Goodbye to an OLD friend

Jimmy and I took our old car, Estelle, to the pick n' pull yesterday.
Poor old lady barely made it! Just a block, ONE block, away from the junk yard, the car wheezed her last breath... and then, a surprise! She kicked back into to gear to roll into the lot. When Jimmy parked the old mare, I swear, she muttered a curse as her last words. Upon entering the office, I knew we would have to maybe take less $ because poor Estelle would not perform. After doing all the paper work, the worker asked us to drive up to the office for inspection. Yikes! We went to go start the car... the engine would not turn over. I would just like to inform you that it was pouring rain during this whole tale (just so you could understand my suffering).
I walked very slowly back to the office in hopes that the engine would cool down enough to start. I peeked my head into the office and told the clerk we just had to, "empty out the trash".
The "trash" was minuscule pieces of paper and invisible dust to buy more time.
Jimmy took.his.time.
I sat in my car playing with my new iPod.
Finally, Estelle grunted into starting and Jimmy drove her the few feet to the designated inspection spot. The clerk came out and drew all over the car. Poor Estelle had never had a tattoo before, but she is feisty enough to pull it off. The office cut us a check and sent us on our merry way. In fear of the pick n' pull chasing us down to take back the check, we peeled out of the parking lot at near warp speed. So quickly, in fact, that we didn't get to say our sweet goodbyes to a car that served us well. So in hopes of redeeming my poor behavior, I write this post to honor sweet Estelle.
May she rest in peace.


Santa was good to me

Even if he was a few days late and masked himself as my bank...

Look what I got as a gift from my bank today!:
an iPod touch!!!
I bet you wish you were me right about now.


An unexpected Up

Tonight while I was finishing up a scarf I was crocheting for my niece, Kaitlin came in the room inquiring to what I was doing. I showed her the scarf and made mention of the fact that I was using leftover yarn from a blanket I had started making when I found out we were expecting her. The reason I never gave Kaitlin this blanket was because I made the first row so long that is was HUGE. I have just never gotten around to making it smaller. It was nice to take it out and wrap it around my sweet girl four times (I told you it was huge) and tell her all about why I made the blanket in the first place. I told Kaitlin of what I thought about when I was working on the blanket- how we would someday sing together and read together. That I would take her to school and piano lessons. I went on and on about the fantasies I had while preparing for her to join our family. What happened next was so precious and unexpected. My darling Kaitlin turned around with big tears in her eyes and said, "I didn't know you loved me that much back then." As I pulled her into a large hug, she just kept saying, "I love you, too!" and smothering me with kisses.What a surprise! I could not get over how touched she was by something so simple to me. It was sweet affirmation that what may seem like small moments are really the ones that are most important.

Now the true miracle? ... if I can remember this the next time she drives me IN-SANE. Parenting has it's ups and downs... the ups are so worth the downs.


April would be proud

I was out shopping at the local thrift store.
I have been looking for a couch with good bones to practice reupholstering on...

along came this beauty!
I love it! I talked the price down from $40 to $10.
Normally I am so non-confrontational, but bartering was fun.
Happy Christmas to me!



we did not make the cut for the Food Network audition. I wouldn't have it any other way, though. I would much rather be myself and not be selected than to be someone else and make it. Regardless of the outcome, it was a fulfilling, exciting and special experience for me. Thanks, April for coming with me and being so awesome!

Good news is this:
Because we still have a great idea that is unused, we would like to pass it on to you. We will be opening the restaurant "Twig" for one night in January or February. Tickets will be available for purchase that will cover a three course menu. If you are interested in being a part of this fun night, let me know- you can be on our VIP guest list!


We could be stars!

We did it! April and I tried out for a reality show yesterday!!!
Hence, the poll on the sidebar.
The show is called 24 hr Restaurant Battle on the Food Network. If we get on the show, I would do the cooking, April would do the decorating... folks, how could we not win?!
Here's a rundown of the day:
4:15am: wake up and drag Jimmy & Kaitlin to my MIL's to sleep while I teach Seminary. (the life of one car is green, but sometimes inconvenient)

5:50am-6:40am: Teach Seminary and beg kids to pray for me during the day. May have said at one point, "I know you guys may surprised that a fat chick would try to get on tv, but I am the funny fat one... and what would Goonies be without Chunk?!"

6:45am-7:30: Get Kate ready for school and send her off with a fat kiss. Start to get beautified, only to realize that I left my underpants at home... had to squeeze into my mother-in-law's panties. She is half my size. Cue scary mental picture and ashamed laughter.

8:23: freak out and threaten to pee my all too tight underpants.

8:26: hop in April's car for a fun and nervous ride into the city.

