Monday, June 3, 2013

Graduation Time!

Today my not-so-little man Zach graduated from Kindergarten. He has been eagerly anticipating this day for the last few weeks. He nailed his end of level tests, and is SO ready to move on to first grade. We will miss his awesome teacher Miss Thomas, but we have heard great things about his next teacher Mrs. Nottingham. It will be weird having one kid in each school, especially since the elementary has switched to year-round. But I think Zach will like having the one-on-one time with me that being off track affords. We are so proud of Zach and the smart, well-behaved and energetic student he is!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seniors Who Rock

Seeing this older gentleman pull out his iPad mini during the adult session of stake conference made my night. My grandma has never even touched a computer. Way to go technologically astute seniors!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

And now to gross you out

After admiring the blue sky I looked down to see my fugly big toes. I've been a mutant for about 6 months now. Dang you Ward Christmas party battle scars!

View From Carpool

I'm was just sitting outside the school waiting for the boys, when it struck me how completely gorgeous Utah is on a cloudless, warm spring day. Thank goodness it's almost summer! If it snows again I'm going to sink into a deep depression.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

She's Having A Party.....and Invited How Many???

James and I decided to be nice and let Tay have a big 16th birthday party. We told her she could invite as many people as she wanted as long as all we had to do was provide food, set up some speakers, and get the fire pits going.

She invited 175 people.

Holy. Hell. What have we gotten in to?

Sorry ahead of time to my poor neighbors. I'll bring you cupcakes as an apology.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jonesing For The Fall

There's no better way to spend a Saturday morning then watching my favorite team scrimmage. Go Utes!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mother Daughter Bonding

Taylor and I have this running competition on social media to see who can post the best "If You Were A ____" pictures of each other. I have so many saved on my phone and iPad that I'll never get through them all, so I thought I'd post a collection of the all time best. Tay, I heart you forever. I dedicate each and every one of these to you ;)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My New Love

Never, ever in a million years would I have thought that I'd discover a love for baking. But low and behold, it has happened. I am having so much fun making my own cupcake recipes. At first I just used doctored cake mixes, which are just fine, but over the last few months I've branched out to my own from-scratch cakes. I now have good cake bases for about 6 or 7 basic flavors. To those I add all kinds of different frosting, fruit and ganache flavors. Friday night ha become cupcake invention night at our house. During the week I google and investigate different recipes and ideas,then decided on two or three flavors to try. This last weekend was orange creamsicle, rolo, and Carmel apple crisp. Over the last few months I've made banana foster, Andes mint, root beer float, chocolate covered raspberry, Almond joy, cinnamon streusel, Samoa cookie, peanut butter cup, carrot cake, Bacci and more. I've even ventured into tarts and eclairs. I look forward to baking Friday all week, and especially taking goodie boxes to friends and neighbors. Who knew baking was so much fun!!!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Throwing My Two Cents In

This evening James and I watched 60 Minutes together, drawn in by a promo about their lead story- families of the Sandy Hook tragedy and their appeal to their state and the federal government for new gun control legislation.  I was so impressed by the candor and insightfulness of the panel of parents and spouses.  Though they are obviously still grieving their losses, they are not bent on hate or vengeance.  On the contrary, their actions are solely based on the belief that we have the power to stop tragedies like this from ever happening again.  They ask for more comprehensive background checks on gun licenses, and the reduction of high capacity clips, as well as improved school security and better mental health awareness and intervention.  Common sense ideas, right?  In fact, here's their mission statement from their site ( :

1) To help the community heal and provide aid to the family members who lost loved ones, to survivors, teachers, staff, first responders and to our community.
2) To bring together, in local and national dialogue, the great majority of Americans who agree that we must find common sense solutions to make our communities and our country safer.
I will be the first to admit I am not a gun owner nor a gun lover.  But I do not think that makes me a gun hater, nor do I feel like they should be banned.  However, the minute you say "gun regulation" in this country everyone comes out with their pitchforks blaring, screaming that we're trying to superseded the 2nd amendment.  I have two points to make in regards to this fear mongering:

