Thursday, December 31, 2009


While looking through my yearbook a few days ago I laughed at memories, cringed at early 90’s hairstyles, and wondered about a certain phrase written over and over…”Don’t ever change.”

Reconnecting with long lost roommates, mission companions, and classmates via Facebook, have also brought the comments, “You’ve haven’t changed one bit.” Really? If that’s the case, I think I might be a little sad. I think I’ve changed a lot since my days of asking to see a cute boy's CTR ring during seminary then “forgetting” to give it back to him so he’d have to call me later to remind me to bring it to him, or talking about a roommate with my bedroom door open and not checking to see if she’s there before railing on her. These days I’m very aware of people’s location before I talk smack about them and I’m a little more up front about the feelings I have for the cute boy I’m shacked up with.

But maybe change isn’t always the best thing. Can it be good to be the same forever and forever? I mean, God is unchanging and He’s not that bad, right? I guess some things are pretty much the same, like me thinking life, for the most part, is extremely hilarious, crap follows me where ever I go, and I still have issues with stupid people. Maybe, like most things in life, change isn’t black and white, but varying shades of grey and it’s up to me to decide if it’s good or bad.

I’ll have to think about it for a while…my thoughts might change tomorrow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eleven Years...tomorrow!

From our humble beginnings as missionaries in far off Bulgaria... the humble present day in far off Arizona...

...I love you.
Here's to a little less hair and a lot more, well, everything else!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Year in Status

Thank you Facebook!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Ok, here are the recipes I talked about on Facebook. Sorry there aren't any pictures...our computer is mostly retarded.

Peanut Butter Balls
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 T softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 bag chocolate chips - I use milk chcolate

Mix the peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar together with a mixer. Shape into one inch balls and let stand.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler - I use my soup pot with a smaller pot inside it - or you could melt it in the microwave. Dip the PB balls in the chocolate and put on wax paper. Put them in the fridge until the chocolate is hardened. They can store in a container for about three they'd last that long.

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
This recipe is from Alton Brown on Good Eats

* 1 batch Sugar Cookies, recipe follows
* 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
* 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

Divide the dough in half and add chocolate and vanilla to 1 half and incorporate with hands. Add egg yolk, peppermint extract, and crushed candy to other half of dough and incorporate with hands. Cover both with plastic and chill for approximately 5 minutes. Roll out doughs separately to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Place peppermint dough on top of chocolate and press together around the edges. Using waxed paper or flexible cutting board underneath, roll dough into log. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place cookies 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Sugar Cookie:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Talk

I've had many Aren milestones in the past almost ten years. Some were typical - walking, talking, potty training - and some not so typical - first hospital stay, chemo, broken legs. Last night was a typical milestone that no one wants to deal with but needs to be done. Last night Aren had "the talk".

That's right. My son has been de-flowered. He now knows, uh...well, the ins and outs of life. Luckily Rick was the one that had to deal with it because of my amazing parenting skills. It went a little something like this...

"Aren, please take a shower tonight."

"Mom, I hate taking showers."

Keep in mind after a long day of being by myself and Rick working overtime, I have a less than short fuse. "AREN! Let me tell you something. YOU STINK! Ok? You're getting older, your body is changing and once a week showers don't cut it. You smell! Bathe yourself!" And then I slammed the door as I walked out of the room.

Rick was there to explain the nerd side of things and started telling him about glands and blah, blah, blah and then said, "You know Aren..." Yeah, it was the "you can ask me anything" to try and open the doors, which Aren did, but only a crack. He proceeded to tell Rick that he had seen something at school about (he actually asked permission to use the next phrase and whispered) sex education, and was wondering what it was.

Trying not to laugh Rick told Aren that he was going to tell him some things and "when you've heard enough, tell me to stop and I will." He then laid it all out on the table - who has what and why and where it goes. "Ok, that's enough," was all Aren said. Rick then followed up with the ever important, "This is not something we discuss with our friends. It's very sacred and you should only talk to me or mom if you have questions. Do you understand?"

The response? "Yeah. If sacred means gross, I get it."

Poor Aren. He asked if he could play Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the rest of the night. I didn't have the heart to say no. I guess he needed to get those images out of his mind and replace it with little Mario characters beating the snot out of each other with frying pans. Who can blame him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This post has been copied from RICK who said it just as well as I could.

