Monday, December 31, 2007

Freewrite about Vessel

The Love That Comes with Change

crimson badges of honor
that started out as one & multiplied
are now silver
willowy waist strained and puffed
only to deflate
raw pain turned to utter adulation
after seeing your eyes
once orbs of muddy milk, now caramel
a heart formerly half full
is now filled to the brim
a year ago I was scared to imagine
a life with a new addition
now it frightens me to think
how I could ever live without
so afraid of change
until I recognized
the love that came with it

Your Words

Your Words


We’re not blood

We’re not friends

You’re an itch I can’t scratch

Realizing too late

The hurricane disaster of

Your words

Those words…to me, once so alluring

Are now black as cancer

Precocious and poisonous, paltry and practiced

Like reading from a script

You are a fire, a degenerate liar

Satisfied with my faith

Content never to sit

At the desk behind your eyes

Between marmalade tresses, head cocked

Spitting disrespect and saturated in arrogance

My apathy annoys you

But sometimes not caring is what

A person must do to keep from hating

Supposing that indifference is preferred to asperity

Those words, your words

Pointed and poised like the tongue of a snake

They say actions speak louder than words

So tell me

What are you doing to better the world

Besides talking?


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Seriously, what is up with this place?

Okay, so the Arbor Lane apartments (our living quarters) are gaining a bad reputation. Today, right after church, Mike came home to about 5 police officers, an ambulance, and a fire truck sitting in our apartment complex parking lot. Someone was being put onto a stretcher and crime scene tape had already been put up. I wasn't there for that, but at around 5:00 as I was driving home from my YW meeting, another ambulance, fire truck, and police car entered the complex right before I did. I didn't know what to think of all that and figured I wouldn't be able to get much info about it anyway, even if I wanted to. Then tonight while hanging out at with some friends, a fellow neighbor and ward member called the Green's residence saying he had just watched the news about a man in our complex who stabbed his wife 16 times with a screwdriver and then went outside and hung (hanged?) himself from the carport. Now, if you recall, an incident happened just this last summer involving a guy getting shot at our apartment. I thought this was a decent place to live, but now I'm reconsidering.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Favorite Things of 2007

Karen tagged me so here I go. And anyone who reads this blog, consider yourself tagged now too.

The best things of 2007 (in no particular order)

1. Learning---I have learned so much this year. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned several new skills like crocheting, making jewelry, and cooking new things. I have learned how to let things go. I have learned (with Vessel’s help) how to take care of a baby. I have learned that life is what you make of it.

2. Getting one more semester of school out of the way.

3. Doing my mother’s temple work.

4. Going to the Price is Right and seeing my beloved Bob Barker.

5. Getting my longboard and cruising around all summer.

6. Getting a digital camera. Which leads to my next favorite thing:

7. Blogging. I love posting pictures and updates.

8. Going to concerts.

9. Camping and building fires.

10. Snocones

11. Being active. Playing soccer, frisbee and hitting the softball with Mike in the park. Taking a dance class together, swimming, rock climbing, and hiking in the canyon.

12. Our motorcycle and the Burple car.

13. Vessel’s 1st birthday party.

14. Vessel sleeping through the night.

15. New friendships.

16. Mike’s internship (that actually pays him.)

17. Watching Vessel grow and learn new things.

18. When Dan lived in Salt Lake last semester and we got to hang like everyday. Oh, and Dan’s mission call.

19. Little AJ was born.

20. My growing music collection.

21. My beautiful family. I have a great husband and a sweet son. We are healthy, happy and enjoying our lives together.


Christmas

I always get so sad when the day after Christmas arrives. Bummer. Really, January has nothing to offer, am I right? I think I love the days leading up to a major holiday more than the holiday itself. And then when it's all past and gone, I feel a bit empty inside. But Christmas was a good one this year. Since we had gone to Idaho a few weeks previously, we spent this Christmas with Mike's family. We drove there Christmas Eve in a crazy snow storm. That night we ate dinner together and then exchanged gifts afterwards. All the siblings and their children were able to attend. Mike and I ended up staying the night and spent Christmas morning with his family. We watched a lot of episodes of The Office, played a lot of Guitar Hero, and ate a lot of junkfood. When the 3 of us got home that evening we opened the gifts that my Dad and Grandparents had sent. Then Mike and I opened our presents to each other and Vessel opened the gifts we gave to him. Christmas day was pretty fun and laid back this year.
It was a pretty crazy month though. As I said in a previous post, I made all my gifts this year (with a few exceptions for Vessel and Mike.) You can see some of the things I made by clicking here. I also made a variety of food to give as gifts, which you can view by clicking here. I hope everybody's Christmas season was as festive as ours was! On a side note, I would just like to thank everyone for the sweet gifts that were given to us. Your generosity and kindness did not go unnoticed! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We have been very blessed this year.

