Thursday, December 8, 2011


I did it again. 
My now-famous blog-disappearing-act, that is.

BTW Did Ricky Perry ruin the word "Oops" for anyone else? I can't say or hear it without thinking of a Texas dum-dum saying "...I can't remember the third one... Oops." Boo to that. 

Anyway, hello friends!! Not dead. Just crazy. I won't say busy because I know a lady with 32 kids (slight exaggeration) and she somehow has time to quilt and read to the animal shelter and volunteer at the Elementary Schools (strike that, reverse it.) so saying busy just seems like I'm a light-weight at this point. 

But I am still here and need to update you on our insane house overhaul project that shares a motto with the Energizer Bunny. Well, it is actually the Energizer Bunny cross-bred with a Gremlin- when you get this house wet and/or feed it after midnight the projects multiply and turn evil and keep going and going and going and going. 
AND the inside of my head almost-always feels like someone is banging on it with a bass drum mallet.

Yep, that is the best analogy I have.

I also have updates on our incredible Thanksgiving Adventures in Portland and Seattle.
And how these kids just keep growing (and growing [boom!] and growing [boom!] and... STOP! Enough.)

And how I start school again in just a few short weeks *gulp*

 I will catch you up soon! For now I will assure you that Christmas preparations are in full swing here: Our (unfinished and constantly evolving) halls are decked, wishlists written, and we are now in the mood for cheesy Lifetime Original Christmas films!! My favs? So glad you asked: Undercover Christmas, The Recipe for a Perfect Christmas and 12 Men of Christmas.
Possibly three of the worst films ever made. And I eat them up every year. Embrace your inner cheese-ball this year and give them a try!! 
Or don't. That's better. It will give you one less reason to think about unfollowing this blog. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

hair like snakes

This week is Avery's half birthday!
I can't believe it has been six months since all of this.
I can't believe in six more months we'll do it all again. 
I can't believe that a few short months after that she will be in Kindergarten. 
Wow, my heart stopped for just a second when I wrote that. 
Here is her Pre-K school picture. She loves going to school and I am grateful every day for the great teachers and kids at her school! 
I might die (just a little) inside when she heads off to real live big kid school, though. 
Don't worry. 
I'll try to be brave.

Monday, November 14, 2011

the horn

In case you're interested, you should check out the cake I made for K's birthday last month on my new food blog! I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything...
but Toot Toot!!!
I mean, look at this thing! 

this, our town of Halloween

 Have I mentioned yet that somewhere in the middle of the month of October Avery watched The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time and subsequently became obsessed with said nightmare?
Well, that happened.
 So, days before Halloween, she decided that instead of being a SuperHeroLadybugAvery she had to be Jack, the Pumpkin King. 
For only spending $4 on the costume (we had a long-sleeved black shirt and black pants for her already- we picked up a little boy's suit vest at DI for $2 and spent another $2 on the sparkly black ribbon for her bow tie) I think she looks pretty incredible. Laura did the face paint!
 Carter was our little warm Cupcake again, and K pulled out his old bull-rider costume from our college days. Classy, right?
 I was incredibly sick on Halloween with the worst head cold I have had in a really long time, AND, just to add some spice to our lives, we decided to undertake a big project in the house with our contractor on Halloween. You know, for fun.
They tore down the wall surrounding our stairway (a mother-of-a-toddler's nightmare) and began the process of reinforcing walls and putting in a banister. The finished product is wonderful! More on that to come. But they were at our house until 9:30pm, the poor guys. ...though I think they DID have some fun with the wood saw and creating sound effects when trick-or-treaters would ring the doorbell. 
 Even though I was feeling sick I just couldn't miss out on some trick or treating with my little ghouls. So I phoned it in with a Dodger's Fan costume (an easy find in my closet) and a little black face paint. I only look like I am in slight pain in this picture, so I guess it was a successful night! ...though I can't really remember that well. I was on some pretty fun cold meds.
I think the Oogey Boogey Man would have approved of our Halloween had there been more bugs and less cuteness, but who cares? That guy is a jerk anyway.