Clinical Psychologists sometimes have their patients use puppets to act out scenes. The idea is that people will be more likely to say what they actually feel, since it's not "them" actually speaking, it's the puppets. (I know this because I watched "What About Bob?" several years ago.) They also sometimes have children draw pictures, again because they are sometimes more willing or able to draw about a traumatic event than they are to talk about it. (I know this because I regularly watch Law & Order: SVU.)

My son recently drew a picture for and about his cousin. I can only assume (based on the details) that communicating with her is somehow psychologically damaging, and that he decided to just treat himself. Click on the pic for full resolution - and make sure you read the text bubbles.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Gave It My Best

When I married Rick I knew two things.

1. I loved him.
2. He was a nerd.

Seriously, Rick is one the most intelligent people I know. I often ask him to define words, talk slower and explain in four year old terms what the hell he's talking about. I knew there was always the possibility he would pass this on to our children, but I held on to the fact that surely my social skills genes could whoop his nerd genes and hard.

I knew that I was failing with Aren when he had just turned five and we were spending Christmas at my mom's house. She has a cat named Pinto and this cat has...issues. You know boys that are short tend to be a little mean - trying to prove that they can be just as "big" as the big kids? Yeah, that was Pinto. She had three legs. You heard me. Three legs. She's an outside cat and one day she just disappeared and showed up about a week later dragging her hind leg. The vet gave my mom some options and the cheapest was chosen...amputation. Point being, this cat was crazy.

I was talking with Aren one afternoon and he was telling me about his latest run in with Pinto and he said, "That cat is rather feral." I just stared at him. "What?" "That cat is rather feral." Again, staring. "What the hell does that mean?" Aren sighed and looked at me and said, "Wild mom. It means wild." I knew I was an idiot, and Aren confirmed it that night.

I had a dream that there was still hope. Aren could be a cool kid and I could help him, but this afternoon, all hopes were dashed. Aren's friend came over to play for the afternoon and the first thing he said was, "Hey, come back to my room and listen to the coolest song ever!" I was intrigued and waited to see what would come from the speakers.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 4th Movement (Ode to Joy for all you idiots like me).

Maybe I'll turn my efforts to Tatiana. Then again, she refuses to call orange juice "orange juice" because it's not orange, it's yellow. Maybe it's too late for her, too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Semi-colon Parenthesis

So, Maryland really isn't considered the south, but it IS south of the Mason Dixon Line and it WAS a slave state for those purposes we'll say I grew up in the south and with that came the lovely phrase, "Bless your heart." As an extremely sympathetic child I would hear that and think that the person saying it had a heart of gold and pained at the thought of the intended's misery. As an adult I realize it's just a way of saying whatever you want and then getting away with it by tacking something on the end.

"That nose of her's enters a room before she does, bless her heart."

"That baby is one of the ugliest I've ever seen, bless his heart."

It kind of reminds me of when I was growing up and we used the word "psych" to get out of being caught in the act. "No, best friend! Sure I called you the meanest jerkiest friend in the world, but you didn't stick around long enough to hear me say psych!"

Along with the internet came a new wave of communication and getting away with saying things to hurt people's feelings without the guilt. Enter the semi-colon followed by a parenthesis. Get it? It's a wink! Whoever thought this up is brilliant...condensing the phrase of bless your heart into two small clicks of the fingers - three if you count the shift key.

Most recently on Facebook, Rick was told by another person during a political discussion that she didn't have time to debate something because she was too busy working hard to raise five good little capitalists ;) Notice the use of the semi-colon? It was ok to infer that she was raising her children correctly while Rick was reading from Stalin's greatest hits to his because of that amazing punctuation mark!

Let me show you another example...

You're a jackhole - totally rude.

You're a jackhole ;) - see? Cute and just kidding.

People can let you know with just a few small taps of the fingers how upset they are that your house was destroyed in an explosion and while you were trying to get away you ran over your dog and forgot your cat by simply typing :( Which interpreted means, "Seriously? Get over yourself. You think that's hard? Try dealing with my life!"

I'm guilty of using these myself, I just wish someone would come up with one that represented "You need a Diet Coke" or "Good hell, grow up you freak". Let me know if you think of any.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Four Years and Counting

Tomorrow will be four years since Aren received a bone marrow transplant to save his life from a genetic condition he was born with called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Following is the blog entry that Rick posted on that day. Thank you to everyone who has been with us over the past few years to help us and especially to help Aren. We are forever grateful to the doctors, to his donor, George (you can read his story HERE) and our Savior who allowed Aren to stay with us.

