Sunday, January 31, 2010

When you know

Saturday afternoon, Nicole and I set out in search for a dress for the up coming Sweethearts dance.

Our first stop was to a local store that rents dresses with the option to buy. I had rented a few dresses from this store when I was in high school and found it to be a perfect solution for occasions such as these.

When we opened the door to the shop, I was instantly overwhelmed with the racks and racks of brightly colored, beaded gowns before me. I felt like I was backstage at a Ms. America pageant. When I looked over at Nicole, I was expecting to see the same overwhelmed look on her face. But instead of a bewildered expression, she looked thrilled! Her eyes went straight to a short, black and bright pink, strapless gown. I chuckled to myself, thinking, "I don't think so little girl."

I went to the counter and spoke with the owner, telling her what we were looking for and asked if she could point us in the right direction. Happy to help, she took us to the area where Nicole's sizes would be found. She pointed out a few gowns that she thought would work well, and then left us to ourselves to look through the rest.

Two dresses were picked out, and then Nicole went back to the black and pink dress we had seen when we first walked into the store. "Do you think it would fit me?" she asked, looking at the tag on the dress. I suggested that we just try on the two dresses that she had picked out and if they didn't work, then we would see about that one.

Off to the dressing room we went. It was definitely a two person job getting her into and out of these dresses. We took pictures of her wearing them, and she seemed to like one better than the other- but wasn't too thrilled about either one. I told her that we didn't have to decide just then, that we would have the pictures to help us make a decision later after we had done more shopping at other stores.

Nicole hesitated. "What if I try on the black and pink dress- just to see if it fits." she asked with a smile.

Worried that it wouldn't fit (it was two sizes smaller than the dresses she had been trying on) and worried about the strapless-ness of it, but not wanting to be the party pooper, I went out to retrieve the gown. The owner of the shop saw me pick it up and said, "Oh! I was hoping she would try that one on!"

Back to the dressing room, Nicole stepped into the dress. It zipped up with very little effort and fit her perfectly! A smile spread across her face. Her eyes sparkled. She did her little giddy-girl squeal and jump. "I love it mommy! It's perfect! This is the one I want!" she quickly stated.

She walked out into the shop and stood in front of the large wrap-around mirrors. The girls and ladies in the shop gasped and complimented her on how beautiful she looked.

My mind kept saying, "This is too easy. We have only looked at one store. We should look around some more." I have always been one who thinks there always could be something better- if I just take the time to look around. Never settle for the first (fill-in-the-blank) that comes my way. You have to look hard and long to be sure.

But does it really have to be that way? Can you ever see something right off the bat, and know it's the right one? Do you really have to kill yourself searching for the perfect something when it could be right before your eyes?

It was the first dress Nicole saw when we walked in. I know she was comparing the other two dresses to it. And when she tried it on, she just knew. So who was I to cast doubt on her ability to KNOW?

We talked about some options of how to make it modest, which would be nothing more than a scoop necked black shirt. It was decided! We filled out the paper work, put half down for it to be held, and we were out the door. Done.

It really was too easy. It was a good lesson for me to learn. Some things really can be that easy if you let them be.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I'm running around in circles with all that the things that need to be done today. It's like I have chore-ADD. I can't seem to stay on task at all! I am folding laundry one minute- mmmm, warm sheets!- and then before I finish, I find myself at my computer working on my writing assignment. Then I'm thinking about what to do for my parent's anniversary gift (40 years!) and then I'm scrubbing the bathroom- but then I realize I was in the middle of folding laundry so I run back to finish that.

What the heck? It's good that most days aren't like this. I wouldn't make it.

But here are a few things that have brought a smile to my face today- even while the chaos continues on in my brain.Have you tried this morning goodness in a box? Oh my! I happened upon it quite by accident. While on vacation with my parents, we stopped at a grocery store to get some breakfast treats to keep in our hotel rooms so that the mornings wouldn't be so rushed. This is the cereal my dad bought for their breakfast. But my mom didn't want cereal- she wanted bananas and yogurt. So early one morning, my dad, still puffy eyed, knocked on our hotel room door with the cereal and milk in his hands. I have been hooked ever since! In fact it was one of the first things I bought after coming home.

It's the perfect combination of healthy stuff, crunchy-ness, nuts, with just a touch of sweetness. Sooooo good! And it keeps me full for hours!

If you want to try it out, buy it at Walmart. It's most inexpensive there. :)

Enough about cereal, onto some other things that have kept my frown turned upside down....

This CD. Lots of happy, good tunes! It's a good one for chore-ADD day!

This book
. If I could eat a book- I would eat this one. It is so delicious. I eat up every word. I'm only on page 55, but oh it is good! Every mother should read it. Seriously.

Lunch today with a friend I haven't seen in a very long time. It was so good to be with her again!

