Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tres meses

I got called a lazy blogger tonight. I totally just did that link the old school way, the html way, the way we did it before blogger got all the happy little icons, the not lazy way.

Calvin is three months old today. He's crying his head off right now.

My mom is doing my dishes. She's all about service, all the time. I think I have the greatest mom on the planet.

My sister made me cry today. She and her family are moving to the Caribbean, and I had to say goodbye. She and her husband have been the best aunt and uncle to my kids and friends to me and Steve. Utah will be a much lonelier place without them. She definitely made moving here a happier experience for me.

Even though I'm anti self-referential blog posts, I'll admit here and now that "lazy blogger" is a decently apt descriptor. Well, maybe "uninterested blogger" is more apt. "Lazy Christmas-decoration-taker-downer" is apt, though, for sure. "Lazy money manager" fits. "Lazy clothes-put-awayer," that'll do, too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eating out is my hobby

We spent Thanksgiving in Arizona, and I acknowledged verbally what I have long known deep down: that my favorite thing to do in that state is eat out*. Because I want to share the treasures Steve and I have so painstakingly sought out, I give you a sampling of my favorite restaurants in the greater Phoenix area. I'm not going to take the time to categorize, but please ask me about any of them -- location, menu, price, etc. Trying new restaurants is one of my talents.

Then feel free to reciprocate with a list of your favorite restaurants in (any location) so that I can try them next time I go there.

I love that story.

I present delightful dining destinations in metro Phoenix:

Barrio Cafe
La Grande Orange
Chelsea's Kitchen
Orange Table
Yasu Sushi Bistro
The Greene House
Pita Jungle
Roaring Fork
Pizzeria Bianco
Cowboy Ciao
Arcadia Farms
Asia de Cuba
Flo's Asian Kitchen
Old Town Tortilla Factory
Bistro di Napoli

There are more, to be sure, but I would be excited about eating at any of these delicious restaurants.

*Edited to clarify: My favorite, favorite thing to do in Arizona is really to be with my family and friends. And also to enjoy the weather. And also to smell the creosote. Excuse the hyberbole, but eating out is ONE of the best things. One of many.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

C. Bake

Two months.

Too big for his britches.

To infinity, and beyond.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The most fabulous winter tip you've heard all day

The context:
My thumb nail cracked down the middle, so I've been cutting the nail short short short so it doesn't snag and crack even more. Doing so caused my skin to crack, a nasty deepish sort of skin crack that made the whole area tender and was beginning to even throb a little. A quick heal did not look promising. Lotion definitely wasn't going to do the trick.

The miracle:
The internet, which is where I took my problem in hopes of a solution. In ten seconds I found a solution.

The solution:
Superglue. Apply a dab to the cracked skin. A seal protection is immediately formed. The pain disappears.

The challenge:
Try it. You'll love it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I don't like movies much

I usually fall asleep, or fidget thinking about the time wasted factor, or am annoyed at the cost to get in, or find fault in the plot or the acting or the gratuitous sex or the makeup (ahem, Twilight) -- I know, I sound like a lot of fun, right? -- so it's always a joy as well as a surprise when I find one that I love, or at least really really like. Love to find movies I love.

Today I very much enjoyed I Am David in my basement while I folded mountains of laundry. It was beautiful thematically and visually, sweet, hopeful, and just really well done. Life-affirming, yet not insipid. I feel a tad dumb that I didn't know about concentration camps in Eastern Europe after WWII. Bulgaria? Does everyone know about those?

Another lovely, lovely thing happened today and that is that my sister delivered two precious little boys so that I could have more nephews. Wasn't that nice of her? I can't wait to meet them.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Questions for you

What is the best "band" game for the Wii? Rock Band? Guitar Hero? Should we hypothetically get the Beatles edition, or just buy the regular and buy the Beatles game? Will our kids destroy the instruments in 30 minutes flat? Are there songs on Rock Band 2 with bad language/themes that wouldn't be appropriate for kids?

This conversation is just between you and me, right?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Would you say West Side Story is the most annoying musical?

We took the kids to a new-to-us restaurant last night: India Palace on Center Street. It was very delicious.

Mango lassis, vegetable samosas, um, who am I kidding, I can't remember the dishes' names.

We entertained Neil's favorite line of questioning, which goes something like: if you had to choose one ethnic cuisine to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, what would it be?

What a fun game that is.

The waitress at India Palace was rather smitten with Norah. She:
  • touched her cheeks multiple times
  • played with her hair
  • picked her up out of her chair and tried to get her to sit her bum up on the top of the chair, I guess so as to be eye level with her
  • spoon fed her rice multiple times
Really, this all happened. It was all done with lots of smiles and playful looks, plus she was ever such a nice Indian lady; but I am perplexed that I let it all happen. You know? Norah immediately shut down through it all, and looked very uncomfortable. And I let this strange woman continue to touch my daughter. Weird. If you are a stranger, please don't touch my children, okay?

