chance's birthday. We've made it a tradition to let balloons off on his birthday in his memory. In 2005 and 2006 we did it at the cemetary, but this year Megan decided it would be good to do it somewhere that our kids could play and have fun. Chance loved the zoo! We laughed as we remembered his antics, particularly the time he snuck into the giraffe enclosure in a matter of two seconds flat. Lucky for him (and the giraffes!) Lauren was close enough to snag him before he got too far. This year we saw that there is a new, kid-proof fence surrounding the giraffes to protect them from such curious little ones. He was one energetic little guy and it was fun for us to spend the day at a place that he loved to be. His cousins Olivia, Abi, Coleman, Tayden, and Evan let the balloons go. The younger cousins that were there (Brady, Eliza, and Jonah) will get their turn in years to come.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Chance

Chance Tyler Fulton was born on November 15, 2002, so today would have been his 5th birthday. He is my sister Megan's son and he's a beautiful boy. In September of 2005 he suddenly got very sick and didn't get better. The doctors and staff at Primary Children's Hospital fought hard to make him well and we fasted and prayed and implored with the Lord so that Chance could make a full recovery. For some reason, the Lord needed Chance more than we needed him here, although we all still struggle trying to understand why. I struggle still with feelings that I didn't do enough for Chance while he was here, and hope that I can somehow do right by him. I am grateful for Chance and his love of life and people. I am grateful for his beautiful blue eyes and eyelashes that any girl would die for. I'm grateful for his mischievious smile and playful personality and for all the memories he created for our family. I am grateful that Megan had an opportunity to love a son and to be loved by him. I am grateful too that although we miss him terribly and sometimes the ache to be near him is almost too much to bear, we know that we will be with him again. Happy birthday little man!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Peter Pan

A few nights ago we went to our local high school's productin of Peter Pan. It was very well done--both of the kids were enthralled with every minute of it. Peter Pan was actually played by a girl who cut her hair off for the role. She was amazing! They handed out pirate crayons and had a coloring page on the back of the playbill to keep the kids busy while we waited for teh play to start. One of Ryan's priests was one of the pirates, and he was hilarious, so that was especially fun.

After the play was over, we got to meet some of the characters--we snapped a picture with Wendy. Peter Pan told Coleman he could visit the Lost Boys in Neverland any time, which has Coleman making all sorts of travel plans. We topped off the night with an ice cream cone from Parker's and called it good.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fall Days

I am thankful for the nice cool days of fall. Yesterday the kids had a fun day going to the BYU Women's Soccer Mountain West Conference championship match with Ryan. After the victory they stopped to play with the toys at the Eyring Science Center and topped it all off with some ice cream from the BYU creamery. Ryan was sweet and gave me the afternoon "off"--which I spent cleaning out the garage in hopes that we can park just one of our cars there before the snow comes. When they came home from their fun afternoon, we raked leaves and let the kids have some more fun. If you look closely at Coleman's face, you can probably see some remnants of his Cookies and Cream on his face. What a day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"One Ring To Rule Them All"

So this post has nothing to with the poem by JRR Tolkien (sorry Lord of the Rings fans)--but it has everything to do with a ring that today ruled all of my attention. In keeping with my theme of things I am grateful for, today I am extremely grateful for my wedding ring. I took it off and set it on the counter (which was actually fairly clutter free compared to the usual chaos that it is) to wash dishes this morning, and after finishing the dishes, it was nowhere to be found.

I searched everywhere it could possibly have gone, and even was ready to use some heavy interrogation techniques with my cute son, who repeatedly assured me that he did not pick it up, hide it, swallow it, or in any other way do something to remove it from it's original place on the counter. His innocent little face and voice promising me that he didn't do anything with it had me believing that at least he didn't remember what he had done with it, and I forgave him and tried to lovingly jog his memory, but to no avail.

I continued to search and really tore the kitchen apart--and even moved on to other rooms in the house. In our living room vent I found a bunch of old scraps of wood (from our hardwood floor installation three years ago???) and a small chisel, but no ring. I removed the pipes from under the sink which was stinky (reminded me of the grease-trap days at Meier's Prime) but empty of wedding rings. I went through our recycling garbage can (clean stuff, no grime) and the regular garbage (not so clean, lots of ketchup and ranch from playgroup kiddoes lunch) so many times I can't even count them. I even got through several piles that have been sitting on the kitchen counter for years at least--and found my passport which had been lost since I returned home from Paris (big relief that it hadn't been stolen, right?), but still no sign of the ring. Of course I was praying continually that I could find my ring, but after several hours, I was ready to concede that I was never going to see it again.

Is it silly to worry so much about an object? Not if it's a wedding ring. We have insurance that would replace it, but another ring wouldn't be the same. I felt sick inside all day long. Finally, as a last ditch attempt, I decided (was prompted) to pull out the stove. There it was--halfway underneath the dang thing! I think I must have knocked it off the counter and kicked it under there. What a relief! I didn't even care that it was in the middle of a whole bunch of yucky stuff, it was beautiful to me. After calling Ryan to tell him the great news, I called several other friends that I had lamented to throughout the day.

