Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy 70th!

Dwight, my FIL, celebrated his 70th yesterday. He's an amazing man who is a great example to me. I love him dearly and hope he knows it.

Happy Birthday to my favorite FIL! We love you!
Dwight & Ruth with the grandkids last summer.
We wish we could be with you - no really, we'd much rather be in CA!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Funny Story that it's over.

As I said in my last post, we were going camping on Friday. I'm fine with camping. I'm not a seasoned camper, but I enjoy it - mostly because my kids love it and, for our family, it's usually just an overnight thing. The plan was this: I'll stay until the kids are tucked in their sleeping bags, then I'll leave and be back by 7-ish for breakfast. The campsite was only 20 minutes away from our house, so no biggie.

We had been told by those who had organized the event that if you arrive to the campsite after dark, the gate will be locked and the person at the gate will not allow anyone into the campsite unless someone already inside allows the "outsider" in. As far as leaving was concerned, their were no problems.

This wasn't the case.

After exploring the lake,
And after the campfire songs & s'mores,
And after the monkeys were tucked in,

I kissed everyone good-bye, pulled my car out of the parking area and headed for the gate. A little something inside of me was telling me that my plans for curling up on my couch with my book after a long hot bath was not in my near future like I had hoped.

The gate was closed with a chain and attendant was anywhere to be seen.

Are you kidding me? I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant!

I drove back.

As I approached our 3-man tent (we hadn't packed our 10-man because I wasn't staying), I was actually laughing. This is how our conversation went:

Me: Knock, knock...will you let a pregnant lady in?
Steven: Did you get lost? You just take a right at the next intersection.
Me: No, the gate's locked.
Ste: No one's there?!
Me: Nope.
Ste: What about a call box?
Me: Nope.
Ste: Do you want me to go double check.
Me: That's awful sweet of you, but I'm sure that the padlock won't allow you out either.
Ste: Wait, hold on. You don't have anything.
Me: Yup, I know.
Ste: No sleeping bag, no change of clothes, toothbrush, nothing.
Me: Ya, I get it.
Ste: Mindy, I'm soooo sorry.

Our air mattress had torn during a move, so we slept on top of two blankets and a sleeping bag with a towel for a pillow. I didn't sleep very well. We'll leave it at that.

Oh wait, are you ready for the cherry on top?

The next morning as I moved our camping chairs, I found this:
Oh, I'm sorry, did you not see it well enough? Okay, here you go:

Screaming apparently draws attention.
At breakfast, it quickly spread that I had had to stay the night. One of the men there had brought his boat and said, "Well, if you can do that, you can definitely come wakeboarding with some of us. When will you be ready?"

Um...ha, ha?

I hurt.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Weekend Visit

Here are some of the high lights from this past weekend. Chris and Jenny came out to visit us. We had some important "to-do" items on our list. Sadly, our #1 item of business was to finish the 3rd season of Arrested Development. We began watching the seasons about a month ago and watched most of the series with Chris and Jenny and only finished 1 of 2 discs of the last season before we moved away. Sidenote: not always the most appropriate show, but man, it's soooo well written.
After that was taken care of, we did normal things.
When Steven and I go on vacation, it's all about the food. So most of their trip was based around some great restaurants and unique activities here in the area.
Saturday morning we headed out to Lake T* to eat at a great restaurant with about 40+ different deck/patios with a great view of the lake.
We then decided to go kayaking next to B* Springs. Steven and I decided to rent a canoe instead of a kayak based on our monkeys. They had never been kayaking with us before and we weren't sure how they would do on a "boat without any sides". Let's just say our canoe had one end sticking further out of the water than the other. I was feeling a little like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy. Okay, not really. But you have a pretty funny picture in your head, don't you? Speaking of funny picture, Steven got a little excited when he sprayed his face with some new sun screen I had just purchased.

We went to Mt. B*, ironically named a mount, but you only have to climb about 100 steps to make it to the top. Pretty funny to a girl who comes from the Rocky Mountains. There we took in the great views and coveted the multi-million dollar homes along the lake with their private decks and boat houses.

Here's one of the views:

Bradley SUPER excited about going kayaking.
That night, we took them to the oh-so famous restaurant: The S*L*. Here's your pic of me 8 1/2 months pregnant....and in horizontal stripes no less.
Later that evening, we went to see the bats. You can't come to this city and not see this phenomenal performance. All within about 20 minutes, 1.5 million bats come flying out from underneath a single bridge. Because it was still rather cool, they didn't come out until it was a little darker, so none of the pics turned out. Maybe next time.
All in all, we had loads of fun! Even though Ste had to speak in Sacrament Meeting the next day - but you did a great job despite us making very irreverent faces at you during the beginning of the meeting.

