Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections and Other stuff

Things of note that should be mentioned lest they be forgotten.

1. Thanks Tawyna and Isaac for having us over for New Years! What a hoot! and I loved the dip though my body did not. Totally worth it though.

2. I don't remember being this tired of Christmas this early before. When did I become Scrooge?

3. My Christmas slippers have stopped shedding on me. Happy.

4. Next year I want to start all over on Christmas decorations. Especially the tree. I want maroon ornaments and white crocheted snowflakes... I already have some but need more. Anyone know where I can get some. I suppose I could always learn to make them myself... hmm.

5. I'm kind of excited for normalcy and routine to take back the reins of my life. I seem to get much more accomplished that way.

6. I only made 3 cut out snowflakes this year. Seriously. Scrooge.

7. I still love the crunch of snow.

8. I wish I could finish painting around the light fixtures in our house.

9. I wish our fireplace was not just decorative but functional as well.

10. I love the Lord of the Rings movies. That pretty much makes me the coolest sister-in-law in David's family. It matters not that I'm the only sister-in-law.

Bah Humbug.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Day

Christmas Day.
We woke up bright and early
and watched nieces and nephews open presents.
We spent the night at Jarom and Melissa's home
and got to spend the morning with their three kids.
It was so fun being able to watch
their faces light up with joy.
Isn't it that much more fun to watch a child
rather than spend it without.
Unfortunately I didn't get photos of our actual Christmas morning
but I was able to get some at mom and dad's
though even then I failed miserably at getting pics of everyone.
oh well!
The boys playing with Christmas.

See what I have to put up with!
What is it with kids and little chairs.
Axel couldn't fit but we sure got a kick out of watching him try.
To the founder of the feast.. or at least part of it.
Alex dazzled us with his dutch oven prowess.

Just us, enjoying the day.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Be of Good Cheer

"Be of good cheer and accept what comes your way."

This was given in a talk today at church. It was a blessing given by President Monson, then a counselor in the first presidency, to a the sister of one of the women in my ward. She had cancer. She passed away, not sure how long after, but she had peace in her heart. How difficult is it to be of good cheer no matter what.

My patience and good cheer was certainly tried today. Being the Sunday after Christmas it was inevitable that people would be missing, particularly primary teachers. Substitutes were hunted but not too many were to be found. In fact, I ended up teaching the entire Junior primary with my husband because there were some no-shows. Armed with a lesson manual, plenty of pictures, papers and crayons, David and I braved the 11 children ages 4-6 with faith in our hearts and purpose in our eyes. I'm still not entirely sure what happened but in about 4 minutes time I felt completely out of control. Perhaps it was my extended late nights accumulating in severe sleep deprivation (and we want kids!) but I think if I would have had duct tape there would have been at least two either taped securely to their seats or with a goodly portion of the stuff across their mouths. Thank heavens for David who was able to keep a calm head about him. He told stories and helped move things along in a more spiritual direction. I on the other hand was frazzled. Nothing but frazzled. I wanted to come home and cry.

Be of good cheer and accept what comes your way no matter what. Apparently I need a little more work in that direction... cheerfulness and all. I am willing to try though. Might make a good new years resolution.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When did this happen?

When did I turn so cynical? So full of the "reality" of life that I pick things apart.

Let me start from the beginning. I just finished reading Stephanie Meyer's "The Host". I'm pretty sure that I won't spoil anything for anyone because if you've been sucked into the "Twilight" series then you already know she has an affinity for happy endings. This is where my cynicism comes in.

After finishing "The Host" and I must say I really did enjoy the read. It was much more adult than her other books and I found myself sucked into the characters whether I wanted to be or not. The main character, Wanda, was definitely a Meyer's character though. Impossibly good and self-sacrificing but it's okay because she's from a different planet, not subject to human foibles, and therefore easier to swallow. Naturally there was the love interest because you have to have it. Isn't our ability to love and hate with equal fervor so very human?

K, on with my internal struggle. As I read praise for the book consisting of such phrases as "no matter how much pain her characters suffer, Meyer infuses the tales with light and hope," I found myself rolling my eyes if not outward at least in my head. Then it hit me... what happened to me? When did I start becoming this cynical person that thinks light and hope in literature is unrealistic. Why shouldn't we have hope? Why shouldn't we write stories that actually do have a happy ending without being a fairy tale? Just what's wrong with having your cake and eating it too? Then I had to ask myself... do I really think this way or am I being altogether too hard on Ms. Meyer because I was so utterly disappointed in the ending of the Twilight series... hmmm.

So, here's to hope. Turning the page, starting anew with a brighter outlook, less cynicism, more hope in the reality of a new and beautiful day. May it lace your thoughts with beauty and not be too cheesy in literature.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Weather Outside is...

Cold. Yep, that's pretty much it.

Christmas seems to make even the bitterest cold weather a bit more bearable. I love turning on the lights we have strung across our porch and around our windows and looking outside from the safety and warmth of my home to see the light reflect off of the snow. It seems to just warm everything up. I think that's why Christmas lights are so popular. Not so much because of the season, but because in this dark and dreary time we need to create our own light to brighten the darkness.

So go ahead, I dare you to humbug the season while looking at the magic twinkling of thousands of pinpoints of lights. How can it not raise the spirits.

My spirits are high today. I just have one of those good feelings that everything is falling into place. All is exactly where it should be. Part of me thinks I should be looking around the corner trying to see where it's all going to fall apart. Thankfully the bigger part of me is more than content to bask in this wonderful feeling of peace. All may not be right in the world, but all is right in my heart.

This song came on my pandora station and I love the feel of it so I'm sharing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just run with it.

Mornings are usually filled with random thoughts going through my head starting at oh... 5 a.m. or so. Today you get a glimpse. Scary huh!

1. I once "dated" some one who wanted to start exercising. Rather than let me run with him (cause I was running already) he just asked me to follow along after him in my car. Yeah, idea lasted all of two seconds. Weird huh. Was he just afraid of being shown up by a girl? Perhaps I should have taken the opportunity and just run him over... hmm. (I would never do it, but the cartoon of it that plays through my head is pretty funny.)

2. My dad is okay. Thank you all for the support. He is currently in the hospital. They thought he had a heart attack on Monday but further tests show that the sack around his heart has an infection causing the heaviness and the heart attack symptoms. He is hooked up to an iv to clear away the infection and should be right as rain in a few days.

3. My hair looks like a big burr this morning, I don't know how to tame it. And yes this is after it has been freshly washed and dried... Definitely time to get a haircut. Why do I insist on waiting so long?!

4. One of my favorite things about my bathroom is that the heating vent blows right on my feet while I get ready for work. Aaaahhhh.

5. Live music on the radio rarely sounds good. There's some guy on the Eagle who is from England and it honestly sounds like he's trying to do a James Brown impression. It kind of makes me want to call and ask him to please please stop.

6. I hate buying close-toed shoes. I much prefer shoes that let my feet breath and show cute, painted toenails. I almost feel like it's a waste of my money to buy practical shoes when I can buy cute ones. Winter always throws my for a loop. Since I hate winter shoes, I am facing the dilemma of: should I wear warm shoes that have some sort of weird squeak when I walk, or the ones that hurt the back of my heels. Sigh... we're not even going to talk about socks.

The end. Hope you all have a marvelous, warm-footed day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I woke up early this morning, the newly fallen snow reflecting the street lights around and lighting up the night. Walking around the house in the dark but still able to see.

I received some disturbing news about my dad yesterday. He's been having really bad headaches and a heaviness on his chest. It has been happening for awhile but he has been able to get rid of it all with medication but this last weekend he wasn't so lucky. He went to the doctor yesterday and found out that half of his heart isn't working. Of course they are running more tests to see what the cause is and therefore what the treatment will be. Treatment could be as simple as pill to as complicated as a bypass surgery.

