Saturday, January 31, 2009

I love me a good conspiracy theory

Like, did you know Paul McCartney is dead?  Yeah, the real Paul McCartney died in 1966.  (I love crazy people!)  Or that the moon landing pictures are faked?  (Must be the earliest form of Photoshopping!)  Or that the moon is fake all together?  (Did I mention I love crazy people?)  Or that there are  pyramids on the moon?  (Lot's of moon conspiracies.)  Or that once upon a time in our very own galaxy, Mars was populated?  But, I didn't google any of those yesterday.  

Yesterday, I googled "Toynbee Tiles."  Every heard of these?  Well, some crazy guy has been all around the world - well, a bunch of US cities and Chile, Argentina, and Brazil - laying these tiles made out of Linoleum, tar paper, and some other stuff in busy intersections and streets in major US cities, usually downtown or in business districts.  While most of them say "Toynbee Idea in Kubrick's 2001 Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter" a few have been found that are just ravings of an obvious social schizophrenic.  There is even a documentary being made about these tiles and the mysterious tiler.  What I love about these is the combining of art/design with such an urban and mundane thing as streets.  Not to mention that the most popular interpretation of these things is that people who died here on Earth can be "resurrected" on Jupiter and populate that planet.  Apparently that is a theme of 2001:Space Odyssey, although I've never seen it, and a play by David Mamet entitled 4 A.M., which I've also never seen.  Toynbee was an English historian who some say believed the same thing, but some say he's more about the resurrection of perfect civilization or government or something like that.  Google it for yourself.  And read about the tiler's mad ravings tiles too.  He seemed to be afraid of the U.S.S.R. (which didn't exist when these started showing up, by the way), communists, Feds, the media/journalists (hey, me too!), and Jews (well, mostly just John Knight).

And of course, I had to mention something about the Cardinals in the Superbowl!  The last time the Cardinals won any NFL title was in 1947.  And if the Steelers (boooo!) win, they will set an NFL record for Superbowl wins.  Now, I can't remember the last time I watched any football game, let alone the Superbowl, but I think we HAVE to watch this Superbowl.  GO CARDINALS!  Oh, and did you know that I grew up (well, from age 7 on) just about 2 miles away from the Cardinal's training field?  It's true.

(Thank Shannon for the image.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Time... Again.

Well, like I posted just a couple of days ago, it's time to dye my hair again.  I didn't take a picture of the gray today because this picture taken two years ago shows just how gray I am.  So sad.  And pardon the closed eyes.  Feel free to click and make it bigger so you can really see the tragedy that gray hair before 30 is.  (I wish this was a full body picture, I really really loved the skirt I was wearing that day - and the shoes.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Six Bean Casserole

This is the recipe from yesterday.  Sorry, no pictures though.  And although it's called a casserole, we eat it more like a stew or a chili.

1 can pork and beans
1 can hot chili [I use turkey chili and usually add some extra chili powder]
2 cans green beans (drained)
1 can wax beans (drained)
1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained) [I rinse and drain both these and the great northern beans, but I'm pretty sure when my in-laws make it, they don't]
1 can great northern beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can tomato soup
2 lbs sweet turkey sausage [you can use pork, but I really prefer the flavor of turkey and I use one package which is usually pre-prackaged in 1 1/4 lbs]
1 large onion chopped [when I am done browning the turkey - I usually use a little oil to brown it in, or some Pam - I soften up the onions in the fat and oil that is left, then you don't have to cook it for as long.]
1 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped [I hate cooked celery, so I just add some celery seed]
2 tbls mustard [I always just eyeball it]
1/2 cup brown sugar [Randal doesn't like his quite so sweet, so I usually only use a couple of heaping spoonfuls]

Put everything in a baking dish and put in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
[I put everything in a GIANT crockpot for 2-3 hours on high - or a GIANT pot on the stove on high for 20-30 minutes or so...  This is why softening those onions beforehand is important.  The real recipe says to add 1 small can of tomato sauce to the mixture when you pull it out of the oven, but I add one regular can of tomato sauce to the mixture when I add everything else.]
Optional: Serve topped with bacon.  [I've never done this.]

