Sunday, May 31, 2009

Our Vegatable Garden

Last year we planted a garden, then I got sick, and so did it, from neglect. This year we have higher hopes. We have a pretty nice size plot to use in the back corner of our property. In the fall, we compost our leaves mulched up on the garden so this spring it was, again, beautiful soil. We just weeded and tilled it and started planting.
Every year we over estimate the size of our garden, so we get too many plants in mind. This year we added some container planting for herbs, fennel and an artichoke (just thought we'd try).

After all our work on Memorial Day weekend, it only took us a few hours on Saturday to get the plants in and the mulch on top. Here's the basic list of what were doing this year and some pictures of plants and the garden. 4 Roma tomatoes, 1 pablano chile, 2 timoteos, 1 cucumber, 2 short rows of radishes, 1 zucchini (anyone interested speak now), acorn & banana squash and, for the first time, pumpkins (I love to carve!). Wow, that sounds like a lot, well, it really was more than we could handle, especially all of the squashes, but we'll eat them and make it work somehow. We are also trying potatoes and onions for the first time, I hope they work out, too. When we harvest the squash, we just cook it up or winter it over in a cool place downstairs (like Lizzy's room, jk).
Rob planted lots of herbs that he likes to cook with (oregano, basil, stuff like that) in pots, except the oregano which is actually from last year - very cool.
I planted 40 marigolds. My mom always planted marigolds in her gardens growing up I think for bug control, but I just plant them because they remind me of my childhood and make it my garden. I love how they give constant color to the front edge of the garden. It also makes a boarder to keep Bear out. This year I picked these really pretty yellow with a dark almost red in the center called Yellow Safari that are fun. I have enough for the front bed, too.
Yesterday was much warmer than Memorial Day, but Liz, then when Jeff got home from scouts, Jeff, too, were good sports about helping and we were done with the garden by lunch. I threw in some pictures of the peonies that are blooming beautifully just outside of the garden plot. They are very old so they are HUGE and both of them were in bloom, white and light pink. Wish me luck on our garden - and good luck to you who have gardens this year, too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Red Fridays

You may have seen this email going around the internet, it reads:

Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed One of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.
When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and Cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our Service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.
Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday - and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear Something red. The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is.....We need your support and your prayers.

tks to Sarah for this one.

An Ode to an Afternoon during Bravestock

Both of my kids are at Bravestock or a friend's house. Both of cell phones of their own. Both just checked in. Both just woke me up from my lazy afternoon nap in my cool front room with the dog. I have nothing I MUST get done before Robert gets home. They both have separate activities tonight. Rob and I can do as we please. I will miss days like today. They are few and far between, but we still get to share the fun of being in high school. I see them slipping away.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

First Ride Last Night

Ok last night Rob and I loaded up the Creamcycle and Alice (do you like that for a name? Just trying it on) on the top of the Jeep and headed out for my first ride. Ok, I have to admit I was just a little nervous. Not only did I look, well, fat - since I am after everything my body has been through the past couple of years, but have you ever seen Speedplay pedals?!? Clipping in, and more importantly, clipping out at the right moment before you fall over with your bike still attached is a little concerning. I've had toe clips before, but they're a whole different game. They don't warn you that you may fall over, they warn you that you WILL fall over, just be prepared.

These are Speedplay pedals. One picture has a quarter on one. Yep, they are really that size.

We went out to our little piece of cycling heaven, big empty parking lots and no road traffic after work hours. Then we got ready for battle: helmet, gloves, cleates, clothes, bikes and, of course, Road ID.

Got succesfully on the bike and one cleat snapped in, listed to Rob say "now don't worry about clipping in the other foot right away, worry about moving so you stay up." I worried about the other cleat, like a toe clip, and fell over. No harm done. 2 feet, first fall.