First, guns are weapons.  They are designed to kill, whether it be in war, for food, for defense, or for criminal activities.  That's what they are.  People often equate gun mortality rates to car mortality rates, offering up the statistic that cars kill more people than guns.  I'd like to take that comparison and expand upon it further.  People love to say that guns don't kill people, the people holding them do.  The same could be said for cars:  they don't kill, but the person driving them does.  We all acknowledge that as a truth.  They are a weapon, and in the wrong hands or wrong conditions, or simply accidentally, they become a weapon.  Because this is a fact, we have literally thousands of laws that guide and direct and prohibit the use of cars.  Those laws decided who can drive, at what age, at what mental and physical capacity.  They punish those who abuse the laws with fines, removal of license and even prison.  We all agree to these laws because they protect us, our families and loved ones, from the unthinkable.  Even with those laws, do accidents still occur?  Of course.  Do people still abuse their rights and drive impaired or under the influence?  Of course.  Have we stopped all traffic violations and accidents? Of course not.  But millions of us still drive every day knowing we have laws and limitations that put fate on our side, and we are reasonably assured of our safety.  If we willingly succumb to laws and regulations for driving a two ton weapon, why are we so resistant to establishing common sense laws for owning a 2 pound weapon?  

That leads me to my second argument.  Your answer to my proceeding question is probably, "well the Constitution guarantees my right to bear arms.  You cant take that away".  First, no one is trying to take away your guns.  We haven't taken away cars because they kill, have we?  We're asking for regulation, not total removal of guns.  You have a right to owner a gun for whatever purpose you want, but if it takes a year for my daughter to go through the necessary education, driving time and tests to get a driver's license- literally the license to drive a two ton weapon- then doesn't it stand to reason that we, as citizens and communities, deserve to know that those who are purchasing guns are doing so legally and with the proper background licenses and checks?  That we are not supplying guns to those with criminal or violent backgrounds?  Is that so radical?

In addition, the constitution does give us the right to bear arms, but it does not specify what kind of arms.  When the founding fathers drafted this bill of government, there is no way they could have anticipated the horrific ways we'd devise to kill one another.  They did not even know of the atom let alone the power it can harness as a weapon, nor the threats and fear that we as a world have lived in, wondering which crazed and power hungry dictator will unleash it's awful capability next.  They could not imagine, with their single shot muskets, of guns that could bowl down 26 children and adults in a matter of minutes, or movie patrons excited to see Batman, patrons of a mall or college students, or beautiful Amish children, or high school students in Littleton Colorado.  Would they be proud that we hold the 2nd amendment up as so infallible, so perfect that we cant do anything about these shootings that happen again, and again, and again?  As a people, we realized long ago that the constitution had to be amended to right certain wrongs.  We changed it so that black Americans were no longer owned and sold as property but acknowledged as human beings with the same worth and importance as anyone else.  It was changed so that women were given right to property, and blacks and women could vote.  Would anyone rational deny the importance of these changes?  The Constitution is not perfect: it has changed over time as we have evolved as a people and corrected the prejudices and injustices of the past.  Regulating guns does not take away the 2nd amendment, but bring it up to date with and protect us from the horrible ways technology has evolved in weaponry.  In that way, regulation allows us to do just what the 2nd amendment promised us:  the right to protect and safeguard our homes.

