The Common Mommy Denominator

I'm a Mom. I need adult conversation. I need to talk about the banalities and the excitements of life, and be understood by the masses. Most of all, I need feedback. Let's chat. You about yours, me about mine, us about ours. Let's find and discuss the Common Mommy Denominator.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Please Help - Total Computer Reboot

I need email addresses all over again, because heaven knows I don't have any of them written down; please email me from your email to ours (same old, same old) so that I have your email address.

This is pathetic, and I hate Windows, fyi. Next computer will be a MAC.

Sorry, everyone. Seems like we end up having to do this at least once a year, right? Of course, last time it was phone numbers when Goo dropped our phone into the toilet.


And to top it all off, I have the flu like nothin' goin'. Gun, anyone?

Monday, January 26, 2009

HE DID IT!!!!!!!!!

So, I knew Stan was a chocolate lover, but I just really honestly had no concept of how far he was willing (and able) to go.

I must say, I'm impressed:

Stan managed to consume (after 3 large pieces of overloaded pizza and an 8 piece sushi roll) not one, but TWO, count them!, TWO SLICES of GODIVA CHEESECAKE from the Cheesecake Factory.

I kid you not.

Imagine the world's biggest cheesecake cut into 12 ginormous pieces...and then serve TWO of those pieces to my chocaholic brother-in-law and sit back, baby, 'cause you're in for a ride. ONE-SIXTH of a Godiva cheesecake slid down that gullet. Approximately (with both) 2000 CALORIES AND 160 GRAMS of ONE sitting.

Never again will I question the chocolate obsession. And never again will I question Stan's capacity for serious, die-hard, uber-rich chocolate desserts. That is one dedicated man, people.

Oh, and yes...he did live to see the next day. IN-SANE.


But I digress.

I showered this morning for the first time in 2 days. (The kids are sick. Sometimes it takes me 2 days to shower ANYWAY. It happens.)

So I have them bundled in blankets on the couch with their myriad stuffed things, dry toast in hand, watching Diego, and I give the order to remain on the couch while I shower. Sure thing, Mom.


Really, though, I haven't had this problem before. (Much.) (And never to this extent.)

I emerge from my room, washed and dressed, and where are my kids? Not on the couch, OH, NO! My son is at the computer with about a dozen windows open, and my daughter is nearby at the desk with the desk supply drawer open, BOTH hands COATED in red Sharpie.

Did anyone else know that baby wipes get red Sharpie (MOSTLY) off? Though in the process, the red from the wipes gets on your hands while you wipe, so I have pink palms.


HOW do YOU shower with kids around? How do you ensure that the world doesn't end/the house doesn't burn down/the computer doesn't crash/the kids remain (more or less) unscathed? What's your secret? Or if you don't have kids, what do you plan to try? Or what do your other friends/family members do? I need suggestions here, people! I can't bring my FOUR YEAR-OLD son into the shower with me (though I sometimes do with my two year-old daughter when said son is at school), so when he's home, I'm left to couch-and-movie time. What else? Ideas? Please? ANYONE?!

Sigh. Gotta go see what makes pink palms pasty-white again...excuse me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stan Visiting

My brother-in-law is a really great guy; he's my husband's eldest brother, and a genuine, fun, active and intellectual invidual always up for a stimulating conversation...and chocolate.

So when he came to dinner last night while visiting the area on business, I couldn't JUST make pizza...I had to make some sort of killer chocoholic dessert.

This is a man who was only conquered by The Black Beast after consuming an entire quarter of the cake in one evening, a feat as-yet unmatched in human history. We're talking four (and perhaps 8, for the more conservative) servings here, people. And on his last visit, he consumed not one but TWO velvet chocolate bars from Steakhouse 55, those sinfully delicious, uber-rich flourless chocolate mouse cakes.

So I felt I was undertaking a challenge by offering him yet another chocolate dessert last night. And I very well may have succeeded.
I provided, for dessert, individual Molten Chocolate Cakes, served in 6 oz. ramekins and gooey, oozey, toasty warm from the oven. They are effectively underbaked flourless chocolate cakes, and this time I pulled out all the stops, including using
brown eggs from the farmer's market
and Scharfen Berger bittersweet 70% cocoa chocolate.
He had two.
Mikayla and I finished the 5th and final dessert an hour or so before lunch today, followed, after the 3rd bite, by a plea for water, hence the red cup with built-in straw in her little hands.