After that, I did quite well clipping in and out, until I intentionally stopped the first time and unclipped my right foot and fell to my left. Ok, I leaned the wrong direction. It only happened once, no damage. Bet you didn't know you could roll out of a fall with a bike still attached to you, huh? Luckily Alice is partly Carbon so she can stand up to it, and I fall over slow and unclip on my way down. This is the one I was warned about. Rob fell over twice... in traffic. Maybe I can keep it to only a couple of times, too.

Well, after a devistating long time... ok 15 minutes, it was almost 8 pm and we headed home to deal with dinner. I didn't realize so many places could hurt after a short ride. Luckily, most of them don't hurt today. So only a couple of days, Friday, and we'll be off again. Wish me luck and quick saddle sore healing. So far, I Love it. I may even get in shape, too. Wouldn't that be a nice side effect? See ya on the road!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just a little rant - Health Professionals

What is it with health professionals? Are they the only ones with valuable time? Apparently, today I waited with Jeff for over an hour past our appointment time, which we arrived early to to fill out forms since it is a new professional, for a 20 minute visit including the dental x-rays and the cost of the surgery. Everything was a matter of fact, out of the box information that they could have given us over the phone, nothing special to our case. He requires 20% upfront and then he'll bill my insurance. Nice. And his waiting room is nicer than most living rooms I've been in... hum, can you say second thoughts?

Then there are the para-professionals. No knocking P.A.s but are they really qualified for anything besides the flu and croop and other non-vital occasions. But since when have they become the replacement for the Doctor not the assistant. Where have all the doctors gone? We pay them enough. Enough come through school, where do they all end up? You never can get an appointment with them when you need them, especially in a hurry. Is the instacare the best solution? They wonder why people go to the emergency room for everything? What if the problem is a little more... ongoing .... or personal? Sometimes you just need an old fashion family doctor that knows about you and what your family gets.

Maybe my kid will go to school and go into basic medicine and be able to take care of me and my grandkids, or would that be asking too much.

Our beautiful BIG yard

Everyone who visits our house mentions our beautiful big yard, especially our trees. But most people don't realize how much work those trees and the rest of the yard take to keep/get it looking good. This year we decided to take a progressive approach to the front yard as well as our ongoing battle with the back yard. I won't get into all the problems in our yard, but needless to say noxious weeds has a whole new meaning after two full days working in our yard. The kids were really good about helping out and areas that were just filled with weeds and stumps now are ready to be planted with wildflower seeds. The garden is almost ready to be planted. Nena, our dog that died two years ago this fall, her rose bush was re-planted. The lawn was mowed. And only Rob got injured, or rather re injured, his back. He gets to go to the doctor today. It's amazing how much more we can get done with two terribly adult children putting their all into it. And Bear, our 18 month Rottweiler, just played all day between people and projects completely ignoring everyone else outside the yard (YEAH). A ball was all that it took to entertain him.

Since we've moved in, we have removed three major trees, and a ton of volunteers. Evergreen bushes in front of the living room window. Added a huge vegetable garden, rose bushes, and moved peonies so they will bloom. We have "trimmed" trees - over and over again. You can actually walk down the sidewalk more than one at a time and there is room to park on the street. We're ready to replant shade/sun grass in areas where the grass is dead or almost dead. We've fixed the sprinkler system. It's amazing how much work we've put into the yard. But most of all, Rob and I, at least, really love it when we can physically do it. I could never understand it when my parents felt that way when I was a kid, but now I do.

We've decided which plants are friends and which plants are enemies. We even keep plant killer on hand to mix up to take care of things like wisteria, ivy and now, a new one this year, holly. Not in our plant scheme. We love plants. We love our Weber water. And someday when we have it all situated, we love our timer on our sprinklers.