This recipe is great for those who like sweet and savory combos or who like sweet meats.  Randal and I LOVE this recipe and now that we live somewhere so cold I get to make it a whole lot more often!  Plus it's full of all those good for you beans and when you use turkey, you're getting good protein.
(OK, I don't know if any of it is actually good for you, but I feel oh so good when I eat it!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On My Mind

So I was pretty excited yesterday.  I found sweet Italian turkey sausage!  Hooray!  I haven't been able to find it since we moved here and lo and behold, the Super Wal-Mart had some yesterday.  So I bought every package they had and put them in my freezer so I could make Randal's grandma's bean soup/casserole/chili stuff.  It's so yummy!  And I did make some for dinner tonight.  Maybe I'll post the recipe for you in the next couple of days.  It makes a ton though, so be prepared to share it, have left overs for a week, or freeze it.

Did you know Biggest Loser is on tonight?  Well, it is!  And this season I actually know somebody on the show - sort of.  Sione - he's the half of the Tongan cousins that went home - is married to a friend of mine that I grew up with.  I've known her since like 2nd grade.  We used to live just a few houses down from each other.  There was even a few seconds of her on the second episode.  So watch a cheer for Sione and Filipe!  

It's time for me to dye my hair again.  All I can see when I look in the mirror is that gray streak going down the middle.  I'm like a skunk.  I've been wearing a lot of hats lately.

I've been playing with Photoshop a lot today and yesterday.  Lot's of fun stuff to do with that program.  It's addicting!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Cold Cold Day in Iowa

It's winter in Iowa and the gentle breezes blow,
seventy miles an hour at twenty-five below.

Oh, how I love Iowa when the snow's up to your butt;
You take a breath of winter and your nose gets frozen shut.

Yes, the weather here is wonderful. So I guess I'll hang around,
I could never leave Iowa because I'm frozen to the ground!

PS - I can't take credit for this, I found it on the Internet awhile ago and thought it was cute, so I saved it, but of course, I didn't write down a source or anything.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mommy, Mama, and Charmaine

Israel has been calling Mama since he could talk, but lately he has been calling me either Mommy or Charmaine - only Mama when he isn't thinking about it.  And you know what?  Hearing him say "Mommy" is the most foreign.  I automatically answer to Charmaine.  Hello?  I've been answering to that one for almost 3 decades 29 years (yikes!).  But Mommy?  My mom is "Mommy" - no really, she insisted, even through those already awkward teenage years and into adulthood.  Anyway, just something strange going on in our house the last couple of days.

So, guess what I found last night after I posted?  That's right, my journal.  And it looks like I was a whole year off.  We may have met at the end of 1998, but we didn't start really hanging out and getting to know each other until the end of 1999.  The first semester of 2000 was my wonderful semester.  And the exact quote about Randal after that night at the temple was: "He is going to make someone very happy someday."  And the first time I wrote about him was after a talent show - his roommate was at the talent show and so Tina and I invited a bunch of people over and Matt invited Randal.  So Randal may not have been at the talent show, but it was that night that I first met him.  Oh, and there were like 7 or 8 guys there and it was just Tina and I.  Yeah, we rocked.  And for your viewing pleasure: A picture of Tina and I around that time.  I have to assume we usually looked better than this, but this was the best one I could find.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flash Back Friday: The Day I Met My Husband

OK, I don't remember exactly when we met.  It was in the fall semester of 1998 at Mesa Community College though.  I think it was at a college talent show, but Randal says that he never remembers going to a talent show.  It was his roommate Matt who introduced us though.  I sort of had a crush on him (Matt).  He and I had an Institute class together.  (Institute is what members of my religion do in college.  We take a break from regular college classes a couple of times a week to take a religious class.)  Their apartment of guys used to come over to my mom and dad's house and hang out with my sister and my roommate and me - and whoever else was around.  And sometimes they brought other random people too.  We would play pool, eat, sit around the piano and sing - all sorts of random things.  And the next semester, he signed up for the same Institute class that his roommate, Matt, was taking with Tina (my roommate) and me.  I really loved that class.  It was Doctrine and Covenants with Brother Barker.

That next semester - the Spring of 1999 (January - May) - was the best 5 months of my life up until that point.  I had more dates in those 5 months than I had in the 3 years previous to it.  In high school, I was not what you call popular.  I had my friends and I guess a lot of people knew who I was, but not because they liked me or wanted to be my friend.  I was just kind of in the middle somewhere, not cool, but not a total nerd.  I tell you that because that semester in college, I was the "It" girl.  I remember meeting a couple of girls for the first time and they said to me: "Oh, your the cute girl at the Institute!"  I was in heaven.  