I realize, of course, that this is not the most flattering photograph of my sweet daughter - by any stretch - but I had to capture that chocolate-on-my-face, drunken-with-chocolate look, and I succeeded there, too, hands down. Just look at her.

All hail the Molten Chocolate Cakes! All hail The Black Beast! And all hail Bon Appetit for always supplying the very best (and most obscene) recipes for which a home cook could ask!

Speaking of which, let me know if you want the recipe. It's SUPER-easy, but it very well might kill you. (To which I say, and most emphatically...Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmm!)

An Innate and Natural Talent

It's a talent, it really is. Innate, natural...a God-given gift bestowed...upon my children.

What is this amazing gift, you ask? This talent unmatched by adults? It's better if I illustrate my point.

Take this afternoon: I'm lying on the couch, having a small snooze, when suddenly Magoo climbs up on my chest...and immediately sends her foot into my overfull bladder. The second it is moved, her brother has appeared at our side, and leans on his mother - with his elbow - to poke, prod, and generally irritate his sister. What magic spot does that sharp and heavy little elbow find? You guessed bladder. At this point I'm reduced to complaining, and the elbow is removed. Just as I again begin to relax and shift, my daughter decides she's had enough of mom and proceeds to climb OFF her mother, finding as a foothold - of course! - my bladder.

In case you haven't yet deduced the innate and natural God-given talent so expertly and constantly manifested by my children, it is this: they never, ever, ever fail to land a well-timed blow or lean a perfectly-executed pressing upon my inevitably full bladder. They are, indeed, masters of the sport. Every time, without fail.


Excuse me; I think I need to visit the restroom...again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Joy of Body Noises

Goo and I are in the kitchen just now, and she burps like no burp she's ever had before.

So what does she do? Does she say "excuse me" like we've taught her?

Of COURSE NOT. She laughs. Loud, long, and from the belly. And then she says, "Mommy, Mia buuup. Funny, huh?"

And you know what? It really was...

Monday, January 19, 2009


Yeah, I know, 3 posts today...but...check this out. Guy sings A Whole New World from Aladdin. Both parts. REALLY well. Um...yeah.

My New "Blog" Friends...

Okay, they're not officially my "friends," but you know how the blogging world stumble across someone else's blog, and you're in immediate photographic heaven. I've added a few new favorite blogs to the column at left, but allow me to introduce you to Hannah & Simon's Our Little Empire (they're in the UK) found there (click the link), and Dennis's (he's in South Africa) found there. Hannah & Simon stop and take photos of the places they visit from time to time, as well as photos of where they live...and though they are not "professional" photographers, I guarantee you the next time you come over you'll see a few of their "amateur" photos adorning my walls, thanks to their generous willingness to allow me to print them. (What I wouldn't give to live in a place where the sights predate 1900 and nature consists of more than palm trees and beach!) Dennis doesn't bill himself as a professional, either, but his photos, rather than "just" beautiful, capture moments in life as they a place most of us cannot possibly comprehend. His thoughts about those moments are recorded along with the photos, and are as touching as those of a poet.

Take a few moments to peruse their blogs...and maybe make a "blog friend" across the pond or on the southern tip of another continent. Their photos are visually stunning and I so much appreciate their willingness to share the talent about which each of them are so modest. Thanks again, Simon, Hannah, and Dennis!!!


It's Monday morning, and already I need a nap. To make matters worse, it's a national holiday, and my husband has to work. (Gotta love busy season!)

My kind parents have offered to take the kids to Disneyland for a few hours today, so what am I going to do with all that free time? Meet Kim at the gym and then run some errands. (Hey, I'm saving $6 for Kid's Club and getting my errands done in half the time that way...don't judge me!)

Actually, I really enjoy the gym, particularly when someone is there to work out with and talk to (instead of focusing on my own misery on that elliptical/stair climber/ab machine) (so thanks, Kim!) and the chance to spend 15 minutes (okay, an hour) at a Fresh & Easy all by myself sounds like a holiday to me, so come to think of it, maybe it won't be half bad!

We'll see. Either way, it's a holiday without my husband on holiday, so I'm starting the day bitter and sleepy (after tossing and turning all night). I'm not seeking pity...but maybe a little empathy. Anyone relate?

