We will now return you to your scheduled programming...

I was just talking YESTERDAY about my life being good= no good blogging. Yes, just as fat=flavor, in cooking, drama= good post, in blogging. So folks, here's the drama. I was having a wonderful and spectacularly busy day today. Just puffing along in my busy-ness. Wake up-check, take shower-check, feed offspring breakfast-check, leave a note in the mailbox because I'm too much a wimp to talk to the saleslady face to face about my rejection of her-check. And so on... I finally show up at Miss Gayle's to work. I work 1-2 days a week at a daycare center giving sweet and patient Miss Gayle some respite while I watch the kids so she can go out and run errands. I had a fabulous day there! I told silly stories about Goldilocks- even falling out of my chair at one point to demonstrate the very well known story. I just love hearing little kids laugh. When Miss Gayle returned, we chit chatted a little and I went to the front door with Kailtin. As I reached for my keys... keys...hmmm...where are those pesky things? Uh... where are my keys? Looked under the couch...under the microwave... in the kids' cubbies... in the refrigerator... nope. no keys. I'm ok... this is fine... forget the afternoon I have lined up... no library-no swimming-no Blockbuster- dang! NO KEYS!!!! After grilling each toddler about placement of said keys, I call my darling mother-in-law to come pick me up so I can call Geico to unlock my car and slap me around for being so irresponsible. I would call from Miss Gayle's house but there are two problems with that.
1) Geico's number is inside the car.

2) There are six toddlers inside that house. When I want drama and sextuplets... I'll let the fertility specialist know.

Because the drama started when I was waiting for my ride (play broom makes contact with head- not good.) I decided to take little K and start walking towards my mom-in-law's. She sees us walking, pulls over, lifts up K only to realize neon yellow chewing gum wrapped around her legs. Where is that child's mother? Didn't she notice her poor daughter trying to slough off the sticky residue on her shoe? I need to talk to that...oops. Yeah, not a mother of the year moment (April ;)!!!) At my safe haven, I call Geico, get great customer service and hitch a ride back to Miss Gayle's to meet towing service. We only wait for about ten minutes. The towing guys hop out and get to work. Let me just say, everything looks easier and prettier in the movies. I was half expecting some stealth weapon to open my car, but it was just a glorified coat hanger (a metal one, not the nice matching ones I have in my closet). After some struggle, the guys unlock my car and I almost give them a hug. I pounce on poor Giuseppe (I named my car that because it looks like an Italian gangster car from the thirties.) and fumble around inside for the keys. hmm... not in the ignition... not on the seat... not in the crack stuffed full of goldfish crackers and something sticky.... My next question to the tow truck guys, "So do you guys also offer the service to find my keys?" One of them backs away chuckling while his partner is revving the engine impatiently. Well, there they go. Miss Gayle opens the door giggling. "Oops. I had your keys in my purse." There goes daycare provider of the year award... and she was doing so well.
*I actually do think Miss Gayle should get the award, please don't hold her accountable for the keys. I have washed three checks in my pants pocket from her and she has forgiven me every time! She is a saint. I hold Miss Gayle in the highest regards. You know I have true respect for you if I can dedicate a whole blog to you- that's love.


Quote of the week

"Behind every successful man, is a very surprised mother-in-law"

I would love to leave the post at that, but I'm such a blabber mouth... I first heard this quote at stake temple night- 268 in attendance, Napa Stake is just so awesome. I secretly think that everyone was there to get a glimpse of Russell M. Nelson. He was invited, but had prior obligations. It was so cool to see so many people I knew at the temple. I kept saying, "This must be what heaven is like, seeing all the people you love!" I was hoping someone would laugh by the third time I said it, but I am obnoxious enough to have no one encourage me, even if it was funny. I went to the Saturday night session of stake conference where Russell M. Nelson did attend. WOW. It was amazing! I was in the very first row, right in front of the huge, expesive flower arrangement. Elder Nelson could have spit on me if he had a lisp. That's how close I was! I got to shake his hand after the session. Then, on Sunday morning, we got a new stake presidency and were very blessed to hear from Russell M. Nelson again! He said some amazing things that I feel are too sacred to type on my goofy blog. When the Sunday session was over, I picked Kaitlin up and rushed to the front to get her a glimpse of a true apostle. He shook her hand, said, "I love you, baby" kissed her sweet hand and then said, "don't you forget that!" I about lost it there. It was just so pure and gentle! I will never let her forget what an amazing experience that was. I have just had a fabulous week... full of experiences and realizations. I love my life, I love my family.


Ooh La La!

