Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Uh, it's been a while, hasn't it?

Well, now, we all slack off sometimes, don't we?
Rather than spend 20 pages trying to update recent events in our household, I thought I'd share with you our family Christmas letter. (If you've received it already at home, I apologize for the repeat.)

Sprout- This has been an eventful year! He has earned his Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks in Boy Scouts, as well as 7 merit badges! He has started the Sixth grade, and has his favorite teacher again! Sprout has found a new passion in fishing, and wishes we lived near a fishing hole. He also loves hiking, camping, and backpacking. He has lots of friends and enjoys hanging out and playing video games with them. He also received the Aaronic Priesthood, which is a big step in a Mormon boy's life.

Panda- She advanced to Beginner II in Irish Dance. She worked really hard for this achievement. It means she gets to dance in "hard shoes" now!! She attended 3 feisanna (Irish Dance Competitions) this year, and earned a bunch of medals. She is now ready for a Team Dress, which is a really big step in our Irish Dance School. Panda is in the Fourth grade and adores her teacher. Our Panda loves to bake brownies, cakes cookies, etc. You name and she wants to bake it!! She hope sit be a pastry chef and Irish Dance Teacher when she grows up!

LuLu - Our little girl is all grown up! She is in the Second grade and is an amazing reader! She is even in the "hard" math class. Felicity has attended 2 feisanna this year, and earned some medals and even a TROPHT for her reel! She has just started "hard shoes" but hasn't danced in them yet (just some drills.) She also gets a Team Dress (At $500 a piece, we have some saving to do!) LuLu is adored by everyone she meets, and we are frequently told what a wonderful girl she is. She loves to play house, go to school, and her sister is her best friend. When she grows up she wants to be a mom, just like me!! We love our LuLu!

DH Mark - Kilts, Cabers and meat pies. This is our life now. The Scottish Highland games have taken over our summers. Mark loves to compete in this strong-man sport, and we love to be there to support him. He earned several medals this year, and placed 2nd in the Utah Caber Championship. We hope he will be able to spend more time at home with us soon.

Me- I volunteer frequently at the kid's school, shuttle the girls to Irish dance and Sprout to scouts! I love to read, and was so happy when Diana Gabaldon's newest installment in the Outlander series came out in September. (I was sorely disappointed with it though. ) I am the Southern Area Coordinator for our Irish Dance School and spend a lot of time with performances, competitions and helping new parents navigate the world of Irish Dance. It's an obsession, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Irish Dance and love to watch my girls do it! Mark calls me his Talladega Queen because I yell and holler and make a general nuisance of myself while cheering him on in the Scottish Highland games. It is so fun to cheer them all on in their endeavors.

Family Update, 2009!!
Hope you enjoyed it!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nothing says I love you like a clean toilet

My mantra for years has been: "Nothing says I love you like a clean toilet!" (thank you Flylady)
You'd think someone in my household would pick up on this after a few YEARS of saying this.
Well, finally a miracle has come to pass.
Before my husband left for Wyoming, he scrubbed my toilets, and left me a note that says: I love you so much I cleaned the toilets.
What a romantic guy.
I'd take pictures and show you, but I don't want you to be jealous.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crockpot Enchiladas

1 lb. ground beef (I leave this out sometimes. I don't love to eat a lot of meat.)
1 med. onion sauteed
1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning (you can use garlic salt instead)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 flour tortillas
1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, a mexican blend, whatever you have on hand.)

In a bowl, combine ground beef, onion, adobo seasoning, salt and pepper. In another bowl, mix the Rotel and enchilada sauce. Place 2 tortillas in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place half of the following in layers over the tortillas: meat, sauce mixture, and cheese. Repeat layers. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

A fun variation: use shredded chicken and green enchilada sauce instead of ground beef and red sauce. I'd actually cut out the tomatoes/green chiles and use 2 cans of green sauce.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

cooler weather, cooler tempers

Heat really brings out the anger in me. I cannot be bothered with cheerfulness when I'm hot. I just don't have the energy nor the desire to do so. The last few days have been lovely in the weather department, and with that my temper has cooled off as well. I'd say my children are quite pleased. For me, however, I have quite enjoyed the cooler temps by getting something done that I have long put off. Sleep. That's right. The last few days I have slept through the night, at least 10 hours at a stretch and I have managed to put in a few naps that have been over 2 hours long. I feel like a new woman.
Now, if we can just convince mother nature to not go back to the heat...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

birth of a caber bunny

It's official. The Caber Bunnies (me and Abby... still waiting for Lorri to follow suit) will make their first appearance at the Cache Valley Scottish Games.
I just hope I don't make a complete dork of myself when I'm there, because my muscles are regretting my choice already.

