Saturday, December 12, 2009

Worth a Laugh...

No matter your political leanings, you must admit that this photo is hilarious... Glenn Beck's "America's March to Socialism" as an inspirational talk on CD?

Thanks to our local Seagull Book (and to Ryan for snapping the photo) for the hilarity.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just in case.... need to cook another holiday turkey, Olivia has written down her recipe for you:


Cranberry Sause
Rasberry chpotle saucse

Directions: Chop off its head. Parlize it and put it in the oven for 30 min. Put the oven temp. at 450. Get out after 30 min. Let it sit for 30 min. Then put the ingredients on the turkey.

(Warning: Following this recipe could result in consuming feathers, turkey feet, gizzards, and coming down with salmonella or a host of other food borne illnesses.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My new mud room!

I have long lamented the fact that this house doesn't have a mud room...

There seemed to be shoes, school bags, coats, church bags, piano bags, and so many other things without a home...

I finally decided to do something about it (with Ryan's help, of course)...

Each one of us has a cubby with which we can fill with whatever we like. Ryan asked if he actually GOT a cubby, or if his cubby was really another cubby for me... I gave it to him, happily, but so far he hasn't stored a whole lot in it.... we'll see how long it stays HIS.

**Do you have a mud room? (Lucky you!)
**Does your mud room allow you to display photos on top of it? (Lucky me!)

Thanksgiving Traditions

After a wonderful week with family and lots of good food, I thought I'd share a few of our Thanksgiving traditions....

We skipped a longstanding tradition of me waking up at the crack of dawn to hit the Black Friday early morning sales... although Ryan did give his best effort at getting something from Target at five in the morning (I think all of northern Utah County was there looking for the same thing for their boys who love Legos)... I loved sleeping in, and "saving money" (that I spent online later that day... at least the shopping is getting done!

Other traditions thrived this year and we found a couple of new things to do too...

For a couple of years we have loved our Thankful Wall... the only time that we all get to write on the walls and share the things we are thankful for.

Thanksgiving morning is no longer complete without our tradition of eating pie for breakfast. You know how you feel after eating Thanksgiving dinner... stuffed! To make sure we really enjoy our pie we eat it before anything else. Every year I make Ryan a pecan pie.... I don't like it, but it's his favorite. Most years they boil over and don't look great, but Ryan always says they taste good. This year I was so pleased that it turned out so pretty (I gave up my desire to use homemade crust and bought a pre-made frozen deep dish crust) and it didn't boil over... it looked so good... but when we cut into it the inside had not set up. I must have not cooked it long enough... but Ryan and his parents who were visiting from CT said it tasted great (we were so glad to have them here!).

I used to think that my making a pie each year was a labor of love... this year I decided that perhaps it's a labor of love for Ryan to eat my pie each year. The kids and I go for the chocolate pudding pie (at least they get a few mg of calcium for breakfast!).

One of my coworkers gave this to us the day before Thanksgiving... I thought the little poem was so cute. If I ever had it together enough to do Thanksgiving treats for people, I just might copy it. Until then, consider it shared.

Finally, another fun coworker shared her family tradition of making turkeys out of ginger snaps, chocolate frosting, candy corns, Hershey kisses, and a red hot candy.

They were adorable!

I feel like I have so much to be thankful for this year... not the least of which is that I have two wonderful children and another sweet spirit coming to our family. We have been blessed in so many ways these last few months and we feel so grateful for all of the prayers that have been offered on our behalf.

We hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

**Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?
**Did you brave the sales this weekend?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Chance to Remember

Today my sister Megan's son Chance would have turned seven years old... we still miss him so much. He was so full of energy and love for life. He loved cars and trucks and trains and buses and anything that moved. My mom and Mike have a stone that was engraved for them just after Chance died... it says "I saw it first" and the saying comes from a game that Chance used to play with Mike, his favorite buddy. He'd spot a bus zooming by and yell out, "I saw it first!" For Chance's funeral Mike wrote something about how Chance is seeing heaven before us, but at some point we'll join him there. Although I still struggle to understand why Chance was taken at such an early age and in a way that didn't really leave us with many answers, I have no doubts that there is a greater plan and that Heavenly Father has a purpose for him.

