Monday, October 1, 2012


I'm not sure if the Halloween Phantom is a Utah phenomenon or if he knows no state boundaries, but it's a fun little tradition that we've enjoyed the last few years. Early in October someone starts the phantom going by dropping off some goodies and two papers. One paper is one that says "we've been booed!" to hang in your window so the phantom has a chance to visit new people and not duplicate who gets treats. The other paper is a little instruction sheet that tells you to make copies of the papers and go "boo" two of your neighbors, to see how far the phantom cheer can spread.

(Confession: Normally my house is a place where Halloween Phantoms come to die. My sheer laziness - and lack of a copy machine - usually means I don't spread the love and I sometimes forget to hang the sign, which means the treats just keep coming in all month long! It's actually pretty awesome, but it comes with a certain amount of unbearable guilt, so thick skin is required.)

This year I actually had the wherewithall to make some treats yesterday and I intended to make copies of the sheet and spread the cheer. I explained to Gwen what we were doing and she got really excited and wanted to make her own sheets to pass along with our treats. I didn't see the harm in it. So I told her to make it and we would spread the love later in the evening.

She made a darling paper to send to our victims. 

And we were about to head out, when I noticed she had decorated the back too...

And all the sudden the Halloween Phantom seemed really creepy. I mean, "promise painted by blood!". And by addressing it to a random human that "still lives" I think it goes without saying that on the said Halloween "vizziet" something life-ending might happen.

And I really don't think we would be making any friends by passing along death threats. But maybe that's just me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Three Fish, Two Fish, One Fish

*note: this is a pic of a caterpillar on one of our hikes, not the fish the story is about :) I'm not that gross!

This little man turned 5 last week. I remember when I was pregnant and found it I was having a boy I kind of panicked. Boys are scary, mean, and disgusting. At least that's what I had gathered in my experience. But then Bentley came along and (after seven months of non stop screaming) proved me wrong.

Bentley is the funniest, sweetest boy you could imagine. He is the only one of my kids who shows any inkling of remorse ever. The only one who will apologize ever. And the only one who cries for things besides physical injuries. His bottom lip quivers when he knows you are disappointed. When he falls down and gets hurt if you ever apologize and say, "oooooh buddy, I'm sorry!" his immediate reply through the pain and tears is, "It.....*sniff* ....wasn't....*sob* ....your fault!".

After the movie theater shootings in Colorado, Bentley noticed that the flags were flying half-mast. He asked me why. I told him the story and he was visibly upset about it. And for days, maybe even weeks afterward at random times he would just say, "that is so sad what that man did at that movie theater". And ever since he will notice the flag half mast and ask what sad thing happened.

He gets sad if you forget to give him his goodnight kiss.

Basically, the kid feels. And honestly there are times when I think that maybe Gwen doesn't. I love her, you know I do, but comparing the two kids the contrast is stark! You could offer that girl $20 to apologize for something and she wouldn't do it (Blaine would tell you she gets that from me! Hmph!)

So for his birthday we got the boy some fish. It was really cute as I sent him on a scavenger hunt to find the fish. He was so excited when he found them, and even though he's never implied in any way that he had an interest in fish, he jumped up and down, "it's what I always wanted! A FISH TANK!".  After consulting family and friends he named the three fish Pa, Teddy, and Lightning. I had gotten two cheap-o goldfish and one bigger one (two whole dollars, I know, my generosity knows no bounds!).

A few nights after his birthday he burst in to our room in the morning and sounded like an episode of Little House on the Prairie gone wrong when he exclaimed, "something horrible has happened to Pa!" And after giving Pa a couple of hours we concluded that indeed he had gone the way of all the earth, and was not just sleeping as we had dared to hope.

I was impressed at Bentley's coping ability. We flushed Pa (which I realized later I should have done in private, all the kids were very perplexed by it). It came up every once in a while ("that was horrible what happened to Pa!"). But no tears were shed and we pressed through the pain.

Not 48 hours later it appeared that Lightning was fighting to stay belly-down. And sure enough we woke to "something horrible has happened to Lightning!". Flush.

Well, Teddy was still going strong and he was the expensive one anyways. So all was well. Occasionally Lightning and Pa were mentioned, but not extensively. That was maybe two or three days ago.