Anyway, the food was good.

It's expensive to take seven people out to dinner, yet we continue to do it. It's one of our favorite things to do.

I failed to leave the house today, and I also failed to do much of anything that wasn't directly in response to Norah and/or Calvin and their very needy neediness. And then the Phillies lost, which I don't really care all that much about and I haven't watched one bit of the games, but my brothers like the Phillies, and my mom bought Calvin a Phillies sweatshirt, and I always like a forced game 7, so it would have been nice if they had won.

And now I'm wondering what kind of thing I will take up this winter to get to look forward to and to keep me from getting blue when Steve takes the kids skiing every weekend. Days like today remind me that it is not good for my soul to be home all day. I need a diversion.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is my blog becoming a pictures-of-my-kids fest??

Calvin is a month old. (And he's wearing a cute onesie by Miss Angela Jane. Pants bequeathed by Charlie Bones, and blanket via the very kind Stephanie.)

PLUS! What we came up with an hour or so before trick-or-treating from the dress-up box, special thanks to Mrs. Pam Craig and her creative prowess from years past that made some of it possible. (Here is where I admit to the world that I don't have my children's costumes planned and sewn weeks, months, or even days in advance...But I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

En oh ar ay aitch

Remember when this girl was born?

So do I. Now she's three and a very sweet and spunky big sister.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sometimes I don't want to blog about anything, sometimes I want to blog about nothing

Stuff keeps going missing around here. Important stuff -- arguably, the best stuff we have:

  • keys to the van (lost at the doctor's office. what?!)
  • Steve's BYU ID card (which he takes with him on bike rides for the purpose of helping the paramedics quickly identify his mangled and/or dead body after an accident)
  • one of Calvin's favorite pacifiers (where do those things go?)
  • my tweezers
I'm most distressed about the tweezers. I really hate making unplanned trips to the store to just get one thing. Steve says, "Christmas is coming" in case I opt to let him replace them for me. I say, "Won't you love your unibrow wife come December."

Monday, October 19, 2009

The fact is

Suppose you're driving along in rural Utah, and come upon this sign:

Do you

a) Keep going and risk getting shot by the angry cowboy who commissioned this very large sign
b) Turn around and find some other, less controversial place to have your picnic in the mountains
c) Get out your red marker and fix the spelling mistake
d) Assume your very best affected rural accent and quote the sign for the rest of the day
e) Feel just a twinge of homesickness for Arizona, because this sign is just so Utah
f) Revisit your understanding of COMMUNISM

Thursday, October 15, 2009

So hard

I am so sad today because my friend Amy has lost a child. My heart is aching for her and her family, and I wish there was more that I could do to alleviate just a fraction of her pain. All I can do is mourn with her, and offer my love.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Eyes are open

Calvin and I are just hanging out at the computer, listening to the BYU game, quite entranced, and playing with PhotoBooth.

Thanks, everyone, for your congratulations and kind words. We feel very loved.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Look what the storm blew in

If you are completely unprepared in (almost) every way to birth your child due to the fact that your body does not really do spontaneous labor and you thought you had a good two weeks to worry about details and thus

{house is a mess
haven't begun to wash or sort baby clothes
no newborn diapers
...or bouncy seat
...or swing
...or nursing pads
...or bassinet/port-a-crib for your room
...or pacifiers
packed hospital bag is but a distant dream
child's big oral presentation on William Clark is not ready to go
baby name is not solidified
neighbor kids are coming over tomorrow for a playdate
not mentally geared up to go drugfree
have tickets to Friday night's football game
haven't registered with the hospital
no groceries in the house}


you're emotionally and physically ready to not be pregnant anymore and to meet this new precious babe and he has joyously turned his little cute self around so he is head-down after all the fuss about being breech,


you tiredly say prayers with your husband before going to bed and offer up as a casual aside to Heavenly Father to "please bless my body go into labor on its own," you know, just for kicks, because that doesn't happen for you


be prepared to wake up at 2:15 that very night to contractions that hurt and that continue to get more frequent and lengthy and painful and then take a shower and an hour later wake up your husband saying, "I'm in labor," and when he says, "What should I do?" and you say, "I don't know" and he falls back asleep you say, "I'm pretty sure falling back asleep is not the right answer" and then grab a few things and straighten up a few things, and then call your mother-in-law and go to the hospital

AND THEN -------

at 5:25 welcome a perfect little boy into the world.

'Cause that's how it all went down for me.

