Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trying New Things

Before I start, I need to give all the credit for this post to my friend, Amie, at Things As They Really Are.  And also the blog where she got the idea...I Dare You To Eat It.
Amie is fun and creative and tries new stuff all the time, so I trust her judgment...even when it's a little out there...   

The original title of this post was going to be "Brownies," but I don't actually LOVE brownies, so I decided on a more appropriate title.  Boxed brownie mixes are a staple in our house, because even though I may not love them, other people in my family do.  They're quick and easy for the girls to whip up on a Sunday afternoon when everyone seems to be more inclined to crave dessert.  

This week, for a combined Young Women's activity at church, TCD and Spell Girl had to make the homemade baked good of their choice for a Dessert Exchange.  Always easy, ever accommodating Spell Girl wanted to just bring chocolate chip cookies.  (Hooray! I could make those in my sleep.  And yes, I know SHE was supposed to make them, but of my four kids, Spell Girl is the least comfortable in the kitchen and the look of distress on her face totally melted my heart so I caved!

TCD, however, wanted something a little more interesting...less typical...I don't know where she gets that?   She's been right with me on this "vegan-ish" lifestyle since January, so when I suggested making something vegan, she was thrilled.  We looked through a few of my cookbooks and then online a little.  And then I remembered Amie's post on BLACK BEAN BROWNIES!  When I showed it to TCD, she was sold...quick, easy, cheap, interesting, AND could we go wrong??  Besides, we already had both of the ingredients in the pantry!

Sounds crazy, huh??  BLACKS BEANS + BROWNIES = DELICIOUS????  (really???)

Here's what you do...
  • Get a BOX of BROWNIE MIX (any kind) and a CAN of BLACK BEANS (Poof! you're halfway finished already.)
  • Open the can of black beans and pour into a strainer to strain out all the liquid.  
  • Spoon the beans back into the can and fill with tap water.  
  • Pour contents of can into blender and puree.
  • Mix with brownie mix and bake according to directions on box.
That's it!!   Super easy...and GUESS WHAT!  They taste GREAT!  I did not have high hopes at first because black bean puree smells the slightest bit like dog food.  But the taste of the black beans (and the smell) are totally covered up by the chocolate.  They're a little more dense than regular brownies...more fudgy than cakey.  And they shrink a little in the pan.  I would use a smaller pan the next time because these came out pretty thin.  But they're super moist!   And pretty darn delicious...even for a non-brownie lover.

So our adventure in vegan-ish dessert-making turned out to be a complete success!  (Thanks, Amie!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Zoo

Over Spring Break, a trip to the Ft. Worth Zoo was on our To Do list.  (Apparently it's among the Top 5 best zoos in the country.  That's still up for debate...I've been to some awesome zoos...San Diego, Houston, Hogle Zoo in SLC, and the Willow Park Zoo in Logan!!) Unfortunately, it was also on the To Do list of every other person in the DFW Metroplex that week.  According to local news sources, there were over 125,000 zoo visitors during the 9-day spring break period!  UGH! We decided not to go.

We were all disappointed, because even though the thought of being in an ocean of people sounded miserable, we still REALLY wanted to go to the zoo!  So we came up with a consolation idea...we skipped the zoo over Spring Break, but we promised the kids that we'd take them out of school on the first Wednesday that we were all available (aka...major planet alignment!)

Today was THE DAY.  The majority of our planets aligned for us.  My visiting teaching is done.  The kids all did their homework in advance.  No one had tests.  And Wednesday = 1/2 price day at the zoo!  (The only planet that wasn't in alignment was my husband's.  Unfortunately, he forgot to clear all the Wednesdays on his calendar and scheduled a full day of appointments.)

This morning, we slept in, had breakfast, and left for Ft. Worth around 9:30ish.  It takes an hour to get to the Ft. Worth Zoo, so with a quick stop for water bottles and snacks, and a couple of minor GPS misdirection issues, we made it to the zoo by 10:45.   It was 39 degrees when we left the house this morning and only got up to 45 degrees late in the afternoon, so there were not a lot of people there today.  (Definitely better than 125,000!)  


That isn't a real lizard, but we had to look really closely...and touch it...before we knew for sure.  