Then in the middle of the night last night Bentley burst in to our room in hysterics. I was sure he had either a) wet the bed or b) Teddy was toast. Through his tears I learned that neither was true. Teddy was alive, the bed was dry, but oh the tears! The compulsive sobbing, the likes of which I've only done in times of extreme distress. He wailed, "Ohhhhh it's just so sad what happened to Lightning and Pa! Teddy is so lonely! He's all alone and he doesn't know what happened to his friends!". This went on for...well, nearly an hour. In fact there were still sniffles and tears as he hopped on the bus to school. It was a powerful reaction and I wasn't sure how to handle it! Has the poor guy been up the last two nights thinking of how awful the whole experience was? I feel really bad that I didn't set him down and make him talk about his feelings. I had no idea! I figured he kind of understood that goldfish just don't last.

I don't know you had to be there I guess, but this kid. He feels things. He's so sensitive to the feelings of others, both of the human and aquatic variety. And I think whatever girl gets him for a husband is going to be one lucky, well cared for lady.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Isn't It?

I've long professed that I never got "the talk" when I was young. I felt grossly ill-prepared for growing up and definitely for getting married. The more I think about it the more I realize that maybe I did get the talk and because it was so traumatic I just blocked it from my memory entirely. Either way, I feel determined that my kids and I should have an open dialogue about that kind of thing and that I need to start breaking the ice with Gwen.

I'm not exactly sure but it seems that it was around second grade that boys started saying things that might require some sort of an explanation to kids of the more innocent variety. So over the summer I was bound and determined to get the dialogue started.

So I did my research and found some recommended books, then one day found  one of them ("It's So Amazing") at the library and brought it home amidst thirty other books Gwen and the kids had chosen.

Of course I wasn't prepared to actually read it to her at that point. >> I << was going to read it, get a grip, come up with a plan and then we would read it together. Foolproof.

It's been really great lately in that once in a while my kids will actually do something together. It requires a lot of begging and usually ends in tears and violence, but for brief moments I catch a glimpse of cooperative play, and it's a Godsend.

On a particularly hectic day I pleaded with Gwen to just read a book to the other kids. I offered money, candy, etc. Eventually she agreed and I went about my business preparing dinner. I kind of zoned them out but a few minutes later I remember hearing her read the phrase, "it's so amazing!". It took a little too long for me to process what was happening (being that my seven-year-old was about to inadvertently have the talk with my three and four year old). When it finally did click I pounced on Gwen, grabbed the book. My wide-eyed children (wide eyed from my behavior or from the content of the book I will never know!) were extremely confused. And poor Gwen. I had to explain what the book was about and how I had gotten it for me and her, and then Ben and Ivy felt all cheated that she got a special book and Gwen ran off all blushing and horrified and I am pretty sure will never look me in the eyes again.

And...yeah. Set the tone perfectly for that open and honest dialogue I was hoping for. Whoops.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are You There Fuji? It's Me, Kristi.

For as much as I love to read reviews, I don't write them often. Once in a while I will get on yelp and just go for it and review every place I've had a positive or negative experience. For the most part, however, I just go with the flow, I don't murky the water.

But this time, things have gone too far.

As you may recall, on our recent cruise I had the chance to go scuba diving. It. Was. Awesome. In preparation for the occasion I purchased an underwater camera from amazon. I wasn't expecting amazing, award-winning photographs, I just wanted a simple keepsake to show posteriety.

Blaine has been gone a lot lately. Usually Wednesday afternoons through late Friday evenings. Usually by about Friday afternoon things would be falling apart and I would be at my wits end. By Friday nights we are usually in full meltdown, myself included.

It was on one such Friday night about three weeks ago that I took my underwater camera to be developed. I had first talked to Walgreens. They could have it done in an hour, but the cost was $12, a little steep for my taste. I was close to Wal-Mart anyways so I took my camera there. Turns out Wal-Mart was the same price and it would take three days to be developed. Since I wasn't in a particular hurry to get my pictures and since gouging my own eyeballs out with a pencil sounded preferable to taking my kids back to Walgreens, I just dropped my pictures off, with the promise that they would be back by Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon came and went. Wednesday, Thursday ("sorry they must be delayed from the holiday"). Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday....they placed a call, apparently my camera order had never gone through. They put it in again, it should be back within a day or two. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...she places a call in to Fuji who says their machine was broken when the placed the order, she'll place it again, it should be in within an hour. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday....she calls again and apparently they had just canceled my order for no apparent reason. So finally, two weeks and change late, I get a call that my pictures were in. I was a little peeved, but they said there wouldn't be a charge, so...whatever. I get my pictures tonight and the majority of them look like this...

and some like this
and a couple like this
I'm no professional, but using an underwater camera is not exactly brain surgery, is it? So I figured there must have been a problem with the processing. No worries, they gave me a disc. So I pop in the disc, and to my surprise see the major quality difference. The pictures on my disc look like this...

