Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Taken from the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building

“The city of right angles and tough, damaged people -Pete Hamill

Well, my mother and I must have been there on a good day because we didn’t run into people any meaner than I was already use to in this trashy city o’ mine, which shall remain nameless. 🙂

So, some of you may have noticed I’ve been rather sporadic in my commenting of late and it’s because I’m still adjusting to life without my wonderful momma. She flew out and stayed with us for a week and oh, was it wonderful! I miss her terribly and I long for the interactions my children don’t get to have with their extended family members. So a visit is always a wonderful thing.

Yes, a visit from my mom means a date night or two with my husband. It means running to the store for something I forgot without having to drag all three kids out too. It means late nights spent playing Boggle, Cribbage, Rummikub and Take Two. And this year it meant taking a day trip to New York City, just me and her. I’ve lived within doable driving distance for 6 years and finally I made it, with my mom who had never been there before either.

Riding the Ferry out to Liberty Island. (Gosh I hope I look as good as my mom does when I’m 50)

At Ground Zero

This is Trinity Church, which was not a stop on our agenda but we happened to walk by it and it sucked me in. Some of you know I am an avid genealogist and am obsessed with love old church’s and cemeteries. This church and cemetery is smack dab in the middle of the city yet it seemed so tranquil there. I was in heaven looking at the ancient headstones (ca. 1700’s) and the architecture inside and out is breathtaking.

Here we are after hiring a bicycle taxi which I highly recommend, as they can veer in and out of traffic and if you love feeling a, gentler than a car with the top down, wind in your face. We had a blast on our short little ride.

Just a small portion of Times Square, from the seat of our bicycle taxi.

We had a great time with gramma around and a fantastic day in New York City!



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To love someone deeply, is to risk heart ache of the deepest kind. Their hurts are yours.

I keep asking myself, why this person I love is still making such foolish decisions at this stage in their life. Why don’t they realize what destructive behavior they’re exhibiting? Why don’t they realize that their actions affect not only themselves, but those who care about them? Why is it so hard for this person to let go of these habits that have now landed them in jail?

I wanted to cry as I read the arrest detail, but no tears came. Only sorrow for poor decisions and some hope that maybe the first time in jail, will be impressionable enough to make it the last time.


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The Replacement

After six days of hiding, foraging for food beneath the fridge and making scurrying and nibbling noises throughout the night, we caught Keri!

I had fruitlessly endeavored to trap her in the days prior. I created a ramp leading up to a deep mixing bowl. I rubbed the ramp with celery and carrots and then placed them inside the bowl hoping to find her in the morning. All I found was one missing piece each of celery and carrot and no hamster. I knew regular hamsters could jump fairly high but these dwarf hamsters are something else.

The show down came in our walk in closet yesterday morning at approximately 6 a.m. As I nursed Angel Girl I heard Keri scuttling around in there. I waited till Angel girl was fast asleep
and quietly went into the kitchen where I grabbed a shoe box that contained bedding and some food pellets. I also grabbed the lid into which I had poked multiple holes.

As I entered the room I heard her scuttling stop and knew she was aware of a human presence. This I hoped would be a good thing, driving her into a dark hiding place in our closet. Once I went inside and closed the closet door, there would be no escape for Keri.

I snapped some celery in half and held my palm out. She peeked cautiously around the corner of the duffle bag she was hiding behind and then darted toward the closet door which I’m sure she could have flattened herself under had I not stuffed a blanket there, blocking her path. Her capture was quick, Keri fighting the whole way but I got her into the box and slammed the lid on. Then I taped it shut for good measure.

I would have loved to keep her but she is just so tiny and fast and feisty, the kids would never be able to hold her if she was determined to escape. So we took her back to the pet store where I’m sure she’ll find a better matched owner to love her.

And this? This is Callie:


You didn’t think I’d disappoint my kids by taking their Hamster back and not getting them a new one did you?

We already love this adorable Calico Hamster.

We love the way she uses the window in her tiny house as entrance and exit while blocking the door with bedding.

We think it’s hilarious how she uses the top of the cage as monkey bars

We love how silly she is running on top of her wheel instead of inside it

And how she nibbles on the bars at times.

She is friendly and cute and best of all, her head can’t fit through the bars, which means neither can the rest of her.


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The Great Hamster Hunt

This is Keri.


Three days ago she joined our family due to one of my, must have a pet, whims. Count Dooku picked her out and even named her all by himself. We brought her home along with a cage, bedding and food and spent the day getting to know her.


But Keri didn’t like her new home. It was too small. She decided to escape through the tiny bars of her cage that I was assured were impossible for even a dwarf hamster to squeeze through. This was the same night we brought her home. Now Keri is enjoying free reign of the house while we try in vain to draw her out.

Late last night as I was getting ready for bed, a small dark shape darted right past my foot and the hunt began. She ran under the piano, so I had hubby grab the broom to block the exit on one side. He also gave me a carrot. She came out and nibbled a bit on the carrot and I reached down to grab her but that Hamster is so darn tiny and so darn fast it was to no avail.

