A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Just a few random items:

** I went to see a movie the day before Thanksgiving. They showed a preview of The Golden Compass, which looks really well done. I was afraid the others in the theater will be tempted by the misleading preview. So, I booed really loud when it was first on. Then after the preview when it was quiet, I said loud enough for all five other patrons to hear, "Well, that's an interesting way to portray killing God." I figured this would let them know why I booed. Too bad more people weren't there on Thanksgiving Eve to hear my courage in standing up against an anti-religion movie.

** BTW, I cut my thumb with the knives yesterday. I once again wasn't cutting, just moving the knife over. Oops. Yes, these are the sharpest knives we've ever had. Maybe we ought to sue Amp and Julie for giving them to us. (Ha, ha ... just kidding!!!)

** I LOVE scrapbooking, especially when I can tell a story on my page. I have a friend who is a phenomenal scrapbooker whose style I idolize! In any case, I've posted a few pages I've done on Simple Scrapbooks Magazine's Reader's Gallery. If you'd be interested to see my pages, Paul created a link at the bottom of the left column. I'll try to post regularly so you can see my "hard" work. :)

** Oh, and is it just me or is traffic worse than usual and stores busier than usual in preparation for Christmas. Good thing I'm done shopping so I can stay home!!! Love the season, just not the crowds.

** We tried to put up our tree last night but have misplaced our tree stand at some point during the year. Anyone seen that around?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sharp Knives

So, we had some friends give us a really nice knife set. (Thanks again, Amp & Julie, for giving us a gift we don't deserve. :) Anyway, it is a really nice set from Cutco. Well, we've never had knives this sharp in our house.

I gathered the kids and told them that they are not allowed to use or touch the knives. I told them that one of the knives is even meant to cut through bone. Now, although this scared the boys a bit, it also intrigued them. Tyler asked if they could see the "bone knife." I obliged. They were fascinated while being scared out of their skin. So, later that evening I pulled out the cleaver (see below) to cut right through frozen chicken. I heard Tyler yell, "Zachary, she's going to use the bone knife!" I thought it funny until I realized Tyler was really nervous. When I was done cutting the chicken (without any problem, I might add), I heard Zachary yell, "Tyler, you can come out. She's done with the bone knife." Tyler asked, "Did she cut off her finger?" I assured him that I had not, and that I was really careful when I used those knives.

Well, apparently I'm not careful enough. Sure enough, Friday night when I was using a knife (not the "bone knife") I totally cut my finger. Now, just to clear myself, I was very careful while I was cutting with it. However, I wasn't quite as careful when I was washing it. Oops. That took off a chunk of my fingerprint. Anyone know if your fingerprint grows back the same?

Too late to matter now. I had to really make sure I didn't panic, because I'd already scared the kids enough with my little chat. Becca saw a lot of blood, so she said, "I'm glad you told me I couldn't use those knives!" (And then she watched me very carefully next time I cut something.) Tyler came in shortly after I had already bled through two band-aids (one on top of the other), so I had to non-chalantly tell Paul that I had cut my finger pretty bad. No chance of sympathy when you have to act cool so your kid doesn't freak out!

The cut actually is healing very quickly. Paul says it is because I made a nice, clean cut. Anyway, when our friends gave us the knives, I told them that now that I had nice knives I'd have to learn how to cook. I suppose I better learn how to cut things other than my fingers, first! (Or else buy A LOT more band-aids than we have on hand. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Shayla Loves Kitties

During our trip back from Seattle, Shayla found a new best friend. Shayla enjoyed petting this cat and the cat returned her love by rubbing up against her legs. The only problem was that the cat pressed hard enough to throw Shayla off balance especially when the cat went behind her. As you watch the video I am sure you will see what I am talking about.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all had as great a holiday as we did. The only thing that went wrong was that it went by so fast. Sigh. Oh, that and getting locked out of our house ...

So, we came home from a family Thanksgiving celebration to find that we were locked out of our house with no spare key. A friend had unintentionally locked us out after borrowing the key and locking it inside. (Don't worry Hil, I said friend instead of your name so nobody knows it was you.) Anyway, upon first discovery, Zachary nearly started to cry, "I don't want to sleep in the garage!" We assured him we would definitely not sleep in the garage.

