Friday, September 30, 2011

Heber Valley Ancestors

Today Grandma wanted to go on an adventure to Heber so that she could show the girls the graves of their ancestors. I've been doing quite a bit of family history work on my mom's mom's side of the family—I'm now in charge of the family newsletter—and have been finding out all kinds of interesting things. I was excited to get to tag along and learn interesting things about the ancestors on Andrew's side of the family.

On our way up to Heber we stopped by Sundance to go for a little walk and enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Miriam has been dressed up as Dorothy for most of the day—aside from going jogging with me in the morning, eating lunch, and taking her nap. This afternoon as soon as she was up from her nap she wanted to get back into the Dorothy costume, turn some "guzik" on, and dance in the living room. Guzik is music. I suppose the same rule she applies to monkey (gunky) also applies to music (guzik)—it's some funky assimilation thing she's got going on. Anyway, Somewhere Over the Rainbow came on and Miriam ran off to the kitchen, scrounged around in a drawer and came back to the living room with a little whisk.

She held that whisk up to her mouth like a microphone and started singing along. It was so sweet, but by the time I got the camera the song was nearly over. I only caught a few seconds of her singing.

Potty training update

I haven't written about potty training for a long time, at least that I remember. Things have been going relatively smoothly around here—Miriam still has the odd accident (usually when she's too busy or too stubborn to go potty) but she's in underwear 100% of the time. I wake her up to go potty at about 11:00 PM and then she's good for the rest of the night. She'd probably be able to sleep through the night (and stay dry) if it wasn't for the ice water she insists on getting before bedtime.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Burrito Baby and Halloween excitement

Our neighbours have had Halloween decorations up since August. Thanks to them, Rachel has been begging to decorate for Halloween since—you guessed it—August. Grandma said we can decorate next week, but she brought home some special Halloween socks for the girls that she found while she was out shopping today. Miriam was so excited to try hers on when she woke up from her nap but she simply couldn't figure them out—they were stuck together in the packaging so she thought Grandma had only given her one sock. Silly Grandma.

Miriam toddled up to me clutching both pairs of socks.

"Mimi wear Mimi's sock. Mimi wear Rachey's sock, too!" she told me.

"You can only wear your socks," I told her. "The other socks are for Rachel."

Looking exasperated, Miriam explained, "Mimi's sock one foot. Rachey's sock won-an foot."

Won-an is how she says "another" or "other."

"Oh! Do you think you only have one sock?" I asked.

She nodded.

"Watch this!" I said, grabbing some scissors. "If we take a pair of scissors and cut this tag off then your socks multiply and you have..."

"Twos socks!" she squealed delightedly.

This momma knows how to work some magic! It's a pretty neat trick, if I do say so myself. Miriam happily tried on her pair of socks. They have little jack-o-lantern faces on them. She loves them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Forget-me-not: Be patient with yourself

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the broadcast of the General Relief Society Meeting. The first few talks seemed a little dry—I could sense drowsy people all around me—but then President Uchtdorf got up to speak and he gave a magical talk. It was absolutely fantastic—one that will not soon be forgotten. If you haven't watched it yet I suggest you watch it now, whether you're a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not. It's too beautiful to ignore.

(And just so my non-LDS friends know, President Uchtdorf was a pilot and he makes an aviation joke every single time he speaks, even if it's just to say, "I suppose you're all wondering what this has to do with flying a plane..." It's kind of his trademark, and it makes the first few minutes of his talk terribly funny—"Perhaps that's why I like it so much!" *laughter*—but only if you know that he does that. He's also German but he speaks English impeccably well, though with a slight accent.) it here or below:

Saturday, September 24, 2011


There's a quote circulating around the vast, wide internets that is actually quite beautiful. It goes:
When you are exasperated by interruptions, try to remember that their very frequency may indicate the value of your life. Only people who are full of help and strength are burdened by other persons' needs. The interruptions which we chafe at are the credentials of our indispensability. The greatest condemnation that anybody could incur—and it is a danger to guard against—is to be so independent, so unhelpful, that nobody every interrupts us, and we are left comfortably alone.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A little hike in Dry Canyon

In eleven years here (give or take, but mostly take due to time spent living elsewhere) we've never gone hiking up Dry Canyon. First of all, I can hardly believe that my family has lived here for eleven years. Secondly, I can't believe it was ten years ago that Andrew took me to the homecoming dance at our high school, a fact I was reminded of on a friends Facebook page (because her husband took her to that very same dance ten years ago as well—apparently it was a good dance). Third of all, why have we never gone hiking up here?! It's, like, right up the street!