Calvin Baker
7 pounds, 6 ounces
blonde hair, receding hairline
12 days early! (never thought his birth month would be September)
positively perfect

Monday, September 28, 2009


Isaac turned six this month. He's a cool kid. Yesterday, after a lifetime of crying every time he was required to clean his room or do a chore, he announced that he loves to help clean, and spent the afternoon -- a couple of hours, at least -- asking, "What can I do to help?", then doing it with a smile and coming back for more assignments. A freak occurrence? Perhaps, but I'm going to be reminding him of it with great frequency.

He's smart, and I am enjoying that he is the oldest in his kindergarten class because I think school will come easier to him and he will have an opportunity to be a leader. He also seems to have natural athleticism; and his long fingers are helping him right along with plucking out his C's and D's on the piano. Three lessons, and well on his way to concert halls.

I tell people that Isaac is spacey, but I don't know if that is accurate. I think he is the third child -- yea, third boy -- in our family and thus accustomed to less attention from his parents and more negative attention from his older sibs, so he has kind of learned to survive on the periphery, learned to act like a monkey. But he is observant, and he's bright. Might I add that I am a third child and since this little kiddo was born, I have felt a kinship with him (that goes beyond being his mom, which I concede is already a pretty strong kinship, but hear me out) because we have that middle/third child connection. I know.

Anyway, I love this boy. He brings me a lot of happiness.

Also, I am no good at taking pictures. There are lots of things I am not good at, and that is one of them. Laundry is another thing.

Also, this picture of my dad is just because it was on my desktop for some unknown reason, and because I love my dad and his scowls. So why not add it to this post?

Also, my baby was breech and not turning around. But! today the doctor thought the head was down, and I have no idea how that happened because I felt nothing. However, I'm not that surprised that he turned, and I attribute it one hundred percent to the faith of my husband and everyone else who may have offered up prayers on our behalf. I'm having an ultrasound tomorrow to verify baby's position, and if it turns out the doctor was wrong and the babe is still breech, then I still think my husband has faith. And he'll channel it for a safe c-section.

Also, I've never seen an episode of Perry Mason, I'm almost certain. It's on in the background, and they use big words. I like big words. I must learn more of them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Isaac wins!

Isaac's name got picked out of a hat at the BYU women's volleyball game tonight to compete for football tickets to this weekend's Florida State game. This child, who has no inhibitions, went down to the court, did not know the fight song, but oh, he growled! He won! I love it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I got two tickets to paradise. Won't you pack your bags, we'll leave tonight.

Here's to 12 more years, and 4 more kids. 

Just kidding. One. One more kid.

And 112 years.

Thanks for marrying me, Stephen Marshall.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fanny Dooley likes Aaron. Why do you think that is? (It's because everyone likes Aaron)

Where would our family be without my No. 2, my 8-year-old Aaron? He breathes heart and soul into our household. Tall stature is not in Aaron's future, but oh, his personality is large. He can be the orneriest (that ought to be a word) of ornery and he can be the sweetest of sweet. He is rowdy, yet contemplative; confident, talk talk talkative, adventurous. His pain tolerance is low, so very, very low, and he can howl like no other when he gets hurt. He is not afraid of a challenge, such as always wanting to play piano songs above his skill level or taking on the big and tough 4th-graders at tetherball. He is a natural leader; terrificly goofy; his moods and willingness/unwillingness to be nice frequently set the tone among his siblings. Aaron has a pure heart and a tender testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is forgiving of his mom's shortcomings, and won't even mind one bit that it took me two months after his birthday to post this on my blog. I love this spirited child of mine.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dear City of Phoenix,

Thanks for keeping in touch. It's nice that you've sent me two letters in the last three days, even though I was only visiting for a week. I wonder if you'll send more? And those pictures you took of me! Not bad, even though I'm not smiling in them and my sunglasses are covering my eyes. I have to say, I never really gave Bethany Home Road and the I-17 much thought before your letters, but that is one happening place. It's like there is a paparazzo stationed there, just waiting to catch me out and about -- say, on my way to see my sister-in-law in Mesa, or my brother in Tucson -- tracking my every mile per hour. The part in each of the letters about owing you money... $181.50 per each, I believe it was. Well, that part we'll have to negotiate at a later date. If you're really serious about that, you'll need to send someone to my house to properly explain. I choose not to take letters in the mail too seriously.

Well, thanks again. I still like you and am glad you haven't forgotten me. Provo City sends me mail asking for money, too, but that's because I use electricity and sewer and stuff. Their mail never includes a personalized photo.

See one of your hired hands soon? We live under the "Y." You can't miss it.

Love, Emily

P.S. -- You're welcome for all the tourist tax dollars I spent... IN JULY.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A blogging synopsis of our lives?

We went to Bryce Canyon last week. It was cold last winter on our front porch.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A blog at rest tends to stay at rest

One of these days I'll post something again.