It was during this time that Randal (or Randy, as he was known back then) decided to pursue me.  He tells me that of my group of friends, he was not initially attracted to me, but because of my popularity I became a conquest.  That cracks me up.  He was always a big flirt, but I didn't pay him much attention because he was younger than I was.  Yes, yes, he's only like 3 months younger than me, but I had spent my last year of high school finishing up my last credit and half through correspondence classes and attending college - so I felt older.  And I had begun dating returned missionaries - a huge step in a girls life!  It is kind of a rite a womanhood.  Anyway, needless to say he had not served a mission yet, and so was not a returned missionary.  But I appreciated his flirting, it always made me feel good about myself.  In fact, that little thing about him would be one of the driving forces behind us getting to the "courting" stage.

I was going to get out my journal and take little excerpts from it about this time.  I said some pretty cute things about him.  But, alas, I cannot find it.  At one point, I numbered my journals and all I can find now are numbers 2, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, & 13.  It was sometime in journals 7 or 8 that I met and first started getting to know Randal.  Well, it's bound to turn up at some point.  I do remember in particular one entry.  

At the time I was interested in another guy.  Let's call him Marc.  I really like this guy, and I knew he liked me too.  We would flirt all the time, and in our little group of friends, we always ended up as a couple.  (As there were 6 of us, and the other four were already all paired off.)  Cool, right?  Not really.  You see Marc had a girlfriend.  One he had been dating since high school.  But she was NEVER around.  She worked on weekends and after her classes almost everyday.  It was kind of annoying.  So, finally, one Sunday night, our group was going to go to the Mesa Temple.  Cause that's what young single adult mormons did on Sunday night.  We would go to the temple and meet up with other young single adult mormons.  That particular night I met Marc's dear little girlfriend for the first time.  I was devastated.  She was a ditto image of Audrey Hepburn.

While I was sitting there sulking, who should find me?  Randal, of course!  He proceeded to put his arm around me and guide me away from my group of friends.  We walked around for a few minutes and he asked me what was wrong.  I told him vaguely what was going on and he guessed it was all about Marc.  He was so sweet, telling me how I deserve someone better, someone who is strong and and a leader - who is smart and so on and so on.  Someone just like him!  Yeah, he was kind of cocky.  He did tell me how impressed he was with me.  He told me how smart and beautiful and worth so much more than that that I was.  He said that if he were a returned missionary, he would totally be dating me with the intention of marriage.  It was all very flattering and at the time it was kind of funny too.  None the less, I went home that night and wrote about in y journal.  I concluded it with:  "Whoever marries that Randy will sure be a lucky girl."  (Or something similar.)  Little did I know...

Another Randy run in was a little later and also involved Marc.  I was sitting in the lobby of the Institute building, talking to a guy and trying to "get my game on" when who should walk through the front doors, but Marc.  Little stinker.  He and this other guy proceeded to have a "whose is better?" match.  You know the type.  It goes down something like this:
Guy #1 - Well I drive a newer car.
Guy #2 - Well I don't live with my parents anymore.
Guy #1 - I could kick your butt at pool.
Guy #2 - I could just kick your butt
And so on...
Well, I was getting pretty fed up with it, and then it happened.  Randy walked through the lobby!  So, I said right then and there, "Neither one of you have a chance.  I'm waiting for Randy to get home from his mission."  Randal, being the HUGE flirt that he is, proceeded to come over,  get down on knee, and start spouting sonnets to me.  It was surreal.  And one of my prouder moments, having 3 different guys vying for my attention at the same time.

I don't remember very more interactions with Randal during the next year and half.  He asked me out once, but I couldn't go...  I had to stay late in the dark room for a big photography project.  During one Institute activity, a movie, he sat behind me a rubbed my back for most of the movie - tried to cuddle with me and hold me hand and the likes.  I made a quick escape, hoping to avoid the rumors that I knew would come of such actions.  Another time, we were passing each other in a hallway - me on my way to play volleyball, and I think he was on his way to play pool or ping pong - when he stopped me for a hug, but the player that he was decided he wanted more and swooped in, stealing a kiss.  It seemed he was always doing silly things like that.  I'm pretty sure after that semester though that I didn't really see him except for passing each other here and there (sans kisses) until the beginning of October 2000.