Happy MLK, Jr. day, by the way.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Twilight the Movie

Okay, people...I've put it off this long, but I feel that I must finally say something about the Twilight film. No, wait, I can't call it a film. The Twilight movie. By the way, this may contain spoilers, but since all of you have seen the movie already, most of you numerous times, it won't be anything new to you.

Total bitterness, on so many levels. First, I honestly hated the books, but read them because everyone I know loves and was reading them. (Yes, you...and you, and you, and you...seriously, I could make a list, but it would be a waste of time because you could just read the names on all the blogs I have listed at left and 9/10s of them would be Twilight fans.) I am SOOOOO anti-sick-relationships (having had more than 1 sick relationship in the past) and the Edward/Bella relationship is WAAAAAAAYYY too obsessive for me: I think Edward’s line in the movie makes my point when he states that she is his own personal brand of heroin. WHAT?! And I know everyone thinks it’s so hot/sweet/charming/wonderful that he spends 2 months watching her sleep…but I think it’s SUPER-creepy. Stalker with a capital S. And Psycho with a capital P. In reverse order. PS. That's Edward.

The casting was only decent, (Edward was well-cast, but I was disappointed with so many other characters,) and I was big-time irritated by just how much ETHNICITY there is in small-town Forks! A big grrrrr to political correctness. Not to mention the high school (and town!) looked FULL of people instead of empty and quiet. Jacob totally had this scary-looking pig nose, and was neither bashful nor severe enough. Didn’t do it for me. Maybe when he starts growing into a 10 foot tall, super-broad beasty boy they’ll swap actors. That’d be a god-send. And Jasper seriously looked CONSTIPATED. The whole movie. And it made me wonder if vampires have to use that bathroom, and what THAT would be like, which thoroughly grossed me out. (And now that I’ve said that, try not to think about it.) I mean, come on, if we’re talking vampires, you don’t want supermodel men…you want hot, sexy, slightly rough-around-the-edges men. And Edward is. But Jasper was constipated. Oh, and I thought the sparkly thing was well done (instead of being outright stupid and prismatic), but I REALLY wanted him to whip his shirt off. I think that might have quieted the snickering audience…to see Robert sans top. Who cares about the sparkles then? James didn’t bother me as much as Victoria, though he did seem like a creepy teenage punk, but Victoria should have been radiant, terrifying, a little OLDER, and had eyes to match her hair. They made way too much of Laurent’s eyes, and I hardly remember even seeing Victoria or James with red eyes. Speaking of Victoria, I loathed the whole “next movie coming soon” reference by us seeing Victoria in the end.

Speaking of stupid references, the apple drop-and-catch. Yeah, we get it. The book cover. Ha ha. But this is not Eve being tempted by the Devil, people, it’s an addict hooked on LSD, or Pandora being tempted by the box. Irritating.

Back to characters, though, Charlie was great, and I admit, being a parent, I loved watching him mess with his gun when he told Bella to bring in Edward. Very characteristic of Charlie…and of a Dad. But I didn’t particularly like Renee, probably because I’m such a fan of the series 24, and I can’t NOT think of her as Nina-the-bad-lady. Such is life when you’re an actor/ess, right? I wasn't really impressed by the Cullens, but they were fine, outside of Jasper...oh, and Rosalie. She actually looked like a Hispanic woman who had bleached her hair out. Threw me for a loop. Shoulda been Rosamund Pike. You know, someone who looks like Helen of Troy, a Greek goddess, a tall, stately NATURAL blonde. But whatever.

The producers were idiots, by the way. The film, with the popularity of the books and the inevitable attendance by women 12 - 60 again and again and again, should have had a MUCH bigger budget. Instead, we got stuck with horrendously low-budget special effects, Edward climbing trees and leaping off walls in the ballet studio OBVIOUSLY on wires, jumping from rock to rock or moving full-speed-ahead with that swishy Wonder Woman/Hulk 1970’s ghost trail, and with makeup that makes the Cullens look not vampiric but GOTHIC ALBINO. My husband flatly told me back when I started reading the books that if ever a movie cropped up, there was no way in HADES he was going with me and I’d have to find a bunch of girls to go with. So when Jason and Ginny came to visit Disneyland with her family and she asked me if I wanted to go with her and her sisters and mom, I was in; I missed our girls-in-the-ward midnight showing because, hey, I have 2 small kids and need to function. Besides, going with my anti-Twilight husband and hearing him laugh at the effects and watching him roll his eyes at the "sexiest" (can I call them that?) parts of the movie would have TOTALLY ruined it for me. And thanks to the budget, that's EXACTLY what he would have done.