Now onto this weekend. We're going camping and fishing. Yep, you read it right. This weekend we're going camping with our church. However, I'm wimping out and driving home to sleep on my comfy bed and returning to the group in the morning for yummy camping breakfast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We Want a Baker!

I just screwed up chocolate chip cookies......and it's sadly not the first time.
Chocolate chip cookies? Are you kidding me? That's the most basic thing one can bake!
I cannot bake for the life of me. I will say, however, that I feel very comfortable cooking just about any dish you can throw at me. I just don't have the knack for any sort of baking. I think I'm too impatient er just stubborn.

  • I never wait long enough for something to rise/chill/set long enough
  • I never know when to stop stirring or kneading
  • I'm not a good measurer - I cook things to taste. Baking requires exact measuring.
  • Baking usually equals sweet. I'm the only one in my house with an unquenchable sweet-toothe. That spells: DANGER. Thus I don't practice often enough because my hips are unforgiving.
  • I grew up near a Pepperidge Farm Factory - why mess with perfection?
No, this is NOT a picture of the cookies I baked. What a dream that would be. I guess I'll continue checking out everyone's "From Our Kitchen To Yours" links and avoid anything that requires baking skills and stick to the entrees, side dishes, and maybe only a few of those desserts that someone like me can handle.

BTW: I have 3 weeks and 2 days left until baby Mick comes. And THAT is why I'm even attempting baking sweets. Gotta have 'em.

Monday, April 23, 2007

National NO TV Week

This week is National No TV Week.

Now, before you skip my blog and go to the next one becuase you think it will be too hard or not worth it, let me say if I can do it, anyone can.
These were my excuses of why I shouldn't or couldn't:
  1. I didn't have a yard
  2. We lived in 900 sq. feet and thought we may end up killing each other
  3. My kids didn't attend any sort of MDO or school
  4. I was the sole source of entertainment - and I'm not that creative
  5. I have addictions to a few of my own series
  6. Lazy
  7. How else was I supposed to get all my housework done?
Here's how I handled it.
Last year I planned at least one outing a day (or more as we were in a small apartment) to make sure we didn't go stir crazy. Even I vowed to not watch TV for 7 days. We simply unplugged the television, told the children a fib: "the tv's broken you guys", and had a grand time enjoying each other's company. Living in a large city - like we were - offered us many more activites (a wider range as well as more exciting activities) than a smaller town ("hmmm, this park or that park?"). Besides going out to find entertainment at museums, zoos, parks, libraries, etc, we found ourselves doing lots of experiments in our house. Most of them involving cooking something or seeing what would happen if we added this to that.

One other thing, you don't have to commit to 7 days. Just do it as long as you can. Even if it's just for a day or two.

Now, if you have TIVO or digital cable w/ DVR, then you really have no excuse.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Big Eyes, Small Budget

In my open-toed season entry, I mentioned my grandmother who is "in the know" when it comes to fashion. That was her livelihood. Actually, it's how she made money. She was a professor of clothing construction and began the interior design department at Utah State University. She taught fashion design and fashion merchandising and would get her students jobs as buyers (DREAM JOB!). I still have one of her text books proudly on display in my home.
Thanks to her high maintenance taste, I've come to appreciate some of the finer things in life...though I cannot afford them. I remember perusing her closet and admiring Gucci shoes she picked up somewhere in Europe that she later gave to me. I've realized recently that I can spot a St. John suit and a pair of Ferragamo shoes from about a mile away. That is my grandmother's trademark outfit. Her closet is absolutely jaw-dropping. It's too bad that it's only now that I appreciate it.
I'm here to admit I get the Saks catalogue and I love looking through something that I know I'll never own. Is that weird? If only she knew I shopped at Target and the Gap.
Here's to you, Virginia, and many more Neiman Marcus orders.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Master Plans

I have an issue.
This whole idea of a master planned community sounds fine and dandy, but there's something about it that really rubs me wrong. Sure, it's nice to have certain amenities (schools, libraries, etc.) and maybe even nicer to have other amenities (community pool, rec center, golf course, etc), but I grew up in a regular 'ol neighborhood where no one was welcomed by a sign disclaiming our home's worth.
Don't get me wrong, having an HOA breathing down your obnoxious neighbor's neck to get him to move his car off the road is kind of nice. I just hate the idea of people saying, "Oooooh, you guys can afford to live in that neighborhood?" or "Aww, you'll meet nice people over there, even if the schools aren't that good" all based on the sign out in front of the "community" or even billboards on the freeway regarding you neighborhood saying: Homes Starting in the $150's, $250's, $750's or whatever the price may be. It seems soooo superficial. I just hate the idea of everyone knowing exactly what our house cost us and judge the entire community based on that fact.
We're living in a time when "keeping up with the Jones'" is more like, "how can we beat the Jones' at their own game?". I think these communities are just making it all worse.
Luckily, I'm not a homeowner quite yet. We're merely looking at this point. But I'm learning about the snobbery that accompanies some of these communities.
Am I crazy? Do the pros of what an HOA can bring outweigh the superficiality or do I need to move to the country?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Feeling Refreshed

