Sunday, January 30, 2011

birthday wishes and bored on the Sabbath Day....

 This first set of pictures really needs no
explanation...."Happy Birthday to You!"


Now this next set of photos is what happens when
you have 9 to 12 church, and a brother with
really long curls, and a sister with a straightener
who is really bored and wants to see what
happens to said brother when she
sits and straightens his hair.  Let me just
say when I walked into the basement I almost
peed my pants (yup, really!--it doesn't take
much after birthing those babies!) ...but I
almost did when I saw Josh I was laughing that
hard.  In fact, our Home Teachers arrived
shortly after said straightening and Josh
was JUST within my peripheral vision.
Every time I glanced SLIGHTLY his way,
I had to stifle a hiccup of a laugh that
threatened to spill out of my mouth at
every reverent and serious moment of the
lesson.  I think I bit the insides of my
cheeks bloody holding back the laughter.

So we thought we would share our
good laugh with all of you today.  It looks like
a wig, or a hairstyle gone bad, or both!  This kid
has got "nappy", almost African-American hair.
It hit somewhere at puberty and has just
kept getting curlier and curlier.  I LOVE it, his
and girlfriend loves it and so I guess it's good.

And lest you forget what he NORMALLY
looks like, here is a refresher below.  Pretty
good looking kid if I do say so myself.
Above??  Not so much! 

from scratch

 Black & White the New York City Cookies--
only "Cup-cakier".  Dark Chocolate CupCake, Semi-Sweet Ganache,
Vanilla Buttercream and Gum Paste Snowflakes (thanks to the little girls).
Our New Years Eve Treat.  The neighbors ate them (lots of them)
 Banana Cupcakes with a Maple Glaze topped with leftover buttercream
from Black and White Cupcakes (above).

Grace's Birthday Cupcakes...
"MOUNDS" (like the candy bar) Cupcakes.  You either love
coconut or you don't.  She does and asked for a new
creation.   Milk Chocolate Cupcake topped with milk
chocolate ganache.  Dollop of coconut buttercream dipped
in coconut flakes drizzled with more milk chocolate ganache.

I DID have a taste of this creation--it seriously tasted like a Mounds
candy bar...if you like that kind of thing.  Kyle took leftovers
to his work and Grace ate her fair share (since Kyle, Josh, Eliza
and Olivia HATE coconut).

Next on my list--lemon cupcakes with raspberry filling.
We'll see how that goes. 

Kyle said that my cupcakes are like "Magnolia's" in NYC-
HIS favorite cupcake joint.  He said (and I quote), "They are
NOT the prettiest, fanciest or best looking--but they sure do
TASTE the best!" I am still trying to figure out if that's a
compliment (YES?) mixed in with an insult too (?).

So is he saying I have UGLY cupcakes that TASTE super great?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

ode to january

A friend of mine recently posted
on his blog how his son woke up
and looked outside at our foggy,
inversion covered valley and
asked the question, "Is this
what heaven looks like?"

I shuddered and said "Oh PLEASE!
NO! send me straight to hell if
this is what heaven looks like."

NO, seriously!

(and just as an aside:  what if the
phrase "Go to hell!" actually has
NOTHING at all to do with the
devil and his brood all hanging
out together in their molten lava
pit of despair?  WHAT IF this
phrase were invented on some dark,
dreary winters day in the far
reaches of time.  Oh lets say
in the Salt Lake Valley before the
invention of houses and heat and windows.

And flush toilets.

Or in New York City following a blizzard
when the early settlers of our great
country were sitting around a
roaring fire, dreaming of perhaps
being the first settlers of
HAWAII instead of New England?
What if on one of those cold and
dreary nights someone leaned over to
their comrade and said "Oh just go
to hell!"  and instead of thinking
of Satan, they were thinking of the Sahara?
(desert that is)....

See, so maybe it wasn't a bad thing-
maybe it was just a nice way of saying

"Go warm yourself!"

I'm only saying, you never know!
And mostly this is tongue in cheek--so
just have a little laugh with me, OK?)