All that said, and here’s the part I’m REALLY bitter about…I felt like a ruddy teenager watching the movie and for the first time got all stirred up over Edward. All of a sudden, vampires didn’t seem quite so bad. Which means that I’ll probably go see the next movie. I seriously doubt the majority of the cast will have learned to act by then (this was soap-opera quality at best) but at least by that time the producers will likely have learned (we can only pray!) that they can allocate a bigger budget to the movie and make their money back a hundred thousand times over, and I won’t have to see vampire legs swing forward during leaps like they’re on wires. UGH.

I think that about covers it, but if I missed anything, holler, will ya?

Oh, and I decided something: I hate Bella. Not because I want to be her, but because she pretty much has NO personality. That popped out at me the whole movie. Edward? Hot. Bella? Could have ceased to exist, and the plot almost could have continued without her! It's not that the actress is's just that she was given lines without a part...words without a character. Sad times, people. Good thing Edward was cute.

Okay, THAT covers it. Anything from the peanut gallery?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Anyone Notice...?

That post right below this one? Yeah, longest post I've made in ages. And all about food. Leave it to me to wax poetic about grocery stores. Sigh.

Time for lunch! :)

Perennial Shoppers

So a bunch of my friends are shoppers. A bunch of my associates are shoppers. The majority of my husband's female coworkers are die-hard shoppers. I really only shop these days if I'm in a thrift store, because I want all those wonderful expensive clothes but refuse to pay for them, and at thrift stores, I find the prices are less than a trip to Old Navy or Target...hallelujah.

But I AM a shopper, and I'm coming out of the shopaholic closet: I love to shop...for FOOD. Yes, food. I love it. I can spend as much time wandering a grocery store, going back and forth between aisles, and examining deli counters as Cory can spend at the Ann Taylor outlet without ever feeling a need to look at the clock. And I always walk about having spent a fortune I never intended to spend.

But we eat well!

Disclaimers aside, I confess...not only do I shop for food, I shop EVERYWHERE for food. My basic grocery shopping is split these days between Vons and Fresh & Easy, (Vons has to-die-for soups, and Fresh & Easy has uber-cheap produce, a great cheese selection, and the most clearly-marked epiration dates of anyone anywhere...TANGENT TIME!!!)

***If you have a Fresh & Easy nearby, CHECK IT OUT...I LOVE their strawberry lemonade (pricey, but BOY, do you get what you pay for! It's like Red Robin's strawberry lemonade...and nearly the same price!) AND you get a huge discount on things nearing their expiration date, like when I bought a couple cheese pizzas the other day for $.98 each that "expired" two days later. Fed our whole family, plus Bella, with leftovers. Not to mention how incredibly friendly they are, their "kitchen table" that offers samples and ideas like Trader Joe's does, and that time that the employee who leapt forward to bag my groceries (everything is self-check but VERY easy to scan) was so happy that I love shopping at Fresh & Easy that he gave me a bunch of fresh flowers (also nearing their expiration date, so they would just have been thrown out) on my way out the door. Did I mention that we get coupons for them in the mail every week or two? And we're not talking piddly little $.25 here or $1 off when you spend x amount...we're talking "$6 off when you spend $30 or more." People, that's TWENTY PERCENT off your groceries if you limit it to $30! ASTOUNDING!!!!!***

Anyway, back to...splitting my main grocery shopping between Vons and Fresh & Easy, and then all my supplemental shopping elsewhere: Farmer's Markets (in Anaheim on Thursday and Fullerton on Wednesday, mostly for produce, pita and humus, and sometimes artisanal oils or cheeses), Trader Joe's (which I love, but if there is any reason I go, even though it's well out of the way, is for their Orange Chicken. Try it. I'm so not kidding. And add a few chopped green onions, and serve it with sticky rice. Who needs Panda Express?!), El Super (formerly Gigante), also the perfect place for cheap produce and all things Mexican (awesome taco-sized corn tortillas), 99 Ranch (an Asian market, because where else can you get 2 1/2 pounds of gyoza for $5 and a 25 pound bag of jasmine rice for $18.99, not to mention any fish you can imagine cleaned right before your eyes and prepped just the way you want it, AND the worlds biggest crabs and lobsters live AND cheap, and just about any type of stir fry or Asian sauce in the entire world...if you can get past the fishy smell, which has never fazed me because I grew up with mostly Korean friends), and Northgate (for the specialty produce, oddly carried by a tiny Mexican market, and the unflavored churritos for dousing with hot sauce and lime, not to mention the crema Mexicana and sweet breads out the wazzu, but let's face it, it's mostly for the "I'm in Mexico" cultural feel when you shop, which I love!). Am I forgetting anywhere? Um, sometimes I hit up Target (NO LONGER WALMART...but that's another post) for the basic basics because their prices are better, but beyond I really NEED another grocery store?

