You can never be overdressed

Kate opened a savings account today- but not before she put on her Sunday best and sprayed a copious amount of hairspray... On one square inch of her hair.
I love this kid.

Here's to 2013

This past month was a doozy, folks... Just one wrong thing after another. Everything that I had carefully planned and orchestrated had at least one glitch. In fact, this Christmas was probably the worst we've ever had. We had the missionaries at our house for Christmas day. When told of our woes to that point, one of the elders asked what I needed to learn from these experiences. Honestly, I cannot even think about that. It seems that we get hit with something else every time we try to take a breath from the previous issue. It has actually become a bit comical.

There was one point where there was less than a week's turnaround on bleaching nearly every item in our house because of lice (a gift from a cousin) and the flu (that one was a secret Santa). We had just received a bag of groceries from my mother-in-law because we were all down and out. A day later, we got to return the favor when their whole house got sick. Our oven broke in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner, an event client showed up an hour and a half late- resulting in not-to-my-standard-food. And the list continues. Looking back- I suppose it's funny. Funny, because we're all healthy now... fingers crossed.

A wise woman told me this, "You are doing these things on a two way street, but you only have control of your side. Don't get too frustrated when the other side doesn't follow the rules"

The good news is- when we all throwing up, we were together.
When Kate had lice, she sat in my lap for the treatment.
When the food was less than best, they didn't care.

Life is good and boring makes boring stories....

I just hope I learn my lesson before I have to bleach everything again.


Entirely unorganized post of a crazy (busy) lady

It has been way too long...
there is so much happening in our lives that I should be blogging everyday. Buuuut, there is so much happening in our lives that I don't have the time to blog, er, I do have time, but do not make blogging a priority anymore. SO, quick little recap of the goings on in The House of Graham:
  • First week in October- We went to GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!! I am thrilled we got to go because this event was on my bucket list. Because we have now done it, does that mean I am going to die sooner?!
  • Jimmy and I have been attending Foster Parent classes and are well on our way to becoming foster parents! I am thrilled! We have been working hard to reorganize our home to welcome new additions (for a time) into our family.
  • We attended the Napa Valley Film Festival. Woo Hoo! Second year in a row Jimmy won tickets- it was a blast! We even met famous people and may have had a 20 minute conversation with a few of them! Of course I was witty and sophisticated... something that rarely coincides- the stars were aligned, I tell ya!
  • Jimmy is doing well with YouTube. He just recently celebrated his fifth year making videos!
  • I have been working hard in Kate's class room enjoying the time- especially teaching the kids "Big Booty"
  • Also, I've been working hard at the Day Care- We have a baby there now! The first I week with the baby and all the the preschoolers was fun. I do think that having a child vomit on me every day for four days running was a definite test...
  • Kate has been doing Girls On The Run. This is an afterschool running program intended to build young girls' self-esteem and get in some exercise. She loves it! Unfortunately, she had to skip the 5K because of health issues that shall be cleared up this week.
  • Our family attended a pancake breakfast at the firehouse to benefit Foster and Adoptive children. We got to see people we loved! (and some really cute firemen) 
  • Halloween was good- Kate's costume came together so quickly, I was really surprised at how good it came out. Our little girl was a mermaid (she specified- A Mermaid, not THE Little Mermaid) Too bad it rained and I was sick :( I did manage to dress up a little but pooped out before even trick or treating. Kate went with Jimmy.
Uhhhh... honestly, I love life. I am excited every day to see what the Lord has in store for me!


Sacrament Meeting Talk

It shall be a long post because I am long winded. Jimmy and I spoke on Sunday and I wanted to put my talk up so I can look back at it. Here goes!

Each Summer, we spend occasional Sunday afternoons going blackberry picking. There is a hike not too far from the church that has at least a mile of blackberry bushes overflowing on each side. When this hiking area was first discovered by our family, it was winter. To us, the privacy and sweeping views were enough to keep us happy. Imagine our surprise and joy when the thorny bushes started to bear fruit in the warmer months.
Our first experience picking berries would be considered humorous if watching as a silent onlooker. There would be a cheer when a large cluster of ripe berries was discovered, a yelp with every scratch on the arm and a whoop of triumph with every single juicy berry in the bucket. Periodically you’d hear louder screams when one of the family members would get tangled in the bushes, requiring outside help. Needless to say, our first trip to pick berries was a noisy one.