Check out our new family pic behind the blog title! It's been a couple of years since our family has had a picture taken. I'm so excited we got a few great shots from my brother, the awesome photographer. He took family pictures of us at Tony's grove when we went to Utah. The setting was beautiful. I just loved the hike and scenery. Thanks, Kyle, for the awesome shots!



... the perfect definition of our trip. That, and lack of sleep, lots of driving, insane amount of fast food. I never want to see a menu with the word 'combo' on it again! My last post was almost a week ago, so I'm sure some of you thought I died, especially because I didn't leave any quirky comments on your posts either. We had a great time with some of our friends catching up. I got to use my 'hush money' at Costa Vida with Katie, Cindi and chillins. We had a fun time at Chuck O' Rama with my family. Plus, I got free ice cream at the Aggie Creamery- thanks Heather & Jeremy!!! It seems that all my vacations are about food. Hmmm.... maybe that explains my physique... I have lots of pictures to share and a few stories. Here are the pictures:

Katie and Ellie at Costa Vida, helping me enjoy my surrender to the right to sue by spending my hush money.

Jim and Jessica right after coming out of the temple. Notice Grandma in the background, "if you touch my granddaughter, you're dead meat, boy!"

Look at those gorgeous bridesmaids! Especially that chunky one in the homemade black and green dress.

Awww... look at the bride and groom in typical Utah wedding pose- it's a good thing they're way hotter than your average bride and groom, or this would just be redundant.

Jim a Jessica, a picture into the future.

We only look excited and mischievous going for the flowers on the cake because we haven't tasted the gum paste calla lilies yet. The 'after' picture's faces are too hideous to publish on the world wide web.

A whole roll of plastic wrap was used to encase Jim & Jessica's car. Honeymoon? Only if they can cut through the mass of food safe protectant.

You know, raw bacon is one of the hardest mediums to write in.
Now for a story: Jimmy and I decided it would be the best thing to buy J&J's wedding gift when we got there for time and space reasons. I thought it was a good idea until I was in Walgreen's the night before the wedding. It was 7:29 pm and I had a pyrex dish filled with a boxed cake mix, measuring cups and electric timer ready to go. As I was standing in line, I thought, "I cannot buy a wedding gift at Walgreen's... this is just wrong... it's my brother's wedding... I could see buying something from Walgreen's for a mere acquaintance, but for my brother?... it's not like they don't need pyrex... everyone needs pyrex... and the gift is cute... you know, themed and all... but Walgreen's, for goodness sake?!?!" After this internal dialogue, I turned to Jimmy and said, "I refuse to buy a wedding gift here. Take me to the Gateway." We drove to the Gateway and ended up getting a beautiful serving platter and set of four cheese knives at Z Gallerie. I will never underestimate Jimmy's husbanding skills, judging by the way he literally ran through the outdoor shopping mall with me heading towards a home decor store. I even think the male cashier had a crush on him... gosh, I love my husband.


Hush Money

My family and I went to Costa Vida today for lunch. It was really great Americanized Mexican food. We were all seated around a table ready to eat, when I realized I hadn't filled up my drink at the soda fountain. Jimmy and I decided to go up together, when I slipped on a puddle of water and fell, with all my weight landing on the arm fat that swings when I wave. (I was next to a tall trash station and caught my arm on the edge). I was totally humiliated and started crying with real tears, which only added to the humiliation. I never cry in pain like that, so Jimmy knew it really hurt me. He helped me limp my embarrassed self over to the soda fountain and he went to tell management that they had a spill that needed mopping. That was even more embarrassing! The manager came over and asked if I was ok. I nodded through my tears. We went to go sit down at our seats and finish our great food. While I was diving into the next bite of mango salsa, the manager came up behind me and slipped an envelope under my plate. After he left, I opened the envelope. It had a $25 gift certificate in it-whoo hoo! My first response? "Somebody else go fall so we can all come here for dinner!" Then whispered to my mom, "You know this is only hush money, right?"

Have fun will travel...

We set off on our long lourney to Utah yesterday for my brother's wedding. The trip was sooo fun!!! My mom rented a minivan and we packed it full with all the essentials, including the best car food ever (thanks, mom). We all rotated on the driving. While I was driving, my mom was in the back seat entertaining Kaitlin. That was the best part of the whole trip. They rigged up a temporary stage by tying a blanket from one ceiling handle to the other. I almost drove off the road from laughing at the antics of Meemo and Kaitlin. When the curtain was up, Kaitlin would coach Meemo on how to introduce her. Whispering very seriously, "Meemo, this is what you say- now very loudly- 'Ladies and Gentlemen! Now presenting Kailtin Annabritt Graham, with 5 little speckled frogs!!!' Now, that's what you say, Meemo." Then, the two would go off with their singing and laughing and goofing off. The drive seemed so short. Time flies when you're havin' fun. At one rest stop, we went to Arctic circle- this is holy ground. I always get the halibut, onion rings and cherry coke. This place is holy ground because there's so much grease, it sends you to an early death. On the way out, we paused to look at a Hostess Snack display. I saw a Snowball (a chocolate cupcake, covered in marshmallow coated in pink coconut) for the first time. I have only seen those things in the movies, so it was a milestone for me. As we were circling the ample display, my mom shouted, "Look! They even have Croca- doodles!!!" Now, look at this picture and tell me if they're called Croca-doodles...

