Friday, December 18, 2009

It's All a Blur

That's me, on the left, doing my thang at a Nordstrom trunk show. The picture was taken two years ago, and it's the only tangible memory I have from doing the show. When I downloaded the picture, I was bummed that it turned out so blurry. I knew I'd have to squint to see all the hours I had spent on making those hair accessories.

I look at this picture every now and again, and for some reason this thought always comes to mind: Don't waste time on things that profit you little or nothing. My little tryst with Nordstrom wasn't unprofitable or a waste of time, but all the trunk shows took place during the holidays. As you could imagine, I was already up to my eyeballs with other holiday responsibilities and adding four trunk shows into the mix wasn't easy--at all.

I was a SWAMP WITCH from November 1st until January 1st. I cried and yelled more times than I care to share, and my kids got used to saying, "We won't bother you while you're making clips." I was making clips for three months straight, so they didn't have a mother until Christmas day.

Was it worth it?

Yes and no.

I'll always be glad to have the accomplishment. But every time my kids look at that picture, they say, "Remember all those clips?" It's a loaded question, so I always leave it alone, unanswered.

P.S. The girl standing next to me is the Kids' Wear manager. I got to know her really well, so well, in fact, I ended up giving her a BOM. While standing in between the kids' clothes and cases of Dior sunglasses, I bore my testimony about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. It was gutsy of me, I know.

So my point is: Maybe it was all worth it, just for that one little part.

P.P.S Behaving like a swamp witch is never justifiable, right?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Choppin' Broccoli

I laughed like crazy when I read my homie's essay, "My Least Favorite Food." He's such a lover of anything that will clog his arteries: bacon, sausage, chips, processed cheese food, logs of butter. I can never get enough fruits and veggies into his diet, so I wasn't surprised to read his loathing for anything green.

For your entertainment:

My Least Favorite Food
My least favorite food is broccoli. I think they should invent a broccoli deflector. Literally, it's that bad. It's super nasty, and I barfed the first time I had it. It looks like a rotten tree. It is horribly rotten and do you know what the color of poison is? GREEN! So I'm never eating broccoli again. I would rather race around the world than eat broccoli. If it were alive it would be hideous and taste hideous. So that's why I hate evil broccoli.
The End

P.S. I hope he goes on a mission to Taiwan. After he has a serving of chicken claw stew (talons and all), he'll never turn his back on broccoli again. Never.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Handel It.

I grew up listening to this version of Handel's Messiah. I love it more than a chocolate bar or a bowl of rocky road. I dare say it's one of my all time favorite things. Yesterday, on my way to picking up the kids from school, I blasted track 7, "And He Shall Purify." I sang along like I was the first chair soprano in the Mo Tab. (I know there's really no such thing, right?) I could only sing to about the middle of the song. Then I had to windshield wipe the tears from my face. Christmas isn't Christmas without a lot of, "And He shall reign for ever and ever..." You feelin' me?

P.S. Did you know Frederick Handel was down in the dumps financially and mentally when he composed Messiah? It only took him 24 days to complete the entire score. Amazing. That's what mi madre told me, anyway, and she's right 110% of the time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The other night I was dead-dog tired. And you know, when the mama is dead-dog tired, the demands begin to swarm like gnats on a hot summer's day. It's God's way of teaching us patience and long-suffering.

After three hours of homework (seriously), an hour of piano practice, cooking dinner, and bath time, I was D-O-N-E. The afternoon had quickly turned to night, and I could hardly wait for 8:30 to flash on our microwave's digital clock.

"It's time for bed, people." I clapped and hollered as I marched up the hallway to check what was going on in the brightly lit bathroom. My homies had been in there, fonching around, for the last ten minutes. I turned the corner, surprised to find wads of toilet paper, dotted with blood, scattered across the bathroom counter.

"My tooth came out." Sam said, turning to show me the blood pumping from his back molar.

"Awesome, Bud. Go to bed." I said, patting him on the back.

"The Tooth Fairy will come tonight. That tooth was hard to get out, Mom."

"I bet it was, Bud. Bed." I said, like a broken record.

Here's the thing: The Tooth Fairy and I were out of cold, hard cash. We were also exhausted to the max. That's why we decided on using the Sacagawea I had found in the dryer the day before. Sue me, and kick me down the street. I now realize that the Tooth Fairy and I stink like toe jam. The old, dirty coin was a heartless and lazy gift. I get it.

I busted a gut when I found Sam's written response to the Tooth Fairy, which was left on his bedroom floor, next to his bed:

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I was expecting more of a gift. I am not trying to be rude but I think you could put a little more efort into that (Not trying to be rude).


The story gets more pathetic. I loved the note so much, I stuffed it into my underwear drawer. I wanted to save it forever. Later that day, Sam found it and asked, "How did the Tooth Fairy's note get in here?"

