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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Zachary

My baby boy turned five last week. Where did the time go?!? They always say it flies by, and I guess it really does.

In any case, Zachary wanted a spider birthday cake and a spider party. He's terrified of real spiders, so maybe this was his self-therapy attempt. :) He won't go into the backyard for the rest of the day if he sees a spider out there. Let's not go onto the other .2 acres, let's focus on that itsy-bitsy spider. I regress ...

So, the frosting had to be blue and they HAD to be black widows. Oh, I forgot to mention that every spider he sees is probably a black widow. Again, maybe he's just trying to get over the fear. A red M&M had to suffice to make each ding-dong spider a black widow ... although you couldn't see them once they got onto the blue spider-web cake. (The spiders had to have blue eyes, too, because that's Zachary's favorite color.)

I love that the back spider looks like it has a mouth. Thanks, Hostess, for giving us an imperfect Ding-Dong. (On a side note, Paul doesn't think Ding Dongs are as yummy as he did as a kid.)

Anyway, I was very excited to give Zachary his gifts since I made them and figured he'd LOVE them. He's totally into Superman, so I made him a cape much like one my little brother had growing up. He's excited about it, but he doesn't insist on wearing it to the store or anything:

And since my boys are totally into Star Wars these days I went a step further and even made him a Darth Vader cape. The details on the front of Vader's chest weren't the easiest to copy, but I think I did pretty good. (Star Wars fans, go ahead and check for accuracy!) Anyway, Zachary thinks when he wears the cape he better make a face like Darth Vader since we don't have a mask. I had to really keep from laughing about this one:

How cute!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Enter the temper tantrums

Well, I thought we were in for the perfect child. Shayla has been so good and rarely gets angry. However, this week alone she had something like three temper tantrums. What's going on here?

Now, to most of you only three in one week may sound great. Believe me, it is. I LOVE it!!! But those three are three more than she usually has. Hopefully it's a short-lived phase and we can return to perfection soon. :) I know, tough life ...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A-Z About Me

Thanks, Ashley for the fun idea. I've seen lots of these, but this one is different than the one I see circulated most.

A. Attached or Single? Attached.

B. Best Friend? The one I married, or the one I didn't? I'll let Paul and Hilary fight over this "title."

C. Cake or Pie? Depends on the type; depends on the day. Love an orange poppy-seed cake I make sometimes (no oil in it, but VERY moist), as well as a Skor cake (to DIE for!) and German Chocolate. I also like cherry pies, apple pies, cream pies, etc., etc., etc. Prefer brownies over both of 'em.

D. Day of Choice? Depends on my schedule. Sometimes it's during the week when I have nothing to do (which rarely happens), and sometimes it's on the weekend when we have fun family plans.

E. Essential Items? Essential for what? Usually only food, water and air are essential. Oh, and brownies.

F. Favorite Color? If it's Tyler asking, green. If it's Zachary asking, blue. If it's you asking, I don't really care!!!

G. Gummy Bears or Worms? Worms. They don't taste better, but they're way more fun.

H. Hometown? Mapleton, Utah. (Lived there before all the rich people moved in!)

I. Indulgence? Dreyers ice-cream, and eating it after the kids are in bed. It's so extremely yummy, but it's pricey. We only buy it on sale. I also indulge in a scrapbooking item here and there ...

J. January or July? I prefer May or October ...

K. Kids? Yes, four. Our first child, Tyler, is 6 years old. Our second, Zachary, turned 5 this week. Our third, Becca, turned 14 this month! Our baby, Shayla, is no longer a baby and will soon be 2!

L. Life isn't complete without? Happiness

M. Marriage Date? 11-4-00. B-day? 4-11. Hubby knows any combo of the numbers 11 and 4 means GIFT!!!

N. Number of Brothers & Sisters? 4 sisters, 3 brothers. I'm a middle child (4 of 8).

O. Oranges or Apples? Oranges!

P. Phobia or Fears? I have a few, but I think the most bizarre is that if I'm driving with my window down a rock will be thrown up by a passing motorist and hit me in the head. It may not kill me, I suppose, but it didn't do Goliath any good to be hit in the head w/a stone!!! Fortunately the chances of it happening are very slim. But if it ever does, you'll be impressed that I had reason to fear ...