We tried to figure out the best option to get in, but we're just too safe, I suppose -- all doors and windows were locked good and tight. When Zachary saw that we weren't going to get in quickly, he came up with the obvious solution the rest of us had missed: "Well, I guess we'll have to live in the garage." That's it! Forget the rest of the house. This garage IS nice. I mean, it's got more toys in it than I allow into the house, so why not? It's where we keep our food storage, our space heater and our sleeping bags (not to mention the tent), so why didn't we think of it sooner? Forget the warm house with comfortable beds. :)

Oh, the innocence of children. He seemed to accept it quickly and realize that his life was about to change. Little did he know that his daddy would get us inside just a few minutes later. (Of course, I can't divulge HOW we got in or it would compromise our safety if YOU tried to break in! And I won't mention how easy it can be to break into a house with a screwdriver and pliers.) I'll remember the garage, though, next time Zachary wants to go camping. Sure -- set up your tent in the garage. And don't wake me up when you come inside in the middle of the night after changing your mind!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Little Things

I'm always so glad when little things make me happy. Mind you, the big things (family, friends, health, etc.) are always something to be grateful about, but it's great when something small makes your day.

I had this thought this morning as I saw some construction on an intersection near my home. Grateful for construction? No, I'm not that crazy. But it reminded me of an experience I had last year -- something small and probably even stupid -- that made me giddy. That's right -- not just happy, but giddy!

A road near my home had been closed for altogether too long for construction. It was really inconvenient for many of us in Spanish Fork. I looked forward to the day they re-opened the road, and I even told people maybe I'd hang out at the construction site just to be the first one on the new road.

Okay, I have four kids. No hanging out anywhere I want to hang out ... as if I really WOULD want to hang out at a construction site. However, one day as I was driving home from the park with my boys, I saw a construction worker standing near the "Road Closed" sign. I figured out very quickly that he was going to stick it in the back of his truck and re-open the road.

I seriously could not believe my luck. My friend was coming home a few cars behind me and missed the whole thing, I later found out. Anyway, I turned on my blinker and waited a few seconds for him to get that sign into his truck. Then I turned onto the new road and was the first person to drive on the new road! I couldn't believe it!!! What luck! It was such a dumb, small thing, but I was giddy -- my kids and I were yelling and cheering, and I was laughing my head off.

I came home and called Paul immediately and shared the "great" news. He was happy for me. I also called my friend to see if she had noticed the open road (although only one person could be the first person to drive on it, and I had taken that privilege). She was excited for the open road, too, and I think she even got a kick out of me being the first person to drive on it ... or at least a kick out of how giddy I was about it.

Experiences like that make me wonder how many times Heavenly Father gives us little experiences and blessings just to make our day. I know I've done small things for my kids that I know will make them happy, so I don't know why He wouldn't do the same for us. Most people had no care in the world whether or not they were the first one on the road -- they just wanted it open. I thought it would be so cool, but I realized it would never happen. And then it did. Who says all miracles have to be spiritual and life-changing? :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazing Race

Okay, say what you will, but isn't this the best TV season in a long time? Paul and I are not big TV watchers in that there are very few shows that we watch regularly. We sometimes watched Supernanny when we could catch it (we have never known its regular day or time) in hopes that it would inspire us. You know, help us see a few ways we could improve as parents, and also help us feel grateful that our kids aren't so bad.

Anyway, the only show we have watched regularly in the past few years in The Amazing Race. Isn't it the best?!? It's on Sundays, so we record it and watch it later. However, last year we recorded every episode except the finale! Can you believe it?!? We had been invited to someone's house for dinner and forgot to record it. That was a huge bummer. This year the first two episodes happened while we were out of town. My parents' DVR has never been so welcome! They have it set to record every week, so we were able to catch up. Hooray for technology!!!

So, we're also actually watching three other shows this season, which is a first. We're enjoying Chuck and are excited for the recent twists thrown in. (This is another one we have to watch later since this one is on Monday nights. However, no TiVo necessary since NBC plays full episodes online. FINALLY, a network that gets the power of the Internet ...) It's one that doesn't require a lot of brain work, and Paul enjoys watching a geek who gets to drive around a "Nerd Herd" car.

The other two shows we're enjoying are Bionic Woman and Life. Neither one of them give you all the info in the first show, so it's interesting each week to see what else we can figure out. In any case, we're having fun with them. And we're glad to watch something together other than the news, which is usually not exciting or discussion-worthy.

