Friday, March 30, 2012

A Happy Home is an Earlier Heaven

I hope you can see from this picture how much fun we had at our family reunion last week. No? Sadly this is the only picture I took. It's of Grandpa Paul with Cici on his lap watching everyone play in an indoor pool, bonding over water basketball. I think my favorite part of our reunion was watching people come together and get to know each other better. You would think that if you threw a bunch of weirdys with strong opinions together in a house for a few days, you would just end up with a big mess. But instead, we (the aforementioned weirdys) had a great time. We laughed, we talked, we played, we ate, we sang...pretty much the only thing we didn't do is sleep.

I really believe that a happy home gives us a glimpse of what we'll be doing in the next life. I will tell you now that heaven is going to be a very alliterative place, filled with family, fun, food (all vegetarian of course) and folk dancing. Lots and lots of folk dancing. Love you, family!

Monday, March 19, 2012

"And That's how you Load a Semi-Automatic"

Our 5 year wedding anniversary is coming up in June. On the wish list:

Custom made ring

Biometric fingerprint scanning safe

Spacious gun concealment shoulder purse

Smith and Wesson .38 double action enshrouded hammer revolver.

It also has integrated laser sights, although I'm not sure whether that would be useful to me or not.

Choices, choices. My list originally started out with just the ring, but then I went to a class to get my concealed weapons permit. My husband was nice enough to watch the kids so I could go to the four hour course last Friday night, and although the class went late, which I usually hate, I had a great time. We were waiting for the class to start, and the instructor asked us why we were interested in getting a concealed weapons permit. One guy started talking about a cougar he encountered in the woods while hunting, blah blah blah. Not sure why you need a concealed gun for cougars. I think he was just trying to sound cool. However, the instructor quickly one-upped him by talking about the time he saw two cougars and a couple cubs. Bam. It was clear that the instructor would easily be able to retain his dominant male status.

Actually, there weren't as many testosterone-filled men in camo there as I thought there would be. It was a nice mixture of men and women and people that felt compelled to ask the instructor in front of all of us about past crimes they had committed as we filled out our permit forms. All in all, it was a very informative class, and made me feel more confident about buying a gun. We went over a lot of basics: how guns work, revolvers vs. semi-automatics, gun safety, and local gun laws.

There were a few low points: talking about zombies, that urban legend being brought up about the guy who hides under womens' cars and slashes their legs, (, people) and the guy behind me who got all worked up because by law if someone hurts your family member you're not supposed to revenge yourself on the perpetrator by shooting him/her in the back. Guy: You mean that even if a robber shoots my family member, I can't shoot him???? Instructor: Not if he's running away or giving up. Otherwise it looks like vigilanteism. Guy: Are you kidding me????? Blah blah blah blah ARRRgh. Me: Eyeball roll.

I haven't turned in my packet and fee to get my permit yet. Guns are a serious thing with some ownership pros and cons to consider. However, I really want one. Should I forge ahead with this? 

Shopping in Texas:

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Best Part

Here we are, waiting for my brother Matthew to get back from his two year mission to the Philippines. I walked into the airport with my little girls and random members of my family kept popping up, until we had gathered a large and motley group of relatives and almost-relatives to welcome our long-lost brother. Matthew's plane was a little late, so by the time he arrived, his welcome balloon had floated up to the ceiling, his signs were a little ripped, and his cousins had frightened a large number of people as they lurked around the corner to surprise him.

Here he is!
(We edged out all the other people waiting and spread ourselves out front and center, so this other poor missionary is a little confused as to where his family is. )

He seemed so much older and more mature to me.

I was talking to my cousins about whether missionaries really notice who all is there when they arrive at the airport. I knew that there were so many people to welcome Matthew that it wasn't a big deal if I didn't show up, but I wanted to go because there's something about these very real moments that are very compelling. Like saying good-bye or a baby being born or having your heart broken, the times when you know that you are alive and living life, (even if it sucks) not just sleep-walking through the daily trivialities.