Now, I saw many things in the crystal clear waters of Cozumel, but I did not see these people. In fact, I've never seen these people.

So, I can't decide who I should be more frustrated with. Wal-Mart? Fuji (the developer)? Fujifilm (maker of the camera)? Needless to say I am kind of frustrated with them all, and I kind of wish I had one of those blogs that was popular enough that someone at Fuji would come across it and send me awesome things to compensate for them being dumb. And maybe send me on another trip to Cozumel, where I would be certain to buy a different brand of underwater camera so that I could have something by which to remember my once-in-a-lifetime experience by. Oh and I would be certain to get it developed at Walgreens.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Many might think that the actual best part of a vacation is the vacation. Not me! I much prefer the week before the vacation. When you are exhausted and stressed and think, "man, I could use a vacation!" and then you  remember that it is only a matter of days until you will have one. Yes, the best day of a trip is the day before the trip, that's what I say. Once you are on the trip you are too worried about how quickly the time is going by and if you are making good enough use of your time.

But this post isn't really about vacation. Don't worry, my cruise was probably the best vacation I've ever been on in my entire life. Loved. Every. Second! Especially those precious seconds spent underwater!

This is a post about Seattle, Austin, San Deigo and Salt Lake City.

Blaine has been jetsetting recently around the country interviewing at firms for his second summer internship. Something you should know about law students second summer internships is that the firms they intern at are likely the only ones they will get offers from (if things go well).

We've loved this summer working for the small local firm that Blaine worked at. They are flexible, nice (did you know apparently a lot of badgering and yelling happens in the patent law world? Not at this firm!), we've loved it. They pay a little less to start out, but the potential to earn is higher than most places. There is a lot of flexibility to work from home, or from anywhere, so potentially we could live anywhere in the country (I vote Hawaii!). But, in honor of strengthening Blaine's resume we figured it would be in our best interest to try something else out next summer. A bigger firm where Blaine would have the chance to try some litigation (as opposed to just prosecution).

So before the rejections and offers start coming in I am having a lovely time trying to decide where we should go. Will all of the aforementioned places even be options? Not likely. But that's what's so fun about the "week before". There is no actual decision to make yet, so it's not stressful (we all know how much I like to stress over a big, or little, decision). I'm just doing some soul searching about where I want to spend my next summer and potentially the rest of my life :)

There are lots of factors to consider aside from the actual cities themselves. Like, say, the firms.

The Austin firm is hands down the best opportunity (namely because he could practice prosecution and litigation for his entire career).

The Seattle firm is very prestigious. It's on the sixty second freakin floor of the largest building in Seattle. Frankly, it makes me sick just thinking about riding the elevator to visit Blaine in his office!

The three Utah firms all seem great in their own respects.

Blaine is just on his way to San Diego now, so I don't know what to think about those firms.

But, which firm is best is Blaine's prerogative. We would be flattered and honored to receive an offer at any one of them.

What I have to decide is where I could spend the rest of my life.

Seattle: I LOVE the Northwest. LOVE. I went on a roadtrip there in highschool and just fell head over heels in love with the green, mountains, ocean, crisp air, all of it. I've never seen somewhere so pretty. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven as I wandered through Pike's market and saw the fresh flowers and vendors. Recently I emailed with a friend who lives on an island in Pudget Sound. An ISLAND. I could live on an island.  Yes, yes I could. But the big question on my mind is -- could I handle the rain? I love feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. Rain doesn't bother me, especially when it is not accompanied by scary storms (ahem, Austin). For reference sake though...there are 50 sunny days in Seattle a year. Sounds nice right? Well...there are 300 sunny days in Austin. Anyone lived there? Can I be happy with dreary skies and raincoats long term?