I stood there, speechless.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I did ask Sam what in the tarnation was he doing, shuffling around in my undergarment business. Apparently he was looking for Christmas presents.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet Potato

I'm the only one in my family who loves sweet potatoes, and I bake them once a year, on Thanksgiving, just for myself. I've searched high and low for the best recipe, and I've finally found it. I could just kiss Hilary Weeks for providing this next to perfect recipe. It's the best in the west. Seriously.

Sweet Potato mixture:
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato, skins off
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, well beaten
1 stick butter, melted

Crust mixture:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick butter, melted

Boil or steam sweet potatoes, drain, remove skins, set aside. In a mixing bowl thoroughly combine the ingredients for the sweet potato mixture. Pour into buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm.

Combine crust mixture ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle surface of baked sweet potato mixture with crust mixture. (This uses the word “mixture” a lot. Has anyone else noticed that?) Broil briefly just until crust is golden brown. Allow to set for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Tom said the crust mixture burned easily on the broil setting. He recommended putting it on before the sweet potatoes bake and letting it bake along with it. You do what you feel good about.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Five Guys: Follow-Up Review

Top 5 Reasons for Loving Five Guys

1. While we're waiting in line to order our food, our beef-lovin' son drew this picture and hung it on the Five Guy "Leave Comments Here, Please!" board.

2. I hate ground beef! But I ate a burger, just for you, so I could honestly tell you that the meat tastes fresh and fabulous.

3. Five Guys' fries taste better than In-N-Out's fries (sorry), AND you can make your own Training Table-ish fry sauce. Just order a side of mayo and BBQ sauce, and mix it together like you're cooking in the kitchen with Julia Child.

4. They play good music. I'm pretty sure that a Pointer Sisters song came on ("He's So Fine," to be exact). I shook my trunk, side to side, while I refilled at the all-you-can-drink soda fountain.

5. But, I mostly loved chattin' it up with my homies over fries and beef on a bun. Our Tuesday night felt like a Friday night, and I have to thank Five Guys for giving me that bit o' magic.

Five Guys

I just saw that this little restaurant is O-P-E-N. We're going there for dinner tonight; I'll let you know if they rival In-N-Out (That's what a hamburger is all about--animal style and whatnot)or the Burger Joint in NY.

If you're local to Gilbert, AZ, you can find Five Guys next to Rumbi, in the Dana Park Village Square, off of the 60 and Val Vista. Now, go get you some beef, chica!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Losing Sleep

I've been losing sleep over what Christmas card I should send out this year. Tonight I told mi Amor, "We have to decide what we're going to do: spend the cash on a custom card or go with the 200 cards I bought last year at the Hobby Lobby.

He shrugged and said, "I thought we were going with the Fa La La La La cards."

Let's be honest, chicas. Our husbands just want us to decide and be done with it. They don't want to hear us jabbering on and on about the hand-lined envelopes Kate Spade has in her holiday stationery collection.

Here's the thing: I love the Fa La La La La card because it has 5 spots for our family's 5 little head shots. But last year, after spending a bundle on cards, I promised my wallet I'd be better, more practical when the holidays rolled around again.

I'd better go eat a big bowl of rocky road, so I can get clarity on this whole issue.

P.S. Mi Amor took our Christmas pictures this afternoon. (Here's a little sneak peek.) We only got in two fights--something about fingerprints on his lens and "someone" messing up the ISO setting. We're still in love, though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Some of you know I've been getting serious about my physical fitness. I've been taking classes at the gym everyday (except Sundays) for two weeks straight. I'm growing buns of steel, and my mental health has improved 100%. Everyday, I tell mi Amor, "I can't believe I've gone 35 years with little or no exercise."

On Tuesdays and Fridays I take a step class, and I'm the worst in the class. I trip all over the place. I mess up the moves, and I mambo in the opposite direction of everyone else, every time. A girl in my ward watched me do some moves, and now she won't sit next to me in RS--embarrassing. (Just Kidding, Tammy. I know you're not judging me.)

The other day, while I was setting up my step station, a girl in a tight pink t-shirt and black yoga pants came up to me and said:

"Um, excuse me. You're not setting up right. As you can see (she pointed to all the other step professionals in our class), you're lining up your step wrong. You should have the right hand corner of your step aligned with the silver dot. Have you ever been to this class before?"

"Heck, yes!" I said confidently.

"Well, you may want to scooch over there so you don't get hurt."

"Thanks, Mom." I said in my head.

Well, the only guy in our class came over to where I was standing and invited me to step next to him, so I strutted my stuff over to a new spot, away from my stepmom. She was making me grouchy.

During the class I would periodically look over at my stepmom and check her work. And guess what I discovered? Her step moves stink like beef and cheese. And you know what else? She couldn't do her push-ups. Guess who could? Whoop, Whoop! That's right. Me and Gwen Stefani!