She was back across the room under the couch in a second. We tried again to draw her out with a carrot, and this time I had a collander ready to pop on top of her. She came out and I slammed the collander down, but it landed partly on the carrot, leaving an opening just big enough for Keri to dart out of. Foiled again!

When we spotted her again she had darted underneath the bookshelf. I laid the carrot out and waited a while, but after looking under the bookshelf with a flashlight, discovered she had somehow managed to escape without our notice. So we settled down to watch a movie while keeping an eye on the carrot. After the movie was done I went to bed, asking Hubby to please remove the carrot from the floor before he went to bed. But of course he forgot, and when we came out this morning we found this:


The little rascal had her fill of carrot. It’s time to lay some serious traps tonight and then it’s back to the pet store with the dwarf hamster.


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Five and a half years. That’s how long we’ve been out here, in graduate school.
Thousands of miles away from family, our kids hardly even know their relatives. The last time we saw them was 2 1/2 years ago, when Count Dooku was 4 and Obi-Wan was 3.

In some ways, I love being far away from my family. There are lots of…things, of a stressful nature happening constantly. And it’s good to be distanced from it. But at other times I’m sad about it.

Like when I think of my littlest sister, who I use to dream of driving around to the mall with her friends as she got older, and us dying our hair together and maybe even me being her confidante. She was only 10 when we moved away, and she’s growing up without me around. Her most crucial years and I’m missing them.

Or like when I think of my mom, who has always been my good friend and who I’ve only grown closer to and developed more respect for as I’ve become a mother myself. I wish she could see her grandkids whenever she wanted.

Or like when I think of my littlest brother, who is preparing to serve a mission for our church. I hear he’s six foot two now. But I wouldn’t let that go to his head of course. He’s still my little brother.

For as much as I love my family, and want my children to be near them and really know them, I don’t have any desire to move back to where they are right now. And it doesn’t all revolve around family issues. The culture in Utah is… well, when you’re a Mormon who has lived most of your life in Utah, it’s easy to confuse the culture and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been so refreshing to separate the culture from the gospel and gain a better perspective of the simplicity of the Church’s teachings. I really don’t want my kids to grow up in Utah for that reason and for some others. I want them to have more clarity than I did. To not waver in their testimonies of the gospel because of the unkindness or poor examples of members they will inevitably meet who don’t fully live what they claim to believe in. Of course this happens in all religions. And could happen even outside of Utah, but it’s a worry for me all the same.

And I don’t even know when Hubby will graduate or where we’ll move.

We started out on the same page, neither of us having any desire to go back to Utah. But absence has made his heart grow fonder. And he would like to live near his family again. So I’ve been pondering my feelings since I figure the possibility of moving to Utah may come into play in the near future. He’s been told he’ll graduate this year. Yet there is still no end in sight…


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There are moments when a flood of memories rushes through your mind.

In the span of a single breath, your pulse quickens, your eyes stare blankly, and the pain or joy of many moments plays across your face.

Then comes the exhalation. The recognition of who or what you are staring at that triggered those memories. The realization of the life you are living now. The immense gratitude or sorrow that things are not the way you thought they would be when you were living out those memories.

All this, in a single breath.

My baby was the trigger and my reaction was joy. She is my miracle. She was only a shadow of a dream in my thoughts two years ago as I struggled with the effects of a medicine interaction gone terribly awry. Today, in the span of one breath, I felt the despair and panic all over again and remembered knowing that my life would never be the same.

And it isn’t.

But not in the way I had anticipated.


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Christmas 2007

Well, I’ve wanted to write a “what we did” and “what we got” Christmas post, because I’ve been reading lots of posts like that and they’re fun. But truth be told, mine will be pretty darn boring next to everyone else’s. We’ve got no family out here so it was just us.

We had our special dinner on Christmas eve. Hubby made a glorious ham (I’m talking ham that ham haters have loved). He glazes it with mustard and brown sugar and slow cooks it and it is sooooo good. We had homemade scalloped potatoes and broccoli with that. Then after dinner we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We came home and made some gingerbread cookies and then put the kiddos to bed.

Christmas morning found us up at 6:00 a.m. reading Luke 2, then opening presents and then enjoying warm gooey homemade cinnamon rolls.

Count Dooku received a Hot Wheels Turbo Glo track with Turbo Glo Car, the “Rings” Planet Hero action figure, two Magnetix toys (from a Secret Santa) and some candy and other odds and ends in his stocking. Upon opening his Turbo Glo Track set he squealed with delight and exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting for dis my whole life!!!”

Obi-Wan received the new Mater National Cars game for PS2, the “Black Hole” Planet Hero action figure, a Backyardigans Memory Game (from a Secret Santa) and stocking stuffer odds and ends.

Vanessa received two new rattles and a Playskool pop up fun toy and then a cute pajama set and shirt from a secret Santa.

Hubby received a Kitchen Aid Knife Set courtesy of moi, made available through my first ever pay check for my blogging job

I received that new Spyro game I mentioned and an Uno Attack game from a Secret Santa.

It was a delicious, peaceful Christmas. We watched all our favorite Christmas movies, read all our favorite Christmas books, listened to all our favorite Christmas music, saw all our favorite Christmas sights and enjoyed family together time for four straight days.
T’was wonderful!


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