(PS - I tried to find some pictures of us during that time...  Blech.  I will not torture you with that.  Or give you fuel for the "blackmail Charmaine" fire.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Happy Boy is Back!

Tuesday was a really hard day for little Elijah.  In the literal sense.  Poor guy was so constipated that every time he tried to poop he would just scream.  He did pass 3 little hard poops (TMI?) throughout the day and afterward he would scream for 15 minutes while I rocked him, and then he would whimper for another 5 or 10 before he would fall asleep.  It was so sad.  My normally super smiley little baby was so distressed and sad.  Well, I finally got a hold of one of the nurses at the pediatrician's office and she suggested that I add 2-3 teaspoons of prune juice (the regular old adult strength stuff) to one of his bottles during the day.  And do it everyday.  Well, I am happy to report that Happy Smiley Elijah is back!  He's had two regular poops since then and everything is digesting and moving along.  He even seems to be spitting up less!  

Thanks for sharing in my happy mommy moment.  Feel free to do a little happy dance.  I did.

On an unrelated note, I finally took down my Christmas decorations yesterday.  Hooray!  Now I just need to take them down to the basement and put the boxes away.  You should know, that although it is late January, last year my Christmas decorations were still up through most of February.  So, I am improving.  Last year I was in my first trimester though - all sick and icky - so what's my excuse this year?  Ummm.....  Can't we just say I'm lucky I'm cute cause I can get away with more?  That's what I tell my boys anyway (even the big one).

Monday, January 19, 2009

What else I did...

So, while I was reading over this past week, I did more than just read (unlike the time I read the Twilight series and did absolutely nothing for an entire week while I read through them twice).  One morning I made a green smoothie:
It was pretty good.  I was kind of surprised.  Curious?  Check out Laura's Recipe Blog.

We also played in the snow in our backyard.  There was a lot of it.  And though our intention was to make a snow man, I didn't realize just how hard it is to make a snow man.  I think that maybe the snow wasn't wet enough, because we couldn't even get snow balls to stick together to throw at each other.  It was pretty fun though, and afterwards, we came inside and built a fire.
The snow was actually quite deep right here.  Probably 2-3 feet, but I suppose Israel just isn't heavy enough.  When I walked through it, it came up to my knees.

It's kind of hard to tell, but that mound just in front of him is not in the neighbors yard, that is right next to him and it's almost as deep as he is tall.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I started a diet today

No, really I did.  And I stuck to it.  So far so good.  I thought long and hard about posting about all this dieting and weight loss stuff that I have to do because it seems to be a touchy subject for so many people, but I am an open book.  You can ask me just about anything and you'll get a straight answer.  (Unless you're Randal asking me how much I weigh or when I bought that sweater or pair of shoes or bracelet, etc.)  So, why not talk about what is sure to be a big part of my days for the next few months (hopefully I'll make a lifestyle change and it won't be such a big deal).

Anywho, it's no secret that my weight yo-yo's.  A lot.  After Israel I lost and gained and lost and gained...  probably over 120 lbs in total.  (ie: lose 20 lbs, gain 15, lose 45 pounds, gain 10, etc...)  And when it came time for us to start trying for our second one, I gained it all back.  This pregnancy I gained even more and although I lost 5 pounds in that first month after Elijah was born, when I stopped pumping at 2 months, I gained about 15 pounds.  Yuck.  Here's the heart of the matter:  I love food.  I think about food a lot.  I cook really yummy food (no really, I do).  So, I need a little help with those cravings.  I get it from these great little pills.  Phentermine.   Judge as you may, but I've taken them in the past and had great success.  And if I could stay on them (or Meridia) then I could maintain a healthy weight too.  Today was the first day I took my happy little pill and what a difference!!  I had to remind myself to eat lunch and I didn't feel the need for seconds (or thirds- yikes!).  Plus, they give me just that extra boost of energy I need to get things done - including exercise.