I'm not sure how to process this information. Part of me wants to burst into tears and my heart wants to break for my dad. The other part tells me that doctors are wonderful and medicine has come a long ways and he will be just fine. Perhaps it is because the heart is such a delicate matter and in so many ways. Isn't it the heart that keeps us all alive, physically, emotionally. I'm pretty sure that my dad's body will be just fine. I am worried about him emotionally though.

Dad has always been such a hard worker. When the body starts to fail, it's hard not to tie one's worth to one's abilities. It's easy to feel worthless and like dead weight. Can't he see there's so much more to life than the ability to move pipe and drive fence posts.

Walking around in the dark but still able to see. It's bright outside right now, but it is an artificial light. Man-made to help us get through the night. When the light of the sun shines across the horizon, how much brighter it will be. Almost blindingly so with the light that only God can give.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

... thy leaves are so unchanging
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging.
Not only when something or other
but also in na na na na

Who knew that so few people know the words to "O Christmas Tree"?!

Last night was my big family Christmas party. The one that I was putting the music together for. As crunch time came, my visions of a re-usable song book bound together for everyone's singing pleasure, came crashing to a halt. Due to lack of time, my vision took a drastic change to "just get the stupid words on the paper so that they have something to look at". Since I had approximate 1 hour to finish the job and get it printed, I opted not to write down the words to all the songs. Seriously, who doesn't know the words to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "O Christmas Tree"?! That would be my family.

The party went well though. And people got a kick out of my typos... or maybe I just got a kick out of my typos. Best one: In "Sleigh Ride" I typed "Let's take that road before us and sign a chorus or two". Best part is that without fail everyone sang sign! Oh the power of the written lyrics!

Enough of that. This week's highlights:

1. Most funnest book club ever! (it's my blog I can write it how I want to) We read "The Bright Side of Disaster". I quite enjoyed the book even with the bit of language that seemed to be stuck in their now and then. It was odd to think that some of the things that she was dealing with, I may never go through myself. (It was about a woman having her first child. It's more complicated than that but it does give you an idea.) Mostly I loved getting to know more about the delightful women who are in the book club with me. It was soooo good to laugh uncontrollably with everyone! Looking ever forward to next month.

2. I attended Activity Days for the first time of my entire life seeing as Activity Days came after my time (which kind of makes me feel old.... oh well). It was such a boost to have the girls happy and even excited to see me! Seriously, there really is nothing like Primary kids to give you a huge self-esteem lift.

3. The afore mentioned family Christmas party has come to a close. Sigh.

4. I didn't eat sugar for 5 whole days!!! Wow huh! For those of you who know me, that's like a Christmas miracle itself. I usually form a severe addiction to all things sugar/chocolate on Halloween and it lasts until roughly Easter. This new achievement actually started thanks to my husband. For the drive home from Hurricane after Thanksgiving, our "meal" consisted of Mountain Dew (my caffeinated beverage of choice), Nibs, Cheese Nips, and an embarrassingly large bag of Reese's Pieces. The Reese's Pieces and Nibs I blame entirely on Cecil by the way. We were both really quite ill by the time we got home and new we would be but didn't care. And the saddest part is that neither one of us would have changed a thing in retrospect. That's when we knew something had to be done. Sugar free week-days and sugar weekends. We have to do it together or we'll both fail. Seems to be working well so far.

Music/video to start the week with:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks

It's been a while since I have written and I truly have so many good things to be thankful for. But first, a book quote. I just finished reading "One True Thing" by Anna Quindlen. The main character, Ellen, has moved home from a very successful job in NY to take care of her dying mother whom she never really knew. One passage reads:

"If I knew you would be happy I could close my eyes now and rest." Her voice was beginning to sink and die, as though it was going down the drain, rush of words to trickle of whisper. "It's so much easier."

"I know it is. I wish you could."

"No, not that. The being happy. It's so much easier, to learn to love what you have instead of yearning always for what you're missing, or what you imagine you're missing. It's so much more peaceful."

I love that passage. It's the essence of what so many of us are trying to be.. happy, but failing at because we are searching for it in the next phase of life that is always so unreachable. I'll be happy when... You fill in the blank. Don't we have a right to happiness now? Haven't we all worked too hard to not enjoy what we have? I give you my incomplete list of thankfulness.

1. I have the best husband ever! Caring, kind compassionate, and he makes me laugh.
2. I love my in-laws complete with quirky behavior! yep, all of them!
3. I love my new snowflake Christmas lights. They cheer my spirit.
4. I love my calling. There's nothing like children to lift the spirits, even if they try them at the same time.
5. I am thankful that I get to read so much.
6. I am thankful that Heavenly Father is very much aware of me and my needs.
7. I love my family! I love get togethers, chaos, and the peace of knowing you belong.
8. I love that my parents stay at my house sometimes, even if we aren't there. I'm getting to know a different side of both of them.
9. I love that God gives us so many chances to try again, to learn, to grow, to little by little become like him.

An incomplete list. Feel free to start your own. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass... and great happiness achieved.

(By the way. We are approved for adoption! Someone thinks we are fit to be parents! Now we just get to wait to be chosen. If any of you know of someone whom we could help out of a tough situation, please pass our info on to them.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Little of this, little of that

So I have been meaning to blog all stinkin' week, but alas... I had excellent topics of conversation for it as well. For example, at work we got a flier in the mail from the "be well, sustainability, can't we all just get along" group here on campus. It said:

Slow Food Movement at USU

followed by:

Gentle Yoga

Then we got a package delivered from Ultimate Support

The rest of the day went downhill from there. I couldn't control my sarcasm to save my life and had to run around pointing out how funny it was much like a 13-year old boy who's main sense of humor hovers in the bathroom. Perhaps it's a blessing that I didn't blog about it sooner.

Well, enough of that. Life has been, in a word, busy. Extremely busy. I would love to cut things out but I simply don't know which activity I would give the axe to. I enjoy the newly started book club and am half-way through the book already (thanks to the elliptical at the gymn, one of the many skills I picked up in college was reading while exercising. It may be my most profitable skill yet!) I enjoy knitting and hope to someday finish the hat I started. (Who knew that a hat would be so difficult!) I love my Primary calling. That is never made more manifest than when a child you thought could care less about you gives you a hug at the most unexpected moments. I thoroughly enjoy the "scheduled creativity" of my the stamp club that I'm part of. I even enjoy my job despite some, shall we say temperamental co-workers. I don't even mind cooking. It's good on our budget and I think that David likes me more when two Banquet beef pot pies and a baggie of veggies don't have to be his lunch of choice. I have even taken on a few other projects to round things out... you know, to fill up my spare time.

My family is having a big Christmas party with my mom's side of the family. It's become a much loved tradition and despite all efforts, it can't be put to a stop. It's really like a big family reunion at Christmas time. The problem is finding space that is "homey" for 65 people and counting. We usually have it at my parents house but not this year. Instead we are doing it at Jarom and Melissa's. They have an attached garage that is going to be the staging area for the food. The big basement will house the hordes of children and the adults can talk anywhere, appropriate or not. Should be fun. My job in all of this is to put together a Christmas Song book that can be copied and distributed to all for our singing session. It is the thing that we love the most. There is just something magical about gathering around as a family and singing Christmas carols. Makes everything worth it.

So, onward and upward. This season of magic is almost upon us. For some it's already here. I kind of like to warm up to it a bit though. Getting hit in the face with Christmas, especially in the form of mobile displays on the lawn and blow-up figures of Santa getting chased up a Christmas tree by a dog (and thus revealing is blue boxers with snowflakes on them) is just a little much for me. I prefer something a bit more simple. Less Santa, more feeling. The peace of the birth of our Savior that comes with the season is often forgotten in the shuffle of holiday shopping and gaudy lawn displays. I feel like it should come gently... like falling snow. Providing a hush in the world and a little bit of magic.