The rain hit only really on Sunday, when we weren't working in the yard, so it was a great weekend at our house, hope you had a good one too. Time for BBQs and eating outside!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

To those who have lost loved ones, I wish you a special Memorial Day. To those who have stood up and protected our country and sacrificed their lives, this Memorial Day, as all, is dedicated to you. To those still in harms way protecting our country at home and abroad, may the Lord be with you and your families. Thank you for your service.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Excited About Exercise with My New Baby

Ok, so most of you know I lost it long ago, and those of you in doubt can confirm it now, I'm so excited to start exercising on my new baby, a road bike. I know it sounds funny, but I really am excited - crazy, I know. But you should see my baby (picture included), she's the most beautiful 30 speed, partly carbon women's road bike that is the perfect size for me, well, at least will be when I loose some weight. No, no scary pictures of me in my bike clothes, but if you see a huge fuchsia jersey riding down the road, it's not a small car, it's just me trying not to fall over with my cleats that I am still trying to figure out - not a problem when moving, only when stopping.

As many of you know, I have been extra ill the past couple of years and between that and the medicine I am on, I have put on a couple hundred or so extra pounds. In addition, I need the help balancing out my moods with natural endorphins. So, according to doctors orders, exercise. Rob and I used to bike a lot when we lived up at the U, but that has been back when both kids fit in a bike trailer. Rob picked up biking to work last summer until I underwent some treatments that prohibited his riding because of time commitments, but he'll be back to it as soon as his hay fever is under control. I'm so impressed with him, 15 miles each direction.

Now I just need a name for my bike. His is the "Creamcycle" because it is a creamy orange like one, but mine is pearly white, no real inspiration there. Normally, I wouldn't worry about naming my toys, but it has a computer to track my distance, cadence and heart rate, so I need to name it something and "Jen's Bike" just isn't too cool, eh? Any ideas? PLEASE leave me any comments, please. I'm posting a picture so you have a feel for what it looks like, even.

One day, I may even look like a cyclist.
Ok, maybe I will at least not embarrass myself by falling over when I come to a stop.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bountiful School of Ballet Recital - Go Liz!

The BSOB Ballet Recital was just wonderful. Liz had the opportunity to dance as a Demi-soloist with 2 other girls (Liz is on the right). The recitals are always awesome, but this one was written specifically for this year so it was fun. Liz, also, got to work with her goldfish
(sorry, no pictures but they were darling), fairies (seen in practice with their costumes on) and bumblebees (because they are young - 4yr olds mostly - they received help on stage since Liz was already there. It was almost as fun to watch Liz as it was the little girls doing their dance since Liz was en pointe in her tutu.)

Everyone did a wonderful job and it lasted less than 2 hours (quick for how many classes they need to get through). We're so proud of her and her dedication and skill at ballet! Liz is planning on attending the University of Utah so that she can follow her passion and major in Ballet as well as Math. I think she will be ready for the program. She starts summer unlimited the second week of June. Then she will have her Summer Intensive (full day of dance from 8/9 to 4:30) with Ballet West/University of Utah in July and August (4 weeks). She's really excited. It's hard for her to go 3 weeks without dance, so it's one thing to look forward to with the end of school.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ballet Recital Reminder

Just a reminder that Liz's ballet recital is this Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 1pm (same performance each time) at WoodsCross High School in North Salt Lake. It's free to the public and everyone is welcome, even little ones. She is a Blossom Attendant and a demi-soloist. She will come out to the foyer after the performance in her costume to greet anyone who would like to see her costume and her close up. Any questions, leave a comment or contact one of us. Please come, it is darling and only about 1 1/2 hours long.

(She's going to kill me for posting this picture, but it gives you an idea of what her costume looks like. She is just finished with a practice in the photo.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Best Children Gift - Time

Today, as I wish my father a Happy Birthday and read about the ongoing challenges of my dear friends with their son's brain cancer, I think about children and the gifts we give them. At what price do we give them those birthday and Christmas gifts? My friends' husband teaches school and they live on a meager income which has become a challenge for them, but as he points out, he has so many memories of good times with his sons. Time, the gift we can never buy and never replace. As I struggle with the demands the outside world puts on families these days to provide for their children, mine being teenagers, from cell phones to cars, video games to big houses, I've often wondered if my time would have been better spent outside the home working for those extras instead of driving a car as old as my 16 year old daughter.