gossip folks

 Did you know that in the middle of the forest, just north of Ashton, that there is a Haunted Forest, Hay Ride and Trick or Treating? Oh, did I mention that it's free (just bring a can of food per person for the food bank!! ...okay, so it's practically free.)!? 
 Every year Harriman State Park employees and volunteers go all out to decorate cabins and the surrounding forest with spooky and fun sights and sounds! There is trick or treating at every turn, games, prizes, hot cocoa and cookies... did I mention the hay ride?! 
We missed our ward's Trunk or Treat to head up to the park for all of this fun, but I can't bring myself to regret it. In fact, I am pretty sure this was a tradition in the making.
(We dressed the big kiddies as kittens since my great friend, Laura, gave them all those cute headbands. We figured they could still be cute but stay warm since it is QUITE chilly up in the mountains at the end of October. Carter went as a cupcake, a cute and very fleece-y warm costume my mom got her at Old Navy. See her cherry on top!?)

Monday, November 7, 2011


 I have this weird, obnoxious issue. I have a love-hate relationship with MegaMarts. WalMart, Target, Sam's Club, WinCo. They all give me the best deal on most everything from Huggies and Hagen-Daz, but even though I frequent each of these stores, I resent them. When I feel I have a choice (and extra cash- it really is expensive to be anti-establishment!) I choose Melaleuca over Proctor & Gamble. Scotty's Drive In over McDonalds. And now Some Random House on a Country Road over The U-Pick Red Barn.
Can you believe it!? I know. The audacity.
Instead of delving into the psychology of why my brain works this way and how long I am going to admit that I have a problem and do absolutely nothing about, especially when it comes to my new Pumpkin Patch discovery. In this case hitting up the little guy is WAY cheaper than going to the PumpkinMegaMart, and we had a wonderful time!!
My mom was here for the weekend, The U-Pick Red Barn was PACKED on the Saturday two weeks before Halloween, and we knew that someone else must be selling pumpkins somewhere! We were right.
I can't give you directions because I have no idea where we were, but K does, and I can't wait to go back next year! There was a "Haunted Forest", a "Bloody Pumpkin Patch" and oodles of beautiful gourds to choose from!
Sometimes I love living in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

happy happy joy joy

I love myself some Disneyland. Yeah, that's right. I said it.
There is something about approaching the Happiest Place on Earth with my kiddies that activates a really bizarre and more than slightly giddy kind of glee inside of me. It is then that I just know despite the gobs of people and crazy lines and overpriced everything that we are about to have a fantastic time and make some really terrific memories!
I know that is so cheesy. Go ahead. Judge away.
 On Monday, a couple of days after my disaster of a race, we caravaned with my mom, Mallory and Sir Giles to California to hit up Haunted Disneyland, complete with a Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Haunted Mansion. This detail is important when I get to our Halloween post, so stay tuned for that! Space Mountain was also super spooked out, and Captain Eo is back, people!! So rad.
 It was a warm and beautiful day and we were able to get on just about every ride that we wanted to!
 The bad news about Monday was that as we pulled into the Disneyland parking garage my mom's car started freaking out and she had to take it to the shop. She missed half of the day's festivities!! She is so awesome. She made us all go on without her while she put it in the shop, and we all stayed at this (gross!) hotel near the shop because it wasn't done until the next morning. You're such a trooper, Mom!! World's Best Grandma.
 Meeting Mickey. Carter was not pleased.
 Mally and GiGi. She's such a great mom, you guys!!
 Carter ate way too much sugar (ahem Grandma ahem) and puked right before we went in to see Captain Eo, so I got her a sweet old fashioned Eo shirt!! I make her wear it all of the time.
 She was soo tired at the end of the day!
 ...okay. There is really no excuse for this pic. I'm just here, geeking out in front of a pink castle. Nothing to see here. Move along.
 Such a great day!!

tri tragedy

 It started out well. 
See how happy and hopeful I look?
I thought I was prepared. The weekend before the race I even biked all of the way up to the windmills on Ammon Mountain!!! Seriously, I did!! 
This race promised 12 whole miles of uphill on the bike, and I showed up ready to kick some butt.
Unfortunately... well, we'll get to that.