But truthfully, I can't depend on those great little pills because at some point I have to stop taking them so I can have more babies, and because of other medical reasons that dictate no matter how well you do on them, you can't take them for more than 6 months at a time.  So, my New Year's resolutions mostly lie in changing my lifestyle.  I resolve to eat better (and stop buying cookies!).  I really want to try these green smoothies that seem to be all the rage and try to cook more fish, chicken, and turkey.  Maybe I'll even try tofu this year (maybe not).  Eat more fresh veggies and fruit.  And find joy in exercise (not running though, I hate running).  Before I got married I was really in Yoga.  It made me feel healthier and so I acted healthier than I really was.  I lost 20 lbs last time I was doing Yoga 2 or more times a week.  And I got to the point that I could touch my nose to my knees (albeit painfully).

So: Yoga, aerobic exercise, more fresh produce, better proteins, and maybe I will even learn how to make Uncle Stephen's "bug bread" (it doesn't actually have bugs in it, he just puts so many grains, including whole barley, into it that it looks like bugs).  It'll be tricky to get in good aerobic exercise when you can't leave the house though.  (The high today was like -6 or something...  Which reminds me, I was going to go outside today and take a picture of the 2+ feet of snow in our front yard, but I just could not handle it.  It's supposed to be 26 degrees or higher on Saturday so we'll try to get out and make a snowman and take pictures of all of this snow.  Sorry, back to my healthier lifestyle.)

Bottom line:  Heaven help me!

(And if you out there in the blogosphere have any suggestions to for aerobic exercise at home, or recipes for fish I could use your help too.  It just has to be light tasting fish.  None of that really fishy fish kind of fish.  Think Mahi Mahi or Tilapia.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Should be Working...

But I'm not!

Did you know that my mom takes pictures of hearts she finds in everyday objects? (and some not so everyday objects.)  Well, when I was eating my bag of cheddar and sour cream potato chips I came across this guitar shaped chip - lucky I got to it before Israel, he would have just chowed it down without a second thought.  Pretty cool, and pretty sure it's harder to randomly break a chip into a guitar shape than a heart shape.  Although I don't know that I've ever some across a heart shaped potato chip.  Anyway, maybe I'll start taking pictures of random guitar shaped things.  Yeah, ROCK ON!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Let me introduce you to my new favorite game: "The Game of Things"
Here, I'll even play a game with you.  Can you guess who said these?  Feel free to come up with your own answers.  You can even post them in the comments!

"Things that don't get done when you are sick more than half of you vacation."

- Shopping at IKEA
- Shopping at Saver's and other second hand stores
- A meal at Pei Wei
- A meal at The Spaghetti Factory
- Lot's of crafts
- All that exercise you swore you'd do since you would have someone right there to walk with you in the mornings, not to mention the beautiful weather
- Losing 5 pounds due to all that wonderful exercise
- Having a meal with your old roommates
-  Going to Chuck E. Cheese with all the kids
- Having a play date with all your cousins

"Things you do when you are trapped overnight in Dallas due to a missed connecting flight."

- Wait in the cold with no jacket (because you can only access your carry-on bags and you thought that it would be too much of a hassle to carry around your big jack, after all it was 67 degrees when you left Phoenix) for the hotel shuttle to come get you
- Walk to Denny's for dinner
- Use up every last penny from the $30 dinner voucher the airlines gave you by getting dessert (Oreo milksahke and sundae)
-Watch Gladiator on the super nice flat screen tv in the hotel room
-Feel not so bad about being stuck in Dallas because there is a blizzard in Iowa dumping about a foot of snow in Ames

"Things you do on your first day home after said vacation."

- Give your Macbook a big hug and apologize for forgetting it and leaving it home
- Take your son to his first day of preschool (see below)
- Go grocery shopping
- Go to Target for their awesome 30% off all clearance prices sale and get two sweaters, a pair of snow pants, a pair of wicked cool little guy snow gloves with skulls on them, a super cute pair of shoes, a jacket, a t-shirt, and a pretty little sweater skirt for when you lose 10 lbs. (why do you do that?) all for under $30!
- Catch up on DVR shows
- Blog

"Things you feel when your first born starts school for the first time.

- Excitement (he'll love it and I'll get so much done!)
- Pride (what a good little guy)
- Relief (he won't be behind when he starts kindergarten!)
- Fear (?)
- Surprise (where did that fear come from?)
- A little sad (he's not the baby anymore)

PS - I wrote all of them!  :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shopping and Dining in Phoenix

One of the things that I was most looking forward to when we got to Phoenix was the dining and the shopping. What more can I say? I'm a girl who loves her clothes and accessories and food. Mmm mmm.