But for me, working outside the house has not been an option and, at times, I have been ill enough that my time inside the home has been as though I haven't really been there requiring more attention than giving it. I have been able to give my children, however, my time, and what a gift it has been. It has been matched by their father who doesn't work late or weekends or travels for his job and makes less because of it, but is there for them in the mornings before school, evenings and weekends. But we have been lucky.

I will always have memories of my children growing up and, hopefully, they will have good memories of us being around in their lives. Currently, as high school draws to a close, Jeff enjoys fourth period with me on home study where we get to spend some extra time talking about now and the future, as well as some of the past. We sometimes go out to lunch just the two of us, or to Costco, but it's the time together that matters. As he prepares to go on a LDS mission for 2 years, I feel the need to optimize the time I have with him, but it is built on a foundation of years of time spent with him.

With Elizabeth, it's years of dance lessons and competitions and recitals, Barbies and friends that have given us time together to become the best of friends. We share the good, and the bad, times that both of us go through. I'm not sure who was more nervous for her AP test or how much I thought about her taking her first ACT when I was out of town (a huge rarity). But the phone takes care of us when we're not together now, but it's because I was there before.

Some of the most important months for family binding were when my husband was laid off for 18 months almost 5 1/2 years ago. Although I would NEVER recommend it, to have both parents home every day all summer, after school and all, brought our family together and bound us closer than anything else. It was during a time when we could afford nothing extra for our children, but time was everything we could give. Good memories remain of that time.

Now before you start feeling guilty because you have to or chose to work, that doesn't eliminate what happens in your precious time with your children. You may only have evenings or weekends, but so the house is a little disorganized, mine is, and the laundry is in stacks, mine is, but your focus is on the eternal picture... you and your family, whether it be just you and your husband, you and your parents or you and your husband and children, together loving and knowing each other.

Time - the best children's gift ever.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 9 - Energy Solutions Foundation Scholarship - Aw We're So Proud

The day finally came. The big banquet where some huge number of sophomores from high schools all over Utah were awarded scholarships by EnergySolutions Foundation. But no one sparkled quite like Lizzy. Ok, so some of her sparkley makeup from dance hadn't come off in the shower, but she was pleased to be there, too, see.

The event, held at Little America, was actually quite nice and the speakers were really very good. But the best part was the scholarship and the number of students it would help get to college. Liz is in the back towards the left.

It was covered by KSL news, Liz is even seen on the news a couple of times even though the camera initially was right by our table.
Aw shucks, we're so proud of Lizzy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers and mothers to be out there. And a big thank you to all of you who make Mother's Day special, I know mine was. Usually I try to hit these holidays actually on or before them, but this weekend, I have truly been a mother and haven't had time. Being a mother, usually by definition, means you have children. Well, as you all know, my two are mostly self sufficient at 16 and 18, but it's never really true. Thursday I starting thinking about this post, but there was just a bit of stress in the household with the first A.P. test, European History, being Friday midday coming up. Now you would think this would mean that I may fix my daughter breakfast and be done with it. Oh, no. First, we have to stress and be reassured (since I took the test a million years ago and passed). Then, I needed to bring her a special lunch to school at 10:30 am with an extra lemonaide for the brake so she eats well before it. Then show up before it is suppose to end to get her the car, so she can drop me back off at home, because the test ends at 4ish and Jazz recital practice starts at 3:30 in full costume and makeup. While helping Jeff, in between, with his research paper due next week that had to be done to go to a couple of friends houses on Saturday. So much for my blog.
Friday night, all of us manage to go to dinner together to celebrate Mother's Day. Everyone's exhausted, especially Lizzy who's still bouncing off the walls.

