Monday, October 05, 2015

Success Story

I love it when my kids get excited about something worthwhile. Evie sneakily put this together and surprised us with it the week before our church's General Conference.

They sat through all four 2-hour sessions this weekend, and listened. I asked afterward what their favorite talks were, and was surprised by how much they remembered.We had some great discussions about stories they liked and things they had learned. It's times like those that make me feel like I'm not failing as a parent. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Sweetest Thing

Did I mention we have a baby?
A sweet baby. A crawling baby. A baby that screams like a raptor when I take my keys away from her. Margo is an absolute darling and we love her like crazy. She started crawling at eight months and is loving it. She speeds towards me saying "Mamamamamama," pausing to look up at intervals, grin, and guffaw. She also pulls herself up to stand so she can grab and annihilate more things.
She hates purees. We tried feeding her rice cereal, apples, pears, bananas, peas, beans, squash, and she rejected them all. Being an observant child, she noticed that no one else was eating mush. She happily gnaws graham crackers, freeze dried yogurt puffs, frozen peas and carrots, banana chunks, and bits of chicken. This girl is determined to grow up too fast. Margo is my first child to grow out of clothing before the upper limit of its recommended age. I was bewailing the fact that she won't get to wear some of her cute cool weather outfits, and my sister responded something like, "You want sympathy for having a normal-sized baby? No."
 She loves the dog's water dish, the dog's toys, swinging, sitting in the grass, her sisters, rolling her tongue, and screeching. Everyone loves her eyebrows.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

But is it Art?

We have a lot of blank wall space in our home. It's hard for me to choose decorations, because Regis and I don't always like the same things, and, more importantly, he won't always tell me when he doesn't like something. (I asked him the other day, as he was cleaning out our shower drain, "Don't you miss the days when I had barely any hair?" His only response was, "No comment." Huh.) We've discussed adding pictures, and he always says that we should put up some more pictures of our family. So, assuming that representations of family members was safe, when we noticed that taking down our Christmas tree leaves a big empty space in our living room, I came up with the perfect solution: Let's put in a statue--of ME! Regis laughed, and when he saw I was semi-serious, said, "That would be weird." Taking this in its most charitable form, I declined to take offense and instead took to the internet, polling my Facebook friends on the acceptability of my scheme. I got so many inquiries on whether this would be a nude statue that I finally abandoned the idea. Either nobody thought I was serious, or my friends think (incorrectly) that I have sufficient sangfroid to discuss gospel topics with our home teachers while simultaneously reposing naked in a corner.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Abby and Evie would like to introduce you to our dog, Della. Here is some information about her in their own words, plus some from Regis and I. 

E: She eats ice and snow.
And she is so cute, and runs around the house and has "crazy time."
And she likes to run around with us in a loop. 
And she is very cute.
And she likes to run around and have "crazy time" outside.

A: She's just the cutest thing in the world. 
She likes to play. 
She has floppy ears.
She has hazel eyes.
She likes to run! And play. With us.
She has a pink collar. 

E: And leash. And another red leash.

C: She's three and a half months old and very sweet. It's been very nice to have her around, since she loves to climb onto my lap and snuggle. Her little tricks and quirks have kept us amused from the day we brought her home. It's been interesting to be the primary trainer for the first time, and I've spent a lot of time poring through books on dog behavior and training. Despite my inexperience, Della already has more training than both of the dogs I grew up with, put together.

R: I'm so delighted that I'm even more outnumbered by females than I was before. And now I have to take this one outside three times before I leave at six for work, just to watch her pee.

C: He loves her too. Honest.

The Holly Bears a Prickle

The last few days have been really hard. At my most recent doctor's appointment, instead of finding out the gender of our unborn child, we had the agonizing surprise of being told that there was no heartbeat visible, and that our child had passed away at around 15 weeks. This was especially painful because we had had such a difficult time conceiving in the first place, and my sister had recently suffered the same tragedy.

While this has definitely been a time of suffering, it has also been a time of gratitude. We're grateful for the Savior, even more so than usual at Christmas time, and for our Heavenly Father's plan for us. We're grateful for the kindness of friends and neighbors, whose thoughtfulness and charity have been outstanding. We're thankful for the beautiful children that we do have, and for each other and the love that we share as a couple. We're grateful for the loving support of our extended family. We're thankful for Regis's bosses and coworkers who have been so understanding.

I hope that the broken heart this experience has given me will stay tender. I hope that it will remind me to be more loving, as a person and especially as a mother. I pray that it is not an experience I will have to repeat.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Big Girl Birthday Cake

When I asked Evie what she wanted for her birthday this year, she had two things on her mind: ice cream cake and stick-on princess earrings. The earrings are what I gave her last year, and they were a big hit for the short time she kept track of them. I think she mostly wanted ice cream cake because that's what her daddy got for his birthday the month before. My sister-in-law had recently reminded me that she makes her own ice cream cakes, and since she assured me it was easy, I decided to give it a try.
First thing I did was check a few of my favorite sites for recipes. None of the ones I found really thrilled me, but I did pick up a few tips. Evie wanted strawberry ice cream and chocolate cake, so I decided to do an Oreo crust on the bottom, two layers of ice cream, and two layers of fudgy brownie. I cooked the brownie layers in 9-inch cake pans with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom. This was my first time using parchment paper, and HOLY COW why didn't anyone tell me about this stuff before? I'll never make brownies without it again. Or anything that has a remote possibility of sticking to the bottom of the pan. That stuff's the fantastic magical unicorn fur of baking. Anyway, once the brownie layers were cool I wrapped them in plasticrap (you may know this as plastic wrap) and froze 'em solid. 