As our first Summer of picking had come to a close, Jimmy, Kate and I had very specific jobs- we had gotten efficient.

Jimmy reached up in the very high spots or within the tangles that only his long arms could reach.

I would plow through the middle or use a stick to hold a particularly tall branch low and still to help Jimmy reach it.

Kate would pick all the berries near the ground and had gotten to be an expert at quality control.

Not only had our jobs become defined, but the experience gained was valuable.

 First, we had learned to protect our arms. Even though it can get hot in the Summer, having longs sleeves was worth the heat. We would much rather sweat than be scratched.

Second, we always went together and worked as a team. Each of us brought our own bucket and found our own stick. Regardless of the fact that we had our own tools, we still helped each other in the tight spots.

 Third, we became familiar with the nooks and crannies with the very best fruit. We always knew to start towards the back of the hike and work forward because other hikers usually quit before getting to the end.

When one is in search of perfect, ripe, juicy summer blackberries, following those three standards will suffice. Have you ever tasted a fresh, perfectly ripe, juicy summer blackberry?  There is nothing like it.

Much is the same with life.

When we seek the sweet fruit of our labors, there is nothing like it.

And so, if the knowledge I gained to yield many blackberries at each harvest was applied to life’s experiences- I would hope to reap great benefits.

The first lesson we learned was to wear long sleeves to protect our arms from the scratches of the thorny bushes.

In the Book of Mormon, Helaman sends his sons Nephi and Lehi to teach the Lamanites. Helaman sent them with this admonition:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

When Nephi and Lehi were discouraged, they remembered what their father had taught them and gained the courage to continue teaching the people.

In Helaman chapter five, we read

And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did apreach with great bpower, insomuch that they did confound many of those cdissenters… insomuch that the dissenters came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance.. And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority… they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites… abaptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the bwickedness of the ctraditions of their fathers.

And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were taken by an army of the Lamanites and cast into aprison; And after they had been cast into prison many days without food, behold, some of the Lamanite army went forth into the prison to take them that they might slay Nephi and Lehi. And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about aas if by bfire, even insomuch that the army durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest some of the army should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned.


I love the scriptures.

I love the stories of strength and faith. This story is amazing.


I testify that it did happen. It is the truth, just as the rest of the Book of Mormon is the truth.


When Helaman testified to his sons about Jesus Christ- there was a promise included. Again, let me read some of what Helaman shared with Nephi and Lehi before their mission- speaking of the foundation of Christ Helaman states- “a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.


Heavenly Father’s will was for Nephi and Lehi to continue teaching when the Lamanite armies had the intention to take their lives. Because of their faith and foundation in the Lord, those missionaries were protected and DID NOT fall. Brothers and Sisters, to protect ourselves from falling, we must be prepared and build our foundation on the Son of God, even Jesus Christ.

The next truth we learned in berry picking was

the importance of team work.

As many of you know, I love to cook for people. We invite people to our home often to eat dinner. For each visit, there a list of tasks needed to be done before our family is ready to welcome our guests.

It used to be that we used the old standby method known as the stuff and shove. Although this method is primarily rewarding, the work required after the guests leave to get things in proper working order are not worth the haste in preparation. It wasn’t too long using this method before we decided to change our ways.

There are clear responsibilities for each of our family members when company comes to call. Kate is always responsible for the shoe closet, her bathroom, setting the table and general clutter control- because as most parents know, the clutter is usually the kid’s anyway.

Jimmy takes care of the vacuuming, assisting me in last minute kitchen prep and filling the water pitcher. That may not seem like a lot to do- but he is a busy man, because his responsibility is also to clean the kitchen after the guests leave. My first task is to give the rest of my family a good head start by making sure the house does not look like a bomb went off before they even get home from work and school. I also do the cooking.

When we know someone is coming to dinner, our family is well prepared because our jobs are pretty clear cut. Sometimes, I may have gotten ambitious in my menu choice and need extra help. In most cases, Kate and I pitch in with clean up. Sometimes there are just too many shoes spilling out of the shoe closet for our little girl to handle……………………

that’s my fault.

In all cases, we help each other where needed. It makes dinner with guests fun and relaxing because we work together.

