Tuesday, July 17, 2018


We love The Great British Baking Show.  We love Sue and Mel and Paul and Mary.  We love the quirky contestants and their delicious looking food.  We are anglophiles and we are fans.

Until we aren't.

Sunday night we watched an episode that was Pie Night.  What's not to love?  (Except Venison and Haggis Wellington but hey, I'm not going to judge.)

But then...then?!?  Their last task was to make sweet American pies.  Everyone on the show started disparaging American pie.

And we felt triggered.

We took exception and we started talking back to the TV.  The Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and throwing tea in a harbor may have been mentioned.

Here's the thing about their "American" pie that nobody liked.  It didn't resemble actual American pie all that much.  Pumpkin and peanut butter pie?  You can't just throw a bunch of American ingredients in a sweet crust (and American pie crust isn't sweet anyway) and call it American pie.

You can put a flag on it, but it's not American pie:

This is the pie that won:

It looks more like a tart than a pie, but it won and like Mark said, "It's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted."

After the episode, and gathering up a handful of detritus from the basement because there always is some, I went upstairs and "The Battle of New Orleans" was playing and three indignant kids were marching around, their patriotic hackles raised.

You can mess with a lot of things, but not our pie.

Things got sort of intense.  Horace got involved.  So did a coonskin hat and toy rifle.

The boys and I are going to Nevada for a few days.  My mom said tonight is Cherry Pie Night.  She picks cherries from their tree and once a year it is Cherry Pie Night and we will be there!

Take that Great British Baking Show.  You aren't even invited.

Monday, July 16, 2018


Last week we went to Denver and it was a good time.

Being in the car with my people is my favorite.  Throw in some beautiful scenery and you have a fantastic time.

We drove to Denver on I-70, which is straight up amazing.  It seemed like every mile brought new loveliness.

At a rest area near Vail we saw this pampered poodle (with great posture).

There's always something to see and rest areas bring a lot of zaniness.

We stopped at a middle of nowhere gas station because we didn't know where the nearest rest area was (it was a few miles down the road).

I was sort of delighted by these signs and apostrophes.  And capitalization.  They are so bad they're good.

Emma and I both loved the food sleeping on this sign:

someone had hyphenated food-sleeping but it had been painted over

(At that same rest area there were 4 signs for the women's bathroom and 4 signs for the men's bathroom--all next to each other--as well as a sign for each with left and right written on them.   Signs!  Never-ending appeal and a look into the workings of someone's mind.)

The reason for the trip (and my festively painted fingernails) was a Mariners game.

We donned our Mariners shirts and walked to the stadium from our downtown hotel room.

Selfie in the mirror so everything's backward but you get the idea.
In the hotel elevator there was another family in Mariners clothes as well.  Solidarity!

Baseball stadiums are endlessly photogenic:

There's a row of seats in the stadium that are purple to mark the mile high line.

Even though we root root rooted for the Mariners, they didn't win.  It didn't dampen our good time though!

The next day we drove back home, this time on I-80 because we were picking Braeden up at the Salt Lake airport.  We coasted into town on the last bit of gas in the tank (it's a 18 gallon tank).

Living on the edge!

We were thrilled to see Braeden again.  Everyone shifted and I slid my seat way forward and he climbed into the backseat.

Back on the freeway, listening to the three children clamor to talk to each other and catch up for lost time and laughing a lot, Adam said, "Hearing that makes it worthwhile, doesn't it?"

And I don't know what "it" he was referring to.  Maybe the "it" he meant was all of it, as in, here, right now, us together?  This is why we do everything we do.

We stopped at MOD for pizza on the way home (of course we did) and then we swung by Vanessa's to pick up Bruiser, Emma's fish that Vanessa had been feeding in our absence.

The hands down most stressful time of the entire week was the drive home up 1100 North which is probably the bumpiest road known to man.  I was holding Bruiser's bowl because of the backseat crammed-in-there situation.

None of the sloshing water spilled over and everyone laughed at my panicked cries the entire way up the hill.

Then it was deck time.  Braeden took this picture and said, "Mark, our feet are back together, like they were meant to be."  Amen.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Grateful Friday

I'm grateful for kids that entertain me.  Making me laugh isn't the only thing they bring to the table, but I love it.  I also love the times when Mark chimes in on text messages.  His messages are few and far between, but worth the wait.

For example:

(Mark's profile picture is one he put on my phone--it's a selfie he took while under the influence of wisdom teeth removal.  I'm not sure why I want to see that every time he texts....)