Our little tree

Daddy helping Vessel open up gift from Danny

Mommy and Vessel on Christmas day
Mommy helping Vessel open a gift
Sexy Stache. Mike thought it would be great to grow a mustache and luckily we got some Christmas pictures with his lil' caterpillar. Here he is with his sister Jenny.

Bad biker boy!

Vessel playing with a new toy from great Grandma and Grandpa Hiner.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Treats

Dried Oranges
I made a bunch of dried oranges in my food dehydrator this year. Wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with a pretty bow, they make a wonderful and cheap gift to give a friend. Dried oranges look beautiful on a tree, but can be used in potpouri, as decorations in holiday cider, or can be simmered in a pot with orange oil, cinnamon and cloves for a great room freshener.



Caramel Corn

Caramel corn is one of my favorite snacks and this recipe is so good. So, it will probably kill ya, but we're all gonna die anyway, right? :) I got this recipe from Claire Allred.

Makes approximately 4 big bowls

2 Cups brown sugar
1 Cup Karo syrup
1 Can Sweetened condensed milk (1 cup)
1 Cube butter

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook to firm ball stage. (Use a candy thermometer or use the cold water test.) Pour mixture over popcorn & cover evenly by mixing with spoons or rubber spatulas.

*Note---do not use microwave popcorn for this. You must air pop it yourself or pop it in a pan. To do this just add enough oil to cover the bottom of a pot. Pour corn kernels (I used Jolly Time) in the bottom (just enough to cover the surface of the bottom of the pot) and stir to coat the kernels. Put a lid on the pot and turn the heat to med-high. Take off heat when popping stops.



Chocolate Covered Pretzels


1/2 pound almond bark, (or other melting chocolate)
1 pound small pretzels or pretzel sticks
1/4 pound candy-coated chocolate pieces (optional)
  1. Pour candy-coated chocolate pieces into a small bowl.
  2. Melt almond bark in the top of a double boiler.
  3. Dip pretzels into the melted chocolate and then lay on waxed paper. Or if you'd like, roll chocolate-covered pretzels in bowl of candy-covered chocolate pieces; a few pieces will stick to each pretzel.
  4. Lay resulting clusters on wax paper to cool. Serve when chocolate is no longer sticky to the touch; refrigerate.

Makes 16 pieces.



Whipped Shortbread
This has to be the simplest recipe of all time. I got it from Kathy Harker.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Cup butter (not margerine)
1 1/2 Cups flour
pinch of salt

Cream butter. Add remaining ingredients. Beat 8-10 minutes. Drop by spoon on cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes. If you like, you can make an indention with your finger or a spoon before baking and then after baking, fill the indention with raspberry or another fruit preserve.


Orange Chex Mix
This is my all time favorite Chex Mix and I could eat it all day.

4 Cups Corn Chex
4 Cups Rice Chex
4 Cups Wheat Chex
Pretzels
One bag of Craisins

Melt: 1/4 cup butter (or margerine if you prefer)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4-1/2 can orange juice concentrate

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl (except Craisins.) Pour melted ingredients over dry mix. Spread on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 10 minutes. (I like to cover my cookie sheet with aluminum foil for less mess.) Stir on cookie sheet, then bake for another 10 minutes. Watch it closely because it can easily burn. Immediately put on waxed paper or into a bowl. Add one bag of Craisins.

*Note---I have adapted this recipe to my liking by using less Wheat Chex and more of the other kinds. I have also added slivered almonds, yogurt covered dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips in the past. I like to use butter, but margerine works if you don't have butter. I also like to make mine more orangy by using orange flavored Craisins. YUM-O!


Truffles
8 oz. (2 bars) Ghiradelli chocolate (dark not milk)

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter cut into small pieces

Unsweetened cocoa for coating


Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add butter and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and pour chocolate into a shallow bowl. Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm at least 2 hours. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in coating. Keep in a cool place to avoid melting.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Santa or No Santa *Updated*

Mike and I are trying to decide if we should do the whole Santa thing with our kids. On one hand, we think it would be fun for our kids, but on the other hand, we don't want to lie to them and make them believe in something that doesn't exist. Does Santa divert too much attention away from the real meaning of Christmas, or is the idea of Santa fun and harmless? I'd love to get your votes and comments on why we should or why we shouldn't have Santa Clause be a Christmas tradition.