This was my FAVORITE thing about the whole day.  The Museum Of Living Art.  And I'm not even a REPTILE girl.  But the snakes and frogs were seriously amazing and extraordinary.  I think I took pictures of every single one.  (The only exception was the roaches...ew...EW...and EWW!!  I couldn't even look at them.   YUCK!) 

This is a West African Green Mamba.  I LOVED this guy...look at his face.  He's GORGEOUS!  You'd never know that he's totally venomous and one bite could kill you instantly!!  Thank goodness for that thick piece of glass separating us.

Poison Dart Frogs.  They look like those little plastic frogs you get at the Dollar Store.  They're so beautiful, but they secrete a totally toxic poison from their skin.  I'm sure I would never remember that if I ever visited the Rain Forest.  I'd definitely want to pick one of these up and take it home.  (Note to self: Do Not plan a vacation to the Rain Forest)

 Oh yeah...and they had SNAKE DOOR HANDLES!!  Very cool!!

This is a Scarlet Ibis.  Did you know that they don't come in this gorgeous red color??  When they're babies, they are grey and white.  But their diet of red crabs turns their feathers red.  Cool, huh??

The carousel was fun because they're always fun, but it's the expression on Mack's face that I loved about this cute.  

I'm not usually drawn to the hoofed things at a zoo, but I liked these guys because of their stripes.  They're called bongos (striped antelopes).

The very last thing we saw was the bird aviary.  It was ALL parakeets and cockatiels, (which was especially meaningful for Spell Girl because she has not been up close to a parakeet since the unfortunate experience we had about a year ago when we unknowingly starved three of them to death.)  There were JILLIONS of them.  And they were all beautiful.  I've never seen some of those shades of turquoise before.  I chose to stay OUTSIDE the enclosure because lots of birds flying around above my head didn't sound enticing to me.  The girls loved it, though.
We spent an awesome 4 hours at the zoo, then had a late lunch/early dinner on the way home.  It was a perfect break in the week, and a great way to spend a Wednesday!  

I LOVE the zoo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I LOVE this song.   And the funny thing is, it's been on my MP3 for a long time, but today it said something different than what I usually hear.  It's song #536 of 812, right after the handful of Over the Rainbow songs and right before Peaceful Easy Feeling.  I've listened to it a million times.  But this morning it was different.  Weird, huh?   I sort of love it when that happens, though.  It reminds me that I love these songs for a reason and that they still speak to me even after listening to them for years and years.  (This one hasn't been around that long, but it's an Amy Grant song, so that automatically puts it into the timeless category for me.) 

That song, and everything else about today, made me think about the importance of being patient.  Unfortunately, I don't think that patience was one of those gifts that I came with.  My nature is to be impulsive, to expedite things, to JUST JUMP!  I am naturally inclined to be an instant gratification kind of a girl.  But the great thing is that just because you came a certain way, doesn't mean you have to stay that way.  There are all kinds of things about me that are different than they were before...

  • I wasn't a vegetarian before.
  • I used to think that my life revolved around my FB account.
  • I used LOVE Visiting Teaching.
  • I hated being alone.

So, if all that stuff is different, maybe it's possible to gradually add patience to my list of character traits.   I have come to realize lately that there is value in waiting for things, and sometimes the REALLY good things require a LOT of waiting.  Some things don't happen overnight.  And not everything can be expedited.  I heard myself telling June yesterday that anything worth playing is going to take some time to learn (again...we're still sort of stuck on the piano challenges at our house.)  "If it only takes 30 seconds to learn, you're not going to want to play it for very long."  hmmm...don't you hate it when you hear yourself giving advice that you could actually use??

My biggest challenge with patience in the past has been that I never really enjoyed right now.  I've always been so anxious for TOMORROW that I missed a lot of TODAYs.  There are amazing things coming up that I look forward to, but there are amazing things RIGHT NOW, too, that I definitely don't want to miss.  

So, instead of "JUST JUMP," my new motto is "Be Good.  BE PATIENT.  Don't Forget." 

Monday, March 28, 2011


Alma 32:27-28 "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
"Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me."