Q. Quote? One by John Groberg that says basically that the Lord will stop us if we're going in the wrong direction for us -- not that it's wrong for other people, but if it's wrong for us. It's too long to type here. So instead I'll type this one: "Enduring to the end is like shaving -- No matter how well you do it today, you have to do it again tomorrow." No idea who said it.

R. Reason to Smile? Because people think I'm ticked if I'm not. Lovely facial features I've inherited ...

S. Season of Choice? Spring or Fall. Spring is such a welcome relief after the cold, wet winter. The blooming plants are awesome. Then again, Fall is a welcome relief to the hot summer and the changing leaves are pretty all over the mountainside.

T. Tag 5 people? I don't believe in online tagging. Or forwarding any message that says to forward it. Favorite Web site? Snopes.com. It tells you if most of the stuff you get via e-mail is true, and most of it isn't!!!

U. Unknown Fact about Me? I can do great impressions of any adult on Charlie Brown. Oh, and my kindergarten teacher married a man named Charlie Brown. Oh, and my first Christmas tree as a Brown was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree that I didn't pick out. (Does that mean I am related?)

V. Vegetable? California Blend: Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. I'm trying to like others, but I just don't. I finally figured out that I can handle grape tomatoes or sugar babies (a small, sweet tomato that's yellow). Let me know if you know how to cook any others so I'll like them more!!!

W. Worst Habit? Being lazy about my spirituality.

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Depends on who is giving the ultrasound. My first one was so extremely painful that I thought I would get bruises. It was on my birthday and was miserable! For my second one, I told the lady if she didn't let me use the restroom I would go right there on the table. Fortunately she believed me, because I really was going to. Good news with Shayla was that I didn't have to drink tons of water before (HOORAY for advances in technology!) and the guy was such a pro that it didn't hurt, we got great pics, and he got the gender right!!!

Y. Your Favorite Food? Too many to name. That's why I'm a little overweight, huh?

Z. Zodiac Sign? Aries

Saturday, April 19, 2008


OKay, does anyone out there know a good Cody? No offense to any Codys, but I have never met one who was not a deliquent or mean or just plain annoying. I've been paying attention my whole life, and I have yet to meet one Cody I really liked. Mind you, the only two Codys I've known were both juvenile deliquents; however, from everyone I've ever asked, I've never heard someone say, "Yes, I know a great Cody." And I've asked A LOT of people ...

Why do I care? Well, I could have been a Cody. That's right. The boy's name my parents had picked out for me was Cody. But I was a girl, so I got Denise instead. Is it possible my whole destiny could have been different had I been a Cody? Would I have been a trouble-maker instead of the perfect child I was? (Good thing my mom's Blogspot is in Korean so she can't comment on that one!) My sister does know and like a GIRL named Cody, so this must apply only to the guys with the name.

So, once again I ask, does anyone out there know a good guy named Cody???

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Walk MS: Provo

Saturday, April 26 I'm joining my family in the Walk MS: Provo. We are all going to be a part of "Tiffany's Team" in honor of my sister Tiffany who has MS.

We didn't know about the walk until this weekend, so we're probably not going to be able to raise a lot of money. However, you're welcome to contribute to the cause before then! Someone is diagnosed with MS every hour of everyday. Our small amount will contribute to research to find a cure and improve lives of those with MS. (If you're interested, you can mail me a check made out to MS or visit my online "Tiffany's Team" site: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Walk/UTUWalkEvents?pg=team&fr_id=7911&team_id=123856)

Although we won't be able to raise much money, we will be able to let our sis know how much we love her. She lives with MS everyday and still manages to work full-time and raise a family. I'm tired just raising a family without working or having MS, so I'm pretty amazed by her strength.

