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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blogus Interuptus

It's been a pretty busy week (couple of weeks actually.) My boss went on another two trips and this past Wednesday the managers and executives had an all day off site meeting. I arranged for all of us to leave the office at 8:30am and drive to The Homestead Resort. We didn't leave to come home until almost 8pm. I typed 24 pages of single spaced, 11 point font minutes. It was productive but we have a lot to do now.
I arranged several FHE activities from afar (as I wasn't able to attend them due to prior engagements.) They included a service activity. I attended a showing of The Forgotten Carols with some friends last Monday as well as going home for a family dinner with my parents and sibling last Saturday.
On Thursday afternoon I drove to Salt Lake to babysit Lauren and Emily (more info in another post) and then helped plan and attended my work party on Friday night. Yesterday some people from the ward came over to watch a movie as part of our ward party. I actually spent most of the time in my room catching up on some work so I could be prepared for this Monday's meeting with some people from the East Coast. Thank goodness the holidays are coming and I will have a couple of days off. Anyway, I hope to be able to post a little more frequently in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The tree

In honor of Caleb's 5th birthday and what would have been his entry into Kindergarten, the tree this year was labeled "Kindergarten Christmas." Alison envisioned a wonderful tribute and it came true. After much painting over the past week and few days. The painting of some ornaments, beads, a village, boxes, and boards took some time but they turned out well. After days of work, Alison and I put the combined ornaments on the tree with wire. Grandma Roberts spent several hours stringing the garlands. Here is the entire tree:

I couldn't get far away enough to include the manger/star on top. Here are some of my favorite letters and what goes with them:

K is for Kris Kringle. Alison found this cute Kris for the tree.

S is for Sled. We stained this one and then I stenciled "Believe" and some snowflakes on it.

T is for Toy. Isn't the rocking horse cute?
There is a desk and chalkboard that goes along with it thanks to Aunt Nancy and Alison's Dad. It was a lot of work but also very rewarding. Here are the letters and the items on the tree that they stood for:
A is for Angel
B is for Bow
C is for Candy Cane
D is for Dove
E is for Evergreen
F is for Family (of Snowmen)
G is for Gift (painted purple)
H is for Holly
I is for Icicle
J is for Jingle Bells
K is for Kris Kringle
L is for Lights
M is for Manger
N is for Nutcracker
O is for Ornament
P is for Poinsettia
Q is for Quartet (the four small figures where hard to wire on)
R is for Reindeer
S is for Sled
T is for Toy
U is for unwrap
V is for Village
W is for Wise Men
X is for X-Mas
Y is for Yule Log
Z is for zzz (as in someone who is really tired after along weekend)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lauren's little sister

The newest, littlest member of our family was born today at app. 9:15am. The yet to be named little girl was 7lb 12oz and 21.5 inches long despite being two weeks early. Other than being tired, she, her mother, and her father are doing well. I left work a few minutes early to drive up to the hospital to see her. I overstayed my welcome so I could hold her and explain to her how wonderful and cute she is. She is a darling baby and I can already tell that she is above average (as all my nieces and nephews are.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

A 3-year-old's perspective

My sister-in-law Alison has been doing a post a day for the past week. It has been interesting to read about her perspective when dealing with a three and a half year old and an almost two year old. They are darling boys and they have a different perspective from we adults. All my nieces and nephews do. In their eyes life is good when they have their blankets, some food, and have family surrounding them. Pain can be quickly overcome after falling down and they don't stay down. Each one has learned to hop back up after falling. When does that change? I have noticed that I don't hop back up after a hurt (and I'm not talking physically.) A hurt feeling lasts a few minutes with a small child but can be nursed for hours, days, weeks, or even years by an adult. For some reason the older we get the more we seems to remember the pains that are inflicted on us, either by ourselves or by someone else. Why is that?

To go along with the theme of perspective, I give you several pictures that were taken by a three and a half year old:

I babysat Lauren last Thursday while her parents went to a play. She and I colored in our coloring books, sang, danced, took pictures, read, and then sang some more. I had a great time and I think she did as well. My camera is really simple. It has a very large viewer on the back so that you aren't required to put your eye up to a hole in order to see what you are shooting. After teaching her that she shouldn't put her fingers in front of the lens and that she had to hold the button down until the light flashed, she did pretty good. She ended up with about 40 shots but I thought these were some of the better ones. The last one I took (obviously.)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Photo scavenger hunt

Tonight my ward participated in a photo scavenger hunt for FHE. The list was as follows:
  1. One member of the group doing a handstand.
  2. One member of the group with a boat.
  3. Two members of the group on their cell phones.
  4. Three members of the group by a Yield sign.
  5. Two members going down a slide.
  6. Three or more members forming a letter of the alphabet with their bodies.
  7. Three members of the team with someone in uniform.
  8. One team member next to a California license plate.
  9. All four members of the team with blue tongues.
  10. Two members of the team on a diving board.
  11. All four members of the team with a sign that says "Orem" on it.
  12. Three members of the team in a public laundromat.
  13. Three members of the team with a member of the FHE committee.
  14. Two or more members of the team under a bed.
  15. Two or more team members wearing sombreros.
  16. Three team members playing with light sabers in the toy aisle of a store.
  17. Three team members having a picture taken with a bald man with a goatee.
  18. One team member with a live farm animal.
  19. One team member checking out a book from the library.
  20. One team member ordering something from the Wendy's drive through.
They had one hour to get as many done as they could and the winning team of four people won gift certificates to a local movie theater. One team got all twenty (I know since I checked the pictures to verify.) I actually did not participate, hence the lack of pictures. I kicked the event off by handing out the lists and then I was on my laptop for an hour doing some work. Due to HP's visit to our office today I am really behind in my work. Instead of doing my usual stuff I took 23 typed pages of notes. There are many a meeting invite that I haven't responded to and I haven't even started the agenda for tomorrow's Executive Committee meeting. Despite this I am ready for bed and don't think I will stay up to work anymore.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Eggnog and The West Wing