***Update---The poll is now closed and 6 of you voted YES, that Santa should be a part of children's lives, and 1 of you voted NO. I wish the "NO" person would've commented on why because the whole point of this little poll was to get ideas on both sides. Anyway, thanks for all your comments and votes!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Ups and Downs of my December Thus Far

December is supposed to be a month of peace, right? I don’t know about you all, but there has been nothing peaceful about this month since it started. I feel like I’m always on the go running errands, attending this social function, attending that social function, making and wrapping lots of gifts and food to give away, cleaning, putting up decorations, traveling, etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, I really love it all….I just wish things could slow down so I could actually take a breath before it completely passes me by.

Earlier in the month a group of us girls had our monthly “girls’ night in” get together. We all brought a little something to eat and worked on our projects and talked the night away. I wish I would’ve gotten more accomplished because I had been looking forward to that night so much. In my head I thought of all the things I was going to get done while snatching some time away from the kid. I ended up bringing some necklaces to work on, but got very frustrated since I had to undo my work several times due to silly mistakes. The company was good, although I kind of shut down socially because I was so wrapped up in my own projects. Hopefully nobody thought I was as incredibly lame as I appeared to be. The evening after that was the Young Women in Excellence program that all the girls and leaders had been working on. At the beginning we all sang a beautiful song called “Keepers of His Light” while cupping little battery operated candles in our hands. The young women set up tables to show off their personal progress and then they talked a little about their goal achievements. At the end we ate “refreshments” but is there anything refreshing about ice cream with molten lava cake? Just one more indulgence I try to rationalize because “it’s the holidays.” As good as the cake was, I think if I see one more fat and sugar laden treat I’m going to throw my cookies. From the beginning of October until the end of the year I feel like any good intentions to eat well and maintain self control goes right out the window. And then by the time mid December rolls around (yup, right now) I have no energy and get so sluggish. It’s like I can literally feel the added weight I’m carrying around and my body is screaming at me to eat a dang carrot instead of that plate of fudge. Oh, but I have no will power. Anyway, this topic is another story, so let me move on.

So the following week I spent a lot of my time addressing Christmas cards and going to the post office to send off packages or making little gifts. But mostly that week was all about getting ready for our trip to Idaho. Friday morning was hectic trying to pack and load up the car and then realizing that I had to make some last minute things before our departure. So much for leaving at 9:00 a.m. like I had planned. The whole morning I felt under the weather and it just got worse in the car since I get really motion sick. I had such a throbbing headache and nausea, I just wanted to go to sleep. Finally we stopped and I had Mike buy me a cherry Coke. Let me tell ya, that cherry Coke is a miracle drug for me. It gets rid of headaches without fail. Leaves me a little jittery, but I’d rather experience mild shakiness than have throbbing pain shooting through my skull. Once I started feeling better I enjoyed the ride a bit more. We arrived in Idaho Falls late afternoon and spent the time visiting with Grandma Miller. Of course, we played a few rounds of Yahtzee, and I must say grandma and I both did swimmingly. Not to brag (cough cough) but uh, I scored 629! That’s four Yahtzee’s baby! I now consider it one of my greatest lifetime achievements. Mike felt it necessary to stick our score sheets on the refrigerator.

Saturday morning was a big day for us. It’s the real reason I wanted to write this post. It was a big day because I was able to do my mom’s temple work! My 2 aunts from out of town and my uncle and his wife were able to be there (as well as Mike.) My uncle and one of my aunts were able to be proxies for my Grandma and Grandpa when we sealed my mom to her parents. I want to describe the feelings I had, but at the same time I don’t even know the words to use. I don’t know what to say. It was such a special and sacred event for me that I don’t want to discuss my experience in detail, but it was wonderful and I feel so privileged and blessed to be apart of it. Thanks to my aunt for getting all the paperwork together so we could finally do it. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present!

After Mike and I ate some yummy pasta at my favorite Italian restaurant Johnny Carino’s (the place where we had one of our first dates) we went back to my uncle’s house and just visited with my relatives. My cousin Steven was there for a while with his daughter and my cousin Dale’s daughter Wyntre (pronounced Winter) was there as well visiting with her grandma. I had never really had the opportunity to visit with Wyntre until that day, and she is so flip’n cute I couldn’t believe it. And she’s so smart and amazingly talkative for a two year old. This was about how our first conversation went.

I go into the bathroom to change Vessel’s diaper and the next thing I know she opens the door and comes inside with us.

Wyntre: What are you doing?

Me: Changing a diaper.

Wyntre: Why?

Me: Because he pooped.

Wyntre: Why?

Me: Because we all poop. Don’t you poop too?

Wyntre: Yeah sometimes, but sometimes I go pee.

Me: Oh, do you use the toilet?

Wyntre: Yeah. That’s the toilet right there.

Me: Wow, you’re a big girl using the toilet by yourself.

Wyntre: Yeah……..What are you doing?

Me: (chuckling, having already answered the question once) I’m changing his diaper.

Wyntre: Yeah, he needs a new one. talking to Vessel Hi Baby! You pooped huh! Cute baby. (giggles while patting Vessel’s head.)

I love how little children are so candid, and Wyntre was no exception.

After playing a rousing game of catch phrase we all went to bed. I would like to give props to my team for our consecutive winning streak. Sorry for your loss babe!

Anyway, Vessel slept like an angel again, and surprisingly stayed asleep for about 13 hours. Right before we left for the day, Vessel got sick and threw up all over my aunt and uncle’s hardwood floor. Mike was holding him and he described the scene as something out of the movie “the Exorcist.” I felt so bad for our little guy and didn’t even see it coming since he was completely fine the night before, all happy and smiley and energetic. After digging through the newly packed trunk for another shirt for Mike and a clean outfit for Vessel (which there wasn’t) we finally left my aunt and uncle’s house and headed north towards my Dad’s house. On our way there we stopped at the Archer cemetery so that my sister and I could visit my mom’s grave. It was very quiet and serene with untouched snow covering the ground. Despite the biting wind and icy snow up to my ankles, I felt a warmth inside that my mom was with us in some way. My sister and I talked for a few minutes about how Mom always made sure us girls had a good Christmas every year. We talked a little about how much we missed her, especially during the holidays and how it’s just not the same. I guess one of the tragic things about this time of year is that it brings a more substantial reminder of loved ones gone.

It was so good to see my sister. I have really missed her. The 3 of us had a fun time belting out Macy Gray songs in the car up to my dad’s house. Nothing like a raspy soul sista sing-a-long to brighten your mood, eh? We made a pit stop at my aunt and uncle’s house near Rexburg and visited with them for awhile.

At dad’s my sister and I exchanged gifts and I had also made gifts for my dad, Chris (my dad’s girlfriend) and my grandparents, who also came up to eat dinner with us. While Chris was making dinner she had some treats for us to munch on while we waited. She had made homemade apple juice from the apple tree that sits in the backyard of my childhood. It was yummy, and I was impressed.

It all went well except for the fact that Vessel was sick. I was hoping he’d be more sociable since my family rarely gets to see him. I tried to feed him and he wasn’t interested. After chugging down a whole bottle of diluted juice, he threw it up. And then he had one major blow out. The kid was miserable. I felt so bad for him.

He was so unhappy pretty much the whole way home. The four hour drive isn’t fun anyway, but having a sick kid in the car just makes it that much worse. At one point he threw up in the car again and then about an hour and a half away from home he had another blowout. Since we didn’t have any clean or dry clothes left for him to wear, he just had to sit there in it until we got to our apartment. At least he somehow managed to fall asleep.

When Monday rolled around, Vessel was still sick and had lots of diarrhea. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything and generally acted despondent. He was also whiny for most of the day, which was rough on Mike and me. But whaddayagonnado? That night the Elder’s Quorum presidency and their wives were invited to dinner at the Allen’s home. We hesitated going, not knowing for sure if Vessel’s anal leakage was under control, but we had been looking forward to it, so we went anyway. Amber had provided a booster seat just for Vessie and we all sat at the table to a wonderful feast. Vessel however, just wasn’t content with anything I tried to feed him. Finally Amber gave him a tall sippy cup full of juice and he guzzled it down like he hadn’t had something to drink for days, and then wanted more. I was weary giving him that much juice, but I didn’t want to give him milk on an upset stomach and we didn’t bring any of the Pedialyte he had been chugging all day. He was getting incredibly fussy and he was shivering like crazy so I unstrapped him and set him on my lap only to find out that he had just had an explosive onslaught of diarrhea that went all the way up his back and down his leg. The booster chair was covered in it and I was red with embarrassment thinking that everyone was very unimpressed with that not-so-enjoyable dinner scene. Luckily we brought an extra pair of jammies and got him cleaned up. Amber and Steve were so nice about everything and wanted to help. We joked to Amber that if Steve really wanted to help then he should call a priest.

So after that ordeal we decided we better get Vessel home and bathed and off to bed. But the second we got home something in my gut was a rumblin’ and I spent the rest of the night in and out of the bathroom. I slept in my clothes and couldn’t even manage getting under the blankets on our bed. I was so sick I could barely move except when I was forced to use the toilet. The next day Mike was feeling the same way and the 3 of us spent the entire day cooped up in our apartment wanting to die. I was so sick I thought I was going to die and I swear I must’ve lost 3 or 4 pounds. I was on the couch or on the toilet all day. Being sick is never good, but being sick and obligated to care for a sick child is a nightmare.

By Wednesday I was luckily over it and feeling fine again. Mike was still a little queasy. But poor Vessie, he is still fighting whatever bug he’s got. He’s getting better and eating more and not needing to down Pedialyte any longer. But while I was at Mardene’s house this afternoon, Mike decided to go shopping with Vessel. He was looking around the store with Vessel in the stroller, and glanced down to see something incredibly disturbing. Yup, Vessel and his stroller were covered in poo. Mike panicked and took Vessel out right away. Not having a pair of clean clothes to change him into he was forced to put Vessel in his car seat the way he was and fold up the poopy stroller and pack it away into the trunk. Glad it wasn’t me….

Anyhoo, I just wish Vessel would get better because I have more important things to do than wash his sheets and soiled clothes. Okay, really I just want him to get better because it breaks my little heart when he’s not well.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that now I’m getting a cold. Yay.

I guess I’ll end on that note. Hope everyone else is having a good December!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

4 Years and Going Strong!

Yesterday was Mike's and my 4 year anniversary! Mike has made these last 4 years the best years of my life. I'm so happy everyday that he married me despite all my flaws and shortcomings. Vessel and I are very lucky indeed. I love you babe! Thanks for making me feel so special everyday!

Sneaker Skates

This month Mike and I cleaned out our house to find stuff to give to good will, and in our coat closet under a pile of junk, I found my old sneaker skates! I bought these for myself on my 21st birthday (woot woot) and my roommate Chelsea and I made a documentary on my camcorder about Sneaker Skates vs. Rollerblades. Trust me, it was great. Anyway, we've had some good memories me and these skates, but I just had to let them go. I hope someone else can get as much enjoyment out of them as I did!

Zach and Geraldy

More 5th grade drama, courtesy of Sophie's classroom.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

4 Kitchen Applilances I Can't Live Without

1. Breville Gourmet Wok. I got this wok for Mike's birthday and we use it ALL THE TIME. We make stir-fry, curry, gyoza (pot stickers,) vegetable tempura, and just about anything you can imagine in it. And it is so easy to clean. Now I'm starting to sound like an infomercial, but seriously, we love our wok.


2. Nesco Food Dehydrator.
I think this particular dehydrator is on the low end of the scale money wise. But quality wise, it is great. When Mike first got this for me a couple of Christmases ago I had a hay day drying batches & batches of fruit. Don't ask me why, but I just love dried fruit, even more than fresh. You can dry fruit for snacks, make fruit roll ups, make soup mixes, corn chips, even jerky. You can also dry certain crafts. This time of year I like to dry orange slices. They make excellent tree decorations and non-caustic air fresheners. I love my dehydrator.


3. KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
The mixer we have is one of the older models and was passed down to us by my grandma. But don't be fooled, it still works like a dream. We use this mixer for so many everyday things. It came with a bread hook, so no more kneading dough for me! It also has a wire whip which is great for mixing cake or waffle batter. We use the flat beater for thick, sticky things like pumpkin cookie dough. We love our KitchenAid Mixer.


4. Presto Griddle. Saturday mornings just wouldn't be the same in our home without pancakes, and it's hard to make pancakes without a nice big griddle. We love our Presto griddle.


Now you know how boring my life is when I have to make a post about kitchen appliances. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Santa Lives Here

I found Santa Clause naked and in our bathtub tonight.

I must say, he was astoundingly jovial.

What's New

I've committed myself to making all my Christmas gifts this year. It has been a little difficult with time constraints and what not, but so far I have 3 of my projects completed! I wish I could post pictures of them now, but that would just ruin the surprise for those who might read this blog. :) I can't wait to give my gifts away! I have had such a tremendous surge of creative energy lately. I don't know why. But I've been doing a lot of crafty little things and learning new skills. I love it. I've also been writing like crazy, especially poetry, which I haven't done in a very long time. It feels so good. I just wish I had more time to do the things I love.

Mike is almost finished with the semester and I couldn't be happier. It will be nice to have him all to myself over the Christmas break. Well, I don't know how much time we'll actually have since he'll be pushing to write up most of his thesis during that time, and then there's that little thing called a "job" that he'll have to go to....but hopefully we'll get to hang out more than when he's in school full time.

Vessel is getting bigger all the time. He' s walking around like crazy. We bought him a pair of shoes a few weeks ago but they really detract from his walking ability since they're so darn chunky and heavy. So we were happy when Kathy got him some awesome little shoes that are light and thin, with a thin sole. Thank you so much Kathy, he has no problem getting around in those! Vessel is getting more molars, which has been a pain in the butt for both of us. It shouldn't be long until he's eating a T-bone steak. :) He's learning so fast too. I watch him play in the mornings and he is getting so smart. He talks to his toys in different voices. Seriously, it's so cute I can hardly stand it. He's learned how to twist lids on and off of jars, bottles, and such and he could go on doing that for for hours it seems. He loves fitting shapes into his shape sorter and being pulled around on a blanket. The other day I was changing the bedding so our comforter was on the floor. He climbed on top of it and so I started pulling him around the house. I could hear his laughter trailing behind me. He is starting to love books more too. He was never that interested in them before, but now he'll crawl up on my lap to read a story and sit there contently. He has gotten quite independent lately, especially when it comes to feeding himself. He hates it when I try to spoon feed him because he wants to do it, dang it. That creates a bit of a mess, but if it's at night before his bath I'll usually let him go at it with his Vessel size eating utensils. Vessel loves to point and where ever we go he is constantly staring and pointing and learning and discovering new things. When we had our first snow of the season I didn't think much of it. I mean come on, I grew up in Idaho, so I've seen plenty of snow in my life. But it didn't dawn on me until Vessel and I went out to run errands that day that it was his first time seeing snow. He pointed like crazy and "oohed" and "awwed" about it. He has been fascinated with it ever since. I let him play in it for awhile yesterday. It was like the cold didn't even phase him, he was so intrigued by the stuff that it didn't matter a bit. I really love that kid and it's so fun to watch all of these "firsts" happen in his life.

So that's life lately. Not a whole lot to tell I guess. :)


Monday, December 3, 2007

Murder Under the Mistletoe

On Saturday, we went to a murder mystery hosted by our friends Gavin and Tracy. Gavin's birthday is this Tuesday, so Tracy wanted to throw a fun party for him. It was really cool and was a fun excuse to dress up. We ate first and then when everyone had arrived we started the game. We were given clues and had several different tasks to complete, some being quite challenging. With all the information we were given we had to figure out who the murderer was.

Here is the crime scene where the late Reginald Desmond was killed.

Here we are dressed up as our characters. I was DeVine Desmond, wife of the late Reginald Desmond. Mike was Martinique.

Shopping for our costumes was very entertaining. I borrowed some black stilettos and baret from a friend to match the Paris ensemble I was shooting for. I was so excited because I won best costume! Although, I thought Martinique was going to win since he was looking quite ravishing as well.

Here are some of the attendants. Colonel Cream, Jazzy Jingles, Gavin Foreshanks, Biff Lava, Virgo, Cooter Grits, Mother Desmond, DeVine Desmond, and Martinique.
(not pictured: Salty Winkle and Chutney Cheddar.)

Thanks for inviting us to your mysteriously murderous party! We had a lot of fun!


Saturday, December 1, 2007

No More Mohawk

Today we decided to cut Vessie's hair. We wanted to trim it up a bit since the ends were getting kind of stringy. But since Daddy had the shears out anyway to cut his own hair today, we thought we might as well take them to Vessel's mane as well. I was okay with it, but when it was all said and done I felt like crying! At least I got a few locks of his baby hair to keep in his scrapbook. Here are some pictures of the momentous event.

Vess didn't even fuss. He just sat there kind of bewildered.



"The hair tickles my nose, Daddy!"

I couldn't get a real good "after" picture, my apologies. But maybe you can tell the shortness of his hair from this picture. I actually like the way his hair turned out and it's fun to rub his head. I think his shorter hair makes him look much more grown up.
p.s. you can thank Thomas, a boy in our ward, for the scratch by his eye.
Psh!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Tori Concert

Do you think just like that
You can divide
This
You as yours
Me as mine
to before we were Us
if the rain
Has to separate from Itself
does it say "pick out your cloud?"