My sister was diagnosed two years ago. She started having symptoms while they were on her daughter's Make-A-Wish to Disneyworld. Her daughter has Cystic Fibrosis, so we'll be walking and raising money again in June for CF. If you don't have a cause of your own, feel free to take up one of mine. :)

Watch for pics after the walk, and next year you may want to join us -- my family is crazy, so we're sure to have a lot of fun! Here's a pic of Tiffany's Team (minus the brothers :) to prove my point. Tiffany is second from left.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's snowing!

I looked out the window and what did I see? Not popcorn popping -- snow falling!!! So much for "Spring" break ... and global warming!!!

Happy b-day mom ... hope you like snow!

Spring Break

I knew we were in trouble early yesterday afternoon when Tyler said, "Mom, I don't know what to do." We had already been to the park for more than two hours, and we were only on the first day of spring break, and already he was bored. This is our first year of Spring Break being a full week -- usually it was only 3 days. I think I'd prefer the 3 days, because I'm afraid first grade has taken away Tyler's imagination. He used to be able to entertain himself for hours, and he was even mad when he started first grade and didn't have enough time to play. Now when he has time, he can't think of anything to do.

At least we're finally having warm weather so they can play outside. Last week was FREEZING! It even snowed. I took a picture of a poor bird hopping around the snow:

I froze at Tyler's soccer games last week and probably would have skipped Thursday's game if it hadn't been picture day. Yesterday was perfect. Today a storm is blowing in so it's not nearly as nice, but hopefully it's just today. We're ready for spring ... as are the birds!

Happy Spring Break to you whatever weather you're in!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nintendo DS

As a congrats gift for Paul earning his MCSE, my parents bought him a Nintendo DS. If you've ever played on one of these little hand-held systems, you'll know how addictive they can be. We sometimes go to my parents' house and play games with a group of people since you can compete against each other wirelessly.

So, these games are sometimes games of speed, and sometimes they're just games of creativity. Of course, they're all supposed to exercise your brain. No matter what kind of game it is, it is a BLAST to play with a group of people. (Okay, maybe not any group, but definitely my family.)

Until now Paul and I have had to beg/borrow one when we get together, because we didn't have any. Fortunately there have been plenty to borrow from, because we have several in the family: my mom, two sisters, a bro-in-law, my brother (who has 2), and four nieces and nephews all have one. My parents felt Paul deserved to have his own for doing so great on his exams, and he's enjoying it tremendously.

Only problem he has with it thus far is that he has to share with me. Maybe we'll end up like my friend Julie's family ... Her daughter bought one with her own money. When Julie caught her playing it after bedtime, she confiscated it and started playing it herself. She enjoyed it so much that her husband bought her one for Mother's Day. Then she bought him one for Father's Day. Pretty soon all the kids got one, too. My kids would LOVE that! Tyler asked for one for his birthday or Christmas even before Paul got his. I didn't even realize he knew what they are called! In any case, it's too bad our tax return went to Paul's MCSE class. Wouldn't family fun be way better than getting more qualifications for a better job? ;)

In any case, Paul is loving a little relaxation/brain exercises and is even pretty good about sharing ... most of the time ... :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of my last day of (paid) work. I quit my prestigious job of doing public relations for T-Mobile and other companies (Microsoft, SAP, PogoPet) to change diapers, clean up messes and try to decipher baby talk. That's right, I decided to stay home full time with my kids. At the time I was one day overdue with Zachary, and Tyler was 20 months old.

I remember having a chain to count down the days -- not until Zachary was born (since I knew he would be late), but until my last day of work. My first day of being home was my birthday -- happy birthday to me!!!

