Sunday, December 30, 2007

"I knew I'd been good this year..."

What Sadie said to Brian on Christmas morning. One of those ahhh moments that you get to have as a parent.

The Mom Test

I don't know who to credit this was one of those random e-mail forwards (most of which I detest...which is why this funny one is here on my blog instead of in your inbox.)

I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that. "Why?" my daughter asked. "Because it's been on the ground, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty, and probably has germs" I replied. At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Momma, how do you know all this stuff, you are so smart." I was thinking quickly. "All moms know this stuff. It's on the Mom Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mom." We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information. "OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the dad. ''Exactly" I replied back with a big smile on my face.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

and my fire is so delightful (that's my new gas stove--I'm referring to). So I'll just stay inside today and have "Christmas Kitchen" day. My friend Kaylene passed on the recipe and her expertise for these awesome caramel apples. The caramel is delicious and these have become a traditional Christmas treat around our house. Lisa came over today and we made a lot of apples! My personal favorites are the caramel dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Yummy. So, if you are feeling inspired here is the recipe to have fun in your own kitchen....

Caramel Apples

2 cups butter
2 lbs. brown sugar
Dash salt
2 cups light corn syrup
2 15 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter, add brown sugar & dash salt. Add corn syrup. Mix. Combine over medium high heat. (7 on electric stove) Add sweetened condensed milk. Stir constantly to about 235-238 right between soft and hardball stage. Stir in vanilla at the end. Start dipping apples after caramel has had just a minute to set. (if the caramel is too hot it will slide off the apples.)

For ice cream-less than softball stage 230
For carmels hardball 245-250 hardball stage

Tips: de-wax, insert sticks and chill apples prior to making caramel. Wax will prevent caramel from sticking to apples, inserting sticks and chilling will make apples ready to go as soon as caramel is ready.

½ this recipe will do about 12 apples, 10 pretty ones and 2 with not so smooth caramel…

Monday, December 17, 2007

Turtle Shortbread Cookies

When December comes, I keep my sanity by spending time in the kitchen. It is one of the things that I love to do, and on Sundays when I put all the other projects aside baking doesn't feel like work at all. This was yesterdays project for a cookie exchange with my recipe group. Check out the recipe at our Saucy Cooks blog. Next edible??? Caramel apples on Wednesday...want to join me?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Isn't this absurd?

Brian and I were greatly entertained yesterday when we looked outside and saw this at our neighbors house...Now we understand that the fall is a good time to lay sod but if you have to rake the snow first...

Thursday, November 29, 2007


If you asked my girls about their "Christmas List" their eyes would light up and you would hear about the wonders to be found in the latest American Girl Doll Catalog, about scooters and talking birds, MP3 players, Littlest Pet Shops and all sorts of other miscellaneous fun stuff.

Pose the same question to me and watch the look of panic flit across my face. You see my definition of Christmas list has evolved over the last few years, now instead of my personal wish list I will tell you about the Christmas letter I haven't written, the picture CD I still dream of compiling, the gifts I have yet to purchase, and the gifts that I need to purchase and still don't know what to get! AGGHH!

However, ask me what I did today to dig in to the list and you'll see the look of guilty pleasure as I tell you about how I browsed the Harry & David catalog and the Williams-Sonoma catalog and the hour I spent on the internet searching out Christmas delicacies like homemade marshmallows dipped in caramel and moose munch popcorn.

But it's still November...and when you stop by and taste the yummy things coming out of my kitchen when December comes maybe I'll have forgotten for a moment all the things left still undone.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Courage to Cross the Line

This is the spirit of running. The determination to finish, and the exercise in mind over matter. This girl has courage! You can follow this link to the story on ESPN. A warning: the video will make you cringe!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Little taste of caramel heaven