Monday, July 27, 2009

a day to myself

Taking advantage of unemployment, Mark has taken the children to the mountains today. This is a two-fold blessing. One, he always complains that he doesn't get to spend enough time in the mountains, and two, he always complains that he doesn't get to spend enough time with the children. Two birds, one stone.
Kind soul that he is, he also has allowed me a day at home to suffer alone in the heat, rather than dealing with others who are also resigned to a similar fate as I. I hope he remembered to take the camera.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I found an interesting article today put out by ABC News. It states: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a review of heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2003, finding that an average of 688 people die from heat-related illnesses each year. Men are much more likely to die from the heat than women -- for every three heat deaths, two are male.

I find it interesting that they blame the deaths on HEAT as opposed to their wives who killed their cheap-a** husbands for not getting them air conditioners. So, remember, if my husband dies, do not blame me, blame the HEAT.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bombshell, tonight (ala Nancy Grace)

My husband informs me tonight: "I might have to go to work in Wyoming."

"What's a few weeks apart," I say, "as long as you are employed."

"Umm... it'll be a 1 year commitment and I'll have to be living up there", he says. "You and the kids can come up and visit me on the weekends."

"(cricket, cricket...silence)". I say nothing as I stare at him in disbelief.

Well, having to live apart is better than having him unemployed, I suppose. . Why can't life just be easier than this?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Heat so thick, like a blanket

After weeks of complaining about the rain, it's now time to complain about the oppressive heat.
Okay, so it's not oppressive, but for those of us who are accustomed to temperature-controlled environments, being at the mercy of Mother Nature is... oppressive.
I just keep telling myself "I had fun at Disneyland, I had fun at Disneyland" in hopes that the memories alone will bring cool breezes wafting past me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

endless rain

This is how I'm feeling after all these weeks of ENDLESS rain, rain, rain. I thought we lived in a desert.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ye'll ken you're a man when you're wearing a kilt

This weekend was the Utah Scottish Festival.
What a blast!
We went Friday night to the Military Tattoo and Concert.
These pictures give a brief idea of how large the massed bands were. There were over 120 Pipe bands. It was amazing!

Shortly thereafter, the rain came down, and the floods came up! (The mud anyway!) We couldn't resist dancing in the rain to the Wicked Tinkers though!

Then on Saturday, Mark competed in the Scottish Heavy Games. He did soooo good!

See his kilt twirling? I love it when the kilt twirls.

This is Mark and his friend Mike. Mike kicks Mark's butt. Mike always gets third. Mark always gets fourth. His goal is to beat Mike in at least one event.

Sprout and Panda participated in the children's Highland Games. Sprout even turned the Caber! Way to go, buddy!

Lulu beat the Giant! She loved it!
The best part of the whole day came after this:

Mark turned the caber on all three tries. He got third place and earned his FIRST (and only) medal! (Not to mention he beat Mike!)

Friday, June 12, 2009

such a sweet boy...

I went to my son's Parent Teacher Conference a few days ago. One of their projects was to make an epitaph on a grave stone for themselves.
Most kids said things like Here lies Joe Jonas, world's greatest musician, or Orel Herschizer, best baseball hero ever, or listed lines and lines of their greatness. How great to have such wonderful lofty goals. It warmed my heart.
And then I saw my son's and I nearly cried.
It said "Here lies Sprout, who made a difference for people with learning disabilities."
I love my Sprout. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

crick in the neck

I have been suffering with a "crick in the neck." Granted, I did it to myself because I fell asleep on the sofa, using the armrest as a pillow, and well, quite frankly, was asking for trouble.
You know what I thought would be funny, is to type in crick in the neck and google it. Little did I know that it's practically a medical term! Not really, but EVERYONE calls it a crick in the neck! Not only that, but treatment for a "crick" is controversial.
I've discovered that it's considered to be
a) muscle spasm
b) arthritis
c) sprained neck ligament
d) pinched nerve
So one doctor says to stretch and massage, another says to ice, isolate and rest, a third suggests cortizone shots and muscle relaxers.

