Friday, December 24, 2010

The Professor, the Police, and Santa Claus

I can't stop giggling.

I am not sure I will ever be able to look back at this memory tonight and not have a grin cross my face that goes from ear to ear.

Tonight, the police on base got word that Santa might be landing over at the air strip. They needed some "help" listening for him, so they dropped off one of their police radios at every home on base with small children so they could assist in the Santa Watch.  While we waited, the Professor and I tracked Santa on NORAD.  I was about to send the restless Professor to bed when across the air waves we heard he had finally arrived!!!

The Professor started jumping up and down, eyes wide with excited wonderment and his hand covering his mouth as he squealed, "He's here, he's here!!!! He's really here!!!!!!!" The police were able to talk to Santa and count up all the reindeer. When they announced that Rudolph was with Santa, the Professor about passed out with joy.

While this was all delightful to witness, the best was yet to come.  Santa announced he needed to get on his way and so all the kids needed to get to bed so he could come to their house.

The Professor became a dizzying blur as he dashed up the stairs, made a cursory pass at brushing his teeth, dived into bed as he said his prayers AND the family prayers all while yelling, "Hurry, hurry, hurry!!!! Everyone has got to go to bed RIGHT NOW so Santa can come! Hurry, hurry, hurry!!!!"

Seriously. If I was ever in doubt of how fast that child can actually move when motivated, I am no longer.

Tonight will be one of my most treasured Christmas memories, courtesy of the base police and an exuberant 6-year old boy I call the Professor.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas 2010 Letter

Merry Christmas 2010

I hope this Christmas/New Year’s letter finds all of our friends and family enjoying a wonderful and peace filled holiday season. It is always such a wondrous thing to reflect on this last year and to celebrate the gifts we have been blessed with. Here’s an update of our comings and goings:

Mr. Amazing Man: He is still enjoying his job, especially the fact he gets to come home for lunch every day. However, I think he is ready for a change and is really looking forward to the new gig in Florida this summer. He really stepped it up this year around the home front taking care of all the things I couldn’t because I was (a) pregnant, (b) recovering from being pregnant, or (c) preparing and completing comps/dissertation proposal, which was almost as bad as being pregnant. Honestly, if more men could be like him, all would be well in the world. I am so grateful my two boys get to learn what it means to be a real man from such a great example.  

Me: I spent a lot of time this last year lounging about being pregnant with our new little one, Princess P., and then recovering from that most unpleasant of pregnancies. In my free time, I pretended like I was a PhD student and on my birthday in October, I successfully completed my comprehensive exams. I was also able to get my dissertation proposal turned in to my committee last week.  As always, I am trying to loose weight, be healthier (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually), and spend more time with my family. Any tips you have in those regards would be greatly appreciated.

Captain Knuckle: Now a 6’-tall 14-year old, Captain Knuckle is in the 8th grade and was recently ordained to be a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood. He gets good grades, makes his bed, and takes the garbage out without being hollered at too much.  Even though he is 2” taller than me, he still lets me hug him in public and gives me a kiss before he leaves for school every morning.  Since he has never outgrown his adorable dimples, girls want to date him but he is relieved (as am I!!!) that we have the rule of no dating until he is 16. He has a job doing after-school care for a family here on base and is reveling in the $300-400 a month he is pulling down for playing with a couple of kids for a few hours a week.

The Professor: Oh man, where do I even start with this kid? As always, he continues to help me grow in ways I didn’t know I needed to grow. He is gaga-crazy in love with his new little sister and has perfected the fine art of calming her down. He is six years old and in 1st grade but has the vocabulary and comprehension skills of a much older child. I frequently have to remind myself that he is only six years old.  Being rather agenda driven like me, he always has a plan and a project in the works, usually an illustrated book of some sort.  It is delightful to see the combination of Grandma Rose’s authoring talents and Grandma Penny’s artistic abilities come together in such a hilarious little boy. On another note, I haven’t received any “does not share well with others” notes from school yet but we still have another six months to go! The only real concern his teacher has is “He certainly seems to draw a lot of pictures of things blowing up.” Yeah, I know, Mrs. First Grade Teacher Lady. Has he shown you the one of the mushroom cloud full of monkeys yet? That’s a good one.

Princess P: What can I say about this sweet treasure other than holy cow, how did we get so lucky to have her join our family? Named after her two grandmothers, she has brought untold amounts of joy to our family since was born on May 10. Now a roly-poly seven month old, she is currently sitting on my lap playing the “how many times can I throw this toy on the floor before Mom stops picking it up?” game. Honestly, I could play it forever if it means she will keep squealing with delight when I give the toy back to her.

That just about sums it up for this year! You can always follow along on our adventures at - I promise to update it much more frequently this next year (it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions).

Much love and Merry Christmas from our Happy Home to yours -


Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Captain Knuckle:

I love you. Even when your Spanish teacher (who speaks waaaaaaaaay to fast!) sends home your most recent test in an envelope.

I think we are both grateful that my love for you is in no way dependent on your G.P.A.  You could fail Spanish a million times over and I would still love you. That's just how I roll.

Much love,


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Goodness

Last year, I didn't get Thanksgiving. I was lounging about the bathroom floor, driving the white bus every half hour or so. My family was gone to my sister-in-law's wedding in UT. I was home alone.

So this year...well, Mr. Amazing Man tried to make me NOT do Thanksgiving because I am trying to finish up my proposal. Hahahaha. Joke is on him, right? 

And I actually did a good job at not doing it like I have in years past. No homemade rolls (gasp, I know! But Mrs. Rhodes and I had a long chat about it. She's OK with helping out this year). No piles of frog-eyed salad (gasp! How are my boys surviving? It is tough to be sure). No homemade pecan pie (Costco has a passable version). No lemon artichoke dressing. No invities (he was very firm about that one...he didn't want me killing myself off and not being able to get back to writing).