I have to begin by professing complete picture plagiarism. These pictures were so luscious that I didn't even want to compete (and I ate and shared this Salted Caramel Cheesecake to fast to even attempt my own photos). One of my favorite food blogs to check is Cream Puffs in Venice. She started a group called the Daring Bakers and once a month they all try out a new recipe and then take pictures and blog about it. Sounds like fun to me! This wasn't actually a Daring Bakers recipe, it was just something she made. The picture on the right is from her blog and the one on the left is from Food and Wine where the recipe came from. If you follow the Food and Wine link it will take you to the recipe. This wasn't hard, and I will readily admit to not only being afraid of cheesecake but of completely burning my first batch of caramel. But at that point I was only 6 Tbls of corn syrup, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, 6 minutes or so and one game of freecell in to the recipe. Yes, I left the caramel on the stove and sat down at the computer to play Freecell (I know, I deserved the mess). The second time around I watched the caramel more closely, a method I would highly recommend, since mine turned amber between about 5 and 6 minutes. One more "recipe note to self" after you have removed the burned pan of caramel/sticky candy to the deck to cool DON'T LET IT HARDEN. This required reheating the blackened disaster on low heat over the stove to remove the hard as rock burned mess from one of my favorite pans. But all's well that's ends well and I had Salted Caramel Cheesecake later that night to show for all my effort and that was worth it!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


My friend Lisa sent me the following quote this week from John Bingham....I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far. I am a a runner because I say I am. And no one can tell me I'm not. I finished my first race 10K in 1:04:54, so my average mile time was 10:26. Most assuredly not to fast, but 6 miles counts as far in my book still. The Butch Cassidy 10K started in Springdale, UT right outside of Zion's National Park and ended in the ghost town of Grafton, 6.2 miles down the road. They actually shut down the main road while we ran, which was very cool. And the course was gorgeous, with southern Utah red rock walls as a stunning backdrop. My family was waiting for me at the finish line, and Emilee, who was waiting for me on the sidelines actually ran the last .1 mile with me. I was so glad to cross that finish line! And I had that runner's "I DID IT" high from finishing something that for me was really hard. Now, Laura is trying to talk me into the SLC Half Marathon. YIKES! That's double and change what I ran on Saturday...but this little voice inside is saying come on, you could do it, how cool to be able to add that to your life list...The problem is it is still a very little voice inside, a much bigger voice is saying...let's see how 10 miles feel and then we'll talk.

Brian and I in Kolob Canyon in the north part of Zion's.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Taper Down

Wish me luck! Race week is finally here...
Thursday I got online one more time to check the race details. Four weeks ago when I looked there were only 17 women registered for the 10K. And despite tellling my girls over the course of the last few months that I just wanted to run the race and I was not going to win the race I truly do not want to come in last!! Silly, I know.
But I've done pretty well with my 10K training. This week I'm in the "taper down" phase and so I had an easy 3 mile run on Tuesday and 2 miles on Thursday. With lots of stretching and yoga in-between. Today is a rest day and by tomorrow morning I should be rested and full of lots of pre-race energy.
I have my own personal philosophy about big 'events'. If I do my best in preparation and honestly do everything that I can to be ready--than I am okay with the results--no matter what (again, as long as I'm not last...).
So, happy trails to me and if all goes well I'm setting my sites on a spring sprint triathalon.

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Proper Girls"

I had the funniest post trip conversation with Sadie this week. I was asking her about what she had done while I was in NY, and she started telling me about a dinner while I was gone. She said that it was really gross and something she didn't want to eat. But Brian was telling her about having good manners and there was a special word for it but she couldn't remember what it was called...
It turns out the discussion was "proper girls". I was rolling on the kitchen floor--this from the dad who introduced burping and other behaviors that have spawned a whole other set of rules in the "you can do it at our kitchen table while Dad is around, but never in public!" category.
Since my return I have learned that "proper girls"
1) load their dishes in the dishwasher when they are finished
2) don't eat and get food all over their faces and clothes
3) eat the food in front of them
4) use good manners
5) help around the house
6) get ready for school by themselves
That's a pretty awesome list for just a few days...when can I leave again and come home to such well-mannered "proper girls"?!?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Top Ten

My top ten favorite things about my New York trip...