When a family or ward family works together towards a final goal, great things come to pass. Our leadership and missionaries are planning a great event inviting the community to learn more about our beliefs. I encourage all to attend. I feel like this event is a culmination of all we have worked for in our ward goals this year. I am so grateful that we have been reminded often of what we should be working on to provide Heavenly Father with the best. We love God. We want to build up His kingdom. And we can do it by accomplishing the ward goals.

The ward goals set before us: To read the Book of Mormon, Hold Family Home Evening, Bring a name to the temple and invite a friend to church are excellent. Striving to achieve these goals has brought much joy to our family and to our ward. It is so important to work together.

The final lesson learned in picking blackberries was to know our route and endure to the end.

Jeffrey R. Holland shares this story in the October 1999 General Conference,

“Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. Thirty years ago, a little family set out to cross the United States every earthly possession they owned packed in the smallest space trailer available. Bidding their apprehensive parents farewell, they drove exactly 34 miles up the highway, at which point their beleaguered car erupted. The young father surveyed the steam, matched it with his own, then left his trusting wife and two innocent children—the youngest just three months old—to wait in the car while he walked the three miles or so to the southern Utah metropolis of Kanarraville, population then, I suppose, 65.

Some water was secured at the edge of town, and a very kind citizen offered a drive back to the stranded family. The car was attended to and slowly—very slowly—driven back to St. George for inspection. After more than two hours of checking and rechecking, no immediate problem could be detected, so once again the journey was begun. In exactly the same amount of elapsed time at exactly the same location on that highway with exactly the same pyrotechnics from under the hood, the car exploded again. Now feeling more foolish than angry, the chagrined young father once more left his trusting loved ones and started the long walk for help once again. This time the man providing the water said, “Either you or that fellow who looks just like you ought to get a new radiator for that car.” He didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the plight of this young family.

“How far have you come?” he said. “Thirty-four miles,” the father answered.

“How much farther do you have to go?”

“Twenty-six hundred miles,” he said.

“Well, you might make that trip, and your wife and those two little kiddies might make that trip, but none of you are going to make it in that car.” He proved to be prophetic on all counts.

Just recently, Elder Holland drove by that exact spot where the freeway turnoff leads to a frontage road, just three miles or so west of Kanarraville, Utah. He thought,

“In my mind’s eye, for just an instant, I thought perhaps I saw on that side road an old car with a devoted young wife and two little children making the best of a bad situation there. Just ahead of them I imagined that I saw a young fellow walking toward Kanarraville, with plenty of distance still ahead of him, the weight of a young father’s fear evident in his pace. In that imaginary instant, I couldn’t help calling out to him: “Don’t give up. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."


Brothers and Sisters, the blackberry jam in my freezer is more than that. That jam is the harvest of a job well done because of practicing the experiences and principles we learned. When those same principles in blackberry picking are applied to life- we reap something far, far sweeter.

I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who has given me the tools and knowledge to build a sure foundation upon the Redeemer. I am grateful for the loving family and friends He’s given me to work alongside with. I am indeed grateful for the desire and will He has placed in my heart to endure to the end. It is with this testimony that I close my talk in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


MBA, baby!

Hey Y'all!
We've has a fun filled weekend over here at The House of Graham. Jimmy walked in the graduation ceremony for his MBA! I am so proud of that man. Jimmy is the hardest worker I know- he is so compassionate and kind. He deserved the great day we had- even if he did wear his graduation cap backwards all day- hahahahaa!!!

And for fun I'd like to show you a before and after picture!
The first image is of Me & Jimmy at the Napa Valley Film Festival last Fall
The second image is of Me & Jimmy at his graduation- We're shrinking!


give him a little kick...

