Sunday, September 27, 2009

a (sixth) confession

::Thanks wikipedia for the chocolate chip image::

I eat chocolate chips straight out of the bag. Handful by handful. I let myself believe that because they are so small, they have WAY less fat than a chocolate bar.

Obviously not true if you finish off the bag in its entirety.
Before 9:30 AM!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ode to my Uncle Mark

::Uncle Mark::
::April 16, 1956 -September 23, 2009::
{I wrote this blog entry on September 13th, the day after my last visit with Uncle Mark. After I wrote it, I just didn't feel good about posting it. We didn't know how much longer Mark was going to live. He was a fighter. I knew Mark was dying, but I couldn't admit it. Especially not out loud. I felt like I had to be strong, mainly for my mom. Posting this post made me feel like I was admitting what I knew: that Mark's days were limited.
Now that Mark has been released from his ailments, I would like to share.}
When mom, Jace and I walked through those glass doors yesterday I immediately knew something was different.

It wasn't the way the place smelt. For that was all too familiar. The musky, stale smell that permeated the air. The smell of old people. Cafeteria food. The smell of a nursing home.

It wasn't what I saw. For I've seen it all before. There were people in wheelchairs, some laying in beds, some watching T.V. others visiting with nurses. There was that one person, like always, that begged to kiss my children's cheeks or hold them on their lap. There were the angry. The confused. The content.

It wasn't what I heard. For they were all familiar sounds. The sound of machines beeping. People visiting. An occasional scream of objection. The sound of the shower running and the sick sleeping.

What was different was the way that I felt. The way my heart stopped, for just a moment, when I saw you. You. Were. Different.

Unlike any visit before, you were laying there. In your bed, sleeping. Prior to this visit I would have found you in your wheelchair. Reading a history book or the Ensign. Watching TV, with the sound muted and the large black captions running on the bottom of the screen. Wheeling your chair up and down the halls. Possibly I would have found you in the cafeteria or doing sit-ups on a mat next to your bed. But not this time, this time was different.

When I saw you lying there. So weak. So pale. So thin. So sick. I was reminded of happier, better times.
I thought of all the other times that I had done the exact same routine. How I would enter your room and put my hand on your shoulder, as not to startle you. How you would quickly turn your head, smile {that oh so familiar smile} and in a questioning voice say, "Kim?" as to make sure it was really me. We would visit. I would write on your dry eraser board, which was always stored in your black backpack on the back of your wheelchair. I would ask you questions and you would answer. You would tell me about Mrs. Blauer, the time that you attended ISU, about work and childhood memories. Your memory amazed me. You knew dates. Exact dates, of events in your life. You knew names. You knew history.

I thought of the time that Spencer and I took you to an ISU basketball game. You were excited because you could hear the loud buzzer of the shot clock. It was one of the only sounds that you're failing ears were capable of hearing. After the game we treated you to an Artic Circle milkshake. It was always a special treat for you to get a milkshake. Spencer took the corner a little too fast and your head (protected by that black helmet) bounced off the side of the car door. You laughed and then we laughed. It was a fun night.
I thought of the time that mom and I took you to watch Cheaper by the Dozen in the dollar theater. You couldn't hear a thing, but still enjoyed the day out, watching the images on the big TV.

I thought of the time that Spencer and I were visiting you and you challenged Spence to an arm wrestling competition. You used your only working arm, your left arm, and Spencer did the same. When we walked out of your room Spencer said, "That Mark, he's tough! He really did almost beat me." You are tough!
I thought of all the family party's at Grandpa and Grandma's. The time that Clayton was arm wrestling you and accidentally threw you off the hide-a-bed onto the floor. How you would lie on the bed and listen to a basketball game over the radio alarm clock that sat nearby. How we cousins would have wheelchair races when your chair was empty. At times popping wheelies! What a treat it was to get to sit in Uncle Mark's wheelchair. I thought of the last few holidays where I got to host you at my house. How lucky I was.
I thought of all of the Sunday visits when Jessica and I were both living nearby. We would come every Sunday. A lot of times I would bring a roommate. Occasionally, we would bake a treat. Jessica and I made you a quilt for Christmas that year. It wasn't much. We made it on the floor of our college house and tied it with white yarn. You were so apprentice of our gesture.

I thought of the time that Grandma, Grandpa Harris and I came to visit you and to bring you home for the weekend. I was eight. There was a horrible snow storm and we got stuck in the eye of it. The entire ride home you sang:
Kimbo the Elephant,
Kimbo the Elephant,
Lives in a great big zoo-oo
Kimbo the Elephant,
Kimbo the Elephant,
We love to look at you-oo!

