My Need

I got a call on Monday evening.

"So, I hear you play the flute."

"Ummm, kind of."

"No, I heard you were really good!"

"After lots of practice. . .  Why?"

It turns out that the caller was looking for flute accompaniment for a duet to be sung this Saturday.  That's less than a week.  The last couple of times I've played, I practiced for  m o n t h s  beforehand.

But, seeing as she was calling me, I knew she must be grasping at straws to find someone in time. 

So I agreed to look at the music.

She brought it over Tuesday, and other than being quite high (I had to count the lines above the staff to even figure out what notes they were) it looked totally doable. 

And then I tried playing it.  

I had to look up fingerings for nearly every note, since each octave is fingered differently, and I'm pretty sure I've never played notes that high in my life. 

It was NOT pretty.  The notes were so high I felt like I was going to bust a lung playing them, and I was afraid that my shrieking would over-power the oboe, piano and singers.  The song was "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need," and I thought to myself how appropriate that was, because there was no way I could get this polished in time on my own. 

I said a prayer, telling Heavenly Father that if this was going to sound good, I needed His help.

And I kept practicing. 

And I got better, but it was still less than great.

We had a rehearsal last night, and my nerves were making it even harder to sound decent.  After going through it a couple times, she said,

"I think last time we did this, we had the flute drop it down an octave."

Oh, the relief!

While it took a minute or two to reprogram my brain (and fingers) to play the lower (much more normal) notes, it was infinitely worth it.  Now the tone is soft and beautiful instead of loud and piercing, and I'm not drowning out anyone else. 

But the best part is, I can feel totally confident playing it, which is priceless.

My Shepherd truly did supply my need, just in a different way than I was expecting.


Pretty Girl!

We finally got around to getting Louie's one-year-old pictures taken.  I'm pretty sure that we did the other two within a day or so of their birthdays, but hey, we're within a month, that's good, right?
Anyway, here's a little glimpse of some of my favorites.

Isn't she precious?


Dear Body,

Lou has been weaned for well over two weeks now.  Feel free to stop producing {and leaking} milk at any time.

Also, face, I am not a teenager.  Red spots are not in style.  Please remedy this situation as soon as possible.

And brain, I would really appreciate it if you could return from wherever it is that you have been.  I miss you. 



It's about time!

We moved in to our house nearly two and a half years ago.  There were a couple of screws in the walls, upon which we promptly plunked some pictures, but that was the extent of our picture hanging.  We have an entire box of pictures that we have had up in previous abodes (where we only lived for one year each) sitting in the kids' closet, just waiting for us to get around to hanging them.

One of the problems is lack of wall space.  Our main living area is comfortably crowded, and most of the wall space not taken up by windows or doors is covered by bookshelves.

But the main problem was laziness.  I'll admit it.  And I just wasn't all that excited to get out the same-old, same-old pictures and frames.  It was time to do something new.

So for Christmas I gave Tom several frames that I had painted black and promised that I would fill and hang them.

Yesterday, I did.

Notice the "D" and the clock have just been stuck on the screws that were already there.  No forethought, no planning.


I need to reprint the picture of Rico as it came out lighter than the others, but overall, what thinks you?


from the mouths of babes

Ella has some pretty classic comments. A few more of them require recording.

While sitting at dinner the other night:

E: Mom, do you have a baby in your tummy?
Me: No, why?
E: Because it looks like it.

Wow. Thanks.

But wait! She went on:

E: Your tummy looks like Sister So-and-so's.

I tried to find a nice current picture of said woman, but I couldn't find one on her blog. Suffice it to say that she is due Feb. 15th. So apparently I look 8 months pregnant.  {If you need a reminder what I looked like at that stage, see here.}


On another occasion, Ella and Rico were cleaning up the cars. Ella was tossing them in the basket as quickly as she could, while the Rico-boy was taking them back out and very slowly organizing them so they all lined up. We were trying to hurry for some reason (dinner? leaving somewhere? I don't remember) and I had asked Rico several times to pick up the pace. Finally, I came right up to him and, using a stern voice, told him to stop organizing and quickly put them away. Ella piped up in her sugary-sweet-one-octave-higher-than-normal voice:

E: I'm glad you want to organize them, buddy, but that's not very fast!