Awhile ago I started an "experiment" similar to the one Alma is teaching the Zoramites about in this scripture.  In fact, it's pretty much identical to it.  I just didn't realize at the time I started, that that's what I was doing.

My "experiment" started in September when I attended an Institute of Religion class.   All I had at the time was a "particle of faith," but it had been covered up under years and years of distorted thinking and too much relying on my perception of what other people thought of me (also distorted).  I went to that first Institute class with a desire for something more truthful than what I was choosing to fill my head with.  The very first day, I felt that "swelling motion" that Alma talks about.  Remarkably, the whole lesson was personally relevant and applicable to my life and my current circumstances.  It was as if the instructor had prepared his lesson specifically with me in mind.  It was uplifting, inspiring, edifying and completely overwhelming.  I made myself go back the next week just to see if it would happen again.  When it did, I was hooked.

Alma 32: 29  Now behold, would not this increase your faith?
I felt the "swelling and growing."  And the more I felt it, the more desire I had for more of it.  So I found other ways to duplicate that Monday morning Institute feeling...personal prayer and scripture study, attending the Temple, writing in my journal, being quiet, listening to talks in Sacrament.  And each time, my little seed particle was more firmly rooted.
Alma 32:30  But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
And here's the ultimate test of the experiment...the fruit!
Alma 32:31  And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
When you have things in your head that are untruths, you inadvertently bring forth seeds that are not that great.  My children heard a lot of criticism and gossiping and complaining from me because that's mostly what I had in my head.  I thought I was nice and kind and compassionate, but I totally wasn't!  (And neither were they.)

I can't yet say that my little seed has turned into a giant tree.  (I'm thinking maybe a small, healthy sapling...)

...or that I've become perfect and therefore my children are also.  (We're definitely NOT!)  But there is no question that they are little reflections of their parents.  "Every seed bringeth forth unto it's own likeness."  And lately, there are better things to reflect, so the little "likenesses" that I see are amazingly beautiful.  

TCD is compelled on a daily basis to keep her friends from doing things that are harmful and stupid.  Spell Girl is kind and attentive and quick to say thank you.  June is thoughtful and always writing letters to her friends and teachers.  Mack is the first one to jump up and give someone a hug when they're feeling crappy.   

Again, I want to make sure I'm NOT painting an unrealistic picture...there are still arguments over shoes and clothes and who's riding in the front seat.  They still complain about chores and homework and practicing the piano (though not as often now that we have the TIMER!)   They still forget to put away their laundry.  

But I see in them lately, a greater desire to be good.  They are less volatile, slower to anger, and more careful with their words.  They are more willing to stop and listen.  They love more things than they hate.  They think about other people more than they used to.  They don't give up as easily.  And those are all good things. 

If my tiny little "particle of faith" and desire to experiment with this "spiritual tree growing", have contributed to any of that, then it's been a successful experiment so far, and I'm going to continue to nourish the heck out of that little sapling!

Thursday, March 24, 2011



I have always loved smoothies, but since starting my adventures in Vegan-ism in January, I have learned how to make them even better than I used to.   

Here's my typical daily start to the day...
One blender...

Plus all of this stuff...
Flax Seeds

and one of the following green things...
fresh kale
fresh spinach (my new favorite)...thanks Mamie!!!
After three months of vegan-ness, I've come up with a modified "mostly vegan" diet which occasionally includes chocolate chips in my smoothies on days when I need a little something that I can actually chew in my breakfast.  I'm pretty sure they have vegan chocolate chips, but until the ones in my freezer disappear, I'm not getting new ones.  

All of that stuff equals...

 yummy, purple, healthy, antioxidant deliciousness!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beautiful Footprints

This morning was absolutely gorgeous!!  I took my time walking the kids to school so I could smell the air and listen to the birds.  And I took the long way home in the car after I dropped TCD off at school, with the windows open and the music blaring (the MP3 is on I's today, so it was Journey, I'll Be Alright Without You and then MCC, In the Name of Love.) 

It was one of those mornings that made me feel inspired, motivated, empowered...for what, I'm not sure.  But it definitely wasn't a "curl up with a book" kind of a day.  