I'm embarrassed to say I just woke up from my 3rd nap.
Yesterday I worked myself wobbly. My house is remarkably clean. I swept, mopped (something I haven't done in ages), vacuumed, 4 loads of laundry, rearranged the garage, etc. But by the end of the day, I couldn't walk normal. My hips just can't take that kind of stress this late in the pregnancy. I was waddling pretty badly, as Bradley said, "You're looking like those ducks, Mom". Thanks to my friend Eli I used my two new favorite products:
They are both products from Boots. These are bath salts. Very relaxing! Before living here, I have never had a tub big enough to really enjoy a bath. Though I sense someone shrieking "EUREKA!" as I get in.
And this is moisturising eye cream with grape extracts. I'm not sure what good grape extracts do, but it sure sounds nice, doesn't it?This comes to a very personal revelation about myself. I never, ever wash my face before I go to bed. Granted, I don't wear make-up every day of my life, but I always heard Mary Kay consultants claim that every time you didn't wash your face at night, you would age 7 days. Let's see, if I began wearing make-up at 14, that would mean I look...oh....roughly 90 years old. Maybe this eye cream can repair some of that awful damage I've done to myself. Then again, Mary Kay was looking about 27 when she turned 90.

Oh, I fixed that link to the swim suits.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mundane Mother

The kids are getting bored with my ideas. When we aren't outside playing, they're asking for something "fun" to do. I can't come up with anymore "stimulating activity" so I'm willing to pay someone else to do it. I've been busy hunting for preschools/mdo's/summer camps for the monkeys this weekend. What a headache. I'm about to give up. Because we moved here so late in the game, everyone already has waiting lists. grrrrrr!

Hey, if anyone is interested, I found a cute (and modest!) swimming suit website. Since I can't (or shouldn't) wear one in public this summer, maybe you could for me. Check out these Divine Suits!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dream Job

I've been asked to play the piano for the Primary in our ward. I can't say how long I've pined for this position, but let's just say I couldn't be happier (minus the piano bench I sit on for an hour and 40 minutes when I have less than 5 weeks to go). BTW, how do you "magnify" that? Any thoughts?
I'm thinking of changing how my blog looks. The green around the neighborhood is inspiring. Be patient as it may change more than once.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I'm here to report on our Easter weekend.
Thanks to John, Eli and John's parents Frank & Harriet, we spent a weekend near B/CS* at a their ranch trying to contain ourselves in the wide open spaces. One thing we didn't count on was the weather - rainy and cold - nor did we count on Steven coming down with a terrible case of the flu (maybe someone won't scoff at a seasonal flu shot next year, eh?). By Saturday afternoon, Steven was knocking on Death's door.
We were there mostly to see our great friends, but we did manage to see the most adorable calves ever. I'm a Utah girl. I grew up in Cache Valley where cheese factories thrived. Cows were commonplace and never once did I consider them cute.

But come on....they are so sweet and innocent! And some were only 2 weeks old.

Bradley & Emmy "helping" Uncle John start a fire.
John, why do you look like someone I don't want to meet in a dark alley?

Emmy with hail in her hair. So much for warm spring-time weather or starting a fire.
So, because Steven was near death, we didn't attend church Sunday (I didn't want to go to some random church alone with the kids). So Easter wasn't celebrated how it should be. However the lesser important, worldly, and much more secular-pleasing celebrations did take place. The Easter egg hunt went off without a hitch and we all got intoxicated with plenty of chocolate and sugar. And what more could my children ask for?
Oh, and, stupid Mommy forgot her camera. Thanks to Elizabeth for all the photos seen here. You're a lifesaver!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Open-Toed Season

It's officially white pants, spring colors, open-toe shoe season now that Easter has passed. I only know this because my grandmother (who wrote textbooks on fashion and design) ingrained it into my head. There's just something maddening about people wearing these items at the wrong time. Though I must admit, living in a warm climate like Texas does merit some breaking of the flip-flop rule. Yet if one must break the rule, the must do it right. As for the beginning of this marvelous season, there is something I must get off my chest. You must be good at wearing open-toed shoes. So, here's the pledge:

The Open Toed Shoe Pledge

As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow the Rules when wearing sandals and other open-toe shoes:

I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.

I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.

I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.