Monday, November 9, 2009

October 28th. Happy Birthday Babe!

Better late than never right!
This is David who wakes in the morning..This is the house where David lives...

This is the the wife that David loves...

This is the car that David drives...

This is David after school...
This is David after food...
This is David...How I love him.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

At Peace

I have had odd feelings of peace lately. I almost don't understand. When I think of everything that has been laid on my plate lately I feel that I should be having knots in my stomach and stress over how I'm possibly going to get all of this done. Normal Lora mode would be waking up at 3 am, not be able to go back to sleep because I'm worrying about everything and anything that can't be taken care of in the wee small hours of the morning. But I don't feel that way. I feel pretty darn good! All I can think is that the Lord must be sending blessings because I certainly can't be doing all of this on my own.

It feels good. I feel good. I'm excited about the coming week and all that is brings. It's extremely full but I'm actually looking forward to getting things done.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sometimes I get in the mood for the oddest music. My current kick really makes me laugh at myself. I'm currently listening to the oldies station. And by "oldies" I mean way oldies. Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, big band stuff. It usually happens when I've been through the rotation a couple of times, country to classic rock to pop to alternative to jazz and everything in between. Then I find myself on 103.3 listening to stuff that no one my age really has any knowledge about.

I think it started with the purchase of my very first car. "Rose". What a beaut. I had graduated from high school and needed wheels. I wasn't in a position to be picky either. I was desperate. So off to Pocatello I went with my parents and there we met Rose. The 1984 4-door rosewood Plymouth Reliant. We test drove, it fit the bill. It wasn't until after the purchase that we found out that the radio was only AM and stuck on 1390 am- Hits from the War Years. I had no idea that there were cars that were purposefully made to only broadcast AM stations. I paid much more attention to those sorts of details on my next car purchase.

But, Rose was mine and she did travel well from point a to point b. It was truly the ultimate in grandma cars. It was just impossible to make it cool and I tried, I swear I tried, it just wouldn't stick. This was never demonstrated so well as it was one day in the K-Mart parking lot. I had gone to the store for some reason, came out with purchase in hand and got in the trusty Reliant. Put the keys in the ignition and turned. Or tried to at least. It wasn't working. I tried again but to no avail. "What's the deal!" I thought. Then I looked around. The color was right, the interior exact, but it was clear by the paraphernalia around me that I may not be in my car. As luck would have it one row behind me there was a little old lady trying to get into my car! If ever there was a doubt that cleared it right up. We shared a laugh, switched cars and went on our merry way. Weird that I was okay with that. I had a good laugh about that for quite awhile.

So, in memory of Rose and hits from the war years, I give you Nat King Cole's "Rambling Rose"


Easy Black Bean Lasagna

I just have to share this recipe that came from the Taste of Home Magazine back before it got all sponsored and stuff. (Now instead of recipes for the every day family there's quite the section with ingredients that I have never even heard of which translates into expensive.) It's so easy and it really is a tasty dish with a flare. It's one of the lasagnas that I will actually eat as a leftover. David's not as picky as I am when it comes to leftover food. Thank heavens. Anyway, enjoy!
Easy Black Bean Lasagna
15 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
28 oz crushed tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Combine in a bowl and set aside
In another bowl mix:
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/8 tsp garlic powder (I like more than that, do it to your own preference)
1 egg
additional ingredients:
10 uncooked lasagna noodles
6 oz shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (or more, I like cheese)
Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray
Spread 1 Cup tomato mixture over bottom of dish
Top with half of noodles, overlapping slightly
layer half of tomato mixture spread across
layer all Ricotta mixture spreading carefully
layer half of the cheese
layer remaining noodles, remaining tomato mixture, and remaining cheese
Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray, cover baking dish with foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Uncover, let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My to do list... did it get done?

So, yesterday morning I got up at the unbelievable hour of 8 O'clock and made myself a list of things that needed to be done. Then I promptly went back to bed. 9 rolled around and I got up and ambitiously did nothing on my list. However, my "nothing" turned out to be exactly what I really wanted to do.

Since the weather has turned colder I have wanted to rearrange the furniture in our living room. We have gas fireplace that we haven't used yet and up until yesterday our very large couch was in front of it. It made sense to do it that way since we weren't in need of additional warmth during the Summer. Now that there's a chill in the air and frost on the ground I can thing of nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book. I quickly recruited David to be the muscles and we have a cheap remodel of the house. Gotta love what a little move of the furniture does for ya!


Our new look complete with the man with the muscles.

Reading nook created behind the love seat.

The fireplace... in case you couldn't tell.


And if that wasn't enough for the day, we decided to clean up the garage! Not entirely our fault that it was in such a state. Our landlord had some shelves that he planned on taking with him, but just never did. So I David asked what he planned for them and low and behold they had been sitting in the garage unused since March for nothing. Up they went and up off of the floor our stuff went! It used to be in a pile in the corner and surrounding the car on one side so you couldn't open the door all the way. It looks so good now that we had to keep on taking a look during the day cause it just looked so nice! Hopefully we can keep it that way.

Here's to a hard day's work.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Courage

This is dedicated to a dear long lost friend
who I wasn't entirely sure considered me a friend anymore.
Time passes, we drift apart
not entirely sure where we have even ended up.
Thanks Tonya for still being my friend.
It really does mean a lot.
Thank you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

So, remember a really long time ago when I promised that
I would post pictures of our Colorado adventures?
Well, here they are.
The biggest part of the trip was our hike to
Fish Creek Trail. Absolutely beautiful!

It was exhausting... as you can see by my exaggerated gesture.

David has a backpack with ridiculous straps. It made it look like he had "man boobs"
(Can I say that in a blog?)


K, so we didn't put it there but kind of nice huh!

Well, that pretty much sums us up! a little crazy, a little grouchy, but we sure do like each other!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In passing...

Another week has gone by. Highlights:

1. I've been systematically killing people at work... and they like it. For Halloween (my favorite holiday) I have been making headstones to put in the windows at work. Headstones don't mean much if they aren't for the people you work with, know, and love. And of course there are those that you just want to harass a little bit. The joke now is don't mess with catering or you'll end up with a headstone. I love it.

2. Diwali, the festival of lights. David, myself, Tawnya, and Isaac attending the Indian Festival of Lights last evening put on by the Indian Student Association. Thank you Tawyna and Isaac for putting up with it. The food was good, but the entertainment portion was long... we even left early and it was still long. But hey, didn't have to cook!

3. Jarom and Alex came to stay with us on Tuesday night. They were here in the "big city" to sell potatoes. We ended up staying up till 1 am. Everyone had a lack of sleep headache the next day, but it was totally worth it. So dang fun! And I bought custard cups and made individual molten lava cakes for dessert! Am I the coolest sister or what!

4. Mom and Dad also spent time with us, Friday night to be exact. After the shock of learning we had cancelled our cable ( I swear Dad lives for the news sometimes) they took us out to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Yummy and very filling.

All in all it's been a good week. Even today went well. We split our bulging nursery of 28 kids into two rooms and not once did I hear screams of displeasure emitting from either nursery! It was great. The nursery leaders didn't even look frazzled by the end of the day. Finally a winning decision! Woo-hoo! Perhaps the beginning of a winning streak? Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

General Conference Chaos

New message on the home phone:
"Hi Lora, this is Abby. You really need to call me or Jarom before you come home! Just go to Jarom's house because there is no power at Mom and Dad's because of the fire. K, bye."

Isn't that a wonderful message to send you into a panic! Fortunately, we found out about the house fire before we heard the message. My parents had a bit of a house fire early this morning. Dad got up to get a drink and noticed that the front porch light finally started working... and flickering... odd. He went outside to get a better look and that's when he noticed the flames!