This morning I was reading Mosiah 15, and it made me think about what I could be motivated toward today...  
And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!
And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!
And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people
Abinadi (and Isaiah) were talking about the prophets' figurative feet upon the mountains in that scripture, but it made me think about footprints.  Surely we all have some kind of footprints that we're leaving.

When we lived in Mendon, we poured a large cement patio just outside the backdoor of our kitchen.  It was a great addition to the backyard and it provided an outdoor "room" when we needed to accommodate more than just the six of us in our small kitchen.   The cement truck arrived at some ridiculously early hour...maybe 7am?? order to give the patio enough time to dry throughout the day.  Two or three guys poured and smoothed and leveled and evened for about an hour.  We were really happy with the finished product and when they left, we warned all the kids NOT TO WALK anywhere near the patio for the rest of the day until it was completely dry.  (I'm sure you can already see where I'm going with this story, can't you?)

Not an hour later, our cutie pie, June, decided to run down the ENTIRE LENGTH of the patio.  And, of course, it was not yet completely dry.   So we were left with about 18" of little June footprints down the south edge of the patio.  At the time, we were not very happy with her.  
I remember my husband doing a lot of pacing and counting and cooling off.  But, after a few years, we started to smile every time we saw those little footprints (well, I did).  It's definitely become a fond memory.

There have been times that I've left not so beautiful footprints...not like June' the really muddy, yucky ones, that stain both the floor and your feet for a long time and probably haven't turned into fond memories for anyone yet.

But on days like this, when the sky is gorgeous and the air is crispy and breezy, I feel inspired to do something better than what I've done before.  I know I'm not a Prophet, and my footprints will not be beautiful like King Benjamin's or President Monson's, but maybe I can aspire toward at least pretty footprints.  Visiting teaching, Temple work, making cookies, being a good friend, genealogy, saying nice things...I'm not sure what it is yet, but I'm sure if I keep looking something will strike me.

Who knows, maybe my children will be my most beautiful footprints.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sarah's House

I have 17 episodes of this show saved on my DVR right now.

Do you know why??  (Unless this is your first visit to my blog, you should know the answer to this question!)  I'll give you two hints:  

1.  My Mendon House
2.  WIGs

Some people in my house like to tidy up the DVR and purge shows more often than I might like to.  This week, while my husband is out of town, I thought I would try to appease him by reducing our DVR percentage.  (I sensed that the 97% was causing him stress.)  Last night I watched all of the Oprah back episodes that have been taking up some of that DVR space.  And I secretly deleted all the Disney shows that the kids won't have time to watch now that Spring Break is officially over.  (So now the DVR is at 73%.)   I think I've done all that I can do, though.  I have watched 4 episodes of Sarah's House so far today, and I CAN'T bring myself to hit the DELETE button on a single one!!  Every episode has some little design idea that I can't live without.   

Like the one where she dug out the small basement and turned it into a mud room and a laundry room!  

I love that idea!  My renovation project in Mendon has a basement...sort of...
ok it's more of a crawl space that's tall at one end.  But what if I delete this episode and then years from now when I'm ready to turn the farmhouse into The Dream House, I forget that I wanted to do this???  And then what if I forget to ask the contractor if it's possible to make that space into an actual basement with ceilings that accommodate a person of average height (not just my less than average height)?  

And then there was the High/Low Bathroom episode where she added a SKYLIGHT to the upstairs bath!
I LOVE that idea!  But what if I delete this episode and then in 20 years when I'm in the renovation mode, I have no recollection of that skylight???

And there's a WHOLE SEASON of episodes where she actually renovates...guess what!...a 100 year old FARMHOUSE!!  Hers is in Canada, not Utah.  And it lives on 50 acres not 1.25 acres.  But still...  How can I delete something that is the whole reason I had the WIG in the first place???

I can't...

So every time it gives me that option to DELETE or KEEP this recording...
I'm KEEPING them!   Because I LOVE Sarah Richardson and her HOUSE! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Parenting Successes

They don't happen as often as I'd like, but when they do happen, small parenting successes make me really really really happy!  

This week (and every week since January) I have tried without much success to get Emma to practice the piano.  Usually it goes something like this...