We laughed so hard that it warranted a picture and gratuitous razzing.


I know,

I know- 2 posts in one day. Yes, I really am that pathetic. I just wanted to tell you a funny story because my last couple of posts have been lacking in the humor department and that's kind of a downer for me, just like gravity. You see, I probably read my blog more than anyone else. I re-read every post and critique and edit and especially laugh. I think I'm so funny! I totally get my sense of humor. As I'm sure everyone thinks their brand of funny is awesome- in my case, I'm right. I know I typed that all shamelessly, but that's because most of you don't know where I live. Those of you that know where I live- you know I would pacify you with good food and would silence your attacks on this utterly arrogant post.

So, the reason why I keep a journal is to document my incredibly stupid moments (I fill one journal a year), and to take notes at conference. I will not bore you with my conference notes, but I will tell you a funny story from said journal.

Saturday, May 20, 2006
Dear Diary,
Today I met a boy and I wondered if he noticed me, he took my breath away.... Wait a second! That's not my diary! That's poor Britney Spears' attempt at writing lyrics to a song. I listen to that CD way too much. Here's the real entry- I drove down to Santa Cruz to go to a workshop with my mom and to teach a cooking class with her. Before the cooking class I had an opportunity to attend two classes presented by other teachers.
The first class offered was a book list review. The class was taught by a high school English teacher. She gave us a list of good books to read. I was super excited! I love reading and it's hard for my to find books I like. So, I did take home the list and got crack-a-lackin' by borrowing the first four at my local library. I would like to tell you all four books were fabulous, but I am not a liar- I only exaggerate. List went in the trash.
The next class I attended was a woodworking class. I got to make an incomplete set of coasters and break two power saws. Needless to say, the teacher did not give me an 'A'. But, I did learn a valuable lesson- use the doe eyes when you break a man's power tools. The batting eyelashes scare him.
For the last class, I helped my mom teach a cooking class. I was in charge of teaching how to make The Super Smoothie. This is a smoothie I make for my family that is packed with veggies as well as fruits. My little way of stickin' it to the man. I taught the class, passed out the smoothie, told a joke and ended up with smoothie dripping down my face. Note to self: never tell a joke to a drinking customer.
After the workshop, I drove home to my dear sweet husband. I don't know why he's dear and sweet, judging by what I did to him next. This is what I wrote in my journal:
I drove home tonight and talked to Jimmy on the cell phone. I hung up with him before I got home. Then, I called back when I was parked in front of our apartment- but he didn't know I was home yet. I was talking away (he thought I was still driving, when I was really quietly unlocking the front door!) I got into the apartment and scared him to death! Then we started laughing so hard. The look on his face was soo funny!
I feel bad for that poor boy. I cannot tell you how many times I've hidden in the dark waiting for the right moment to scare him. Or poured a cup of ice water on him in the shower. Or my favorite- put pillows in the covers when he's in the shower and then jump out from the closet when he thinks I'm sleeping peacefully in bed. He knew I was crazy when he married me- but it was exciting back then. Poor, poor boy...

i LUV to cook!

Last night I catered an awesome bridal shower.

Here's what I made:
blue cheese stuffed grapes topped with roasted walnuts
bacon and scallion stuffed cherry tomatoes
almond butter crisps with Humbodlt Fog goat cheese and fig jam
Thai spring rolls with peanut sauce
mini pulled bbq pork sandwiches with horseradish dijon aioli and caramelized onion jam
citrus salad with avocado and candied almonds
Are you drooling?

It was so fun and super classy. I wish I had pictures to show, but I assume that the descriptions helped a little. I had a great time with April (the hostess) and just reveled in the good food. I just love cooking for people. It brings me true joy.