Lastly, I'd just like to return to my earlier analogy about cars and weapons.  My sons have degenerative eye diseases, meaning they sight is being lost gradually.  A few years ago at his appointment, Noah's doctor told me that with his sight as it was then, Noah would fail the legal limits to be able to drive in his left eye.  However, his right eye was still a little under the limit so he had hope that Noah would be able to drive a little.  You see, by law you only have to pass the eye exam in one eye.  I've thought a lot about that information over the last few years.  Just because he can "legally" pass the exam, should he? The test does not account for where the vision is lost.  I know for a fact that the majority of Noah's loss is in his peripheral field of vision.  To date, he has lost about 25% in his "good" eye, and 35% in the other.  That means that he cannot see what comes at him from the side.  How many times do we move or react because we see something come into our view, especially when driving?  Knowing my son's limitations has made me more and more convinced that he probably should never drive, for his safety and for everyone else's.  As a parent, it's the responsible thing to do. I really worried about his reaction and how to frame the news correctly, but in the end I made it a question of his own conscience.  I asked him if he'd ever feel like driving was worth the cost if he hurt someone seriously, or worse, killed someone, because he could not see.  He took the question very seriously, and admitted that the momentary joy of that teenage right of passage would never supersede the guilt of causing someone harm.  I have the advantage of knowing my son's condition and being able to step in and make plans and allowances for it.  Many parents who have mentally ill children do not know the depth or gravity of their child's condition.  It may develop quickly or evolve moderately over a longer period of time.  The symptoms may be drastic and obvious, or may me subtle and mask themselves in the difficulty of adolescence.  The lucky parents are able to intervene before their child does harm to themselves or others.  They can lock up or get rid of the guns and violent video games, enlist the help of therapists and counselors and physicians. But how many go unnoticed and are left unassisted?  How many are left with their disease festering their mind into adulthood, when their parents no longer have the say or permission to intervene? How many reach the point of no return where they decide that life is no longer precious or valuable, and take their anger and frustration out on the innocent?

Obviously, this is a subject I am very passionate about.  I wish it was not so divisive, politically and socially.  I have to believe we can come to a sensible and rational resolution, one that can appease both sides of the issue.  But gun owners, you have to give a little.  Remember, just because it's illegal to drive before 16, or you have different speed limits in school zones versus the freeway doesn't mean you don't have the right to own a drive a car.  You just have the rules in place to keep you, and everyone else driving, safe.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Oh Noah...

" mom, I don't like girls with spikey guy hair. Except for grandma- and only because she's my grandma".


Yesterday was the traditional choir Easter program in our ward. I have never been in such a musically gifted ward before. We have former music teachers and members of the Orchestra on Temple Square, a bounty of gifted singers and many, many talented pianists. I always look forward to the Christmas and Easter programs because I know I will leave filling so blessed by the power music has to convey spiritual truths.

This year's selections highlighted so many of my favorite hymns, especially an amazing men's choir rendition of 'Lord, I Would Follow Thee'. In between the numbers, passages and scriptures were given by a narrator. About half way into the program, whole making the point that the are worse things than death, the narration spoke specifically about the trials in life that are worse than dying. While a number of examples were given, there were three that really struck me as ignorant and insensitive. Now, let me preface my criticism with the firm knowledge that I know the sweet lady who was the narrator was not relating her own opinion, but text that was given to her. I hold no ill will towards her at all. In truth, I hold no ill will to whomever wrote it; I just wish they thought over their choice of examples. The three examples of "fate worse than death" were being born mentally impaired, being blind, and being deaf. First, I am very blessed to have a disabled sister. In spite of the added challenges it has brought into her life and will continue to bring, she has joy in her life. She relishes in her successes and being able to prove people wrong. She has a strong testimony of the love of our Savior and touches all those who meet her with it. She finds happiness and fulfillment in serving and working with those who are more profoundly disabled than her. I can't imagine my sister being a better person without her disabilities- maybe she'd have an easier life, but as it is her life is how God intended it to be, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

I don't think I have to expand too much on why the blind or deaf comments bugged me. The moment they were uttered, I turned to James and said (rather loudly) "there is absolutely nothing wrong with my boys. They are going to live happy, successful lives like everyone else. They'll just happen to do it blind". It bothers me so much when people think that blind or hearing impaired people are disabled; the only disability they have is people assuming they can't do something. It makes my skin crawl when people suggest that my boys learn to play the piano because "all blind people are good at that!" Breaking down the stereotypes and expectations is something I have to fight with my boys from time to time when a classmate asks how they can be an artist if they can't see, or any other profession that "needs" sight. It has taken many conversations and google sessions to convince Noah that the only thing he can't become as a blind person is a pilot or a surgeon, and even then who knows? There may be advances in technology that make even that possible. I know the same stereotypes are placed on deaf individuals. Blind and deaf people do not need pity. Not is theirs a fate worse than deaf. They are exactly who they are supposed to be. A long time ago, when Noah was first diagnosed, I talked to him about why God wanted him to be blind. He was very emotional and scared, as any child would be. In one of those moments where you feel Heaven's presence right beside you, I testified to Noah that he knew before he was even born that he would have these challenges. That he promised his Heavenly Father that he would accept any and all callings He had, and that our Father knew Noah could handle them because he was so very strong and faithful. Over the last six years, Noah has found comfort and understanding in that promise: that those who are given extra challenges in this life were given them because Heavenly Father knew they could not only handle them, but flourish and find happiness in them.

I guess the reason I wanted to share this is to ask everyone, including myself, to think twice before assuming that because someone is different that there is something "wrong" with them. We are all exactly who God created us to be. Problems are all about perspective: What seems like a mountain to one might be a mole hill to another. I cannot fathom losing a child. Every time I think about the pain of watching a child struggle through cancer, I silently think "at least my boys aren't in pain or fighting for their lives. They can grow and be happy and successful". So for me, there is a whole world of things worse than being blind.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Don't They Worry About Slivers????

Just a random thought.....

Who decided it was perfect staging to have a couple just up on a table/desk/other flat, hard surface and just go at it? I was just watching Smash and in the closing scene the couple that's been dancing around the "will the or wont they" question for waaaay too many episodes (thankfully not as many as the Ross/Rachel tango) finally seem to be there, then can't actually commit. I was actually emotionally involved enough to want to scream at the dumb guy to open his mouth and quit being such a wuss. Then as soon as all hope is lost, the guy bursts in a kisses the girl and my heart melted and then he threw her on the cluttered kitchen table and.....wait, what??? You mean to tell me that you've expended all this time, effort and emotion in "the chase" and your best move is chucking her on to the closest horizontal surface???? And shame on you, girl who I can't remember your name, for being okay with that (at least I assume she was- I turned it off at that point). Please television writers, we are not mindless robots that don't notice when you pull the same shtick out of the bag that was seen on Days of Our Lives earlier in the afternoon. You should probably assume that at least half of your (very few) viewers have moderate intelligence.

Rant over. I'll go to bed now.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Raising the Bar

Sadly, this display is not even close to being an all time low in our Easter Basket attempts. Last year the kids woke up to boxes of cereal and 2 liters. And then there was two years ago when I put their "bunny" stuff into left over Walmart bags. The fact that I actually separated their candy into see-through bags AND put their names on them has got to count for something this year. I willingly admit I suck at Easter; sorry kids! Luckily you have awesome grandparents who spoil you rotten!

Horny Cat: Looking For Some "Sex in the City"

So big news around our house. It has been confirmed that Cat is in fact a girl. We know this because she has been whining non stop, and when she's not whining she's rubbing herself on everything and everyone. James googled her behavior and apparently it all screams "I'm in heat. Come get me boys!". Her frequent butt displays are her way of letting off pheromones to mark her territory. I guess James is her territory because she went up to him at least a dozen times, turned around, lifted her tail and displayed that bum to the world. Later she did the same thing to Taylor's BFF so I think Cat is bisexual. She must have felt safe coming out to us because she knows we're Democrats ;)

Anyway, here's the face of the horniest Cat in the city..... Boys (or girls), please don't come get her. She's getting fitted for a chastity belt ASAP.