A HUMONGOUS used bookstore. There a couple in the Phoenix metro area, but this one went to is on Country Club, north of Southern. I would say it is one of Randal's favorite stores. Besides books though, there are also electronics, CDs and DVDs, comic books, and even some home decor items. This time around we got four books - we got out of there easy this time.

Top Shelf Mexican Food
We actually had dinner here before we went to Bookmans. Also a chain. The one we went to tonight was on Southern and Dobson - right across from MCC. It's pretty good Mexican food, but we love it for it's "lite" menu. I get the chicken tostada with ranch dressing on the side. The meal (minus the ranch) is under 300 calories, and it's delicious. That's pretty dang good for Mexican Food.

Casa Reynoso
This place has got a really unique taste, but I really really love it. They are located in Chandler on Ray Rd, east of Kyrene. Tell Robert (the owner) that one of the Fuller's told you about it. I always get a Gollo Burro with refried beans (inside the burro), rice, and a chicken taco. So yummy! This is a Fuller family favorite.

Forever 21 at Chandler Fashion Center
This is the biggest Forever 21 store I have ever been in!! It's' huge!

More Mexican food. Hello? This is Arizona! The original restaurant is on Mill Ave. and Baseline and my family has been going there since the late 80's. Now there are restaurants all over the east valley. I always get a veggie burro made with refried beans (not whole beans) and a side of green enchilada sauce to dip my chips in. The enchiladas and chicken tacos are also super duper good, but I must say they're veggie burros are totally unique. They are full of fresh tomatoes, onions, avocados, and cilantro. And they're served with this yummy yummy fresh salsa. You have to try one.

The Lego Store at Chandler Fashion Center
OK, this mall is super great, but a whole store devoted to Legos?? I was excited. My older boy is going through a lego obsession right now. And I must admit, I enjoy them too.

Nordstrom's Last Chance
THE place for shoe shopping. When I was in high school and Doc Marten's were oh so cool, my friends and sisters and I would come here and get them for $40 or less. I think I still have a pair of them. Now you can get Ugg's, Kenneth Cole's, and just about anything else. This time around, I got a super cute pair of black heels and a black and white polka dot skirt. The shoes were on the expensive side at $18.99, but the skirt (Anne Klein) was a steal at $4.97! I wish I could have gone everyday to shop up and down the 4 rows of size 9 shoes. I didn't find any boots though (which is what my goal was). Oh well.

There are tons more places to shop and eat. Phoenix (and it's surrounding cities) is a great place to find all sorts of shopping and eating, from discounts and fast food to couture and high dining with dancing; and all sort of yummy cultural food too (not just Mexican food).

Friday, January 09, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Daddy

Today my dad turned 53! Let me tell you about some of things that rocked about having my dad as "Daddy" growing up. He is a goof. In fact, he used to have these shorts that had Goofy embroidered on them and he wore them - a lot. When my mom got rid of them, he was genuinely upset. (Or was it the shirt with Scarecrow on it that said: "If I only had a brain."?) Sometimes he embarrassed me. Actually, during those painful teenage years, he embarassed me a lot. I remember when I just turned 12, he was in the bishopric in our ward and we were having New Beginnings in Young Womens, and as the second counselor one of his duties was to come to New Beginnings (sorry for all the mormon lingo.) Anyway, at the end of his talk, he read a poem (more about his poems later), and all I remeber was that the last two lines were: "And I have my own Beehive, her name is Charmaine." Not that big of a deal, but for a 12 year old, I was totally embarrassed. You should know that now I look back on things like that very fondly.

My dad did some gymnastics in high school and it just kind of followed him. He would do handstands for us and clap his feet. He would jump on the trampoline and do all sorts of crazy flips and stuff. Once when I was in 8th or 9th grade, I decided that I wanted to try out for the cheer sqaud, but one of the requirements was that you had to be able to do a back hand spring. So, my dad took me out to the trampoline and taught me how to do one. I never did quite master it, and never made it to try-outs, but he spent a lot of time teaching me.

So, his poems. My dad is quite articulate, especially when it comes to writing. He has written some very clever poems through the years and if I knew were any were, I would post one. More recently though he has compiled many years of notes and study into FHE lessons for our family about Zion. He gives us a chapter at a time and they have been so good for studying.

My dad is also a super organizer. He loves boxes and containers, and everytime they have come to stay with us, he has tackled some organizing project, the garage, the basement laundry room/strorage room, our closets, etc. It's great.