Austin: Well, I think we all know how I feel about Austin. Love. But..."you can't go back home". I wouldn't be able to slide back in to my once loved life there. I'm a different person now, my friends are different people, it would be way too super weird to try to fit back in to my old life. So I'd probably live in a new part of town. So I find myself asking if I really loved the place or if I really loved the people. And if there is a chance that I could find some awesome people again. I think I really did love the place too. And Blaine assures me that were we to settle in Austin we would install a storm shelter :). The problem with Austin is that it is SO freaking far away. I can drive people. I like to drive. Roadtrips are the bomb, but 24 hours...that's along road trip that I have done many times. And while I think that "quality" time with our families would definitely compensate for "quantity" time with them, ugh that drive. (No offense New Mexico - Hi Liz!- but I've traversed your barren freeways one too many times I think!). So, moving to Austin would definitely require me to get over that pesky fear of flying (which, are you so proud that I flew a bazillion times this summer?).

Utah: Utah has really grown on me. It took a couple years, but I'm pretty happy now. For starters we just moved to Saratoga Springs and holy Hannah--- Utah's never looked so pretty. I don't know, something about living over here makes the mountains look bigger and awesomer than other places. I feel like I'm living in an amphitheater of gorgeousness! My one complaint though? Snow. Ick. I. Hate. Winter. Fall and Spring are fine, but if I could be stuck in an eternal summer I would be. Weird right? As I've often said, life is too short to live somewhere cold.  I can handle chilly, I think I could handle rainy, but I'm plum whiny and miserable November- March here :).'s a nice thing to visit, a pain in the rear to live in.

San Deigo: The obvious right choice right? Warm! Ocean! Manageable drive to visit family! Tourist destination (ie family would want to come see us!). Gorgeous! Okay, aside from the fact that I know nothing of the firms in San Deigo--- wow, it's expensive. Like crazy expensive. Like we would probably never ever own a home (which...hey, buying a house the first time wasn't necessarily our best decision ever). So I guess I worry about being able to afford to live in a nice, safe neighborhood if we go there. Anyone lived there? What do you think? Is the weather worth the cost?

Yes so it is all fun and games to mull over where I want to live right now. Certainly when there is actually a choice to be made it won't be fun anymore. I'll be a ball of nerves and panicky and stressed. So I'm enjoying it now while it's all just talk. Where would you choose?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Should I Be Eaten By a Shark: A Love Letter

Well, it's 12:34 AM, I have to be to the airport in about 5.5 hours for a cruise. You know, people have a real hard time understanding the level of anxiety I feel before a vacation. I mean, it's a vacation! How could anyone be so worried and stressed out about it?

All I know is that anxiety sucks. Big time.

Don't worry, I am plenty excited too.

But just in case anything should happen. Be it on the plane (eeee!), the ship (agh!), under the water (is it smart to go scuba diving during shark week? Something inside says no!), or whatever, I thought it might be prudent to leave a little love letter for my kids.

Oh kids.

See, they drive you crazy. So crazy you want a vacation, and then the vacation rolls around and you get so darn worried about leaving your kids! Or at least I do. Those little stinkers.

I love Gwen. So smart and beautiful. She's the whole package (or at least she will be once she gets over these wild mood swings!). So creative, and fun. She remembers everything anyone has ever said to her, reads entire novels in a sitting, and I'm fairly certain she's a genius. Love her.

Oh Bentley. What a sweetheart. Sure, his natural volume is like a million disciples louder than the average kids, but that's endearing :). He's my only kid to ever show any remorse, ever. He apologizes, gives hugs and kisses, and is pretty darn obedient. Love that kid, and if he ever starts saying "if" the right way, instead of "whiff" I will cry a river of tears! Every single word and sentence that comes out of that kids mouth is worth writing down, he is so funny! But then he gets so embarrassed if I ever share the story of what he said. So cute. Love him.

Oh Ivy. Crazy Ivy. My baby. Love her so much. I love her mixed pronouns ("Where's them going?" "Is she in she's house?). I love how ever sentence she says ends in, "how 'bout dat?". She has more personality in her little finger than I will ever have! So glad she is in our family!