It is now past 1am on Sunday morning and I'm wide awake. I have just watched my third consecutive episode of The West Wing, a political drama from the 1990's. I love the witty banter between the characters and feel like I somehow am gaining more knowledge about how my government works when I watch it. I also just finished my third glass of eggnog for the day. I love eggnog. I am generally a fan of dairy as a whole (with the exception of nasty cottage cheese with its weird texture.) I wish grocery stores sold eggnog year round instead of waiting until November to start and then pulling it off the shelves in February. I suppose I could just make my own but I don't think it tastes quite as good as the store bought versions. I just noticed that my brother has a recipe for eggnog ice cream on his website. I will probably have to try it soon.
This past week has been a busy one. Work has been crazy as we have been preparing for a big meeting with HP at our office. My bosses son still is only sleeping in three hour increments so he's pretty tired. We are preparing for 20 employees to go to a conference in a week and a half. I have arranged for all the flights and am currently managing several conference calendars for the company. The meeting requests alone take up anywhere from 1-2 hours each day. All in all, I still absolutely love my job.
I also ordered a book and two cds from and they finally arrived today. I am now the proud owner of Michael Buble's newest cd as well as the soundtrack to Glee, a new tv show on the Fox Network. The book is a graphic novel (my first) of, surprise surprise, Pride and Prejudice. I read about it in a magazine, which gave it a good review, and realized that I had to own it. (For those of you interested, the authors name is Nancy Butler.) I figured since I own all other version of the book I should own this one. All three purchases are great. I think I will close at this point and try to get some sleep.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween Weekend

What a weekend it's been. On Friday morning I awoke with a start at 9:15am, realizing that I had forgotten to set my alarm. I immediately called work to let them know what had happened and that I would be in to work no later than 10am. I got dressed and then realized that it was the day before Halloween (meaning that we could wear costumes to work.) I then redressed in my angel outfit. I put on my wings when I arrived at work since driving with wings is a giant pain. I worked at my desk until lunch. A bunch of us went to Wingers for lunch in costume. At 3:15 I started to put candy on desks in preparation for trick or treating by the children of our employees. We had some pretty cute kids come around and we all ended up in the large conference room for sandwiches, chips and drinks. All in all, an excellent day at work. I came home, reapplied some make-up and hung out with Roommate R, her brother, and a mutual friend, A. They were preparing for our Halloween party
We started watching The Corpse Bride while we waited for the party to start. Friend A dressed as Mary Poppins, Roommate R was Little Red Riding Hood, and her brother was Bam-Bam from The Flintstones. People started showing up at 8:30pm. We had lots of fun eating, playing Mafia, and dancing. The party finally broke up around 2am but Roommate R and I stayed up talking. I finally went to bed around 3:30am.
I woke up to 6 text messages and a missed phone call from work. With people traveling from Portugal and to New York from Salt Lake I had to iron out a few hiccups. After making the world a more organized place I got up and had some breakfast while listening to Roommate H cough up a lung downstairs. Her room is right below mine and it sounds like she has walking pneumonia. I am going to do everything I can do stay away from her germs. I cleaned up after the party and ran some errands. I came home and passed out candy, watched a movie, and caught up on a little overdue reading. (How's that for exciting?)
On Sunday morning there was some prep for a large gathering at our house. It was decided last month that we would host Break the Fast at our house this month. For those of you not in the singles ward know, Break the Fast is when everyone gets together to break their fasting from food and water (hence the name.) Roommate R and friend A had prepared two turkeys (luckily we have an oven upstairs and downstairs) and were deciding how to set up the tables for the 40+ people who would show up at 4:30pm. I went to church, including Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, and Relief Society, then submitted a reimbursement for last weeks Corn Maze activity, and then had a Visiting Teaching interview. I came home to find the house set up for Break the Fast. About 50 people showed up. We had two full turkeys and members of the ward brought mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and desserts. People stayed until around 6pm. Roommate R, her brother, friend A and I cleaned up and now I am ready for bed.
While I loved being so social I feel like I didn't get a weekend. I do not feel prepared for work this week but I will do my best. I hope everyone had a great Halloween (and if anyone has a good picture of me in my costume, please send it along.)