Olivia and I went up to the cemetery yesterday for our annual tradition of letting balloons go in his memory... it had just snowed and was freezing cold... and we had to brush off the snow to figure out which was his headstone, but we found it and wished him a happy birthday as we sent balloons off into the cold, crisp sky.

We remember Chance all year, but near his birthday we think a lot about him and wonder what life might be like if he were still around. The hardest thing about having lost Chance is that at this point we feel like we have lost Megan too. She has distanced herself from so many people that love her and won't allow herself to feel any comfort from true gospel principles. The tragedy isn't just that Chance is gone, but that she has allowed his death to prevent her from feeling happiness in life.

These last few months I have been reminded (again) of all the suffering there is in the world. My sweet cousins lost their baby just over a year ago... our friend in Georgia was just diagnosed with leukemia... and another dear friend Solange just lost her husband after he had battled Lou Gehrig's disease for several years. Solange and her husband lost their baby boy a few years ago too... and even as she shared the news of Olivier's death this week, she expressed her joy that her little David is again with his daddy. With all of these friends and family members I have been amazed at the strength and resolve they have shown. Their tragedies are sad and heart-breaking and hard, but they are pressing forward with faith and the conviction that they will again be with their loved ones.

Coleman was asked to sing in Sacrament Meeting today--and he practiced and practiced for so many weeks. (I can't let it go without saying that Ryan practiced right along with him, since he played the piano for him... and Olivia and I practiced as well, because we were the "moral support.") He sang "I Feel My Savior's Love" by Ralph Rodgers and I just love the words:

I feel my Savior’s love
In all the world around me.
His Spirit warms my soul
Through ev’rything I see.

He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior’s love,
The love he freely gives me.

I feel my Savior’s love;
Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray,
My heart is filled with peace.


I feel my Savior’s love
And know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart;
My shepherd he will be.


As I watched him sing (and very, very quietly sang by him as I was kneeling by him because at the last minute he said he was scared) and listened to the words, I was struck by the thought that so many people who experience tragedy are able to come through it stronger because they allow themselves to feel the love of the Savior.

Just after Solange's husband was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, she and I spoke at length about how we often seek for physical healing for ourselves or loved ones... and how Christ can be our healer... but in some instances it is not our physical bodies that He heals, rather He heals our hearts when we are suffering and makes us stronger spiritually and emotionally. Although none of us wish to go through such devastating losses of watching loved ones suffer and die, it is a gift so wonderful that if we allow Him to, He will heal our hearts and souls if we offer them to Him. I hope that each of us can allow Christ to be our shepherd and always feel the love that the Savior has for us. I have a special hope for Megan that she will soften her heart and allow the Savior and her family members in again... so that she can feel the love we have for her.

Happy 7th birthday, little man. We love you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Got glasses?

Another fine parenting moment for Lisa...

When school started they held a vision screening for all of the students... and Liv told us they had her go to a re-do line, but we never got a letter or further explanation or anything stating that her vision was less than perfect. I told her that they would have told us if something was wrong or if she needed glasses, even though she said she had a hard time seeing things far away.

Then Olivia started complaining a month or so ago that she was having a hard time seeing the chalkboard in her classroom. She said she had to keep squinting and that she was getting headaches from squinting so much. I told her to stop squinting.

A few weeks later we attended Olivia's presentation for her 3rd grade music class... she spent a good amount of energy squinting to try to find us in the crowd (and another good amount of energy going back and forth from the many percussion instruments she was playing... we need to sign this girl up to learn to play something new... hopefully I'll post pictures and more on that later).

Ryan and I decided we needed to take her in to get her eyes checked...

...wouldn't you know it? She really did have a hard time seeing things far away and she needed glasses.

She was so excited that she was right.

And that she got to pick out glasses.

She was devastated that it was going to take a whole week for them to be made.

She went back and forth... should she tell her friends? Should she just show up at school and see if anyone noticed? If she told one person would they tell everyone else? She even wrote on our "Thankful Wall" several times about her glasses.

When I got home from work tonight she was so excited to listen to the messages just in case there was a message saying that her glasses were ready. There was one such message.... so right when Ryan walked in the door, the two of them walked right back out the door and went to pick up her glasses. She was so excited to finally have them...

...and I must say, she looks pretty darn cute...

...and has all the personality in the world to pull off wearing glasses.

I love this girl!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Panda Express Wisdom

I had to laugh at the fortune Ryan pulled out of his fortune cookie last night.