10. crème brulee chocolates from Kee's Chocolates

9. crepe cake at Lady M’s

8. going back stage after Mary Poppins

7. tarragon with pink pepper gelato at il laboratorio del gelato

6. The Egyptian tomb at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

4. 20 hours of sleep in 5 days

3. 17 friends in two suites

2. bike ride on a cruiser through central park

and my favorite part of New York this October...

1. Wicked!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Witch is In

This afternoon I went with the girls over to Gardner Village to see the witches on display. I must say it was quite...bewitching. It was the start of what I would like to make an annual tradition but it was also one of those experiences where I can see us growing more into the experience. The girls were almost as interested in the horses on the other side of the parking lot as they were in the fun displays scattered around the shops. I guess we just say that today there was something for everyone!

One of our great finds was the Naborhood Bakery. The girls and I skipped dinner and got treats instead. I love the dilemna of too many good choices and watching each of them try to pick the best dessert. And although I wouldn't have traded my orange-cranberry muffin top as we were leaving I noticed that you could buy homemade bread by the slice..YUM!

I had a good time with my girls, but this would also be a fun place to spend the afternoon with my mom or girlfriends!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I Will Survive...

Start theme music here...

It has been one of THOSE weeks. You know the type, all your carefully laid plans and well thought out to-do lists... and then reality hits.

Brian went in for his ACL reconstruction on Wednesday. So Tuesday afternoon we got a call from the surgical center that we were on the schedule for 6:00 AM. "In the morning?!?!" was Brian's response when I called to let him know. Yeah.

My hospital experience is limited to having 3 kids so I didn't quite know what to expect, or know the "routine" for surgery. It was a little frightening to watch him get all prepped and then be wheeled away. I kept telling myself it could be worse as I watched parents with little kids come in for the children's surgical procedures. Yikes.

His three hour surgery was finished in a little less than 2 1/2 hours. The doctor said it was textbook and everything went like it was supposed to. About an hour later they came to get me and told me that Brian was waking up from his anesthesia. Now that was weird! He still doesn't remember any conversation that happened in the four hours or so post op--I'm trying to convince him that he agreed to another child! He's a little skeptical.

The ladies at the doctors office reminded me that "All men are babies..." but I have to say. NOT MY HUSBAND!!! I totally expected him to stay in bed and me to be waiting on him hand and foot for the next three days...(in between Brin's preschool, Em's orthodontist appointment, gymnastics, parent-teacher conferences, physical therapy-twice, a cousin birthday party and a kid's late-night, you know daily life) and instead he woke up the morning after surgery and the following conversation took place..

HIM: "OK, let's go!"
ME, horrified: "Where?"
HIM: "BestBuy, we need a TV for the bedroom."
ME: "You're joking, right?!?"
HIM: "It's ok, If you won't take me, I"ll just call Kevin"

I managed to put him off until that evening, I have to say the percoset helped, everytime I gave him one he was too sleepy to think for a little while. But we did go to BestBuy that night, the day after his knee surgery. And we went back on Friday to buy the right wall mount for the TV, after installing the wrong size mount that they initially sold us. I'm still writing the letter in my head to corporate headquarters...please instruct all salesmen to correctly assist 24 hour post-operative patients with the appropriate accessories for their purchases. People who are taking heavy pain medication should not operate heavy machinery, drive or be expected to install TV mounts twice because they were initially sold the wrong item.

So, now it's Sunday night. He thinks he's going to work in the morning--and he probably will. I am married to Superman, faster on crutches than a speeding bullet and impervious to pain. The kids will go back to school in the morning. I will host our recipe exchange, (Saucy Cooks) and then after a nice long nap--yeah, right!--I will start my treadmill shopping. Because, after all I did survive!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Okay...Now it's officially gone

I woke up this morning to howling wind, not just little rustlings but the check your windows, look for damage to the outside of your house kind of wind. The kind of wind that signals that you really should have pulled out those winter clothes earlier in the week when you woke up and didn't want to get out of bed because it was cold inside the house. The kind of wind that means that summer is over and you will not be seeing the upper side of 80 degrees unless you get out your passport...or at least your gas card.