Because I was away for the weekend, Jimmy picked up Kate from school on Friday afternoon. Apparently, Kate witnessed a little boy hurting a little girl and felt like she should do something about it. Although she is bold and precise at home, my daughter is very shy in public places and around those she does not know very well. So, rather than approach the situation right away, Kate wrote a letter that I stumbled upon tonight. Her plan is to deliver said letter to the girl tomorrow. I was so touched by the note, that I decided to take the note and keep it in her memory box- but I know she would wake up first thing in the morning in panic if the note was nowhere to be found. My intention is to copy the note here so that I may be able to read it again. Here's what it says:

Dear Female,
I hope you're okay from Joseph twisting your arm. At first, I thought you guys were playing. By the time he let go, I realized what had happened. Don't let him treat you like that! You're not worth how he's treating you! Here are the ways not to get bullied:
1) Tell him to stop.
2) If he doesn't listen, give him a little kick.
3) If that doesn't work, tell on him.
4) If that doesn't work, pretend you're not scared and tell him you're not worth what he's doing to you.
And say these very words, "I am not worth this!" with faith and feeling.
I know how you feel! One time, a boy pushed me down to the floor and beat me up. I felt ashamed for not standing up for myself. So I know how you feel. I haven't gotten bullied this year yet! But I feel bad for all the other people who have to go through it. I'm probably going to help them. Do you want to be friends?

P.S. The key to being successful is believing in yourself! That you can do it! Give me the answer if you want to be my friend or not. Also, your first and last name. Plop it in my backpack at room 11 at the very top hook, first one by the door. My name is Kate Graham.

Word for word, folks.


Here's a good Stephanie story for ya:

In preparation to take a dear friend to the temple for the first time ever, I desperately wanted to get an oil change. That, and I had put it off for so long, I thought my car would cough up dust before we made it to our destination. Those new fangled lights and sounds that warn you of low tire pressure, low oil life etc, kind of make me anxious... to the point I want to jump out the door while driving, but the beeping warning of a door ajar makes me back off the ledge.

Because we have a lease, I like to get the oil changed at the dealership we got the car. When I called that morning, there was no availability to even squeeze me in for an oil change. Rather than chance it, I decided to go to another mechanic and give it a shot. Upon looking at the prices for an oil change, I looked wordlessly at the mechanic, turned around and went back to my car. I took a deep breath and walked back into the office. The clerk's raised eyebrows at my second arrival needed no explanation.

After a deep breath I finally sputtered out, "Whysooooexpensive?!" The patient/patronizing (he danced an awful lot between those two in this whole interaction) clerk stated that my oil was a special synthetic oil- so it cost more. I was willing to open up my trunk and make something "synthetic" out of whatever remained there from Kate's snacks, groceries, windshield wiping fluid, old socks- whatever! Anything to avoid the extreme cost of this oil change. In front of the man waiting patiently at the service desk, I proceeded to call my dealership and ask if I needed, really needed synthetic oil. Yes, I did call one dealership from another to try and negotiate a lower price. No, it did not work- I wasn't buying a car... you can't negotiate a lower oil change price through intimidation... unless you're a one Stephanie Graham!
As I balked rather unabashedly at the price, the (patronizing now) clerk flippantly said, "If you want to go to your dealership and pick up the oil and come back we'll do the change for twenty bucks."

Game. Set. Match.

So, I hopped jubilantly back in the car and started to dial the Honda dealership...the dealership I had already talked to three times that morning. And instead of continuing with the number I now knew by heart, I hung up and  popped on over to the jiffy lube across the street. I was glib. (Yes, I used that word... mostly in honor of the news flying around about TomKat lately) When the clerk at jiffy lube quoted me a price $30 more than at the previous shop- the lustre had started to fade- then, no!- I'll just go to the auto part store and buy the stuff I need! In a drive that took no more than five minutes, I had made up my mind and had returned to my previous glib-ness. The pride in my heart over my brilliance had just nearly floored me.

Walking into the auto part store with such gait makes many do stupid things. Not me. I went straight to the oil- excuse me, synthetic oil- aisle and grabbed exactly what I needed. When brought back to the purchasing desk, I was sure to ask at least twice that this was indeed the proper oil for my car. Two associates answered in the affirmative. I nearly skipped back out with the oil and oil filter. If my calculations were correct, after the price of the booty just acquired, I would save almost $30!!! I'm the shiz... that's right, I said it.