And last but certainly not least, my new laptop bag. It makes me smile every time I see it. I'll have to show it to you sometime.

I hope you are finding things to make you smile today too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Big Answer

Nicole is going to her first dance in high school- and after asking her sweetie over a week ago by pouring tons of Hershey Kisses on his front porch with a note that read, "Now that I have 'kissed' the ground you walk on, will you go to Sweethearts with me?", he finally answered her on Saturday night. The cake (above) was left on the front porch with a note that said, "Look inside the cake for an answer!!!"
She had several girlfriends over who were more than thrilled to be witness to this event (and to help her nibble on the yummy cake!)
She dug and dug and after searching through the whole cake, she found a tiny note that read, "Now go outside and follow the cupcakes."

At the end of the cupcake trail, there was a note that read, "Now, the answer to your question is inside ONE of the cupcakes!!"
The friends (and brother) rolled up their sleeves and started digging through each cupcake.
The note was found and it read, "Your question was clever, it showed some skill, so here's your answer, of COURSE I WILL!"
Happy girl!
What a mess- but oh what fun! It sure brought back lots of memories for me of my time in high school. It makes me feel old having a 16 year old, but having her around sure makes life exciting! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

What "off track" looks like today

It's off track time again and while I love the slow paced mornings, the all day jammies, and the goofy things we do to entertain ourselves- it does make it difficult for me to concentrate on school work. I wish there was some way I could talk my teachers into letting me be "off track" for a few weeks too.

But somehow it seems to work out and we all survive.

This photo captures our day all in one shot- I thought it was perfect. :) Cards played, cookies made, and toys, toys everywhere! What it fails to show is that I am still in my jammies at 4:00 PM. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Details

Ian enjoying the details of his giant cupcake at Universal Studios

Traveling with my parents was such a wonderful experience for me on so many levels. I will admit, however, that I did have a bit of anxiety in the weeks and days leading up to this trip.

From the day we invited them right up until the day we left, worries filled my mind. As I have mentioned before, my mom had never flown on an airplane so there was the worry that she wouldn't handle flying well. I also worried the children would get on my parent's nerves- they can be loud and winy and obnoxious at times- and when you aren't used to having children around, well, sometimes it can be too much.

I worried about my mom worrying about being able to keep up with us. Her feet hurt every day, and she walks slow. I knew she was worried about slowing us down and so I worried about her worrying. (Isn't it exhausting to be me?)

But mom did just fine on the flights and the kids behaved surprisingly well. Mom's feet caused her almost unrelenting pain. And yes, having them with us did slow us down- but I'm not sure anyone noticed but me. Because slowing down ended up being one of the highlights of my vacation.

There was more time to visit, there was a sense of calmness and peace as we wandered through the theme parks. Usually when we travel, we hurry from one attraction to the next with must do's and must see's filling our daily schedule.

This time it was different. And because of that- I learned a great lesson.

You know the saying, "Don't forget to stop and smell the roses?" My parents do that. They notice every little detail.

It was awesome for me to watch my dad examine each ride- watching to see the metal railways bow and flex as the car of the ride zoomed past, or to see how many rivets they used to secure it.

"Look at the detail in the wood of that carving" my mom said to me. I hadn't even noticed the artwork that was across from me let alone the detail.

"Look at the birds, look at those flowers, the cactus, the way this is built, the way...". They noticed it all.

Things I normally would rush by and never notice or even think about were pointed out to me as we slowly made our way from one ride to the next.

I learned, from spending this time with them, that there is something I have been missing out on. When all you focus on is in getting from point A to point B, you are blind to all that is in between. My parents have figured that out.

I hope I never forget this vacation where I learned to slow down. To stop and look at the details around me.

There is so much visual richness in this world to see, and so much to be missed if you are only focused on what's ahead.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our Vacation in Pictures

Here is more than you ever wanted to know about our vacation last week to Southern California.
This was my mom's first time flying EVER and unlike my first time, she seemed calm and cool. Maybe it was the Dramamine??