They ALL claim that the other "treatments" won't help! Geez, Louise! So, I'll just keep icing my neck, because that's what I think will help it. Maybe a muscle relaxer just to help me sleep. :) Oh, but most importantly, I think I'll sleep in bed now so I don't wrench my neck while sleeping again. I just saved myself a trip to the doctor (and therefore $80!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

when Irish eyes are smiling

Lulu's Irish eyes are smiling!! We went to see Dr. Hoffman at Primary Children's Medical Center today, and we got GREAT NEWS! Her bilateral eye muscles are continuing to improve, and she didn't need a new eyeglass prescription! The doctor says she is "straddling the fence" and has good control with her eyes, and they seem to be working together. It has been a long road of eye problems, having originally seen the doctor when she was 3 months old. Even when she has her glasses off now, they don't cross! It brings tears to my eyes.
I am so grateful to live in a time when these things can be repaired. 50 years ago there was no way to save her eyesight, and she would have gone blind in one, if not both, her eyes. Praise the Lord for medical advances. My Irish eyes are smiling too!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Poultry Obsession

He can't stop himself. He came home with 2 more baby chicks today. This time he brought home 2 black sex-links. (Let me tell you how nervous I was searching this online. I just knew Google would be all kinds of inappropriate. Good thing it's a common chicken breed.)

The 2 new ladies have been named:
Root Beer. Panda says this is what they smell like. She needs a nose-ectomy.
Rose. They don't smell like this either, by the way.
If we're naming them from scent their names should be Crap and Poop. :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

it's so hard to say goodbye...

I finished A Breath of Snow and Ashes last night.
Goodbye Jamie, goodbye Claire.
I'll see (read) you again in September.
I'll miss you.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


Disappointed in the cat-killer news, Mark decided to stop by the farm supply store and bring home...
2 more Buff Orpington chicks.
I think I'm in chick-overload right now. I can't take it.
He also brought home smaller chicken wire and is changing the coop to be more chick-friendly and less cat-accessible.
Now, I have 2 more names to come up with. I suppose I will revive Mo, but the other one... I guess I'll have to think about it.

and then there were 4

Mai-mai is so busted. He killed himself a baby chick. Shhhh... the kids don't know because they weren't here when I got them, or when the death occurred.
And some of the names are changed.
Sprout kept his name the same. Buffy. It is after all a buff orpington.
Panda changed hers from Betsy to Tacy. (next thing you know it's name'll be Tib.)
LuLu kept her name the same. Lemon.
Now, which one was murdered in cold-blood? It was either Penny or Mo. I can't tell them apart. I guess it was Mo. I want to have a chicken named Penny, as in Henny Penny.

Proud Mother of 5

I have 5 new babies.

Their names are: Penny, Betsy, Lemon, M.O. (mademoiselle l'oef), Buffy.

They are all Buff Orpington Hens. According to my research, Buff Orpingtons are gentle, docile, and make the best pets. They are also dual purpose chickens, which means they are good eggers and they are good meat (although I will not be cooking up my pets for Sunday dinner.)

I hope they survive their first night on The Ridge.

Oliver might have other plans.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the never-ending cough

Yup. I still got it. This interminable cough that won't go away. I've taken everything under the sun, including antibiotics, and nothing is working. I think I am going to lose my mind.
Right now as I sit here looking up home remedies for coughing (nothing sounds viable yet) I am listening to the sounds of a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Cartoons are on in the Living Room, with minimal chatter and a bit of laughter from the children. I hear the cats meowing to go outside, but they are denied this today. (Mai-mai got in to rare wee fight with another cat and has the marks to prove it, and Max, well, he just needs some time inside after carousing all night.)
Mark has woken from a nap, after having overdosed on allergy medication. Oliver having been woken, is irritated that his own nap with Mark has been disturbed. It's just another, typical quiet Sunday. My family is all safely gathered in, and I am fairly content.
Now, answer me this, do you want to drink apple cider vinegar, drink boiled onion water and honey, gargle white pepper,or drink milk with 3 cloves of garlic? Eww, eww, eww, eww, and eww. I guess I'll be back to the doctor on Tuesday. (Can you hear the heavy sigh?)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

depression, depression, depression

Another bad day over here at depression central. Lack of motivation, desire for extra carbohydrates, need for excessive sleep, hmm... reads like a "do you have depression" quiz if you ask me.
I don't really want to do anything about it, other than wallow in my depression, I found a website that I think has some good advice. Really, really, really good advice. (You see, it's easier to look for advice than to actually follow said advice.)