Back to my post...

I loathe January and all
the dreary, depressing, sunless,
cold, frigid, inversion layered,
foggy, wet, dripping days.

Recently I went to breakfast
with some girlfriends.  They
were feeling even more depressed
with this month than I!
There were tears, stories of
reclusively staying at home,
sad stories, depressing stories, 
and more. (Could there BE more?)
I said we needed to head south
and warm next January for a fun
trip in search of the sun.
I'm not sure if anyone
really agreed or not--but I
do know as we were leaving
the restaurant the sun
WAS shining!  If only for a
brief and fleeting moment.
But we saw sun and know that it
does exist beyond all of
this awful gunk somewhere
out there.

Yes Virginia, there REALLY
a sun!  Do you believe?

So, with only two days left
in the month here is my

You Suck!

(yes, that's it!  you were
expecting more?  well, that's it!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

happy birthday to the one i of them anway!

 Grace Catherine, born January 27, 1997--head FULL of hair that just
kept growing and growing.
 tiny baby feet--now a hardy size 9 1/2 (sorry kids for the big feet!)
 if i had $1 for every comment i got about graces hair--she would
be going to Harvard *TWICE* for free!  Seriously!
 my little angel, ahem, or is it devil?
 she LOVE her "lips" (her word for lipstick)  Here
i believe it is combined with a thick layer of good ole chocolate!
 Bear Lake, age 5
 first haircut, age 6 (ish) I cried and cried she cut it--however
this picture won me 2nd place at the Utah State Fair.
 2nd grade or so....missing teeth starting to come around again
 baptism day, age 8
 summertime dreamin' and cruisin' on her cruiser
 wrong spot in the line up (oh well)  about age 4
 summer 2010 California (the ONLY sunny day of the entire trip!)
 last week, SELF PORTRAIT
 the REAL grace, she is a spaz among other great qualities

Here is ONE of the ones i love anyway....

Happy Birthday Grace Catherine!
A girl full of LIFE, Zest, Energy,
Love, Lots of Friends, Laughter,
Heart, Boys and one of the most
beautiful girls I know!

Have a great day-so glad you are
part of our family.  Love, Mom xo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

it went kinda like this....

my orthodontist visit went something like this....

 husband should've been an orthodontist.

....and i will probabaly have to "suck it up"
(as my son likes to tell me and anyone else
who will listen to him) and live with my
unstraightening teeth.


dr. w. is still a really nice, and really TALL

i think he's taking his family to hawaii on
the last payment i made on grace's braces.

happy vactioning dr. w.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

vanity at its finest

ok, i admit it.  i am vain.  this week i have
scheduled an appointment with grace's orthodontist.

and no, not just because he's tall. or handsome.
well, mostly he's just tall. and nice.


i could have scheduled an appointment with a plastic
surgeon.  i have body parts in dire need of
an adjustment that could be fixed with a visit
to a surgeon. 

but of ALL the things i am the most vain about
it would be my teeth.



i wore braces for two years from age 13 to age 15.

i wore headgear at night.

i was possibly THEE MOST homely 7th grade girl
in existence.  my children STILL make fun of
my 7th grade picture.  (gimme a break and give
yourself 20 years or so and then tell me how
you feel about YOUR 7th grade picture children!)

after the torture of being called "brace face"
and "metal mouth" by all the cool, pretty and
popular girls who had straighter, prettier, and
whiter teeth than me...the day for brace
removal arrived.

my teeth were revealed in all their glorious
straightness.  man were they lovely.

i loved them.  seriously.  i was in love.

this "buck toothed beaver" had emerged a swan.

so NOW at the ripe old age of 40 something
or other, the darn things have started that
mid-life SHIFT.

how dare they? 

so i decided to call the orthodontist and
schedule an appointment to at least SEE
what could be done.


a retainer?

i don't know for sure what his verdict will be.

nor do i know the cost (which will REALLY be
the final vote here).

but i DO KNOW, that my vanity got the best of me
in this instance.

i will let you know how it all turns out.

cuz you're dying to know, right?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

barbies in the bathtub

question:  what happens when you leave
a 7 year old, a red headed barbie,
and razor alone together in the tub?

answer:  a half bald barbie and lots of
red hair floating in the left over
bath water.

olivia + razor + barbie = one big mess.

it could have been worse...she could've
tried to shave like grace did at 8...