"This day has been a long time in the making. It has been about ten months since we started actively pursuing it for Aren and nearly three years since we got the first signs of trouble. But it finally came. Aren has been pretty sick over the past couple of days, a result of many of the medications that have been preparing him for the transplant. It was really sad. He slept for about 18 hours straight between Tuesday and Wednesday, waking only long enough to throw up, complain that his head, tummy and legs hurt, go to the bathroom (maybe) and fall asleep again. It was awful, seeing him that sick, but it was what we expected would happen the moment that he started the chemo. We’re just thankful that it took this long to get this bad. It’s ironic, however, that it wasn’t the chemotherapy that was making him sick. It was actually a different drug whose purpose was not to kill off any bone marrow but to prevent some of the white blood cells from attacking the new bone marrow.

But today was the big day. At about 3:00 this afternoon, the nurse brought in what looked like a bag of blood for a transfusion and hooked it up to Aren’s central line. We told Aren that it was his new bone marrow, and he stopped playing Pokemon just long enough to look at it and exclaim, “Wow! That’s COOL!” The infusion began. It had taken longer for them to get the cells to us because there was a blood type difference between Aren and his donor. Therefore, the marrow had to be scrubbed of white blood cells and plasma, in order to keep it from killing off the rest of Aren’s blood before the new stem cells could have a chance to engraft. Since it wasn’t whole blood, there were some interesting differences in consistency in various places along the IV tube. In some places, it looked like regular blood, while in others it was nearly clear. The most striking were the places where the consistency and color were eerily similar to the Tropical Punch Kool-Aid and Orange juice mixture my mother used to make when I was a kid.

After a while, the nurse said, “Aren, Guess what! You’re all done with your transplant!”

Aren sounded truly surprised. “Really?”


“How long did my bone marrow transplant take?”

“About 1 ½ hours”.

His transplant ended with the same sentence with which it began. “Wow, that’s cool.” And then he went back to his Pokemon."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Seriously Crying

Oh my gosh, I haven't laughed this hard in ages. Check out this hilariously funny video of Total Eclipse of the Heart...the literal version.

Don't forget to pause the annoying music!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Scream You Scream We All Scream for Ice Cream!

It was a little over three years ago that Aren was able to have a wish granted through the Make-A-Wish foundation and every day we are grateful for the opportunity they gave us as a family to have a real vacation where we were free from worries of illness and financial stress.

This Thursday, the 24th of September, Cold Stone Creamery is pairing up with Make-A-Wish and granting the wish of a little boy who got to design his own ice cream creation and share it with everyone...for FREE! Go to your local Cold Stone and for any donation amount you can receive this yummy wish creation....sweet cream ice cream with brownies, fudge, and sprinkles!

Get the word out people! Eat some ice cream and do some good at the same time!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Latest Project

So, here's my latest creation from Heritage Makers which is a digital scrapbooking company that I love! Click HERE if you want some information.

Chicken Pies

Here's the latest video of Tatiana just chilling...and saying chicken pies.

This video is courtesy of Rick. Check out his new blog HERE!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Being a Lefty

My sister Emma is a lefty...ya know...she writes with her left hand. I remember growing up and hearing her complain about how horrible it was that nothing ever was made for her...scissors were always for right handed people, she smudged all her handwriting, she always had to sit at a certain spot at the table. I never really thought anything of it until I had Aren and he started complaining about the same problems. Half the reason he's in occupational therapy is because his joints are all jacked up and the other half is because he's trying to figure out how to find his lefty place in a righty world.

I might be right handed, but I find myself struggling with being a lefty. There I said it. Politically I am left of center, maybe not a full on dem, but I don't agree with some of the republican viewpoints which, in my world, has lumped me in the extreme left-winged government takeover one step away from socialist communist Nazi power. I'm struggling with finding my place in a predominately republican circle of friends where, when some find out how I feel about certain things, question my testimony, my temple worthiness, my standing in the church. Is that really fair? Can't I sit at the table in my own spot with my own scissors and still make a project to be proud of? So what if I have to tweak my arm just a little bit when I write so I don't smudge stuff. Isn't my writing just as good and just as valid as another person's?