But after totally missing out last year, I had to do something. A girl like me who adores cooking as much as I do sit on the sidelines entirely this year? Whatev', husband, whatev. 

The star of the show!  A lovely tom from Avery's Branch Farms.  I have never met nor eaten a more delicious bird. We *love* their chickens and dairy so it shouldn't come as such a surprise their turkeys are equally amazing!

Mr. Amazing Man watched "Throw Down with Bobby Flay" the other night. Without me. With a bunch of other military guys. (I know, I thought it was hilarious too.) Back to the matter at hand: he liked how Bobby Flay cut the turkey. So he carved ours up the same way. Perfection.

The first time I have put a table cloth on our china-red table in...years.

Sweet giblets! This sausage pecan and cherry stuffing was crazy good. Don't ask me for a recipe. I made it up as I went. Basically, it's a regular tasty sausage dressing with some dried cherries tossed in for good measure. (The sausage came from piggies at Avery's Branch Farms. Yuuummmm. P.S. Their bacon is out of this world!!!)

Butter. Sweet, delicious, yellow butter from the lovely ladies over at Avery's Branch Farms

Sweet potatoes with GIANT marshmallows on top. Never made these before. Wow. Wow. Woooooowwww. Now I see what all the fuss is about.

Delish. Uh, can I have some more please?

Dear Bobby Flay: I knew I loved your style before today but I am wondering if you will adopt me. Sincerely, A Lover of Your Cranberry-Blackberry relish. Amen.

Roasted garlic half-mashed Parmesan potatoes. They are all mine. Stay away. (And yes, that lovely golden orb of tasty goodness is butter from Avery's Branch Farms. And no, this is not a commercial for them. I promise. They don't really know me from Adam. I just buy my milk and poultry from them).

But the best part about Thanksgiving was the company. She's all mine. Stay away.

Much love,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

"The Creator and Creations" ~ Penelope Jones

So my mother-in-law, Penelope Jones, painted this.

It was a paint by number one of my hilarious sister-in-laws picked up from a yard sale and gave to her for kicks. She started painting it. Then she got bored after she painted Jesus.  So she painted people at the table that she thought were interesting.

I love this woman. Her wit and talent are boundless. She never ceases to amaze me. 

(P.S. She has some art displayed at the current installation at the Springville Museum of Art. Stop by and admire it if you get the chance.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Five Pillars

This is Mr. Amazing Man's sister's turn of the century farm house, nestled amongst more modern abodes in Spanish Fork.  His sister is pretty darn cool. As are all of his sisters.  Collectively all of the women in his family call themselves the Miss Fitts. We think we are hilarious.

Virginia creeper. In Utah. Funny story: She had been tearing that out of her flower bed till I told her, "No, no! It's lovely in the fall - train it to grow up that pillar there." She did. And it is lovely in the fall.  That's not that funny of a story after all, is it?

His sister knows how to do things up proper for a holiday.  I love these ghosts. I know when they make their annual appearance, Christmas will soon be here.

One of these scarecrows won a contest there in Spanish Fork. Or maybe both of them did. If not, they both should have. 

See that black thing back in the left hand side of the screen? That's the garden bong. The Samoan and the garden bong are the cause of many a fine gastronomical delights at Five Pillars.

I miss my family. I miss eating dinner with them outside, cozied up around the tables as Manda reads questions off of Trivial Pursuit cards. She is one smart cookie. I hardly ever get questions right but she does all the time. Just a hint: Never go up against her when playing Jeopardy. She will win. Every time.

Welcome.  Yes indeed, all are welcome at Five Pillars.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Professor's "Illustrated Pop-Up Guide of Extreme Disasters", Part I

So the Professor came to me yesterday with a book idea. The title of the book, "The Illustrated Pop-Up Guide of Extreme Disasters." Here's what he has done so far:

A railroad track, on fire. After being blown to pieces and a part of it washed away by a river.

A bunch of small fires that become one big fire with so much smoke you can't see anything at all.

An electricity storm. The brown things are the transformer stations and the yellow is all of the electricity flying through the air between the transformers.

A bomb that lands in the ground.

A "thing" of exploding poison gas.

The house catching fire because of a firestorm in the sky.

 And dynamite. Lots and lots of dynamite. (He has been making these and will stealthily sneak into the room, put one on my desk, and then make a made dash for the door as he giggles uncontrollably. It's hilarious).

This morning he told me he has a few more disasters he needs to illustrate before he starts working on the pop-up parts of the book. "Like what, son?"

"Oh, you know. Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and a plane falling out of the sky. Stuff like that. But don't worry mom, everyone in the plane will have a parachute so they are OK."

Oh. Everyone has a parachute? That's great, son.

Dear Gentle Readers: 

I do not know from whence springs this recent fixation with disasters of all kinds.  I am working hard to subvert the  Jungian psychologist in me so as to not over-analyze it all. I think it might have to do with all of the museums we went to over the last week.  

Much love, M.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Captain Knuckle Gets a Life

Captain Knuckle earned his Life rank! What a proud mama am I. What a lucky mama am I. How on earth did I get lucky enough to win the parenting lottery with this kid? And when did he get so stinkin' tall?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name

Penelope Rose is also known as  Ms. Squish.

Baby Sister.

Princess P.


 Little Penny.

But the one I love most of all is Gorgeous. That's what her daddy calls her.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

          "It is for us the living, rather
          that we here highly resolve
          the these dead
          shall not have died in vain--
          that this nation, under God,
          shall have a new birth of freedom--
          and that government of the people,
          by the people,
          for the people,
          shall not perish from the earth."
Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, Gettysburg

I will not surrender; I will not submit.