P.S. Did you know that I love Gwen Stefani? We're kinda of like BFFs.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brine, Baby, Brine

If you've never brined your Thanksgiving bird, then this is the year to start--you won't regret it; I cross my heart. In fact, I'm willing to guarantee that you will be sashed the Belle of your Thanksgiving Ball if you follow the secret recipe noted below. (Thank you, Food Network.)


  • 6 quarts tap water
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 cups honey
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • Large bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 heads garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled
  • 5 pounds ice cubes
  • 14 to 18-pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 lemons, zested


In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of the tap water to a boil over medium heat. Put the kosher salt in a large bowl and slowly (and carefully!) pour the boiling water over the salt. Stir to blend.

Add the molasses, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme and garlic to the salt and water mixture. Stir to blend. Add the remaining 3 quarts of cool water. Add the ice to a cooler or bucket large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Pour the brine over the ice and use a large whisk to blend all of the ingredients.

Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity of the bird fills with the liquid as you are submerging it. Cover the cooler and allow the bird to sit in the brine overnight or for about 12 hours. (I place the cooler in my fridge.)

Remove the bird from the brine and dry it thoroughly with thick (absorbent) kitchen towels. Take care to wipe inside the cavity as well. Discard the brine. Whisk together the butter and the lemon zest. Gently lift the skin covering 1 breast of the turkey and spread half of the butter right on the meat under the skin. Repeat with the other breast. The butter will add extra moisture and richness as the bird roasts. (I also slip 10 strips of raw bacon between the skin and breast. My family goes nuts for this.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Put on the lower rack of the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey taken from the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 1/2 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven to a cutting board or serving platter and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Here are a few other brine recipes:



Ultimate Turkey Brine

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas Lists

It's already Christmas at Target and Walmart, and that's why, on our way home from school today, I asked my homies to cough up their Christmas lists. I even made them sign an "I Won't Change My Mind" contract. (Not really.)

I did say, "Santa might have a nervous breakdown if you change your minds too much. It's really hard for him when, for example, a little girl says she wants the American Girl doll, Rebecca, then two days before Christmas, she changes her mind and wants a beach cruiser. Besides, the elves have such little hands. We wouldn't want to put them through such torture. My point is: What you put on your lists must stay on your lists. No changies. Okey dokey, artichokey?"

They just sat there, staring. Finally the littlest one blurted, "Santa can do anything."

I glared at my oldest homie, because she knows the truth about Santa. (I didn't tell her. You can blame that one on mi Amor.) I didn't want her to go ahead and share that Santa's pocket book is only as big as the one sitting on the armrest next to us (which currently holds: a parking ticket, a pile of receipts, and three pennies).

She's usually the one who demands the most, and so, my message was really for her. For example, the above pictured bike is at the top of her list. I can't blame her for falling in love with it, but we (Santa and I) can't handle a little switcheroo at the last second, especially at the tune of 459 bucks.

You'll have to excuse me while Santa and I plan a yard sale. We'll need to earn funds, so we can put this bike on layaway, ASAP. Or else, she may be forced to settle for a Huffy with an extra long banana seat. It might just be the perfect bike for junior high. What would her friends say?


The other day mi Amor's law firm had a book sale, and he brought home this book. My homies and I are now reading it for our bedtime story. I'm giving you one word to describe this book: Excelente!

You can read a review about Kira-Kira here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Birthday Boy

Today is this boy's birthday and I told him, "You can do whatever you want on your special day." Whatever you want meant: taking Krispy Kreme to school, then getting out of school early and spending the rest of the day in a cave (or bedroom), building a ginormous Indiana Jones Lego set. He has also requested sausage pizza for dinner and a fudge bundt cake for dessert. (Can you believe it? The cake comes to haunt me, yet again.)

I'm making all of today's dreams come true; that's what moms do.

I know you won't be jealous of me when I have to pick up the 1,044 pieces to his new Lego set.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Madonna Arms

This morning I told mi Amor that I want to grow some Madonna arms. "Let's not get crazy, Katy," he insisted. Her arms are sickly and veiny; she's just so gross."

"You mean you never ever wanted to be her 'Boy Toy,' even when you saw her dance moves in the 'Lucky Star' video?"

"No. She's outright disgusting," he said, while shaving in front of the bathroom mirror. I like to pester him when he's getting ready for work.

I've heard that Ashtanga Yoga is responsible for her muscly body, and that's why, today, I decided to try my first Yoga class. Within the first ten downward dogs, I had mentally checked out. The instructor kept saying, "Reach deep inside yourself and find a happy place."

What does that mean exactly?