Apparently, the wind was so bad during the night that it was blowing some wires together against the house. The constant touching of the wires closed the circuit and the electricity kept trying to ground itself, therefore heating up the wires, melting them together, heating up the siding on the house and eventually starting the insulation on fire. Nice huh. Fortunately everyone was okay, dinner just got moved down the road to my brother's house. Always fun. And of course, thank heavens for insurance and a neighbor who also happens to be an electrician.

Then of course there is the general chaos of having a house full of adults and kids trying to cook dinner and watch General Conference at the same time. At least it kept us all awake!

Extra special treat:
I made a new cookie recipe yesterday. I meant to only do one batch, but upon completion of first batch I realized I had accidentally doubled the salt. So, another batch got made, sans salt, and mixed with the first. Result: I brought a salad and cookies to dinner. They were quite good though and people asked for the recipe. Here it is.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies (courtesy of Ocean Spray)
2/3 cup softened butter or margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz craisins (1 package)
2/3 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
add eggs and beat till smooth
add oats, flour, baking soda and salt, mix well
add craisins and white chocolate chips
bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes
makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Money money money...

So in conjunction with adoption, David and I have started a new journey. One that involves my paycheck and the use thereof. Upon the wise advice of the couple that taught our adoption workshop, we've decided to live just off of David's paycheck for our monthly expenses and put all of mine towards savings. It makes sense because as soon as our child arrives I plan on hanging up my work hat and putting on my mom hat... you know, the one that I've wanted to put on for as long as I can remember. So this last month we did just that. Wow.

We've known that it was always the plan to live off of David's income and I've thought many a time about putting that plan into use sooner rather than later. Still, I was unprepared for the reality. I am dismayed, but not entirely surprised to find out how much freedom my income gives us. It's never been that big of a deal to go out to eat, pick up a new pair of socks, or even procure a new neat little gadget for whatever hobby I happen to be dwelling in at the time. In order to accommodate the things that we really need/want we've done such things as: cancel cable (gasp), David's $10.00 a month gym membership is gone, really cooking at home, and just keeping a tighter lid on ourselves over all.

So far, here's what I've learned.

1. $20 can stretch more than I thought.
2. Actual meal planning and cooking has cut our grocery bill in half (literally)
3. Any program that I really want to watch I can get online or through netflix.
4. We can actually do this and succeed.

Aside from the fact that I could kick myself for not doing this sooner (just think how much we would have saved by now), I feel pretty good overall about our little project. My paycheck is going towards the adoption fee and to pay off the car. Once the car is paid off that $300 payment will give us just the right amount of wiggle room when the baby comes. You know for things like diapers and formula.... those little things that just might come in handy.

One step closer right!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lessons in the Kitchen

So I've started on a new adventure. I've decided to cook.

I know, many of you are shocked, especially my husband! He's very thankful though. I used to cook all the time, then I got a job in food services. You'd think that being around so much food and so many ideas of food that I would come home and create marvelous dishes for the eye and the palate. Not so my friend. Not so.

In all fairness I did get excited about trying to reproduce items on the menu in my own kitchen. Then I got tired. Tired of coming up with new ideas for the customers. Tired of trying to find a chicken dish to inspire. Tired of thinking about food period. The only dinner choice I have wanted to make for a long time is what kind of cereal tonight... Life or Captain Crunch with Crunchberries. So what changed you ask.

I read a book. "The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry" by Kathleen Flinn. She is a journalist who found herself in a position to fulfill her dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. She wrote about her experience. I found it fascinating. Believe it or not, I actually took a Culinary Basics class at Utah State University. I was curious about the course and it didn't hurt that my uncle taught it. This proved to be both good and bad. While I had a friendly face in the classroom, I also couldn't fall asleep in class and get away with it unknown and unseen. The seating chart put me in the second row for the 7:30 am class. (The first and last 7:30 class I took) Moving on, as I read about her culinary journey laced with terms such as concasse and knappe I remember that I once knew those terms and did just those things on a regular basis. The more I got into the book the more I wanted to pull out my knives, notes, and recipes and re-learn some of the things that I once knew. That's when it got... interesting.

It was Saturday. I had just finished a chapter with emphasis on the importance of a good sauce. I remembered a lovely sauce that we did over a pan-fried fish dish. It was Lemon Buerre Blanc. Though I wasn't planning on fish, I did have a couple of chicken breasts that were dying for something new to be done with them. I decided to give it a whirl. I pulled out my trusty "cards" that contained the recipe for the sauce and dove in and promptly belly-flopped in my efforts. One of the things that became second nature while in class was the method of sauce making. So much so that I didn't actually take any notes on the method of making the sauce. I delved deep into my memory and brought out such terms as reduce and de-glaze. I also knew there was some serious whipping with a wire whisk somewhere towards the end and lots of butter. I began.

It was a mess. My first attempt was just embarrassing. The recipe calls for white wine. In class we used sparkling white grape juice. I had neither. What I did have was white wine vinegar. I put it in my sauce and was immediately floored by the pungent aroma of vinegar. "No one pours themselves a glass of white wine vinegar to drink with dinner!" I thought to myself. Down the disposal. I try again. This time I opt for a different substitution which just makes me laugh. No white wine in the house (crazy huh... what would it look like if the primary president had a wine rack!) and no grape juice, I opted for the next best thing. Western Family condensed orange juice. I added a bit of the white wine vinegar for the kick. It was a mess. I finally just whipped in the butter with all my strength and threw it on the chicken not caring anymore.

David thought it was great. I thought it was.... was. Just think how much he would have liked it if I had done it right!

Despite the fact that the sauce was less that presentable, it did renew my desire to cook and cook well. Not just mom's tried and true spaghetti dinner with a packet of Western Family spaghetti seasoning thrown into a can of tomato and mushroom soup. But really cook. Fresh ingredients, new flavor profiles, classy presentation.

Crazy thing about it is that it actually feels good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Aaaahhh....

A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Today was the completion of the Primary Program. In the LDS world it's the most popular Sunday of the entire year. Grandparents come to see their grandchildren, parents who haven't set foot in a church house for the entire year manage to put on their glad rags and watch their child say their part and sing their songs. It used to be my favorite Sunday of all time until I got put in charge of it. Yes, a huge sigh of relief at the end of Sacrament meeting.

Now on to the rest of life.

I want to be able to enjoy these last months of semi-warmish weather before the long Logan winter hits. I know this is jumping the gun a little, but it is almost October after all.

Things I want to accomplish before the snow falls:
1. Find the garage, I know it's there but where?

2. Do something with the backyard. Borders, trimmings... it's all needed.

3. Go to a corn maze. I don't know why, but it's been awhile since we've done a corn maze. Every year I think we should go and then we don't. Such a simple things, why don't we do it?

4. Finish Christmas presents. ** explanation forth coming.

5. Walk around every possible evening with my husband before it gets too cold.

6. Remember my hobbies and why I like to do things. It always bothers me that I forget or neglect the things that I really like to do. I haven't played the piano in a shameful amount of time. I haven't done anything with a picture though I've taken tons. I've also neglected my journal and my blog (I know, what gave it away). I promise myself reform.

So let's talk about Christmas. This year David and I have decided to do something different. Instead of hunting around the stores trying to find the perfect item that either doesn't exist or is way too expensive, we're doing a homemade Christmas. So far we know what we want to do for siblings on either side and at least one and a half set of parents. Jury's still out on one of the possible gifts, but overall I'm excited. I've never been the type of person to just throw a gift at someone, it has to mean something. It has to speak to me, telling me it wants to go home and be given and appreciated. The world is full of "stuff". I want the "stuff" to have meaning.

So we're making gifts. And by we I mean me. David is excellent at helping come up with the idea, but let's face it. Craftiness is not his cup of tea. Even if it was he certainly doesn't have the time to do it. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

4

Well, it's been 4 years since David and I said "I do's"... Technically it was 4 years on September 3rd. We headed to Steamboat Springs, CO to celebrate. It was quite the trip and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps when I get ambitious I will post some pictures. So... in those 4 years do you think we've figured anything out yet?