And then I would repeat the song replacing "Kimbo the Elephant" with "Markus the Monkey". I, to this very day, call you "Markus the Monkey."

And there are more. Many more. Memories that I will always cherish.

Mark, you've lived a good life. A hard life. But a good life. Many were blessed for just knowing you. How blessed am I to have been able to call you my Uncle.
As mom, Jace and I left Mark's bedside that day. I picked Jace up in my arms and said, "Tell Marky bu-bye, Jace." Jace raised is chubby little arm and with a big smile waved at our Uncle Marky.

Uncle Mark sat up in his bed a little taller, smiled, let out a little chuckle, and then waved back at Jace.
Mom and I cried. I still do just thinking about it.

The way that Jace waved with such enthusiasm, such zeal, was just like he was saying, "C-ya latter buddy. I just came from Heaven and it's really cool there. You're gonna love it!"

And the way that Mark smiled, laughed even, and then waved back…I think he understood him.
Bu-bye Markus the Monkey. We love you.

You're going to love it in Heaven.
I know you are.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


September 23, 2009.
On this beautiful autumn day, my little sister's birthday. Heaven became one soul richer.

And my Uncle Mark is walking. Singing. Dancing. With the angels.

We believe that we are sent here, to Earth, to be tried and tested. Marky was tried. Marky was tested. Marky passed the test. Absolutely. Most definitely. Without the tiniest bit of doubt, Marky passed the test.
I love you Markus the Monkey.


Like you've never done before.
You deserve it!

::April 16, 2009: Mark's 53rd Birthday::

You’re right, Jami, we do like you!

Have you seen the movie Notting Hill?

{If you haven't, go now and watch it. Really, go! Or at least be forewarned that this post won't make much sense to you (or will at very least seem odd) without a little Notting Hill knowledge.}

When I was in high school our house on Union Street had a studio apartment equipped with a small kitchen and bathroom. This was my room. There was a small bedroom in the basement that was originally Alan's room. Sometime during Jami's high school years she decided that she wanted the basement bedroom. Alan agreed. And she and Alan switched.

To get access to the basement bedroom you had to use my room as a hallway.

Jami was a morning person. She would wake early in the mornings so she would have enough time to primp and prettify for school. She was always chipper. Energetic. Even in those early morning hours.

I was a night owl. I stayed up late, long after everyone else had gone to bed. Then when morning came, I was ex.haust.ed! Mornings were hard for me. I hated mornings. And rightfully so. Mornings are just so dang early in the morning.

Well, until Jami and I saw Notting Hill. Then mornings were at least tolerable.

Post Notting Hill, Jami would run up the basement stairs all energized, refreshed and ilovemorninglike. Wearing a t-shirt and her underwear. She would burst through the basement door into my bedroom where a full length mirror hung on the bathroom door. She would stand side-view in the mirror, lift one arm in the air, and flex her butt cheeks saying, "I think they like me!"

I would groggily roll over, laugh at her absurdity and then roll out of bed. Heaven knows I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep after that!!

Happy Birthday Jami!

Thanks for always making us laugh. Even if most the time your humor is, well….crude. Love ya!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

a (fifth) confession

In an effort to use every last drop I cut my lotion bottles in half, dump the last of the shampoo on my head after it’s been completely diluted with water, wash the Tide container with the last load of laundry and use a Q-tip to reach that last little bit of foundation.

Oh yes, I’m one of those.