Me:  You need to practice the piano.
Emma:  ugh...(stomp, stomp, stomp...throwing of music...)
Me:  I'm not hearing any music.
Emma:  That's because I'm NOT PLAYING!
Me:  You have 20 minutes to practice.
Emma:  Piano is STUPID!  These songs are STUPID!  (more throwing of music)

Some days there is actually a little practicing that happens before the throwing starts.  

Last Friday, I tried again to talk reasonably to Emma about why she's playing the piano anyway.  
...that there are some things we commit to and we don't just quit them. 
...that there will be opportunities for her to use her musical talent in the future.  
...that she will never regret knowing how to play the piano.  
...that SHE is actually the one who wanted to take piano lessons n the first place.  

And she said, "Piano is STUPID and I don't want you to PLAN MY WHOLE LIFE!"


I had to take a LONG walk...and be quiet for a LONG time...before I could think clearly enough to even talk about this with Craig.  He is the voice of reason for all of us most of the time, and I've learned after 17+ years that he gives pretty good advice.  When I am ready to give up, he reminds me why I shouldn't.  I was totally ready to give up on Friday...on the continuing struggle to make Emma play the piano.  But I didn't...

Instead, I left it alone for awhile...because I'm practicing being calm and even instead of volatile and unpredictable...and because we both needed to cool off.  Then I went to the store and bought her a timer so she would KNOW how long 20 minutes actually lasts.  And then I came home and we talked about a new "plan" for practicing the piano.  Then I left the timer on the piano and decided not to revisit the piano struggle until Monday.

This afternoon, I heard random beeping coming from downstairs...Emma was playing with the timer.  And then all of a sudden she was practicing the piano.  And then she asked me if I would HELP her play a song!  And then she MADE a practice chart so that she could check off the days that she practices!!  

Seriously!  That actually happened.  And if you had lived in my house for the last three months, you would have been as shocked as I was.   

Shocked, but grateful.  I'm not sure what caused the change...the timer? the reasonable conversation?  the new plan?  the fervent prayers of desperation?  

Whatever it was...I'm grateful that (for now) she's playing the piano willingly.  I'm grateful that there is always a new plan.  I'm grateful that my husband never gives up.  I'm grateful for timers.  And I'm grateful for the small successes that happen every now and then.



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Multiple Post Days

Today has been a multiple post day for sure!  Sometimes there are things that I can't ignore.  They hound me and rattle around in my head until I write them.  And other times, I notice things and think, "that would make a good post"  This morning, the WIG post hounded me.  And then this afternoon, a million little things qualified as STUFF I loved.  

When I first started this blog, The Cruise Director said, "Really?  You're calling it Stuff I Love?  What if you run out of stuff to write about?" 
How can you run out of stuff you love?  What a sad day that would be...
Anyway, since it appears that I haven't, I'm still writing.  And today seems to be making up for those days when I didn't have a million things to write about.

Here are a few of the things I loved about today...

  • This morning all the kids were occupied...Spell Girl was on a Daddy Daughter date with my husband.  TCD was babysitting all afternoon.  Mack and June were playing with neighborhood friends.  So that meant quiet time for me, which I absolutely LOVE anytime I can get it.  

  • Tonight after everyone got home, we took Which Wich sandwiches to the park and watched the RC boat races in the pond.  SO cool!  We may have to get one or two of those things!  
  • When the racing part died down, and the sun was starting to set, one of the guys continued to drive his boat around just for fun.  Unfortunately three unsuspecting ducks happened to be swimming in exactly the wrong spot at exactly the wrong time.  All of a sudden there was a thud, then squawking, then a very confused duck swimming around trying to figure out what the heck happened to him!  But here was the part I loved...the man with the boat walked all the way down to the other side of the pond to see if the duck was ok.  (He was.)  What a nice man!

  • Spell Girl and June were playing some kind of question game during the drive home tonight, and Spell Girl appeared to be getting bored with it, so she used her "mighty word powers" on June and came up with this question...
"Which do you like better? white or alabaster??"  
June was stumped for awhile, which I think, is what Spell Girl was hoping for.  
And then she said, "Mommy, what is alabaster?"  
There were gales of laughter from the backseat when I answered, "white."  
Funny, huh?  Smart kid games?  Their dorkiness is endearing.