My third triathlon was the PumpkinMan Race on October 15th in Las Vegas, NV. 
The swim for the race was the exact same as the swim for my first triathlon, and I was excited to get another crack at it, since the first time didn't go so well.
 And I must say, I exacted my revenge on Lake Mead in a big way! In fact, my swim was my best time yet!! I killed it for sure and it felt so good. 
...until I got on my bike.
 Now I have mentioned many times my love affair with my bike. But things started off really rocky this go around, and it wasn't my bike's fault. It was mine. 
You see, I didn't check to see what gear my bike was in before the race began, so when I hopped on and locked my shoes in, I tried to start pedaling. And hit a wall instead. 
Not literally, it's just that my bike was in the highest gear. And I couldn't push forward. 
Stupid Ammon Mountain.
I fell over. 
Like a tree.
No joke. 
So horribly embarrassing. PLUS I got a nice big cut on my knee and elbow for good measure.
Then I proceeded to get up, fix my chain (which came off during the fall), fix my gear and bike up 12 miles of baking hot desert hills. 
But I couldn't seem to get my head back into it. 
In fact, about 10 miles in I had to stop. 
To puke. 
I'm sorry to say that my run wasn't much better. About a mile and a half in there was a water station with a bunch of high school kids volunteering. One of the girls had a big Gatorade cooler thing and asked me if I wanted cold water dumped on me (it is really hot in that stupid desert!!). I said, "Sure!" ...I got water dumped on me as I ran by... but I also got a big knot on my head. Yep, the girl beaned me in the head with the cooler as she tipped it upside down. 
No big deal, but just goes to show you how ummm fun this race was? 
My family was there and they were all so supportive as I came in half an hour after my estimated finish time.
At least I wasn't last, right?
So, what does this mean for my future in racing? 
It means that next year, PumpkinMan, your gourd is mine!!!

water war

I just love going home to Las Vegas to visit! We went on October 13th to hang out and have some fun before my big race, and boy did we! Meeting Grandma for lunch and heading over to Town Square for some play time in the water shooty thing!! Too much fun. Like everything with Carter, she took a few minutes to warm up to the idea of water bursting out of the ground, but man, once she did she was so into it!! And Avery, as usual, was a wild woman. Both kiddos got completely soaked! It's a good thing their smart (beautiful, talented) mom brought a change of clothes!! (Yes, I did just compliment myself. It's been a hard week. Just give me this one.)
The last picture is of my sweet nephew, Giles. Isn't he a doll!?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Before we went on our epic trip, my friend Laura and I decided to start canning the fruits of our labors from our garden... and every other fruit or vegetable that anyone would give us! It turns out that lots of people had things to donate: roughly 5 buckets full of grapes, 2 of tomatoes and 50 (might be a slight exaggeration) of apples!

Those things along with the tomatillos, corn, herbs and tomatoes from our own garden and we were able to put up quite a bit! Including tons of grape juice, tomato sauce, red and green salsa, and apple sauce! My house was a nightmare for two days, but it was so worth it and so much fun!
Our timing couldn't have been better, either. The day we started Idaho Falls had a freak blizzard. It snowed all day long!
My favorite part (besides hanging with Laura!) was using this crazy steam juicer that Laura's grandmother let us borrow. Look at this thing!! It's incredible! You just put the fruit into the basket, water underneath and watch it shoot out tons of fresh and delicious fruit juice!

I am so grateful for all of the new skills I have acquired this year in growing my own garden and learning how to home can things. I can't wait for next year!!

hard hat

Holy cow has it been a long time!! 
I think you will forgive me when I tell you that my house has looked like this for nearly a month now...