I was properly shamed and humbled.


DIY Beach Spray

First, I want to thank each of you who assured me that I am not a freak of nature

Or at least, if I am, I'm in good company. 

And next I am going to share with you my new  f a v o r i t e  hair product of all time. I started using this a couple of weeks ago, but then I left it at my parents and was so sad.  I got it back yesterday and was quickly reminded how AWESOME it is.

Let's start by being clear on one thing: I like to be frugal.  I don't like to waste money.  I prefer to save it.  And I especially don't like spending money on things that I could get cheaper or do myself.


When it comes to my hair, I usually stick with whatever is cheap and gets the job done.  Whether that's always the best choice, I don't know, but it's what I do.  I hate paying for haircuts, never dye my hair (though cost is only part of the reason on that), and use relatively cheap products.

But that means I sometimes wish my hair would be more {insert adjective here}.  Recently that adjective is voluminous, textured, or stay in place without being crunchy (okay, that's not an adjective, but work with me).  When I first read Kayla's post about Sedu Beach Beauty Sea Salt Spray, I thought, "huh, that would be fun to try." But my cheap bone would not even consider it. 

Then she posted how to make your own, and I thought "Bingo! Now this I can do."

So I promptly went to the dollar store, picked up some cheapy-cheap gel, some bottles, and grabbed some Epsom salt at the grocery store.  (They might have had it at the dollar store, but I didn't see it.)  My grand total? $3.79.  And it will last for.e.ver.

So, while you could just go check out the recipe on Kayla's blog, I'll share it here to, because I love it so much.

4 oz water (half a cup, people)
1 generous squirt (water based) hair gel 
1 tsp Epsom salt

And that's it.  Mix it up, pour it into a bottle with a spray apparatus of some sort and off you go.  I spray it all over my damp hair and blow dry, but you could let it air dry as well.  Especially if you have natural waves and/or curls.  But don't tell me about it, because I might get jealous.  It has the perfect amount of hold, and gives my hair just the right amount of body without looking huge. 

You can adjust it to your preference as well.  You want a little more hold?  Add some gel.  Hair too stiff?  Add water. 

And did I mention it was cheap? 

Oh yes, I think I did. 


Oh dear.


Everyone as quiet as church mice.

Over the pulpit,
A Primary Activity announced: 
Meet-Your-Teacher breakfast this coming Saturday. 
Feel free to come in your pajamas. 
That is, modest pajamas. 

Ella, in her normal {not-so-quiet} speaking voice,  
"Well, I only have modest pajamas!"

Laughter erupted.

Thank you.
She's mine.



I've always been fairly flexible.  I could always reach farther than most on the "sit-and-reach," could touch the floor without bending my knees, and could overlap my hands further on the back-scratcher stretch. (You know the one where you reach one hand over your shoulder, and the other behind your back and try to touch them together?)

When I was 20 I got in car accident (totally not my fault, but that's another story) I went to the chiropractor.  The assistant who tested me said I had the lumbar (lower back) flexibility of a teenage gymnast.  Huh.  Who knew?

But I've been wondering if I still am.  It's been three kids and five years later, and I really have no point of reference for how flexible I am compared to "normal."  I can still do the splits, which I know puts me on the flexible side of average, but of late I've found a good back stretch and I want to know if it falls in the realm of common physical ability.

So, will you do me a favor?

Sometime when you're warmed up (I've never tried this cold), lay on your back, stretch your legs back over your head, (so your weight is mostly on your shoulders,) bend your knees and try to touch your knees to the ground beside your ears.

Can you do this too, or am I just abnormal?


And speaking of Garlic...

I got a fantastic Christmas present from my parents: Garlic Tabasco Sauce.  I didn't even know it existed, but I tried it on my dinner tonight, and it was SUPERB!  