(Blog posts about blog posts are the worst kind.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I'm the mother of a ten-year-old.

A handsome
easily distracted
meat- and carbs-loving

Elliot had a birthday a few weeks ago. I love this kid to death. I'm probably too hard on him, and sometimes we fight for control (I know I ought to let him grow up, but it's so hard!), but deep down Elliot and I really "get" each other. I love to share inside jokes with him. I love to watch him develop his talents and succeed. I am so grateful for the help he gives me and for the kindness he shows his younger siblings.

It's sad to think about him being on the downward slope of his childhood.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I have woes

Yesterday morning, five minutes into my jog, something gave way in my lower back, and walking has been a complete joke ever since. The kind of joke that makes you wince and cry and stay in bed for eighteen hours at a time; not so much the funny kind. 

Also, for the life of me, I cannot stand up straight. My torso bends a full thirty degrees to the left, and who knows? maybe I'll be crooked forever after.

I got up at 8 to get the kids dressed for church and to send them on their way to sit with really nice people who also took them home afterward and fed them lunch (so nice!). I got up at 1 to make myself a peanut butter sandwich. And I got up again at 4 to soak in a long bath and get new pajamas on. Then I ventured into the kitchen and saw how my husband has been so busy taking care of me and the children and the ward at large that no one has been attending to the kitchen, so I decided to spend a few painful minutes on my feet to load the dishwasher.

As I hobbled into the laundry room to grab a towel to wipe up Norah's ice cream-water spillage on the counter, Aaron came up the stairs, having just been outside, and announced, "The bishop's here!" and headed straight to the door to open it.

I hardly had time to panic, but somehow I managed a (too loud) "Oh, for heaven's sake!" and lunged to slide the laundry door shut to hide one small portion of our messy house and then tried to tell Aaron, "Wait! Don't open the door yet!" but the door was already in mid-motion. Our visitors surely saw the laundry room, surely heard me yell at Aaron, and surely saw my next act of desperation. In my I-am-WAY-not-appropriately-attired-to-greet-the-bishop state, I pretended the door was not already being opened, and began to run/limp/wince/angularly hobble down the hallway and into the safety of my bedroom. I am extremely confident that Bishop/friend Jim and executive secretary/friend Brent watched the entire escape transpire. The door, after all, was already open.

So in they walked into our pigsty, talked to Steve for a minute, and asked, "How's Emily feeling?" "She's having a rough day." "Oh, can we visit with her?" "She's in bed." Which I was, and, which they also knew, I had only been for about 90 seconds.

So, that was my big exciting adventure for this otherwise painful and unproductive day. (Apologies to Jim and Brent.) Tomorrow I'm going in for my first ever chiropractic visit and hoping beyond hope that one Dr. Higbee can make my body straight and whole again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fill in the blank: eighty percent... is a really good sale. a solid B- on a test.


...of our children will be of the male variety.

It's a boy! We like boys around here, so we think that is just dandy. Our kids are very happy and excited, except maybe for Norah who has been adamant for the last four months that the baby is a GIRL! She finally relented today that it is a boy, but she generously suggested that we name him Sister.

All seems to be well with the baby. We are grateful for health: so far so good. My heart has been breaking lately with news of friends who are experiencing serious baby- and pregnancy-related challenges and to all of them I offer my most sincere expressions of love and offerings of prayer. I would give so much to not have my loved ones suffer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Change is good

I like this time of year.

The weather is fantastic: I can drive with windows down, read outside, not turn on heat or a/c.
The teachers have stopped assigning homework.
I have vacations to look forward to.
I have time and inclination to nap every day.

Tomorrow I find out the gender and general health of my current fetal child.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

And I'm lucky to have her

I could write volumes of books about this girl, starting with how we really didn't like each other growing up, and I acted as though I wanted nothing to do with her or her friends, but really it was because I knew I could never measure up to her beauty and charm, so I acted as if I didn't want to, all the while stealing her clothes after she left for school and carefully replacing them just so in her closet before she came home from basketball practice or whatever it was so she wouldn't know I had worn them; then going on to how we became good friends as we got older and I liked that she liked to hang out with my friends, even when I wasn't around; then how we both got married and had kids and became genuine sisters who loved each other; then how she went through a really intensely difficult time in her life, and I felt like it was the most gut-wrenching thing that ever happened to me because I didn't want her to hurt, ever; and then on to how she is the greatest older sister I could hope for and how as I'm typing this, my daughter is pointing at her picture, saying, "She made my blanket for me!" which of course she did because she is so generous with her talents and gifts, and I love her so.