Thing One and Thing Two - A List

Over the last few weeks these are the… Things we've been enjoying:
  • The TF Fair & Rodeo. I love me any fair, but I especially love me the TF Fair.
  • Little Zayne's baby blessing.
::Zayne's family::
  • Spending time at Jami's house. Two weekends in three weeks. {And if Jami were to write a list we would be under the "things that make me swear" category. Thankfully, Jami doesn't EVER update her blog so she won't be writing such a list}
::Brookie & Brynlee enjoying rootbeer floats::
  • Chopping Firewood {And by that I mean that Zeb, Spence and Zeb's brother left the house at 6am with an empty horse trailer and two chainsaws and then returned at 8pm with a horse trailer full of wood and three aching backs. All the while Jami and I stayed in our pajamas until 2pm and didn't brush our teeth or comb our hair. Don't judge us! We were also herding kids, rocking babies, going on nature walks, making dinner and playing ring-around-the-rosie. Plus, we canned 20 bottles of marinara sauce!}
Things that amazed me:
  • That the same floor that takes a long, tiring two days to install takes a mere 52 minutes to uninstall.
  • That my Grandma Marilyn has five kids, four daughter/son-in-laws, eighteen grandkids, nine grandkids-in-laws and thirteen great-grandkids. Yet, she always sends a birthday card. It always contains $20.00 and it's always on time!
  • How much you use your kitchen sink. Don't believe me? Take out your kitchen sink for a week or two and see how much you miss it. I double dog dare you.
  • How much bigger your three-year-old gets in the hour that she's at preschool.
Things that made me jump up and down and squeal in delight:
  • FREE creamies! And entire box of FREE creamies. 24 delicious, refreshing creamies. FOR FREE!!
  • Fair food. Deep fried. Delicious. Fattening. Fair food!
Things that made me swear:
  • Getting lost, in the middle of nowhere, after dark. Damn you fields of sagebrush! Why do ya'll look so similar?
  • My toe meeting Jami's fireplace up close and personal. Damn you fireplace! I kicked you as hard as I could and you didn't even flinch. Cheeky showoff!
  • Ellen DeGeneres' a judge on American Idol. {The writer says as she rolls her eyes in disgust} Aren't there better choices out there? Maybe somebody who, you know SINGS! Seems like that would have came up in the interview:
Overpaid American Idol Interviewer guy: Miss DeGeneres, you are right, you're an excellent candidate for our show. You have a familiar name, you host a talk show, you are quite the comedian plus you hosted the Oscars (or Emmy's or Grammys or whatever it is you hosted). However, our show is a singing show. You know, where people sing. You would be a judge on that singing show. You would need to judge people's ability to sing! How long did you say you've been in the music business? I wonder if Kanye West has her back too. Things that made me cry:
  • Seeing our first little house neglected, uncared for and foreclosed. I think your first house is like your first love. Somewhere, deep down, you will always care for them.
  • Visiting my Uncle Mark. Why do some people have to suffer so badly and so much? It just doesn't seem fair. His strength amazes me.
  • Getting home from Jami's house and standing on the scale. Oh, good heavens! I most definitely should've passed up that second hamburger. Or maybe it was the mashed potatoes with cheese AND sour cream. Or was it the chicken sandwich? I know for a fact that it WASN'T the enormous blueberry muffin that I had for breakfast. It couldn't have been. That thing was way too good to have done something so offensive. Plus, {verily, verily I say unto you} it had blueberries in it so it's considered health food.
Things that made me smile:
  • The birth of Alivia Jane, my newest niece. Bringing my niece and nephew tally to 27, FYI.
::Picture from their blog::
  • Jace turning one.
::The one year old at the park::
  • Brynlee wrapping all of Jace's birthday presents {plus a handful of things that in fact, already belonged to him} all by herself!
  • Visting with old friends.
  • The last thing Spencer saying before walking out the door, "I don't even know why I'm going to this meeting. I would never be on that board." The first thing Spencer saying after attending said meeting, "How the crap did I get suckered into joining that board!"
  • Jace getting on the trampoline unassisted.
Things that I've been loving:
  • The change of season.
  • Canning.
  • My house.
  • Visiting family.
  • My kids.
::Picking cattails by Jami's house::

  • Their dad.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dear Jace: On Your 1st Birthday

Little Jace Buddy,

You’re one! How fast the time went. I can’t believe it’s been a year. You make me smile. You bring me joy. You are such a great addition to our little family.

As I type this letter you and I are playing peek-a-boo. I am sitting on the couch with the laptop on my lap. Your chubby little hands are holding on to my knees. Every few seconds you pop your head out from behind the laptop and squeal with excitement. Once acknowledged you laugh. That engaging, from the bottom of your gut, laugh. Your laugh makes me laugh. Causing you to laugh harder. Louder. And making the next peek-a-boo even more exciting and somehow even funnier than the previous one. I love you!

Jace, you have the best little personality. As a small baby you never cried or fussed. Really, never. As long as I kept you fed and your diaper changed you were happy. People often marveled at your laidback personality and commented on how content you were. I can probably count on one hand the times that you cried without reason. You were easily comforted and were patient with me as I learned to adjust to our new life with two kids. That laidback personality that you had as an infant only continues to develop and shine.

You’re a tease. A BIG tease. From the moment you started being able to interact and understand you have also teased. You love the reaction, that attention that it causes. The first time I let you sit next to your sister in the Costco shopping cart, I knew we were in for it. You were about four months old. You were so excited; giddy even, to sit there next to her. You were close enough that you could pull her hair and make her squeal. And when she would, you would giggle and reach up to harass again. You’re a clown. You’re happy. You love to laugh. And when you laugh everyone laughs with you. Your giggle is contagious.