---Tori Amos from “Your Cloud”


Last night we attended the Tori Amos concert here in Salt Lake. Mike willingly went with me even though he had no idea who Tori was or what her music was like. To prepare him for the concert I played a few of her CDs beforehand. After popping in the CD Under the Pink, I was immediately taken back to 7th grade when I first heard the album. Strange how, with each album we listened to, a scene from my life played out in my memory. I remember many a day going home after a bad day at school, putting on one of her albums and laying on my bed just listening to her and that piano. I believe many of her songs literally got me through some of the most turbulent times of adolescence. I admired how fearless she seemed, exposing so much of her life through her music and lyrics. I adored her words and her talent. But I was a different person then. After listening back on her old music this week, I felt that perhaps I had outgrown it or that I had outgrown her. My taste in music has changed over time, just as my life has. I started to get the feeling that maybe her concert wouldn’t be as momentous as I had hoped. But as soon as the opening song reached my ear, I knew that her music, and yes, even her idiosyncrasies, still had a place in my heart. I may not agree with a lot of her ideas anymore, but I still appreciate her talent, because she undoubtedly has a rare gift. And the fact that Tori’s music has secured a spot on my life’s soundtrack won’t ever change.

So, the concert was amazing. It was my first Tori concert and she puts on an excellent show full of intense energy and fierceness. Her opening act was a solo guitarist by the name of Yoav, who had a remarkable sound. I told Mike that we needed to buy his E.P. and we had just enough cash to purchase it. I am eagerly looking forward to his upcoming album. Tori opened her show with Cruel from the album From the Choirgirl Hotel. After a few numbers in a silky green dress and dark hair (not sure if it was a wig) she went and changed into the most hideous silky, full-body, animal print get-up and orange hair. But I couldn’t hold it against her, because I mean, come on, she IS Tori Amos afterall, and she can get away with wearing just about anything. So, needless to say, I forgave her quickly and enjoyed the show. She played a lot of her old stuff, which made the crowd go crazy. She performed many of my personal favs, including Mother, Caught a Lite Sneeze, Cornflake Girl, and Precious Things. I also remember her playing Crucify, Pretty Good Year, Amber Waves, and Smoky Joe. She ended the night with Hey Jupiter, after a second encore. It was awesome to watch her play her “baby,” (her grand piano) as if it had been attached to her since birth. On some occasions she straddled the piano bench with one hand on the grand piano and the other on the keyboard behind her. Even Mike couldn’t disagree with her astonishing musical ability. We both had a great night….

Which is more than I can say for Conor and Jessica, our lovely downstairs neighbors who offered to watch Vessel for us. Apparently Vessel was quite the beast last night. According to Jessica, he was fine until he started to get tired, but he just wouldn’t go to sleep. He fought and fought to stay awake which made him downright angry I guess, and the exhaustion finally took over and he had a melt down. He cried and cried for nearly 2 hours until Jessica decided to take him up to our apartment and put him in his own familiar bed. He sobbed for about 5 minutes and then he magically fell asleep. We happened to walk in the door not more than 5 minutes after he eventually crashed. We met a frazzled Jessica sitting on our couch where she told us the story. This is a first for Vessel, so I feel very sorry that it had to happen to our friends. Lately Vessel has developed separation anxiety and has become very apprehensive towards strangers. My little boy is changing so rapidly. But it’s times like last night that I think we scare our childless friends from ever wanting to have children of their own. Sorry guys.

Anyway, here are some pictures and videos from the concert. Enjoy!




video

video

Uh-Oh Mommy...

Ever since Vessel became a part of our family, the number of things in our house that have been stained, smeared, stretched, ripped, and broken have increased by nearly 100%! Okay, I don't know the actual stats, but it's quite a bit. Here's a lovely example:

Mom's praying angel statuette from Mexico given to her by her best friend Candace is now in 2 pieces.

Moral of the story: Don't let your kid play with your sentimental breakables.
My excuse: Didn't know he could even reach it, the little booger.

You know it's going to be a good day when....

...you pour yourself a bowl of chocolate Marshmallow Mateys and the marshmallow to cereal ratio is exceptionally higher than usual. Mmmmmm, marshmallows......

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Weekend and Stuff

On Saturday our friends Bekah and Chris from the Boise area paid a visit to our humble abode. Chris and I have been friends since high school and have kept in touch over the years. He married his awesome wife Bekah while Mike and I were in Japan. This past weekend was our first time meeting eachother and I have to say, it was not awkward in the least. :) It was like we had been friends forever. Well, we knew each other through blogging, emails, and such...so it didn't feel like I was meeting a total stranger.
And they came bearing gifts! For awhile Bekah had been talking about a secret crochet project on her blog and I was completely touched to find out that she was making it for me. I had no clue. She made me one sweet looking beanie with a matching short scarf. The girl is talented I must say. She also crocheted Vessel some poo (yup folks, you read it correctly..POO) and stuffed it. It looks just like the Japanese cartoon swirly poops! It is the coolest thing ever. We laughed so hard about it! Vessel really likes it and has been playing with it for the past 2 days. They also got Mike the DVD Evan Almighty, so we will watch that soon and I'll have to give it a review on my entertainment corner blog.