But I have to get my son to preschool in 13 minutes and then get the nail hole patched in my van tire, and I haven't gotten dressed yet, so I'm not going to have time to write those volumes. Plus, I realize that I have been hot-and-cold with recognizing loved ones' birthdays, et cetera, on my blog and I don't want my other much-loved sisters and folks to feel like I love them any less....

So, I'm just going to quickly say: Happy birthday, Sarah! You are wonderful in every way!

Friday, May 08, 2009


Nicole Hill Gerulat of A Little Sussy won a stock photography contest using this image of Isaac. I love it!

(And my sister called to tell me about it, and thought it was Aaron.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Two things

First and foremost, happy birthday to my wonderful mom! I honestly don't know anyone more generous, giving or good with people. I like to think of myself as being generous, giving and good with people, but I've got nothing on her. She schools me, bigtime.

Some of the unique things that make my mom my mom:

  • She loves my children absolutely, which is a joy and a comfort to me. When she is around, they prefer her to me. She would rather be with her grandchildren than out with the adults, but does not relax when they are around. It's constant counting heads, making snowcones, taking off too-warm clothing, changing diapers, getting drinks. It's exhausting, and she's good at it. And she loves it. (I'm pretty sure.)
  • She hates flying, but flies all over the place, because travel and culture and enriching experiences and seeing family trump her fears every time.
  • She also hates bridges. And swimming. And confrontation. And cooking. And bad grammar. And dopey people. And attention (this post will likely make her uncomfortable).
  • She is magic with teenagers and young adults. Growing up, all her children's friends would come over just to hang out with her.
  • She has always encouraged me in everything I do. (Unless that thing has any semblance whatsoever of being dangerous.) She has raised her children to be educated, openminded, and inquisitive.
  • I do believe that to know my mother is to love her. Happy birthday, mom! Isn't it great that your children finally appreciate you?
The second item of interest is quasi-related to my mother. In the sense that she is the most generous person I know, and it became clear to me yesterday that I have very stunted levels of generosity in my heart. Here's the story:

Driving home from Arizona yesterday, we were stopped at a gas station/Burger King in Fillmore, Utah. A man came in, kind of scruffy, and asked the gas station attendant if he could make a call. The phone call was long distance so he couldn't use the store phone. He asked if the attendant had a cell phone, and she said she didn't. Steve was standing right there and offered the man his phone, and we stood there as he (supposedly) called his dad. "Hi, dad. We're in Fillmore. We only need about 10 or 12 dollars in gas to get home. The lady says she can't take a credit card number over the phone. Can you go to Check City and wire me some money? Okay, here's my account number."

Steve whispered to me, "Should I just buy the man some gas?"
Me: "I think he's scamming us."

Ten minutes later, we're set to leave and the man is out by his car waiting for money to appear to buy gas to get back to SLC. I remember about how charity never faileth, and tell Steve to do whatever he thinks is best. Steve goes over and buys the dude $15 worth of gas. The guy seems grateful, and we all leave.

I still felt a little distrustful, which is weird, because I always give money to the beggars in parking lots and on street corners when I see them and when I have some, even when it's quite likely that I'm being scammed. It doesn't bother me then. Mosiah 4 gets me every time (read verses 16-20, and they'll get you, too). But if this guy at the gas station was scamming us last night, it was an elaborate and dang good scam, and I didn't want to be the major sucker who fell for it. I was even tempted to redial the number on the phone and talk to the guy on the other end to check out the story. You know, say something like: "Did your son just call you asking for gas money? Don't worry. We took care of him and he's well on his way." But Steve wouldn't let me.

Our last bishop was tremendously generous with a few people who may have been scamming him, and he knew this, but said, "I'd rather be scammed than be uncharitable." So that is the principle that Steve and I talked about after we gave this guy enough gas to get back to Salt Lake. And we talked about how though that might have been a kind thing to have done on our part, it wasn't overly generous in any sense of the word. There are some people in this world who would have filled the man's tank, bought him and his friend lunch, and sent them away with a wad of cash just in case they needed it.

We aren't generous like that. What do you think? What would you have done?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I'm starting to think about my kid-less trip to Toronto this summer. I'm really excited about wandering the streets solo for five days with no agenda and no one to answer to while Steve is in his conference. What should I see? Where should I go? What should I eat?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

How well do you know my husband: Happy homemaker edition

1. Hypothetical: Steve has a couple hundred dollars at his disposal to spend as he pleases. Which of the following is near the top of his wish list?
a) a new suit that fits well
b) an ice cream maker
c) surround sound

2. Which of the following is a goal that Steve spends a decent amount of time thinking and talking about?
a) learning to make homemade yogurt
b) retaking that physics class that overwhelmed him in his undergrad days
c) mastering the John Denver anthology on his guitar

3. When the sun is shining, which of the following is Steve most likely to be doing?
a) pulling weeds in the yard
b) laying out
c) making Sunday dinner in the solar oven