I am very, very grateful that prayers are answered and that my ring is safely back on my finger. I have decided it's high time to use the beautiful ring holder my dad gave to me--it now has a prominent place right above the sink so that whenever I need to wash the dishes, it can sit in a safe place where I can watch it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Season To Be Thankful

Thanksgiving is upon us, although retailers everywhere would have us believe we are in the midst of the Christmas season. I always feel like Thanksgiving gets a raw deal--there is so much hype for Halloween and so much for Christmas that Thanksgiving gets lost. I have appreciated so many other bloggers that are taking the time to write about the things they are thankful for. I can't promise daily posts, but I hope to take some quality time pondering and writing about the things I am grateful for as Thanksgiving draws near.

Today, I am grateful to live in a country where my opinion matters, and I get to share it officially. In Utah we are deciding on an important issue today (school vouchers) that has been the hot topic and the basis for many discussions, debates, and arguments. My husband and I have commented on how an issue like this has even divided families. There has been an incredible amount of money spent on this issue (almost $8 million, just from the two biggest groups) and a lot of fact twisting and spinning--admittedly from both sides of the issue. By the time election day arrives, we have made our decision and get to cast our vote for what we believe to be the best thing for our state and for our children. I have been thinking a lot about the issue--is there a right or wrong answer? In my mind there is, but it's largely subjective, because the guys on the other side believe they are right as well. As with all things, there are many opinions, and voting is a way that we get to express those and help shape policy and law. I hope you took the opportunity to be an informed voter today. I am grateful for that right (and also grateful that as of 9:31 pm, exit polls show that the Voucher referendum was defeated by a huge majority)!

I do have to add a disclaimer though, that although I felt extremely informed and well-educated on the voucher issue, I was much less educated on our candidates for City Council. There were four candidates and we could vote for three. I admit (somewhat ashamedly) that I know very little about all of them. I voted for one just because she's a woman. I didn't vote for another because his sign frequently sat next to "I'm for 1" signs in yards around town--Ryan reminded me that the poor guy was guilty by association, no more. By default, the other two got my vote. I guess when it comes to an issue I feel strongly about, I go to great lengths to be educated and informed, but if it doesn't really matter to me either way--there's no telling how I'll vote!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Nutrition--My Way

I am admittedly the worst dietitian ever. I think chocolate is my favorite food group. We rarely eat three servings of vegetables each day. My husband believes that Jolly Ranchers and Starburst count as a fruit serving. My children have super-sonic hearing and always catch me sneaking the Cheetos or cookies in the pantry. All of that aside, I am a registered dietitian. I do make an effort to consume healthy foods along with all the treats and I've tried to expose my kids to a variety of healthy foods, on occasion (today!) I make healthy foods like whole wheat pizza crust, but still, I'm the worst dietitian ever.

I still haven't quite figured out what drew me to the profession, but I somehow managed to get through school, complete the 2,000 internship hours, and pass the exam given by the ADA to get the letters RD behind my name. In order to keep my certification current if I ever decide to go back to work, I need to attend workshops and talks for continuing education hours. Yesterday I was lucky to attend one sponsored by the Dairy Council of Utah. Each year they hold a Breakfast and Briefing at the Grand America hotel--and who wouldn't want to have a yummy breakfast in the name of continuing education? They are great opportunities to learn more and schmooze it up with potential employers so they know my name and face in the event I find myself needing a job.

I was reminded yestereday that one of the things that attracted me to this field was the science of it all and the opportunity to help people make their lives better. Science is exact and can be proven--but often we get lost in its interpretation. There are so many ideas and theories out there when it comes to nutrition, which is a relatively young science and thus still evolving. Many consumers hear conflicting messages about certain foods and diets. Our speaker yesterday reminded us to always question the source of the information. What is their agenda? If they are trying to sell some product or idea with their information (supplement bars, vegan diets, books, etc.) either for your actual money or just to convert you to their cause, they have a strong motive to get you to believe them. It's always good to make sure there is good solid science behind their claims. It's also good to see if reputable, well-known scientific groups endorse or agree with the ideas. Some of these include (but of course aren't limited to): American Dietetic Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Breastfeeding Committee, American Medical Association, USDA, World Health Organization, American Academy of Family Physicians, etc.

Even studies and recommendations from them you may need to take with a grain of salt and look at the data and research methods behind them. One example of this is that the AAP and Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends strongly against co-sleeping. Their recommendations are based on studies that included all co-sleeping arrangements, including parents who smoke or were under the influence of alcohol and drugs or were co-sleeping on a couch or water bed. Other studies from reputable sources have shown that mothers who breastfeed their children lower the risk for SIDS by co-sleeping.