Last year we took the girls up Dry Canyon to take some pictures but we didn't quite get any hiking in so when my mom asked if we wanted to do anything with her tonight I suggested we visit the canyon. 

And so we did. But we didn't stay long because the sun was already starting to set by the time we left the house. Still, I think we managed to squeeze in just about the right amount of hiking for the girls (half an hour or so) and we got to watch the sunset, which was beautiful.

Dorothy I and Dorothy II

This morning the girls decided they'd play dress-ups. Rachel chose to dress up as a pioneer so I helped her into her bonnet and buttoned up her dress and she skipped off to the living room to begin playing. Miriam and I dug around in the dress-up box for a while until we found the Sleeping Beauty dress—she hadn't worn it before today but she let out a longing sigh when she pulled it out so I helped her into it and bunched it up in the back and tied it with a hair elastic so it wouldn't fall off. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Poodle-cat, poodle-cat, where have you been?
I've been to see the veterinarian.

Poodle-cat, poodle-cat, what did they there?
They put me to sleep and then cut my hair!

Poodle-cat, poodle-cat, what did you then?
I thought I'd hide 'til it grew in again.

Poodle-cat, poodle-cat, did you succeed?
No, I did not; I have daily needs.

Poodle-cat, poodle-cat, what do you mean?
If I didn't need food I'd never be seen.

Poodle-cat, poodle-cat, I can't help but scoff.
Watch it or else I'll scratch your face off!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Field trip to Cabela's

Well, we did it. We took our cub scouts to Cabela's. We hit up their aquarium first so that we could identify our five varieties of fish but only got as far as catfish, rainbow trout and bluegill before we were dead in the water. So I grabbed an employee who was wandering through a fishing pole forest to help us out. He was Santa Claus in a fishing vest if I've ever seen one. 

He asked what I needed help with.

"I'm here with my cub scouts and we need to identify five types of fish, but I know nothing about fish, so...I'm hoping you can help us with that."

"Well," he said, "You've got your big fish, your little fish, and your medium fish. Then there's your cold water fish and your warm water fish...and that's five, right?"

"Right...but I mean...could you tell us what kind of fish are swimming in the aquarium?"

"Naw, I'm just kidding! Of course I can!"

He then proceeded to name the fish like I name letters of the alphabet. It was rather impressive.

Horsey drink

Playgroup has really taken off, if you can call our little group "taking off." There are usually only three moms that go with their kids (sometimes up to five) and more than half of us are more than usually late, but that's the way it goes! It's so nice to get to know some of the mothers in our neighbourhood a little better and feel like we are actually forming friendships.

Miriam loves to swing—she could swing for hours if I'd let her...and if I would keep pushing her that long.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good things | Bad things

The other day Rachel wanted to make a list of good and bad things. I'm not sure why; it was her idea.

Good things:
  • Yes doing dishes
  • Make bed
  • Sharing
  • Being happy
  • Clean room

Bad things:
  • Not doing dishes
  • Throw tantrums
If only I could make her live by her list. 

Blocks with Miriam

On days when Rachel is at preschool, Miriam and I get to enjoy a little time together, which is nice. Today she wanted to play with blocks. She gets such a kick out of building towers.

Happy Birthday, Andrew...and a Ghana announcement!

Sheesh—I promise we'll stop celebrating Andrew soon. His birthday is officially over after today so I don't think we'll be celebrating any more. 

What is this—day 3?