New carpet for my entire house comes on Wednesday and I am so excited!! ...of course, between now and then we still have to cut and paint all of the trim for the house, put in a banister along the stairwell, paint the ceiling in the girls' new room and the stair entryway and probably one million other things, but I know that soon we will be done and I am ecstatic!! Also exhausted. And extremely sick with the world's meanest head cold. And emphatically sure that I never want to embark on another home improvement project. Ever. Again.
Stay tuned for a month's worth of catch up posts! Even though we have been living in a mess we have still had lots of adventures and I can't wait to share!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sick day

*Carter with a cold. September 2011
Although I hate it when my kiddos are sick, I do love the cuddle time that sickness affords. Especially with too-busy-to-cuddle-with-you Carter. She is so active and hilarious. She is always carrying around a book and whacking me in the leg with it until I read to her. She calls this, "reeboo?!" I am assuming that means "Read book?" but it could also mean "Buy me new sneakers." or "How about some waffles?" 
Her favorite animal is still doggies, although she loves learning all of the animal sounds.
Just found out yesterday at a doctor's visit that she is in the 85th percentile. I have NO IDEA what that means, but isn't it terribly exciting!!?! Especially considering the fact that her big sister juuust barely made it onto the chart for her age!? No joke. Before this year Avery was in the negative percentile.
Okay, I don't actually think that there is any such thing as a negative percentile. I made it up. Just roll with it.
Her eyes are still blue blue blue and her hair is still blonde blonde blonde! The PA yesterday told me that her hair would probably turn, but she's never seen Klayton. I'm thinking she might be B4L. You know, Blonde4Life.
She loves to have laughing contests with me. I.E. She will scrunch up her cute little nose and go, "AhhAhhAhh!" So I will take a deep breath and say, "MUAHAHAHA!!" and she will go, "AHAHHAHHAAHHA!!" It's loads of fun.
She loves to run. And she is super fast, too! Mostly to keep up with Avery, I guess. But she runs SO FUNNY!! Chest out, neck forward, arms sprawled, head down. Think sprinter-crossing-the-tape-finish-line. Funny-looking on a big old Kenyan dude. Adorable on a chubby little toddler!
She is taking her first trip to Disneyland on Monday!! My parents are taking us and we are all so excited! Carter has a Minnie doll that sings her the Hot Dog Song (if you don't know what this is, you don't have kids), so I know she'll freak when she sees her!
Just thought you should know that my baby is getting bigger!! And we are loving every minute!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