An incomplete list:

1. Never attempt to switch sides of the bed no matter how big the bed is. You'll never have a good night's sleep that way.

2. 4 years does not mean that we are used to each other in the morning. We just have to put up with each other in the morning. (well, he puts up with me,I get ornery if I'm not regularly fed)

3. We still have a long ways to go in the 'figuring each other out' field.

4. Whenever we vacation we go through this awkward phase of "I'm not used to spending this much time with you and although I love you, you're driving me mad!" It doesn't usually last long and on the bright side, this is the first time we've been astute enough to figure out that it has been happening all along. I think in the future we can rush through the "irritating each other" phase in hopes of the "we really do still like each other" phase coming a lot sooner. Better pictures that way.

Though we still don't have each other figured one there is one thing for sure. I sure do love my husband. I couldn't have hand-picked a better match for me. He knows me enough to put up with my stupidness and laugh at my jokes. He's truly the kindest man I know and the most fun to be around... even if it is so I can drive him mad.

Happy anniversary love.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Adoption workshop

What a weekend.

On Friday and Saturday David and I attending the adoption workshop. It was Friday from 6-9 pm and Saturday 8am - 6 pm. Fortunately our group was a bit ahead of schedule and we were done at 5:15 or so. Which was good because I think if anymore had been crammed into the day my brain would have melted.

I'm still trying to digest everything that was talked about. There were creative ways on financing adoption, discussions on dealing with and accepting your infertility, openness in adoption, how to fill out the paperwork, what to do and not do for your pictures, and how to tell your child they are adopted. Those just a few of the things that we talked about. Like I said, still trying to digest everything.

The thing that has given me most pause to consider is the openness in adoption. Most adoptions are open instead of closed, meaning you develop a pretty good relationship with the birth mother and keep her appraised of the child's development/progress. The amount of openness is up to us. I have known that it was something that was happening, but I can't say that I've really taken a good look at myself and tried to figure out just how open I could realistically be. It's been rolling around in my head for awhile.

I'm pretty sure that I will be just fine with email updates, pictures on a blog... I'm just not sure where visits will come in. The last thing that I want to do is make it harder on the birth mom than it already is to place her child with us. I'm just not sure where my line of comfort really is. I suppose I'll find out when I get there. So many things up in the air.

It really was a good workshop though. I'm glad I went and the more I think about it, the better I feel about the whole situation. There are lots of helps out there and bottom line is that if this is the way Heavenly Father has for us to start our family then it's the right way.

Kind of exciting huh! I may actually be a mom after all!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A few of my favorite things

So.

One of my mostest favoritest things on the earth today is scaring my husband. Not in the honey I'm having an affair way (because I'm not and that would scare the tar out of both of us) but in the jumping out of dark corners and making him scream/jump/something.

I love it!

I can have the most horrid day in the entire world and if I can find an opportunity to scare David, it makes it all better. The world will have been righted, what was wrong is now right. It's the balm of Gilead to my soul.

I was really good at it in our old house. Mostly because it was old. There were some wonderful places to hide in the dark and jump out at him. The best part was that it worked almost every time. And he would jump so high! I of course laughed wickedly "he he heeee' and would run up the stairs before he could find time to react.

It's a little more difficult in this house, but I still find opportunities. Now that's love... right?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barefoot Heart

Each year the Connections program at Utah State University has a book that is highlighted for the year. This year it was "Barefoot Heart" by Elva Trevino Hart. Our office always gets a copy to pass around and read. I just finished it and loved it. I was surprised because the reports from other who had read it said it was just 'alright'. They said she wandered while telling her stories and that it was hard to follow. I didn't have too high of expectations when I picked it up, but I'm not one to put down a book because someone didn't like it. I have to find out for myself.

I am pleased to report that I loved the book. LOVED. Elva grew up the last child of a Mexican family living in Texas. She was 7 years younger than the last child so she largely grew up by herself. She tells of her experiences working as migrants in the Summer and returning home to Texas to attend school in the Fall. I found it fascinating. She tells her story so well that I was shocked to find out that it was hard, even painful for her to write them down. Perhaps that it why I liked it so much. She faced her fears. She wrote down her own stories, her life, in order to find out who she really is. She had to face herself in order to embrace herself.

Truly it was beautiful. I had to give the office copy back to the office, but it is definitely one that I would own. So, if any of you are out there in want of a good read, I suggest this one. It does wander a bit, but when you learn what she is trying to do, it just may speak to your soul.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Haunts

There are a few things in life that haunt me. A memory that makes my blood do interesting things. I think about it and get ashamed of myself. It's one of those things that I've never really taken out and examined. It's always been too hard to face. Like if I brought it out I would find myself completely in the wrong even though I tried so hard to make it right.

It was back in High School. (Why do so many haunts occur in High School...) It was homecoming week. I don't remember what year, but it was the night of the snake dance. You couldn't miss the snake dance, it was the only time it was legal for a high-schooler to be in the bar. The whole of main street shut down, the entire high school population that could come came. We all joined hands in one long line and 'snaked' our way from the high school through to the other end of town. The bar was always open and it was the one establishment that allowed us to snake our way through. It ended at the Grace City Park where a bonfire was built and a replica of the opponent's mascot was hung and burned to wild cheers of victory to come. A glorious night indeed.

It was after the official festivities that my particular haunt occurs. It was customary to drag main, small as it is, after the event. I was driving the 'speed demon' or the 'demon truck from hell' as it was often called. In reality it was a little tan Toyota. It had to have a cool name otherwise it would have been embarrassing. I was proud of my little 'demon'.

I was driving. Someone was in the passenger seat. A whole lot of someones were in the back of the truck sitting and standing as we drove around. Tonya was one of them. Mom wasn't so sure she liked me hanging around with Tonya. I always seemed to get in trouble with her. Said she was a bad influence. I can't imagine why. Common sense seemed a little on the scarce side when we hung out. Like that time that we didn't want to come home from the movie so we called and said that Tonya had lost her wallet in the movie theatre and we'd be home late. Apparently it was a bit later than they anticipated (cause it takes 3 and a half hours to find a lost wallet in the Soda Springs Idanha theatre) as evidenced by the extremely angry face of my father as he waved me down while I dragging main with a boy at 1 am in the morning. I digress.

So Tonya was in the back banging on top of the cab. It was just like being inside a tin can. I asked her to stop, it kept going. I asked again, it kept going. Finally I got really mad and jerked the truck to the curb so that I could get out and take care of the 'issue'. What I didn't realize was that my jerk of the truck almost cost Tonya her life. That may be extreme, but when I pulled over she didn't have a good grip and almost flew out of the truck. She was hanging on for all she was worth, her face inches from the ground, and scared to death. Then she was mad.

I spent the rest of the night trying to apologize. She wouldn't accept. I was ashamed of my actions. I was ashamed to think that my loss of control almost seriously hurt my friend. I wanted so badly for her to accept my apology so the horrible feelings would go away. Those are the feelings that haunt me when I think about that time. I wanted reconciliation. I wanted to know that everything was okay. I wanted to feel better about what I had almost done. Like if she forgave me then I wouldn't have to be so ashamed anymore. I could chalk it up to 'stupid' and not have to loose too much sleep over it. I could put it to rest.

Life goes on, time passes... but that night occasionally pops up and haunts me. It all seems so silly now, but still I wonder if she ever did forgive me. I wonder if she ever knew how really sorry I was. I wonder if she even remembers that night.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exposed

I often look back in wonder and awe at how my life has turned out. When I graduated from high school and thought I had everything figured out never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself here. In Logan, UT, renting a home, married but childless and still working. And I would never have imagined that I would be happy while doing it.