10:15: arrive at hotel and get into line behind (only 2!!!) other groups. I neglected to see the holding room that everyone was waiting in. The holding room was filled with lots of black/suit clad contestants. April and I were the only ones wearing any color (go yellow!)

11:15: got called in to the interview...

11:16-11:19: talked with the casting agent about how awesome (and humble, of course) we really are. Made an impression, I think. She fawned over April's handmade jewelry and loved our yellow. We answered questions about why, how and if we could compete on the show. At one point the interviewer asked April how much experience she had in the restaurant biz and April replied, "None." The interviewer did a double take and April's sparkle in the eye led to, "...but I know I would be good at it!" It was perfect comedic timing. I felt like the banter we had was like a well written play. We came in with a smile a left with a giggle. We were all us.

The rest of the day: floated on a cloud through the Mission district, thrift shop, BiRite Creamery, Marshall's and (my mother ship) Ross.

I am so happy with how it went. I have no regrets over anything I said or did (except for forgetting my underwear... who knows maybe too small panties are lucky). I truly felt the support of everyone that thought of us during the day... thanks all!

p.s.- I will update if we get a call back. Expect lots of exclamation marks...



For reasons I will share with you all later in what promises to be a great post...

I would love for you to vote on the poll on this here blog. The deadline is next week, where I will reveal why it's there. You may now take the time to go ahead and sit on the edge of your seat.


Thinking it's about time to post Halloween pictures...

I know, I know, it's almost Christmas...Dude, don't judge.

Little Red Riding Hood!
Detailed photo:
and a cheesetastic one:

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of Jimmy dressed up as Teen Wolf and me as Granny. That's only because my idea never came to fruition on account of tempermental husband and shrieking to 'leave now!' daughter. Maybe we'll have matching costumes next year.

"Maybe" as in:
kid: "Mom can I have Timmy over for dinner tonight?"
mom: looks in the fridge to find three eggs and a wilted bag of lettuce "Maybe..."

p.s.- I HATE blogger right now... it's not letting me load my huge smatter of pictures.


A little bit of gratitude... just in time for Thanksgiving

After being on crutches for so long, it has been really frustrating. I do have to admit that I have been pleasantly surprised with the specturm of people out there. Sometimes (yesterday), I will be going into a store and the person directly in front of me will neglect to hold the door open and it will slam in my face. Then I struggle to reach the handle while still holding the crutches in the crook of my arm... interesting picture, I'm sure. But then, almost immediately following a person's total disregard an onlooker will give the manner-less a dirty look and run to hold open the door.

It's pretty funny to see different people's reaction to the crutches. Some people ignore, others stare (mostly kids), even a few observers have a look of pity. Today, I had a truly touching experience. Kaitlin and I went to WalMart to buy some holiday supplies. Kaitlin pushed the cart down the aisles, zig zagging her way through crowds and bumping into more than a few fellow customers. After my patience and budget had run out (both very thin) I stood in line just thinking about the difficulty in which I would have trying to get everything up on the conveyor belt. Literally, just as I was thinking that thought, the woman in front of me just started unloading my cart for me. The gratitude in my heart was bigger than it's capacity, I'm sure! What touched me so, was that the sweet woman did me a favor unbidden, with a smile and so selflessly. I thanked her profusely.

Being on crutches has been a pain at times, but being able to experience small acts of kindness has been a true gift.


I believe in signs...

especially when there are four succesive signs working in conjunction with one another.
Four signs from the universe of why I should not have purchased an oreo cookie shake at the drive thru when getting Kaitlin* lunch:

1.) The cosmic way in which the attendant forgot to make the oreo shake and held up the entire lunch traffic behind me while I waited
2.) The kismet of a broken straw realized after leaving the window
3.) The karma of spilling a shake while trying to drink without a straw (all over a brand new just-took-off-the-tag-today shirt from Nordstrom)
4.) The serendipity of poking a hole in the bottom of the cup because of a hidden earring in the cup holder

*don't judge I got the apples and milk instead of fries and soda.... I, however, got a milk shake.



I was so bored today that I actually did a google image search of myself (give it a try- it's fun!) And guess which picture was the ONLY picture I could find of myself on google?!?!


I think I need to just start randomly posting fabulous pictures of myself with plenty of captions with my name. Good news... another image popped up, that of a smokin' hot Wentworth Miller. I really wouldn't mind coming back as him in another life.
Here's what I look like in real life:

Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham Stephanie Graham... you get the picture...


"Buckle Up!"...

would have been the perfect advice to me as I approached this new job of teaching seminary to high school students. It has been a bumpy ride. There are days when I feel like I am really getting somewhere (well as far as you can get at 5:50 am). And then there are days when I feel like I am crawling out of a crater where my lesson just bombed. I swear, when I drive away fom the church sometimes I can see a mushroom cloud in the rear view mirror.