For some people, I'm finding out, it's not. And that's ok. Just remember when I sit next to you that I'll probably be bumping your elbow just as much as you're bumping mine but we can live with it...promise.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Personal Hygiene

Apparently even necks need to be deodorized.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shameless Plug

Seriously, if you watch nothing else this season, watch this show...please.

...shameless plug has been moved to the bottom of the page to protect my side bar...

Monday, August 17, 2009


Monday mornings are never have to go to work, the kids go back to school, you have to go the gym again, whatever the case may be, it pretty much stinks. So it came as no surprise to me when I woke up this morning and found over $250 worth of charges on Rick's bank card that were not charged by him.

Yup, some schmuck somewhere decided that he/she needed some new toys and Rick and I were chosen to foot the bill. What did the charges include? Well...

1. $25 to an 800 number talk line...not just any chat line, the "best in the nation" as we discovered when we called.
2. $200.00 to some random company where he purchased a web camera and software for said camera.
3. $1 to Yahoo Wallet...yup, he/she tried to use our bank card to get access to one time use credit card numbers.
4. $30.00 for voice enhancement software.

The first thing that came to mind was, "Are you kidding me? You are freakin' creepy dude. Your life is so crappy that you have to call chat lines, buy web cameras and enhance your voice on top of it? Nice." The second thought was, "You probably have pictures of kids in bathing suits on your crusty computer. Dirty."

So, to the dude who's buying things on my dime that I can't buy myself because I can't afford it...YOU SUCK!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Better Late Than Never

So, for Christmas I bought my mom a 12 x 12 photo album and told her I would send her two scrapbook pages every month throughout the year so she could have pictures of the kids. Yeah, well, it's August and I've just finished one of January's layouts. I realize it's on patriotic paper, but I thought it was cute, so here it is...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Making it Our Own

Rick and I have dreamed of our own home ever since we got married and most of you know that dream finally came true about three months ago. We've been excited to give this new house a little of our own style and although we can't do it all at once, we've managed to do a few things. Here's our latest project in the making...our family room.

Here's the before...

And the during...

And the final project (minus the new floor that will come in the spring!)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ok, I'm Ready

It's been a while since I posted anything and I think it's because I've been trying to figure out so many things in my head and I wanted it organized before I did anything.

I had a great opportunity to go to Girl's Camp a few weeks ago. You see, this is a really big deal because unlike most women in their twenties and thirties I've never had a calling in Young Women's. Seriously. I've pretty much decided I'm too loud/obnoxious/opinionated/add another descriptive word here to be called so I was thrilled to be called as...

The Cook.

Yup. I guess the powers that be decided although I'm not good enough to be an example to over 100 young LDS women, I am good enough to cook for them. Cooks are normally left alone to, well, cook, but this year we were asked to help with a spiritual activity. Each girl was to be blindfolded and set on a path to follow and the only thing leading them through this path was a large rope that they were told to never let go of. Sound familiar? That would be the iron rod for all you clueless people out there. Leaders were placed along the rope to do one of two things...either encourage them or try to get them to let go of the rope. Any guesses who I was?

Yup. I was placed about five feet from the final destination...five feet from the YW presidents who were waiting to welcome their girls into eternal glory. When the girls walked by I told them I'd give them money, candy, whatever to get them off the rope and of course it didn't work so I decided to change my tactic.

Me: "Hey sweetie, what's your name?"
Girly: "Girly"
Me: "You did an awesome job, hon. Your leader is only a few feet from here. Can you hear her talking? I'm going to take you right to her just like they told me to."
Girly: "But at the beginning they told me to stay on the rope until the end."
Me: "You must not have been listening. Take my hand and let's go."

And...the girl let go. I had done it! I was the first adult to lead a girl astray. Someone came and got her and I ran back to my fellow deceptors and high fived all around. I was pretty dang proud of myself. Then came some girls who I knew very well and the whole thing started over again except this time the conversation ended with, "Sister Harper, are you being serious? You wouldn't lie to me, would you?" "Of course not sweetie, now take my hand and let's go." Off she went. One of the leaders came to me and said, "Would you stop doing that? I see my girls come so close to me and you pick them off and it's killing me!"

Between that little role play and a few other situations over the past week I've discovered something. Satan is one amazing guy. He doesn't use blatant lies to get you to do what he wants. He doesn't tell people, "I'll give you five bucks if you - add horrible sin here." He somehow manages to get you to trust the the sin. He helps you justify that's it's really not that big of a deal given the circumstances you've been in. Genius.