"Put up with small annoyances to gain great results."

Earlier in the day I spent the better part of an hour on the phone with the customer support department of a discount online pharmacy where we had previously ordered my medicine.

I placed a refill order on November 3rd and promptly received notification that they had received my order and processed my credit card. I checked with my credit card and made sure that the card was in fact charged.

By November 9th, I had not received any shipping notice (they promise 1-2 days processing time before shipping) and when I logged into the site there was no order history under my customer information.

I called customer support to check on my order.... and had the most frustrating experience of my life (maybe just of the day, it seems I have had a lot of frustrating experiences lately, so it's probably just me).

It went something like this (CS means Customer Support Rep):

CS: Thank you for calling ______ Online Pharmacy, how may I help you?

Lisa: Hi, my name is Lisa Harper. I'm calling to inquire about a refill order that I placed on November 3rd. Would you like the order number that I received in my confirmation email?

CS: Can you please give me your phone number?

Lisa: Sure. It is ___________.

CS: And who am I speaking with?

Lisa: Lisa Harper.

CS: Thank you. And this order was for Lovenox?

Lisa: Yes.

CS: One moment please. (On hold for 2-3 minutes.) Thank you for waiting patiently. Yes, we show that it was shipped in September.

Lisa: Yes, that was my first order. I have received it.

CS: I thought you were calling about the Lovenox?

Lisa: Yes, I'm calling about a refill order for Lovenox that I just placed last week. I received a confirmation email and my credit card has been charged. Would you like the order number?

CS: Um, no, thank you. One moment please. (On hold for 4-5 minutes.) Thank you for waiting patiently. We show that your order was shipped on September 14th.

Lisa: I realize that my first order was shipped then. I am asking about my refill order that I placed on November 3rd. I have an order number, can I please give it to you?

CS: Can you please tell me the date that you ordered that?

Lisa: November 3rd.

CS: One moment please. (On hold for 2-3 minutes.) I'm sorry, we have no record of that order.

Lisa: I have a confirmation email in front of me. It says that my credit card transaction was successful. I have an order number, will that help?

CS: Yes, thank you.

Lisa: The order number is ____________.

CS: I need to verify with my supervisor.

Lisa: Can I please speak to your supervisor?

CS: Let me check with my supervisor. One moment please. (On hold for another 4-5 minutes.)
Thank you for waiting patiently. Who am I speaking to?

Lisa: Lisa Harper.

CS: When I pull up the phone number that you gave me I get that it belongs to Lisa Harper.

Lisa: This is Lisa Harper. That's what I just said my name is.

CS: Oh, yes. The order number you gave me shows the name Davis [something or other].

Lisa: Well, there is obviously a problem with your system. Can I please speak to someone that can fix this?

CS: Um, well, I need to inform my supervisor.

Lisa: Can I please speak to your supervisor?

CS: One moment please. (On hold 4-5 minutes.) Thank you for waiting patiently. I just need to verify that your credit card has been charged.

Lisa: I already told you, I have received the charge on my credit card. I also have a confirmation email from your pharmacy stating that my credit card transaction processed successfully. I want to speak to your supervisor.

CS: My supervisor told me that I need to get your card information and verify that it was charged.

Lisa: No, this is ridiculous. I want to speak to your supervisor.

CS: I'm sorry, he told me I need to check this.

Lisa: I want to speak to him.

CS: I'll have to put you on hold then. One moment please. (On hold 4-5 minutes).

Finally, the supervisor gets on the phone.

Supervisor: Thank you for patiently waiting.

I tell him what has happened including that I had received a confirmation email from them stating that there was a successful credit card transaction.

Sup: ...and
did you receive any type of confirmation email from us?

Lisa: Yes, can I forward it to you?

Sup: I'll need you to forward that.


Supervisor: We need to verify that your card was charged.

I gave him all the necessary information and he promised a call back when they had it all figured out.

Several hours later, he called:

Supervisor: We deeply apologize for the inconvenience. It appears there was a glitch in our system (no, really?!?) when you placed your online order. We have confirmed that your credit card was in fact charged. We are now sending you the four boxes of Lovenox you ordered on November 3rd.


Referring back to Ryan's fortune--Small annoyance? Nope--GRAND annoyance in my book... but the great result--somewhat affordable medication delivered to my door--HAS to be worth it... right?