Yesterday was a day from the basement... today was nearly opposite. Teaching teenagers is such a roller coaster of a ride! If just one kid is in a bad enough mood, it upsets the very fragile atmosphere. The whole spirit of the lesson can be chucked out the window at a single comment. Sometimes I think that I am too young to be teaching and other days I feel ancient. With all feeling involved in this calling, I have felt the FULL spectrum.

Every day you talk to me about seminary, those kids are different. You'd think that I was teaching several classes on a rotation! Inspiration, frustration, humility, pride, energy, exhaustion... all feelings of a seminary teacher. I do have to say that I have been truly blessed to be where I am, doing what I am doing and learning from these kids. They live in an ever changing world. Hopefully, I can still hold on tight and be happy when the ride's over.

p.s. We learned about John Tanner today- anyone heard of him? He is an inspiring man from church history that truly was the spirit of generosity and sacrifice.

here's an article about him too: The John Tanner Family


To my husband: my sincerest apologies

Last night, as I was brushing my teeth I heard a loud shriek. Hmmm... I wonder, when did I adopt a teenage girl? As I came out of the bathroom I made the realization that it was not, in fact, a young woman, but my burly husband that let out that screech. Apparently, there was a mouse hidden under a layer of aluminum foil inside a bin in the office. The bin that Jimmy was getting ready to load for the following morning (a seminary breakfast... we'll get into that later... but I digress).
The poor boy was seconds away from fulfilling the cliche of standing on a chair. I walked into the office with Jimmy cowering behind me. Well, maybe not so much cowering, as shoving me in front of him to protect the honor of my significant other. I have to admit, I heard a little rustling of the foil when I got closer. Instead of shrieking, I excitedly say, "Let's catch it! Grab the lid, we'll put it outside." Now, the bin was clear, so I knew I could put on the lid and shake the mouse around a little bit to get a good look. Can you tell I grew up with brothers? (Haahaaa... and Jimmy with sisters...)
After some finagling, I finally got Jimmy to agree and he stood back as I plopped the lid onto the bin. We carried the bin outside and carefully removed the lid to rid the bin of it's contents. I started with the things on top- a bag of paper plates, some stray napkins and a bon appetit magazine among other things (don't ask me how the magazine got in there because I have no clue). As I peeled back the layers in the plastic bin, I was getting to the bottom of the bin and the rodent's hiding spot. While I am working so bravely to protect our sleeping daughter from a rabid animal bite, Jimmy is huddled inside watching from the doorway. When I almost reach the bottom, my man gets courageous. He comes out and plops the lid back on to give the mouse a good shake. I look at the boy perplexed and he just shrugs, "I thought I could make it dizzy."
Haahaaa, "Why? so it could jump all crazy crooked on me?!"
Jimmy retreated to his job of holding up the door frame. Because I didn't want Jimmy to take credit for shaking the mouse out of the aluminum foil, I peered into to the bin and gave it a good shake myself. To the tune of my husband's raised eyebrows, I reached down into the bin to grab the foil in one swift movement. I then waited for the backlash of an angry, dizzy mouse to attack. But what do you know? Underneath the foil was... nothing.
Haahaa! It turns out that the foil was only rubbing up against the edge of the bin when we walked near it, making a little rustling noise. Jimmy exhaled in relief and said, "You're not going to tell anyone about this, right?"


HP 7

Buying my tickets for the midnight showing today. Any other takers?! I think I may have to cancel seminary the morning after... or just never go to sleep.
In other news, I am getting too old to pull an all nighter.


Riveting Story

I want to throw my crutches out the window.

The End



we had the missionaries as guests for dinner tonight. It was painful. I cracked jokes. Jimmy told mission stories. No response. I think they were nervous. I swear, it was the longest hour of my life.

on the up side, I finally perfected a caramelized apple tart.


Does anyone else...

  • only turn up the radio in even increments
  • have their dvds arranged by color so they look good from far away
  • dry off from the shower exactly the same way every time
  • want all the bad guys to die on tv, because that would be the easiest way to write them off a show
  • have an extraordinary talent for boggle
  • have to finish a book even if it is absolutely terrible
  • rip their bra off as soon as they get home... unless company is expected
  • eat weird food combinations (meatloaf + applesauce)
  • have an unnatural obsession for wedding shows
  • remember life's moments as: cartoons/musicals/ movie moments
  • have a real problem reading soft cover books
  • etc


I hope I'm not the only crazy one out there.