During this past week I've found out that more than one of my friends has decided to go on a path contrary to what they've taught and been taught. They are still amazing people but they have been led to believe that their current circumstances warrant behavior contrary to the teachings of the Gospel. It really is easy for me to see why they did, and painful to see the paths they have chosen. I can see Satan high fiving his loser buddies and I can see Heavenly Father thinking, "Would you stop that! He was so close."

I really don't know how to end this. I ache for my friends who are struggling and I'm reliving the times when life handed me blow after blow and I reached a point in my life where no matter how hard I tried to be good, life just kept dishing out crap. I chose to stick with it and I'm not patting myself on the back by any means, I'm just saying maybe I understand how easy it would've been to have chosen something else and easy it would have been to justify.

Satan, you suck.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Babes in Tombstone

Of all the pictures we've gotten with my brother and sister and their families coming for a visit, this is by far the best...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Imaginary Friends

When Aren was about five years old he learned about imaginary friends. It only took him about five minutes to decide they weren't worth much. I remember him walking into the room and announcing that he had a new friend and pointing to his left where nothing stood, he introduced us to "Mario". Rick and I both looked at the big nothing standing next to him and Aren looked at "Mario" then at us and announced, "This is stupid. I just can't have an imaginary friend." And that was the end of it.

I never could do the imaginary friend thing as a kid, but as an adult I've found a whole slew of "imaginary" friends. I met a bunch of LDS ladies on a mom's chat board almost four years ago and although I've never met most of them in real life, they have become some of my dearest friends. Today I finally had the opportunity to meet one of them and make her "real". Hilary came down here to visit some friends and called to see if we could meet in Tombstone for the afternoon. Of course I could and what a wonderful thing to finally meet someone who I'd known for four years but never met. Thanks for the fun afternoon Hilary! And thanks even more for cutting out the imaginary part and becoming a real person.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

My father passed away when I had just turned eleven years old and he had just had his 45th birthday. While I don't remember much about him, I have been blessed with a few memories that I cherish...trips to the local hardware store always ending with a penny for the gum machine, early morning newspaper deliveries where he never got mad at me for being sick from the car fumes, singing songs to him when he'd come home from work. I love all those memories.

I don't feel like I missed out on life experiencing it without a father but how grateful I am for the two fathers in my life today. Almost seven years ago my mom remarried an amazing man by the name of Bill. While all of my brothers and sisters were grown and had moved away by the time they married, some of us have had opportunities to live at home and get to know him. I have been blessed with such an opportunity. I have felt of his strength and his power through priesthood blessings. I have felt his love as I cried and laughed in times of despair and joy. Thank you Bill for being the man you are.

Then of course there is Rick. Every day I watch him go to work to a job that was his second choice so he could support and care for a family that needed him. I watch him come home to a family who has been anticipating his return since he walked out the door. I watch him love his children in all the ways a father should...throwing a football, encouraging Aren to learn a bigger word than the day the before, painting Tatiana's toenails, being with his children so I can go to a meeting and never complaining that another one is just around the corner. Thank you Rick for everything you've been through that has made you the father you are today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flipping the Switch

Tatiana's a funny little girl. I think I've said before she's a good lil' combination of Aren who's a social nerdy butterfly and Lily who when asked said every color was blue and every letter was G and pretty much decided you were guilty until proven innocent. Tatiana seems to warm up a lot quicker with folks and although isn't playing video games and reading like Aren was at this age, she sure can sign like a maniac...thank you Signing Time!

Anyways, Tatiana turned two a couple weeks ago and it's seriously like someone went into her brain and flipped a switch because she hasn't shut up since June 6th. She is coming up with things that I had no idea she knew how to say, much less use in the right context. This morning while changing a poopy diaper she looked at me and said, "Mom, that's sick!" Tell me about it! Everyday at the pool she tries to convince me she can swim by herself while I try to convince her that just knowing the signs for "my turn" and "swimming" does not a Michael Phelps make.

A couple days ago was by far the best expression of her knowledge yet. After knocking on her door in the morning and hearing her sweet voice say, "Come in!", I took her into our bedroom and sat down on the bed next to Rick, who immediately began playing "Where's my(insert body part here)?" game. Thinking that Rick would be able to stump her he said, "Tatiana, where's my hair?" A little confused, Tatiana looked around for a bit, then promptly tilted Rick's bald head down and touched...

his back.