Recent buzz about dropping dairy and gluten from your diet to "cure" illnesses from insulin resistance to autism and ADHD are all around--I am often asked about issues such as these, to which I always respond with the disclaimer, "I am the worst dietitian ever" and then I tell them my standard answer. There haven't been any solid studies to prove that it does or does not work. Many parents and patients are looking for alternative therapies to treat their illnesses, but until there is strong, evidence-based research that shows improvement by avoiding certain foods or whole food groups, I am very hesitant to suggest it. You may even find evidence to the contrary, as is the case with dairy foods and insulin resistance--one study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that increased consumption of low-fat dairy products can actually improve insulin resistance.

When it comes down to it, try to eat a good variety of foods in reasonable amounts, move around as much as you can, and think very hard before dropping any food group from your diet because it's sure to be a miracle cure. That, and eat lots and lots of chocolate.

Fly Paper and Peanut Butter

So you know how people always ask what your most embarrassing moment is? For me, there are too many and they occur way too often to choose just one. Today, I had another that has to be worthy of at least a few laughs. We've had some pesky flies buzzing around our kitchen for the last week or so--maybe it's the change in weather and they were seeking warmth inside, or maybe it's just because I have an unhealthy amount of crumbs and food particles around the kitchen. Regardless of their reasons for invading, they are here. I have a thing about fly swatters--I think they are disgusting and as such we do not have one in our house. Ryan has a unique talent of catching flies, shaking them in his hand and then releasing them, all dizzy and disoriented outside, but for some reason this bunch is extra speedy and we haven't been able to get a handle on the situation.

So this morning I was at the store and decided to relinquish my stand against fly swatters and I bought one. I also picked up some of the super-sticky fly paper to see if I could get rid of them without using the swatter. I hung it from the light in our kitchen and got the sticky stuff all over my hands in the process--but never fear, they offer the suggestion of using peanut butter or vegetable oil to clean it up, so I got my hands all cleaned up and went on my way cleaning the kitchen. I watched the flies fly around the tape and linger oh so close to it but not land on it so I promptly forgot about it. I went to clear off the table and was horrified to find that my hair caught on the fly tape. Of course I panicked--and thus ripped the tape from the light and got it more stuck in my hair then tried to take it out quickly, but it was stuck. To make matters worse--while trying to assess the situation, I looked down and realized that there was a dead fly on it, in very close proximity to my face. YUCK. I called Ryan (who although was kind, laughed about the whole thing and told me "good luck" and he wished he were here with his camera) and while I was on the phone with him, ripped the tape out--taking many strands of hair, but luckily no clumps. It left a sticky, residue-y mess in my hair.

Enter Skippy Creamy--I can now say (from experience) that washing your hair with peanut butter will in fact remove fly paper sticky glue. Not something I'd recommend for the regular consumer, but helpful to know if needed. The best thing about it all--only I was here to witness it, and there were no cameras or video recorders around. The record should also show that once I used the fly swatter, our fly population decreased rapidly.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

At our house we love Halloween. We love candy (candy, candy, candy!), we love dressing up, we love fall decorations, we love trick-or-treating, we love frosting sugar cookies, we love school parties, we love making caramel apples and giving them to our loved ones, and we even love eating jack-o-lantern pizza each year. Ryan's dad took him on a Master Photography tour in Egypt last spring and Ryan's assignment from me was to find us some cool Egyptian costumes--he did well! Olivia and Coleman have been "walking like an Egyptian" all week to get ready--as if they have any idea what they missed in the 80s. Coleman also adopted a wicked laugh--"anh, anh, anh, ahhhh"--that he claims he picked up from all the evil witches he's seen. Those Disney channel shows fill their heads with such crazy ideas!

As tradition at our house goes, Ryan took the kids trick-or-treating and I stuck around to give candy to the neighborhood kiddoes. Some people thought Ryan and the kids were wise men, and one guy asked if I was a Lamanite. Hmmm, maybe we should have walked like Egyptians too. At least we knew what we were :). We had a pretty slow night tonight, and even though some of the cuties picked up the candy by the handful, we still have a cauldron full of treats, so I'm glad I stuck with my time-honored tradition of buying candy that we like to eat too. We'll eat a piece here and there for weeks, until I'm sick of looking at it, and I'll dump it all into the trash. Better start thinking of how we can dress up in 2008. Any ideas??? Hope your Halloween was great!

Finally--we join the world of blogging!

I have loved reading so many blogs from our friends and family.... I've wanted to start one for our little family for a long time, but the hold up was trying to decide on an appropriate name. So many of you are creative and funny and insightful and I was stumped. Instead of waiting until I had a flash of inspiration (which may never come!) we settled for "Harper Hoorahs" and when you visit our blog, we hope you will think of reasons to say "hoorah" or "woo hoo" or any other celebratory words to express your love for life and all that goes with it.