I really love the design and colors she used.

Unchi! (a.k.a. "poop" in English)

Vessie playing with his new found friend.

They are the most thoughtful people ever, am I right? I wish we lived closer. I'm glad you guys stopped by on your long journey home!

The rest of the weekend went pretty fair. I finally got my new shirt I ordered from Layers in the mail. I went to Robert's craft Saturday night to pick up some nifty boxes to use for my YW lesson. I swear I could spend all of my money at the craft store. Just let me loose with a thousand dollars in that place and every penny would be gone, no joke. I spent the rest of the night painting the boxes and tying bows on them for the girls. Well, that's a lie. I spent most of my night playing Dr. Mario with our downstairs neighbor Gavin. I am obsessed with that game and I am always bound and determined to beat him! I mean, sure I've beaten the guy before, but it was pretty much not due to my skill, but rather due to stupid mistakes he made during the game. Here I was thinking I'm all hot to trot, but Gavin is pretty dang good. He's also competitive. But I like the challenge.
Sunday was so-so. I taught the YW lesson and later that evening we went over to the Green's to watch Church Ball, which, by the way, was the corniest show I've seen in a LONG time. I also played more video games with Gavin. I'm pretty much a total gamer now, but not quite as much as Mike.
Things here have been going pretty well. Now that Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas is well on it's way. We've been trying to figure out what to do about a Christmas tree this year. We're just afraid that Vessel will pull it onto himself trying to grab the ornaments. Although, Chris mentioned we could buy a little gate to put around it to keep Vessel away. Mike joked that it would have to be an electric fence to keep him from getting near the tree, and it's true because that kid is so curious right now and wants to get into everything. Our fake tree finally gave up the ghost last year, so we will probably buy a real pine this year...that is if we get a tree at all. Maybe we can just get a small one and put it on one of the end tables out of reach. Also, I've been trying to figure out what to get Mike for Christmas. We've both decided to avoid the overabundance of gifts this year. We were thinking one gift each, maybe 2 tops, and then a few things for Vessel. So yesterday I was probing Mike trying to find out what he wanted so I'd have somewhat of an idea and he told me that for his gift he wants me to donate to a charity or to a homeless shelter. I thought that was a great idea since both of us want to shy away from all the Christmas gift hype this year and really focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I haven't even been out shopping this season. The stores are always a madhouse this time of year and I can't stand all the crowds of people and noise and lines. *grumble grumble* I'm planning on making most of my gifts anyway, so I guess it doesn't really matter. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Food is Good

Here's a plate o' food for ya. Turkey with cranberry relish, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dill carrots, frog eye salad, mashed potatoes, and a roll. That was just my first plate.

Baby's first Thanksgiving! I got these for Vessel because I thought it would be really funny for him to eat Thanksgiving dinner out of a jar. But alas, he ate what we ate, as he usually does at the dinner table.

Pie sampler plate. C'mon, you gotta try 'em all, right? Karen's delish homemade pumpkin pie, Mike's chocolate cheesecake, pecan pie, and another pumpkin pie. See, I had to compare the store bought pumpkin pie to the homemade pie. Consider it a science experiment. Don't judge me....I like sweets, okay?

Here we are on Thanksgiving day, happy as can be.



Thanksgiving Treats!

Cranberry Relish with Ginger


My husband is wonderful. He's always willing to cook, and I think it's awesome that he loves to try new recipes. So for thanksgiving he decided to make cranberry relish instead of that horrid cranberry sauce out of a can. :) It turned out very good. There are several alterations to this recipe, but this is the one we used.

Cranberry Relish with Ginger

The lively, clean flavor of fresh ginger is compatible with most fruits. In the market, look for ginger that is hard and heavy, with an unbroken peel that is thin, light colored, smooth and shiny. To prepare ginger, peel it with a vegetable peeler or paring knife before using as directed in a recipe.

Ingredients:

1 orange, unpeeled and preferably
organic, scrubbed
2 bags (12 oz. each) fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger

Directions

Cut the orange (with its peel on) into 16 chunks and discard any seeds. Working in batches, combine the orange chunks, cranberries, sugar and ginger in a food processor. Pulse to chop finely and evenly, stopping once or twice with each batch to scrape down the sides of the work bowl.

Transfer to a storage container, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to develop the flavors. Bring to room temperature and stir well before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Make-Ahead Tip: This relish improves when made in advance, since the flavors have more time to marry. Prepare it up to 3 days before serving.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series,Thanksgiving,by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).