Saturday I knew the mom in me was going to get some time off, kind of, but blogging was going to be out of the question. Ballet rehersal for recital next week from 9 until 2:30, luckily I paid to have them feed her, but Mom played chauffer (a shout out to all the other mom's from BSOB). Then I hung out and watched her first run through and two of the classes she teaches, the goldfish and the bumblebees, help another mom get tights and water for her two daughters, THEN I got my break. I had about 2 or so, maybe even 2 1/2 hours of streight friend time with one of my friends who also has daughters who dance and had to be there all day. We talked and went to lunch and just hung out and watched them practice. It was great un-mommy time.
But it was back to work, Costco and yard work before Liz's Jazz recital at 4. She was in the advanced Jazz number, Untouched, and even got her arial. But the second it was over it was home for a shower, she was still sparkly from the makeup, and dressed in "business dress" for a banquet at Little America for her Energy Solutions Scholarship. 213 sophomores throughout the state received one. No offence, she was one of the few non-nerds there. All the universities in Utah pledged to match the $2000 scholarship making it basically a $4000 if she stays in state. WOW. Then it was home, to crash.
Saturday, a full day of activities, but no time to blog.
Sunday church is late for us (yeah) so we all slept in a little (9 am) then it was off to the races. The baking we didn't have time for Saturday we had to get done Sunday. Jeff made breakfast for us, yum - anything besides cereal or pop tarts, and then it was getting ready for Church. Liz had the opportunity to spend Sunday morning preparing a talk on mothers for Sacrament Meeting since she hadn't had time to see straight since she was asked a week ago. Rob had hayfever, I have edemia (it's swelling and putting on water weight like your pregnant without the baby - how appropriate for Mother's day - I can barely walk), so we were both putting on our game faces. After Church, we enjoyed dinner with our family (Billings side). Came home early so Jeff could do more homework and all went to bed early from exhaustion. Sorry Mom and Steph, I totally dropped the ball, I love you and Happy Mother's Day. I'll talk to you today.
I finally found time to blog about it this morning, the day after.
Did I have a good Mother's Day? Heck yes, I was a mom all weekend. And I've been promiced a piece of pottery and a piece of jewlrey, both still at school, as gifts. Also Road Id so I can walk and, someday, bike with the proper id in case I get injured (thanks honey). I have two great kids and a loving husband, what more could I ask for?

Happy Mother's Day!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Help Whip Cancer Party!!

Pampered Chef along with the American Cancer Society get together in May to Help Whip Cancer. During the month of May, they come out with special products. They donate $1 of every item you buy to the American Cancer Society. Now to help with the cause, and for all of you who still have Mothers, Fathers and weddings to shop for, I am holding my first on-line Pampered Chef Party.

I'm not a consultant, just want to buy some stuff myself, but there are some really cute things this month on line. Check out the catalog at, then come back with a comment or contact me with your order and together we'll put together a party!

You are welcome to order any of the guest specials you want, and as many as you want (they have darling pink with white poka dot towels, and darling daisy plates). I'm planning on closing the party on May 13th, a week from today, so get on it! And please help me out with earning some points towards some stuff I (I mean Rob) needs. Thanks!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Senior Prom Part 2

Jeff and Brooke joined up with a number of other couples for an outside day activity (it had snowed all week) but the weather was beautiful. They both came home slightly sunburned. They played at a park, had a picnic and tried to fly a kite, without much success. But they had a lot of fun with the whole group of them.
After changing into their formals, Jeff went black and white, Bond-style, down to the tie himself tie and Brooke was gorgeous in black and white with curls, then went to dinner at a friend's house. His friend's mom used to professionally cater events, and she went all out. Prime rib, or chicken, shrimp coctail or fresh fruit, salad (again a choice) and heavenly deserts (a no flour chocolate cake was Jeff's fav). All this food, a wonderful atmosphere with candles and placecards and servers. It was apparently not only good food, but really fun. (and it only cost Jeff $15 for the couple - STEAL).
The dance was held up at the Davis Convention Center in Layton. They spent an hour in line for pictures (so you better enjoy them) and then had an hour left over for dancing. They apparently had lots of fun together. Brooke and Jeff are good friends, and not a bad way to end your senior year dance experience.

Pictures just came home, thus the late post on the rest of Senior Prom, sorry. And the picture is a picture of a picture, not my best quality.