Most days, I feel like I'm a reasonable person. I even go out of my way to be nice. After that whole exchange, I'm not so sure... if I could have reached through the phone to knock a couple of heads, I would have gladly done it. Thank goodness they are located far, far away. And today, somewhere, that customer service rep is writing her own blog post about the idiot customer she helped yesterday.

Remembering our Veterans

Veteran's Day is one of those holidays that I don't often contemplate too much. This year, I gave it a little extra pause because as a government employee, it was a paid holiday (that's my shallow confession of the day). Yesterday, however, I was running some errands and while I was in the car I listened to a few short snippets from the memorial service at Fort Hood. I was particularly moved by the words of Commanding General III Corps and Fort Hood Gen. George W. Casey Jr.:

"It's a tradition in our special operations unit to go to the Book of Isaiah when eulogizing fallen comrades," said Gen. Casey. " At the funeral, they read, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking 'whom shall I send and who will go for us?' Then I said 'Here I am. Send me.'

"The passage conveys the sentiment that applies to every soldier in our Army. The violence that led to the death and wounding of others was unimaginable and it was a kick in the gut. Their loss left 19 children, spouses, parents and untold loved ones. What happened this past Thursday will impact the Army [forever.] The calm leadership of the command and the overwhelming outpour in support from the community; their responses in the aftermath of the tragedy have been uplifting, if not heroic.

I realize that lately my emotions have been at the surface (blame it on pregnancy), but the tears that came when I heard him quote the book of Isaiah were not just for those lost at Fort Hood, but for the many, many men and women that have stepped up and volunteered to defend the rights and freedoms that we (I) tend to take for granted.

In our family we have a history of military service, but it seems to have been lost with our generation... while I'm grateful that my brothers and husband have not "had" to join the service and I hope and pray that when my son will not have to fight in any wars or battles, I feel like it's that much easier for us to forget the sacrifices that so many people have made and are currently making. I am sure I'm not alone feeling grateful for those that willingly join the Armed Forces, all while feeling huge relief that it's not me or my loved ones making that sacrifice. I hope that I can make more of an effort to recognize and support those that are (and have been) a part of our military.

I loved that our Scouts put up flags along our streets today as a reminder of the heroism, sacrifice, and service that so many have offered for our country.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

We're Having A....

...beautiful baby....

GIRL!!! Yes, I did just post a bum shot of our daughter to be. You must understand the humor in all of this...

When we first found out that I was pregnant, I really thought we were going to have a girl. My step-dad Mike even dreamt about her. At 12 weeks I went to the perinatologist after my pulmonary embolism (it seems like with a higher risk pregnancy the quality--and cost--of your prenatal care goes way up...). I had a great ultrasound and both the ultrasound tech and perinatologist said they were pretty sure that it was a boy. They could clearly see boy parts, but reminded me that it wasn't a for sure thing... so I spent the next 8 weeks getting used to the idea of having a boy. I even had talked Ryan into using the name I wanted to use (more on that later) and we referred to this baby as "HIM" most of the time. Ryan was relieved that we could just use all of Coleman's old bedding and furniture and that we could get away without painting the room...

..only to be told at our ultrasound yesterday that this baby is definitely not a boy (the perinatologist yesterday said she hates it when anyone names the gender at 12 weeks because they all look like boys). It's all good... we are thrilled, particularly Olivia, although we would have been equally thrilled to confirm that it was a boy. Coleman was a little disappointed but decided that he could love her anyway...

Aside from the startling gender news... the ultrasound went well. Our babe is growing and developing right on track and there is no evidence of any birth defects or other problems. My placenta had been low-lying (close to the cervix) at my last ultrasound, but has since moved away so there is no more concern for placenta previa (thank goodness). The perinatologist confirmed that my treatment (two injections a day--which to be honest still hurt as much as they did when I first started) is working and that the bruising on my stomach will go away, but the lumpy knots that are there might not. They expect the rest of my pregnancy to be uneventful, which is a relief!

So now, I have the task ahead of convincing Ryan that the name I want for our daughter is the one that he wants too (or at least agrees to)... and choosing the color for her new room... which will at some point be turned back into Coleman's room when this little girl gets old enough to share with Olivia.... no pinks or purples allowed, but it's time to say goodbye to the animal room with primary colors.