Halloween with the Family

Last weekend I got to go up to my parents house and celebrate Halloween with my kids (nieces/nephews.) Most of them were there although two stayed home due to illness. We took some pictures, had a great meal, painted pumpkins, and played games. All in all we had a great time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thriller 2009

For the fourth year in a row I was able to go see Odyssey Dance Theater's production of Thriller. Ryan and I enjoyed a dinner at The Dodo in Sugarhouse. I had a great time watching the dancers. They are always so amazing. They had a new dance dedicated to Michael Jackson and then they had new AV stuff. It was great to see Ryan again too. It has been months since we've seen each other. Thriller runs through Halloween. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes dance, music, or Halloween.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Waiting for the NyQuil

As I wait for the NyQuil to kick in, I feel like I should update the world on my life. This past weekend was General Conference (for those of you who don't know of what I speak, please visit The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints link on my homepage.) Saturday was filled with spiritual goodness along with french toast goodness provided by my roommate R. I took a quick shower and then listened to the afternoon session. As soon as it was over I was off to my parents house where I ate dinner with them, helped fix my mom's blog, made an ice cream run, and basically wasted time on the computer. I went to bed too late (after 2am) and was awakened by a beautiful bouncing three-year-old. I dressed and went down to help welcome my siblings and their children (minus Alison who was out of state due to a funeral.) Wonderful food was made by my parents and I tried my best to corral the kids so that their parents could actually listen to conference. We played downstairs quite a bit. I was exhausted but I figured that was just my usual fatigue. I also had a cough but I excused it due to the fact that I had forgotten to bring any allergy medication with me. I stayed until dinnertime and then realized that if I didn't head home soon I would be too tired to drive home safely. I bid farewell to my parents, brother, and his children and headed home.
As soon as I arrived home I headed for the shower because I was cold. My throat was starting to hurt and I wanted to head off any sickness that was coming my way. I was in bed and asleep by 9pm. (I hope you didn't hurt yourself falling off you chair as you read this. I can't remember a night in the past six months when I fell asleep before 11pm.) I awoke Monday morning with a bad cough, aches, a fever, and congestion. I decided to not go into work. Luckily the other Executive Assistant and the Staff Accountant were able assist my boss, MJ. I canceled FHE that night due to the fact that my co-chair was at work and it was supposed to be at my house. Due to the wonder of modern technology all but three people got the message (isn't e-mail, Facebook, and text messaging a marvel?) On Monday I slept in until 11am and then took a nap from 2-5pm. I was in bed and asleep early that night.
I slept until noon today and then got up to eat breakfast. Right now I have no fever or aches but still have some congestion. If I am feeling ok tomorrow I will go to work. Through the magic of the Internet I have discovered that the most contagious time of a cold is the first 2-3 days. I figure I started on Sunday so I should be ok. Just to be sure I will be avoiding touching common items and washing my hands as if my life depended on it. (I know my boss with the new baby will appreciate my caution.)
Thus ends the update. I hope I am feeling great tomorrow. I wish you all a good night as I can feel the NyQuil start to kick in.

Friday, October 02, 2009

South Fork

Last Sunday I went on a picnic up South Fork in Provo Canyon. Sarah, Angie, Alisha and I had a great time. While the others contributed food such as chicken salad and vegetables, I contributed Twinkies and Zingers to the meal. Afterward we all took pictures of the beautiful fall foliage.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Box Social

As some of you might know I am co-chair of the Family Home Evening Committee in my ward. This means that I get to plan and carry out activities every Monday evening for anywhere from 15-50 people. When I first received the calling in August, I decided that my co-chair and I should meet and try to plan three months in advance instead of trying to pull together ideas each week. Andrew and I met and planned out activities until Halloween. While we were planning, my roommate mentioned that her ward in Idaho once did a box social. My only experience with a box social is watching Oklahoma, where Laurey’s basket of food is bid on my Curly and Judd, the two rivals for her affections. Curley even sells his saddle and horse in order to win the basket and date with Laurey.

The point of a lunch box social in the past has always been to raise money. Women would make a meal and place it in a decorated basket or box. Men would then bid on the boxes. The top bidder would then share the meal with the maker of the basket of food. In order to simplify the process we decided that it would be a dessert box social instead of a lunch box social. Also, we decided that people would bet with skittles instead of money since we were more interested in the social aspect of the situation.

We had a hard time publicizing it because of Stake and Ward conference but we did the best we could, including sending a Facebook invitation to those ward members that use Facebook and an e-mail to the entire ward. We planned to do it at church but found out the night before that it wouldn’t be available. We planned on having it outside but it rained. Despite these two bumps in the road, it ended up to be a good experience. We ended up with 28 people, which is actually pretty good for an activity that hasn’t been attempted in our ward before. 15 girls and 2 guys brought boxes. 11 other guys showed up so we were almost evenly matched. It was so fun to see how each of the boxes were decorated. Some people just used a simple gift bag but some really went all out. For example, Marne made one that looked like a box right out of a Mario game. One girl did leopard print and another used green duct tape.

My co-chair, Andrew, was the auctioneer and he did a great job. My box, with two pieces of cake from Gloria’s Little Italy, was bought by Tyson, who is friend of mine. All the couples sat down and enjoyed their desserts (although a few had three in their group since girls outnumbered guys.) People who had never really spent much time together got a chance to talk and get to know each other. All in all I think it was a pretty good activity. I totally give props to R, my roommate, for the idea.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Excellent pasta and company