That's my girl.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Twice a week I watch a really cute little girl for a friend of mine. I love her and love having her in my home...her mom doesn't even read this blog so I really am being sincere. The only thing that is about ready to drive me to drink is the repetition of her favorite word...why.

"What are you doing?"

"Washing clothes."


"Because they're dirty."


And so it goes. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, but today was not that day.

"What are you doing?"

"Cleaning the dishes."


"Because I'm the only one that ever does anything around here, sweetheart. I'm cleaning the dishes from last night's dinner because I was hoping to high heaven that once, just once, someone besides myself would see that dirty dishes need to be cleaned and dishes don't wash themselves, but alas, my sweet three year old, that never happens. Watch and learn honey, because thirty-plus years from now, this will be you. You'll be cleaning the kitchen three times a day just to wake up in the morning and clean it again. You'll wash four loads of laundry every other day and and every two weeks or so you'll ask yourself why you never put any of those clothes away right after they were done and you'll curse yourself for letting the clean clothes mix with the dirty clothes so now you have ten loads of laundry to do. You'll find yourself wanting to vomit because apparently your nine year old son doesn't understand that the wall is not a place to wipe his poopy fingers and booger hands. You'll ask yourself if you're really the only one that sees shiz falling out of the garbage can and onto the floor and wonder if you're the only one who knows where the garbage bags are. Get used to it sweetie. This will be your life."


"Never mind, sweetheart. Never you mind."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Old Mcdonald Had A Farm

EIEIO! And on that farm he had a...


I remember seeing those commercials years back when you could have your "very own alpaca farm" and I remember thinking, "Really? Who does that?" I'll tell you who. Janice of Hereford, AZ does that and she's amazing at it. Check out her website HERE

For those who live around here, it's absolutely free and all you need to do is contact her to set up a time that's good for both her and you...she even does weekends! She shares information with you and the entire time you're actually in the pens with the alpacas and can pet them and love them. I hate animals...hate them...and even I found a small remote spot in my heart and actually pet some. After learning all about them she lets you feed them and hang out with them a little bit more then shows you her store and you can buy clothing and toys made from alpaca fur. The kids really had a great time. Aren thought it was pretty cool and Tatiana couldn't figure out if these things were dogs or cats. Anyone know the sign for alpaca?

Feeding time

Just hanging out

Alpaca kisses...or eating bugs out of Tatiana's hair. Can't really tell.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Tatiana Claire!

Holy crap. My little girl is two years old and she made it to this age with no hospital stays and minimal medical coverage! Way to go sweet baby!

Tatiana is our favorite second daughter evah! She seems to be a great combination of everyone around her. For those of you have met Aren, you know he is extremely social and polite and is everyone's best friend right off the bat. Lily, well, not so much. She hated everyone and would only open up to a very select few and mostly only in the comforts of her own home around her own family. Tatiana is not afraid to yell out, "Suck-uh!" when you've lost a game of Mario Kart, and will still bury her face in daddy's shoulder if she's not completely comfortable.

If you want a good cry, check out Rick's thoughts on the day of Tatiana's birth HERE. My husband really is an amazing writer. And for the record, Rick is good and Tatiana has him wrapped around her every little girl should.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Tatiana decided today was the perfect day for a pedicure. The only problem was she didn't clear it with me first...

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Well, we've finally moved into our new home and our a mere eight hours away from saying goodbye to our apartment forever. I am so sore from moving boxes and cleaning the old place and rearranging and cleaning and recleaning the new place. Herrumph.

After only 30 mintues in our new home Aren declared that he "knew this place backwards and forwards". Good job dude! Tatiana was a little apprehensive the first two days, constantly calling out for me and Rick. I guess for an almost two year old it's hard to go from a where you can plug your vaccum in an outlet and clean the whole place to a house where you actually have to unplug and move around.

Pictures are coming, it's just going to take a while to finish unpacking. Maybe I'll take a break and do some this afternoon...we'll see.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Who's Bright Idea Was This?

Seriously, I have a lot of bones to pick with Heavenly Father when I finally get the chance to meet Him and my latest is this...who decided that it would be a great idea to create a viral infection that is only contagious when there are no signs of having the illness and once a huge rash shows up from head to toe you are no longer a medical threat. Really?