So... my two favorite qualities of my dad's would be that he is a performer and that he is an organizer. Probably my two favorites because those are the two that are strongest in me. Lucky girl.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Smell of Rain

I love Arizona! I consider myself a native - in fact, I consider myself a 6th generation native. Don't ask Randal though cause he'll sell me out and tell you that I was actually born in Utah while my parents were attending BYU. But, because they were technically still AZ residents and because I was raised in AZ, I consider myself a native. Arizona is in my blood. My ancesestors settled much of the state and I have many ties there. In fact, all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents live in the state. Further, they all live in the Phoenix metro. (Unless they are attending school, like my sister and her family in San Diego right now.) My great grandfather was a sheriff here in AZ way back when and chased old west outlaws. Some other ancestors owned large farms in Mesa and Tempe where houses, schools, and many bussiness are now. Another great grandfather was the first (or it might be second) stake president in Safford. You know in Twilight when they are showing skyline views of Phoenix and they show that mountain in the the middle of valley? I used to live at the base of mountain right in front. I've hiked that mountain (it was hell). Anyway, I digress.

Of all the things I love about Arizona, the smell of rain is definately in the top ten. Maybe even in the top three. In Phoenix, it only rains a few times a year. Maybe 6. Usually less. So, you can imagine how I feel about a cloudy day. I love it! A couple of days I woke up to this:
A beautiful cool, cloudy morning. I went outside and what did I smell? Rain. Now, I have heard other refer to the smell of rain who do not live in AZ. Let me tell you that the smell of AZ rain is very distinct. I am told that it comes from the creosote bushes. That when it begins to rain they do something weird and it emits a strong smell. It's beautiful, and much much stronger in the summer time, but none the less, there it was that morning. The faint smell of rain in the air. It was glorious. And it did rain that day. Just a little. Perfect.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A look back

over the past week or so... (You thought I was going to say 2008, right? How cliche.)

On Christmas Eve Eve, we had our annual Ollerton Christmas Party / Family Reunion. The Fuller grandkids did a Nativity scene while their Uncle Samuel read the story from Luke. My sister Chantal, made all their cute little costumes. Except Lacy's - I think hers was her Halloween costume. Brian and Katie were Joseph and Mary. Lacy and Susan were angels. And Israel was a shepherd. They all had a lot of fun. There were a lot of people there and lot's of good food. Some highlights were Aunt Julie's chocolate covered peanut butter crunch balls, the Death by Chocolate Cake, the chocolate chip cookies, my mac and cheese, the chili, and tons of other goodies. Oh, and seeing all our family and friends. At the end of the night, there were papers and pens passed around so everyone could write down emails and blog addresses. I'm excited to see who's blogging.

Christmas Eve was spent sick in bed or in the bathroom with "it" coming out of both ends (TMI?). Which is bummer, not only because I was sick, but because we have our big Christmas meal with turkey, ham, pototoes, gravy, pie and all the rest on Christmas Eve night. So, I missed out on all that. But, did make it out in time to see the traditional Christmas Eve pajamas be passed out. My sisters and I worked on making pj's for our kids so they all matched, but didn't do anything for the adults. So, we assumed non of the adults would have anything. But, my dad suprised the boys with his favorite sleepwear: robes. So, all the men in the family got matching robes. How cute. Us girls just got the flu to all match.
By Christmas morning I was feeling better, but my dad and brother both ended up with the tummy ickies later that day. I did get to eat a big yummy Christmas morning breakfast though. Hooray. It was a pretty lo-key Christmas for us. Israel got some Legos (his new obsession) and a big Star Wars ship. Randal and I didn't exchange gifts, we had a good year and didn't really feel like we needed anything. Mostly, I am just excited to be in AZ where I can eat all that food that I've been missing (Pete's Fish & Chips, Rubios, Rumbi Island Grill, Top Shelf, Casa Reynoso, Pei Wei, etc., etc.) and to be near lot's of good shopping. My mom and dad just gave each of us kids a little cash to do with what we want.
So, the next day, (or was it the day after?) Randal and I went shopping and out to lunch. He got me an iPod. It's about time. It's little and orange and cute. Although, I was bummed about my computer being in IA because I'm not able to put any of my stuff on it until we get home. That was also the day we went to the train park and the day Israel began showing the first signs that he had caught the ickies - plus I got the regular old runny nose, achy body flu/head cold. It wasn't too bad though.