Thursday, January 20, 2011


for our 20th anniversary, my sister got
kyle and i the above "kisstixx".  it's
like chap stick--only better.  each person
puts on one flavor and then you kiss
to make a better combination.  those
2 are cinnamon and vanilla.  she says
it's a fun way to "spice things up" after
20 years.

i would tell you how the it went...but
i'm not one to kiss and tell.

i also have to add that one of them
disappeared (GRACE!) before kyle ever
had a chance to try it. my flavor
was delicious.

it's the thought that counts right?
maybe i should try kissing grace??

Sunday, January 16, 2011

columbia (the nyc one, not south american one) trip #1

Where he goes to class
Central Park in the snow...
The Rock, Christmas Tree

I think this is called Conservatory Garden in Central Park...
it is REALLY pretty here.

Conservatory Garden still, we took Grace's picture here
on a beautiful fall Sunday.

Central Park covered in snow, it looks so haunting compared
to the last time I saw it in the fall.  Beautiful (yet, cold)

Bagel shop.  Morning Bagel, Dt. Coke
and free WIFI
Anziano (Elder) Nielson and Forston...I was worried they
would have nothing to talk about after 20 years--but they spent
3 hours talking non stop.  I guess that's a sign of a good friend--
even after 20 years!
Last weekend Kyle took the red eye out on Thursday night to Manhattan.  It's getting to feel like
our 2nd home.  It was his first of 7 trips to Columbia and the Big Apple for his class.  He
grabbed the subway and headed to the Wilcox apartment to drop his bags off, then headed
to campus to find his way around.  It was snowing, but fortunately for him not BLIZZARD
snowing as it had been a few weeks back in NYC.

He stopped by a bagel place after finding his classroom (he is WAY up at about 176th for
class.)  The Wilcox's live at 116th (the main Columbia campus).  He had all day for an
adventure and did what he likes best....walked.

All around Central Park and down to Rockefeller Center (the tree was STILL up that
far into January--I was excited he got to see it).  He texted me every step of the way.

In fact, I got so many texts and pictures that Friday, my phone broke....(it probably
wasn't the texting--but it still broke.  I was like a fish out of water w/no cell phone, no
husband and 2 teens that ONLY keep me up to date via texting.)  I was a little panicked.

Kyle met with Scott Forston (last picture) for dinner.  Scott served his mission with both of
us in Italy (Milan) and was Kyle's companion.  They both saved me (literally) from a suicidally
crazy nut job Italian companion in Genova and Scott and I ended our missions together in Modena. 
People you serve missions with are like family for life.  (well, except those companions you
never want to see again--we all have one of those--mine crazy one from Genova.)

After our missions Scott and I ended up at BYU together and when Kyle got home the
three of us were constant companions.   Kyle and Scott talked for 3 hours playing
"catch up" while I sounded in every so often via text or phone call wishing I could
have been there too.

Saturday Kyle had class all day.  He said it is GREAT and he loved it.  They have
actual homework (ask him how much this week--he's feeling the stress of school
again at the moment) and conference calls with study groups.  His group consists
of people from all over the USA.

I laughed when he told me that the second he said he was from Utah the first question
was (of course!)  "Oh are you a Mormon?" (you just don't get that too often in Utah
obviously!).  He said that was VERY QUICKLY followed up by...."Well it sure
seems like all you Mormons and people from Utah are VERY NICE!"  (that's good

Saturday night he was going to tend for Adam and Amy to give them a "free night" out.
Babysitters in NYC start at $20 AN HOUR (and that's CHEAP).  But they ran
into a conflict at the last minute and sent Kyle out by himself while they cleaned up.
(kid stuff).