blue light special

There have been so many things going on lately and yet the days are passing so slowly! I know as soon as Halloween hits, though, we will be into a new year before we know it! Right now I am trying to take a good, hard look at all of the good in my life, though, and I just had to share this experience I had with answered prayers today.
So, K had a huge deal in the works a couple of weeks ago for a new management contract and it felt like it was going to be the deal. You know, The Deal that pushed us over the top- from hanging on by our fingernails to really getting momentum and moving forward!
...But the deal fell through. The firm went with a different management company and K has been super discouraged. We are in the middle of finishing the basement of our house and expanding the business and K is in school full time on top of it all and we both have crazy/fun callings and we just need a boost (or shove) to tell us that we can keep going. So we have been praying for guidance and comfort and strength to keep going and to do the Lor'ds will, whatever it is.
Well, today we received a card in the mail from K's parents that I am sure they sent to all of their children, but it feels like a very personal answer for us. It was a note telling us that they are concerned with the state of the world today, they don't know what our food storage situation is, but they want to help us get more. Included with this very thoughtful card was a Food Storage Nest Egg (i.e. cash).
This FSNE is a huge blessing for us and feels like an answer to so many prayers from the last week. Prayers about making cash stretch and how to proceed and whether we should just scrap everything and change our names and leave the country and become Parisian Tour Guides.
As I have thought about all of the positive things in my life lately, getting this gift in the mail this week feels like so many other tangible blessings- the Lord is aware of my family and He is blessing our lives, whether it is in the way that we had hoped for or planned on or not.
So, now I am planning out a big trip to Broulims' Case Lot Sale and I am so excited!! We decided to take a portion of the money out of a food budget to spend on diapers, too, because, well, diapers are expensive and in my world they are oh-so-necessary.
And I stumbled upon something that probably every other mom out there knows about, but just in case you don't you have GOT to check this out!!
I mean, I guess I don't count saving money as a huge blessing, but it's all related and I want to tell you about this.
So just go with it.
It's called AmazonMom. When you make an AmazonMom account you get $$ off of everything you need when you have kids: Diapers, wipes, formula, food, toys, gadgets- everything! For example, this morning, unwilling to trudge to Sam's Club to pay $45 dollars (no joke) for 120 diapers (0.38 cents/diaper), I Googled "Diaper Deals" and found this through AmazonMom:
140 Huggies (my favorite brand) Snug&Dry Diapers for $33.50 (about 0.24/diaper)
Then, as an AmazonMom I saved 15% off of that price, and 15% off from signing up for Subscribe and Save (cancel when you want and/or get diapers shipped for free to your doorstep as often as you want- check it out). I just paid $23 (0.17/diaper) with free shipping!! That is nearly half of what I would have paid at Sam's! When you take out the gas, the frustration of taking two little kids to Sam's Club and the emotional trauma of leaving that place without a ginormous package of lunch meat and a Giant-Size Coke (my wallet can't afford one; my health, the other) that's an even bigger deal!
I am not a huge online shopper, but if I get to skip the Sam's Experience until I need a 10-can refill of my favorite Stephen's Hot Cocoa next month, I am extatic.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

deep breath

Can I tell you something? 
I love to tell people what to do. 
For real, I do. 
I'm super good at it, too.
Especially when it comes to restaurant suggestions. And since I am a major foodie (although I loathe the term, there really is no use denying it) and an enthusiastic cook, there are few (VERY few) things that I love more than going out to eat. You know, mostly so I can judge other people's food. And try to copy it. But really, what is not to love about going out to eat!? There is always grub and usually some friends/family/people that you love or at least can stand to talk to for an hour or two, which means smiling, laughing, and lots of chewing. These are my favorite things.
I also love to write, however "quirky" (pretty sure that's the nicest thing that people ever say about my writing style) my voice may be. 
And I love food!
Did I say that already? 
Anyway, I have decided to start another blog to try to get some of this food-loving, need-to-write-about-something energy out of my system. I want to write about the food I eat and perhaps even sometimes what I make at home. My best memories all involve family and food (which explains the chub) and I want to share my passion with anyone who will listen. I want to entertain friends... and to try to tell as many people as I possibly can what to do.
Seriously- I'm good at it. You'll see. 
Who knows how long my blog project will last, but for now I would love for you to check out my very first posts and let me know what you think!
Really, though. Give me feedback. I need it. The brutal kind.
Check it out here, then quickly tell me not to quit my day-job so we can stop all of this foolishness here and now. ...or you could love the whole idea, too. You know. Up to you.
Oh, and I don't say this enough, but thanks for being my friend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

isn't it neat?

You guys. 
The weekend was spectac.
...I thought that would be a super cool way to say spectacular. 
It wasn't. 
My apologies. 

Anyway, we drove down to St. George on Friday where we met up with my parents, Aunt Diane, Uncle Doug and cousins, Jacob and Jessica, to hit up Tuacahn to see The Little Mermaid (SO fantastic). K and Carter headed straight up to the cabin because they were BEAT! Poor kids.
 After a few hours of sleep at the cabin, we then went into Zion's National Park to embark on an EPIC hike (more to come). Then we loaded up a UHaul full of furniture that my parents and grandma handed down to us (thank you!!!) and drove back home, where we pulled in around 10am Sunday morning. No joke. It was a crazy trip. 
Could I be more tired this week?
Could the girls have had a better time?
Could it have been any more worth the insanity? 

Here are a few pics from the show at Tuacahn. Isn't my little princess the sweetest?