As I already mentioned, my family came over for dinner last night and since we had people over and knew we wouldn't be home tonight we decided to open presents a day early. He opened Rachel's present first—she was so excited she could hardly stand it. She hand-picked his present...from the basket of Easter candy that's been sitting around since...well...Easter. She drew a card and wrote DADDY on it and wrapped up the candy and tied a nice pink ribbon around it. She was so proud.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rachel's talk

Rachel gave her first talk in primary today. She helped me write it earlier this week and we've been practicing all week. When we'd practice I would say the first half of the sentence and then instead of repeating it she'd say the second half of the sentence. I kept reminding her that it was very important that she remembered to say the first half of the sentence, too, because I'd only be whispering in her ear and she'd be talking into the microphone.

She did great today—and remembered (most of the time) to say the whole sentence. She only forgot once.

"President Wilford Woodruff also believed..." I whispered.

And then she just said, " teaching with the spirit," instead of the whole sentence.

Other than that, she remembered to say everything! Grandma came to watch her give her talk, as well as our whole primary class (we're in the senior primary and Rachel is in the junior primary). It worked out well because our lesson today was on the Holy Ghost, which is what Rachel talked about, too, although her topic was technically missionary work.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Little Women, the musical

I took both the girls to see the musical of Little Women today—tickets courtesy of my friend Becky who was in the show (and who did a great job!). My mom and Josie came, too—it's Josie's favourite musical. I was torn for a while about whether or not I should take Miriam with us. She had been complaining about being tired for a while and Andrew said he'd put her to bed but she was devastated at the thought of being left home alone (shades of Amy coming out, I suppose) so I relented and let her tag along.


Today I was talking to our neighbour who has one child (of seven) left at home—and he's fifteen. She was hosting the neighbourhood "stroll and snack" (where you stroll to a neighbour's house, visit and eat) and there were children running all around her yard, shouting and laughing. It really transformed our street. It was back to how it was about twenty years ago—before all the children grew up. That's really how long our street hasn't changed—all the houses are full of empty-nesters—most of them the same families from twenty years ago—and our two little girls are the only children on the street. My neighbour's eyes got misty as she told me how quickly children grow up and how you miss them when they do.

"That's funny," I told her. "I was just crying because my kids aren't grown up."

And it's true. I just about broke down sobbing (as in, I cried, but not ugly-cried) while making dinner. My family came over to celebrate Andrew's birthday (yes, again). I was making pizza dough and Miriam had found some popcorn and kept throwing it into my yeasty water while Rachel was running around like a hooligan.

Neither of them napped today, which meant that I didn't get a nap, either (even though we all tried—they were up so late last night!) and I was so tired and they were so tired and crazy. They were like ticking time bombs—the slightest thing would set either of them off crying. Apparently I was faring no better. It was just a bad afternoon.

"Yes. That's kind of how it goes," my neighbour assured me.

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two thumbs

If sucking one thumb brings so much pleasure then sucking two thumbs should be twice as good, right?

Miriam decided to try this theory out the other day.

"Twos thumbs!" she said, and jammed them both into her mouth.

According to Grandma she then proceeded to say the rhyme Here is the Church, all the while mumbling around her two thumbs.

Pizza and Pyjamas

Even though Andrew's birthday isn't for a couple of days, we went out for his birthday dinner yesterday. Birthday dinners are a tradition in Andrew's family but Grandpa is leaving for Germany on Sunday (which means that both of our grandpas will be in Germany!) and we have a Ghana reunion party to go to on Monday. Friday night just worked.

Andrew chose to go to Terra Mia, of course. It's an Italian restaurant and the food is so authentic it's like a little slice of Italy landed in Orem. The owner is from Napoli and he imported his oven from Napoli as well, so the pizza is the real thing. I was shocked to find a bunch of bad reviews of the place on Yelp.

All I can say is that those who gave it bad reviews must have never been to Italy. 

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in my first real Italian pizza, too. We spent nine days in Italy on our honeymoon and ate pizza every single day. Actually, my first slice of pizza was in Ciampino, at a little pizza shack by the train station on our way to Rome. I got potato pizza and it was fabulous—we just got a couple of slices to go. My next pizza, though, was a regular margarita and I wasn't all that impressed, though Andrew was in pure culinary bliss. 