Sunday was my brother-in-law's birthday and Jenny had everyone over to her house for dinner and cake and games. It was really fun, but wouldn't you know it, by that night, I had gotten the tummy ickies - again. Although this time there was no throwing up. I did get to see an old roomie though. Tina came to the party at Jenny's house as my date because Randal was home sick. She's like another one of my parents' kids anyway.
Monday was spent sick in bed again. My head cold and my tummy got worse. No fun. At all.
Tuesday both Israel and I were feeling better, but Randal was feeling worse. Plus, I think Elijah wasn't feeling too well either. He spent a lot of time sleeping. And when he wasn't sleeping, he needed to be held. So, Isreal and I spent the day playing outside and going for rides on my parents little farm work tractor thingy. We call it the Heward. Israel calls it the Polar Express. My mom worked in the Temple that day, and was hosting a wedding at her house the next day, so my dad came home from work early to get some work done around the house and yard. It was a good day. Israel discoverd the tetherball cement with all our handprints in it and had fun trying to fit his hands in. My dad spent some time playing with Israel on the trampoline and I just had fun taking pictures all around my parents house. Again, I wish I had my computer though so I could edit them.
That afternoon, my brother Samuel became Israel's new favorite person in the whole wide world. One word: Legos. Samuel has all of his Legos from when he was little and has been saving them for when he has his own boys. Well, he was nice enough to get them out and show Brian Jr. and Israel the bounty of Legos he posses. They boys loved it. In fact it was hard to pry them away for our activity. Tuesday night the whole fam damily went bowling. (Easy way to get everyone out of the house to try and keep it clean for the wedding.) It was a lot fun. Little known fact: My mom kind of rocks at bowling. Apparently she used to be on a league like a million years ago (or maybe it's only been 25 or so). She had the high score of the night with a 133 and she says it's been over 25 years since she's been bowling. My proud moment: I did get one strike. It was great. I think all together, we had 18 people bowling - including the kids. Everyone had a great time though. I think we should start a tradition.
Now for Wednesday. I dropped my kids off so that Antoinette could watch them and I could help my mom prepare for the wedding. Joyce and Nat got married in mom and dad's backyard. My mom has hosted many receptions and wedding at their house including all of her married children's. And has sort of perfected the wedding/reception planning. She owns tons of decorations and catering stuff. She knows where to get the good deals and who to ask to do what. This weddding, I have to say was among the nicest, if not the nicest wedding she has had there. It was very simple and elegant. She did a great job. By 6 o'clock everyone was gone and the place was clean again. The guy who married them (Bishop Smith from my mom and dad's ward) brought his super nice camera to shoot pictures, so he turned it over to me and I had a lot of fun shooting with his Canon 40D and big ol' beautiful lens. I asked him to make me a disk of the pictures, so I'll post some of the better ones when I get that. I'm so excited. I did shoot some pretty good pictures with my camera, but wouldn't you know it, I forgot to change the white balance after bowling the night before so all the pictures turned out a little on the blue side, and of course, I don't have my computer to go in manually and adjust it on Photoshop. Boo hoo.
That night, we were going to go to our friends for a fancy dinner and facny dancing. I was pretty excited to put on a fancy dress and heels, but with Randal still sick it didn't happen. So, we drew on my youngest sister's big prego belly and played games with family. New favorite game: Things. It's hillarious. Go buy it. Now. Toni, Randal's mom did stop by that night though. It was really nice visiting with her. I was in bed by 11:30. Why not just stay up those last 30 minutes? Well, I got sick. AGAIN. At this point I am thinking: "This is ridiculous!! I must have the weakest immune system in this house. I have gotten this stupid stomach virus 3 times now!!" You should know, I was awakened by the fireworks and other loud noises at midnight though.
So, New Year's Day was spent in bed. Again. Sick.
Today I am feeling all better and my sister and her family went home this morning. So, I am hoping that the sickies will stop spreading like wildfire back and forth with less people here. Randal is sicker this morning though. So sad. Send your healthy thoughts our way and hope that this is not an indicator of what 2009 holds for us.

And this picture is in here just because I think it's cute. This is another one of Samuel's super cool toys. It's a light saber and Israel just had to take it to bed with last night.