Have you ever wanted to be in two places at once? I did on Friday night. I wanted to have fun with Jordan, Alison, Isaac, and Aaron and I wanted to be taking pictures of it. While I did have fun, I did not take one single, solitary picture of any of us. I probably made the right choice.
Earlier in the week I received an e-mail from my youngest brother informing me that he had a few days off and he and his family wanted to come down to see me. It was decided that Friday was the best day. He and Alison decided to cook dinner and I offered to buy some ingredients for the occasion. Jordan told me what to buy, which I did that very night. At work on Friday I could scarcely think of my work as I was preparing to see my family. I originally wanted to leave work at 4:30pm but didn't get away until almost 5pm (darn that busy boss of mine; I couldn't abandon him in his time of need though.) I stopped by Gloria's to pick up dessert and then raced home. On my way there I spoke to Jordan and discovered that they were running late due to rush hour traffic. They arrived at my house just a minute or two ahead of me. The whole family got the grand tour and the dinner preparations began. All in all we ended up with amazing mushroom pasta, salad, garlic bread, broccoli, and cake for dessert.
After dinner, which was excellent, Alison went shopping while Jordan and I took the boys on a walk through the park to the library. We walked around looking at books, movies, and the various pieces of art. We also ran up and down a small hill and checked a statue's ears to see if they were dirty or. (They were. Isaac told a reference librarian who promised to clean them with a Q-Tip.) We didn't leave until almost 8:30pm, which is past the bedtime of at least one little boy. The boys were changed into pajamas once we returned to my house and began jumping on couch cushions. They were then whisked away by their parents, much to the dismay and sadness of their Aunt Jess.
It is times like these that I hold precious. My one regret living down here is that I don't get to see my nieces and nephews as much as I would like. The closest one is 40 miles away. While 40 miles is nothing to someone who lives several states away from their family, I think it a very long distance. Despite the time and effort, I think I am going to make more of an effort to visit all my nieces and nephews. What a great night.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Not quite what I wanted.....

Months ago I decided to make a gift for each of my nieces and nephews. My last gift, until the next baby is born, is for Ava. A week ago I painted a bowel for her. I picked it up today but was disappointed with how it turned out.

The yellow and brown both turned out the wrong shade. I am currently deciding whether to give it to her and her parents or make a new one. I don't know; what does everyone think?

This week

It's been another busy week. On Monday, for FHE, I helped two women from the ward move. Afterwards, I provided Popsicles for everyone. (Before you think I'm naturally generous, let it be known that it was my job.) It was a long day on Tuesday at work, as I was trying to prepare for my boss' trip to San Francisco and Seattle. After work, I went and ate sushi with my roommate and a friend of hers. Wednesday started out slow. Since my boss was gone I was able to catch up on a lot of work that I had gotten behind on.
On Wednesday afternoon I found out that I had to book a new trip to New York and book a different flight for my boss. I then found out that I had to switch the flight of another person. The other Exec Assistant, NJ, had to switch the flight of her boss as well. We finally got all the flights, hotels, and rental cars sorted out by 6:50pm. By that time I had missed my dinner plans with friends, so I joined some of them for a movie. I went to the theater, 5 minutes after the previews had started, and bought candy and soda to eat for dinner. I then watched My Sister's Keeper. By the end I was sobbing. The scenes in the hospital and the funeral reminded me of Caleb. I went home with the sniffles and a stomach ache.
On Saturday I volunteered at the Timp Storytelling Festival. Before everyone gets too excited, let it be known that I spent the entire time in the parking lot directing cars and telling people where they could and could not park. It was a long, sweaty volunteer shift. I didn't end up going to the festival because I was too tired. Luckily, the tickets didn't go to waste. They ended up with a coworker of mine. After I went shopping, I showered and fell into bed.
Yesterday was another excellent day at church: 3 hours of spiritual uplift and then break-the-fast with the ward. I ended up making banana muffins. Today I am home from work, although there was a slight emergency that I had to take care of. (There's nothing like receiving a IM, e-mail, and phone call from work within a few minutes of each other.) I had to arrange a hotel and car for a visitor from the UK. This week should be just as crazy as the last. We have less than two weeks until my work hosts a conference in Provo. On top of that, my boss' wife is expecting a child in a week and a half. I'm excited for them but we have a lot to accomplish before he takes time off for the birth.
Well, it's time to clean the house and then run some errand. I hope everyone is having a great Labor Day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Reading Rainbow

According to NPR, which I listen to on a daily basis, the children's show Reading Rainbow is coming to an end. The show, which helps children understand why they should read, has been on the air for 26 years. The only PBS children's shows that have run longer are Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. Farewell dear show, you shall be missed.

(If you are interested in learning more, here is a link to the NPR story.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

That's right; I'm awesome....

In April I decided to make 101 goals and achieve them in 1001 days. One of those goals was to write to 10 living authors that have written books that I've enjoyed reading. I have written to five so far: Cynthia Voigt, Stephenie Meyer, Dee Henderson, Nancy Pearl and Julie Edwards. Here is my story regarding one of them:

Julie Edwards wrote Mandy in 1971. It is a charming book about an orphan who find an abandoned cottage in the woods. I first discovered it at the library when I was in junior high. Since then I have probably read it four or five times. It was reprinted in 2001 and I was able to buy a copy of it. After a little research I discovered that Julie Edwards is actually Julie Andrews Edwards, who stared in such musicals as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She has won Emmys, Tonys, Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. I looked on the internet and found an address for her fan club. I dutifully wrote her a letter explaining how much I enjoyed her book and how I wished that she had written more young adult fiction. I also mentioned how much I enjoyed the movies that she had been in. I wrote the letter in May and haven't thought much of it until I received this on Friday:

That's right; I'm officially awesome. Just in case you can't read it, here's what it says:

"Dear Jessica,

How very nice of you to take the time to write such a lovely letter to Dame Julie Andrews Edwards to tell her you like her movies, music and that you enjoyed her book, Mandy.