The touch of the Master's hand

Last night, as I was preparing my seminary lesson, I had the prompting to show a video. The video is on Netflix instant streaming, so I watched the video to time it and see what I remembered. I still got the feeling I should show this video, even though it was a little 80's cheeseball. After I had picked up Ashley this morning, we went straight to the library to get the video. Reaching up for the video, I came to the realization that the particular clip I was looking for was not on this video. Hmmmm.... So, Ashley and I continued to search for the video. We looked high and low. I wondered out loud why I would get a prompting for a video I could not find. So, instead of giving up, I just chose another clip to show. Ashley and I grabbed the nearest tv cart, until I decided against it. I would rather use the nice tv, so we moved all the carts in front of it to get to the flat screen. On the flat screen cart was a video. Can you guess what was on that tape?! Ashley scanned down the list of clips and said, "Here it is! It's number 7!" We pushed the tv cart to the classroom and I prepared to cue up the clip. I turned on the tv and vcr and what do you suppose? The clip was already cued up to the point at which I needed to start it. It is small moments like these that make me realize there are no coincidences and that there is a loving God that is keenly aware of us individually. How grateful I am that I was able to share this special moment with my sister Ashley, what a testimony builder!


Quick Fix

Jimmy and I watched an episode of Bones last night...
that show is what we call "diet tv"- there is no way to eat (without yakking) while watching. Forget exercise. I am all over sitting on the couch for another episode!



Many years ago someone said this and it changed me.

"Those that are the hardest to love are those who need it the most."


Montagues & Capulets

Jimmy and I need to buy two new computers, on the account that our laptop and desktop died within two days of eachother. I am planning on a Macbook Pro and Jimmy is planning on an HP.

When I told my dad of the prospects, he responded,
"Oh, so you're a divided relationship?"
And my brother Kyle's response?
"So, does that mean you'll be making fun of him in a year when his computer breaks?"
Oh, the life of a star-crossed lover...


A modern day fable

After going to the doctor's office, my Mother-in-law and I went to Panda Express to grab some lunch. We each got a Panda bowl, yum. As I was eating my food, I pushed the orange chicken to the side to eat the rice first. I always do that with my food- save the best for last. I had just finished most of the rice and was ready to stab into that first piece of chicken. Just as my chopstick went into the bowl, it lost balance and tipped over... all.over.the.ground. Argh!

Moral of the story: don't save the best for last because you may never get to it OR make sure there's a fro yo shop next door to sop up your sorrow with multiple toppings.


Kaitlin: Chip

Me: Ol' Block
Translation: I like to go shopping at Ross because it is awesome.



I'm starting to think it was a bad idea to stay up until 2:30 watching Prison Break.... then again, maybe not


Things that I didn't blog about but want to remember

  • doing four events in seven days- a true record
  • the Ramies' wedding and Stephanie's red, red, red hair
  • celebrating Kaitlin's birthday with the family. She chose bowling and Squeeze Inn, I'm so proud
  • starting seminary, gosh I'm tired... but very spiritually fulfilled. Can't forget Haley's face when the dawn of recognition appeared with the answer to a prayer or JP realized I care.
  • fabulous 9th anniversary day to be celebrated when I can cruise the town without crutches.
  • thoughtful friends and fabulous family
  • panic attack over the auction with peace following because comfort of a good cry on God's shoulder
  • lots and lots and lots of blood tests to see if having a baby is ever possible again
  • Larry's
  • helaman 4:13

I have so much to be grateful for, I just wanted to use this post to remind me. For the most part, it is a all jibberish to anyone but me. But, hey, that's who this blog is for. I am just glad I got some of it down before I forgot.


pity parties are not allowed at our house

even if I'm the one that chooses the color scheme and sends the invites.

1 1/2 weeks ago I fell. I got hurt. I'm still on bed rest.

You'd think after sitting with my leg elevated and driving privileges revoked, that my blog posts would be flying through the lines of the internet like a banshee on fire. But, alas, that fate was not to be. Netflix had taken me hostage. My blog finally paid the ransom required and here I am!

So to catch all 3 readers up with the circumstances, here's the story:

I went to a Time Out for Women conference with all the girls. We left early Friday morning to do some vital shopping before dinner and the first speakers that night. I was fueled to spend, dude. I had a large wad of cash just sitting on it's haunches, waiting to attack. At Nordstrom's I took a dent out of the cash and was giddy with the designer jeans and fabulous tops I had acquired. After a round of the mall, we were heading out for an early dinner. Carla and I made one last stop at H&M before leaving. At H&M, baby Blake (Carla's sweet nugget of joy) was getting a little fussy. So I went around the front of the stroller and picked him up. As I picked the baby up, the weight of our shopping bags pulled the stroller backwards. Instead of just letting it fall, I lunged forward to catch it. What's unfortunate about that situation is that my foot ad knee wanted to stay put while the rest of my body did not. So, my knee twisted and popped, causing my knee to buckle under my weight. I fell while Blake was in my arms! I know without a shadow of doubt that there were guardian angels there right at that moment. I literally remember him floating comfortably down onto my chest while I fell. He was completely unharmed. It was as if there were invisible hands that nestled him down onto me after I fell. There are no other words to describe it.