Bikes and Blocks

We found a great deal for a brand-new bike in the KSL classifieds. We also found an even greater deal on a used bike. After a moment's deliberation we decided to spring on both bikes. We have a little tricycle that my sister gave Rachel for her birthday last year—but it's missing a part so the front wheel skips a beat every so often when you're pedaling and it makes it rather difficult to ride. We're hoping that a "real" bike will help Rachel be able to ride better and faster. She wants to be able to ride a bike so badly. So far it's been pretty rough.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mimi's cutting

Yesterday I made stir fry for dinner. It was my first meal since having my last wisdom tooth removed on Monday morning—I had been living purely on pudding and Pirate's Booty in the meantime. Stir fry was kind of a big leap but I was hungry. Plus, it was on the calendar (I recently started calendaring my monthly menus again because I can never think of what to make for dinner) and I didn't have any other ideas.

While I was stirring and frying the vegetables I did not notice Miriam waltz into the kitchen and drag a stool over to the counter. I had the fan on and the vegetables were sizzling and it was just loud. The first thing I remember hearing was her sweet—and very excited—voice squeal, "Mimi's helping!"

I turned around to see my 22-month-old baby wielding a steak knife!

She looked a little offended when I snatched the knife away and scolded her.

"We don't play with knives! What are you doing up there?!"

"Mimi's cutting," she offered timidly.

And indeed she had been.

We have been hoarding garden vegetables on our kitchen counter. My cousin brought by a bunch of tomatoes on Sunday and earlier on Tuesday a neighbour called and invited Grandma to get some tomatoes from her garden as well—Grandma came home with a bag of tomatoes and two zucchini.

Miriam had pushed and pulled a stool over to the counter, opened the drawer holding the sharp knives, grabbed a juicy tomato and cut it in half. She didn't think I had any room to be upset—after all, she was helping me. She doesn't seem to understand that babies using knives is a big no-no. Apparently.

Rachel suggested we all look at the bright side by pointing out that "she didn't even cut any of her fingers off!"

I am happy about that last part.

Rachel the rainbow psychic

Late this afternoon we were playing outside under a foreboding black raincloud. It was so huge that it covered the mountains and so black that it looked like night and every so often we heard the rumblings of thunder echoing deep within its belly. I thought for sure we were going to be rained upon, and hard.

Somehow, though that cloud blew right over us and when we went out after dinner all we found was a big rainbow stretching across the sky.

Rachel was very excited about this because she had drawn a picture on the sidewalk of a rainbow.

"I knew there was going to be a rainbow today!" she exclaimed. "That's why I drawed one!"

All we got was a sprinkling of rain while we were admiring our rainbow. So much for that storm.

Monday, September 12, 2011

David's farewell dinner: a series of unfortunate events

After visiting with my Grandparents, we rushed home to get ready for David's farewell party. We hosted it at our house (well, Andrew's parents' house) but my mom brought most of the food, which was so nice for everyone involved because cooking is not my strong suit. I can bake alright but let's just say that everyone is much happier when I'm not the one cooking dinner.

As I suspected, Josie had a difficult time being in the backyard—she visited Lakhi's grave and mourned for a while. Today was a particularly hard day for this cat-loving girl because some vicious dog attacked Winter this morning, injuring her foot and scaring her up into a tree. Winter is anything but a wimp. Most dogs in the neighbourhood are afraid of her, not the other way around. But this dog was apparently huge and mightily ferocious. We now think it may have been the cause of Lakhi's untimely demise. 

Grandpa Layton

My grandpas share a birthday—September 8th—only they are seventeen years apart. My mom's dad died eleven years ago when he was 85. My dad's dad is still alive and just celebrated his 79th birthday. We went to visit him today. He has Parkinson's disease so visiting with him is kind of hit or miss—sometimes he is alert but most of the time he is not. He really is just a vestige of his former self, which is really too bad because he was a lot of fun before he started showing the signs of Parkinson's. I feel bad that my children—and even my sister Josie—didn't get to know the real Grandpa.