Julie very much enjoys writing books for young readers She is please you liked her style of writing. When she gets nice letters such as yours, she just wants to get to work and write another book so she can keep all of her readers happy.

Thank you for taking the time to write. We are sending a signed photo of Julie. We hope you will enjoy it.

Kathy Juliani
Fan Mail Coordinator"

While I realize that this letter seems to be written to a girl in junior high, I was still excited to receive it and yes, I did also receive a 4x6 autographed picture of Julie Andrews. I was totally excited and have already told my roommate, a cousin, and several people at work. I don't care if it makes me a geek, I think Julie Andrews is great and I'm considering getting the picture and letter frames.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Timp Lodge

On Friday night I rushed home in time to carpool up to Timp Lodge with my ward. A bunch of us went up for dinner and fun (including volleyball, billiards, ping pong, fooseball, and general merriment.) I played a couple games of pool (where I was killed each time) and a few games of ping pong (which I was even worse at.) I had a lot of fun though. The drive down the narrow, tree lined road was a little harrowing at 11:30pm but it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Busy, busy girl

I have to say that I'm not accustomed to such a level of social activity. On Sunday I went to church, stopped by my Grandma J's house, and then had dinner and dessert with my parents, siblings, and their children. On Monday night I attended FHE, where we played volleyball and watched Miracle. After I got home I talked to R, my roommate. Yesterday I went to work and then out to dinner with Cameron, Scott, Scotty, and Tyson. (Insert some sort of comment about me going out with four guys here.) While at the Smoking Apple, a good barbeque place, it was decided that I should go out tonight. Scotty and Tyson are being set up on blind dates so Cameron and I will be going along as the third couple. I can make conversation with a brick wall, so they thought it might be easier on everyone if there was a girl there to draw the "blind date girls" out of their respective shells. Should be fun. Hmmm, I wonder what I will be doing tomorrow night. Well, I'm off to get ready. (What does a social butterfly look like anyway? I want to dress the part.) :)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

My new place

Here are a few pictures from my new place:

My biggest complaint is the height of the ceilings. While it makes all the room feel nice and big, there are several burned out lightbulbs that I won't be able to reach without a 6 or 8 foot ladder. The location is great, the room is great, and my roommates are great (although one I thought was a poltergeist for the first week since I only heard her.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The slip 'n slide

My parents can create the greatest slide 'n slide in the world with a huge piece of plastic (courtesy of my brother Jeremy) and some hoses. While most slide 'n slides are a few feet wide and 15-16 feet long, ours is 10-12 feet wide and 40-50 feet long. It is completely awesome. Here are a few pictures:(The pictures don't do the slide justice since they only shows half of it.) This is how we celebrated Sidney's birthday (along with presents, dinner, fireworks, and some really good brownies.) Wade, my cousin, his wife, and four kids joined us for the fun. It isn't often we get to see Wade and his kids so it was great to have them up from Arizona. We played on the slide (well, I took pictures, cheered, and held baby Ava while others slid.) Then everyone dried off and ate dinner and had dessert. Then the little kids decided to play in the puddles left on the plastic. It was pretty funny watching Wyatt, Isaac, Tanner, and Aaron giggling and splashing in puddles. I didn't get home until 12:30am on Sunday morning but it was totally worth it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How long has it been? - the book version

I was looking for a book recommendation for a friend today and realized how long it's been since I've talked about what I've been reading. Here's a quick list of some of the things I've read in the past eight months:

  1. A Wolf at the Door - Datlow and Windling (Retold fairy tales)
  2. Fairest - Levine (Young Adult fairy tale by the author of Ella Enchanted)
  3. An Ice Cold Grave - Harris (Newest in the Harper Connelly mystery series)
  4. Quicksilver - Spinner (A recreation of the myth of Atlanta)
  5. The Sirens - Evslin (Greek mythology)
  6. The Sphinx - Evslin (Green mythology)
  7. The Nemean Lion - Evslin (Green mythology)
  8. Cerberus - Evslin (Greek mythology)
  9. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (Awesome Young Adult book about a boy growing up in a graveyard)
  10. Thriving on vague objectives - Adams (Book of Dilbert cartoons)
  11. Don't step in the leadership - Adams (Book of Dilbert cartoons)
  12. Thirteen reasons why - Asher (Horrible, harsh Young Adult book about suicide and guilt)
  13. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life - Rosenthal (Interesting biography)
  14. A Northern Light - Donnelly (Thoughtful Young Adult book set in early 1900 Canada)
  15. Brooklyn Rose - Rinaldi (Young Adult book that had an incomplete ending)
  16. Assassination Vacation - Vowell (Awesome non-fiction journey to historical monuments and other places that are associated with Presidential assassinations)
  17. Me talk pretty one day - Sedaris (Good book of short essays)
  18. Dead and Gone - Harris (Latest in the Southern Vampire Mystery series)
  19. A Countess below stairs - Ibbotson (Slightly cheesy romance set in England after WWII)
This list isn't comprehensive but it is a start. My recommendations include Assassination Vacation, The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, and The Graveyard Book.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I think I forgot to mention on this blog that I have moved. It's only about seven blocks from my old house but I love it. I moved on June 30th and, as you can see, I piled a whole lot of stuff in the family room of my new place until I was able to move it into my room.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Camping with family