You’re a healthy little boy. Since birth you’ve only had one cold and it was short lived. And aside from your doctor check-ups and shots you have only visited the doctor one time. You kept pulling at your ears so I concluded that you had an ear-infection. You didn’t. And I’ve since learned that you pull at your ears when you are uncomfortable, tired or embarrassed.

When I nursed you, you would take hold of my undershirt rubbing the silky material between your fingers. At about eight months you suddenly began waking during the night. You wanted me to hold you. Rock you. You would fall asleep holding onto my silky undershirt. The minute I would lay you down in your crib, you would awake and would want me to hold you again. In a desperate attempt to get some sleep, I cut up an old undershirt and let you sleep with it. You held it tightly, rubbing the material between your fingers. And, you slept through the night. You still fall asleep rubbing the material between your fingers and sleep with your “silky” clinched tightly in your little fist.

At about nine months you turned into a squawker. You squawk when you’re hungry. When you’ve eaten too much. If you’re tired. Or just woke up. You squawk at your sister. At the neighbor kids. And at the ladies in Relief Society. You squawk if you want picked up. Or put down. You squawk.

You know how to wave. Clap your hands. Go down the slide all by yourself. Climb the stairs. And the ladder to the trampoline!! You will walk along or behind anything, but still aren’t quite confident enough to walk unassisted. You love to pick stuff up and put it in bags, baskets or another container. You love the phone and are continually putting your hand up to your ear and “talking/squawking” on it. You entertain yourself easily. You eat anything and everything. You have beautiful blue eyes and a ton of hair. By the time you were ten months I had already given you six haircuts. You have always slept in your own crib and have recently decided that you only need one daytime nap. You give the best hugs and slobbery kisses.

You and your big sister are the best of friends. Brynlee worries about you and is always trying to protect you. You tease her, hug her and wrestle her. From day one Brynlee has called you her Buddy. I often have to remind her that your real name is Jace and we just call you Buddy as a nickname. The first thing she said when I picked her up from her first day of preschool was, “Was Jace Buddy crying? Did he miss me?” She loves you and I often over hear her saying, "Buddy, I love you!" J

ace, you're the best little boy. My little boy. I love to hold you. Snuggle you. Tickle you. And hear you laugh. You make me so happy. I love you so much. Happy 1st Birthday Buddy!

Love you always and forever,

Photo Album: Jace's Birthday

Friday, September 11, 2009

a (fourth) confession

Right now. At this very moment. While I sit and compose this post. This is what our toy room looks like.
I have a clean kitchen, eighteen bottles of peaches cooling on the counter and happy, playing children.
What more could I ask for?
Well, besides a clean toy room!
Happy Friday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Because somedays...
{eating HANDFULS of frosting}
...just feels good!
Happy 1st Birthday Buddy!
We love you!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Enlighten Me!

Can someone {anyone} please tell me
when my 6 pound 12 ounce bundle of adorableness and fuzzy pink blankie
turned into a 3½ year old backpack-wearing-preschool-attendee?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

a (third) confession

Sometimes I remember a funny story, experience or memory and laugh out loud. I can’t control myself. It happened today in the car. I laughed in a really unfeminine slash obnoxious kind of way. In which Brynlee looked at me obviously concerned by my accidental outburst and said, “Mommy, do you have the hiccups?”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Ultimate Design Star

At my house. We are right in the middle of a big ole' heap of kitchen hoopla {whatever that means}. We've spent days and days trying to make decisions as to what we want and what we don't want in our recently ruined kitchen. Do we tile the floor or do we put down hardwood? If we do hardwood, what wood species? What color of stain? And does that stain match with the cabinet stain? Can you mix a marble floor with a granite countertop? What about woods? Can you mix woods? Or should we even do granite on the countertops? What about a quartz instead? What about a backsplash? Tile or granite? What color? And is all this going to match with our black appliances? Should we buy a new under mount sink even though we just bought the black quartz sink? What items can we reuse from the old kitchen {read: save money} and what things do we need to buy new.
My head is spinning
{right round baby, right round}.
I seriously close my eyes and see wood samples. Color pallets. Granite pieces. Dollar signs. Oh, yes! Dollar signs. Lots and LOTS of dollar signs. Ugh. And because of all the decisions, stress and excitement I have spent the last little bit speaking, thinking and doing in ALL CAPS AND EXPLANATION MARKS!!
Today while driving home from another trip to the home improvement store, I turned off caps lock and paused for a bit. Looked out my window. And realized how perfectly exquisite God is at mixing color and textures.
Wouldn't you agree?
I would never think of mixing a light pink and a forest green. Yet, He does it so beautifully. So perfectly.
If only He could design my kitchen!
Old pictures from my camera:

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