I decided that I should just stick with listening to my ipod and running. Maybe, instead of Madonna arms, I'll work on getting Madonna pipes. I can sing, "Get into the groove. Boy, you've got to prove your love to me..." all around the block. I know what getting into the groove means.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Barbie Girl

What enrages me is the way woman are used as extensions of men, mirrors of men, devices for showing men off, devices for helping men get what they want...
Jane Tompkins, "Me and My Shadow"

I have listened to professors lecture on Feminism. They always debunk the negative female stereotypes found throughout literature: Women are either tramps, extraordinarily beautiful, or old, shriveling spinsters. Once, when one my professors was reviewing Charloette Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," I took a mental note: No daughter of mine will ever play with a Barbie doll. Not ever.

By two years old, she was trained. She'd say, when her girlfriends invited her to play, "We can't play Barbies. She mis-wup-re-sents women." Moms were always amused by this unusual announcement. "Don't all girls love playing Barbies?" one mom asked at the end of our playdate. I casually said, "I've never liked dolls much. I never dreamed of becoming a mom. (Not that I don't adore being one now. I just never thought that far in advance.) And playing house was always my least favorite game. I've always liked being the boss--bossing around my four little brothers always came so naturally. I liked being in charge, and playing house usually meant someone else was in charge of me." The woman raised her eyebrows and stared, stupefied.

Needless to say, that wasn't our last chance to prove we made good playmates. My homgurl soon found other friends who enjoyed dancing, reading, drawing, and running around outside, friends who didn't have naked Barbie dolls strewed about the house, friends who didn't want to pretend to be a mom, cooking and cleaning in plastic high heels for hours on end, friends who roamed and played in a world undefined, so I thought.

When her fourth Christmas was a month away I asked, "What do you want for Christmas?"

"The Nutcracker Barbie," she said smiling.

"The what?" I said.

"The Nutcracker Barbie. I want to dance and sing like the Nutcracker Barbie, Mom. I want to have hair to my toes and eyelashes that brush my eyebrows when I blink. I want to be pretty."

"You're already pretty, just the way you are. Barbie isn't real, Hannah. She's fake, no one looks like that in real life. Where did you learn about this Barbie, huh? From Ken?"

"We watched the movie at Jessica's house," she said.

"Well I thought Jessica was into puppets and play dough, not Barbie."

"Can't she like both, Mom?"

She was right. Jessica could like whatever she wanted to like, and my homgurl could like whatever she wanted to like. I bought her the Nutcracker Barbie and have since purchased more dolls than I care to share. She still spends hours in her room, in her own Barbie world, playing out who she'll become. The Barbie Mansion is home to the best therapy money can buy. There she pretends she's a writer, a fashion designer, a doctor, a lawyer, a mother of twin girls. I always tell her she's going to be wonderful at whatever she becomes. No man can stop wonderful from happening.

At the beginning of the week she asked,

"Can I be Barbie for Halloween?"

"What kind of Barbie?" I cautiously asked.

"A pretty Barbie, not a sleazy Barbie."

"You can dress up like Barbie as long as you know..."

"I know, Mom. She misrepresents woman; she's not real, blah blah blah."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Her Hair

There's something about her hair that deeply connects the two of us--the way I brush through it every morning, at first combing my fingers cautiously down the nape of her neck, then growing more careless as I reach the middle of her back. I always start, "Did you wash all the conditioner out? Your hair feels so cakey."

I begin raking through her top layers, "And there's left over hairspray in your part--it's all flaky up here." I tap on her head, pointing. "You need to wash more thoroughly."

"I know, Mom! You tell me this every morning and it's old. I'm trying my very best. Knock it off and think of something new to say."

She's right; I'm a nag, a nuisance, a broken record. What will she do with a mom like me?

"Well," I say. "What's new with you? Any drama? New crush? Do you ever have dreams about sneaking into the bedroom of the cutest girl in the school, then cutting her hair off until she's bald?"

"What? You're demented, Mom! I would never dream about doing something like that, eewh." she says, crinkling her nose.

I switch from brushing to styling her hair, and the demands start firing like a machine gun. "I just want a side pony. No braids. No bump in the front. Just the pony, that's all. OK, Mom?" This time I do what she asks with minimal resistance.

"Guess what, Mom?"


"There's this boy in my class, and he totally bugs."

"What's he like--fat? Small and Skinny? Does he have bad breath and yellow teeth?"

"He's none of that, Mom. He's just annoying, and I can't stand how he spits when he talks and laughs when he shouldn't. He gets in trouble every day. And you know what else?"

"What?" I say.

"He smiles at me all the time."

I begin making a high trill with my voice, and my eyes go wide, "He likes you, Nah. Woohoo. He's totally in love with and crazy for you."

"Gross, Mom. Are you done with my hair yet?"

"Yes." She moves away from me to the other mirror, swiveling her head back and forth. She likes what she sees. All of it.

I watch her as she flips her pony over her shoulder and bounces out of the bathroom. I note her perfect frame and follow her out, inhaling the mix of her hairspray and Pink perfume; I can't get enough. She's already twenty steps ahead of me when I hear her distant,"Goodbye, Mom. I love you."