It's milder than regular Tabasco and oh, so tasty! 

I highly recommend that you run out and buy it post haste!

What to do?

The other day my mother-in-law brought me some produce from her garden.  There were some carrots easily 3+ inches across (that's diameter, not length!) and a butternut squash.  I know what to do with carrots, even ginormous ones, but I had no idea what to do with the squash.

So it sat on my counter. 

And sat.

And sat.

The only way I've ever had butternut squash is baked: cut it in half and stick it in the oven.  And for a squash tolerator, that just wasn't going to cut it.  If I'm going to eat it, I might as well make it taste good.  So yesterday I finally googled butternut squash recipes.

I found lots of recipes for soup, but the last time I made squash soup, we ended up throwing away the leftovers.

And I don't throw away leftovers. 

There were also lots of recipes for butternut squash casserole that put me greatly in mind of candied sweet potatoes, and while it might taste good, I knew that wouldn't cut it.

I finally settled on "Butternut Squash Au Gratin" which looked like a squash quiche-like dish that didn't sound too bad.  But I wasn't super excited.  I decided to look one more time and found "Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash."


You might not know this about me, but garlic and I get along REALLY well.  In fact, I think we're BFFs.  So any recipe that starts with "Garlicky" is worth a try in my book.

And it was.

I think it was my favorite dish I've made all year.

So here's the recipe.

The only thing I did differently is that I used dried parsley (2 t instead of 2 T) and probably quadrupled the garlic.  {I say probably, because I buy minced garlic at Costco.  The container says that 1/2 tsp=1 clove and I used two heaping spoonfuls.  So there was lots of garlic.  Yum.} Also, I stirred in the cheese after it had baked for 45 minutes.  The directions aren't clear when to add that.

Tom, Lou and I loved it, Ella liked it okay, and Rico refused to try it (shocker!). 

Definitely worth a try if you have butternut squash on hand, though I bet it would also taste good with carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, or other squash options.

And yes, Kim, I served it with chicken.


Thank you, Captain Obvious!

I mentioned a while back that I switched to gmail, but I still have my old hotmail account and sometimes use it to register for things I really don't care about.  Also, I haven't switched my email address with every single company I interact with online.  (Plus, some people occasionally still use that address. )

Due to this I make a semi-regular perusal of the junk mail folder.  Usually, there are a few messages that I open and read, a bunch legitimate emails that I just don't care to open, and then there is the spam.  We've all seen it and (hopefully) shaken our heads that anyone would be taken in on the ridiculously obvious scams. 

Today, I found it refreshing that Mr. Saudiq Alman took care of identifying his email as spam, since I'm sure I would have bought it otherwise.


Neglected and Resolved: a post in parts

Neglected: This blog.

You can always tell when Tom is home, because my blog gets neglected.  This is in reverse to many I know, but for me, the husband home=less blogging.  And here's why: I spend less time at the computer, because I spend more time with him.  Also when I have a moment, he is frequently on the computer.  Plus, we have been running around like crazy people and have hardly been home these past two weeks.

Neglected: Christmas card.

Though quite frankly, I never have sent one, so it's not that shocking.  Had I sent one, we would have used to these two pictures.

I was rooting for this family shot, but Tom vetoed it, since I photoshopped happy faces on everyone (except Caroline, but I did photoshop her from a different picture, too).


Neglected: Christmas post.

We had a most excellent Christmas.  It all started with Jon's homecoming.  He is pretty much great.  Then Grant came home the next day (also great).  This, plus Tom being home, plus the holidays was a perfect recipe for spending an inordinate amount of time at my parents' house.  I think we put more miles on our van in the last two weeks than the two months prior.  And I feel good about it.  Also we got to meet/spend time with Becca and Bella which was fun all around.

Ella does not believe in Santa.  (I guess that's not surprising, since he's never come to our house.)  Before Christmas she straight-up asked me if he was real, (we had avoided that question in the past,) and I couldn't lie to her face.  I didn't fully deny his existence, but explained where he came from and what "some people believe," but she walked away with a firm belief that he wasn't real.  But that doesn't mean she doesn't love him anyway.