When I tried to stand up, my leg could not bear weight. So, I limped over to a lounge outside the store. As I was sitting there, I just kept praying. And I kept feeling that I really needed to go the hospital. But the internal conflicts started to rise up and fight for air. I can't ask these girls to skip dinner and take me to the ER!...maybe it's not that bad.... I have to make lunch for tomorrow...what about the girl talk tonight?... and on and on it went. I knew that I desperately needed to go to the ER. So, when Kelly and Carla came out of the store, I let them know what I needed. They took me back to the Hotel lobby to wait for Jimmy to pick me up. When he got there, I had come to terms with leaving for the night, but had fully expected to return for the following day.
After a night in the ER, I did not think it possible to return- especially because Saturday's plan involved a lot of walking. The AMAZING women left at the conference took care of lunch the following day for me. They called to see how I was.
I am seriously touched by all the help and concern I've received because of this accident. There has been an outpouring of love and service that I am truly grateful for. My family has helped so much as well. although it would have been nice to attend the whole conference, I do not regret anything that happened. I may get frustrated at times because of the stupid crutches and imbecile brace I'm required to use, but it has afforded me a much needed break from life. Recovery has been slower than I expected, but I'm okay with that... for now.


We haven't even had Summer weather-

but we're going back to school?!
Goodness, the Summer went FAST!
Here's to a fabulous year of:
  • early, frantic mornings
  • lost shoes
  • bed head
  • stinky, stinky lunch pails to clean out
  • every bleed you dry fundraiser available
  • thousands of tiny papers/projects coming home

and, drumroll please......

  • six whole hours of peace and quiet



When we went to Utah last month, the dog slept on the couch. Dog sleeping on the couch= Stephanie's late night-red eyed-never ending search on Craig's List for a replacement. We've already flipped the cushions, that's not an option anymore.

One thing I need to say about Craig's List- people's definition of, 'nice' are verrrry different.
On my hunt for the perfectly priced sofa, I have been led through all kinds of scary postings making me wonder a few things:
  1. Why must every picture be taken in terrible lighting?
  2. Who ever decided that forrest green was a good color for leather?
  3. What makes people think 'comfortable' and 'attractive' are synonomous? If it doesn't work for shoes, it won't work for couches.

It's been a fun journey looking through other people's cast offs... but when it's time to finally buy a couch, it will be new. And then I will make the dog sleep outside.


Days like today help me understand why some species eat their young.

I am still getting the cringe worthy feelings deep in my stomach. I hate those feelings... the ones where I think of something I said or did to embarrass myself. I am sure that most people do not remember the stupid things I say or do, but I seem to hone in on the negative things that are part of a great moment. One event I did ran perfectly smooth except for the fact that one guest wanted their meat more well done. It was so embarrassing. All I could think of was that feeling when I thought of that particular event. Otherwise, the clients loved the food, raved about it and gave a hefty tip to show their gratitude. It's so hard for me to think of mistakes I've made without being super hard on myself.

Today I have been uncomfortable with those cringes. Kaitlin has a friend from preschool and swim that came over with her mom for the first time. We have been friends for over three years and I was very excited about their visit. I spent lots of time planning a great lunch and my friend brought a tie dye kit. We had a great time until it was time for them to go home. The girls went outside to play while we talked and shared some great laughs. My friend put her younger daughter in the car as I went to get the girls. They were nowhere to be found. Hmmm... I looked in the trailer behind the house and didn't see them. I looked in the backyard and couldn't find them. In fact, we couldn't find the girls anywhere. My friend was starting to get worried, so I yelled out for Kaitlin with no response. We live on 40 acres in the middle of nowhere. There is no way someone could have taken them. However, my mind wandered there sometimes in the forty minutes we spent thus far looking for them. The neighbor kids were enlisted in the search. I screamed for the girls until I was hoarse and my friend was in near hysterics. How would you feel if you visited somewhere for the first time and lost your child in an expansive wilderness?! We stopped to say a prayer. Jimmy came home to help look. It was getting to the point we were all in tears. When the searching hit 50 minutes, one of the neighbor boys saw our girls. I ran to them very concerned. They were playing hide and seek. I said to Kaitlin in a near yell, "Didn't you hear us calling for you?!" She responded with, "Yes, mom, but we were hiding."

ARGH!!!! Does this child not know when the crazy mommy voice comes out?!?! Because that is what I was using when I was calling out for the girls! Fortunately they're safe.... but I am still cringing. And good luck with my friend ever coming back to visit.


A Rose by any other name...