I chopped the Oreos in my food processor, added a little butter, and popped it in my springform pan. I pressed down the crumbs pretty firmly, then baked it. While the Oreo crust cooled, I took the ice cream out of the freezer, cut it out of the carton, and plopped it in a bowl to thaw a bit. I found it helpful to use my rice paddle to chop the ice cream into pieces and stir it around so it would soften without melting too much. I recommend that you start spreading before you think it's actually ready, so that it doesn't have a chance to melt everywhere. So I spread about half the ice cream on the Oreo crust, unwrapped a brownie layer and gently pressed it on, spread the rest of the ice cream on top, and unwrapped and added the last brownie layer. Please don't leave plasticrap on your brownie. As soon as that was on, I covered the pan with more plasticrap and put it back in the freezer. 
Now, I seriously considered making some buttercream frosting for this sucker, but I'm glad I didn't. Ice cream cake is already pretty rich and heavy, so I recommend just some sweetened whipped cream as frosting. I didn't frost the sides at all. I think next time I'll be more careful to spread the ice cream all the way out to the edges. Despite that small failing, I think it turned out quite pretty, and I know it turned out quite delicious. The pictures don't really do it justice. 

So that was Evie's birthday cake. I'm a little worried that Abby's going to ask for another ice cream cake, which could be a problem because Evie's isn't gone yet. I know, I know, I just said it is delicious. The only reason it hasn't been gobbled up is my other recent project: losing weight. Regis and I have both been doing much better at regulating our calorie count, which means much smaller helpings of deliciousness. We are feeding the missionaries this week, though, so as long as we can foist it on them, we should be fine. :)

Monday, July 08, 2013

My Nest is Best!

After about eight years of waiting and whining, I have a house!

I should probably preface that by saying that Regis has an advanced degree, and a job, which is why we have a house, but really, who cares about such piddling details? Okay, okay, we're very proud of Regis for finishing his MBA and getting hired by P&G. So far he's really enjoying his job, despite feeling a bit overwhelmed by all he has to learn.

Back to the house. We lived in the same two-bedroom apartment for the first seven years, nearly eight, of our marriage. When we first moved in, we giggled about how empty it was: we'd both been living in student housing, so we had no furniture of our own. As soon as Abby came along, it started filling up fast. It's incredible how much stuff you accumulate over time, especially with kids. Add in my acquisitive propensities and my deep and abiding love for cooking gadgets, and you have one very full apartment. The movers even commented on our situation: very little furniture, but LOTS of boxes.

When Regis was interning with P&G last year, we spent a few days driving around to get a feel for neighborhoods, so we had a good idea of what areas we wanted to look in when we came this year for a house-hunting trip. There were four houses that made it to the final list, one of which was kept there solely on the merits of its kitchen. Ahhh, that kitchen. But there was one house that seemed to have it all, including a fenced backyard, a large kitchen, and that je ne sais quoi that made us think it would be a great house to come home to.

So now we're having fun changing up the backyard landscaping, painting rooms, and figuring out where to fit in all my kitchen gadgets.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Awkward Gospel Principles

Every night, we read a chapter out of our New Testament Reader for the girls' benefit. Abby is often curious about what the next night's story will be, and tonight was no exception. I told her, "Tomorrow we'll read about the ten virgins." Of course, she asked, "What's a virgin?"

Awkward pause, punctuated by Regis's snickering. What IS a virgin to a five year old? Thinking of the story, I replied, "A virgin is . . . a good woman."

Sweet Abby says, "Mommy, you're a virgin!" Well, honey, you are proof positive to the contrary, but . . . I quickly revised it to "A good woman who isn't married." Close enough, right?

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Come on by! Abby's making breakfast! One of her kindergarten assignments was to come up with a recipe, and this is the result. I'm almost tempted to mix these up just to see how they'd turn out.

Abby's Pancakes

1 C butter
1 t milk
1 oz lemon juice
4/2 C blueberries
1/2 t salt
1 T flour
8 T sugar
4 eggs

Mix ingredients. Put color in it if you want. Put it in the oven, at 500 degrees. Cook for 16 minutes. Take it out and serve with syrup and butter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

But Wait, There's More

One of the first things we did after moving in was visit the Cincinnati zoo. We picked up a year membership, which was totally worth it. The girls and I spent a lot of days there and never got tired of it.