I will shave the hairs off my big toe.

I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker, mother, sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.

If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.

I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.

I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.

I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.

I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good.

I will promise if I wear flip flops that I will ensure that they are actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.

I will promise to go to my local nail salon at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about $35 and worth EVERY penny).

I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signs of wear... nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals.

Phew, there, I've done it. Now you may bring on the sandals.....that is, unless your feet look like this.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Aren't all Fridays pretty good?
Today's especially good (not only for Christian reasons). We're going out of town to our friend's ranch near B/CS. It should be a great getaway. Blogging won't happen for a few days because of it. No phone, no tv, no internet, nothing. I can't wait! Exploring, cooking, relaxing, chasing the cows, and best of all (at least for the kids) getting absolutely filthy in all the dust and dirt.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Proud Parent Syndrome

Even though we've moved, we still applied to elementary schools in H* in case we were to stay there. Most local residents received their admission/rejection letters on Saturday, but because our mail had to be forwarded, we didn't find out until today.
In January, I voluntarily had Bradley tested to see if he qualified for local vanguard (gifted and talented) programs. I hate admitting this because I hate being that parent that thinks their child is brilliant (because - let's face it - EVERY mother thinks her child is brilliant). We happened to be out of town the weekend he tested so our friends made sure he was at the right place at the right time to make sure he was tested. They told us he didn't last too long in the testing area - which I had heard meant the test-taker usually hadn't done well. They had either become bored and requested to leave or the test-giver had realized this may be a waste of every one's time and sent them out.
As I was flipping through the envelopes, we were interested to learn where he had been accepted to and where he hadn't when I came upon a Vanguard school. He had been accepted. I thought, 'Hmmm. That's funny. That would mean he had to do well on his testing scores.' My little monkey did VERY well and I can't keep it all to myself. I'm so very proud of him! And after my April Fool entry, you can all see he didn't get it from his mother.
Though he occasionally does that something or other that makes me second guess these scores, I get to know that someone else thinks my monkey is as smart as I do.
YAY, Bradley!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Village of 100 People

My MIL just sent me a website. Instead of huge statistics and percentages, it reduces the world's population to a village of 100 people. Here are the results. The demographics would come out something like this:

  • 60 Asians
  • 12 Europeans
  • 5 US Americans and Canadians
  • 8 Latin Americans
  • 14 Africans
Want more?
  • 49 would be female
  • 51 would be male
  • 82 would be non-white
  • 18 white
  • 5 would control 32% of the entire world's wealth (they'd all be US citizens)
  • 80 would live in substandard housing
  • 24 would not have electricity (and of the 76% that do, most would only use it for light at night)
  • 67 would be unable to read
  • 1 (only one!) would have a college education
  • 50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation
  • 33 would be without access to a safe water supply
  • 1 would have HIV
  • 1 near death
  • 2 near birth
  • 7 people would have access to the Internet
Wow, do I feel like a minority!
The site had only a couple of other things on it that were interesting. If you want to see it, you can check it out here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Visitors Welcome

We had our first official visitors from out of town this evening. This seems to be a rarity for our family. We haven't had too many visitors since we've lived in TX, but for the next two to three months, we have more weekends planned for visits from out-of-towners than we had the entire time we were in H* town. It could be that we finally have room to put visitors up comfortably, I'm not sure. I do know that I'm super excited that Travis and Jenny stopped by and had dinner with us tonight and more dinners are to come with always-welcome visitors.
Travis, we just need to make sure we reciprocate and come see you in FL!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The April Fool

I'm SOOOO proud of myself (um, there's some sarcastic undertone you'll need to insert there)!

When we first moved in, Bradley and I noticed the sprayer attached to our kitchen sink. We didn't have one in our last apartment and we both decided right then that we were going to implement that into our April Fool's joke on Steven. What can I say? We think ahead.

This morning, I used one of Emmy's clear rubber bands to tie the handle down.

Then I told Steven to make sure to start the dishes.

Why I thought this was so funny, I don't really know. Here's the sad part. I set up the sting, walked over to clean Emmy up from breakfast, came back to the sink and turned on the faucet to rinse off her bib. Literally I walked from setting up the faucet, over to Emmy, and back to the sink. Not a very bright girl, am I? I was completely wet, as was the floor, and Steven was on his way downstairs. I quickly dried off the floor and Bradley and I cuddled up on the family room couch under a blanket (to cover the giant wet mark on my stomach) trying to muffle our giggles at what had just happened and what was about to happen.

So after all that was said and done, Steven did get pranked (yay, at least I was a small success), but I was the April Fool. All of the sudden I have a hankering to watch The April Fools. I'm a sucker for the old ones.

I Want to Hear From You!