I have so many nick names for Kaitlin. I never really noticed how many things I called her until one of her cousins heard me call Kaitlin, "Bubba". The cousin looked perplexed and said, "Why do you call Kaitlin 'Bubba'?" Hmmm... I don't know the answer to that. I do know that is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Here are Kaitlin's many names:

Little Bit
Little Bean
Little Miss
Sweetie Pie
Baby Girl
Precious Little
The Girl
Little Ham

The funny thing is, each one is said in a specific way/voice and some are in a specific setting. For example: Little Bean is said when I am opening the door for Kaitlin. I always say, "Hop in, Little Bean!" I don't know how it started, but I seem to say it automatically now.

What names do you use for your kids?


Submitting myself to torture...

...of the cheesy, overly dramatic type.

After a hiatus from Beverly Hills 90210, I decided to start the seasons from Netflix where I left off. I cannot get over the terrible music, hair, acting. I cringe during every single episode. Why do I continue to torture myself, you ask?! Because I wasn't allowed to watch it as a kid. The rebellion is just manifesting itself years later. Darn peer pressure...

*p.s. I am still in love with Dylan McKay, he's a stud.


Joys of Summer

Goodness, has it been awhile. I know you missed me! Our Summer has flown by faster than a jack rabbit on a date (gotta love the obscure movie quote-name that movie!). With all the many experiences and visits I have truly felt what it's like to be blessed. Enough mushy stuff... I've had a tear jerker video on the top post for ages! So, on to a fun story- one plucked from the many fun times we had this year. Our family went to Utah to attend a blessing for my newest niece. We had a great time. What a joy it was to see all the cousins together with their different personalities. All the girls loved playing together. Rebekah threw every ball in sight. Baby Gunnar was a gentle giant of a baby.

It was so fun to meet with my sister in law's family and enjoy the company. In the basement of their home, there is an awesome den with vintage board game deco and a real live Jelly Belly machine- if Kaitlin had an income, it would've all been spent one bean at a time...

As Kaitlin, Courtney and I were downstairs milking some more beans from the machine, we heard, "thump, thump, thump, CRACK!" coming down the stairs. All I could think of was how we would revive whatever child just rolled down the stairs. My first aid training came rushing back to me. I just wish it had come back in accuracy. The good news is that when I rounded the corner to see which child would suffer my lack of first aid skills, we saw a large, juicy watermelon smashed into bits. I peered up the stairs and saw Rebekah standing at the top of the stairs pointing with a sweet declaration, "ball". Once it dawned on me that there was no child in need of faulty first aid, I turned, looked at Courtney for a social queue. You see, it was her house. Was I to peal into hysterics like I wanted, even though there was sticky watermelon guts on her very beautiful carpet? Or, was I to look at dismay at a total mess? Luckily, Courtney I seemed to share the laugh at everything gene and we burst out in laughter that brought sweet tears.

Now, that's the kind of memory I like to take away from a family get together...


Buying stock in kleenex

I've been hanging out in the refiner's fire lately. I have to say... it's not all bad. This past week has brought more amazing blessings and experiences than I could have imagined. I have such gratitude for Heavenly Father's knowledge- he knows where I am, what I'm doing, what I need. The only problem hanging out in the fire is that I am so emotional- I cry at the drop of a hat.
Exhibit A:


If I were a Disney character...

yesterday would've been accompanied by singing forest creatures and background village peasants harmonizing during the chorus. I had a day straight from the heavens! May I explain?... It's my blog, of course I can explain!