Sunday Kyle went to church w/Amy and the 4 kids to give her a hand (Adam is
the Bishop of the singles ward there--)  so Amy was thrilled to have some
help for a Sunday.  After church Kyle visited some historic churches that he
had been dying to see.  He packed up and headed back to us Sunday night.
(after sitting on the tarmac at JFK for 2 1/2 hours...crazy long delay--he was off)

The only thing I begged for was a black and white cookie.  He also brought home
a big box of cupcakes (recommended by our friend Scott) from Billy's Bakery.

Next trip February.

I am hoping to go with him on the April trip then it should be warm enough
for me to be happy.  Trying to find a willing victim, I mean helper,
 to watch the four kidlets.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

update ...on the end of the world

you may all keep on sinning and not repenting.

at 7:20 am this morning josh was still snuggled under
his blankies (school starts at 7:30) refusing to budge.
he had been budged, bludgeoned and awakened

apparently yesterday was just a fluke.

a good fluke.

but a fluke none the less.

carry onward, you may release your rabbis, bishops and priests.

Monday, January 10, 2011

happy anniversary and possibly the end of the world as we know it

Happy Anniversary to Kyle & Dor!!!

20 years.
Holy Crap!
(are we getting old!??!!)

I'm going to have to say I'm not a super gushy romantic person.  Some people are.  I probably should be
more, but then again neither is my husband.  I wish I could say we were jetting off for some great romantic week (or weekend).  But we're not.  I wish I could say life has gone EXACTLY as I thought it would all those years ago when we said "I DO".  But it hasn't.  What I can say is that I have a friend who's still with me.  One who listens to me cry and weep and gnash my teeth.  One who has stood by me through thick and thin, even when it hasn't be easy.  Even when it seemed like it would be easier just to NOT stand (by me.)  I have a man who has been faithful and true.  One who has tried, and failed, and tried again.  I have someone who actually DOES do kitchen floors and fold laundry.  One who loves his kids and is an integral part of their lives.  So that makes me blessed.

So today rather than gushing anymore about "my man" I am going to leave you with a possibly prophetic warning:

IT MAY BE the end of the world as you know it. 


WHY? you ask.  No, not because it is our 20th anniversary.  The reason is because of our "tall son" Josh.  We went down to wake him up this morning at 6:30 a.m. and he was ALREADY AWAKE!  I repeat, already awake!  For the first time in recorded history he had gotten himself out of bed and was getting
ready for school without parental intervention.  Stop the presses!  Stop your engines!  Stop breathing!

SO WE ARE warning you, if you need to repent, if you must confess some wrong doing, you may want
to find a priest*bishop*clergy now.  My son has roused himself from sleep and gotten out of bed by
himself.  Will wonders NEVER cease?

THIS IS a moment of historic proportion, OR the end of the world as we know it. We are still
trying to decide which.

Happy Anniversary, Or possibly Happy Last Day of the World.

Either way, ENJOY.

PS.  For our anniversary celebration, I am hoping to follow him to NYC for a long weekend
to celebrate my marital bliss.  It may or may not happen.  I have 4 kids that need caring for.
And not a long list of volunteers begging to watch them for a few days.
But I would like to immerse myself in the joy and giddiness and wackiness
of the streets and mayham of Gotham.  Sample its fine cuisine.  Walk its dirty (yet endearing) streets.
Ride its enchanting subway.  People watch.  Feel the warm Central Park sun on my face.
Hang out with my new friend Randy Fenoli (oh all right, he is Graces new friend).
Sounds like a fun way to celebrate to me.  Black and White cookies all around--

Sunday, January 9, 2011

did i mention?

remember how i was supposed to go to dinner and movie for my birthday...

then the whole "kidney stone" incident happened, and well, sort of ruined my day.

kyle and josh forced me (FORCED! i tell you) to go see "TRUE GRIT" with them
the weekend before last.