Last weekend I was able to go camping with my extended family. The Roberts family once again had their summer reunion. This time it was at the Heber Valley Girls Camp. I left early on Friday to drive to Heber Valley, which is less than an hour from where I live. I followed various children around while other less fortunate grownups fixed dinner. It was so funny to see Tanner, Lauren, Wyatt, Isaac, and Aaron's reactions to seeing squirrels, chipmunks, and deer. It was an adventure walking along a wooded path with kids because I was constantly aware of things that could hurt them or the fact that they could wander off and get lost. After dinner, and when it got dark, we built a fire and roasted marshmallows. A lot of the adult women got together and had a baby shower for Christine and beautiful baby Lillian (and it's about time we had another girl in the family.)
Sleeping was a real adventure. Each family (according to what parent belonged to the Roberts family) took over a cabin. Each cabin had bunk beds in it. We all set up our pads and sleeping bags (and once again I made the mistake of bringing a horrible pad.) The young kids had a hard time getting to sleep. Once they were asleep, my cabin had the unfortunate luck of having two snorers. Isaac awoke screaming in the middle of the night. The poor kid eventually got back to sleep. I lay in my bunk thinking about life and such and eventually got back to sleep on the hard, hard surface. All in all, I may have gotten 3 hours of sleep. Oh well.
The next morning we had pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast and then went boating. Isaac and Aaron had a great time on the water although Aaron insisted on using an oar, which was actually kind of funny to watch. We got off the lake when it started to sprinkle. After boating we went back to our camp to have lunch and to clean up. The obstacle course was next. The huge Roberts Clan split into groups and then did different activities.
My group's final activity was the zip line. Some of my readers may know of my fear of heights so climbing a high pole and walking along a beam is not my idea of a good time. I did, however, want to go on the zip line so I braved the height. It was a lot of fun. Afterwards I was talking to Jordan and he and I realized a spiritual implications. Climbing the pole was hard, like life. Walking across the beam was scary and we had to trust the lines that were holding us and we had to focus on the end result. Both of us looked and talked to the woman at the end of the beam. By keeping our eyes on her and trusting those helping from below we were able to make it to the end. The end results was happiness as we rode the zip line down. It reminded us of our eternal journey. The pole and beam were a lot like this life with its hardships and fear but the end result of eternal life with those we love will be filled with joy. Hey, who knew such insight could be found in this situation? It was nice to cheer on other members of my family who were doing the same activities.
After the obstacle course I decided to go home because I was exhausted. I drove home, staying awake eating spicy red vine candy and singing along with the radio. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Aunt Nancy, and Aunt Renee stopped by to see my new home, which is only about seven blocks from my old one. I was exhausted so I didn't do much to celebrate the 4th of July.
I always love our family reunions even though I didn't get to talk to my cousins or aunts and uncles very much at this one. It is always great to get everyone together. One brief note for my readers: you may notice that no pictures accompany this blog entry. This is because I was far to busy having fun with kids. If you'd like to see pictures from the camping trip, feel free to visit my Dad's blog, my Uncle Mike's website, or Jeremy's website. These three gentlemen are amazing photographers.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Those of you who know me know that I am not a fan of snakes. I find them to be a bit unnatural because they don't have any appendages. Fish have fins, insects have six legs, spiders have eight, and so on. The fact that snakes do not have legs has always bothered me. I have always found them creepy.
On Sunday afternoon my roommate, W, came up and asked me what I knew about snakes. I replied "I know I don't like them." She then proceeded to tell me that there was a snake in the downstairs bathroom. She had stepped out of the shower and had found a snake coiled up on her pile of clothes. Roommate M and I went down to investigate. Sure enough, what looked like a 3 to 3 and a half foot long garden snake was in the bathroom. Roommates M and W decided to look it up on the internet to find out if it was poisonous. I decided to take matters into my own hands since I could not be easy knowing a snake was in the house. I went upstairs and found my bedroom garbage can and a scrabble board. Using the board, I flipped the snake in the garbage can and quickly covered it. Roommate M opened the door to the outside and I flung it into the canal behind our house. The question remains: how did the snake get into the bathroom in the first place? (Was I the only one who just got the shivers thinking about it?)
I'll admit that I gave myself a pat on the back for staring down my fear and getting rid of the snake. Just call me the snake-wrangler. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A physical betrayal of epic proportions

On the whole my body has been good to me. There are so many things it does correctly. I can walk, talk, think and generally function. While it has a few quirks, it pretty much works....until this week. Now, dear reader, is the time to stop reading if you are squeamish. If you don't like reading about bodily functions and how they go awry, stop reading now. You have been warned (and I don't want to hear any whining if you don't like what you read.)