Return of the Jedi

Thanks to the brilliance and sewing talents of my sister Stephanie, Ryan and Coleman dressed up as Jedis and Olivia was a lovely Princess Leia for Halloween this year. I contemplated (very briefly) trying to pull off a pregnant Queen Amidala... but one look at her wardrobe and I decided to opt out of dressing up with the family theme this year...

In my defense, my t-shirt DOES say "Spooktacular" and I threw on a witch's hat so I'm not being too bah-humbuggy about Halloween :). We did some iron-on bags with Yoda and some kind of fighter ship to complete their look.

A few weeks ago we got together with Ryan's brothers and their families (thanks for hosting Tim and Laura!) for yummy chili and pumpkin carving. Ryan was a champ (like always) and de-gooped the pumpkins. Olivia and Coleman helped too, but Ryan was the one up to his elbows in slime. I was willing to help carve, as long as I didn't have to get too messy.

Coleman liked having a reason to wear the orange apron he got at Home Depot awhile ago...

...and Olivia liked digging in the pumpkin guts as much as anyone. Tim and Laura had the best pumpkin carving equipment... the scooper in this photo worked wonders.

Cute cousins and their pumpkins....

I must say (with all modesty) that the Yoda Olivia and I worked on turned out quite nicely.. the Imperial Tie Fighter (I just Googled it, I think that's what it is) that Coleman and Ryan worked on together looks great too!

The candles made them look so neat!

This is Ryan's X-Wing and although the photo is blurry the pumpkin was very cool.

Now, two weeks later, our poor pumpkins are wilted and moldy and you can hardly tell that they have anything to do with Star Wars... but that's okay. We lit the candles anyway (and I just watched a little boy almost catch his cape on fire from one of them... luckily it didn't!).

On a side note, I'm posting as I'm handing out candy to our cute neighborhood trick-or-treaters and I must say, I'm quite disappointed in the lack of "thank yous" that I have heard. Where has politeness gone? My kids BETTER be saying thank you at each house...

**What did you (or your family) dress up as this year?
**Did your trick-or-treaters say the magic words?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giveaway Goodness

Hop on over to Ryan's photo blog to enter for a chance at winning a print of one of his amazing photos... just leave a comment on his post by Friday, October 30th at 12 pm MST. Be sure to look through past posts to see which photo you want to win!

Ryan Harper Photography

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Witches' Brew

One of our favorite Halloween activities for classroom parties is making a brew from all sorts of snacks and candies with gruesome names. We first saw it when Olivia was in preschool with Ms. Sherri. You can either ask the children to provide a baggie of one or two ingredients, or gather them yourselves and hand them out the day of the party. It's especially fun if you or the teacher dresses up as a witch and has a big cauldron to mix it up in. We usually do this at the beginning of the party so that while the kids are at their other stations you can bag it for them to take home. Little ones love hearing the names of things and adding it to the brew. You just need about a cup of the number of items that you have people to give it to... so if there are 25 kids in the class, pick 25 items and gather 1 cup of each.

  • Ghost Guts (Mini Marshmellows)
  • Witches' Warts (Chocolate Chips)
  • Withered Animal Carcasses (Animal crackers)
  • Earthworm Knots (Pretzel Twists)
  • Hollowed Out Fish (Goldfish Crackers)
  • Bloated Ants (Raisins)
  • Bugs and Beetles (Bugs Fruit Snacks)
  • Shrunken Teddy Bears (Teddy Graham Crackers)
  • Candied Spider Eggs (Gum Drops)
  • Owl Eyes (Kix or Cheese Puff Balls)
  • Chocolate-Dipped Houseflies (Chocolate-Covered Raisins)
  • Compressed Cobwebs (Honeycomb or Chex Cereal)
  • Crumbled Bat Wings (Blue Tortilla Chips)
  • Dehydrated Dragon Wings (Doritos)
  • Flatted Slugs (Fritos)
  • Goblin Belly Button Lint Balls (Skittles or M&Ms)
  • Plops of Pigeon Poop (Yogurt Covered Raisins)
  • Rat Claws (Shelled Sunflower Seeds)
  • Shredded Lizard Gizzards (Shredded Coconut)
  • Vulture Toenails (Candy Corns)
  • Warts from the White Witch (White Chocolate Chips)
  • Dried Scabs (Craisins)
  • Caramelized Mothballs (Caramels)
  • Vampire Veins (Twizzlers)
  • Goblin Fingers (Cheetos)
  • Baked Skeleton Bones (Pretzel Sticks)
  • Bat Brains (Popcorn)
  • Splintered Turkey Bones (Shoestring Potato Chips)
  • Tasted Cat's Eyes (Blanched Almonds)
  • Dirty Shoelaces (Black Shoestring Licorice)
  • Dried Seaweed (Chow Mein Noodles)
  • Freeze Dried Drops of Blood (Red Hot Candies)
  • Roasted Eyes (Peanuts)
  • Boiled Lady Bugs (Red Jelly Beans)
  • Braised Beetles (Milk Duds)
Of course you can come up with your own spooky ideas if the foods listed above aren't found in your pantry... If you have kids in the class with allergies to peanuts or other nuts you'll want to avoid those things too. The kids love it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dear Book Donor...