i fought them tooth and nail--i am SO NOT a "cowboy"or "cowboy movie lover".
i happened to take Josh's word over Kyle's on this one because (and i quote)
"mom, i know you better than anyone else in this family, i know how you think and
how you feel and you will like it".  (seriously, the kid DOES know me pretty well)

so i caved in and went.

i am happy to report this city girl is 100% a fully converted cowgirl now.

seriously GREAT movie.  the cinematography is worth seeing even if you don't like
anything else about it. 

and those Coen Brothers sure do know how to make a movie!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

gets to

kyle flies out to NYC tonight.  redeye (eek)

he "gets to" hang out with old friends (scott)
and new friends (adam & amy).

he "get to" have a break from the kids--not that
anyone is saying they need a break.

(i suppose for that matter, he "gets to" have a break
from me as well!)

he "gets to" go out to dinner.

he "gets to" go to Columbia University all day
Saturday for class and learn new things.

he "gets to" sample some of the most diverse
and best cuisine on the planet.


on the other hand,

i "get to" wake the kids up for school, pack
lunches, do laundry, clean the house, go to
Stake baptisms, baptism previews, Activity Day
Recognition Nights, stay up late waiting for
teenagers to come home, make dinners, drive
carpools, shovel snow (heaven forbid!),
wrangle Primary kids, try and wake teenagers
up for 9 AM church (that may be the hardest thing
i have to do this weekend!)

who's weekend sounds like more fun?

i'm really excited for him and this adventure
and the teeniest bit jealous--

have fun kyle.  think of me scrubbing the kitchen
floor on my hands & knees while you're eating
a black and white cookie and snacking on pizza.

oh wait--you're off sugar and i don't scrub
the kitchen floor! i guess we're even, right?


for new years i bought myself a mini membership
to a local fitness center.

i had been very diligent at exercising outside
but i'm sorry the whole 8 degree thing was
really messing with me.

i had to find a warmer place to make it through
the rest of winter.  alive, and not as an icicle.

remember i am an "odiater" of snow/winter/cold.
i don't do it.
i don't like it.
(remind again why i don't live in California?
or Florida? or Southern Utah?)

anyway, i gave up the cold for an indoor
track this past monday morning.

i am now being "lapped" by 80 year old men,
running with weights, singing show tunes.
ok, i lied about the singing part.

but HEY! at LEAST i'm warm!
and that's ALL that matters.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

reaching outside of ourselves

    I have had a jumble of thoughts rolling around in my mind.  It has felt like a big bowl
of tossed salad in there lately.  Or maybe the clothes spinning 'round and 'round in the dryer.  I am trying to make sense of it all and type it out. 

Here is my best shot.

   Last year when Kyle was without a job, a neighbor and ward member came up to me
in church one Sunday and said, "I can't do very much to help you out financially, but what I
can do is your taxes."  Well, who can refuse an offer like this?  Taxes, balancing the check
book and going to the movies alone are thing I try and avoid at all costs.  She didn't do
anything "grand" or "big", but she helped us out in her own simple way.  It was greatly appreciated. (She also got us a FABULOUS refund as well--Kyle being unemployed for
half the year certainly helped.)

   This year, that same neighbor and ward member was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
She is 40, the mother of 3 children.  Her husband is my sons AP History Teacher at
Olympus High School.  It is something that is touching the lives of our little community deeply.
As I am sure the word "cancer" always does.  She has a battle to fight and is ready to do it.

   This year, I say the same thing to HER.  "I cannot do much to take away your disease, or
pain--but I can make you dinner."  Will it be the end all of all things?  Certainly not.  But for
one night she won't have to worry about making a meal for her family and they will be fed.  In a SMALL way, it will be a blessing.  One less thing to worry about.  The lifting of a burden by those who care.  Just as she blessed MY family last year.

   This past Monday, for Family Home Evening, we talked about setting goals for the New Year.
We had some of the usual things on our list.  I also felt strongly that I wanted to add "find more
ways to serve" to the family goals for 2011.  But not just serve, I want to find ways to REALLY
serve.  Meaningful service. 