By the time the E. and S. and I left to go to The Secret Garden at the Hale Center Theatre it was raining and really COLD. "Mom, we can't go out in this!" said S. truly concerned that it just wasn't safe and could certainly not be pleasant out there! "The play is inside!" I answered and thought to myself that if we waited for only good weather we could possibly be spending the next five months sequestered in the house.

When we got home later in the afternoon we had an inch or two of snow. Enough to dig out the snow clothes and find the hot chocolate. Don't worry it occupies it's own special shelf in the new kitchen. What a great tradition--Mom bundles up girls, Mom lays towels on the floor just inside the door to catch all the snowy clothes coming back in, Mom tucks gloves back in coats once or twice and watches from the kitchen window as the girls play in the snow, Mom thinks about getting the camera to capture the first snow pictures, Mom doesn't get camera and misses pictures, Mom is waiting with the fireplace going and hot chocolate readys when the girls come in soaking and cold and Mom and girls have hot chocolate together! It's inescapable...summer is officially gone, but hot chocolate is here to stay!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Summer's Not Over Yet...

...and I have the perfect dessert to prove it. I found this Peach Tart recipe from a couple weeks ago and I have been waiting for ripe peaches and an afternoon when I had a couple of hours to play. Finally yesterday afternoon I had both! I skipped the almond filling step and used some almond paste that I won at a King Arthur Flour demonstration a couple of months ago. These little tarts tasted almost as good today out of the fridge as they did last night out of the oven. The almond filling and the crust had blended and were a perfect compliment to the peach.

Special thanks to Brian for the picture. He took pity on me after seeing the pic of the last peach tart I made and volunteered his considerable expertise for today's effort. Pretty soon (maybe just a couple more lessons) and the photos will be my own!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

5 1/2

A year ago I would have told you that I really disliked running, that I had bad knees and that I always got stitches in my side when I ran.

I don't feel that way anymore. Remember the first time that you accomplished something that you weren't really sure that you could do? Remember the euphoria when you pushed through the pain or the exhaustion and finished something new?

That is how running feels to me now. This week I registered for the 10K in Sprindale, UT on Nov. 3, and this morning I ran my longest distance ever, 5.5 miles. I know, I know it's not really that far, but it's all relative. For me, it was a longest ever and I did it in under an hour. The 6.2 miles in a month and a half not only seems possible, but I think I might actually be able to do it in under 70 minutes.

This could just be the euphoria talking, but I am loving these long Saturday runs, I'm tired when they are over, but I just can't help grinning the rest of the day. My mind conquered my body and I was able to just keep going.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Peaches and Cream

I wait anxiously every summer for the peaches to ripen. Are they ready, is it time yet, still two more weeks?!? And then...that first bite of juicy, tree-ripened, heavenly...peach. And I pull out all my peach recipes and eat peaches every day while they last. The following recipe is one of my favorites. I've decided to start taking pictures of my fun food projects...just to keep track and also to improve my photography skills. I recently joined a recipe exchange group with some friends and Laura had the brilliant idea of creating a blog to keep us organized and make it easy. Check it out . In the meantime, try my Peaches and Cream Tart for a delicious taste of summer.
Peaches and Cream Tart
Macaroon Cookie Crust
2 cups macaroon cookies, crumbled
¼ cup butter, melted
Mix crumbled macaroon cookies with butter. Grease round cake or pie pan. Press mixture into pan and put in freezer for 15 minutes.

1 cup whipping cream
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Fresh peaches
Fresh raspberries or blueberries (optional)

Prepare Macaroon Cookie Crust and freeze for 15 minutes. Whip cream until stiff. Set aside. In a large bowl beat cream cheese then blend in the 2/3 cup sugar, orange juice, and vanilla and almond extracts. Fold in whipping cream; spread over frozen crust. Let set in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours before serving or place in freezer for 1 hour. Before serving, peel and slice peaches. Lightly sprinkle with sugar. Top filling with peach slices and garnish with berries, if desired. Makes 6 servings. (This recipe can be doubled in a 10-inch springform pan or 9x13-inch pan.)