Here is the proof. She survived her first flight! We were on a very small airplane so she had to deal with claustrophobia and some turbulence, but she did great! Here we are at Long Beach Airport- all smiles.
Here is Erik enjoying our first meal. I mean REALLY enjoying it.
We spent our first full day at Knott's Berry Farm. It was a first for many of us- and I was surprised at how fun it was. There were many things that we didn't even get to- lots to see and do! The weather was sunny and mild. Ahhh.
Ian got a little carried away in Ghost Town at Knott's- but Isaac recovered in no time and we were off once again!
There were something like 400 different trains at Knott's and I think we rode every one of them. :)
Erik enjoying another meal.....look familiar?
Day two....Universal Studios! Another sunny day!
Mom and dad had a little visit with Lucille Ball on our way into the park.
On the studio tour, we narrowly escaped being attacked by a serial killer! Yikes!
Erik and Ian got friendly with a zombie. It's best to keep things that way when zombies are roaming around.
Isaac became a star in one of the shows we saw.
Day 3.....Huntington Beach! It took Ian only 3.5 minutes to get completely soaked. And of course we did not bring a change of clothes for him. Here he is before he took a swim in the ocean.
After playing on the beach we rented a couple tandem bicycles. It has always been a dream of mine to ride one....and it was even more special because I got to ride with my dad and Erik. It was much harder than I thought it would be. But I enjoyed every minute of it!
The fun was over and it was back to the airport. You all know what happened there! It was like Groundhog day. Ugg. In this picture, my mom is talking to my sister begging her to drive to California to come and get her. :)
I didn't think to take any pictures of the extra day we spent waiting to leave California- but it included another trip to Universal Studios, pizza at the cutest Italian restaurant with live music and singing waiters- loved it!, and a nice drive through Hollywood.

In a way I was sad the vacation was over. I have wanted my parents to travel with us for some time now and I enjoyed being with them so much- having them just down the hall in our hotel instead of around the mountain, and being greeted with their smiles each morning. My dad even brought breakfast to our room one morning- messy hair and all! I will cherish the memories forever and hope that there will be many more opportunities to travel together again sometime soon.

Now, vacation is over....back to reality.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blame it on the Rain

I'm feeling like I have lost a much needed day in my life.

Our vacation went a day longer than we had planned thanks in part to the buckets of rain that were dumped on California at the very moment our flight was supposed to leave on Monday.

We had just turned in our rental SUV (we had 8 people traveling in our group- which makes the story a whole lot funnier in my opinion) and had barely found a place to sit in the very crowded, very tiny Long Beach Airport when it was announced that a particular flight (not ours) was canceled due to the rain. Then one after another, flights were canceled or rerouted to another airport.

Ours was canceled just about the time we should have taken off.

Our flights were rescheduled for the following day and all eight of us dragged our soggy selves back into the rain as Erik begged to have our rental vehicle re-rented to us.

Finding a hotel on the fly is another story. Wow! Hotel rooms can be quite expensive. Thank you Priceline for saving our wallets one more time. We checked into two rooms (we really needed three- in fact that's another funny story for another day- but I'll leave you with this little tid bit.....snoring in stereo is my new favorite! NOT!) and then what else? We went to dinner and drove around Hollywood- in the sunshine, I might add. Go figure.

The next morning our hopes were high that we would in fact be leaving, but as the buckets of rain began dumping again as we drove to the airport, I had my doubts. We were already making a 'plan C' as we once again turned in our rental car.

But the flight was on and our time to load the plane arrived. With rain pouring like I have never seen before, we ran to the plane. (Have you ever flown out of Long Beach? You walk out on the tarmac to get to the planes- it's quite lovely on a sunny day.) We ran through 5 inches of water, dragging our suitcases, and all the water in our shoes with us.

By the time we made it to the airplane, it was as if we had been standing in the shower with our clothes on for 10 minutes. There was not one dry head in the place. Everyone was completely soaked. It smelled lovely.

We sat at the end of the runway for about 20 minutes waiting for a break in the rain so we could take off- and the second the pilots got the go ahead- we were off. I have never been more thrilled in my life to be up in the air! Flying through that type of storm is another story in itself. I am green right now just thinking about it.

But we are home, safe and sound. My mother will never fly again- I'm sure. I have more to share and pictures to show, but all of this was to tell you I am running a day late- and so blogging about the vacation will have to wait until I get life back under control.

Until then....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm leavin on a jet plane...

It's finally here! Sunshine here I come!

Before I say goodbye for a few days, I wanted to leave you with links to some favorite blogs I read today day, because I got all my chores done and I blinked several times! If you haven't already discovered these blogs, well, you can thank me later. :)

Ucreate- always has something fun that I just HAVE to make. Love these headbands!

Habit- one of my new favorites. A simple picture and a few words- who would have thought blogging could be so easy? At least they make it seem that way.

NieNie- I'm sure you all read her blog. It's one of my favorites at the moment because her cute husband, Mr. Nielson, has taken her blogging responsibilities over while she is recovering from yet another surgery. Today's post was especially sweet.

Tatortots and Jello- her closet makeover today had some really great ideas that I plan on using....when I get around to it.

Enjoy and we'll see you in a few days!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

School Time

It's here again.

Day two.

I'm feeling overwhelmed and slightly intimidated.

I also feel excited and motivated.

I'll be learning how to write- this is good.

I'll learn how to take better care of my body.

It's a great way to start the year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Morning Muffins

This morning Isaac came into my room with that look in his eye.