Yes, it's true...I'm a shopper. Obsessive shopper, actually. If there is food to be had, I'm in the store. It means I spend considerably more time running my errands, but when you're as devoted to food as I am (thank heavens for alli!), you make sacrifices.

No, wait, there's one more: Cortina's Italian Market. OH MY YUMMY GOODNESS. Italian meats and cheeses and deli items sliced and measured and packaged to order with items you can't get anywhere else (Lupini beans, anyone?) and awesome prepared pizza dough and sauce and whatnot. And Italian cookies...and breads and rolls...and other beautiful yummy little things, plus bottles of Balsamic vinegar ranging in price from $5 to $55. Wowzer.

Okay, I think that's all. Yup, for now. Until I start getting into Indian cooking again, or more into Thai, both of which cultures have all sorts of little grocers around here. Hmmm. Good idea, actually. Healthy cuisines, unique ingredients...

Dang it. I AM a foodie...and as a result...a shopper. Or is shopping just a means to an end? A means to filling my stomach full of delectable dishes? Either children will know the difference between white and black truffle oil before they enter grade school, and that's really all I can ask.

Now where's my alli...?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho...

Turned on Fantasia 2000 this morning for a few minutes while the kids had breakfast/got dressed for school...and Tyler couldn't wait to see the part with the pink animals and the yo-hos.


Turns out, he was excited for the part that shows flamingos playing with yo-yos.

But I think I'm just going to let him keep calling them yo-hos. I'm just that kind of parent. Child cuteness at the expense of correctness. But yo-hos? You have to admit, that's pretty cute.

Anyone to try walking the dog? I know we've got a yo-ho around here somewhere...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Funny, Huh?" and Other Details

I'm lying in bed this morning, lounging a bit, (we have 11 - 2 church now instead of 9 - noon,) and I hear Mikayla babbling to her brother in the living room. I'm not sure what she was talking about exactly, but she said, and I quote:

"Ty! Mia Pina-Pina! Funny, huh? Heh heh, Yeah!"

Again, really, no idea what she was talking about, but it was the "Funny, huh?", the half-hearted chuckle, and the proclamation that, Yes, Mia IS funny that got me.

So then it was time for a bath because, let's be honest here, it's been a good 2 1/2 days since the kids have bathed, (Gotta have priorities, right?, and spending good, quality time with Daddy over the weekend trumps tub time. Such is life!) and today is church. I started running the tub, then went in the kitchen to put something away, Tyler trailing after yelling, "WOOOOOWWW! We never ever ever take a bath after we get up from ni-night! WOOOOWWWW!!!"

It was like he'd won the lottery!

Anyway, he's all excited and takes Mikayla's hand, leading her to the bedroom saying, "Let's take your clothes off so you can be ready for the bath!" I'm thinking that'll take the next 15 minutes so I go about my business, but the next thing I know, Mia's streaking to the bathroom yelling, "MIA NAY'DED!" and Tyler's showing me Mikayla's diaper, explaining, "Look, Mom! No poo-poo, just pee-pee!" followed by "Good job, Mikayla!"

So I go in to adjust the water temp in the tub and here comes Tyler: "I'm naked! I'm naked! I want to get in the warm bath!" and he's shivering like the last leaf on an autumnal tree in a windstorm.

Finally everyone's in the tub, and I hear Mikayla babbling yet again, this time to her plastic floating Mamma duck..."Otay, du'dee, open a mouf. Now, dee-dit, pit-did, you did-dit!" In case you need a translation: "Okay, your mouth! Now, drink it, spit did it!"