From The Essential Mormon Cookbook by Julie Badger Jensen

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

One down....forty-nine to go

One project down...and only forty-nine to go. Actually I haven't numbered the projects still to be done. That would be a little to discouraging. We'll just pretend there is a check list and get things done a little at a time.

I am especially proud of my pantry door because I helped with it. I must confess my favorite projects are the ones that I put on the honey-do list. You know those projects--the ones where your personal involvement is limited to bringing it to your husband's attention and then following through with him to make sure it gets done...(also known as nagging-but that would never happen at my house!)

However, this project was different. The pantry door was delivered in it's raw wood form over a month ago. After walking past it daily and admiring it propped against the garage wall we finally decided that if we wanted to actually use it we were going to have to finish it. Brian did the first stain coat and then decided that I needed to be involved. I did the sanding and the second stain coat. He finished off with the laquer and hanging of the door. I have to admit being proud of my contribution- I was a little scared of the sander and it's potential for harm, but now as I run my hand over my very smooth pantry door I have to say I (ok, WE) did a very good job!

And now on to the lockers in the mud room!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lengthen your stride

As soon as the girls left for school this morning I called my friend Lisa--the all things running expert. "My ankles felt funny this morning," I announced. "I stretched like I usually do and did one of my regular routes, but my ankles felt strained." Her first old were my shoes? When I announced their age...2 years... the little pause on the other end of the line told me what I needed to know. How often am I supposed to be replacing shoes? Do you ever realize mid-conversation that the more you talk the more you have firmly entrenched yourself in the beginner camp?

But, I can change the beginner status. I just started a training program to get ready for my first 10K. I want to run the Springdale Butch Cassidy 10K in November with my friends Lisa & Laura and I started training last week. I carefully assessed several different training methods, with lots of help from Lisa, of course. And then promptly decided on the easiest! After all it is my first 10K. And I should be race worthy about three weeks early so maybe I can actually run it decently instead of just to finish.

Anyway, this afternoon, I was laughing to myself as I drove home from Salt Lake Running. (A store I would highly recommend because their sales staff is so helpful and knowldegeable!) I started running to lose weight and because it was so much less expensive than joining the gym...but I just spent $100 on awesome shoes, I really need a treadmill, and I WANT WANT WANT a Garmin Forerunner. If I found a gently used treadmill than my monthly hobby budget might come in under $1000 for all three items. I think joining a gym might have been less expensive afterall, and if I divide the $1000 for every pound I've lost...oh...let's not do that math! AND on top of all that I would forever give up the right to give my husband grief for spending money on his hobbies. Clearly I need to deliberate a little more and assess the entire costs of my situation!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to School--Day 1

Today was the girls first day back to school--at least it was supposed to be. When Sadie wasn't feeling well yesterday I had my fingers crossed that it was a 24 hour flu. After all, you can't miss your first day back at school. Her excitement carried her through the first half hour of waking up this morning, but by the time we sat down to breakfast she was not feeling well again. This picture cracks me up, because it is pretty obvious something is wrong...

Emilee on the other hand was feeling a great. And at the end of the day she literally skipped off the bus and announced that she had "the best day ever!"
Hopefully tomorrow will be Sadie's first day, and her "first day picture" will look a little happier!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yes...those were my kids

I remember as a new parent attending ward activities and watching children run wild and thinking..."I will NEVER be that kind of parent, I will NOT allow my children to behave that way!" Well...

Brian and I got called as the activities committee chairmen in our new ward and tonight was our ward bbq up AF canyon. My instructions to the girls this afternoon? "Tonight Mom and Dad are going to be busy, keep an eye on each other and check in with us every so often"...This is what I told my 4 year old!! What kind of parent am I turning out to be? comments needed on that rhetorical question.

The girls had fun and they even checked in a couple times, the first time soaking wet because they had found the sprinklers, and then a little while later because they were hungry. As we were driving home Sadie kept telling me her stomach hurt, upon questioning we determined that dinner for her consisted of a hot dog bun, because when she got close to the hot dogs they were all black. And she had some homemade root beer and a slushie...nice balanced diet.