One of our favorite summer events was Taste of Cincinnati, where they block off a section of downtown and fill it with vendors. We got balloon hats, Irish nachos, and the best gyro I've ever tasted. Afterwards we walked down to the bridge that was the pattern for the Brooklyn bridge, crossed into Kentucky, and came back. It was hotter than snot, so we stopped in Smale Riverfront Park to play in the fountains. That became another favorite spot.

One week we rented a tandem bike and a trailer and biked by the river, past the Reds and Bengals stadiums. Regis and I probably had more fun than the girls. I probably had more fun than Regis. My enthusiasm far outweighed my coordination. I've decided we need to buy a tandem bike.

Back to Your Poorly Scheduled Programming

I hope you enjoyed how I left you all hanging there. The Cincinnati Summer of Silence. Well, prepare your eardrums (or eyedrums, I guess), for the explosion of sound. In pictures. That fell apart quickly, didn't it?

First, how we got to Ohio: in a sexy new minivan. I'll have to take a picture later, but I really like our van. It's got tons of bells and whistles, and features that I honestly don't know how to use yet. P&G gave us a nice chunk of money to relocate with, and we opted to spend it on the van for various reasons. It was pretty tough to cram everything we thought we'd need into the back (even with the nifty fold-into-the-floor seats), but we managed it for the most part. Choosing to drive instead of fly also allowed us to make it into a vacation roadtrip. We stopped first in Denver to visit my brother and his family, which is always a treat. Glenn and Julie really know how to make you feel welcome, and the girls love spending time with their cousins. (These Denver pictures are from the trip back, but since it was mostly a monotonous charge back to Utah, I don't plan to post about it.)

 Julie decided two birthday celebrations weren't enough for Abby, so she got a third in Denver.
 Evie and Adam had a great time drinking the leftover syrup they'd dumped on their pancakes.
What cuties!

After Denver came Kansas City, Missouri. Driving through the Midwest may not be the most thrilling adventure ever, but the scenery was very pretty. We had a fun time in Kansas City, with our first summer dose of fountains:
We also toured the Hallmark visitor's center and participated in an art session at Kaleidoscope, which I highly recommend if you're ever in the area. Lots of fun for us all, and free.

We were also able to walk around the brand new Kansas City temple, but were unfortunately one day too early to attend the dedication.

From Kansas City we went to Independence, MO, to visit the our church's temple lot, visitor's center, and the Liberty Jail, where the prophet Joseph Smith was imprisoned in terrible conditions. I'm not sure how much the girls understood, but it was a neat experience. I made a massive church history tour the summer before I started college, so most of the sites weren't new to me. It's different seeing them with kids, though, and Regis has wanted to see them for a long time.

Our tour of Nauvoo, Illinois, however, probably dampened his interest. It started well enough. We had a nice place to stay, and there is a lot to see and do in Nauvoo. We were a little early in the season for some of the entertainments, but we liked seeing the temple, taking a wagon ride, and walking through all the historic buildings and listening to the tour guides.

 The trouble really started at the Pioneer Pastimes pavilion, when Regis got competitive. First he tried to show me up on stilts, then the hoop roll, then graces.

 He really got his comeuppance in the stick pull, though. This ill-fated picture was taken just before we started, when Regis instantly collapsed backwards, writhing in the bark. Clearly he is no match for my muscular prowess. Unfortunately, he had tweaked his back so badly that he was unable to move without pain, and therefore spent the rest of our time in Nauvoo full of ibuprofen and sitting in the van.
His injury was especially inconvenient the next day, when he was still too sore to carry things up to our apartment in Cincinnati--on the third floor. Guess who got to unpack the car?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Crystal Blue Goes Cincinnati Red

We celebrated Mother's Day in our new ward in today. We are hanging out in Cincinnati this summer, because Regis has an internship with Procter & Gamble. Living in Ohio is a very new experience for me. I've never lived in the midwest; I spent all my youth in California and left only to go to Utah for college, where I've lived ever since.

My impressions so far have been mostly positive. I love how green it is here. We've met some friendly people, especially at church. The only effect of the humidity I've noticed is positive: my knuckles aren't cracking like they do in Utah. (We'll see how I like it in August.) My only real gripe so far is that TONS of people smoke here. It's gross.

Our apartment here is fairly nice for a short-term rental. It's on the top floor, so we don't have to worry about people above us making noise -- just the people below us blowing smoke into our windows. I'm very glad we decided to rent furniture. It makes it much more homey to have a table and actual beds and a couch, especially since the couch is better than the one we own in our Orem apartment. There are sliding glass doors out to a wood balcony, which the girls absolutely love. I live in constant fear that Evie will slip through the railing, but she loves running out there to eat popsicles, especially if she can do it in the nude. There is an extra room (which the management refers to as a "den") that the girls are using as a playroom. I'm seriously reconsidering my previous assertion that we don't need a 3-room apartment until Regis graduates. Again, there's one real downside: the kitchen is teeny. Since I probably spend 30% of my waking hours in the kitchen when I'm home, it's a problem, but hopefully we can handle it for the summer.