I'm sure my mom felt similarly about her dad, who had a stroke before I was born. I have a few pictures of him horsing around with me when I was really little but all my memories of him are of a fragile old man who couldn't walk unassisted, needed his food ground up for him, and who couldn't talk. He was my "old" grandpa—he didn't marry my grandma until he was 34 and my mom was his youngest child. This made Grandpa Layton seem, comparatively, very young. These two fine gentlemen were born two decades apart—one in 1915, the other in 1932.

Now it's my "young" Grandpa who can't walk unassisted, who needs help with his food, and who can hardly talk. It's really very sad. 

Today, though, we had a wonderful visit!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Homecoming queen

Okay, so she wasn't the homecoming queen, but she may as well have been for how beautiful she looked! After a busy day of re-filming some scenes for a movie (that she originally filmed for a couple of months ago) Josie needed to find a place to do her hair. My beauty parlour is always open...if not a little I volunteered to do it for her. 

Luckily for her Andrew gave me a curling iron for my birthday this year. And to think that he was just lamenting the fact that I had yet to actually use said curling iron. I often fully intend to use it but, let's be honest, my favourite hairdos are the ones where you wash your hair and then let it dry. I'm not very gifted with a curling iron. Or any kind of iron for that matter—ask Andrew when the last time was that I ironed any of his dress shirts. 

Anyway, I curled Josie's hair and luckily it turned out really cute.

Maybe someday soon I'll get courageous enough to curl my own hair...

Yoda is so wise

Flags lined the streets of our neighbourhood yesterday. The scouts put them up a day early out of respect for the Sabbath, I suppose, but it was certainly a good reminder about the tragic events we're remembering today. Rachel and I had a conversation about 9/11 because when she saw the flags up she wanted to know what holiday we were celebrating and was confused when I told her we weren't exactly celebrating anything.

"Why are the flags up, then?" she asked.

"To help us remember," I told her.

"Remember what?" she asked.

"Well, ten years ago some angry and misled people stole some planes and crashed them into some big buildings in New York—by the Statue of Liberty—and the buildings fell down and a lot of people died."

"Why did they do that?!" she asked.

"They did it to make us afraid—because they were angry. We call them terrorists because their only reason for doing it, really, was to make us feel scared, to make us feel terrified."

"Did it work?"

MPA Opening Social

It's so weird that Andrew is in the second year of his MPA program. Last year at the opening social I felt a little overwhelmed, which is silly since I'm not even the one in school, but I did! The second year students had all these fabulous tales of their summers and were talking about how difficult their first year had been and seemed so experienced and ready to take on the world in 7–8 short months. 

Now the tables have turned and we're in the second year crowd and, let me tell you, I still feel overwhelmed. We might have fabulous tales of summer and we may have talked about how difficult last year's coursework was but we are in no way experienced and ready to take on the world in 7–8 short months. I mean, we're totally ready for a job and everything and I know we've both learned a lot in the past year but we're still just two naive kids pretending to be adults. 

I have a feeling I'll feel that way until I die of old age. I keep expecting to wake up one day and magically feel grown up but I am slowly realizing that that's never going to happen. 

Anyway, this year's opening social was so much fun! They had some bouncy houses, a parachute, a slip'n'slide and sumo wrestler suits! My girls were immediately drawn to the messiest activity—is anyone out there surprised? You shouldn't be.

Heber Valley 2011

The girls got up early Friday morning and sat in the front room on the camping gear. I don't know what time they got up. I got up at 8:30 and found them there.

"MOM! Good, you're up! I don't think we even have time to have breakfast. We'll have to eat breakfast at camping," Rachel told me.

Then I dropped a bomb on her—Daddy was at school and we wouldn't be going camping until Daddy returned from the aforementioned activity. Both girls showed me their well-practiced "sad" faces but I forced them to eat breakfast at home, anyway. And thus began what was potentially a very bad day. The girls were so antsy to get on the road and had a hard time containing that energy. It spilled out of their every seam, mostly in the form of fights, temper tantrums, and general ill-will. 

After Grandma and Grandpa left it got even worse. Somehow the girls had been under the impression that we'd all be waiting for Daddy to come home from work so when Grandma and Grandpa left early it kind of shattered their world. I promised the girls that Daddy would be home soon but they spent most of the interim crying/chanting, "Camping! Camping! Camping!" anyway.