4. Just about every night before he goes to bed, Steve:
a) gets a loaf of whole wheat bread started in the bread maker
b) watches the evening news
c) calls his parents to chat

5. The kids know daddy really, really loves them when he:
a) plays catch with them in the backyard
b) makes whole wheat pancakes from scratch on Saturday morning
c) works on finishing that go-cart (aka "Death Machine") sitting in the garage

6. If Emily were to, say, wipe down the kitchen counters, a somewhat likely mess she could find the next day might include:
a) tools from fixing that pesky leak in the faucet
b) sound recording magazines left out
c) flour that spilled out from the wheat grinder

7. Choose the best option for what Steve is most likely NOT doing on a Sunday morning:
a) poring over the lesson he is to teach n church
b) ironing the boys' shirts, and my clothes, too, if needed
c) putting dinner in the crockpot

And that concludes today's quiz. Please check your own answers, giving yourself three points for every answer that falls in the Happy Homemaker category.

16-21 points -- Congratulations! You really know him! You are invited over for some fresh, hot bread, anytime.
11-15 points -- You are a good friend, but you might make the mistake of inviting Steve to play basketball sometime, or even worse, to go shopping. We've all made that mistake at some point, don't fret.
10 or fewer points -- Did you pick John Denver or the evening news? Tsk, tsk. He is not who you think he is. Also, read the title of the quiz next time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My son Aaron's picture is supposed to be on the packaging for Provo Craft's new Yudu silk screen machine. I tried to find it at Joann's, but they only sell it at certain stores, not close to me. If anyone sees one for sell, will you tell me where and/or take a picture of him on the box for me? 


photo by Nicole Hill

Monday, March 23, 2009


the prophet showed up at my kids' school last week to watch the 6th grade play.


I admit: there are some aspects of living in Utah that just can't be beat.

Friday, March 13, 2009


On desiring organization:

I have an email inbox of 4460+ emails. I just sorted them by alphabetical order and deleted about 200 totally superfluous, not-real emails in the A's. Blog comments mostly. From Austin, Azucar, Abby, AmyJune, and Alice. I did not delete any actual emails from actual people. I still intend to respond to those. Um, even the ones from 1999. Thanks.

On the opera:

A generous and beneficent soul gifted us really great tickets to the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera. Really great tickets. He is a generous and kind soul. We cannot use the ones for next Wednesday, March 18: The Marriage of Figaro. Which is a shame, because we saw this performed at BYU and it was spectacular. We'd love to see it again. Please say you'll take someone to the opera next Wednesday night so these really great tickets don't get wasted. Also, it is an embarrassment to my culture, but one-third of the audience will walk in after the performance has begun. Please take my two tickets, and get there on time, or even (gasp) a little early. I want you to have them. It starts at 8, I think. It's a school night. I want you to use these tickets. Maybe for any of my kidless friends out there?

On skiing:

I went today. It was my third time ever, and my fourth, fifth, and sixth times on the lift. I'm getting better. Isaac my five-year-old still kicks my trash, I'm pretty sure, mostly because he doesn't know enough to be afraid. He was offering all kinds of coaching tips before I went: "Mom, do french fries and pizza slices." I can go decently fast now, but I still feel extremely more comfortable when I zig-zag down the mountain rather than head straight down. Everyone else just goes straight down. And don't talk to me about the higher lifts or about the Blue Squares. I'm a Green Circles kind of girl, for now. Did I mention I'm getting better?

On statistics:

While taking this class adds the littlest bit of stress to my life, I've decided I like it and am glad I've been learning the basics. I could potentially continue on to higher-level classes, because I like the subject and I like that my brain grasps it, intuitively. I'm hovering in a solid A- range right now. Which is okay because I'm a bad student, and by that I mean lazy and inclined to procrastinate, and sometimes falling asleep in class. Speaking of sleep, last night at an hour at which we should have been long asleep, Steve and I were deep in discussion about confidence levels and margins of error. I think he didn't really care, but he kept asking questions until he got it, because he knows it was something I'm interested in talking about, and I love him for that.

On dishes and laundry:

I'd rather not do them, ever. Sometimes I just pretend they don't exist.

On Stephanie and Christian Nielson:

I am so thrilled they are alive. I got to talk to Christian yesterday for a while, and today I saw a glimpse of Stephanie outside with her children as we drove by. They are beautiful, beautiful people, and I wish them every ounce of health and happiness.

On laptops:

Steve thinks we should buy me one so I don't use his so much. I used to think that was crazy talk, but after my monopolization of his computer tonight after he specifically told me he wanted it, I humbly offer to him my apology, and say, okay, if you really want me to have my own.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Seeking guidance

To anyone who went to BYU:

What was your favorite class? Most enjoyable, life-changing, low stress, important, fun, or rewarding -- any of the above.