I quickly begin wafting all the air around me, pulling it close to my nose. I can't smell what was there just seconds ago. Her scent has dissipated, leaving me alone with the smell of over cooked eggs and an almost gone blackberry Wall Flower. I miss her when she is gone.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blame It on the Girls

You may think your life stinks like old beef and moldy cheese. You may wish you had more chi-chang in your bank account. And at church yesterday, you may have envied her. You know who I'm talking about--the Ann Taylor girl. She comes to church with her lapels perfectly pressed, wearing a real pearl necklace, which mirrors her never fading smile. Every Sunday you sit in the foyer and watch her walk down the hallway. Her boot smothered legs idyllically bend and curtsy as she picks up the primary roles from underneath the heavy wood doors. You look down at your Cheerio encrusted chest, then look up at her. Your mind temporarily suicides as it takes a dive in Shallow Shores: I wish I were her.

You know envy isn't you; It's detrimental to want what you ain't got. So you decide on a solution: run it off (on Monday, of course). You run. But while you're running, you begin cursing your seemingly eighty year old heart (you can only run a half mile before you're forced to crawl the rest of the way home). Meanwhile, though, your ipod is pumping a ray of hope through your sweat dripping ears: "Blame It on the Girls" by Mika. The crawling becomes easier as you notice the hibiscus in your front yard is blooming new flowers. The flowers remind you of the story President Uchtdorf told about about John Rowe Moyle in his article, "Lift Where You Stand." You're reminded that you don't have a pegleg, and the Lord needs you to straighten up and fly right. It really is good to be you. Now start workin' it like you believe it, chica.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Worst Birthday Ever

Last Friday marked mi Amor's 38th birthday. Two weeks prior to his big day, I started wooing him, "We're going to eat the best sushi. Then I'm going to perform a dance for you--something contemporary--right in the middle of the restaurant parking lot. (I do this from time to time--dance.) Then we'll go home and watch your favorite movie. We'll open presents and eat cake. What kind of cake do you want?"

"I don't care about my birthday; just skip it," he said.

"We can't do that--just skip it. The kids would be heartbroken and you deserve to be celebrated."

He rolled his eyes and said, "Don't go crazy buying me gifts and whatnot. It's you who cares about being celebrated, not me."

His birthday came, and at four o'clock that afternoon I found myself scrambling to find a cake and a gift. I knew he wanted an ice cream cake from BR, but I was stumped as to what gift to buy: a personal trainer, new golf clubs. Maybe a new suit? But no, none of these ideas actualized. Instead, I found myself at the distribution center, buying him 6 new pairs of underware. Then, the only cake left at BR was this purple cake bedazzled with daisies; I bought it. I told the girl at the counter, "It's how the cake tastes that really matters."

When he unwrapped his present, he didn't bat and eye. "Perfect," he said. And when we brought out the cake he said, "Looks delicious." He didn't complain about his Barney purple cake and how it would stain our teeth gray for the next 24 hours.

I really think the interpretive dance I performed for him, in the TJ Max parking lot, erased the memory of his purple cake and new underware. My dancing was that good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


May your journey be filled with joy.

May your journey be filled with joy.

May your journey be filled with joy.

May your journey be filled with joy.

May your journey be filled with joy.

May your journey be filled with joy.

May your journey be filled with joy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Just a Little Note

A few mornings ago, I found this note propped on a chair between a stack of books and my old black purse. It stood tall next to our kitchen island. Mi Amor had written the note while I was away, taking the kids to school. I read it--surprised, enthralled. The note's electric blue letters pulsed like a neon open sign, each word charged with love, inviting me in to believe it, to buy it: You're the best.

The house was still except for the thump-thumping the dryer made, turning its full load of wet, heavy towels. Loosening the note from between the books, and tipping it against my belly, I read it again. How did he know a trip to the temple was just what I needed?

I left the note propped on the kitchen counter, and I read it at least a million times throughout the day. When my homies came home from school, they read the note too. One of them kept repeating its words over and over: once while eating Doritos, again while putting his dinner plate into the dishwasher, and once more during his bath. My eyes went misty every time I heard him say to himself, "You're the best!"

That night before bed, I told mi Amor,

"Do you hear what you're teaching your dear, sweet son?"

"What?" He said confused.

"Haven't you heard him reading that note you left? Do you know what you're doing?

"No," he said nervously.

"You're teaching him to love his future wife. You're teaching him to love me, or better yet, love himself. You're making this home a heaven on earth, and I can't thank you enough."

"Hmm," he said, not really grasping the long-term consequences of his simple little note.

P.S. As you can see, someone tried to wipe away my little note. In effort to preserve this moment in time, I took a picture--it lasts longer. Heaven knows I'll need to be reminded: You're the best. Don't doubt it. We all need to hear that once in a while--maybe once every minute somedays.