I really was such a mess back then. I look back at my high school years and filter it with the rosy-glasses. I don't think that I have been ready to face that time of my life for what it really was... some good times with a healthy dose of pain and and a large portion of confusion. Perhaps someday I will write more about it, but for now I'm not sure I can handle all that uncomfortableness. I am a person with a plan. It gives me comfort to have some direction in my life whether it be the list of Saturday chores or what it's going to take to get through this next year or so. Long term gets a little scary, but a nice short term something-that-I-can-control plan helps me stay focused.

When I graduated from high school my plan was to get enough education so that I didn't have to work in the cheese factory on swing shift. I would then wait for my high school crush (whose name will never be revealed so long as I have possession of my faculties) to return from his mission. He would then realize that I was the girl he wanted to be with so why waste anymore time. We would get married right away, I would work long enough to put him through school and then we would start our family, buy the house, and live happily ever after.

My short term plan for my long term life gave me security but was absolutely devastating when it didn't actually happen. I hadn't counted on my shyness getting in the way. I always knew that the person I married would almost have to be forced to get to know me. We would have to work together or serve in a church calling that forced us together. I take a bit to warm up to people. It stems from my deep fear of rejection. I have to watch people for a little while in order to 'read' them. To see if my craziness will be appreciated or if it will give them reason to mock and reject me.

At least that is how it used to be. I still take awhile to warm up, but not because I'm afraid I will be mocked or rejected. I've grown quite comfortable in my own skin. Really I just get nervous. I'm not really sure why. That's why David is so good for me. He can talk to anyone and while he talks, I listen. He essentially breaks the ice.

Do you think if you write about the humiliating times, they actually become less humiliating? How about the memories that you are ashamed of. Are they really that bad or do they just loom larger in your head because you've let then have free reign for so long... dictating to you whether or not you can embrace your past. After all, our past is a part of us whether we acknowledge it or not. Shouldn't we embrace it for what it is. Diminish the embarrassment of the past by holding it up and examining it in the light. Perhaps we've been suffering needlessly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just cause

Velvet, Abby, Mom, Samantha, Melissa, Me and Nessa in front.

So... This was taken at our Robbin's Family Reunion. We did a skit for the Friday evening hot dog roast. Please note that we all 'stuffed' in various places. I really don't look like that. I thought it was too fun not to post.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Let's talk about...

So, this week has been quite eventful, but strangely difficult to write about. I have spent the majority of the week at the Caribou County Fair in Grace, Idaho my home and I have learned a few things. I still have love for my home town although I feel it best at this time to point out that I lived on a farm outside of the city limits. Having spent 4 days at the fair grounds (and I mean days.. not a few hours here and there... all day long) with all the noise and people... that it brings with it, I have done some evaluating.

First. I think it would be an extremely difficult thing for David and I to move back to Grace or the surrounding areas. Not because it's a bad place, but I have really grown used to restaurant selection and paved roads. I can always visit mom and dad for peace and quiet.

Second. I will never be a part of an adult dance group that performs at the local fair. Rockin Rythym Cloggers... not for me. I was actually part of the group when I was in the 7th grade... I really was in shock that it was still going. Who cloggs anymore?

Third. I will always try to look in the mirror before I go out of the house. If I'm okay with it then it's my fault if I get mocked.

Fourth. Greeting cards just don't sell (at least not in Grace). If you're into that then you make them yourself. Were I to do a booth again, I would raffle a quilt.

Fifth. Always go to your high school reunions, you never know who you are going to run into. My good friend Connie attended and I haven't seen her since she got married right around 12ish years ago. Perhaps I should say one time good friend since we've not been in contact for so long. But I really was surprised and glad to see her. What an opportunity to reconnect! I have been thinking a lot about her for the past year and didn't really know where to find her. Her parents had moved away and I didn't really know where anyone else was to find out about her. So what a pleasant surprise to see her at the reunion! Who knew!

So that's what I've been up to. Lost in the nostalgia of high school days, hanging out at the fair grounds, and being thankful for the life I have. I guess it was worth it then wasn't it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What...! A post!?

Yeah, I know, it's been a really long time since I have posted anything. We're already into August and I really don't have that good of an excuse. The most I can claim is that my brain has been turned into mush. I have a theory about it. I think that being Primary President has pushed it over the top. Filling out adoption papers, holding down a job, taking care of church, taking care of husband, taking care of self... You get the picture. I'm amazed my hair got done this morning! If it were acceptable to wear a hat to work I would.

Now that that is over. How about a list of things I'm looking forward to.

1. Getting this week over. It's our class reunion on Saturday... still not sure how I feel about it but I've paid my money I might as well enjoy the meal.

2. We're going to spend a few days in Steamboat Springs, CO for our 4th anniversary. Never been but why not! And all of the activities are pretty inexpensive and right now that is a very good thing.

3. Fall weather. Fall is my mostest favoritest time of year. I love the warm days and the crisp chill of the evening. Sad that it brings Winter but it is magical for me.

4. Believe it or not I am looking forward to school starting up again. I don't know if it symbolizes normalcy in some sick and crazy way, but it is what it is.

5. A new camera. Not just the replacement for now, but a nice new really big expensive so many buttons and whistles it makes my head spin camera. I drool at the thought. Won't be able to get it for a while but when we do, look out world!

That's pretty much it for now. Not too much progress on the adoption thing. Writing a letter to the birthmom is HARD. I think it's the whole pressure thing. What if I don't say it just right... I'll just have to get brave and give it a go.

And just to rant: Why do stupid people who may or may not be in my family... have to pooh pooh really good ideas just cause it would be a slight step out of their own comfort zone? Blechk! I shake my fist in your general direction.

The end.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why do all the bad words start with "p"

Don't you just love it when people start out an entry with an inside joke. I wasn't even there for this one but this last weekend has made me feel like I was.

Pioneer Day was celebrated Beatty style this year. David and I joined his Aunt Pam and Uncle Ron in Mona, UT to commemorate the event. Really there wasn't too much said about the pioneers, but we certainly had a great time. Due to unforeseen replacement items (like 1 camera being dumped into 1 bucket of paint water) we found ourselves with a bit of a shortage of funds. So instead of staying the night at a hotel, we opted to join the rest of the crew in finding floor space to spend the night on. I was actually looking forward to it. We don't spend too much time around our extended family and I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some 'quality' time in. You know, really get to know each other. I wasn't disappointed.

I've long suspected that I would really like his cousins (the Beatty family crew) if I had a bit more time to spend around them. Well my suspicions were confirmed. What a group! We ended up staying awake till 1 in the morning talking out on the back porch about anything and everything. Even then we would have continued on but a rather large and ugly beetle made an appearance and broke up the party. So much fun though! It was completely worth the hot night in the loft.

David's parents were there too and his brothers and sisters all ended up joining us at some point in time. On Friday we went 4-wheeling. Always an exciting experience to be riding on the back when the driver's not quite sure what he's doing yet. (I love you David) He really only almost seriously lost me only once. Silly me, I was putting my hat back on and assumed he'd wait till I was ready to go before he "punched the gas". I'm only a little sore on the tailbone, but I did stay on.

Saturday brought the Mona Pioneer Day Parade which lasted all of 1/2 hour. My kind of parade. Didn't even have to worry about sunscreen. Afterwards we lounged in the park while the kids played on every blow-up toy made by man, then went back to the house for food and conversation. It really was just a good time. So glad we went.

Also, thanks to all you cousins, in-laws, out-laws, etc. for the support, advice, and experiences shared with adoption. It does my heart good to know that you all are rooting for us and you know what we are going through. It was good to hear your experiences good and bad through out the process. I feel like I could walk through fire as long as you are all around. And for those still waiting just like us (Debbie and Lance) we're praying for you too. Perhaps we'll adopt together and our kids will at least have someone the same age to play with.

Love you all!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday random

- I know that it could be so much hotter outside, but my house did NOT cool down last night! I'm baking! I can't tell you how badly I want to jump in the river to cool down!