My how the time flies. I couldn't believe it when I realized this week that I've been home full time for five years. There is nothing to make you feel as incompetent, useless and, well, stupid than being a mom. I get to the point when I think I have it about figured out, and then one or more of the kids throw a curve ball at me. However, overall I think I'm doing okay. At least I haven't been fired or demoted, so I guess that's a good sign. :)

I am grateful that I get to be home with my kids, although it is a whole lot harder than working full-time. I still remember when I babysat for a friend's little boy and she called to say she was staying home sick. Then she called back about 30 minutes later and said she changed her mind -- going to the office was going to be easier than staying home with a toddler when she wasn't feeling well. How true!!! Moms never get a day off for sickness! (So let me just warn you to never ask me the question about whether or not I work ... see previous blog entry about that one! :)

Anyway, I worked in a career that was so fast-paced and intense that many people burned out after just a few years in the field. (Yes, those Microsoft people really are work-aholics!) And that job was a piece of cake compared with motherhood. However, I'm grateful that I get this hard job: It's got way better benefits; I'm not missing a second of my kids' lives, even when sometimes I would rather; I never have to feel like I'm being overpaid; my "co-workers" (mom friends) are a lot more enjoyable than my co-workers ever were -- they don't mind throw-up or potty stories and even share a few of their own; etc., etc., etc. :)

I am very grateful for a wonderful husband who goes to work everyday so I can stay home and make sure our kids are safe and sound at home. I am grateful that Paul is talented and blessed enough to have a job that provides well enough for our needs. Although money is often tight, we are blessed to have exactly what we need ... and even a little scrapbooking stuff in addition. :)

In any case, I just wanted to share the joy.

(Paul - I included PogoPet for you ... I hope you appreciate it! :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spanish Fork

Why is it that when I say we live in Spanish Fork like 90 percent of the people say, "You mean Spanish Fark?" Did I say Spanish Fark? No, I did not. And aren't I the one living here and therefore the one who should know how to say it?

In reality I've heard about 100 times more people who don't live in Spanish Fork call it Spanish Fark than the people who do live here. Even when we were in Phoenix I mentioned to a stranger that we lived in Spanish Fork, Utah, and he said, "You mean Spanish Fark?"

It's Spanish Fork, not Spanish Fark. It's Boise, not Boize. It's Washington, not Warshington. It's Safeway, not Safeways. It's Fred Meyer, not Fred Meyers. (Although we have neither Safeway or Fred Meyer in Utah.) I'll leave it at that, although I could go on and on ...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Printer ink

We're low on both black ink and color ink, but I don't want to pay to order more quite yet. That stuff adds up fast! We love our printer, but maybe loving it makes us use the ink a little too much ...

In any case, my husband makes fun of me for saying both the color and black and white ink cartridges are low. He informs me that there is no such thing as white ink. It doesn't matter that he knows perfectly well what I'm talking about.

I guess these are the things you put up with when being married to a computer guy. (That and getting in trouble when you point at the monitor and call it the computer ... :)

Kids get easier!!!

When Tyler and Zachary were smaller, I was often amazed at how much work they took. I went to several friends with older friends and out of desperation asked, "Please tell me it gets easier when they get older?" All of the friends I approached had the same reply: "It doesn't get easier, only different."

That was devastating. Having little kids is REALLY tiring. I also wondered if I would ever be able to take a shower for longer than 5 minutes without fear that the house was being destroyed while I was showering.

Well, now Tyler is 6 and Zachary is nearly 5. I have one thing to say to my dear friends who said this to me: YOU WERE WRONG!!! Kids definitely get easier! Yes, there are still challenges and messes and other craziness going on. However, it is definitely easier than those first few years.

I honestly think people just forget how tiring little kids are. I'm guessing that's what happened to my friends. I can't tell you how much easier it is when your child can walk instead of having to be carried everywhere; when they can buckle their own seatbelts; when they can feed themselves and tell you when they're hungry; when they can brush their own teeth and read their own books; when they can pour their own milk; when they can find their own snack; when they can put on their own shoes; when they go to school all day; when you can take a shower without major messes or crises happening in just a few minutes; etc., etc., etc.!!!

I just wanted to let my friends with only little kids (such as Marilee and Jennifer) know that it does get easier. Enjoy the times you have now, though, because they definitely aren't as adorable when they get older. I guess they make up by it for being a lot more fun! :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

General Conference

Am I the only one who both dreads and looks forward to General Conference?