You're the BEST. Don't doubt it!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nostalgia Lane

The homecoming dance is this weekend, and I made these hair flowers for a girl to wear in her smashing updo. I love the Sunday following a dance. The girls always parade their fancy gowns up and down the church hallways, and I always whisper to my homegurl, "Don't they look radiant?"

I'm liking the current vintage trend. I see girls around here totting their grandma's purses and wearing new-to-them cardigans or cocktail rings they've purchased from local thrift shops. I like old fashion turned new. It's resourceful thinking at its best.

P.S. I made these flowers out of fabric remnants.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Feeling Autumn

Today I let autumn in through my front door. Arizona's blasting infernal heat has eased a bit, and that's why I bought bread bowls shaped like pumpkins for tonight's dinner. I'm piling all the leftover chicken into a pot, adding butter, broth, and a teensy little prayer, in hopes of disguising the traces of last night's Chicken Clump Delight.

I also thought about what I should be for Halloween. I've always dreamed of dressing up like Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent. She's so divinely evil, and her purple eye shadow and coiling horns are so glamorously scary. My homies might say that I don't really need a costume to dress up like a witch. They'd never say that about me, right?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hot Pink Pencil Box

The kids in Mrs. Harnish's kindergarten class have a way of keeping you from going astray. Chase will welcome you with a hug, his arms tightly wound around your thighs. He'll say, "Your legs feel kinda of wiggly-jiggly, huh?" And then a veil of guilt will fall across your heart as you think, "I should have skipped eating that fun-sized Kit-Kat for breakfast."

And then, while your reading a story to Mrs. Harnish's kids, the story about Mr. Wormy and his gargantuan apple, Grant will sneeze a sneeze so large, it will spray spittle-spattle all over your face. You'll gracefully wipe away the spatter, promising yourself a stop at Walgreen's for a flu shot--you've earned it.

While you're explaining to Miranda how to connect the dots, she'll plug her noise while telling you that mints are the best way to cure a serious case of bad breath. She may also remind you to brush more often.

Then Abigail and Shirley will tap you on your shoulder and say, "Little boys should never bring their crayons to school in a hot pink pencil box. Pink is for girls and pretty princesses, not for little boys."

They'll point to the hot pink pencil box sitting atop your very own son's desk. You'll walk over to where he is sitting and whisper into his ear, "Is your pencil box hot pink?"

"Yes. You told me it was the color of cinnamon red, but the girls always say it's hot pink. They tell me this everyday."

You'll tell your little son that he's a stud and to not sweat those gals. What do they know, anyway?

But on the way home from Mrs. Harnish's class, you'll stop off at Walgreen's to buy an electric blue pencil box and a fresh set of crayons. You'll get your flu shot, and just before you check out, you'll buy a 3-pack of chocolates wrapped in gold foil. Instead of eating all three, you'll just eat one, because who wants to continue growing a set of wiggly-jiggly thighs?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hair Flair Extraordinaire, Part II: Louise Plummer

I've been blog-stalking Louise Plummer for a good six months. I found her blog while searching for famous BYU professors, which, of course, she is. Louise has written award-winning YA novels and has been published in many magazines. She and her husband Tom are currently working as faculty advisors for one of BYU's Study Abroad programs.

Louise's witty and humorous observations about life inspire me to think more positively about my own life. But I mostly admire her ability to glam-up a Jean Kate hair accessory. Just look at this gorgeous lady. She's proof that you're never too old to add flair to your hair, and you're never too old to go to prom, either.

That's why tonight you may catch Louise dancing in the kitchen with her dear, sweet Tom, having her very own prom. (I sent her the above pictured hair accessories to make up for the fact that she never went to her high school prom.)

You can soak up more about this post on Louise's personal blog: Five Crows. And, on every blessed Thursday, she posts more of her hilarity on another one of my favorite blogs: The Apron Stage.

Hair Flair Extraordinaire

Jean Kate (My own little business)

Riverside, California is home to the largest Forever 21 store on this planet, and I was lucky to have shopped there this past weekend. I gathered a basket full of hair flair, because nothing completes an outfit better than the right hair accessory. I'm listing a few of my favorite hair flair haunts for your reading pleasure and inspiration.

Maybe you're like mi madre and find inspiration in almost anything you see. Maybe you'll come up with something extraordinary. If you do, I'd love to have your link.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crazy Day

You may be having one of "those" days. The kind of day when you know there isn't enough time to get done what you need to get done--a totally crazy, out-of-your-mind kind of day. That's why I'm sending you some good luck love, along with a kiss and a hug and a teensy little prayer. I've obviously had my fair share of "those" kind of days.

P.S. If you're curious about this picture, mi Amor took it because I HATED how unhealthy, my then, new hair color made my hair. I put a bunch of Bumble and Bumble in my hair, in hopes of restoring my bleach fried ends, hence, the silly face and spiky hair. Bad hair can ruin your day (or the next six months), so I hope you're having a good hair day too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Treats on the Seat

Sometimes school is boring. I know because I volunteer in my homies' classes, and I nearly die of boredom every time I'm there. I think the fear of performing poorly on standardized tests has forced schools to adopt curriculum that will ensure testing success. This drill-like and repetitious way of teaching is tedious and dull, to say the least.