As my kids get older I find there are lots of things that I promised myself I would never do as a mom that now just happen. When you only have one baby it's a lot easier to keep tabs on them then when you have 3 separate and very different little girls looking for an adventure. It makes me wonder about how my parenting philosophy will have changed again in another 5 years!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Summer of 100 Books

They did it! One of our summer activities this year was to read 100 books. And we made it.
Em was definently the team's heavy hitter contributing 35 of the total. She would have read more but a couple weeks ago she decided she wanted to read Harry Potter and those are big books! She is now on book 4 and quite proud of her accomplishment. This has also been good for me because it has forced me to unpack more boxes as I search for the rest of the series.
We are still discussing the big "prize", but the little prize was the music to High School Musical 2. The girls have kept me posted all week on the countdown to when the premiere was (tonight), and they have been listening almost non-stop to the new CD. They are thrilled to be attending a "premiere party" with their friends. I remember as a new mom swearing that my kids would not be pulled in to all the hype surrounding the latest/greatest new TV/movie and now...there just seem to be other important things to worry about, and at least they are reading in addition to watching TV! So when you see them congratulate them on their 100 books!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Today was my Dad's birthday and one particular item on his wish list caught my attention. He wanted "The Princess Bride" on DVD. Apparently, our old family VHS version, videotaped off the TV when I was probably 13, is no longer a satisfactory way to view this family classic. Also apparently I wasn't the only one paying attention to the birthday list, tonight, Dad opened 3 copies of "the Princess Bride". It was hilarious to sit there with my brothers and sisters and hear this movie quoted. As kids this was a movie that, along with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, we watched over and over and over. And we still remember it word for word. Many family quotes were drawn from this movie..."it's possible...pig", "did the word "THINK" just escape your lips?" and of course "as you wish". There are just some movies that never lose their magic or at least never fail to bring a smile.

What are your family classics?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

First things first

When asked, I keep telling everyone that we are "still settling in" to the new house. But I realized yesterday after wasting countless hours that I might be settling in forever. Brian and I have yet to set up our own computers, we're still parking the cars in the driveway, and Brian's office looks like a bomb site to name just a few of our projects.

And yet I have found time to read Harry Potter (which I loved, my favorite of all) and several other books, I've had a "cupcake day" where I baked for an entire afternoon, I ran the Draper 5k, we've gone on several mini-vacations, hiked to Timpanogos Cave, and had lots of other summer adventures.

So, I grounded myself this morning from the computer and my book (of course, this was after my run... I could only give up so much) until the garage could be parked in. Then, I cleared the rubble in the office so Brian's computer could get set up and painted Brin's nails-2 coats.

It's all just a matter of priorities, right!?! Now I can be guiltless for another couple weeks and get back to my book...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Mini-Break

Why is it that all the things you would really like to remember, all the milestones, vacations and excitement seem to happen when you are just to busy to write?

Since last I posted we have been to Yuba Lake twice, had our new house vandalized (prior to moving in), finally MOVED IN!!, got water for the house--after moving in, camped at Granite Flats for a family reunion, fished at Flaming Gorge, hiked to Timpanogos Cave, saw Hairspray, Harry Potter and Ratatouille, and a million other little things that make up summer and settling in to a new place.

I think I can fit blogging back in to the schedule now!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rising Above

I read something moving this afternoon. Newsweek published an interview that they did with Mariane Pearl, the wife of journalist Daniel Pearl. And in it they asked her about fighting terrorism. I don't have any great claim to right answers in international politics, but I do feel like her answer was profound...

"Terrorism is a psychological weapon, even though it uses physical means. It stops you from claiming the world as your own. It stops you from relating to other people. It creates fear and hatred. The only way to fight terrorists, as a citizen, is to deny them those emotions. That is the only thing terrorists don't expect. Everything else they expect: retaliation, bombing, attacks. All of that is exactly what they want. Deny them fear, and they lose". The journalist interviewing her responded that her answer was a very "noble reaction to terrorism, especially considering what happened to you" and she returned "I'm not saying this because I'm a nice person. It's not forgiveness that motivates me. It's revenge. Terrorists expect retaliation. It's very easy to want to hurt someone who has hurt you. The one thing they're not expecting is my happiness. That's true revenge. And when I see Adam, and I see how happy he is, I think, "I'm winning."