Dealing with Depression: Self help and coping tips

My favorite sentence on this website sums up dealing with depression quite succinctly: "It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery. The things that help the most are the things that are most difficult to do."

What I am going to do with this advice, is start easy for me. I'm going to increase my B vitamins and start taking a chromium supplement. Also, I'm thinking about taking the dog for a walk. The research does say that a 10 minute walk can improve your mood for up to 2 hours. Now I have to decide if the plantar fasciitis can handle a warm afternoon walk, or if I should wait until the sun goes down to take the walk. Can my mood wait that long? Dilemma, dilemma.

What do you think Oliver?

Yea, that's what I thought. You'll be ready to go whenever I want. Smoochie, smoochie, poochie, poochie.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Folk Alley

My newest obsession: American Folk Music
Try listening to my new favorite online radio station, Folk Alley.
Folk Alley

Although I enjoy it quite a bit, at times it's too contemporary for my tastes. That's when I turn to this site:The Contemplator
I sing at the top of my lungs, and I can kill hours of time doing this.

And just when I've had my fill of American folk music, I turn to this online radio station: Highland Radio

Just a little proof that I am odd. As if you needed any.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day

Mother's Day. My children worked so hard to make this day special.
Sprout made chocolate covered strawberries for me at school.
Panda made a "coupon book" at activity days.
LuLu made me 3 cards at home.
My husband gave me a gift certificate for a massage. mmmm. I can't wait.
I manage to hold in the tears through this part. Then we go to church.
Sawyer cries. (argument with dad.)
Grace cries. (argument with dad.)
Only LuLu gets up to sing the primary song. (Why do they always try to get the kids to sing a song they don't know???)
The words of a poem read at church last week fill my mind.

You are the trip I did not take;
You are the pearls I cannot buy;
You are my blue Italian lake;
You are my piece of foreign sky.

That's it. We're outta here. We went home to collect ourselves, wipe our tear-stained faces (and then head back to church.)

Was it a good day?

Certainly. After my man grilled me up some steaks (yum!) and we headed to my friend Erika's for dessert and games. I would sum it up as an almost perfect day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

oh where, oh where has my little camera gone?

I wondered where my camera disappeared to, and now that it's found, I discovered some interesting snapshots taken by my children.

I love this one of Mad Max

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What? I can't hear you over the screaming!

Do you know what I hate?
Screaming children.
me:"What is your problem, stop the screaming already!" (I say, screaming.)
Sprout: "Her ear hurts."
me: "Who's ear hurts? Why does it hurt?"
Panda: "Lulu. She's screaming that her ear hurts."
Ugh. Drama Queen, I think to myself. I grab the eardrops and put a few in. She goes to sleep on the sofa.
Thank God, I think, I don't know how much more of that screaming I can take! Can't she just deal with it like a normal person. [duh, mom, she's 6!]

20 minutes later: Blood curdling scream from the Living Room
me: "What is it now?!?"
Lulu: "My ear!"
Mark: (while walking in)"what is all the screaming about?"
...you get the idea.
After 2 1/2 hours of screaming, I say, I'm taking her to the Instacare to make sure it's not an ear infection. I can't take all this screaming!

1 hour wait at instacare. Diagnosis: middle ear infection. Her ear is hugely swollen and very painful. They give her analgesic drops in her ear, give me a prescription for antibiotics and send me on my way. Poor kid didn't sleep a wink last night.

You know what I hate?
When you're in a lot of pain and no one believes you. Despite your screaming. No one seems to care. ::heavy sigh:: Sometimes I feel like a jerk.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sept 22- so close and yet so far away

I am so very excited (jumping up and down!) that the next book in the Outlander series is coming out Sept 22, 2009! (jumping up and down!) Just to make sure that I am ready for it...I have started the series all over again. I get so happy just thinking about it that I start jumping up and down.
Thanks, Erika, for introducing me to these books. I just don't know what Mark and I would talk about without them...
Which reminds me. I missed the feast of beltane this year. It was yesterday. What was I thinking????