It was a happy, happy moment when Daddy came home. We loaded up the car in two minutes flat and were on the road before you could say, "Get in the car." Literally. The girls got into the car the minute he walked into the house without so much as saying hello to him. They passed him on the threshold from the garage to the house and buckled themselves in while he and I loaded the car. No last-minute nagging necessary.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Case in point

Rachel got up at 7:30 this morning.

She went to sleep well after 10:00 last night.

She just ran out of her bedroom screaming frantically because she dropped her Chapstick and it fell under her bed. I only got that out of her after spending several minutes calming her down because she was so distraught about this that I couldn't understand a word coming out of her mouth. From the way she was blubbering I thought an axe murderer had crept through her bedroom window or something.

It is 9:51 PM.

Why, why, why is she still awake? Why?

Rachel screams so effectively that when she cries out in the middle of the night I jump from my bed and run to her side before our neighbours call the police to report an attempted murder. It's that bad. Truly.

When Miriam cries out in the night I drowsily roll over, hoping that she'll go back to sleep. Sometimes she does. Sometimes she doesn't. When she doesn't, I stumble sleepily to retrieve her and she immediately stops whimpering and says, "Hi! Momma hold you! "

I have to coach Rachel in Lamaze breathing to get her to calm down.

I love 'em both, but seriously...I love 'em different.

Free day!

In order to secure some down time for ourselves we've begun what we've dubbed the "Sunbeam Swap." Today was the first day and so far I think it is the most brilliant idea ever thought of, perhaps even in the whole universe. But it wasn't my turn with the kids—it was my turn without the kids—so I would think that, wouldn't I?

Rachel's Sunbeam teacher at church came up with the idea, which is, that if we took turns watching the Sunbeams then we'd get free afternoons while the littler ones are napping. Brilliant, right? Today was Tracy's turn. She picked Rachel up from school (her son goes to Rachel's preschool, too) and so I didn't see Rachel from 9:00 in the morning until 3:45 in the afternoon.

I played with Miriam, scrubbed some pots I'd been neglecting, did yoga, and when Miriam went down for a nap I took a nap, too! The house was quiet—there was no fighting, no screaming, no crying. I spent most of the day just soaking up the silence and relishing the decreased number of hissy fits I had to deal with.

Of course, I have no idea how things went down at Tracy's house (but I'll find out next week when it's my turn to have all the kids).

Karen asked me if I was just enjoying myself and I said that I was.

"Isn't it nice to just have one around?" she asked.

"It is so nice. In fact, I don't know why I ever thought one child was difficult." Upon further reflection I had to add, "One child was difficult. Two is just so much harder that one seems easy now."

When I told this to Andrew he said, "Yeah, but think of who the one was when you thought one was difficult..." Oddly enough my mom said the exact same thing when I told her about this.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tomato Sauce

On Labour Day we took a quick trip to Santaquin to buy some tomatoes from Rowley's Red Barn. It was Grandpa's idea. Somehow I had missed the announcement of this field trip so Andrew filled me in on the details. 

My family came over for dinner on Saturday night because Andrew said he was going to make homemade tomato sauce—and who would pass that up? Andrew's parents would, that's who. They went out on a date but before they left Grandpa made us promise that we'd save him some sauce. So we did. About half a cup. 

Grandpa did not think this was fair so he decided that we'd get a nice, big box of tomatoes and Andrew would make homemade sauce and we'd freeze it and then Grandpa would have all the homemade sauce he wanted. One of the Rowleys of Rowley's Red Barn recently moved into his ward, so that's why he wanted to go all the way to Santaquin just to buy tomatoes.

When Andrew told me Grandpa's plot, though, he kept saying Panguitch instead of Santaquin. I wasn't sure where Panguitch was, so I had to look it up. It's about three hours away.

"What else do you want to do on Labour Day?" Andrew asked. 

"Well, buying tomatoes will pretty much eat up the whole day," I said. 

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Panguitch is three hours away, so that's six hours of driving time."