In a similar vein, we had quite an amusing conversation after Christmas.  Since she "knew" Santa didn't fill our stockings, she couldn't figure out who had.  (Since, of course, I couldn't have done it.)  She was convinced for a little while that the Abominable Snowman must have done it, but I think she's finally got it all figured out.

My favorite gift I gave was either Jon's coat, Grant's shirt, or the necklaces to the Grandmas.  I might post more about those later.

{check out that amazing necklace! Made with love by little hands}

I received too many wonderful gifts to decide on a favorite, but so far, my most used gift has to be the amazing green scarf from Jon.  I LOVE it! 

Neglected: Little Lou's birthday.

Or, more specifically, a post about Louie's birthday.  She turned one on Thursday.  It hardly seems like a year has passed since she was born.  Several times this break I've thought to myself, "I'm so glad I'm not nine months pregnant," and "I'm so glad that it is raining right now, and not doing a repeat of snow-mageddon." Especially both at the same time.

But back to Louie.  We had a birthday party for her at my parents' where we did the traditional "give the baby an entire cake and see what happens" but she was really not that into it.  She would take small, bite-sized pieces from me, but would not touch the cake itself, or take anything bigger from me.  Mostly she just scratched her belly. (Which she does any time her shirt is off.)  She did get a little more into it once we put her in a chair and gave her a normal piece.

In other Lou-bug news, she said her first word(s) on Wednesday.  I noticed she said "day duh" after I gave her something and it sounded remarkably like "thank you," but I figured it was fluke and went on my merry way.  Then she did it again.  And again.  And again.  It seemed a little too consistent to just be coincidence, so her first word is officially "thank you."  What a polite baby.  I would also swear she has called me "mama" a couple of times in the last few days, and I couldn't be happier.  But I also could be imagining things.

Neglected: New Year's post

We spent New Year's Eve with my in-laws this year.  After the aforementioned shindig chez mes parents, we moseyed over to the in-laws where we had a scrumptious meal and put the kids to bed.  Then we played some games, bawled through "The Christmas Shoes" (the movie, not the song,) (and the bawling may have just been me...), and rang in the new year at 12:00 before heading straight to bed.

New Year's Day we (read: Tom and I; we left the kids with the in-laws.) headed back to my parents' for a group date with my parents, my brothers, and their dates. (My brothers' dates, that is.  My parents went together.)  We made an intense putt-putt course in my parents house and yard, ate at Subway, and made T-shirts.  It was ridiculously fun.

But now we are back to real life.  Tom's back at work, the boys are back at BYU, and I'm back to being healthy. (I ate WAAAAAY to much junk this break, and I loved it.)

In celebration of the New Year I have a couple of resolutions that I want to get down in writing, and what better place than the blog? So, without further ado,

Resolved: To continue being more healthy.

I made a goal last year to be healthier by exercising and eating better, and it paid off, not just in the way I look, but in the way I feel.  I want to continue on that path, especially focusing on portion control as I wean Louie and eat for only one person. (Novel concept, that.)

Resolved: To better study my scriptures.

I have never been good at studying anything.  I'm good at reading, good at listening, and ridiculously good at test-taking, so I never had cause to study much at school (you can hate me if you want).  Therefore, I never really learned how to study.  I feel like I need to learn how, and apply to my scripture reading, so I get more out of what I read.  I would appreciate any tips.

Resolved: To be more patient with my children.  

I love kids.  Hence, I have three of them.  But sometimes I think they should operate on my time schedule.  Those of you who have children know that this does not usually work out.  So this year I want to make a concerted effort to work on their time schedule, adjusting myself, not expecting too much of them.

Resolved: To be accountable for the aforementioned goals.

Each month, I plan on doing a resolution review here to check in and see how I'm doing, but also to keep these goals somewhere near the forefront of my brain.

Post edit: I'm thinking monthly would be a little excessive.  I'll change that to quarterly.