Once upon a time there was voluptuous and kind princess named Stephanie. She woke up one morning to the sound of a beautiful ringing noise. "Oh dear, she thought, that must be the sweet maiden Cammie calling from a distant land! I must go to her!" So princess Stephanie rose from her chambers and gracefully prepared for a day at the nearest castle. After dropping her child off at 8:30 in morn, Stephanie went well on her merry way to Castillo de Amorosa.
At the expansive castle, Princess Stephanie was able to give dearest Cammie a squeeze and continue up the turret steps. At the top of the winding stairs, a local of the castle dweller showed each room while the princesses listened in awe. Princess Stephanie and Princess Cammie thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the fabulous features... except for maybe the torture chamber. Seeing an authentic Iron Maiden gave the princesses the serious heebie-jeebies.
Although the princesses were not accepting of the castle's grogg, the famed Capri Sun sufficed. After a wonderful and informative meeting with the castle dwellers, The princesses attended a mid day feast at Boskos. There, they enjoyed lemon and herb grilled artichokes, garlic bread, field green salad, the best ever pasta with marscapone and fresh tomatoes- a feast fit for a king! The princesses were not sufficiently stuffed, and the local frozen sweet shop was calling just as a dove cries for her mate.
Princess Stephanie and Princess Cammie heeded the call of the shop in the form of quite possibly the best ice cream ever! Strawberry and vanilla swirled ice cream with white chocolate hearts and strawberry filled dark chocolate hearts. It was then that Princess Stephanie bid Princess Cammie adieu to continue on her pleasant journey!
Having such a wonderful mid day jaunt provided Princess Stephanie with the energy and enthusiasm to continue on with some other princesses in the area. After a 13 minute primping ( I know the princess is phenomenal!), Princess Stephanie met up with her fellow princesses- April, Lynette and Amy for trip to the largest kingdom in all the land, San Francisco!
With stunning scarf (she pulled it off), brazilian earrings and sparkling shoes on her feet, Stephanie joined the other ladies in partaking of her second feast of the day at Frachino's Ristorante. The second feast of the day from the far away land of Italy! Upon the princess' plate was insalata capreses, bruschetta, freshly made pappardelle, leeks, prociutto and mushrooms. A feast that was sopped up with crusty italian bread!
The court jesters extended an invitaion to the ladies and they accepted. So, onto the presentation of Beach Blanket Babylon! There, the princesses enjoyed themselves thoroughly. There was music, laughter and crazy big hats! If an Italian feast a show by the jesters weren't enough, the second ice cream cone of the day for Princess Stephanie made it nearly complete. A cafe around the corner provided our heroine with hazlenut biscotti and grasshopper pie ice cream.
During the dessert course of the feast, the princesses were excited to hear of the new prince to be born any moment. after a thrilling trip to the far off kingdom of San Francisco, the princesses stopped at the castle Kaiser to visit Carla in the midst of her child bearing.
There, Princess April coached sweet, strong and amazing Princess Carla through the journey to become the mother of a son. The experience was asacred and special one for all. Stephanie sincerely appreciated being there to be part of a miraculous and beautiful occurence. It was a highlight of her life and especially precious because she will never get to experience for herself again. What an amazing day in the life of a princess.
And they all lived happily ever after!


Look what I made!

Still working on Kaitlin's room... slowly but surely. The last thing to do is the headboard. Once it's all done I will post multiple pictures. But for now, I want to show off this handy work.

This Little Red Reding Hood silhouette will go in Kate's room alongside a Jack and the Beanstalk silhouette. I will post pictures when I finish- goodness, I really need to get crack a lackin'!


Congratulations to Jimmy!!!

I am so proud of my dear, sweet husband. He graduated last night with his Bachelor's in Business Management.

Here's the story behind the day:
We woke up early, early to get to the HP Pavilion by 9:00am to drop Jimmy off for registration. We went to turn around and received a concerned call from the graduate. He said that the information from his counselor was erroneous and the graduation didn't start at 10:00am, but at 1:30pm!!! We were having family coming in to town for the graduation and there were already well on their way to the venue. Plus, we had a reservation at a restaurant for 2:30... there was no way we were going to make that reservation. After much scrambling and cell phone usage, we got all guests to the Hotel Sainte Claire for brunch and cancelled the reservations for later that day. The hotel was very accommodating, elegant and delicious! I highly recommend it. Then off to the graduation where there were over 1,000 graduates... we counted. And guess what?! They read every.single.name. It wasn't too bad (only because I took Kaitlin outside to ride up and down the escalators for an hour) After much waiting and listening, Jimmy's name was read and we got to cheer for 1.5 seconds before the next name was read- It was thrilling. I cannot tell you the emotions that went through my head at such a rapid pace. My heart is swollen with pride, love, reminiscence and pure joy. I cannot believe the journey that we have shared together. He has been strong, patient and hard working. Congratulations!!!