When I returned to the first mechanic and nonchalantly dropped two huge bottles of dang expensive oil on the desk, my face could not have split into a bigger smile. The clerk raised those stupid eyebrows at me again. Then after a long pause said, "Is this the oil they gave you?" In a kid who just snuck an oreo from cookie jar grin, I responded, "yep. I know the owner of the dealership- he takes good care of me." Now, in my mind I hadn't lied. There was sufficient space between my first and second sentence to be understood like this: Yes, they- meaning the auto part store- gave the oil. Pause. I know the owner of the dealership, he would never question my oil. He just sighed and said, "Okay." in a clippish kind of way. Almost like a parent that sees oreo crumbs in their child's teeth.
Because of that clippish way in which the clerk responded to my obvious nom de plume, I continued to dig myself a rather deep hole by tossing around other things I knew about the owner of the car dealership. I carpool with his wife. I call him by his informal first name. I think I might have even mentioned the dog's name. And that we might dog sit sometimes. And lost their dog...
You know, all things that created a foolproof and credible character map of myself. After talking slower and steadily quietly, I just gave up and sat down. I could not contain the bliss at my frugal stealthiness. When the mechanic called the make, model and year that represented my car, I nearly bounced my way over to snatch my keys. The thrill at my OPERATION: Synthetic Oil had nearly engulfed me. Then as I bebopped around town to get some last minute errands done, I had a serious flashback.

Almost like the way a movie montage plays across the screen, I saw the menacing eyebrows of that patronizing clerk. Over and over. Closer and closer. Like a zoom in and jaws music to match.
Then, it hit me. That was the wrong oil! Wait, no! It couldn't be... I asked twice. It was synthetic. It was a cool silver bottle. There is no way I got the oil wrong- no way!
So, with my tail so quickly between my legs I drove my car to Jimmy's work and proceeded to freak out. He came out to the car and we searched together in the car manual to find the proper oil to use. My fingers were shaking- for just cause, people... I. used. the. wrong. freaking. oil.

The next step in this almost too crazy to be real story, I had Jimmy call the dealership. I refused to talk to them. I did not, however, refuse to jump around in front of a calm, steady husband (while on the phone with the person of whom I lost a beloved pet!) trying to explain myself. Jimmy got off the phone with a grim face. My jumping ceased. I wanted the earth to swallow me up. The emotional roller coaster from defiance to triumph to being confounded then hysterical were taking a serious toll on my well being.

Jimmy's grim expression seemed to last for an eternity until he smiled and said, "It's fine. But don't make a habit of using that oil. The car is brand new, it will be okay. They just said to never go to another shop for your oil changes."

The relief was so pure that it gave me time to wipe the chocolate crumbs off my very glib face.


Girl's Camp & Goals

For nine years straight, I have attended a camp for young women as a leader. I have experienced many aspects of camp, but I have to admit that the job I have done for the past two years have been my favorite. Only because of the drama. When you work as leader at camp with lots of teenage girls, there is lots of drama. In the kitchen, which is where I worked this year and last, it is pure physical labor... like 6:00 am to 11:00 pm labor. But it is a labor of love and done with lots of laughs. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

All the kitchen staff had their own sleeping quarters that included a separate lodge. During the day, our rooms were closed and would get very hot. At the end of every long day, the cooks would meet in the lodge to have a devotional and chit chat. Because I sleep so poorly in the heat, on the way to each devotional, I would leave my room door open to let the air circulate. One night, as we were returning to the rooms, a fellow cook noticed a scurrying coming from my room. Out popped a raccoon! That fat thing scampered off to our screams then turned around and hissed at us!!! It was a very cruel raccoon. Would you like to know why? Because it passed up the candy I had on my night stand and favored my roomie's! The reason why that action was cruel is because I am trying very hard to lose weight. Oh, the irony. I did end up giving my candy to the poor cook that lost her candy to a hungry raccoon. But it would have been awfully nice to skip the step of even having candy in my hands!

While we're on the weight loss subject, I would like to share some of the journey I am taking. In the last week of January, I made the decision to work more diligently on taking care of my body. It is a gift from God and I have been treating it very poorly. Very, very poorly. With the mix of many small factors, I have found a balance that is bringing success. I am excited to share that I am 3 pounds short of losing 40 pounds!!! Isn't that just the bee's knees?! My goal is 100 pounds and then some. There have been many little things that happen to bring squeals (or even tears) of delight. I cried in the dressing room at Gap when I actually fit back into the clothes there. I have been happily wearing clothes that are nearly a decade old- with new accessories, of course...