Adam mentioned he liked my blog post and Mark wrote this:

Adam's funny too.

But I should explain the $3.02.

The other morning, there was a dead bird on our deck, right in the middle of the couch out there.  (Our house is a magnet for suicidal birds who fly into our windows.  It's sad.) Emma and I both decided to get Mark to deal with it.  He stoically did.

He was spending the day with Olivia and I gave him a ten dollar bill.

He handed me the change when I saw him and I said he could keep it because he had dealt with the bird.

So yes, he is a man of means.

Here's a text conversation between Adam and me, which also happened this week.  I had texted Adam about Mark struggling with repairing his bike tire, but then Mark fixed it because that's the kind of kid he is.

And I 100% agree.  He is awesome.  And even if I'd had any takers, I wouldn't give him away.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Camp Thelma

The idea all started one night over dinner at Rumbi Island Grill when I told Carolina I could teach her how to fold a fitted sheet and she sort of swooned because that was the kind of thing she wanted to learn.  I don't know how we came up with Camp Thelma, but that was the name.

Liliana and Carolina were my campers.  I had surveyed them earlier with things they may want to do and they had ranked the list.  (It was all very scientific.)  Tuesday and Wednesday morning we spent time together doing all the things and then the culmination was lunch with Olivia's family (sans Ruben who was at CHIP camp at BYU--I don't know what CHIP camp stands for, but I know it's for cool kids like Ruben who know how to build robots and stuff like that) and Marianne's family (sans most of them--it was just Marianne and Liberty and Morgan who joined us).

I carefully documented our happenings.  I told the girls I would put pictures on my blog and I told them I'd let them approve the pictures first but then I forgot to do that and I'm posting the pictures anyway.

I guess I'm not too trustworthy as far as aunts go....

First we went to the Payson temple to perform baptisms.  Emma joined us because she didn't have to work (Mark spent the day going bowling and to museums with the Cobians.):

the sunshine caused some dazzling effects in the photo....

I loved being in the temple with these three sweet girls.  Anytime I am in the temple with people I love, the normal temple joy I feel is amplified.

We came home and learned different ways to fold napkins and set a festive table for lunch:

The girls chose different ways to do the napkins, hence the variety.

Next was our craft project.

Carolina cutting thread lengths.

Liliana cutting thread lengths

I loved the colors and patterns the girls chose.  They are both artists.

We made these wall hangings for their rooms.

We learned how to propagate philodendrons (they each got a plant to take home):

And how to fold fitted sheets!

What can I say?  There is joy in folded fitted sheets!

I taught them a couple of principles for arranging items on a shelf.  The main principle?  Do what you like.  We cleared off two shelves and they got to choose from whatever they wanted to arrange a shelf.

Mark said I was only doing it as an opportunity to get them to clean my shelves. He also said he was glad we were having people over for lunch so we could have good food for once. Anyone interested in a red-headed 15 year old boy?  I would even deliver him to you.  Free of charge.

Here they are with their finished shelves:

Such cute girls!

Lastly, we did some hand-lettering.

They were good at it like I knew they would be.

After lunch, the moms got to take a grand tour and look at the projects.

Anytime I get to spend time with my sisters is a happy time.  It's no surprise I love spending time with their daughters too.

These are my people.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


I miss Braeden.  He's been gone almost two weeks and I've had to subsist on text messages and a few brief phone calls.  EFY counselors are busy.

Here's a little update on him though (in honor of his half birthday, which is today).

He's big, which is good news and bad news.  The bad news is that airplane seats aren't super comfortable.  When you luck out with the bulkhead seat, it's noteworthy enough to text a picture to your family.

The good news is that I worry less about him because he's big.  He told me about his first night in San Antonio.  They were staying on a college campus.  It was around midnight and he walked some girl  counselors back to their dorms and then walked alone to his. (At what point do I start referring to people Braeden's age as men and women instead of boys and girls?  I don't know.)  He said it was dark and creepy and he started singing out loud when he was walking past some empty tennis courts and a pond.

I'm glad he's big.  A big kid striding along and singing is probably not going to be an easy target for, say, a kidnapper you know?

On the flight to Texas there were 76 EFY counselors in their EFY shirts.  Can you imagine?  You've probably never met a more energetic and cheerful group.  At least they were all exhausted which probably made them slightly less exuberant.  That many well rested EFY counselors could really overwhelm a Boeing 737.