Although I'm always grateful for anonymous gifts left on my door or in my mailbox, yours made me second guess all of the work we've been doing to plan fun and exciting activities for our ward.

I'm not claiming in any way that I have ANY sort of a CLUE... but maybe next time you could leave a little piece of chocolate to soften the blow...

Thanks for thinking of me.... maybe before the next ward activity you could leave me an anonymous note and let me know just what it is we should be doing differently?

Thanks so much,
Lisa (and the rest of the Activities Committee, who found your gift quite hilarious)

**Ever received a funny anonymous gift?


Lots of elementary schools have several fund raisers a year... selling candy bars or wrapping paper door to door... but our school has always tried to keep it to one fund raiser per year and we've tried to avoid having the kids ask everyone they know to buy something they don't need or want. Our school for many years has done a fall carnival to raise money, which has always been so much work and took 50 or more parent volunteers to staff (I can take no credit for having planned any of the carnivals, but I do know what it was to show up and take my turn at a station or two). The carnival was always a lot of fun for the kids, but it really ended up being a big candy and junk toy fest. Now I love candy with the best of them, I just hate to see it given so freely and so often to the kids at school. Last year when I was really active with our PTA I was thrilled that our yearly carnival fund raiser didn't work out because of construction on our school grounds. At the PTA conference the spring before we heard of a few schools that did a Walk-A-Thon for their fund raiser and we thought with the construction going on last year it was a good time to try a change. As the health commissioner I was glad to see the kids doing a healthy activity to earn money instead of paying for junk. The Walk-A-Thon was a great success and much less work, and this year I was thrilled to see that the current PTA brought it back!

Coleman and Olivia loved it...

Coleman was so funny... I went to cheer them on and walked a lap with each of them. About half way through Coleman asked if I maybe wanted to rest, so he could run again. Poor kid, his mom was slowing him down!

Liv had fun walking and running with her friends...

...but my favorite sight was the two of them walking together. I have loved hearing them talk about how excited they are to be at school together and to find each other at recess... I'm so glad Liv is willing to be her brother's keeper and watch out for him.

Both of them ended up walking over three miles in just an hour... pretty impressive!

**Aren't you glad we didn't hit you up for a magazine subscription, a box of candy bars, or some overpriced wrapping paper?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Funny Stuff from the ER...

During our stay in the ER last month Ryan and I saw some signs that made me laugh (I'm sure I had already had my first dose of pain medicine...)

How can you look at the above pictures and not think it says "Our SKULLS....?" I did several double takes each time I saw it on the wall (in the ER room, in the X-Ray room... and finally in the CT room).

This Pain Assessment Scale screams out "Say eight!" (and you can't neglect the awesome drawings on the bottom... are there really people who smile or frown like that?).

And finally, the best of all... vinyl lettering that says it all... only they left off the latter part of the phrase. It should have read:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Daddy-O

Happy 61st birthday to my Dad! Last year we gave him the surprise of a lifetime (at least so far) by going down to San Diego to celebrate with him.

I really wish we could make that a yearly tradition.

Happy birthday Dad!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How does your garden grow?

Ours grows sad and neglected... all but forgotten these last few weeks... I finally went out this week to see what awaited and found some humorous things...