Okay, and I nearly forgot to mention another favorite we have this year: BYU football!!! Thanks to Hilary we get to see every game instead of just hearing the scores the next day. Go Cougs!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Golden Compass

Have you heard of the movie The Golden Compass? It's set to come out in a couple of weeks, and it has anti-religious themes. Apparently the writer, an athiest, wanted to write a trilogy to combat the Christian theme of The Chronicles of Narnia. This movie (The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman) is based on the first book, and in the third book the kids actually kill God. (To verify the facts, visit snopes.com.)

Now here's my question for you: If you're an athiest, how do you kill God? Isn't that an oxymoron ... emphasis on moron? If you're athiest, you don't believe in God, so how can you kill Him? Just goes to show how even those who profess to NOT believe in a sense believe.

Reminds me of a quote from LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball: "One theologian indicated it was impossible for man to find God or know God. This is like saying: 'I have never climbed Mt. Ararat -- no one can climb Ararat; or, I have never bathed in the clear warm waters of the Adriatic -- there is no Adriatic Sea; or, I have never seen the wild life in Kruger Park -- there is no Kruger Park; or, I have always had health -- therefore, the pain which people claim, must be a figment of their imaginations. I have never astronauted into space; therefore, no one can speed through space.' How different then is it to say I have never heard nor seen God -- therefore, no man has ever seen nor heard God nor walked with Him. How presumptuous and arrogant for any man to say God is unapproachable, unknowable, unseeable, unhearable because that one himself has not prepared himself for the experience."

President Kimball also said, "The skeptic will some day either in time or eternity learn to his sorrow that his egotism has robbed him of much joy and growth." (Both quotes in 'Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, p. 239-240.)

I urge you to boycott seeing this film and instead make all those around you aware of its intent. Let's stand up for Christianity, right and good by saying that we won't buy into anti-religious movies and messages -- no matter what Hollywood star is promoting it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where's the treat?

Okay, so I've never been a big fan of pets. Sorry, but I always feel like I have to wash my hands every time I touch them. (I won't tell you how I cleaned them as a child to save time -- it's just gross ... but at least I spit afterwards.) Okay, TMI.

Anyway, I'm fine with people liking their pets, and I'm definitely against animal abuse. However, they're not your kids. Seriously. I couldn't believe when I got my first professional job and a dog was in our office daily. When he ate a wrapper out of my garbage can, I got into trouble for leaving a choking hazard for the owner's dog. When he had gas in the conference room during a LONG meeting, the owner just laughed. And when he barfed on a co-workers' feet and she screamed, she was told it was no worse than baby spit-up. (Let's not mention that babies were not allowed at the office ...)

Anyway, I had a moment recently when I realized the dog love has gone too far -- when I visited the bank. Now, my kids love going through the drive-thru at the bank, because they always get a sucker. What more could a kid ask for when just sitting in the car? However, they now have doggie biscuits at the drive-thru!!! And my sisters' bank doesn't even have suckers for the kids -- only doggie treats for the dogs. Hello, what am I missing?

Ok, my sister Rachel does have a really cute dog that Shayla loves. However, even she thought it strange that the bank offered the puppy a treat and none of her kids got one. As long as I never have to encounter Gabe the smelly office dog again, though, I think I can handle some doggie biscuits at the drive-thru, even if it is ridiculous.

To end on a positive note, here is a cute pic of my sister's dog Daisy dreaming big ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


We're home now and very much enjoying sleeping in our own beds. (I say beds, because the kids -- especially Shayla -- are happy to have their own beds. Thought I better clarify lest any of you be concerned for me and Paul ...)

So, it just makes me wonder: How is it that while sleeping I can hear any of Shayla's coughs, whimpering or sneezes from her room across the hall, but I don't hear Paul's alarm clock in my own room every morning???

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tissue Paper

So, misunderstanding stink. Anyone care to disagree? Paul and I realized a bit too late on our trip to Washington that we had a misunderstanding with some friends, which meant we ended up not being able to see and visit with them. We were bummed since we haven't seen any of them for more than two years now. Sigh ...

I wish misunderstandings didn't have to be so frustrating. I know when Paul and I have misunderstandings, it usually results in an argument of some kind until we realize that there is a misunderstanding.

I have had one misunderstanding, though, that was the perfect misunderstanding -- perfect because it wasn't frustrating at all, and ended up being rather hilarious once we discovered it. Let me explain ...