So, I'm gonna go and git spiritual on y'all. Place your hands on your monitor and you shall be healed, my sister! Oops... a little sacrilegious, no? Anyways, today has been a day of one hardship after another. I think I've kept a pretty good humor about it. And then, demondog ran away. I'll explain. My mother-in-law has a very cute but fast chihuahua, Carlos. If the door is open. He will run away. Hence, the nickname, demondog. He runs to a different location every time he gets out. He RUNS... demondog...evil... spawn of, uh, sorry... back to the story. So, after a very long and tiring day after a short sleepless night, I go to pick up Kaitlin at my mother-in-law's house. As we are walking out, Carlos bolts. Argh!! We hop in the car to follow him, but by the time we get to the corner, he's nowhere to be found. I'm driving around to the many spots we've found him before, but to no avail. Now frustration sets up shop like a middle aged woman in a midnight line for Breaking Dawn. It's starting to get tense in the car when- Tah Dah! A teaching moment rears it's beautiful head. I pull over the car to start my mini miracle. "Kaitlin," I say, " let's say a prayer that we will find Carlos." So, I say a prayer that sounds more like a passive aggressive woman starting an argument with a 7 lb. animal (I was really mad!). Then dear, sweet Kaitlin says a prayer that was so gentle and sincere. After wiping my chin from my huge piece of humble pie, we set off on the hunt, er, search for that demon do...... I mean, Carlos. After about 12.5 seconds and two U-turns, Kaitlin yells, "There he is!!!" I am sure there are still skid marks where I pulled over and a nasty stain on the concrete where Carlos was standing- I really think I scared something out of him when he saw me. I picked up the little bugger and handed him to Kaitlin. Being in her arms on the way home is definitely a good penance for a misbehaving little furrball. Before we pulled back onto the road, a prayer of gratitude was uttered by each of us. What a perfect moment to teach Kaitlin about prayer! I am so grateful for the teaching moments we are presented everyday in our lives. As I was in the moment, I felt like I was teaching Kaitlin, but I was wrong. I was learning from her. I am blessed to have had an opportunity to be taught by my little girl in her sincerity. I hope that I don't miss the next chance I get to be taught be my loving Heavenly Father in a valuable teaching moment.

P.S. Just in case my day wasn't difficult enough, this is what I came home to. I will ask one question and answer one question. First, my question: What kind of teaching moment is this supposed to be? Next, to answer your question: yes, it is chicken spread all over my newly mopped floor. demondogs...


You know blogging has taken over your life when...

... your sister-in-law leaves this note on your keyboard:

p.s. it also doesn't help my cause that my 4 yr old has to leave a comment on my post to get any kind of attention.


she's baaack!

Well, after using a hammer a chisel to chip off the final layer of dirt, I have found the time in between loads of laundry to tell a few stories from girls' camp. If you are the type to be offended or woozy from displays of bodily functions, please read the next blog in your list. You will not like what you are about to read.

As one of my responsibilities at girls' camp, I had to wake the girls up in the morning. Despite not being a morning person, this was my favorite part of the day. I loved the way they tunneled out of their sleeping bags like little moles and would give my the most unique faces. It just made me laugh. One morning in particular, I was feeling in a very silly mood. At one tent, I unzipped the tent flap and poked my head in to awaken my little moles. One popped out and said, "Stephanie! I don't smell anymore!" I suppose she had lost her sense of smell... but who could miss the next opportunity that I just took. My response: I turned around, stuck my round rump in the tent and let 'er rip. Then I said, "You do now!" With my mission accomplished, I zipped the tent shut and walked away to the sound of squealing girls.

One morning, after I had made my rounds, I went to the bathroom to make a deposit (some say 'take a dump', 'drop a deuce', 'drop the kids off at the pool', ' see the browns at the Superbowl', 'the morning meeting' etc.). As I was sitting on the can noticing the insufficiency of the lock, a poor unsuspecting girl opened the door. Here's the picture she saw: an exhausted woman with a sweatshirt pulled over her head pulled tight so that the mouth and nose are the only remaining visible features on her face. After she screamed and slammed the door shut, all I could do was laugh. When I finished up my business I came out, looked at the girl and said, "You may not want to go in there." I turned to her friend and stated, "I'm a morning person..." then with a wink and point, "...if you know what I mean." I crack myself up.

Because I was so busy during the day, I was hard pressed for time for personal grooming. One day, I didn't have time to take a shower. Let me tell you- by the end of the day, I was rank. I kept telling my tent mate how bad I smelled. "It's like something went under my arms and died!" I would say. She did not believe me. She only stated that it was normal to smell a little at camp. Well, while I was changing that night, I lifted my arms to take of my sweatshirt. She screamed from across the tent, "Stop farting!" I responded, "I told you I smelled- I just lifted my arms!" We fell into a fit of laughter and I went to take a shower.

I have countless other stories to tell, but I'm afraid people have been grossed out enough. I did have a good time and experienced true joy. I was able to bear my testimony in more ways than I thought imaginable. I experienced trials and triumphs. It was a great week.