You can check it all out for yourself:
Diana Gabladon

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fat Tuesday

After our trip to Disneyland and looking at the photos, I have been forced to confront something about myself I've been trying to avoid.
I am fat.
I am not overweight, I do not just have extra preganancy weight. I am a bonfide non-exercising, over-eating fat person.
I need to deal with this issue. I know I eat when I'm bored, lonely, sad, happy, nervous... for any reason. I recognize I eat for emotional reasons. I assume my depression doesn't help in this issue, but I need to stop using it as my excuse. Both my parents have type II diabetes, I have high-blood pressure (and probably high cholesterol, but I refuse to go in and take that test from the doctor.) I am a ticking time-bomb.
So, I've decided that this will be my regular Tuesday feature. I call it Fat Tuesday because
a)that's funny to me and
b)it will be easier for me to remember.

I intend to discuss some of my emotional over-eating issues, confront myself about my laziness, and refer to information that I have found that hopefully will help me in my quest to improve my health.
I hope to find some form of exercise that is entertaining and interesting for me that I can do even with plantar fasciitis.
I hope to find a way to overcome my nighttime eating problem.
I hope that I will stick on this path until I find the health and happiness I am seeking.

Monday, April 27, 2009

don't mock me....(mock feis 2009)

Photos from this year's mock feis. Hopefully we are now prepared for June's competition! Wish us luck!

Before the wig:

This is my favorite photo of Lulu at the mock feis:

Panda, turn out your feet. Panda! Panda! Panda! Turn out your feet! How many times did I yell this (or signal this) to her this day? I was ready to pull my hair out! (notice her feet, just standing there?)

Even your baby sister can stand turned out, Panda!

Finally! She does it! Go, Panda! Go, Panda! Go, Panda! (notice the feet?! Success!)

Single man turns 40

My brother turned 40 this year! Holy stinkin' cow. That means my turn is right around the corner!

He's single ladies!

Hanging with Uncle Tim!

We won a lovely gumball in the game machine while waiting for the cousins to arrive!

The dinner party at Golden Corral. See, the smart girl takes the photos and doesn't have to be in them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday Night Pizza and Pool

We have a standing date with our kids to go out to Pizza and go swimming at the community pool every friday night. Well, unless we have other things going on, but when we don't this is what we do.
Last night my girls had a "late over" with a friend from school. (Not a sleep over, the friend can stay until 10 pm, but we can all get some sleep that way!) That's too many girls for my son, so he slept over at Gramma's house and played Guitar Hero with Uncle Tim all night.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anyone can grow zucchini?!?!

My friend Jan decided I needed to plant a garden. So she brought me these seeds she had planted. Well, it's been about a week now, and I've managed to keep them watered appropriately, and if you look closely....

you can see a little tiny shoot coming up in the top left hand corner of this one!
I just might see some zucchini yet!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another day, another cupboard

Okay, so I figure it's time to get cracking on another cupboard. So, here's my before picture. (See, Erika, I do have messy cupboards!)

I spent my 10 minutes cleaning it out. Okay, I'll be honest this one took more like 12 minutes, because the timer went off and I wasn't quite done putting everything back. This is the end result of this cupboard:

Granted, this isn't as dramatic a change, but I DID manage to find all my measuring cups. I didn't know I had so many, but the benefit of having lost them all is that the kids do know that if you use 1/4 measuring cup 3x it does equal 3/4 cup! That is progress! I did find that I had two cheese graters. WHY?? I don't even buy block cheese, I buy it already grated!
I know you are dying to know whether or not I've managed to keep the other cupboard organized, so I took a picture of it. Keep in mind Sawyer is in charge of emptying the dishwasher:

Not bad! You'll notice all the bowls are together, all the plates are together, and all the cups are together. Perhaps not as neatly as I would have done it, but beggars (or mothers) can't be too choosy. At 2 cupboards a week, I am on a roll, baby!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Several months ago I was watching an episode of Oprah and there was a show about organizing your life. This particular one struck me as plausible for my life, because it was about taking 10 minutes at a time to do something to get organized. Today I started because there is no time like the present (and a depression-less day)!
Open up a disorganized cupboard:

Spend 10 minutes throwing out unused items and grouping like items together.
When you are all done you have something like this:

and you end up throwing away or giving away a bunch of stuff like this:

Are you kidding me? Look at all those sippy cups, and a bottle? My youngest is 6 years old, and she was breast-fed exclusively??? Now, the reality is, I only have junky plastic cups, and need to get something nicer to drink out of. Even if they are plastic, it would be nice if they would all match!