After Zachary's birthday party two years ago I started cleaning up when the doorbell rang. It was my dear friend Julie. I had just folded down the gift bags he received and folded up the tissue paper to put away. When I invited Julie in I set down the tissue paper as I walked into the other room. She looked over and said, "Oh! I just bought some tissue paper from Costco, too." I told her that I really hadn't purchased any for a while, because I just re-use it. She asked in a surprised voice, "You re-use it?" I said yes. She looked puzzled and said, "How do you re-use it?"

Well, this didn't seem too strange for me, especially when I knew Julie wasn't any more into spending money than I am. So, I explained that I just folded it up and put it away until I needed it again. She again looked puzzled and asked how I folded it. I said I just folded it however I wanted to and stuck it somewhere until I needed it. Anyway, I could tell this was not getting through to her, and I was confused about why this was so puzzling. Whatever. We dropped the subject and went on w/our playdate.

Well, I was so confused by the situation that when Paul got home I told him about this weird conversation I had with Julie. He just started laughing, and again I was felt clueless. I asked him what was so funny. He asked me where I had set down the tissue paper when Julie came in. I said behind the couch. He said, "And what is behind the couch?" I went and looked, and right behind the couch under my tissue paper was a huge pack of Costco toilet paper, which they call tissue paper. OH! Oops. No wonder she was confused when I talked about folding it and putting it away until I needed it again. Gross!

I called Julie to explain, and even when I tried to clarify it took her a little bit to understand what I was talking about. Finally I made it clear that I don't re-use toilet paper, just tissue paper for gift bags. To this day I laugh whenever I think of our tissue paper misunderstanding. Paul says that is waht you call a perfect misunderstanding. Why can't they all be as fun as this one about tissue paper?

Saturday, November 10, 2007


We're still here in Washington, and to Paul it feels like we've stepped back in time. So much has happened in our lives in the past couple of years (new job, new home, new baby) that he says it feels like things here were so long ago. Mind you, things here have changed quite a bit. Covington is growing a lot commercially, which only makes it more convenient.

One thing that hasn't changed: TRAFFIC! It's horrible here. We had forgotten that part and weren't too happy being reminded of it. Maybe it has changed and is actually worse. Could I have forgotten it being so bad? I think yes ... and I'm so grateful I'm not commuting from Covington to Bellevue everyday in stop-and-go Seattle traffic, emphasis on stop!

One of the coolest changes we saw was that of our old house. From the front it looks like nothing has changed, except for a potted plant we didn't own and one tree missing. However, inside it is now perfect! The only thing that really stunk about our home was our small kitchen. (A friend referred to it as a one-bum kitchen.) Those of you who had been there know what I'm talking about -- the kitchen was the width of the refrigerator door. (I know, because I opened the fridge door daily and it barely cleared the counters on the opposite side of the kitchen.)

So, we loved that house, except for our small kitchen. The people who bought our house intended to live there for six months and then turn it into a rental. However, they ended up loving the neighborhood (it was great!) and staying -- but they fixed the kitchen. They added on a small amount to the house to make the kitchen and dining room bigger. Now it is perfect! It is such a beautiful kitchen. I'm so glad we didn't make that improvement ourselves, or it would have made it that much harder to move from Washington to Utah.

Here's a pic of the new kitchen:

Isn't it beautiful? The new owner was very gracious to let us come see it w/o any notice. (That's her on the right.)

This trip has reminded me of how much has changed in our lives. I am also reminded of how beautiful Washington is and how few trees Utah really has! In any case, Utah is home now, but we will always love Washington and the people we know here. So until our next visit, adios.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Road Trip Lessons

So, we've made it to Washington! We spent hours and hours in the car with kids, and thought we'd share the wisdom we've gained on our road trip thus far, even though we're not even half-way done:

1. TV trumps the family. When we arrived at the hotel in Baker City, Oregon, Becca discovered pretty quickly that the TV had the Disney Channel. Needless to say, that was the last we heard from or saw her. She decided she'd rather watch her shows (Hannah Montana, etc.) than come swimming with the family. Hope those memories last her for years to come ....

2. McDonald's is the only way to go. Last night we made the mistake of trying to eat at Taco Bell. The kids promised they'd eat their tacos and were excited about the goofy glasses that came with the kids' meals. So, we sat down to eat and neither of the boys wanted to eat their tacos. So, we told them we couldn't leave until they had each eaten one. Tyler thought we were torturing him. He was crying and rubbing his tummy and going on and on about how he was already full and didn't want to eat the taco. I guess his act worked for others, because they were staring like we WERE torturing him. How did we react? We took pictures. :) This is Paul's favorite:

3. Denise doesn't handle road trips well. I'll admit it -- I get irritable and impatient. Probably enough said on that one ...

