Shameless, Fattening, Advertising

Saturday we went to the The Sweet Tooth Fairy. My blogging friend (Petit Elefant) told me about this shop. As we were walking up Olaf looks at the sign and says, "Oh, this place. I know the girl that started this shop." Seriously, who doesn't this guy know? But she had told me the shop was doing a benefit for NieNie. Her story is here. She almost died in a plane crash last year. She was in the burn unit forever. She's been through countless surgeries. I'm sure her medical bills dwarf the the famed Babel Tower.

I got the delectable Va-NIE-lla squared cupcake. To Die For. I don't think I've ever tasted anything so perfect. I will be back again.

Apparently NieNie needs to gain some weight. People have been offering her all kinds of sweets.

This Mud Cake was featured on her website. It also looks incredible. Here is the recipe for that one.

Now that I have caused you to gain weight just reading this post I am going to bed. Hope you have dreams of sugar-plums dancing in your head tonight, because I know what I'm dreaming of tonight. Chocolate Cake. Va-NIE-lla cupcake. Anything else decadent and delicious.


The Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice happened last week. Somehow I missed the celebrations. Oh wait, I live in a Christian not Pagan part of the world. I don't live 2,000 years ago when the Druids were alive and strong and led everyone in Summer Solstice festivities.

All I can think about is how the days are getting shorter. I'm already dreading going to work in the dark, much less getting up in the dark. It's so hard to get out of bed when it's dark outside. (All you early morning workers can hunt me down now, I know you're sneering at me and my pansiness.) I just hate mornings when I have to get up to an alarm. And if it's before 8am I have to set an alarm.

Today I had a great thought. Maybe some scientist can tell me if somehow our advanced scientists can make it happen. What if the Earth wasn't tilted on its axis and didn't wobble back and forth every year! Just think, the sun would go up and down at the same time every day! I wouldn't have to worry about how late the sun would make its appearance in the winter. And the fireworks on the 4th of July could probably be a little bit earlier.

And an even better consequence would be the unchanging of the seasons. The weather would be the same year round. All you would have to do is pick the kind of weather you enjoyed the most and move to the part of the world that boasted that climate. No more miserable cold winters unless you chose to live in Alaska or Norway. And think of how many crops could be grown with more steady temperatures. You could grow food at its own perfect latitude.

I know that the scientists are shaking their heads. I'm sure this Utopia I have contemplated isn't possible to create. And I'm sure they're astounded at the amount of force that would be needed to stop the wobble of the earth's tilt. And I'm sure they've thought of a million good reasons not to do it. People always want to be the first to spread doom and gloom on new, revolutionary ideas. Mark my words, someone may try to do it one day but just remember you heard it here first.


I Want My Two Dollars

In case you forgot, last Sunday was Father's Day. And at church, as usual, the under-12 kids sang a song or two to honor their dad. Our group of youth is slowly dwindling, I counted thirteen kids singing. But they sang great and loud enough for us to hear way in the back. When they were excused it took Baby an unusually long time to reach our seats. I didn't know what took so long until I talked to a friend today.

My friend's family had been gone for the last three weeks and Middle Child had taken care of their cat and mowed the yard. After he left for Scout Camp, Baby filled in. And Baby expected payment. As he was running off the stage he spotted my friend's husband and children. He stopped mid-step, almost fell over, stepped backwards, and pointed accusingly at them.

"You're back!" he practically shouted in the middle of our mostly older, quiet, reverent congregation. "You owe me a couple bucks! I took care of your cat!" And then he sidled over to them in expectation of payment.

The poor husband was trying his best not to laugh, not to draw more attention to themselves, to shush Baby, and to get him back to his seat quietly. "We'll get you your money. We haven't forgotten you."

That must have been enough to console Baby for the day. He took off again, pounding his feet all the way down the aisle, around the corner, and down the gym floor aisle to our seats. Quiet is not part of my boys' abilities. They can do plenty of other things, but Quiet is not one of them.

By the time he reached us I was trying my darnedest not to laugh and not to be embarrassed. He was running through church! Again! And as he sat down I tried to tell him not to run through church (again!).

Not very quietly he replied, "I was just coming back to my seat," as if I accused him of a crime for which he was not guilty. And I was, the crime was the inability to be Quiet. I've almost given up, but I keep trying for some reason. One of these days the reminder may actually sink in. Probably when he has little boys of his own.

Apparently, this afternoon Baby went to my friend's house. He knocked on the door and demanded payment, again. The husband laughed and told Baby he had given the money to me. "But I haven't seen it!" He just laughed some more and told him to ask his mommy for the money. Tonight I paid Baby his two dollars.

Next week we're renting Better Off Dead and letting Baby see what happens when you're too persistent in demanding payment. It's a cult classic. For my generation.



We love our new dog. He has become one of the family. We weren't so sure how we'd like him. The first day we brought him home he was so excited and crazy that he jumped over the sofa. Olaf and I just looked at each other. But he has adjusted to our family and become another member. He has been wonderful with the boys and helps to heal the hole in their hearts.

Last Thursday he was sitting under the table, anxious for scraps, we were having pepperoni and italian sausage pizza. He loves meat and cheese. Then he was running around with the kids. Middle Child headed to bed a little later and Tank followed, he usually sleeps with one of the boys. But 15 minutes later Middle Child brought him up and put him outside. He was acting like he needed to throw up. Dogs do that sometimes.

But an hour later he was still trying to throw up so I went out and checked on him. His belly had swelled! It was larger than his ribcage. It scared me. I ran in and told Oaf, "He has to get to the Vet now!" Olaf went out and checked and when he saw him he scooped him up in his arms, put him in the truck, honked for me, and we took off. He drove like a Bat out of Hell to the Emergency Vet in North Orem. They took one look at the poor dog and said "He needs surgery. While we get him prepped we'll work up an estimate." So we anxiously waited around for a little while.

Once we knew he was in surgery we went home. But neither of us could sleep. I had finally drifted off just before 2am and the doctor called (we had told her to call when she was done.) She said the operation had been a little scary but he had come out of it okay. He would probably need to be hospitalized and on fluids for a day or two. So I went and picked him up in the morning and took him to a regular Animal Hospital. They hooked him up to an IV and got fluids, antibiotics, pain medicine, muscle relaxant, and (of all things) a doggy antidepressant running through his system. When the vet called to update us they said he was depressed. I'm sure he was! He had just been through major surgery and then we just dumped him off at the vet. I'm sure he thought he had been abandoned again.

We went to visit him Saturday and he looked so much better, but still sick. We were able to go Monday and they said he was doing better. He had even barked at the cats that day! They said they wanted to keep him till he had eaten some solids to make sure his stomach could handle it after his major surgery. At this point he hadn't eaten any dog food. I didn't have the heart to tell them he doesn't like dog food. I know you're asking, "What do you feed him?" Dog food. He just eats it as a last resort when he doesn't get anything else, which is 95% of the time.

Wednesday I finally was able to bring him home! He even jumped in the car. I knew he had been cooped up for the last week so I drove home on the back roads and rolled down the back window so he could hang his head out and feel the wind on his face. He was so happy to see Baby! He jumped up and down and licked him. He ran around the house and in the backyard, just glad to be home again.

I brought home an arsenal of medicine. I have antibiotics, pain pills, anti inflammatory, and antinausea. They also gave me this thickish stuff that he's supposed to eat 20cc's of twice a day till it's gone. I put some in the tube, sat on the floor, hung on to him (I knew he wouldn't like it), and tried to feed it to him. He may have taken it for the vet but he sure wasn't taking it from me. He spit it out, he dribbled it on my pants, and he ran away. Poor thing. Then I mixed his special canned food into his regular dog food. He turned his nose up at it until he finally got hungry enough to eat. I would say he is on the mend! We are just happy to have him home again. I've missed him.



I came home from work one day and they were laying asphalt. I hadn't thought our road was bad enough to need another layer of asphalt. But after my Capital Assets conference class I've learned that roads are rated on thickness of asphalt/cement or age. Our road hasn't had a new coat of asphalt in a long time. I guess it was our turn. I thought, at least it will look nice this year.
In the morning I thought they had just gotten part way done the day before. But when I got home from work that afternoon and no more work had been done I realized this was it.

So. . .What do you get when you cross a Recession with the Government?
A First Rate Patch Job!
And I really have to catch myself because I am a Government Employee now! Usually I stop before my foot stuffs itself down my throat, but this time I couldn't help myself.



"Guess what we had for lunch!?!" Baby exclaimed when he called me this week at work.

"What?" I casually asked, figuring they had cooked something on the stovetop again this week.

"We ordered 5 Buck Pizza!" I was dead wrong.

"What? How'd you do that?"

"Middle Child called them and ordered it. We had it delivered!" He was so stinking proud of themselves.

"Wow! Really?" I was a little stunned. Middle Child has mentioned several times that Calvin had programmed 5 Buck Pizza into his phone. (During school he and some friends had ordered it before lunch and expected it to arrive during lunch. Then the pizza delivery guy came a few minutes early and his teacher was kind enough to excuse him from class to pay for the pizza. The teacher only charged him one piece of pizza.)


"How did you pay for the pizza?"

"I had money. I used my money." Baby is proud of the money he collects.

"And whose idea was it for you to buy pizza?"

"It was Middle Child's idea." I have previously mentioned Middle Child's ability to get what he wants right here.

"So, how much was the pizza?"

"Five bucks!" Duh. "I paid him five bucks and I tipped him." He was so proud.

"How much did you tip him?" I didn't know he understood the whole tipping process. I thought maybe he gave the poor delivery guy a quarter.

"I tipped him two. . ." and I thought, Wow, he's generous with two quarters, "dollars and thirty cents." He may understand tipping but he still isn't aware of taxes.

"Wow! So you paid for the whole pizza?"

"Yes, but Middle Child said he will pay me back." Famous last words of many people.

Then a light bulb slowly flickered and finally lit up. "If you guys do your chores all week before I get home from work, I will give you seven dollars on Friday so you can order pizza for lunch!" These chores are beginning to get expensive.

"That'd be great Mom! I'll do my chore every day!" I'll be lucky if it lasts three weeks. Nevertheless, I was pretty impressed with their resourcefulness at such a young age. Despite my best intentions I am raising Real Men; they don't want to cook for themselves.


Alien Mutilation

A couple of months ago Middle Child decided to play with one of his friends. Me, loving to keep track of my kids, said, “Make sure you take your cell phone and leave it on so I can call you.” So he went and grabbed his phone from the designated placeholder and gasped.
The shock and awe I experienced was amazing. What exactly was wrong with his phone? Who could do this to his phone? Had some beast come ravaging through our house while we were all gone during the daylight hours? Did we need to worry about Big Foot? The marks were kind of pointy, like a Vampire, but like most of the other ghouls, they are night creatures.
"What did you do to your phone?" I asked, flabbergasted.
"Nothing! I promise I left it here all day. Last night it looked just fine!" he continued to act shocked, enough so that I believed him. Maybe he didn't have anything to do with the mutilation. Maybe Aliens came during the daytime and mutilated the phone to try and understand our ancient technology. They want to know how their ancestors survived medieval times on their planet.
Then I remembered another phone in this same house. It also had pointy indentions. But that phone was a home, cordless phone and not so delicate. We caught Tank chewing on that phone. I don't know if he was trying to call him mommy or if he was hungry. But it seems as though he got hold of another phone. Case solved. No need to worry about Vampires or Werewolves or Zombies or Big Foot.


First Camp

Girl's Camp was a blast! We had so much fun!

Getting ready for our first hike. I decided we'd make this a Hiking Girl's Camp. What better activity when you're out in nature? This hike to Timpanogos Cave is straight up and back down again, 1.5 miles each way. I'm just barely able to walk up stairs without wincing today.
We are only 1/4 of the way! Aauuuggh!
The hike was gorgeous. The girls were great!
We all made it to the top and got to see Timpanogos Cave. It was worth the hike.
The switchbacks. It was a rather steep trail.
We finally got to our campsite. It was beautiful! I had reserved three campsites. As everyone else was getting out of the cars I hiked up and around the bend to check on the third campsite. On my way back I looked up and saw a huge bull moose right next to the road drinking from the creek! He was staring at me. I've been around moose before, but never that close and never alone. I froze and slowly backed up. I just kept thinking "Please don't charge me! Please don't charge me! Please don't charge me!" I waited at that other campsite all alone for about five minutes until Olaf drove by in the truck and scared him away. Remember the Buddy System, you should learn from my mistake.

We got camp set up and by then we were hungry! Dinner!
We decided to forgo the usual camp skit in lieu of Ribbon Dances. The girls loved the change! Helps that half of the girls are dancers. They were amazing and had put together a great routine in about half an hour!

Roasting marshmallows! Who can make the most perfectly, lightly toasted, gooey marshmallow? You'll have to try next time you go camping.
When my Assistant Camp Leader and I woke the girls for breakfast she said "Morning girls! You have. . ." she paused and I help up two fingers, "ten minutes to get ready." Then she looked at my two fingers and laughed. "We might have to compromise between me and Donna, how about seven minutes." I just laughed at myself and told them all "I'm not used to having girls around!"
Then the girls were up and about cooking breakfast after a night of avoiding bears. We didn't actually see any but some had been seen in the area the week before. It was still early in the year and the animals hadn't been scared away yet.
Stewart Falls. A gorgeous hike that wasn't too hard although I think some people beg to differ! Soon after this the hail and rain started and we were drenched by the time we got to our cars, even those of us with rain gear. One of the girls turned around and asked me "Are we going to go home if it doesn't stop raining?" "No," I replied. And then I thought "What are we going to do if it doesn't stop raining?" Thank goodness it stopped by the time we reached our camp.
Here are the girls playing some games before dinner.
The guy on the right was so helpful. He helped cook dinner, he kept the fire going, and he even gave us some weather lessons.
I had so much fun at camp. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was great! I love the girls that went with us and hope they had just as much fun!


A Long Week

We got a call this week that Olaf's cousin had died in a car accident. The flood of feelings. The ache of a child gone. The loss that will never go away. It all came but was for someone else who was beginning this long journey. No one should have to live through this. And there was nothing I could do since I was leaving for Girl's Camp with the girls in my church.

And then Olaf got another call while down in the valley (no cell phone reception in the mountains). It wasn't a car accident. She was so sad and lost that she took her own life. If only she had called someone to be with her. If only. . .

We visited with Olaf's Aunt and Uncle last night and I told them they can't do the What Ifs, it will only torture them. I can only tell all of you

Family is Everything. Love your family for who they are. Don't judge anyone, only God knows the whole situation. Remember that no one is perfect and everyone is different. Don't hold those imperfections and differences against someone, try to love them for (or in spite of) those things. Just love your family and hold them close.

And now I'm putting the soap box away.