- David and I went hiked to White Pine yesterday. Both legs are sore but only one really hurts... how weird is that.

- My favorite character in "LOST" so far is Sayid... I think it's his hair and intense eyes. Jack just bugs me. (we're on season 2)

- I have had scrapbooking stuff on my table for almost an entire month now...

- I have to write a portion of the primary program and I have no desire to even start. Bad me.

- David and I hid from our neighbors last night. Seriously. We didn't open the blinds or turn on any lights. It's not that we don't like them, we just didn't want anyone to know we were home.

- "Chickens in the Headlights" is seriously one of the funniest books I have ever read. I have teared up from laughing so hard many many times.

- Nursery kids love "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" a lot, but rarely can they do all the actions.

- Speaking of which, how many members of the elders quorum does it take to substitute for 3 good women in nursery? According to today's count, 8.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oh yeah, it's that good

Here's the link, just read the article, I know you'll get a kick out of it.

Pork Barba-coca-cola

Thanks Stef!

A Sudden, Fearful Death

As some of you may have noticed, I seem to be on an Anne Perry kick. My good friend and one time co-worker Katherine got me started on them. Perry writes a series of Victorian mystery novels that I am really quite enjoying. I haven't written a book review on them because well, they're kind of like candy for the brain... not so sure there's really any value to them but I sure do enjoy it.

The stories are set in the 1850s in London. There are two main protagonists along with a few other repeat players to keep it interesting. Monk is a police officer/detective and Hester is a nurse who is forced to fend for herself having neither family wealth to provide for her or a husband. I find the dynamic between the two fascinating. They almost cannot stand each other to the point of loathing due to Hester's strong opinions and willingness to share them, and Monks abrasive manner. Yet at the same time, they find a strange comfort in the very things they hate about each other.

You can actually learn something from these books though. Perry gives a very accurate description of the thought processes in the time period. The idea of women sitting around becoming "accomplished" through embroidery, painting, music, etc. and overall making a solid effort at appearing in all ways unintelligent but beautiful. Nowadays I'm afraid I have a difficult time separating beauty from intelligence. There are definitely beautiful women in this world, but a lack of intelligence detracts from that in my opinion. What are looks if conversation is superficial with no real substance?

On a side note, have any of you seen "Kate and Leopold"? I think the story is really quite cute and semi-romantic if I could get over the fact that Kate (played by Meg Ryan) would never be satisfied in Victorian society even though Leopold was played by the oh-so-dreamy Hugh Jackman. She came from a high powered position where people listened to her and stepped back in time to where women were ornaments in society to be seen and not heard. Seriously, after a while wouldn't you go crazy? Pretty dresses only go so far... besides you had to wear a corset to make them work. Blechk!

David says that's why I like these books so much. He thinks I am a Hester. She has passion to reform medicine and a drive to make it happen. She can thrown propriety to the wind and not think twice if it is in the interest of justice and improvement to the social condition. And she's not afraid to speak her mind to Monk whether insulting or not so long as it gets her point across. Maybe I'm more like her than I thought. Hmm.

All in all, really enjoying the books and highly suggest them for brain candy and a heightened sense of justice and gratitude that we as women today have a voice. The first in the series is "The Face of a Stranger".

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Update

So, a few of you have asked about an update on the adoption process. So, here it is.

Come to find out there is a whole schload of stuff to do. Here's what we've gotten done so far.

1. We've paid our thousand $$ (OUCH) and I'm certain that next week I'll find out that I'm pregnant due to Murphy's law. We thought about waiting another week just to make sure, but decided to tempt fate into acting out and paid it anyways. (k, I really don't think it's going to happen but before letting go of the check the thought did cross my mind... and that was just letting go of it to give to my husband. He's the one that actually took it to Family Services. And yes, he did the classic "hold out the check but don't let go when it's being taken" thing. He didn't even plan it, it just happened.)

2. We've gotten every hard copy we can with the exception of the copy of the sealing certificate from the temple. Yes, we could take a copy of the one we already have except for that unfortunate incident on our wedding day. You know how they always give the certificate to the mother of the bride for safe keeping... well that's probably the opposite of what should have happened. Yep, we have no idea where it is. So the temple has to get another one ready and we have to track down signatures.

3. We've got a chunk of our online stuff done. Questionnaire's, financial statements etc. Mostly waiting on David to get his stuff done. He's quite the perfectionist.

Speaking of David, he's actually started to blog again! It's kind of weird and I'm not used to it, but I'm glad he's doing it. He's spoken of becoming a writer but is struggling to find his voice. Nothing like putting everything about you on the web to help find your voice right!

That's about where we sit right now. On other things, my hat goes off to all the people out there who have ever been the president of some church organization... I really had no idea what kind of stuff would start popping into my mind and random times of the day and night. I don't like being in charge of everything! I feel like my mom. Like I stepped into the bishop's office and came out 10 years older. Bleck.

That's it for now. Perhaps if you are all lucky I'll post again before another week is out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Casualties of War

Okay, so it wasn't really a war, just our Robbins family reunion but there were casualties still the same. I will give them to you in order of the fall.

1. One of our camp chairs gave up the ghost at the Friday night hot dog roast. Apparently it just couldn't handle the heat.

2. My blue shirt that I really really love, well.... one of the activities was t-shirt painting. I had no intention of painting a shirt but apparently I didn't need to. My cute niece Nessa showed me hers that she was ever so proud of and in the process globbed silver paint on my sleeve.

3. My nephew, Wes, is just over 1 and walking around like a champ. He is in a grabby stage and was in the general t-shirt painting area. His favorite past time was finding things and dropping them into the bucket of water used to rinse out the sponges for said painting. Well, my sister heard a kerplunk, thought it sounded a bit bigger than a sponge and took a look. What did she fish out of the dirty paint water you ask? My camera! Now you know why I have no pictures of the deceased.

All in all it was a fun time though. It is an excuse to upgrade our camera though we hadn't planned on doing it quite so soon... Not so sure where we're going to get the money to do that, but...

Positive highlight: So, I assigned my little brother to covertly start a water fight for the reunion (it's nice to be in charge). I ended up with a few cups poured over my clothes, splashed in my face, etc. Well, David was feeling pretty good about himself because he had successfully avoided the water fight. I thought about remedying the situation, but decided against it as I didn't think he had a change of clothes and we were leaving soon. Well the little braggart told me he did but he just didn't want to get wet. Famous last words. I made an excuse to get all the electronics off of him and told Alex to "get the job done". One large bucket later and David was just as wet as me! Ain't that love!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Common

What do a nursing mother, an avid reader, and someone who drinks a lot of water have in common?

Yep, the women’s restroom in the Taggart Student Center.

Not to be mistaken for ordinary, this restroom offers relief for a variety of women and their needs. It’s deep black faux-leather couches offer the average person a place to sit back, kick off your shoes and read a good book or even take a quick nap.

During certain times of the day your R&R can also be accompanied by the soft swish swish coming from the ‘lactation station’ as resident employee pumps.

And don’t forget the flush of the toilets and the crank of the paper towel dispenser!

As an added bonus the wall-mirror lets you know whether you look your best or need to straighten a few loose strands.

Yes indeed, a restroom fit for royalty.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Leap

Well, we've decided to take the next step in the child-getting process. That's right, we're filling out the adoption papers. I've had this inner debate on whether or not I would make this all public or not. But then I remembered that my life is pretty much an open book so why put off the inevitable?

Last Thursday we met with LDS Family Services and got the 'scoop' on adoption. It must be a good thing because David and I both had to hold back tears. I would say that there was something stuck in my eye, but how weird is that that it would effect both of us?! So I'll fess up. It really got to me. Not in a sad way, but it an oh-so-special way. So much of that way that we could hardly wait to come home and start filling out the papers and online profile.