4. Your tallest finger is your middle finger. How cool is that? (This discovery was made by Tyler.)

5. Google Maps isn't the end-all. That's right. As much as I LOVE Google and all they do, their map led us astray. In fact, it created quite a "disturbance" between me and Paul in the front seat as we got lost and honked at. Afterwards I got reprimanded by my six-year-old.

6. Portable DVD players (especially with headsets) are the best thing since sliced bread! That and Baby Einstein. We plan to put on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the drive home. Usually it seems a lot too long for us (the kids love it), but we think this long road trip may actually make it seem short, if that's possible. At the end of the first day I commended Tyler for being good in the car, to which he responded, "That's because I can watch movies."

7. Hotel rooms are not sound-proof. Our room in Wenatchee had a triple-whammy: parking lot on one side, stairs to the exit on one side, and vending machines outside the door. Fortunately the one room we shared a wall with was quiet.

8. Actually, make that a quadruple whammy. We discovered after leaving our stuff in the room for hours that the door didn't require a key to enter. Fortunately nobody else realized it, or if they did they realized we had nothing worth stealing.

9. Gas prices in Utah ain't so bad. We realized very quickly in Oregon that gas cost more there, and we figured it was because by law an employee has to pump it for you. (We always forget this and start pumping ourselves -- that gets them out the door in a heartbeat to come pump for you.) Anyway, when the guy handed me the bill I realized it was $3.09 per gallon. The other side of the freeway was $3.15, so we actually fared well. Apparently it isn't just that they have to pump it for you -- here in Wenatchee the gas is $3.19 per gallon, and of course we're on empty.

10. Prayers are answered. In addition to not killing any of our kids yet, we made it farther on a tank of gas than we probably should have. We saw signs saying there were a few cities between us and our destination, so we were in no hurry to get gas. However, these cities consisted of a few cows, from what we could see. One did have a gas station, but it was closed. (It also looked like it hadn't been updated since the early '70s.) In any case, we were watched over and got to Baker City without running out of gas, which we didn't think was possible.

11. Our family likes to have more than one room to sleep in. Shayla isn't used to having anyone in her room when she's going to sleep, so that's been an adjustment. She had just quieted down the first night when Zachary turned on the lights to fix his blanket exactly how he wanted. That was the first proof that Denise doesn't have patience on road trips.

12. Shayla can be quite cute in the middle of the night. As mentioned, she isn't used to having anyone in her room when she's sleeping. So, during the first night (I'm guessing somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m.) she woke up and saw either me or Tyler and started saying, "Peek-a-boo!" and "Boo!" It was really cute, but I kept my eyes closed to make her think she needed to go back to sleep. Then she grabbed my hand. It was hard not to give her a big kiss, but I just patted her hand and turned over. What a cutie!

13. Anniversaries are best when you are NOT on a road trip. Yup, yesterday was anniversary #7. Hooray. Seems like a lot longer, actually. :) Anyway, we did get to sleep in a hotel, we just shared the room with four kids ... not our best anniversary celebration, but at least we're enjoying each other's company.

14. Seeing Aunt Velda was as wonderful as we had hoped. Poor Velda is in so much pain with her cancer, but she is still a delight at the same time. We love her, and that made the drive worth it all.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween pics

It's November? Really? Where did October go?

Okay, at least Halloween was a blast! Our boys are old enough to really enjoy it, and they both wore their pirate costumes all day. (BTW, did you know pirates HAVE to wear boots? I didn't know until I was informed yesterday. Tyler was worried that his boots have some blue on them, because pirate boots are supposed to be completely black. Too bad. However, these "snow" boots also double very nicely as fireman boots, which are also supposed to be completely black. In any case, we get our money's worth out of "seasonal" boots!)

Becca had a really cute idea to be the tooth fairy, and I ended up getting some stuff cheap at Kmart yesterday. If you could stand to make your kid wait until the day of Halloween to get what's left, you could get some really cheap Halloween stuff! She already knew what she was going to be, but I picked up a couple of things to accent her costume (fairy skirt and tiara).

Shayla LOVED Halloween! I put her in her dress all day, because it was just so darn cute that I wanted her to wear it as long as possible. And she LOVED it. She loved seeing other people dressed up. She loved all the decorations. And most of all she loved being given candy for no reason at all.

Anyway, here are our cuties all dressed up: