Monday, February 28, 2011

Measuring Success

3 little monkeys
Cute as can be!
Eating "banana sticks"
Then ran away from me!

Success is measured differently by many. Many would look at my day today and say it was unsuccessful because of the following:

1. I didn't get a shower.
2. I really didn't even get dressed. Sports bra, workout pants, and a stretchy headband!
3. We didn't leave the house. Didn't even step foot in the garage.
4. I didn't cook dinner.
5. My kitchen floors desperately need to be swept and mopped.
6. Sariah's hair didn't get brushed. James ran around without pants most of the day.
7. The day's conversations revolved around poop, not throwing rocks, using your words nicely, and buggers.

However, success to me as a wife and mother is measured very differently. I had an AWESOME day today. As I look back on the day, here are the highlights:

1. I played with my children all day long. Built sand castles, ran around the backyard, read books, sang songs, jumped on the bed, and just played.
2. I read my scriptures and said my prayers.
3. My children ate very well, and very healthy today.
4. I got a lot of work done during "quiet time" and am doing more this evening.
5. The kids played very well together.
6. I made some money - babysitting and working on the computer.
7. We had a fun FHE!
8. Jared brought home takeout for dinner. =)
9. I loaded the dishwasher and got a load of dishes done!
10. I made my bed.
11. My children are sound asleep, healthy, content, warm, and safe.
12. I found my memory card reader!

I will get a shower tomorrow, I will get up at 5:30 am and resume my working schedule, and I will get out of the house a little bit. And it will still be a great day.

Life is good.

Mama's Boys

James has been attached to me since the minute he was born, in that special way. Little boys adore their mothers, they love them, and they crave their embrace. James loves his mother in a wonderful way, and has rarely sought out his dad for comfort. It has made Jared a little sad, and frustrated at times.

Jared fell hopelessly in love with me almost instantly, but he had never been in love before so he didn't really know what he was feeling. I'm not being egotistical, I'm being totally honest. I'll tell you the story sometime - it's quite amazing, really. He loves me. He adores me as well, and I delight in his embrace.

Lately, James has fallen in love with his father. He will help him with projects, snuggle with him in church, and sit on his lap to eat his snack. Jared loves it, because his boy is starting to return the affection.

My mama's boys. Aren't they handsome?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Surprise Weather!

It snows in Tucson once a year. It has snowed once for the last several years. It usually doesn't stick, but it does snow!

This morning, we woke up to a wonderful winter wonderland! The mountains were breathtaking.

Then Sariah woke up and wanted to play! We had about 20 minutes until we needed to leave for church, so I let her play for just a few minutes. Personally, I think it was a cruel trick of nature to snow on a Sunday morning, when we have to be at church at 8:30! She refused to put clothes on. Instead, she was wearing this. I warned her, but she needed to learn for herself that it was cold. She stayed out for 2 1/2 minutes!
When we got home, the snow was pretty much gone. There was still a small pile up at the park with just enough snow to construct a snowman. Jared and Sariah quickly shed their Sunday attire, dressed in warm clothes, and headed out to play before the snow was just a memory. They came back with cold hands, pink cheeks, and huge smiles on their faces. What a wonderful treat!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Have YOU ever tried to make something with a fresh coconut? either. So, here's a tutorial on what to do with a coconut, courtesy of the one we received today in our Bountiful Basket. Luckily, Jared and Sariah were both up for the task!

FIRST: Pole 3 holes in the top with a screw driver, an ice pick, or something similar. The coconut has 3 dark dots on one of its ends, kind of like a bowling ball. That's the spot where you want to be!

SECOND: Drain out the coconut milk. Or, as Sariah put it, let the coconut take a pee. Use the coconut milk in a coconut cream pie, freeze it, or use for a salmon glaze.

THIRD: Use the 3 holes you just poked as your reference point. Have them be your north pole. Take a hammer, and gently tap around the "equator" of your coconut. After a few rounds, it will just break open naturally.

FOURTH: Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. This allows the meat to start to peel away from the shell. With a spoon, separate the meat from the shell.