That's why I'm understanding when my kids complain, "I don't want to go to school today. It's so hard to listen for that long." I tell them, "I feel your pain. I could hardly sit through grading papers without grabbing the bathroom pass for a little powder room break. But your job is to do your best, no matter what. Look forward to the good parts of school--library, recess, lunch, art, music, and coming home to your dear, sweet madre." (The sweet part happens five times out of ten.) They usually agree to do this and move on.

But sometimes they really dread going, and their complaints become endless. That's when I cut them off and say, "When I pick you up from school, there will be a treat on the seat, waiting just for you."
This small incentive (bribe) makes them move past the dread and helps them to focus on the positive parts of the day. It also gets them off my back, and I think that's why I really give them the treats.

Sabbath Day Scorp.


Let's just say that my La Tiny days came in handy on this blessed Sabbath Day. That's right, scorp. You're messin' with the wrong chica.
P.S. OK. I admit that mi Amor actually killed it, and I was only the photographer, but we look tough, don't we? My National Geographic photography and his bowhunting skills, there's no denying that we make a great team.

P.P.S I had one of these crawling up my lily white leg just a few days ago. I blamed it on Carolyn.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sabotage: Don't Stop Believing

Here's my confession: I love sabotaging my homgurl's iVideo sessions. I'm not always granted the opportunity to cast myself into her productions, but yesterday, I was in the right place, at the right time. Don't stop believing in your dreams.

P.S. If you're not using Sprayway to clean your counter tops, you're missing out on some good, clean fun. I can't get enough of the stuff. Thanks to Costco, I have a year supply.

P.P.S Someone here is a screen hog. It's not me or my homgurl's friend. (You may think it's me, though.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

I missed the patience line in heaven (and a few other lines), so I have to work REALLY hard at keeping a lid on it. I tell my homies all the time, "It's kind of exciting having a mom like me; you never know what you're going to get: happy, sad, funny, yelling, dancing, flipping-out." They always say it's way fun, "It's like having a different mom everyday."

I'm not proud of that; really, I'm not. But a few years back I crossed my heart and promised to be the same mom before bed each night: happy mom. Sometimes I pretend to be a waitress. I drape a red cloth napkin over my arm and say, "Here's the water you ordered, Sir." They giggle and ask for another drink. I tell them, "We don't allow bed wetters in our restaurant, so we'd better not risk it."

Then we do "A Tickle and a Kiss." That's when I tickle them head to toe.

"Oops, I think you missed my little toe, Mom. And don't forget to skate figure eights around our eyes. That's the best part."

When they're satisfied with their tickle, I lean over and plant a wet one on each forehead. Sometimes I go crazy, kissing every inch of each face. "That's enough! That's too many kisses--gross," they say.

Then I settle underneath the doorway and read.

"Can we have a whole chapter tonight?" they ask.

"We'll see."

I read until their breathing becomes synced with the ceiling fan whirring above our heads. They often drift into dreamland before I've finished two pages. I continue sitting, still reading. I know I can stop, but I read on. The story holds me still in time, quiet, secure, constant.

I finish a chapter, bunny ear the page, and lay the book next to the door. I tuck in their blankets, leaving their feet naked--the way they like it. I pass out another round of kisses and whisper, "Goodnight."

The REAL reason for this post was to say how much I LOVE the book pictured above. My kids can't wait to read it again tonight.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pain in Her Bundt

When I was eight years old, I decided that mi madre needed to do things differently. I would tell her,

"When I'm a mom, I'll let my kids eat Lucky Charms. I'll buy a year supply of sugary cereals; we'll never run out of Fruit Loops. Never. Cheerios will be like saying a dirty word."

"When I'm a mom, I'll buy Wonder bread. My kids will never have to gum through whole grain anything. I'll only buy white, refined, and pure--the way bread was born to be bought."

"When I'm a mom, I'll never bake a bundt cake. Kids don't like walnuts coated in cinnamon and sugar, baked into a moist yellow cake mix, topped with powdered sugar. Bundt cakes are for old ladies at tea parties. Kids like store bought Barbie cakes, the kind with a real doll wearing an edible skirt."

My comments collected and returned to haunt me like a self-inflicted curse. My kids have cavities. Always. They can't stand whole grain bread, and they can never get enough fiber in their diets. We have to give them shots of Metamucil before bed. "Who's ready for a fiber party?" mi Amor always calls out each night.

Then, a while ago, my brother made a bundt cake for a family gathering and my kids said,

"Can you bake a cake like Uncle Boosh?"

"I can't. Bundt cakes have rat poison in them."

