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?