FIFTH: Enlist your husband, bribe him with whatever you see fit (and be creative!) and ask him to shred the entire thing for you. Using a cheese grater is brilliant!

SIXTH: Bag it, freeze it, coconut cream pie, coconut shrimp, toast it - the possibilities are endless!

I have to say that I love getting Bountiful Baskets because it forces you to use fresh produce that you normally wouldn't buy for yourself. Jared and Sariah had a great time and I can't wait to use it!!

And I now I more sincerely appreciate the toasted, shredded coconut that you buy in the store that's already done for you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Frown Town

"If you chance to meet a frown,
Do not let it stay.
Quickly turn it upside down
And smile that frown away.

No one likes a frowny face.
Change it for a smile!
Make the world a better place
By smiling all the while."

How many times have we sung this primary song? Yeah, too many times to count. It's really true - when things put a frown on the kisser, find something to smile about. It totally changes your perspective.

And, it also makes two little girls giggle almost instantly.

I think we sang it about 20 times today.

Don't you adore the perfectly-timed raspberry at the end of the song?!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beautiful Bodies

We are better. Finally.

No more fevers, coughs, runny noses, or moms in bed.

Aren't our bodies amazing? They know just how to rid themselves of a virus, bacterial infection, or other unwanted intruder. They can create new life. They tell you what they need - hunger, thirst, sleepiness, full bladder, sun, whatever it may be. They grow, they heal, and they provide. They even work without you telling them to.

But, our bodies are only as good to us as we treat them. What are we putting into our mouths? Is it food? Or is it hydrogenated soybean oil with corn syrup and too many preservatives to list? Are we exercising and strengthening our muscles and getting oxygen through our blood? Or are we missing out on that opportunity?

I have a renewed appreciation for my body after going through this last round of sickness. I will take better care of it. It is a gift.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


If you came to bookclub last, month, you had a cookie. It wasn't just any cookie - it was a cookie stuffed with gooey goodness. Like this:
This is a cookie with brownie in it, courtesy of I stuffed my cookies with Oreos, Snickers, Reese's, and KitKats.

I have realized that I have a slight talent in baking. When my children are older, I would LOVE to open my own bakery and call it "Middles." In it, I would sell cookies, cupcakes, and brownies stuffed with things in the "middle." Get it?!? I could mix and match all kinds of things! Remember those ganache cupcakes I made for Chelsea's baby shower? Peanut butter cookies stuffed with anything, chocolate fudge cookies stuffed with anything. Cupcakes stuffed with "Hugs" and ganache and anything else that sounds good.

Plus, the cookies are HUGE. Like the size of a salad plate. It would be so fun, but would it be successful? I dunno. Right now, I'll raise my kids. But in 10 years, maybe it will pay for college.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Room With a View

Rewind 10 days. Jared comes home from work, early. He NEVER does this. Like...never. So I knew something was up and he quickly came down with a horrid case of the flu. I didn't see him for 3 days, pretty much. He was holed up in our bedroom, hunkered down with blankets, and a throw-up bowl.

Sunday, the Super Bowl. I took my children to my brother's house for a little family get-together to get us out of the house. As I left his house, I could feel my chest starting to have and my lungs were starting to wheeze. By 9pm, I was sick. Really sick. For 3 days, I didn't get out of my bed. Jared was starting to mend, so he was able to be "Mom" for the 3 days I was in bed. My room with a view? This is what it was, when my eyes were open.
Jared took Sariah to preschool, and Malia (said preschool teacher) noticed Jared bringing Sariah. He doesn't do this, so she knew I must be down. She brought us dinner, and another friend brought us dinner the next night. This was heaven-sent. The worry of how I was going to feed my family was gone - a small miracle in itself.

Bronchitis and the flu...together. Not a stable marriage of sickness, if you ask me. It was horrid. I don't think I have ever been so sick in my entire life. I will spare you the details, but I hope to never experience that again. Thankfully, the children were spared and didn't get sick.