And what kind of name is Fifth Disease anyway. It should be called fugly little rash.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Go Ahead...Ask Me

Ask me if we finally signed on a house yesterday that we can afford. And ask me if we're making our final credit card payment which mean no more debt except for student loans and a few random medical bills left over from Aren's broken leg days. Go ahead...ask me if I'm happy!

Im So Happy I Could Dance - The Salteens

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Worth the Seven Minutes

Ok, this is long, but it's so worth it! Especially at the end where a kid tells us what the punishment was for Eve :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pottage is SO Old Testament

I'm sure we're all familiar with the story of Jacob and Esau and how Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage. I know we all think the same thing...really? Come on, there is no way that pottage is really that amazing...well, unless it's as yummy as a kitchen is clean.

All I ever want for Mother's Day is a clean kitchen. This morning I realized the only way I would get that gift was if I did it myself. Forty-five minutes or so later, my kitchen sparkled and off we went to church. When we got home it was still sparkling which was no shock since no one had been home and the thought of dirtying up this little piece of heaven was too much to bare, so I made Rick load up the kids in the car off we went to Chili's where I decided my eternal salvation was worth a chicken fajita pita with a side of veggies and a glass of ice water with lemon.

I might be going to hell, but the kitchen I leave behind will be spotless.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Politically Correct

You know the commercial for Assurant Health where the girl decked out in her gym clothes is talking about medical insurance and how she was pretty healthy and only needed to see her "personal" doctor once a year? What's the deal? Quit trying to shy away from correct terminology.

Hoo-ha doctors are called gynecologists.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Let Them Be Little

After school is an interesting time at my house. Most days I have piano students and/or voice students here and on top of that we've become the hang out hub. Some days I'm annoyed, but most days I enjoy having everyone around so I can keep track of them. Needless to say it can be a zoo. Yesterday there was a knock at the door and a little girl came in litterally sobbing. The chaos came to a hault as I asked this sweet little girl what the matter was.

Through endless tears this seven year old girl explained that her life was "falling apart" because her mom was losing her apartment because she didn't have money to pay the rent and her grandparents couldn't afford to help her and selling the car wasn't an option because then she couldn't get to work. She followed by telling me detailed information about her father and the divorce he and her mom were going through and the problems her mom was having with the lawyer and when I realized my jaw was on the floor I stopped her.

We talked for a few minutes and I reminded her that she was seven and that seven year old girls aren't supposed to worry about these things. It was her job to worry about homework and piano lessons, brushed teeth and clean underwear. She eventually calmed down, almost slightly convinced that she needed to let adults worry about adult things and eventually went outside with Aren for a "club meeting" and for her the world was right again if only for a moment.

For me though, the world just got a little more upsetting. Why do parents feel the need to turn their children into their friends and tell them all the details about their adult lives? Why do parents allow their children to sit beside them and watch shows that are obviously not appropriate for them? When did playing with Barbie dolls become something that eight year old girls have outgrown?

Just let them be little.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Family Lowe's Evening

With our closing date creeping ever more near (cross your fingers!) we decided to head over to Lowe's and check out some paint followed by a drive by at the local Sonic. Ask Tatiana if she had a good time...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

House Watch - Part Two

Ok, I know you all are sick of hearing about this house, but here's the latest. Life is good because we've locked in our interest rate at 5% which drops our monthly mortgage by almost $100, so happiness all around. Now we're just waiting for the appraiser to do his job so the paperwork can get going. If he doesn't do his thing by the end of this week, closing will be postponed. Sigh.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

And Now I Know

When you have trials everyone tells you the same'll look back on this and be grateful. I know what you're thinking - that I'm going to say they were wrong. Nope. Not at all.

Rick left this morning for a week long work trip to Texas. He left me with Tatiana on meds for a big ear infection and vomitting all over place. Although I'm definitely not skipping around the house singing "Count Your Many Blessings", I am able to see the situation for what it is and it's not that big of a deal.

It wasn't that long ago that Rick would leave not for a week at a time, but months at a time, and I wasn't left with one child who had an ear infection, I was left with two children who were in the hospital more than they were at home. I hated every minute of those times. I hated trying to do it all by myself and knowing that Rick wanted to help but all he could do was call. Now when Rick is gone, I am so grateful that I had those times to grow some thick skin. I can handle him gone for a week - my life goes on and I don't skip a beat. Sure I miss him, but I am able to function without him and I fully believe that's a good thing.