Book binding?

Quantum physics?

To anyone:

What would you take at a large university if tuition was free and you were not motivated by a degree of any kind?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amy Barry is entitled to this post

The Harwards were a big influence on me and my entire family in the formative Glendale years (1986 to when I moved away from home in 1994). I believe that everyone who spent time in the powerhouse ward of Glendale 7th would say the same. Big family; really smart; super talented; famous mom; generous dad; vocal; the knowers of all that went on. 

Amy was the oldest of the second half of Harward kids and I was always a little intimidated: by her height and beauty, her best-friendedness to my older sister, and her sarcastic sense of humor. I'm over it now, though. I think she's cool, just plain and simple. My freshman year of high school, Amy drove me to seminary every morning in her brother's convertible with Yaz blasting. Yes, Yaz. I don't think anyone before or since has loved Yaz as much as this girl. Or even knew they existed. Let's take a Yaz appreciation break, shall we?

Amy now lives in Washington and is the mother of five. She and her husband adopted one of their kids when they saw an opportunity to help, and I think they're rad because of it. She started a blog at the beginning of this year and has attacked it with full ferocity: never missing a day of posting despite many many days of tremendous pain, a hospitalization, and heavy doping. I would say she's committed.

Yes, that's a good summation adjective to describe my friend Amy. She is committed: to her husband, her kids, her blog, her religion, her siblings, her curly hair, her Yaz. Do you want to see a picture of her really nice neck?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tip of my tongue

Tonight I was telling Steve about my statistics lab, and how my 30-something comrade Bryn and I are the only ones who will open our mouths AT ALL. To answer a question, to ask a question, to read a question out loud -- whatever. We'll wait for a while in awkward silence while no one says anything, and then one of us pipe up to help the poor TA out with a response. None of the teens and twenty-somethings seem to think their silence is rude or in any way out-of-the-norm. They have no expectation whatsoever that they should be participating in our small group discussion.

SO, Bryn and I -- in our old-ladyish, momly wisdom -- have chalked it up to a generational thing. And I was telling Steve this, but I couldn't and still can't remember the word that I want to use to describe this generation of reticent college students. Help me? The word means: expectant that they are deserving of everything. It's killing me that I can't remember. It can be used to describe a generation, Americans, children who demand allowance, and so on. Refresh my memory and I will make my very next blog post all about YOU!

Much thanks.

Also, on an unrelated note, Bryn expressed a theory today that might have some credibility. Tell me what you think. It is that men who wear bowties are predominately Democrat or liberal in political views. Hmmm. The only person I can think of right off is my friend Lindy's husband Keith Johnson, and from what I know of Lindy, I think he safely falls in that category (whether or not he thought the girl he just met at church on Sunday would be posting his presumed political ideology on the world-wide interweb for all to consider). Bowties = Democrat?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

we are not pigs

I'm going to teach my kids to be clean(er) if it takes everything I've got.

I'm also going to throw things away with zeal and vigor.

I'm so sick of stuff everywhere.

How do all you, my clean friends and family members, do it?

I salute you.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I recommend

Showing the dead rat in the pool to the visitors center's director, aka Mark Eubank the Weather Guy.

Here are some things I think you should do if you go to Oahu:

  • Stay on the North Shore. At least for half the trip. Rent a condo at Kuilima Estates at Turtle Bay, perhaps. will get you there.
  • Eat at the shrimp trucks in Kahuku. Giovanni's is our favorite. Get the scampi.
  • Spend a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Do the luau and evening show, maybe the IMAX. You can hop on a quick tour of BYU-Hawaii and the LDS temple, or go there on your own another day. Very pretty.
  • Sing, "Oh, I'm going to the Hukilau. Huki, huki, huki, huki, huki, Hukilau." And then go to the Hukilau Beach for a sort of Hawaiian Provo/Mesa experience, if you know what I mean. Lots of one-piece bathing suits and big Polynesian college boys wrestling on the beach. Maybe you don't know what I mean.
  • Pick a beach, any beach. Don't settle for crowds. You can have a beach all to yourselves without much trying.
  • If it's rainy, chase the sun on the west (leeward) coast. It's most likely to be sunny and you'll get a cultural experience. Otherwise, you'll likely not go to this area, and that's fine.
  • Visit the beach at Turtle Bay. It's gated, but it's a public access beach, and they'll let you in for free. Snorkel here if you want.
  • Stop in at Ted's Bakery for delicious lunch to-go. Coolest (yet painfully slow) sort-of dive in the heart of surferville. Get the legendary pie! It's cool, really.
  • Go to Haleiwa lots and lots, mostly to eat: the greatest burgers ever at Kua Aina, shave ice at Matsumoto's (you'll know it from the line out the door; try it with ice cream or beans), most delicious Thai food at Haleiwa Eats, banana fritters and fried ice cream at Rosie's Cantina.
  • Waimea Valley is a very beautiful and pleasant walk, and rewards you with a swimmable waterfall hole at the end. (Lost alert! THE waterfall! You know, the dead bodies, and briefcase, Kate and Sawyer?)
  • Speaking of Lost, it's fun to look up filming locations and visit them on a drive.
  • Skip the Dole Plantation unless you're really into the tourist traps. Or if you want to see how a pineapple grows, which is sort of cool. If you do go, get the pineapple whip ice cream inside. Skip the maze, for heaven's sake!
  • Off the beaten path: stop in at Goodwill in Wahiawa for all your Hawaiian shirt and muumuu needs. THOUSANDS of them. Very cheap. Kind of a fun side trip when driving into town from the North Shore.
  • Pearl Harbor and the Arizona memorial is worth it. It's a sacred experience. The only free thing you'll do, besides the beach.
  • Really fantastically beautiful hike on the East coast, windward side. A place called Haaula --your guidebook will get you there. Sketchy at the trailhead, but persist! It is stunning. Plan on two hours or so.
  • The Halona Blowhole is fun to stop at. We saw a ton of whales not far from shore here.
  • Visit Chinatown. Eat at a restaurant where apparently the health code doesn't apply. Ups the authenticity factor, and the taste of the food.
  • Hike Diamondhead, although be prepared for millions of gnats at the top.
  • If you have a military ID, buy groceries (don't forget pineapples and souvenir chocolates) at Hickam Air Force base commissary. Your grocery bill will thank me, three times over.
  • Hit the Aloha Stadium swap meet on Wednesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays. Avoid buying souvenirs elsewhere at least until you've been here.
  • Go to church. I love to go to church on vacation to get a feel for the people.
  • Buy unusual fruits at roadside stands.
  • Really, just disregard this entire list and lie on the beach every day. Don't forget sunscreen and a good book.
  • Have so much fun! (That means you, Carrie!)
Anyone want to add anything? Please do!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Which is to say that my vanity is zerozerozero

Today. Sick sick sick. I never get sick. Except today.

Normal day. Although Photobooth shots are never flattering (of me).

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Aloha and mahalo and ohana

We went to Hawaii. Had a fantastic time and didn't want to come home.

We came home. I'm feeling the red eye. Very wiped out and trying not to think of my to-do list: make a large-scale auction happen and be awesome, learn stats for my test, catch up on bills, read all the magazines that came while I was gone, teach my kids responsibility, cheer for the Cardinals -- in thought only, because I don't care enough to actually watch it, unpack, clean the house, and buy a car. And call Diana, because I miss her. (I miss you, Diana!)

And paint my toenails. Can you believe the audacity I had to go to Hawaii without painted toenails? Yikes.

I'll post pictures of our trip soon. Again, it was really, really great. My dad came and was really, really great. He is fantastic with my kids, which is all a girl could hope for. (Thanks, Pops! We love you.) He told my kids not to brag about our trip because no one wants to hear about someone else's beachy vacation in to-die-for weather with yummy yummy food. So, in that vein, I will tell you about a not-so-great moment that happened on the plane this morning. 2:15 am North Shore time, 5:15 am Provo time. (And how I didn't get so much sleep.)

The plane is dark.
Everyone's asleep.
Norah throws up.
I think, like I always do while facing a vomit clean-up job, "This is the worst part of parenthood."
(I tend to face more than my fair share of vomit clean-up jobs.)
Steve is asleep and unreachable without causing a very big scene and waking up the neighbors.
Much better to let the neighbors sleep through the cleaning up of the vomit.
I was smart enough to have packed a change of Norah clothes in my carryon.
Yay me.
A flight attendant walks by.
A man.
I discreetly ask him for a plastic bag because I need to change my daughter's vomity clothes.
He very indiscreetly says, "YOU NEED AN AIR SICKNESS BAG?"
I try again for discreet.
"Just a plastic bag, please."
He offers disdainfully to bring some paper towels.
I am grateful and say yes, please.
He brings me three (3!) dinky paper towels.
One wet.
Two dry.
I'm on my own after that.
Lots of trips to the bathroom.
It is gross.
But I manage.
I do not put Norah back in stinky car seat after that.
I hold her.
She sleeps.
I eagerly wait for landing.
Two and a half hours to go.

I'm kind of depressed to be back in Utah.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Going once. Going twice.

Go here and bid on the auction I'm helping put together to benefit Stephanie and Christian Nielson.

Thanks to all of you who have donated!