Wednesday, February 29, 2012

our little writer

Sophie has loved to write as long as I can remember.  Ever since she could hold a pencil, she was creating characters and plot lines to rival anything my lame imagination could conjure.  I've held onto notebooks where page after page is filled with her lively little stories and I'm sure one day they'll offer Soph hours of entertainment.

It had been awhile since I read anything Sophie has written until the other evening when she asked me to print the story she had just written for a class assignment.  I did remember her coming home from church Sunday and going right to work on it that afternoon.  In about 45 minutes, she emerged from the other room with five handwritten pages that needed to be typed.  No rough draft, just her ideas straight from her head onto paper.  She then proceeded to pound out her story on the computer and after printing it I took a moment to read the first page . . .

OK, I know I didn't write anything like this when I was ten because I can barely do it now.  Obviously, it has tones reminiscent of a young, inexperienced writer, but HELLO, it's engaging and descriptive and interesting:

I got dressed feeling strange and lonely.  I sat on my bed wondering and thinking of what I would do.  I kept on gazing into my thoughts when suddenly the door jerked open.  Taken away by my thoughts I turned my head to see who it was.  "Fisk," I said in surprise . . .

Way to go Sophie.
Keep writing my sweet girl!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Friday morning I found myself wide awake at 5:30am - RARITY - so, after reading for a bit I decided to begin my "mother of the year" day by making homemade Belgian waffles because we did indeed have whipped cream and fresh fruit on hand just waiting to be slathered on top of a yummy waffle.

I did a quick search on pinterest and found a recipe that looked like it fit the bill (i.e. all the ingredients existed in my kitchen).  They were SO easy to whip together, really, it had me wonder why I keep a Costco size "Krusteaz" mix in the pantry, and they were SOOOO good (I had to add a bunch of extra "os" so you get the point).  I'm not sure if my addition of flax seed made any difference to nutritional value, but they were melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Yes, my day had started out stellar (I think Ryan is still recovering from the shock of seeing me donning an apron offering him a plate of "waffles from scratch" at 6:30am), and it continued to just skyrocket from there . . . I was pleasant and patient, I folded Ryan's laundry (he always takes care of his own, so I thought I'd help out), took Caroline and friends where they needed to be, played "jello" in the car with the girls and their giggly friends, made sure everyone was happy, and even ended the day reading a chapter from The Swiss Family Robinson, to the girls.  Plus, it was a beautiful, bright, blue sunshine day and we were just as happy as clams.

Well, that was fleeting.

By Sunday afternoon my mothering skills had descended to cave woman status when Liza tore up the stairs and into her room while screaming at the top of her lungs before slamming the door that I was the "WORST MOM EVER!!"  Sigh.  This happened after I gave up struggling with her obstinance while trying to help her with piano and told her to just leave the bench.  I admit I wasn't at my best this weekend.  However, it all ended well when Caroline saved the day by making homemade cinnamon rolls with Sophie for us to enjoy while watching the Oscars.

Life goes on and I hope that somewhere in the recesses of my children's minds, there is a memory of Friday and those waffles . . .

Homemade Belgian Waffles
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (next time I'll try substituting half wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 Tbls flax seed (optional)
  1. Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl.  Add the milk and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  2. Finally, add the eggs and butter and whisk until smooth.
  3. Preheat the waffle maker following the instructions. Pour the batter onto the waffle maker and bake until golden brown, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Serve warm with fresh fruit, whipped cream, pure maple syrup…
  5. To reheat, just pop in the toaster.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

thoughts from novelist/philosopher Paul Coelho

"But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them.  But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for."

"Waiting is painful.  Forgetting is painful.  But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering."

"We can never judge the lives of others, because each person only knows their own kind of pain and renunciation.  It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path."

"When you want something, 
all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it."

Thursday, February 23, 2012


a couple days ago while checking out at Costco, I happened to notice this . . .

First off, weren't the early 90's like yesterday?  And how in the world did the children born just a few years ago suddenly become legal??  And why is it when I read a news article and a 40-something "person of interest" is mentioned, I imagine that someone the same age as my parents?? (because you know that anyone over 40 is the same age as my parents ;-).  And why won't I just come clean and admit that I've graduated from "young mom" to "old mom"?

Maybe this will put everything into perspective . . .

Oh, and it doesn't help matters much when Chris really DID graduate from high school in the early 80's (1983), and is now officially closer to 50 than 40.  Um, ya, isn't that like, "grandparent" status age?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentine's day

The little girls just headed out the door to school with their backpacks filled with the obligatory class valentine's, treats, and decorated boxes.  Despite the hassle, I LOVE Valentine's day.  Not the commercial "buy your sweetheart flowers/chocolate/jewelry" type Valentine's day, but rather the "you are the most amazing people in the world (i.e. family/friends) and I love you, adore you, and think the world of you" type V-day :-).

our valentine's traditions:
  • baking and decorating heart-shaped sugar cookies - I tried a new recipe and they were SO yummy - you can find it here.
  • making homemade suckers for the kids to give to their favorite friends (we thought we would make them for their classes, but after a couple batches yesterday, I realized it would take forever to make almost 60 suckers, so zipped down to the store to buy treats for the unlucky, less than favorite friends ;-).
  • eating heart-shaped waffles with whipped cream and strawberries on V-day morning (unfortunately, it's just the girls b/c the big kids leave too early - I just leave some out for an after-school snack).
  • the girls' lunches:  ok, I know, a little over the top, but I love surprising them with heart shaped PB & J sandwiches (it's easy - just make the sandwiches and cut out with a cookie cutter and knife).
  • helping out with the girls' class Valentine's parties - SO fun!
  • DINNER: the kids pick the menu (tacos is the v-day food of choice this year - go figure), and we decorate the table fun and eat by candlelight.  Before we eat, the kids have to leave the room and I put a little surprise on everyone's plate (operative word = "little"), and during the meal I insist everyone mentions at least one thing that they love about another family member.

May you all enjoy a LOVEly Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

let's be frank

Alright friends (whom I'm thinking are mostly women, but to those men out there, you can stop reading about now ;-), it's time that I just came out with it and declare the war I wage with PMS. As my friend Kristin has noted, it's really not the best thing to blog when we women are unstable, and I'm pretty good at keeping my little secret under wraps.  I'll save you the drama, except to say that it's been one of those weeks (months), and more than a few people who may have previously thought I was pretty great, are now deliberately staying out of my way.

SO, to feel better I've spent this evening laughing my way through some pretty funny quotes pinned on pinterest.  It's nice to feel somewhat normal and realize that hormones are just women's hell on earth and hopefully we all understand enough to support one another without judgment or becoming offended when one of us loses it temporarily.  The good news is that this time my family made it through unscathed . . . I only offended everyone else I see on a daily basis.  Sigh.

That said, let's have some fun:

me (said in your best Bill Murray "Groundhog Day" voice) . . .
me . . .
me . . .
me . . . 

This ad campaign is too funny (our poor husbands) . . .

The cure??  No cure until menopause, but this is what I try to do to offset those insane hormones:

Evening Primrose WORKS, and my fault for not being consistent - I downed two pills tonight

This looked interesting, might give it a try

I absolutely refuse to try any medication to curb the effects of PMS and it's my own fault I've let it get a little out of control (always happens around holidays w/treats I can't resist).  This is my formula which is tried and true (straight from my most wonderful GYN who believes wholeheartedly on healing our body/mind naturally):
  • Exercise, Exercise, Exercise - "mountain therapy" ALWAYS works for me (should have skied on Friday until waiting for the fresh snow Monday - sigh).  Choose what you love and make a point to get out and sweat, or even just walk around the block a few times.
  • No caffeine, chocolate, excess salt or sugar (um, ya, fries, pizza, valentine's cookies . . . and what was I thinking purchasing TWO boxes of "Sweet's" orange sticks - sigh).  Loading up on a Diet Coke and chocolate is one of the worst things you can do - keep away from both, and even better if you can stay off soda and caffeine the rest of the month too.
  • Evening Primrose, Vitamin B complex, and Vitamin D (in winter) . . . um, ya, been lazy and forgot.  When I am consistent with these vitamins it really helps and I can feel a difference.

and if all else fails . . .

Best of luck to all my PMSing friends.
May the force be with you (or at least some primrose oil and a glass of milk ;-).

Friday, February 10, 2012

my girl

The wonderful things about Liza . . .

she NEVER takes off her favorite polar bear hat, ever (eats, sleeps, plays, etc.)
she loves outings with mom - and a few hours at Tracy Aviary is still cool
she loves owls as much as me
she still holds my hand
she asks questions about everything
her sensitivity to the world around her is astounding.

We enjoyed a delightful time at the Aviary earlier this week while the big girls were having their tennis lesson (plus, we had the place to ourselves - my advice - take advantage of these balmy winter days and head on over :-).  I'm glad I captured a few moments on my phone camera:

Our favorite Barn Owl - we had to go visit him three times that day - Liza loves this guy,
 along with Millie the crow who can say "wow."

Liza, may you forever stay young, innocent, precocious, and continue to find joy in the world around you.
 - mom

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

walking each other home

This morning as yoga class was coming to a close, my ever intuitive and wise instructor/friend reminded us that "we're all just walking each other home" (quoted by Ram Dass). Her words spoke directly to me and have resonated in my thoughts throughout the day, especially as I reflected on the past week . . .

Sunday morning came much too soon and I couldn't help but think as Chris tried his best wake me at 7:20am, that families with teenagers should be exempt from 9am church.  Tired, grumpy, and not feeling the least bit spiritual, I snapped that I wasn't going and that I honestly felt the Sunday before was a waste of time and energy because I fell asleep in all three of the very dull meetings, I didn't learn anything, let alone feel the spirit, and I'd rather just stay home and sleep today.  Ahhh, you're enlightened now that I've opened your eyes to my less than stellar self ;-).

However, once awake, it's practically impossible for me to fall asleep again, so I dragged myself and my attitude out of bed to begin the Sunday morning ritual of getting everyone else roused from deep sleep and respectable for church.  We did quite well, managing to slip into our designated bench before the opening song had finished (we were running on time until, as we were walking out the door, Chris reminded Ryan that he had forgotten to tuck his "Jedi braid"/ "rat tail" up into his hair so it wouldn't be noticeable at the sacrament table - sigh).

It was fast and testimony meeting, and as we settled into our bench, swiftly handing out hymnbooks down the row to join the congregation in the final verse, I was glad to be there.  It had been a "bleah" week and I had been in a funk of sorts, and as these things usually turn out, the Lord must have known exactly how to help me out of my slump . . . through the thoughts and actions of others.

As the meeting began, I was immediately touched by the beautiful and tender words spoken straight from the heart by a sweet 11-year old girl.  Her simple testimony touched my heart and prepared my spirit to hear the thoughts from subsequent friends and neighbors who bore powerful witness of the truthfulness of the gospel, but more than that, words I needed to hear to bring me out of my funk and reevaluate my priorities so I can feel that pure joy and happiness that accompanies living a life dedicated to the gospel, my family, service to others, and strengthening my most important relationships, especially with the Savior.

Relief Society was wonderful and again, more wisdom and insights I felt tailored just for me from one of my favorite women in the ward.  Her lesson focused on "finding joy" which obviously I had lost sight.  I wasn't really looking to tell the truth and needed a swift kick in the pants to remember that life is supposed to be joyful, even with all the tests and trials that accompany mortality.  So, even if my week was lousy, and even if my natural woman selfishness was getting the best of me, I could start fresh again and focus my priorities and commit myself to look on the bright side and stop complaining.

This morning as my hands were in prayer over my heart with the instructor's words reverberating in my mind, I bowed and whispered "namaste" in gratitude for the people in my life who are "walking me home" - gently guiding and directing me to become my best self as I continue to progress in this earthly existence with a joyful heart.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

ah, election year . . .

I just had to post this because it made me laugh out loud.  Plus, even if we don't agree with everything Mitt has put out there politically, it's still exciting to watch Chris' former ward bishop campaign for the Republican nomination.  He has done a wonderful job representing the church, our beliefs and values.