  • Spell Girl is at this very moment picking out a Justin Bieber song on her violin, and she's almost got it!  
"baby, baby, baby, oh..."


NO! NO! NO!...not THESE kinds of wigs!!
 W I G = Wildly Improbable Goal

In January, my friend, Amanda, wrote a post on her blog about WIGs.  I read it then, but only really thought about the goals that she had listed for herself...opening a school, having a children's museum, and owning a bookstore.  (I would totally shop at THAT bookstore, by the way!!)  But then, for some reason, I read her post again yesterday and got something COMPLETELY different out of it. 
"Writer Martha Beck calls unrealistic goals WIGs: Wildly Improbable Goals.  She says, "... learning to invite and accept your own WIG can awaken you to a kind of ubiquitous, benevolent magic, a river of enchantment that perpetually flows to your destiny."
(...doesn't that remind you of that Billy Joel album?)

I have actually met Martha Beck.  I spent 15 minutes in a limo with her in Chicago in 2002 and the things she said made a lasting impression.  We didn't talk about WIGs.  We talked about doormats.  But she's one of those people who can look at you for 20 seconds and have your whole personality totally pegged.  You know, those people who cross your path for a second, but last for a lifetime? 

Here's more of what she says about WIGs...

"A WIG is exciting. Just thinking about a WIG will get your heart pounding. Working toward your WIG (writing a book, writing a screenplay, getting signed on as a contributor at a mass-market magazine) takes hard work. Lots of hard work.
And at the end of that hard work, as Beck points out, you achieve your goal, but there's a twist. You never achieve it exactly as you envisioned it - you achieve something even better, something you could never have imagined.

"At this point, I hope you're wondering how you can set your own Wildly Improbable Goals. The problem is, you can't. WIGs are to normal thoughts what Siberian tigers are to house cats, and your "right mind" doesn't have the hunting skills to find them. Fortunately, your WIGs can find you. The knowledge of your destiny may stalk you for years, undetected except for occasional moments of longing or hope that glint like eyeshine in your darkest hours. Then when you least expect it, a WIG will leap out of nowhere and overwhelm you in one breathtaking burst.
"Being struck by a WIG is nothing like setting an ordinary goal. First of all, you'll notice that it is not something you thought up; it seems to come from somewhere beyond thought. Second, you'll feel an almost physical jolt of yearning, as though your heart is straining toward its destiny. Third, you'll have the vertiginous sensation of your mind boggling. If you haven't experienced this before, you'll probably feel overwhelmed. You won't even be able to imagine the mess of work and luck necessary to make it happen. The very idea will seem impossible - almost. That "almost" will tickle the edges of your consciousness, tempting you to believe that somehow, someway, your dream may fall just inside the realm of probability. How can you be sure? You can't. Fortunately, your first step is simple: Write down your WIG. In detail. Immediately, before you regain your sanity and lose your nerve."
I realized when I read that that I have had WIGs all my life...a handful of them that I have actually realized...

When I was a little girl, I LOVED Donny and Marie.  (I know, you're probably thinking this sounds ridiculous, but stick with me for a'll be worth it.)

There was something more than just the music that I was drawn to.  I wanted to know everything about them.  I wanted to be where they were.  I wanted to meet them.  My parents loved traveling, so one year I remember BEGGING them to take me to Provo, UT so that I could see where the Osmonds lived.  It was life changing, really.  They were that first glimpse into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
And everything after that pilgrimage has been like filling in the pieces of a puzzle that was outlined on that trip...the part where I met one of a handful of LDS kids in my high school to date and eventually marry...the part where I met 2 amazing sister missionaries in college and was baptized...the part where my husband and I were sealed in the SLC Temple and MARIE OSMOND just happened to be sitting in the foyer on that very day!
Have I mentioned that I totally don't believe in accidents?   

Another realized WIG was meeting my mother.  I longed for it when I was a teenager and had glimpses of it when I had my own children.  But what I saw in those "visions" and what I wanted out of the relationship, I knew were "wildly improbable" goals.  
But guess what...thanks to technology, the miracle of air travel, and an adventurous spirit (or two), the reality of that WIG has been better than I ever imagined it in my head.  
I have current WIGs.  Some of them I've widely the major renovation plans for my house in Mendon.  And others are deeply personal.   