   Back to last year.  The holidays were upon us, we had been unemployed for almost 6 months
and wondered how we would make Christmas happen.  There honestly were not any great expectations for pricey gifts.  We were all good with that.  In some ways, it was the BEST
Christmas I think our family has ever had.  Last year, we were also the recipients of MANY acts of service and kindness to our family.  The month of December was FILLED with anonymous
gifts and donations left upon our doorstep.  We will never know who left those things.  They
filled our home, our hearts and our souls.  While it is always especially humbling to be on the receiving end of "service," it is truly a beautiful and wonderful experience.  I can honestly
say it is a place EVERYONE needs to find themselves in at some point in their life.  There is
something deeply healing in knowing that other people are helping you get through a rough spot in life.  It amazed me how many people reached out to our family in love last year.  It was humbling.  It was overwhelming.  It brought me to my knees, my heart over-flowing with gratitude
many times throughout the holiday season, and beyond.

   The real "gift" of service and being served is, we almost ALWAYS have the opportunity to move out of "recipient" mode and into "giving back" mode.  It is a cycle that circles round and round within the bigger circle of life.

  All of that being said, THIS YEAR, I want to find better, richer, "more real", deeper ways to serve.  I want this personally for myself, and also for my family.   Not for the glory of having done something nice, or good, or kind.  But because I want to dig more deeply inside of myself to become just a little more kind, more thoughtful, less "ME" thinking.

   I want to reach outside of myself.  MORE.  It may not always be convenient, or comfortable. 
Or easy, or fun.  But I believe in the power of giving and getting.  I believe in the power of people coming together to help for a common cause.  I believe many great things can be accomplished
through simple acts of love, and kindness, and service.

   How about you?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

wrap it up

good bye 2010
hello 2011

we have metaphorically moved
ahead one step bridging
last year to this.  not much
has really changed other than i now
date my checks with 2011 at the end now.
(yup still use 'em sometimes
--how old fashioned am i?)

all years seem to come with
a mix of good and bad.  some years
seem to have a little more of the
bad sprinkled in, while others have a
glorious dosing of good.
(man i LOVE those years!)

2010 was no exception.  it seemed
to teeter a bit closer to the
higher mix of good (than bad) for
our little crew.  i'm almost
afraid to type that--does that mean
2011 will teeter precariously close
to the "more bad" line?  i guess
it's all how you look at it, right?

in no particular order some highlights
from our year that made it great.

1. Kyle got a  job, a real "holy crap he got a job" job.  A job he LOVES (did i mention LOVES?) loves, loves.  He loves the things he does, the people he works with and its proximity to home.  seriously, how can you beat a 2 minute commute each day?  And did i mention he LOVES it?

2. Trips to both East and West Coasts.  West
was cloudy and gray, but we were together.
East was an adventure with the big kids-a joy
and treasure I will hold in my heart FOREVER!

3. Days spent with family and friends, doing
family and friend things. (Soccer games, swimming, eating, movies, playing, TV reality shows, lunches, etc)

4. Watching my kids learn and grow and make
(mostly) good choices. 

5.  Watching Kyle pass a kidney stone. Seriously he keeps saying it was "pretty bad" but I think he has already forgetten the "pain of labor" so to speak.   (hands and knees buddy crawling into the Dr's office, weeping
and gnashing of teeth in abundance--lest thou
forgeteth it)

6.  Learning new recipes, desserts and main
courses.  Seriously cooking is my happy place.

7. I read my fair share of books and photographed my fair share of pictures--loved
doing both.

8.  Kids grades were kept high (ish), friends at my house ate a fair share of the above mentioned recipes (thank goodness) and boisterous laughter was heard on many occassions from the basement.

9.  I know I am forgetting many things-overall
2010 was a pretty great year.

Here's to adventures for the Road.

 me & biggies in NYC
 kyle and the girls in california
the "fam"

Happy 2011 Everyone!