I look forward to not having to wear a dress and go sit at church for three hours, at least one of which is used battling kids. However, I dread having to sit still while trying not to fall asleep for eight hours. (Sunday afternoon session is the hardest!)

I so look forward to the inspiration and counsel we'll receive, yet I dread I'll realize some things I'm doing really wrong. I look forward to seeing how each Apostle looks, yet I don't like thinking they may not be on earth much longer. (Elder Eyring was using a cane last week at the Young Women's broadcast. Isn't he a bit "young" to do that?)

I look forward to our traditional meal of sweet and sour meatballs, although I'm not exactly fond of making it. (No wonder it became a twice-a-year only meal.)

In any case, I look forward to it much more than I dread it. So far I've stayed mostly awake (moreso than Paul :) for the first two sessions, and I've felt inspired and encouraged at strengthening my testimony and faith. These men are of God, so it's no surprise that they share messages of hope, strength and love. I only wish the whole world knew of their divine power.

Georgia Macon Mission reunion

Last night I attended my first mission reunion in 10 years!!! Has it REALLY been that long?!? I actually didn't know a lot of the people there, but my first three companions were there, so that was awesome. I also got to see several other sisters and Elders I knew, as well as lots who I didn't.

I spoke with one Elder who served the same time I did, and neither of us thought the other's name or face looked remotely familiar. When we compared areas we figured that we really did not serve anywhere near each other. Crazy how that is, yet President and Sister Jacobsen are expected to get to know and remember all 450 of us (over the course of their three years).

I get so excited to see and reminisce with former Georgia Macon Missionaries. It's a shame I don't get to see some of them more often. It's amazing how much effort and time kids take so that we're not available to get together more often! I live only 10 minutes from one old comp and about 20 from another. And I see them once every couple of years!!!

I also realize that many of my former comps live farther away: Arizona (3 of 'em), the Carribean, Switzerland, Germany, and possibly Idaho and Texas. (Not sure about the last two since I've been out of touch so long, but that's where they were from.) Good thing for e-mail for those who do want to stay in touch!

In any case, I'm grateful for the memories and experiences I had and would recommend a mission to ANYONE. Mission reunions? Well, not as much. But I did happen to enjoy this one. I'm just hoping it doesn't take me another 10 years to see some of these people again!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April Fool's

Has it really been almost a week since I posted?!? I guess I really have been busy ...

So, I enjoy a good April Fool's joke. Mind you, not many have pulled a really good one on me (in fact none that I can think of off-hand), but I pulled a great one on my parents years ago. I had received my mission call, but I spent a lot of time with a certain guy ... Needless to say, I stayed up on April Fool's Eve until midnight and then came home and told them I was engaged and not going on a mission. They fell for it completely. My mom couldn't sleep after that, even though I let them know right away I was joking.

In any case, I don't feel I can do such deceitful jokes to my kids. So, I've decided that every year I'll do a food joke. This year I fed them "grilled cheese sandwiches" for dinner:

Obviously they're not really grilled cheese. They're toasted angel food cake with whipped topping (colored orange) in the center.

Zachary didn't mind at all and didn't say a thing about the change:

Tyler wondered why they looked different. After taking a bite he asked if I put marshmallows inside with the cheese:

Becca asked what kind of bread I used. I said I used a different brand than normal. (True.) She wouldn't even take a bite, because upon inspection she realized it was too different and figured I had used fry sauce for the middle part. Why in the world would I waste good fry sauce???

Anyway, she was a bit more suspicious than the others, because she had been tricked several times already at school. In fact, she was insistent that April 1 is International Fish Awareness Day, and therefore she HAD to remember fish by wearing one on her forehead. Her friend insisted it was true, and she said the same thing last year, so it must be true, right? Okay, as if THAT wasn't a joke:

Anyway, I'm quite enjoying the food jokes, which I started last year with "chicken nuggets." They were actually sliced bananas covered in peanut butter and graham crackers. That one went off without a hitch.

Let me know if you have any ideas for next year!