Amazing what the smallest of children will come up with, particularly since I remember arguing with Jason that Tyler didn't understand half of what we were telling him at this same age, primarily because I didn't understand that, even though Tyler couldn't communicate (with all 6 words he knew) didn't mean he didn't get it! I underestimated my child. And I'd like to say I'll never make the same mistake again, and I'll try not to, but inevitably, it's likely I'll underestimate one or the both of them again at some point...soon.

Anyway, last but not least, check out the (completely unrelated) photos in this's my second attempt at the soup, with an increase in quantities and a replacement of olive oil for bacon grease...YUUUUUUUMMMM. (Less healthy, I know, but...YUUUUUUUUMMMM!) Anyway, the photos don't do it justice, but, MAN!, that's good stuff!

Off to ready MYSELF for church! Happy Sunday!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thanks, Natasha!...Zucchini Soup!

So I noticed on MY blog the other day that Natasha's blog had a title mentioning zucchini soup, and I think to myself, "I bought a package of 8 medium-sized zucchini at Fresh & Easy the other day, and was wondering what to do with the last 3! Maybe..." I checked her blog, and there it is...a zucchini soup recipe. Okay, let's not call it a recipe, since it didn't have measurements; it was more of a suggestion for a great-tasting zucchini soup and a good way to go about making it. So I thought I'd give it a shot. After all, I had ALL the stuff, and I've been trying to find healthier options lately.

I'd show you a photo of that beautiful, bisque-y pale green soup, but Jason and I ate it all. In record time. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

So I'll tell you about it instead, and give you "my" measurements, yes? And seriously, if you get a chance, give it a's super-easy, super-cheap, and relatively healthy!

Slice thinly 3 small-medium zucchini (unpeeled) and 1/2 of a small onion; saute in 1 T. olive oil over med-high heat w/ 1 t. chopped garlic until lightly browned. Add 2 C chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes until zucchini and onion are soft. Pour all into a blender and puree until smooth (be sure to let some steam escape as you puree, or the hot liquid will blow the top off!!!), then return to the same pot. Over medium heat, stir in 1/4 C heavy cream (or 1/2 and 1/2, or whole milk...but cream is better!), a pinch each of cayenne pepper and nutmeg, a squeeze of lemon juice if you have it (it brightens the flavor but isn't a must), and season to taste with salt and pepper.

It's yummy, it's beautiful - an enchanting green with faint pale swirls of cream and earthy dark green flecks of zucchini skin complemented by the tiniest bright red flecks of cayenne - and because it's pureed and bisque-like, uber-velvety.

And if you needed any more proof, Jason asked for more, and when there wasn't any, finished off mine. He said himself that you know he likes it if he's swiping my food to get more of it!

Anyway, thank you Natasha for the suggestion, and since I'm thinking about it, thank you again for that wonderful, home-grown meal (this woman has the greenest thumb of anyone I've EVER met!) of sauteed veggies and rice and chicken (and all the bonus veggies that filled my fridge!) right after Tyler as born. You saved both my sanity AND my taste buds. And the rest of you, while you're at it, check out her book blog at left...she has an online bookstore, but barring that, the very best books-to-read blog and commentary I've come across!

Now go eat your vegetables!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Lost Art

I've been knitting scarves like a crazy woman for weeks now, (if you haven't received one and want one, let me know!) and knit one for a friend who did something TOTALLY unexpected: she sent a thank you note!

Now, let me tell you, thank you note writing is something I aspire to, but though I try, I am such a space cadet I often forget who I was going to write to and the whys and wherefores. I attribute it to motherhood.

Anyway, I think that, in the last few years, I've received maybe half a dozen thank yous. (Yes, most of them are from a few of you!) No offense intended to anyone who has sent me one, but I think this is just about the very best thank you note I have ever received (and no, there wasn't money in it): (And yes, I'm going to type it, because I have to be able to reference it to explain what was so meaningful.) (And if it's from you, don't self-identify, okay?)

"Jessica - a short note to say a big thank you for the beautiful scarf you made for me. It was so thoughtful and unexpected that you would spend your precious "free" time on me. I wish for you and your family a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2009."

Wow. Seriously. It was down on paper, first of all, which means the world immediately. (In other words, its tangible. In my hands. Awesome.) She complemented my work, which makes me feel GRRRRRRREAT! And then she did something that makes it the best thank you card ever: she recognized how much time it took for me to make it by hand, and noted that I had chosen to spend what little crazy-Indian-free time I have knitting her a scarf. Then she closed with beautifully-constructed best wishes.

People, THIS is what I aspire to, and I have to say, every thank you note I've ever sent falls short. So here is my apology: if you've never received a thank you note from me, I'm sorry, and I'll be working this year on doing better. If you HAVE received one from me, I'm sorry it wasn't as beautifully written as the one I referenced above, and again, I'll be working to be better this year.

And to my dear friend who wrote me the best thank you note ever...thank you. That REALLY made my day. Enough that I've been thinking about it for weeks after. THANK YOU.

And isn't that what a thank you note is supposed to do? Express real thanks, not only for an item or a favor, but for a friendship? Wow. This year, I'm on it!


You know, I feel like I already had a post titled this. Oh, I did, a number of months back. But now it's for Jason and not me, so I suppose that's okay.

Yes, Jason has been released, and is no longer in the Bishopric! (AND THANK HEAVENS FOR THAT!!!) Being that he's an accountant, they turned right back around and called him to be an assistant ward clerk over financials, but that's a Sunday calling that, now that he's caught everything up, will take him 15 minutes to half an hour each Sunday. Oh, and the Bishop still wants him at Bishopric meeting every Sunday morning, too.

BUT, and here's the but...he WILL be home on Sunday morning to help me get the kids ready for church, he WILL be riding in the same car with us to AND from church, and he WILL be sitting with us during Sacrament meeting from now on!


Thanks to all of you who supported us (particularly during Sacrament meeting!) while he's served this last year and a half...we sure do appreciate you!

Oh, did I say HALLELUJAH?! Because what I meant to say was HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Fabulous Jessica Garthe! Check out Jessica's website here...she's a professional (who has done lots of weddings) who is branching out her business, and she's fantastic. Anyway, here's the Bradshaw/Sidles/Flores family, including my folks, sister and her hubby. Thanks again, Jessica!!!
It seems rather miraculous, really, that everyone was actually looking at the camera in this photo...especially when two of the subjects are 4 and 2! So there's Nona, Papa, Tyler and Mikayla, Kate and Victor, and Jay and I. I love how Mikayla is laughing at her attempted escape, and Tyler is clasping his hands like he's in a choir. :)

The kids can't get enough of Nona and Papa, and this is a great picture demonstrating that...

I'm actually rather relieved to have had a matched set of boy and girl...they'll compete their whole lives through, of course, and occasionally battle each other to the pain, but at the very least, they're a boy and girl, so there's really no comparison in some areas. Oh, and they love each other. I'm pretty grateful for that, too...even if this adorable picture also suggests a wrestling move...

Okay, the best part of this shot is obviously the way the sun caught the kids. They both look angelic, (all four grandparents would say "of course," and mom and dad would claim that that's completely fraudulent!) and even a little surreal. If your Christmas card still hasn't arrived, well, this is the photo on it. :)

I don't remember the last time Jay and I had professional pictures taken together. In fact, the last "professional" that took pictures of JUST the two of us was probably Sears Portrait Studio a few months after we were married...which means a good 7 years ago or more. Anyway, I really like this one.

Thanks again, Jessica!


So Jessica Garthe took some extended-family photos for us a month or so back, and then I turned around and took some photos of Kim and Bella a few weeks ago...I just haven't had the chance to post them yet. Wanted to share...and please note, because Jessica introduced us to such a great park for photos, that's the park I used for Kim and Bella, but not on the same day. I'll post the Kim and Bella pictures in this post, and then Jessica's in the next. Enjoy! (By the way, there were like 40 fabulous photos of Kim and Bella, thanks to how amazingly photogenic they are - and how amazingly cooperative Bella was, for a couple hours' photo session at a park! - but since I can't fit anywhere near that many on my blog, you get five.)

I LOVE this was right at the end, and though Bella was bored, she really snuggled in to her mom right here...I just wish you could see the next couple of shots where she starts to giggle and tickle and tease her mom. Maybe Kim will post some! :)

I don't know how it worked out, but Bella put her little foot up at JUST the right time. Seriously, people, this was the very first shot of the day!

It's hard to tell in this picture, but Bella's jeans are sparkly, which made it PERFECT in the morning light.

We're still not sure what Bella was looking at here, but what a precious photo of the both of them...especially the way it captures Bella's personality perfectly.

I think this was the best of the day, all cuddly and close...Kim is fabulous, of course, (and looked fabulous in every photo!) but Bella's little indulgent grin took the cake. Looooooove it!