"Panguitch? Did I say Panguitch? I meant Santaquin."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Seven Peaks Party

So, the Stake President over the BYU ward that Reid is the bishop of happens to own Seven Peaks Water Park and although outdoor swimming season is usually officially over after Labour Day, he kept the park open and had a big end-of-summer, stake-wide swimming party. We crashed it. And it was awesome.

Startalk: start talking

Pretty sure I never wrote about Auntie Josie's Startalk banquet. And I'm pretty sure she's dying to get these pictures—I'm actually a little surprised she hasn't nagged me about it yet. It was almost a month ago, on August 9th, so the banquet was, once again, smack dab in the middle of Ramadan this year. It's a nice excuse to eat some delicious, homemade Middle Eastern food. They had a cook from Syria this year and she did a great job. 

She's got red hair and freckles, but is most definitely Syrian. I remember when I saw my first red-haired, be-freckled Jordanian taxi driver and I thought to myself, "Why is he wearing a gallabia? He should be wearing a kilt or something!" Little did I know then that not all Arabs have dark skin, hair, and eyes. 

Uncle Patrick has been helping cast "ethnic-looking" people for a New Testament movie and he actually got cast for a role as well. He's been growing his beard out and his beard happens to be red, probably due to our mysterious Irish background. He told me that they are going to make him dye it black for the filming and I was like, "Why? It's not completely unusual for people in that region to have red hair?"

Apparently the audience needs to recognize characters as quintessentially ethnic within just a few seconds which means that they play up a lot of stereotypes. If this sounds like stereotyping that's probably because it is.

Anyway, here's the beautiful Josie with her "graduation" certificate.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Funny Face II

Because everyone needs a picture with their face smashed up against the sliding door.

Or, in Miriam's case, screen. 

Talk to your children

I live in a conservative state. Sometimes I forget that.

Like yesterday when I was teaching the lesson during primary. We were talking about feeding the Lord's sheep and the manual said to share a story about a time you helped someone learn more about the gospel. I chose a story from my past—when I was I around my class's age. I was taking gymnastics and I didn't live in Utah so my brother and I were among the only members of our religion in the gymnastics class. My coach had noticed that we were a little different from the other children—we were quicker to obey, we used clean language, we had good attitudes, etc—and wondered why we were the way we were.

My coach was expecting a baby and, since she wasn't married, she was nervous about how she was going to raise this baby on her own.

"Wait, wait, wait!" A boy's hand shot into the air. "You can have a baby when you're not married?"

Oh, dear.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Musical Conversations

Tonight, Rachel and I were singing songs from Joseph (what else) before bed. We had just started singing...

Some folks dream of the wonders they'll do
Before their time on the planet is through

Some just don't have anything planned
They hide their hopes and their heads in the sand....

...when Rachel interrupted me to clarify the lyrics.

"Is it heads or hands?" she asked, "Because hiding your head in the sand doesn't make much sense. You'd get sand in your eyes. I think it's hand. You keep saying head."

Last night

After last night, I've decided that Miriam is teething. She slept in our bed because she kept coming into our room crying and when she did sleep she kept moaning—"Ow, ow, ow!" And she's still constantly chewing on her fingers. Lovely. She is the worst teether in the world. The absolute worst.

Anyway, at around midnight the alarm clock in the girls' room went off so Andrew bumbled around, trying to figure out how to turn it off. He succeeded, but not before pushing a lot of random buttons. The girls' alarm clock doubles as their CD player and if you push the sleep button it will play whatever CD is inside for 40 minutes—Rachel likes this button because it's easier than pushing power and then finding the play button. Andrew, though, had accidentally switched the mode button from CD to radio in his attempt to turn off the alarm, so at 12:40 AM Rachel started screaming.


My girls actually worked together

Miriam has been sucking on her fingers a lot recently—her whole hand, in fact. She's also been grumpy. It's possible she's teething, but when I asked her about this she denied it.

"Then why are your fingers in your mouth?" I questioned.

"Tastes yummy," she told me. "Fingers taste yummy."

Saturday, September 03, 2011


Sometimes, like last night, I'm ready for the kids to be ready for bed long before they're ready for bed. Yesterday was so horrible that by 5:30 I was saying, "It's almost bedtime!" just to keep myself sane. Andrew helped the girls have a long, luxurious bubble bath after dinner and then it really was almost bedtime. Still, the girls weren't asleep until nearly 10:00. They had to come out for drinks, cold cloths, hugs, kisses, saying goodnight to Grandma and Grandpa, and sometimes for no reason...I'd just see their heads peeking around the corner. And they were both grumpy as all get out which didn't help matters.

This morning I took a shower and instead of singing in the shower I composed a parody.

About bedtime.

Of course.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Professional Athletes

Yesterday we went to the opening social for this secret club that BYU has—the PLC. Andrew was told to apply, so he did, and he got in. We had no idea what it was but they only ever accept about 40 students per school year. Basically it's a closed forum where fancy donors to the university—members of the PLC—come and talk to the students in the secret club. They do one-on-one mentoring sessions and monthly forums and Q&A's over lunch.

LDS Philanthropies is in charge of organizing it, I guess, and the guy who has been running the program won't be in a few months. He introduced us to his replacement: John McCorquindale. He's from Calgary, Alberta, and he played football for BYU in 1975. He later went on to play in the CFL—the Canadian Football League.

At this point I leaned over and whispered to Andrew, "I wasn't aware we had a professional football league."

I know we play football in Canada and I know that our rules vary slightly from American football. But off the top of my head I can't tell you any names of the football teams in the alleged "CFL" or name any current players (though after looking it up, Calgary Stampeders does ring a bell). I have no memories of ever watching football on TV and seem to only vaguely recall the fact that my high school had a football team. We had a football unit in PE where some of us—not me—learned how to catch and throw a football (I still can't really catch or throw a football).

Football in Canada simply isn't what it is in the United States.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holey

In keeping with city ordinances we were obligated to bury Lakhi within ten hours of her death. This meant that we had to bury her on Sunday, which is our Sabbath day. We believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy, but this was clearly an ox in the mire situation...or at least a " dead cat in a cardboard box" situation. Instead of pulling an ox out of a pit we were placing our cat into one—it's August and we couldn't very well leave our poor kitty's dead body decaying in the summer heat! Besides, it would have been illegal to not to. So instead of keeping the Sabbath day holy we kept it holey. Very holey.

Meme and keezee bread

Sometime in recent history Miriam changed her named. I'm not even quite sure when it happened. Now instead of calling herself Meme (to rhyme with "theme") she calls herself Me-me (as in saying "me" and then saying "me" again). When she was really little, like days old, and we started calling her Meme I didn't really like it. Andrew did. And it's all Rachel could say so I guess she liked it, too. But I had been dreaming of calling my baby Mimi. Whether I liked it or not, my preference was overruled and thus Meme became Meme.

We've called her Meme her whole life. (That, and Miriam (because that's her name)).

She's called herself Meme for as long as she could talk. And then she started branching out to things like Memester and Mememmers—other nicknames we use—and sometime in the past couple of weeks she started calling herself Me-me. I think she likes it because she almost exclusively uses Me-me...or Mimi...I can't decide the best spelling for it.

I'm kind of heartbroken about it. Now that I've gotten my wish to have my little girl called Mimi, I kind of want Meme back. For now I guess we'll continue using both (or all, if you include Memester and Mememmers). Her language is still developing so there's no need to set a nickname in stone now.

The girls helped me make another batch of zucchini bread today. I first made zucchini bread a couple of weeks ago but Miriam kept calling it banana bread. We kept correcting her until she stopped asking for banana bread and instead started asking for "keezee" bread. She was so excited to help me make more "keezee" bread today. When we put it into the oven she asked if she could "Bite keezee bread?" but was told she'd have to wait until it had finished baking. After dinner when the zucchini bread had finished baking she wanted a "big piece—keezee bread!"

I don't think I ever want her to learn how to say zucchini.

Somehow, though, I think that even if everyone in our house called zucchini "keezee" she'd eventually learn the real word for it and switch over, just like how she switched her nickname on us.

Growing up is a cruel process. It takes all the cute away and replaces it with propriety. I suppose it's all for the best, but still...come on!