Our case-worker said it usually takes about 4 months to get approved. My initial thoughts were "wanna bet? I'll see your 4 months and do it in 2 tops!" Then we started on the paperwork. It really is pretty intensive. Sure you have to get birth certificates, marriage documents, criminal background checks, but that's almost the easy part. There is a huge on-line section that has all sorts of in-depth questions that have to be answered. It's one thing if you are just putting in quick answers that 'will do' but quite another when you realize that someone will be making judgements on whether or not they give their child to you based on your answers. No pressure right. But it's definitely becoming quite the experience.

It's gotten me to think alot about family relationships and even our own personalities. How we interact with each other, how we get along with our own brothers and sisters. It's a lot to think about. Makes it difficult to know what to say.

But long story short, that is where we are at. I still say 4 months is a long time, and let's face it, school starts up again in August and I won't see my husband till December for all intents and purposes. Gotta get it done now!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

So not so recently I watched the "Pursuit of Happyness" with Will Smith. I've always been a fan, even in the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire stage which certainly wasn't the highlight of his career but I got a kick out of it. I quite enjoyed his humor in "Independence Day" and have been delighted to see him take on some more serious roles. But, a tribute to Will Smith is not why I am writing today. I'm thinking about the pursuit.

At the end of the afore mentioned movie, Will's character attained his dreams which we all rejoiced in as an audience. However, I felt stressed and anxious through the entire thing. I kept on thinking "when is this guy gonna get a break!" After all was said and done, 'happiness' achieved, I left the theatre out of breath and feeling like some serious down time was needed. Kudos to him for stickin' to his dreams, but boy oh boy I'm sure glad that I don't have to do all that. Or do I?

I just got back from the doctors office. Yes, we are starting those lovely visits again in the pursuit of our happiness... that would be a child for those of you not in the know. We took a break after my January surgery and it's time to get brave again and give it another go. I had more blood work done last week (you'll be happy to know that I didn't pass out and they only had to stick me twice! Now that's progress) and today I went in to see if it was a good idea or not to start on clomid again. Well, it's not. That little problem that my January surgery took care of seems to have come back.... all by itself, no drugs necessary. "Bob"is very persistent. I've decided to name this one George.

So now I'm sitting here contemplating life as we know it. I'm not sure what to do. It's not that I want pity or anything, I'm just trying to figure things out. I have never doubted that the Lord has had a plan for us. I know that he still does. But I can't help but wonder if that means I'll be having children in my 50's! A modern miracle for all the world to see and be glad they are not in my shoes. At our kids high school graduations I'll have my rubber tipped slip-proof walker and David will have his portable oxygen tank... we'll have to pay someone to take pictures because our eyesight will be too bad.

David and I are also meeting with LDS Family Services on Thursday to get the scoop on adoption simply because at the rate we're going it's probably best not to put all our eggs in one basket, so to speak.

As this pursuit continues I can't help but think if it is worth it. Do I really want to be pregnant? Stretch marks, heart-burn, late nights, morning sickness, baby fat, inability to tie my own shoes or shave my legs... doesn't really sound that appealing. Adoption is sounding better and better. Of course there will still be sleepless nights, dirty diapers galore, and all that comes with it, but at least my pants will still fit!

Here's keeping it optimistic! Just keep going, its just gotta be worth it in the end.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chasing Rainbows

So I have been thinking about rewards, particularly that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I remember when I discovered that the pot of gold more than likely wasn't real. I was probably 6-7ish. We lived in the cute little white house with built-in shelving and this wonderful closet/cupboard that we spent many an afternoon in. We were completely surrounded by fields and more than enough room for imagination. It had just rained and there was a beautiful rainbow spanning over the house and into the neighboring field.

Well, I was no dummy. I had heard the stories and I knew what was at the end of that rainbow. Gold. I could even see where it ended! This was my lucky day. I grabbed dad's shovel (no mean feat at 7ish) and headed into the field. Funny thing about rainbows, the closer you get to the end, the further away the end gets. I started running to catch up to it before it disappeared but the faster I ran, the faster the rainbow moved until it was gone completely. I scanned the sky in vain, hoping for the faint sign to instant treasure, but to no avail. I was so disappointed.

I headed back to the house and had myself a think. There was no way that a huge pot of gold could keep moving with the rainbow. It's heavy. So the gold had to be in the first spot I had seen the 'end' of the rainbow. With renewed zeal I shouldered the shovel once again and headed for the field. Fortunately, I had a father who saw me and had sense enough to ask what I was doing. "Well duh, I'm going to dig up the pot of gold!" He chuckled, put his arm around me and proceeded to destroy my dream. Leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows just don't exist.

I like to think that I grew up a little that day, but I'm not so sure. I find myself continually looking for that pot of gold. Not in the instant wealth department, but in the general things of life. If I do all the right things and live correctly, then the things we want will just fall into place. If I marry the right guy at the right time and in the right place, then the kids, house, financial security and happily ever after are sure to follow. It's what the story says right? Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

So why is it that I can look around and find several examples of people who did not do the right things, perhaps got the kids and marriage order mixed up, had issues with the church, etc. and yet they have the things that I want the most? Doesn't seem fair right?

It's so easy to sit back and judge other people's lives. Easy because we haven't lived them. We haven't walked in their shoes and they haven't walked in ours. But is that what this life is all about?

I had myself another think. The only reward that matters in this life, is that we make it to the next. That somewhere, somehow, we've repented enough times and made enough corrections with our faulty selves that the Lord can forgive us, wash us clean, and take us in his arms to live with him and all the rest of the people that are important to us. That's the real reward isn't it? The real gold at the end of the rainbow. So does it matter so much if we messed up the order so long as we get it all straightened out in the end?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Time Off

I decided to take some time off work... you know, one of those vacations that's only a vacation in the sense that I don't have to go to work. It's been kind of nice. I took a whole week and a day off. It's been good to clear my mind as well as go a little crazy. Let me explain.

Clearing of the mind:
1. I haven't thought about work for 4 whole days now! Aaaaahhhh.
2. This is the first real day that I've done something on the computer aside from send a email to check plans. (Thanks Tawnya and Isaac! Loved game night! I am a winner!)
3. No TV. How did I do it? Well, there was a delay in my netflix.

Going crazy:
1. I made 10 loaves of bread. Seriously, what was I thinking! It would take the two of us months to eat that. Fortunately we have neighbors who were willing to take them off of our hands.
2. I attacked the yard... literally... with pruners. I worked on it most of Tuesday and have the scars to prove it. What I found is that I have a lot more work to do... but will I? Hmmm.
3. I decided to mass produce greeting cards. In all fairness I do have a plan for them, but yesterday I felt that my brain had turned to mush.
4. On Tuesday I also did a super job on getting the house clean... now I am surrounded by bread pans, scraps of paper, laundry and random shoes. I am a mess.

It's noon and I'm still in my pajamas. Part of me thinks that I should feel bad, and then I tell that little voice in my head to shut it.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

If you Could Hie to Kolob

Well, that's exactly what we did! Last weekend (being June 5-6, yes I'm a bit late) we went to Kolob Mountain where David's Grandma has a cabin. Grandma Sullivan is no longer living, but she has graciously left the cabin to her kids to share. We decided it was time to go and experience it all.

David and I were the only ones to stay Friday night and we certainly had an adventure of it. But why listen to me? Let me have the pictures do the talking.

Adventures in smores. Many a contraption tried, but nothing works like patience.

I was the winner of the perfect smore contest.
We then went inside for lessons on lamp lighting and learning to play Pinocle. Any takers to play with us? We need to practice so we can make a comeback. We got schooled.
The next morning started with a hike around the lake.

Around noonish, the rest of the family started showing up. The days events consisted of:


Feeding chipmunks,

Feats of strength, (I love the little hop!)

Chatting with each other,
Throwing rocks at bugs,

And playing in the playhouse.

We even got to eat... a little later than expected, but hey, we're camping right!
All in all we had a good time and hope to be able to do it again.