They took vans to church.  In the ward Braeden was visiting almost all the young men were at a high adventure activity so the EFY counselors blessed and passed the sacrament.  Braeden texted us this (taken presumably before church started).

You and I both know he was raised better than to take pictures during sacrament meeting right?  Right?!?

The next weekend he spent time with his roommate Kinamo and friend Alexa who both live in San Antonio.

They went to the Alamo.

humidity = tight curls for my biggest boy
Also he helped Kinamo teach a primary class and drew a picture in primary which he texted me.

I am including it in this blog post because I recognize fine art when I see it.

His third cousin, Taylor, was in his company the first week.  He'd gone on missionary visits with Taylor's brother, Elder Dahl, when he was home for one of his medical hiatuses.  Their mom messaged me from Florida and said, "I think we need to be in each other's lives."

So we may get together later this summer when Elder Dahl becomes a UVU student.  His dad, Andrew, is my second cousin and his dad, (I think Jim?) is my dad's cousin and his dad, Lawrence, is my grandpa's brother.

Who knows how many third cousins just lurk around and you don't realize it, you know?

This week, Kinamo's little sister is in Braeden's company:

So it's a small world after all.

Here's what I'm glad about today: Braeden is my boy (and he will be home Saturday).  The older he gets the more I enjoy being his mother.  I would say the more I love him, but I don't know.  The love I felt for him has been pretty intense right from the start.

He's Braeden and that's always been exactly who I have wanted him to be.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A word of caution

Some people (me) might refer to Braeden as sentimental.  Some people (Mark) might refer to him as a hoarder.

In either case, Braeden, sweet and nostalgic boy that he is, saves stuff.  All kinds of stuff.  He is the king of mementos.

I got a big plastic bin and decided to call it Braeden's Wife's Problem.  When I was in a mad dash scramble to get Braeden room/museum-of-everything-he-holds-dear ready for guests last week,  I just started throwing things into the bin.

Emma, lyrical girl that she is, decided to name Braeden's Wife's Problem Brianna Wimbledon Perry and then write a limerick in her honor.

Brianna Wimbledon Perry
Liked to drink cooking sherry
She thought it would work
To get hair off her shirt

But poor Brianne's shirt remained hairy

Mark made a suggestion for a new limerick where Brianna was allergic to dairy.

Emma ran with it.

Brianna Wimbledon Perry
Was very allergic to dairy
But she still had some cream
And vomited green

And frankly it was kind of scary

All of this is to to say you may or may not to marry into this family, Braeden's Future Wife.

Monday, July 9, 2018

St. George in July

Or in other words, why do we do these things to ourselves....

Last Thursday we drove to St. George.  It was about 110 degrees there.  We met Scott and Lisa at Pizza Pie Cafe to load up before our hike in the Narrows.  We packed our lunches and readied everything for the next day.

Friday we left early for Zion National Park.  It was a beautiful, hot and sunny day.  After finally finally getting to the hike after a long wait for the shuttle (Zion National Park:  not an original idea), I was hot.

I don't usually enjoy swimming all that much.  To me, you swim to cool off and there are seldom times when I am hot enough that it merits a swim.

This time I was hot enough.

Also, hiking in the Narrows reminded me of Boulder Creek which I grew up swimming in with my sisters and cousins.  Earlier, I was a little nervous about the trip and afraid I would be the weak link (I wasn't) or that it wouldn't be that fun, but it was!  I had a great time.

Mark is asserting his dominance by T-posing (like all the cool kids are doing) and I'm T-posing right back at him because who is the dominant one?  The one brave enough to go under the cold water, that's who.

I was the first one to get submerged in the water which makes me the Champion Wild Cat according to my sisters.

Lisa came around the corner and saw me in the water and she said, "I thought you said you were indoorsy?!?"

And I am but I grew up swimming in water like that and I was hot.  Two reasons to embrace the outdoors.

The world is a beautiful place and Zion National Park is one of its prettiest spots.

After our day of adventuring we were starving and tired and really enjoyed our dinner at Cracker Barrel.

Saturday Adam and the kids went to Sand Hollow Reservoir with Scott and Lisa and I was back to being indoorsy.  I stayed in the hotel and worked on my online math classes while they played on wave runners.  They helped me pack up the van before they left and here is a text Adam sent me of Mark:

Mark is maybe the only person I know who would drink hot chocolate in July.

Later that afternoon we drove home.  We had foolishly turned our AC all the way off in our house and it was 93 degrees in our upstairs halls.  We are amateurs.

So it was good to be home, but not really.

I slept in the basement.


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