Girls' Camp Recap

I go to our church's girls' camp annually and just have a total blast every year! For the fourth year in a row I have been able to work with the 16-18 year olds. My FAVORITE! I just love giggling and goofing off. Here are some of my favorite moments from the week:
  • I love dogs. I have always been a dog person, which usually means cats are not on my list of priority animals. Actually... I kind of hate cats. Not like I would hurt a cat, but I just suppose I have too much of a self esteem issue to like a pet that hates me. When I went to the craft shack to make a little something for Kaitlin, the craft leader and very good friend of mine came to me laughing. She started by apologizing to me. Apologizing for not sticking up for me in the exchange that had just occurred. You see, two of the girls in my unit (group I was a leader of) came to the shack looking for a gift for me. While the craft assistant, another good friend of mine, was sifting through buttons she made a sarcastic comment about a hideous cat pin. The girls took the sarcasm as truth and were convinced that I loved cats, especially when on an enameled pin circa 1986. They excitedly snatched the pin and decided to make a ring for me out of it. My loathing for cats nearly matches my inability to wear a poker face. So my friends who worked in the shack knew there was no way I could receive a gift without looking ungrateful and appalled at quite possibly the ugliest ring ever. Their warning was fair- my reaction was not. I spent the week jumpy just waiting for the presentation of a gift that I knew would require a fake-genuine smile. I practiced every night in the mirror. On the final day of camp, the moment had come. Two of the sweetest girls came to me with a darling little gift all wrapped up for me. I cringed (I think only on the inside) "Well," I thought, "here goes nothing..." and I cautiously opened the gift. Inside the carefully wrapped package was a huge, amazing, perfect for me ring. It was so beautiful! Those girls had set up the story from the very beginning! They had the craft girls tell me about the pin so I would be surprised. I had no idea and that is was made the gift even better.
  • One morning, I woke up groggy and stumbled my way into the kitchen in our lodge. Everyone else was sleeping soundly, so I quietly grabbed a croissant and sat among the snoring girls to enjoy a moment of semi peace and quiet. As I was silently putting pieces of the croissant in my mouth, I noticed that it smelled terrible. I kept sniffing at it, but the smell was faint. Then I noticed it was not the croissant the stunk, but my hand. As I put my hand to my nose I took a perplexed and lengthy sniff wondering how it come to this point. Then the previous night's sleep dawned on me... I had slept fearful of keeping my bunk mate awake. Rather than let out loud and copious gas from the heavy meals I had been eating, I would hold my cheeks open every time I felt the urge to let one go. So, instead of a loud noise to accompany my rumblings, there would be a near silent whoosh! Once I came to the realization I had indeed been eating a fart croissant, I did three things in this order: 1) Laughed very loud, 2) Ran to the kitchen to wash my hands, 3) Sat down and ate the rest of my croissant.
  • Some how, I had let it slip that I am terrified of aliens. I am truly afraid of alien movies and those silly fair trinkets with the alien heads on them seriously freak me out. One night, I walked out to the car to go get a cd with one of the girls. When we came back to the lodge, the lights were all out and I heard a strange clicking noise. Out from behind the the table came a thing crawling at me with a glowing, freaky head. I got so scared that I pushed the girl I was with in front of me and was ready to book it. She started screaming and I was ready for the little green monsters to take me away. After a few more moments the girls finally turned on the light and I saw that the alien was really just glow sticks and a head lamp on someone crawling all over the ground. I was really shaken up, but I felt really bad for the girl I pushed in front of me. I am sure that if I had the ability to speak I would've yelled, "Take her!"

p.s.- they got it on video... just waiting for that one to pop up on youtube.

I think I'll save the spiritual stories for tomorrow.


Tough Stuff

I am in charge of the sixteen to eighteen year olds at an annual girls' camp for our church. I've had the honor of cooking with one of my YCL girls (YCL= youth camp leader), for eight weeks. It has been a blast. At first I was nervous because it was part of a disciplinary action taken from some events last year. She is not a bad kid at all, but just had the unfortunate situation of not living up to my expectations. I tend to be pretty tough on those poor girls.

Well, my nights cooking with this amazing girl were just fabulous. I had a great time doing what I love and getting to know her even better. I know this year will be a complete success! Honestly, last night being my final night cooking with her was sad for me. It was nice to spend some one on one time with one of the greats of the upcoming generation. It makes me sad to think of all the things teenagers are going through these days. Just going to high school is a war zone. I admire all those that get through it alive with their self confidence and values intact.

Now for a funny clip from my favorite high school movie:



We LOVE the new hike we've been going on lately. I could do without the copious amounts of cow pies... but the view is worth it. Unfortunately, I do not have one of those fancy-scmancy cameras to take a really great picture of what I see in real life. You're just going to have to believe me when I say it's amazing!

p.s.- I recommend waiting until you get to the car to have a picnic... wind+cowpies+thistles=cranky mommy


It was nice to have a funnel...

We scattered my Grandmother's ashes at sea over the weekend. We scattered my Grandfather's ashes nine years ago on the same battleship. Things have changed (for the better) on the battleship and it was very pleasant to have the ashes not blow back in your face. Ha!
We really enjoyed our day in the city and on the boat. I could've done without the seven miles of walking! Although I am a natural at exaggerating- the seven miles is no tall tale, folks! I actually did walk that much in one day. I would not recommend it, especially if you are required to be pleasant to out of town visitors...
One attempt at doing a panorama picture... what I find funny is that the sailboat was going the same direction, so it looks like they are twins! Uncle Steve, Mom and Uncle Paul

Another try at panorama...
Our fat and happy little tug boat. It follwed us around like a little puppy.

Alcatraz from the front and back.

Under the Golden Gate bridge.

When on a boat, it is a requirement to get a picture of a port hole. I threw my mom in there for good measure.

Going under the Bay Bridge