I love that I stumbled upon Amanda's post yesterday and that because of it, I've thought about the amazing things that have happened in my life and the WIGs that are in my future.  I look forward to the points on this lifetime road map with excitement, hope and joyful anticipation. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Breeze

Today I attempted to burn the house down...well, just the kitchen.   And there wasn't actually a FIRE.   I grilled some chicken on the stove and the smoke sort of got out of control.  Just as I was taking the chicken out of the pan, the smoke alarms went off...all over the house.  (ugh!)

Fortunately the door to the garage is directly across from the door to the patio, so I opened both and the cross breeze cleared the smoke in no time.  After the alarms quieted, I left the doors open, though, because the breeze was amazing. 

When we lived in Mendon, we didn't have an air conditioner, so our windows and doors were often open.  Anytime there was fresh air available, we let it in!  Today reminded me how much I love the smell of a spring breeze.  (It's been in the 80s today, so maybe that makes this more of a summer breeze.)  Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed it...


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Driving Around

We're midway through a very relaxing and uneventful Spring Break.
  • Spell Girl and June have gone on miles and miles of bike rides.   
  • Mack has learned how to play lacrosse with all the little neighbor boys.   
  • And The Cruise Director has watched 4 seasons worth of Psych episodes.  
After three straight days of relaxing, though, The Cruise Director and I were starting to go a little stir crazy.  
Stir Crazy for HER = grumpy, irritable, frustrated
Stir Crazy for ME = bored, silly, hilariously funny

At 9:30 tonight, when I wasn't even able to get through family prayer without laughing hysterically, and TCD looked like she wanted all of us to spontaneously burst into flames, my husband handed me the keys to his car and said, "Would you two please go DO SOMETHING!!"

There was instant energy in the room as we both looked at each other and then raced down the stairs and out to the garage as quickly as we could before anyone decided they wanted to come with us.   After we opened the garage door and agreed on the music in the car, we sat there for a minute...

Me:  Now what?

TCD:  Well, I definitely think we should get out of the garage.
Me.  (now sitting in driveway)  ???
TCD:  Let's go get a drink and just drive around!
Me:  OK  (I totally love getting a drink and just driving around...especially with good music!)

Guess where we went...SONIC!  She got a blue coconut slushie and I got a Medium Cherry Limeade with extra ice and pretended it was a Diet DP (I wonder if there will ever be a day that I don't long for that stuff??!)

So with drinks in hand, we set out to "drive around".  First we drove by TCD's crush's house (twice).  

TCD:  I think I just saw him in the window!  Can you drive by again??
Me:  You know, I'm not exactly inconspicuous in Daddy's heavily logo'd car!
TCD:  It's ok, we can drive fast.
Me:  They live in a culdesac!!

After that, we just drove without purpose for the next hour and a half.  The rest of our conversations went something like this...

TCD:  Sometimes I worry that Spell Girl will never get married.
Me:  You think?
TCD:  Mommy, think about it, we're going to walk into her house one day and she's going to be curled up on the couch with 20 books and surrounded by all the stray animals she's rescued, with empty boxes of Claritin and tissues all over the place!
Me:  :)  (There have been times when I've actually had that same concern.)

TCD:  You know, I don't really think there's a TYPE of guy for everyone.  I think you can like lots of different kinds of guys and they might ALL work with your personality.
Me:  Well, that's sort of the reason you DATE (after you're 16!) so that you can figure out what your TYPE is.
TCD:  Do you have a TYPE?
Me:  Yep...consistent and into music.
TCD:  I don't think we're attracted to the same kind of guy.
Me:  (It was hard to keep my composure on this one.)

TCD:  I've thought and thought and thought about (insert name of parents' preference for TCD's first date here...which is 18 months away!) because I know you guys like him.  He's REALLY nice, and REALLY smart, and his family is AWESOME, but I don't think he's very attractive.  And I think I would have to be attracted to the person I marry.  So I'm going to have to say no to that one.  Sorry.
Me:  I totally agree, but sometimes a person who is physically attractive can turn out to have a crappy personality.  And sometimes a person who might not initially turn your head will have so many other amazing qualities that everything else about him becomes attractive.  So, try to have an open mind.  And we'll stop pushing (insert name of parents' preference here.)