(As you look at photos, keep in mind that I had just finished listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver at the beginning of the planting season... I was determined to grow more of our own food this year. I bought a variety pack of vegetable plants at Costco... some of the squash varieties were only labeled as "Winter Squash" so we weren't sure what we would get. We've been blessed with a plethora of "white zucchini" (per Olivia) or butternut squash and until this week I gave it all away because I didn't know how to make it. We grew eggplants that we have not yet prepared (any good recipes?) and some cute little red chiles that would probably be great in some fresh salsa. As many projects of mine... the garden was of great interest in the beginning and after weeks of constant attention and weeding and watering, I let it do it's own thing.)

Squash growing up the tomato cages...

A hive of wasps (or yellow jackets?) making a home on our cute little chile peppers...

...and a big huge vine of butternut squash growing in and through our air conditioner.

When it was all said and done, we had so many squashes and I was able to salvage a few delicious tomatoes... the zucchinis for the most part had gotten too big... but early in the season I harvested and used many zucchinis and froze some grated zucchinis for later use so I felt okay about giving it to a friend with chickens. (He said his chickens would love to eat it... maybe I'll get some fresh eggs some day in return? Maybe not.)

I decided it was time to learn to cook butternut squash since we had so many of them and they apparently last a really long time, hence the name "winter squash." My friend told me how she loves to prepare and eat them and I gave it a shot... turns out we don't like butternut squash so much. Perhaps I didn't use enough brown sugar?

I guess if we want to eat what we grow... I should plant what we like :). Brilliant, no?

**Ever find anything strange going on in your garden?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ready or not...

Do these kids look ready for their Primary Program, or what? (Don't you love that suit? He looks like a little missionary man... thanks to CB and Brandon for passing it along to us!)

They did such a good job today... and of course I couldn't keep my eyes dry for more than two seconds during the meeting. The theme was "My Eternal Family" and the children shared personal experiences and shared their sweet, simple testimonies through beautiful music.

Our primary had a summer challenge to learn the Articles of Faith found in the Pearl of Great Price and they selected a few children to recite them, but the entire Primary said, "We believe" together at the beginning of each one (except number 11 of course, which was "We claim"). It was so incredible to hear this united body of little children stating their beliefs with such conviction.

Several of my friends are in the Primary Presidency and are the music leaders... they all did such a wonderful job writing the program and helping the children get ready for it. Thanks for a wonderful Sacrament Meeting Jill, Hannah, Sara, Rebecca, Miriam, Mya, and Jodi!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Colelam is SIX!

Six years ago we welcomed our sweet Coleman into our family. From the start he was a pretty laid back kid.

I love this photo of Ryan gazing at him.... and don't you love the temple outside my hospital room window?

I think Olivia's expression in this picture is a crack up... she has this "Hmm, I'm not really sure I want to keep him and I'm pretty sure I don't want to take him home" look on her face. They have grown to be great friends and usually get along really well together.

I love how babies like to sleep with their arms up.

Six years later he's still a happy, laid back kid who loves life and everyone around him. I am amazed at his abilities (he calls them "skills") in building things, solving problems, playing games, thinking creatively (just don't get him started on the "would you rather game"), and he's recently shown a strong interest and affinity for math and numbers.

He said he wanted an Indiana Jones birthday (he only knows Indiana Jones from the Lego Indiana Jones Wii game)... even though it was a non-birthday party year, we found an Indiana Jones hat and whip for him. I overheard him say to Olivia today, "Did you know that Indiana Jones whips girls to bring them to him and then he KISSES them? Ew, yuck!" (What exactly do they show on those Wii video games?!?

We had some of his cousins over for a little cake and ice cream and a pinata....

...that pinata was industrial strength... it didn't want to break! The kids all had a couple of turns trying to bust it and it didn't budge. Uncle Scott finally broke it open.

A few years ago Coleman had a dinosaur birthday and we made a cool volcano cake (thanks for the help, Sara!). We decided to reprise it this year with Indy and the rolling rock... That's colored evaporated milk in the middle of the bundt cakes... when you're ready for some action, just drop in some dry ice and you have a pretty cool effect... real eruptions (thank goodness!) just lots of smoky mist and some trickling lava.

It was a pretty low key birthday, but we were excited to celebrate with Coleman! He's such a great kid with so much enthusiasm for life. I love his easy-going attitude. He really knows how to roll with the punches (unless of course we are eating something he doesn't like--which is almost daily--or if he has to clean his room or brush his teeth.--well, you get the picture...). He's such a happy part of our family and we love him!