"What can I cook for breakfast?" he asked. I thought for a minute, and replied, "How about muffins?". A smile crossed his face as he said, "How do I make them?".

"From a box." I told him.

"That's too easy." he said, with a disappointed tone in his voice. He was looking for something a little more challenging. Like something from scratch.

Nevertheless, he hopped off my bed and the next thing I knew, these beautiful muffins were served.

"We should take a picture." he said. I thought so too.

Lemon poppy seed muffins, with a lemon glaze to boot! I can't think of a better way to greet a Sunday morning.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I can't believe it's already one week into 2010
I love 2010 so far
I don't remember ever having a favorite year before
But this might be it
School starts again in 4 days
I'm not ready
I'm ready for a vacation
And one is coming up right around the corner!
I hope I am over my cold by then
I hate having colds and being cold
I love the space heater in my craft room
Now I love being in there
There is just something so inviting about warmth
I'm looking forward to some CA sun
I love reading blogs
Reading blogs is my reward when I get my chores done, or get my homework done, or if I blink
I had to pay $35 for an access code for a class I'm taking this semester
I think that's dumb
I'm nervous about taking online classes
I am looking forward to not having to go to campus
I will miss making friends though
I wish I could change my handwriting
I've tried several times
Nothing ever sticks
I think it stinks that it's something you develop before you know any better
I still write like I did when I was in 6th grade
At least it's better than how I wrote when I was in kindergarten
I need to cut my nails
I hate it when they hit the keys on my keyboard
I'm so glad Erik went through his pile of papers last night
And I didn't even have to ask
He's a good egg
I wonder if he will shave today- he's been growing a beard
I am undecided about it
I think I like the 3-day-no-shave look
After that, it starts to look too grizzly adams for me
Ian told me today that the girl he likes scribbles on her pictures and picks her nose
He said he can't marry her now
I reminded him that he used to scribble and pick his nose too
But he still said he won't marry her
We are going to have to talk about judging others
I'm so glad today is Friday
I love the weekends
Weekends hold so many possibilities
I plan on having a good one
I hope you do too!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Everyone loves a sale!

Hurry! Put Target on your list of places to go today! Christmas items are 90% off! I went yesterday and came home with a large bag full of boxes of ornaments (.53 each!) and several boxes of Christmas cards for next year (.69 each!). I'm sure like me, you are sick of Christmas- but I promise that you will thank yourself next year when you pull out the new ornaments and cards and you see how much they are selling for in the store at full price.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A little time

This is a picture of me, being still. :) I need some lipstick.

Recently, I was lead to find a book that so far I am in love with. It's called, Simplify: a guide to caring for the soul. I just started it, but just a few pages into the book, something called the 'islands of time' was introduced. Basically, you schedule some time each day to be alone (even if it's for just ten minutes) and if you have a private island to run away to, well then, aren't you blessed? Otherwise shut yourself in your bathroom, a closet, just somewhere that you can be alone and can't be distracted- your own little island. This is just time to be still, to think, to breathe deeply, to feel peace. The author suggests taking a notebook and pencil with you to write down any thoughts or feelings you have during this time. I have found early in the morning, in front of my fireplace to be the perfect island for me.

Since this is my year of 'being still' this exercise seemed right up my alley. So for the past couple of days I have implemented it into my day. And it has been WONDERFUL! Who would have thought that just a few minutes alone, in peace and quiet would make such a difference? I sure didn't. I don't think we take the opportunity often enough to be still. We have so many things begging for our attention at any given minute of the day. Not only do our minds need a rest sometimes, but it really is good for the soul too. This is something I plan on keeping on my daily 'to do' list.

I think you should try it too!

Family Photos

About a month ago we had new family pictures taken. Our last ones were done two years ago- I had blonde hair, Nicole was pre-braces, Isaac's hair was really short, and Ian was tiny! Erik hasn't changed too much- lucky man!

We had these done by Stephen Brough up Millcreek Canyon. It was cold and bit cloudy, but I think they turned out great. Here are a few of my favorites!

I think this is the one we used for our Christmas cards this year.

If you are in Utah and in need of a talented photographer, (one that will even take off his shoes and stand in frigid water to get that perfect shot!) then give Stephen Brough a call! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Happiest of Birthdays

Another party.... with lots of friends....

many tasty treats....
A song and a wish for two who have been buddies for years and share the same birthday month....
Wii games, pool, ping pong, video arcade, shuffle board.....
All to celebrate the birthday of Jaden and Nicole, two pretty amazing kids, and to give a gift to a little boy who deserved it all. To find out about the boy and his family's response to the gift, go here. To read another perspective of the night, go here.
Happy birthday to two of the greatest 16 year olds I know! Thank you for your examples of selflessness!