So to all you people who ever told me I'd look back on a crappy situation and one day be grateful, you were right. Just don't get used to me admitting it all that often.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Amazing Deal!

So I guess Nordstrom sells a brand of makeup called e.l.f. I wouldn't know being as I live in the middle of nowhere and have for the past five years. Apparently Nordstrom is buying out the company so the company is now getting rid of all their makeup with the e.l.f. name on it. Bad for them, GREAT for you!

Go to this site

and witness the amazing deals going on. Almost everything is only $1.00...yup. A buck! That's everything including brushes, eye shadows, eyeliner, mascarra, you name it. Some of their mineral makeup is a little more expensive, but it's still ridiculous.

As a side note, if you punch in the code CAROLINA at check out, you'll get %50 off your order up to $15.00 and shipping is around $7.00, but even then I paid less than twenty dollars and got way too much make up. Have fun!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cheerios Anyone?

Apparently bowls and untensils are highly over-rated with my daughter.
That or all the dishes were dirty and this was her only option.

Monday, April 20, 2009

House Watch

Today was our home inspection and things went well. The inspection part was way less fun than the "accepting our offer" part. I mean, all we got to hear was what was wrong with the place, which wasn't very much. I kind of tuned out and just told Melissa, our awesome realtor, to tell me where to sign. I'm pretty sure Rick was listening to what was said.

So, inspection - check. Now we have the appraisal some time this week along with waiting to hear back from the seller to see if they'll do what we've asked them to. Then it's just a few weeks of waiting time. Sighs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Welcome Home!

House hunting is a pain in the butt...unless you have the best realtor in the world! Monday morning she sent me a link and said, "You need to check this house out. It was just put on the market today." Tuesday morning we looked at it, loved it, and put in an offer, hoping we could beat the offer already on the table. This morning she called and said, "I have some bad need to start packing!"

Barring any dramatic events, Rick and I will be the owners of a home that fits are needs, is in our budget and doesn't need one daggone thing done to it. Life just keeps getting better and better!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

See, It's Ok!

Thank you Scrubs for validating me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Potty Time

Tatiana has been obsessed with the toilet lately. Rick and I figured it was time to show her how little girls use the potty when she started walking up to the toilet, lifting up her shirt then sticking her belly out and saying, "Potty!". I'm thinking Rick and Aren need to start shutting the door while they do their business.

So back to Tatiana. She loves the toilet and is excited to sit on it any chance she gets. The other day she insisted on sitting on the toilet then looked at me and said, "Book?" Once again Rick, shut the door.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Easter Epiphany

I decided a few weeks ago that I needed to step up my game in the scripture department and so a friend of mine and I decided to read the Book of Mormon and New Testament together. It had been way too long since I've read the New Testament cover to cover...probably the last time I did was as a missionary in Bulgaria so I was looking forward to it. I enjoyed reading about the Savior in Matthew but I must admit by the time I got to Luke it was sounding like a little bit of a re-run and at the end of that book I was a little miffed they were killing my Savior yet again. I kept thinking, "Seriously you guys? Give Him a break!"

Yesterday while reading and looking forward to today a different thought crept into my mind. I was reminded the New Testament isn't a book about the killing of our Savior but of His resurrection. I began thinking how wonderful it was to be able to read of this not once, but four times in row, and how grateful I was, not annoyed or bothered, to be reading this story yet again.

As I write this I can't help but think of my daughter Lily who died over four years ago and would have celebrated her seventh birthday last month. I think of all the times that all I can do is cry and wonder why, but this morning none of that seems to matter because I have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who lived, then died for each of us, and lives again. Because of Him death doesn't seem to matter this morning. This morning the thing that matters is He lives.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I'm really sorry to rub this in the faces of everyone still experiencing horrible winter, but down here in Arizona, well, it's freaking beautiful. This past Sunday Rick and I took the kids up to Phoenix and spent the day with my sister and her family. We decided to do a little Easter egg hunt for Tatiana and Thomas, my nephew, and we asked Aren to hide the eggs. We told him not to make it hard because we were dealing with a 22 month old and a 13 month old.

Here is Aren's response to our request...
And here are my nephew's sausage fingers...
And Tatiana discovering the chocolate in the egg...
And Aren hiding from the little thieving toddler fingers...
And finally, a picture of Tatiana just because...