"That cake was the best cake ever, especially the nuts. Uncle Boosh would never poison us, right, Mom?"

So, last night we made a bundt cake. And while my homegurl and I gathered the ingredients, we talked and talked. Not once did she say, "When I'm a mom..." And I was grateful for her graciousness; I wished I were more like her. Then my thoughts turned to mi madre and how wonderful she was to me, so patient and kind. I quietly thanked Heavenly Father for giving her the strength to not slap me into next week. I was such a pain in her bundt. She'd never admit it, though.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big Bang

Brittney Spears and I have one thing in common (maybe two). Number one: Our dance moves mystify. Number two: We get rid of our hair whenever the going gets tough. When I'm under any sort of duress, my hair is the first thing to go: lips, brows, underarms, legs, and, of course, the hair on my head. Gone. Gone. Gone.

In college I had decided that I was NEVER getting married. I wasn't the marrying type. Too grouchy. Too headstrong. Too unsure of myself. My emotions wrapped themselves up in a pair of scissors and dared to cut my hair shorter than Spock's, and yes, I looked just like a Romulan, ears and all. Weeks later, I was standing in the doorway laying a wet one on my beloved. When I least expected love, it was there crumbling the Bumble and bumble in my slicked hairdo.

My college haircut has repeated itself, again and again, like a religious ceremony. Each time something big happens: newborn baby, disappointment, new church calling, loss of a loved one, new house, or an empty nest for eight hours a day, the scissors come to do the job.

Like a caterpillar emerging from her cocoon, I leave the bathroom transformed. I'm stronger, ready to grab life by her necklace and get back what I came here for. All the while, I'm cushioned with unbreakable love. I always know, in the back of my mind, the fall will never be hard enough to break what's bolstering me upward.

Why does it take a new set of bangs to remind me that nothing will change more than this life?
Embrace it, chica.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Temple Bubble

I went to the temple tonight, and the session was extra long. The Extra gum I was chomping on kept me alert and interested, so I enjoyed all four hours of being there. But, next time, I'll keep my bubble blowing inside my mouth. It wasn't appropriate and was bordering on irreverence. (I only blew one outside bubble.) A temple worker gave me a crusty, and I should've swallowed my gum like a school girl about to get busted, but I didn't. Next time I'll work it like mi madre and pack some Breath Savers in my pocket. She's so classy.

P.S. Is that photo illegal? Who cares; I need some excitement around here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ready, Set, Don't Go!

The three empty holes in my heart: I ripped off Build-A-Bear's idea and stuffed a heart filled with kisses and wishes into each of their pockets.

The napkin my homie refused to pack in his lunch, "I can't read yet," he said.

Even though I can no longer stand the sound of her voice, I've stooped to using the title to one of Miley Cyrus' #1 hit songs: "Ready, Set, Don't Go." I must admit I cried tears of joy when I saw her in concert two years ago. Our seats were so close to the stage, we could almost smell the scent of her baby-powder fresh deodorant. I'm a fickle, fair-weather fan and now realize that she's devoid of any real talent, but her song title suits the mixed feelings I've had while returning my homies back to school.

Since 1998, I've waited for the chance to try on clothes, uninterrupted, in a dressing room without three little soldiers all in a row, faces turned opposite of mine. I've dreamed of having lunch where chicken nuggets and hot dogs are not a menu choice. I've pined for the day when I could rock out to The Smiths without protests from the back row, "This song stinks. We want to listen to the Jonas Brothers!"

Today is that day. It's finally arrived, and I don't know what to do with myself. The options are endless and overwhelming. It's like I'm standing naked on an open stage, my hands cupping only what's necessary; I' m completely unprepared, stagnant, and afraid. Last night I told mi Amor,

"I need to find a job, something with structure, predictability. Then I've got to hide behind it. I no longer have an excuse for inefficiency. People will expect perfection, and I'm expecting even more than that. The pressure is unreal."

He told me to relax, to enjoy it. "Do all the things you've dreamed of doing: Go to the gym. Write a book. Blog until your fingers are numb. Go back to school. Go shopping. Build a closet. Organize. Get your hair done. Paint your nails. Read your scriptures. Go to the temple."

"Where do I begin?" I asked.

I've been crying on and off since last night's father's blessings. I already miss my kids like crazy. I drove home, from dropping them off, in a silenced haze, almost missing the entrance into our neighborhood. No one is here standing next to me, typing gibberish like: 2+6456+2+659 33333662, while I'm trying to blog or answer emails. I am now my one and only distraction, and that realization is making me a sick, nervous wreck. I can't stand being alone with myself; we don't get along.

So now I'm counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until their return. We're going to get frozen yogurt when they get home, and I can't wait. We'll talk about how much I've missed them, and about all the latest drama. I won't tell them how naked and alone I feel without them here. I'll tell them to continue spreading their wings, soaring in this beautiful world of opportunity. Then I'll pray I can do the same.