She lived through this great tragedy and decided not to blame an entire population for what happened to her husband. Her "revenge" is to be happy and raise a happy son. Here is a woman who has risen above her circumstances to choose her own way. It was Victor Frankel who said "the one thing you can't take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one's freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance."

If the world were full of people with this attitude and belief it would be a different place. For now this is one of the qualities I am going to add to my list of things to become. A woman who chooses her own attitude in any given circumstance.

For the interview go to

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summer Dusk

Ahhh....It has been one of those perfect summer nights when everyone goes to bed content. Brian got to have his Thursday "guy wakeboard night", the kids played outside until dark, and I had a chance to relax on the park bench with nothing to do and nothing to hurry home to.

There is something so magical about summer dusk. It's a twilight transition time that never fails to bring quiet. As the sun slips down behind the mountain it takes all the "busy day" cares with it. The sky gradually darkens, the heat of the sun melts away and my mood matches the twilight. Street noise quiets, kid noise becomes occasional and the song of the night insects enters my consciousness slowly. By the time darkness has fallen I am relaxed and happy.

This will last another ten hours until I get the first house related phone call in the morning. But, cross my fingers, this will only last for another week or so, and then I will be enjoying summer dusk in my chaise lounge (that is currently packed away in storage) on our new deck.

Friday, June 8, 2007


One of my favorite childhood memories is of playing games for hours on end. I remember Monopoly marathons, Risk(a favorite of mine), Life, Trouble, Pictionary, and of course the Crump Classic, Shanghai. No camping trip with the extended family could be considered complete without a late night game of Shanghai!

Now that the girls are getting older it has been fun to start playing games with them. We recently discovered a new game called Rat-a-tat-Cat. I loved the idea of a game with strategy that all of us had an equal chance of winning. So I sat down and taught Emilee and Sadie how to play. The idea of the game is to collect the cards with the fewest amount of points, the cat cards, the rat cards are all high points. The trick is you don't get to look at your cards.

In game after game, I would try to "help" Sadie. "Take the three, " I would try to convince her, "it's a low card." "No, Mom I want this one," and she would turn over a zero. "Oh, don't do that," I would stay, because statistically her chances of drawing a lower card were small...and yet, against the odds she would draw that lower card. "Rat-a-tat-Cat," I would call to end the round, absolutely sure that my 4 point total was an assured winner. Sadie would turn over her hand to reveal a 2 point total, 2 zero's and 2 one's. Brian sat down with us to play, I think because he thought maybe I was "letting" Sadie win, but no, she beat him too!

A couple nights ago, we sat down for a couple of rounds. I showed Sadie how to "cut the deck" and deal the cards. (Important skills for any six-year old, right?) After four hands we were all off to different activities. As Brian and I were talking downstairs, I wondered what Sadie was doing, it was awfully quiet upstairs, and she is usually not the silent one around the house. A few minutes later she appeared at my side, "Mom, come play again with me and Emilee,". "I can't right now, Sadie maybe later." A little while later I was upstairs and found a game very carefully laid out. A little glimmer crossed my mind, and I knelt down just to satisfy my curiousity. I turned over Sadie's cards and sure enough found 4 cats, all zero's. Emilee's hand was full of rats, all 8's and 9's. My hand was a little more mixed. I put away the cards, and later that night when Sadie asked, "Mom, did you put away the game?" I answered, "Yes, who do you think was going to win?" Her first response was a shrug, and then this little Sadie grin, started to peek out. "Mom, I made my cards all zero's!!! and filled Emilee's hand with rats! Tee-hee-hee"

Brian and I have been laughing about it ever since. Imagine that, one of our daughters turning out competetive! We'll save the "it's as much fun to play as it is to win" lesson for later. I'm still playing Rat-a-tat-cat, but for the next little while, I think I'll keep dealing!