The next one was prompted by the drive-by window shopping we did at Fairview...
specifically this window...

TCD:  Where do you think the next fashion trends are going to go?  I mean, they can't really get any shorter or tighter or more revealing, can they?
Me:  Usually stuff cycles back around.  The tight, skimpy, revealing thing is kind of like what was popular in the 70s.  But the 80s were baggy, oversized, and flourescent.  Maybe that's what's coming next.
TCD:  Ugh...baggy? seriously?  I thought clothes were supposed to be designed to make you look better than you already look?  you know, skinnier, taller, more flattering?
Me:  When have you EVER seen someone in those super short shorts and thought it was a flattering look? 
TCD:  OK!  When I'm a fashion designer, I'm not going to make anything that is immodest!! That way REAL people will always look good in my clothes!!

The whole night was like that...lightning fast, hilariously funny, thought provoking, interesting, delightful conversation.  It was so much fun to gain a little insight into my 14 year old's head.  It's funny how much thought she's put into things that haven't even affected her BOYS, and her sister's propensity toward a CRAZY CAT LADY future.  
When we finished our drinks and pulled into the garage, she hopped out of the car and said, "Great talk, Mommy!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sleeping In

Typically, I'm not the "sleeping in" type.  I like to get up fairly early (not ridiculously early...I'm more of a 7am girl.) 

This morning, though, I slept until 8:45!!  And I didn't get out of bed until almost 10:00!
Here's how I was able to pull that off...
  • It's Spring Break at our house, which means no early morning scriptures, no school, and four children who also like to SLEEP IN!
  • That whole Daylight Savings thing makes it actually 7:45 in REAL LIFE.  It'll take the entire week to get used to that hour time difference.

  • Sometime in the middle of the night, my cold turned into a crazy sore throat.  This morning it felt like my throat had been lined with razor blades...ugh!  I tried to put off talking, moving, or swallowing as long as possible...8:45 was the best I could do.  (It's much better now that I've had two cups of green tea for breakfast and Marble Slab for dessert!)  
I didn't have all those crunchy things in mine.  And it was sans waffle cone this time.
I think I might try sleeping in again tomorrow morning.  I kind of LOVED it.  And I don't have to be anywhere until 4:00, so why not??



Sunday, March 13, 2011


I love living in Dallas!!  But the most disheartening thing about being here is that there are no gardens!  With a yard that is less than a quarter of an acre, and scorching, relentless heat from June till September not many people are adventurous enough to plant anything very labor intensive out here.
I was standing on the patio when I took this picture.  And the patio is an 8x10 block of cement right off the kitchen.

No one in our ward has a garden.  No one in our neighborhood has a garden.  I haven't seen a garden since I left Utah.  It's possible that there is one somewhere, but I have not yet been able to find it.  

There are several Farmer's Markets within a few miles of our house...
and there's a beautiful new Whole Foods Market, so there are opportunities to buy really good produce, but they're also REALLY expensive.  
I have been so spoiled for the past 7 years.  I can't remember the last time I BOUGHT a zucchini.  We haven't had one since we moved here, because I can't bring myself to PAY FOR something that I used to walk outside and pick out of my garden.  People in Mendon had so much zucchini that you could find it in boxes at the Post Office for FREE! 
Today we went to visit some very dear friends who used to live in Mendon and now live in Carrollton.  And guess what!!!  They have a teeny little garden.  But it's a garden nonetheless!  Apparently you have to have once lived in Mendon to make the gardening effort in Dallas.
They have radishes, lettuce, ZUCCHINI, peas, tomatoes, and I think there might be a pumpkin in there.  

They also have various herbs plants sprinkled among the decorative plants in their yard.

Flat Leaf Parsely
It was inspiring to see all that they had done with a small space.  It was practical, decorative, productive, beautiful and minimally invasive!  It made me want to come right home and plant my own little herb garden.  Too bad it's Sunday.  But next week is Spring Break and I think I may have just come up with a great idea for a family project!