But now I had another daunting task: laundry and disinfecting the house. As I was pondering how I was going to tackle these two things, my mom called. She didn't ask, didn't suggest, she simply stated that she was on her way over to help me clean the house. She cleaned the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, and even swept the back porch.
I love my mom - she is always thinking of other people. She's constantly going up to Phoenix to spend time with a friend who is sick. She's walking with a friend who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. She serves, and serves, and serves without a thought about herself, or a repayment of any kind. She literally saved me when she said she would come clean - no words have ever sounded so beautiful!

Then on Saturday night, James started in with a cold. Green snot, and a good cough. Sunday ensued with a fever, more snot (if that's even possible!) and all snuggles. He slept yesterday from 4:30 pm until 9:30am this morning STRAIGHT THROUGH. When he's not sleeping, he's doing this:

This experience has made me reflect upon a few things.

1. Good health. Myself and my family are very healthy, and I usually take it for granted. When something comes through and wipes us out like this, I am instantly reminded of our great health and how lucky we are.

2. Good health insurance. Monday landed Jared and I in urgent care, because we were so sick. We are so fortunate that Jared has a stable job, with very good health insurance.

3. Good friends - if you ever want free food, just post on Facebook that you're sick! I seriously had 10 meal offers within an hour of putting it on Facebook. Friends who live down the street, friends who are within 10 minutes of each other, friends who allow Sariah to join preschool for a morning without payment, friends who don't think twice about doubling their dinner so you can have some. Sometimes, that's all you need - dinner for your family so you don't have to think about it.

4. Family. My sister found somewhere else for Emerson to go for that week and offered several times to help with whatever she could. My mom came to clean. Enough said!

5. My husband. Without a hesitation, he got up every morning and closed the door so I could sleep. He even got upset at me one day because I was out of bed and wanting to help. All he wanted was for me to go back to bed so I could get well! I love him.

I am still coughing and wheezing, but the infection is pretty much gone. What an experience this was. It was good to reflect upon the experience, but I hope it doesn't come back!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Jared and I never really make a big deal out of Valentine's Day. It's a lover's holiday, sure, but why need a special day to tell those around you that you love them? I got some chocolates, an addition to my flower collection, and a sweet card. Jared got a card, and...well, it is a lover's holiday, right?!? We make a big deal out of our anniversary, so we make Valentine's Day about the kids.

We made cupcakes, delivered them to my visiting teaching ladies and Grandma Wilkes, made cookies, ate them, and had pink/red everything! My children were shown dramatic amounts of love, and it was a lot of fun. I only hope that I can show my love for my children all the time, and don't need a holiday to do so. I hope Valentine's Day will be one of crafts, baking, and extra fun.

I didn't take any pictures, but know that lots of fun was had, and love was felt.

Overuse "I Love You." Always.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I had the following conversation this morning with Sariah:

S: Mom, are we going to church today?

Me: No, sweetie, not today.

S: Why, mom?

Me: Because dad's throwing up, James has a cold, and you have a cough.

S: And because you look like Einstein.

Me: *Chuckling* What?

S: Your eyebrows, mom. They have stitches, and you look like Einstein.

Me: I don't understand, sweetie. Can you show me what you're talking about?

S: Mom, look in the mirror. Your eyebrows have stitches.

Me: Oh! Those do look like stitches, don't they? Well, Sariah, I just need to trim and pluck my eyebrows. There's no stitches there. (The random hairs that needed to be removed, she thought were stitches!)

S: But you still look like Einstein.

Me: You mean Frankenstein?

S: Yeah, him! The stitchy monster!

Me: I see. Well, it must be time to trim my eyebrows then, huh?

(After a shower and a pluck...)

Me: How does this look?

Sariah: Much better, mom. Now, with a little mascara, you could be Einstein's wife!

NOTE: No makeup, even on a Sunday, after taking care of a sick husband and 2 sick children. At least I got a shower! And look - my hair is long enough to pull back into a pony tail!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Meet "The Walrus"

"The Walrus" affectionately describes what happens when you sneeze, and you have double-barreled buggers coming out of your nose. Thanks to my nephews, this nic-name has stuck in our family, too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You Know You're Tired When...

You have to eat your food laying down.