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.