Speaking of real life moments, I was disappointed that Matthew's girlfriend Kellie wasn't there. I was really looking forward to seeing Matt's reaction to seeing her, and how they would handle their private/romantic/potentially awkward moment with an audience. Put it this way: it's like watching a romantic movie--a reeeeeaaaallly loooong movie--and not getting to see the moment at the end when the hero and the heroine get together. I remember when my sister Anna came home from her mission and her boyfriend (now husband) was there waiting at the airport for her. We all got to tease him and nudge him and make snarky remarks and ask if he was nervous. The best part was when she ran into his arms to give him a hug, with Dad's plaintive voice in the background:'re still a missionary! It was great. So yeah, I was deprived. Other than that though, it was such a great feeling to see Matthew again and gain back the very tall and skinny piece of our family that had been missing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Party Hearty

On Saturday my cousins and I had a cousin party. Is that redundant? So I don't know if it's a Utah thing or just a thing, but the women I live near are really into throwing very cute and craftily-decorated parties. Starting at the tender age of 1, their kids are treated to elaborate themed birthday bashes with correspondingly large guest lists. In contrast, the highlight of my daughters' first birthday parties has involved giving them a cupcake in their high chair to get messy with. Voila! Every kid's dream first birthday! It's been kind of an adjustment for me here.

I think it would be easy to say that these moms are in a competition, and they just want people to 'ooh' and 'ahh' over what they've done. I know there is that element, but I think more than that, these moms just want the party or birthday to be special, and decorating and cooking is a way to do it. The problem then comes when their friends are throwing these super cool parties and they start thinking that maybe they're not doing enough, and they're being a slacker mom, and wow, won't it be embarrassing when their friends ask what they did for their kids birthday and all they did was cake and ice cream. Then you end up with over-the-top parties and the element of competition creeps in.

It was so refreshing to hear a mom I know talking about taking her son to Burger King on his birthday to get a crown for him. I thought, here is a mom who is really concerned with making her kid's day special by doing what is important to him, not what is important to her. Some kids might care about having a ton of friends/"friends" at their party and intense food and decorations, but I don't think most kids do.

So back to my cousins party, I know we would be happy sitting around my unadorned table and talking for a few hours, but I decided to decorate anyway. Just like we get dressed up to go to church or to a wedding, I think there is value in decorating for special occassions and holidays to lend an air of importance to them. But it's hard to rein yourself in sometimes. I could have easily spent 50 dollars on a tablecloth and dressing up my house. But I borrowed a teapot, serving set, and vases from Mom, spent 5 bucks on fabric from the fabric store, 6 dollars on flowers, and everything looked really nice. (Although pitiful compared to my friends' parties.)

My Kitchen

Females of any age like tea parties

Look! I did a crafty decoration by my calendar!

Like I said, I knew I didn't have to decorate for us to have a great time, but it helped make our get-together feel special. So I'm glad I did.

Walking Marshmallows

Something about little kids in snow gear is just so darn cute. Something about the ratio of width of snow gear to height of child plus hat with ears equals the golden mean of cuteness.

So stinkin' cute.

Okay, enough cuteness. Get to work.

Dad needs some help.

Sammy? Sammy?

Monday, March 5, 2012

At the Local Bar

I wish I had gotten a picture of Austin and I at the bar on our weekend date. No, we haven't suddenly taken to the bottle. This was no ordinary bar, people. This was an oxygen bar. Now, an oxygen bar is run along the lines of selling bottled water. Why don't we charge people for an abundant resource that is readily available? It just has to look fancy and they'll pay lots of money for it! Normally I don't spend money on abundant resources that are readily available, but it was included in a Groupon we got. So we sat down, hooked ourselves up (Ahh...scented air!) and kind of looked at each other and grinned. We felt pretty ridiculous. Probably because we were paying (kind of) to breathe air and we looked like terminally ill hospital patients. I wouldn't recommend it for a first date.

But if you need a date night idea, we watched a movie later that night that is worthy of your time. I finally understand the appeal of Clark Gable. (Shout out to Aunt Kristi).

Ignore the dramatic and smarmy cover. It was not dramatic and smarmy, but fun and romantic. I think you'll especially enjoy the scene with the guy who picks them up when they are hitchhiking.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Welcome to my house!

Be sure to say hi to the Welcome Bear as you come in!

If you can make it past the 5 foot high snow drift in the driveway...

I would love to see you!

So I know you are wondering...what does one do with a 5 foot high snow drift in the driveway? Well,  when all one owns is a shovel, and one's husband is gone, one goes outside, moves a little snow around to try and incite the pity of neighbors with snowblowers, then takes lots of pictures and blogs about it. See you soon!