Also, something funny happened to me. Before I got married, my income was such that I might buy myself many nice things. Of those nice things, I would purchase fine jewelry. Of that fine jewelry, there was a fabulous ring with 12 sapphires and six diamonds set in platinum. Jimmy and I were in matrimonial bliss for maybe five years when I could no longer wear said ring. It devastated me, but not enough to keep from shoving that ring to the back of my jewelry drawer. Well, one day I decided I was going to don that ring once more, darn it! Before a relief society activity, I attempted to push it onto my chubby sausage of a finger. It would not fit! So, I did anything a normal person would not do- I pushed even harder. So hard, in fact, that the ring just barely squeaked onto my finger. And stayed. The ring stayed for the whole relief society meeting and steadily created a purple bulge above the joint on which the ring sat. It was only after multiple urges from concerned women that I finally relented to attend the emergency room. The doctor refused to cut the ring off (much to my dismay and Jimmy's glee- it was a very expensive ring). Instead of cutting the ring, the doctor used thick fishing line to screw the ring off. It hurt like the dickens, but my jewelry remained intact. That sapphire, diamond and platinum piece was pushed back again to the far corner of my jewelry drawer. Well, last night, my current setting (I've been through 7- I like bling) was too big and was annoyingly turning circles around my finger. So, I daringly, gasp!, tried on my sapphire ring. Good news folks- no trip to the ER! It fits! Things like that experience are what brings me joy: fitting differently on the Disneyland rides, jeans falling off, etc.

Because of my success in weight loss, I have been attempting more difficult goals. My newest goal?! Running a 10K! I am excited, only because I have experienced one day of training. But I am optimistic. There is ample time to prepare. The date is November 17th of this year and I am running it with Jimmy and some friends. Oh my stars and garters, I cannot wait!


I'm a responsible adult

My sister-in-law Ashley is just the age to have all her teenage friends over for fun game nights. My responsibility for these game nights is to have fun with the kids and chaperon. We do fun (in a loving way, of course) pranks, play loud obnoxious rhythm games and laugh and eat pizza and shoot soda out our noses when we laugh... you know, all the good stuff. One prank in particular was my very favorite. Wait, before I tell you about the prank, I need to share with you who the recipients usually are: the kids that declined the invite to game night. So, they are all kids we like- hence the 'loving way' part of the prank.
On to my favorite mischeivery of all time.
It was at the beginning of the year and we drove to taco bell brainstorming the plan for that night. Driving through the neighborhoods, we realized that people had left their Christmas trees out at the curb for pick up the following morning. It was some one's ingenious idea to put all the trees we could find on the lawn and front porch of the kid missing from the pack that night. We drove within and one mile radius around the kid's house finding all the lone Christmas trees. The best part was having kids holding on to the tree through the window and dragging it as we drove very slow and stealth like. No less than 15 Christmas trees were collected and we plopped them all over the front lawn. It looked like a winter wonderland! The hardest part of these pranks is, of course, to keep quiet through it all and to prevent the shooting soda from ruining some one's lawn...


Lost in Translation

When my sister chose to get married in the Mesa temple, she also chose to have a reception site very close to make it easier on out of town guests. I commend her for that. We however, did two things that made the easy trip from the temple to reception site a tad bit difficult. We a) did not print out directions before our trip and b) did not bring the invitation with the address. Fortunately for us, the natives are kind and gave us directions. This is how the afternoon went:

My brother, Tommy, gave us great directions to get to the Regency when we were standing outside of the temple in 110 degree heat. Now, I think I can blame the next part on the heat...
We followed the directions and could not find the venue. We went down the very short street a few times and could not find the building. We did not know the street number, just the name of the venue, "The Regency". We headed further down a cross street to ask for directions. There was a sweet old lady walking on the street that was happy to oblige. Her directions consisted of passing many fast food establishments. In fact, by the many establishments listed, we should have known at that point that we might have been going in the wrong direction. She was so confident that we trusted her. Well, I will tell you this- the woman on the street was correct. Jimmy and I followed her directions exactly and ended up at a hole-in-the-wall-pay-by-the-hour kind of motel. It was the Regency, alright. The Regency INN. What we had intended to go to was The Regency GARDEN. After realizing our error, I called Tommy and asked him for better directions. The first point of reference for finding the place? Oh, just find the place with bars on the windows. What?!?!?!