On Monday I went to work as normal. Afterwards, I stopped by a store to pick up some boxes and had dinner. I then went to get Gelato with Sarah, Angie, and Alisha to help welcome Sarah back to the United States. We talked for over an hour. I went home and packed a few boxes, then started to get ready for bed.
At 10pm my stomach started to really hurt. As some of you might know, I hate throwing up and will do almost anything to avoid it. I drank some Pepto Bismo and laid down on my bed. I then felt flush and knew what was going to happen next. I threw up. I then proceeded to throw up every half an hour or so for the next 7 hours. After the eighth time I started to dry heave. I then started to drink water so I would have something to throw up. It was pretty pathetic. I threw up in my room and in the bathroom. Luckily, I managed to throw up in the garbage cans. After the first time, I made sure that my garbage can and the bathroom garbage can were lined with plastic bags. After each time, I took the garbage bag full of vomit downstairs and to the outside garbage can. About an hour after I started throwing up, my body decided to rebel in another form and there were issues with the other end of the food/water system of the body. There were cramps and it was messy (I told you that this was a disgusting post.) I had to change my sheets and then ended up slipping in my own vomit in the bathroom. I must admit that I really started feeling bad for myself and really, really wanted to be home with my parents. At the very least, my Mom or Dad would have changed the sheets of my bed while I was in the shower. After throwing up 11 times, showering twice, and changing my sheets and clothes, I was exhausted. At 6am I decided I should probably contact my work and let them know I wasn't coming in.
All in all, Monday night/Tuesday morning was a complete rebellion of my body. It stopped working how it should. Now, Thursday morning, I am keeping down toast, water, and Coke. I am still at home, which annoys me to no end. I have missed two (three if you count today) days of work. While I have access to e-mail, my brain is so fuzzy that I can't do much with it. Luckily, my boss is in Germany so I don't feel like I've abandoned him. I haven't thrown up since Tuesday but the other issue hasn't quite ended. On Tuesday I had a fever of 100.1. Yesterday afternoon it was 97.8 (per the same thermometer.) My body has had a heck of a time regulating its temperature. I am shivering one minutes and then, then minutes later, I am sweating and wanting to take a cold shower. All in all, I am sore and exhausted. My back and sides hurt from heaving. I am grumpy and am getting annoyed.
I had planned to do a lot this week. Since my boss was going to be away, I was planning on catching up on work projects that I have been putting off. I was planning to pack a lot of boxes and move at least half of my room to my new place. I was planning on throwing my cousin, Sarah, a great coming home party on Friday (now I think I would just get all the guests really, really sick.) I was also planning on riding in a parade on Saturday. I guess I should be thankful for what I have, which is a body that is on the mend, a family who loves me (there's nothing like Lauren calling me and being concerned about my "hurting tummy,") understanding co-workers who are picking up the slack, and functioning plumbing (how did pioneers function under these circumstances?)
I hope to be able to go to work tomorrow or at least get something of worth accomplished. I so dislike being sick because of the inconvenience. Well, I hope all of you are either laughing at the patheticness of my life or counting your own blessings. Oh, and to all of you are who are grossed out: you can't say I didn't warn you. :) (Just be glad there aren't pictures with this post.)

P.S. Just in case I am not pathetic sounding enough, my tv stopped working on Sunday. The power went out for about an hour and when it came back on the picture didn't work. When it snapped off on Sunday during Music and the Spoken Word I heard a pop so I think it's officially dead. It turns on but no picture comes. I think it's just as well since I watch too much tv as it is. There is a tv in my new place on the main room. I don't really need one in my bedroom anyway.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Capes with clothespins

After church on Sunday I went up to my parent's house to celebrate Father's Day and two birthdays. We had a great meal, as always. I ended up getting Lauren and Isaac a flip book/card set about bugs. Hopefully they can use them all summer long to identify bugs (or at least have pretty pictures to look at.) The weather went from cloudy, to rainy, to sunny, and then to windy. After dinner most of the kids went outside to play. When I was a kid, I used to love going out in the wind with a sheet and pretend that I was a superhero or a dancer in a flowing road. As we were running around, I thought that the three-year-olds would like to do the same. I got four pillowcases (sheets being way too long) and headed out. After showing the kids how to hold the pillowcases around their necks with their fingers we took off. After a few minutes I realize that it would be much easier to run around if the kids didn't have to hold the pillowcases on. I went back inside and found some clothespins. After securing everyone's capes and giving mine to Tanner, we took off again. Sidney joined in with her own cape. The six of us ran around the yard flying and having lots of fun. It reminded me that some of the simplest things can be the best: a pillowcase, a cardboard box, bubblewrap, etc. Hopefully one of the family photographers managed to get some pictures of the kids.
I loved spending time with my nieces and nephews. I went home a little early so that I could drop Dad's keys off to him at Grandma's house.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A quote

A friend of mine, Gabe, gave me a great quote last night:

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

Isn't that great?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grassroots Shakespeare Company

On Monday night I went to Family Home Evening, which turned out to include a trip to a park to see a production of Much Ado about Nothing. I have seen it performed before and have seen the movie a couple of times. This, however, is the first time I saw it in the rain. We got to the park about 20 minutes before it started raining. Luckily, half of the ward brought umbrellas and all of us brought blankets and jackets. It rained for about half of the production and then stopped. The players kept going through it all. I thought all the actors and actresses did great jobs although my favorite was the gentlemen who played Benedict. The production was put on by a non-profit group called The Grassroots Shakespeare Company. If anyone gets the chance to catch a production by the group, I would highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lagoon 2009