Upon arrival, I noticed they were not bars but wrought iron decorative grates that were actually quite stunning. We may have gotten to the reception a little late, but we came armed with a great ice breaking story.

The Regency GARDEN

The Regency INN


Short and sweet update

It's pretty sad that the blogger format has changed since I last updated my blog. It's not that we haven't been doing anything- just the opposite! Just a few quick bullet points:
  • A surprise 30th birthday party- my family and friends surprised me so much that that very morning I had spent some time crying to friend about everyone forgetting my birthday. Fortunately, Jimmy did not tell Kate about the party because she made me egg whites to make me feel better rather than spilling the beans. It was an amazing day that started with a drive up Napa Valley to all my favorite spots in a new convertible!
  • Jimmy finished school (but isn't walking until September) I am sooo proud of him! That boy has worked so hard. Now onto the job hunt! May he be fruitful!
  • Kate joined the newspaper club at school and has been writing non-stop. We go through paper like termites!
  • We went to Las Vegas- not such a huge fan of Sin City, but a very huge fan of Cirque Du Soleil, shopping, the hotel and not having to pay for any of it because it was a business trip. Three Cheers for an expense account!
  • Disneyland on the way to Beth's wedding. Oh goodness, do I love that place. A lot. Too much, probably. We enjoyed a full day of rides excluding the Tower of Terror :( My very favorite ride... we waited in line for 2 1/2 hours, the park closed and we were booted from the line in order to get into the Disneyland side before it closed.
  • Beth's Wedding!!! My sister looked radiant on her special day! Jimmy and I had a blast dancing the night away. My family and I rented a fancy HUGE house (with a pool!). It was so fun to wake up to my sweet nieces and nephews. It was the first time all the siblings were together in over 10 years! I laughed and laughed and loved the trip despite the 110 degree weather.


This new app makes it easier to be more productive

ie: lazier

Kate and I went down to Santa Cruz to help my mom set up an Etsy shop. The day started with a visit to the local flea market where I scored a set of old school lockers for a friend for 20 bucks! The dude had no idea what they were worth, which was apparent by his M- to the- Assive plumber's crack!
Anyway... we set up shop, had a blast and made it home in time for me to be the driver for my teenage sister in law's prank doing friends. That, my friends, is what I call a successful Friday.

p.s.- if you wake up to something large and in multiples on your lawn, it is only because you are loved.

p.p.s.- this post was written entirely on a iPod touch, next time I'll give y'all a treat and leave the auto-corrected version.


SF gem

I love going to the city. I took Kate for the first time on BART (public transit) yesterday. We had a blast! We visited Britex fabrics, a four story Mecca for any seamstress. Kate and I also hit the Cheesecake Factory, Macy's (all 7 stories), the Disney store and a little stall selling the sweetest hand knit hats. Of course we got one for Kate!
It was so inexpensive! She has not taken it off since we bought it. I would like to add one point to the 'success' side of the board pleas, Vanna.

Bucket List

Soooo, after many hours doing research (on Pinterest, naturally) I have formulated a bucket list:

Go see the Temple square Christmas lights in SLC

Go to a live General conference

Learn Spanish

Experience the Northern lights

Take a Backpacking trip with my family

Go Zip lining in Hawaii

Publish the children's books I've written

Finish decorating an entire house- every room!

Read the entire Old Testament

Just for ONE full day, have every single laundry item and dish in the house clean

Sing a solo at church

See Kate married in the temple

Spend a WHOLE day at the spa

Visit Norway

Visit Poland

Serve a mission

Bake a souffle

Own a new Jaguar

Give a birthday gift to every family member one year (working on that one this year)

Go on a Church history tour one Summer with my family

Own a pair of designer shoes and actually wear them

Go to the French Laundry with Jimmy

Spend one Christmas with my family serving in a third world country

Learn how to make brioche

Make a croquembouche for Christmas

Learn how to play the piano


Welcome, 2012

Last year I made a resolution to mail everyone in my family a birthday card. I got as far as my brother, Jim. His birthday is January 21... ouch.
This year I chose two resolutions:
  • Exercise at least 4 days a week
  • Communicate better with my family (trying on the b-day cards again)
Wish me luck.

p.s. I should probably mail my parents' Christmas package soon...