For the past few years my Dad's work party has been at Lagoon. This year, the majority of the family went along. I left home around 9:30am and was the first to arrive. One by one, the family came along. All the kids but Tanner showed up and we had a great time. I had forgotten how tiring Lagoon can be though. Lifting and carrying the kids just made it a little crazier (and more fun.) We lucked out with the nice weather - I don't think it got above 80 degrees after 1pm, although the wind picked up in the late afternoon. The kids had a great time and the adults had a great time watching them and joining them on rides.
Now that the "triplets" are three, they can go on a lot more rides. I think Wyatt's favorite ride was the airplanes, Lauren's favorite rides was the flying animals, and Isaac just wanted to be moving. Aaron was able to go on a few rides and actually did pretty well. Sidney and I went on quite a few rides. I can't believe how fearless she is. She wanted to go on the Wild Mouse, the White Roller Coaster, the Tidal Wave, and other fast rides. We rode in the front car of the White Roller Coaster, per Sidney's request. She loved it! I think I screamed more than she did. She and I played a few games as well and she ended up winning a small duck. Mom and Dad fed us pizza for dinner and we didn't leave until almost 10pm. I'm amazed at how long all the kids lasted, especially since none of them took naps. They all had so much fun. Thanks Mom and Dad, for inviting us to have so much fun.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I haven't been camping in quite a while. Oh course, I don't know if I can really call this camping. We slept in cabins with bunk beds and glass windows, there were flush toilets and running water (including showers,) and we ate food prepared in a kitchen by the pavilion. We stayed at the Heber Valley Girls camp. Despite the lack of tents and non-flushing toilets, it was good. Two other singles wards were invited besides mine.
I left work early on Friday to get ready. I bought a sleeping bag on Thursday, which worked really well. I also bought a sleeping pad, which didn't work as well as I'd like. Anyway, I ended up at the church at 5:30pm with roommate M. Even though she had hurt her back, she still wanted to go. We ended up taking Natalie, a girl from the ward, as well. It was a nice drive up. The first thing I noticed is that it was about 10 degrees cooler in the mountains. As the night went on, it became windy and colder. We had a potato bar for dinner and then listened to a speaker. After the speaker there were skits, which I didn't participate in. I went down to the fire pit, where most of our ward ended up (we all decided that we are the old grumpy singles ward.) We didn't have marshmallows but some people toasted Mambas, Starburst, and Red Vines. We talked and joked around. By 11:30 I was tired and cold and ready for bed. I tried to blow up my mattress but it didn't seem to work properly. (Let this be a lesson to everyone about testing camping equipment before taking it camping.) The cabin was pretty cold since it had cement floors and not a whole lot of insulation. It was still really nice though.
Lights were out by 1am but I tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable until almost 4 am. I was awaken at 7:30 by some girls packing up. I left my warm sleeping bag and took a trip to the bathroom. Breakfast was at 9am, by which my entire cabin was packed up and cleaned, and consisted of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and hot chocolate. It was still windy and looked like rain. Roommate M's back was killing her so we decided to leave early. All in all, it was fun. My favorite part was sitting around the campfire and tables talking to people in my ward. There is something about food that makes people talk and share things they might not when just sitting around. I didn't end up taking many pictures, but I've included a few.

May Celebration

Last Sunday I went up to my parent's house to celebrate mother's day and May birthdays (Dad and Britnie.) It was nice enough that we got to eat outside. We ate a great meal and had chocolate trifle for dessert. The kids and I had a great time trying to play t-ball. Trying to teach Lauren and Wyatt to hit the ball, drop the bat, and run around the bases was hilarious. Lauren would hit the ball and run with the bat. Wyatt would hit, drop the bat, but then run the opposite direction of the bases. Sidney was able to help me teach the kids. Tanner wandered over every once in a while but was more interested in the t-ball stand than the bat. It was a lot of fun. For our Mother's Day gift and Dad's birthday, the kids decided to refinish Mom and Dad's deck. We are planning on doing it on June 13th.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bowls for Isaac and Aaron

The more time I spend at Color Me Mine, the more time I want to spend there. I was able to finish the bowls for Isaac and Aaron. What do you think?

Monday, May 18, 2009

We had more fun than Lauren's dad

On Thursday I was able to drive up to Salt Lake and babysit Lauren. I arrived early and Lauren, John, and I walked down the block to buy some lemonade at a lemonade stand. Afterwards Lauren and I threw some balls around outside while we waited for Nana and Poppy to arrive. Once they did, we went to the Red Butte Cafe. The food was good and Lauren started to really worry that her parents were going to the theater. I think she was worried that her parents wouldn't be back for days. Once we got home, Lauren and I waved goodbye to her parents and her grandparents. All was well and Lauren and I left for the park. We had a great time on the playground and walking around in a little wooded area. We ended up staying until 8:30, her usual bedtime (whoops.) We walked home and put on pajamas. We read a lot of books and sang some great songs. For a three-year-old, Lauren can really hold a tune. She finally got to bed at 9:15pm (sorry Jen and John.) It was a lot of fun to spend time with her.
After Lauren went to bed, I finished Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Overall, I think it is a pretty good book. I would give it a B or B+. While it quoted directly from Pride and Prejudice, it was still a little choppy in the transitions between Austen and Grahame-Smith. I thought the idea was very original and look forward to his next book, which is apparently a book about Abraham Lincoln and his abilities as a vampire slayer.
After finishing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which had a pretty bloody final fight scene, I started a book of essays by David Sedaris. Jen and John got home, where John expressed his dismay at the seeing Miss Saigon. I'd seen it and had told John that there was a helicopter in it and that it had some great music. I neglected to tell him about the tragic ending that might make his wife cry. The poor guy was blindsided. I left soon after John and Jen got home and I was able to get home by 11:30pm. Overall, it was a great night. I really wish I could spend time with all my nieces and nephews.