So anyway, should I meet my untimely demise on this once in a lifetime vacation, at least now my kids will know I love them! We spent a good hour today in the car talking about who they would want to raise them if we died. It was pretty eye opening. For the record, Ivy chose Nick and Stef (because Stef is SO fun!), Gwen chose Janey and Warner (over Nick and Stef because she doesn't want any additional siblings...), and Bentley chose Rosey (who Gwen didn't choose because she wants to have a dad and Rosey isn't married yet!). Pretty insightful too! Of course originally they all chose their grandparents (both sets) but I had to explain to them that grandparents aren't around for as long as their parents are going to need to be around :) Okay, this is kind of a morbid topic. Just pray I don't get eaten by a shark, okay?     

PS Jen, for the record, you were not chosen because your other kids are too old and Gwen doesn't want to give up being the oldest! Who knew?

Friday, June 1, 2012

DC Day 4

Day 4 Monday May 14th

On Monday our exciting weekend came to an end. It was time to pack up and move to our new place for the next leg of our journey. Our long lost friend from high school Sharon, was so kind to offer us her extra bedroom for three nights during the week. It was so perfect since hotels in DC were SO expensive during the week (seems backwards right? Who would have thought hotels would be cheaper on the weekends!). Blaine took off for work early in the morning and I was left trying to figure out how to move all of our stuff (two big suitcases, a backpack, a purse, a vase of flowers and pillow) across town to Sharon's house. I milked every second out of our hotel and lounged around on the bed watching a weird Diane Keaton movie on TV until checkout time. I was exhausted from the previous days adventures and was grateful for an excuse to take it easy.

 The time finally came and I gathered our luggage and set out for Sharon's. The journey was...well, it was traumatizing. It was pouring rain, I had a problem with my metro pass, my suitcase didn't really fit through the metro gate, and so on. By the time I got to Shady Grove I was quite razzled. Sharon was really nice and offered to come and pick me up from the metro stop. The only problem was that I didn't really listen too carefully to her directions. I wound up going out the wrong side of the Metro and walked around for a while in the pouring rain. I stepped into what I am convinced was the worlds largest puzzle. I was soaked to the bone, lost, and extremely disheartened. I picked up my phone to call Sharon to figure out where I was. "Hello?" she answered. "Hey! I am so lost? I came out the one side but I think maybe you are on the other side and I stepped in a puddle and it's raining and I'm lost and HELP!" I wailed. "Uh, this is Stef" came the confused reply. In the chaos I guess I called the wrong number and my poor sister-in-law had to listen to me cry about how hard my life was :) Ha ha, eventually I got over to the other side of the tracks and Sharon rescued me. I've never been so happy to see someone in my life ever! I LOVED meeting Sharon's kids. Wow, they were complete dolls. I instantly fell in love with Lucy (cutest curly blonde hair ever!), Matthew (such a sweet boy, and he liked me too, I could tell :), and brand new baby Conrad. As excited as I was to leave my kids for 10 days, the second I was around Sharon's family I felt at home, and more peaceful than I had at any point on the trip. So lovely! She showed me to our room, which was cozy and secluded down in the basement. I played with the kids for a bit, mooched a PBJ from Sharon, and then set off for DC. I had promised Blaine I would pick him up from work, though I was less than excited to spend more time on the Metro that day! I got in to town around 3PM and decided to go check out the Museum of Natural History until Blaine got off of work. It was awesome! I especially loved the Gem collection and the Jewelry Collection (Holy Hope Diamond!). Blaine got off of work a little later than he expected and was going to meet me at the museum and we were going to hopefully catch a few exhibits before it closed at 5:30pm. I told him I would meet him at the top of the stairs (there was only one set in the Natural History Museum). I waited forever and eventually he called, "Hey, where are you?" "At the top of the stairs, where are you?" "At the top of the stairs" "You sure? What are you looking at? I'm looking at the giant African Elephant" "I'm looking at the giant American flag" Me *looking around and not seeing a flag* "Uh, I don't see a flag" "Well, I don't see an elephant-- you sure you're not on the third floor?" Me *looking at the Authorized Personnel Only sign that barricaded off the third floor. "Yep, I'm sure". It took us a ridiculous amount of time to figure out that he was in the Smithsonian Museum of American History and not the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. By the time we sorted it all out and he got over to the right museum we only had about ten minutes left. We checked out the bug exhibit, which turned out to be a favorite, and then headed out.

 We stopped at Potbelly's for a sandwich for Blaine and a salad for me (*cough* and a chocolate shake!). We then made our way to the Archives, grateful to find something that closed a little bit later. We only had about twenty minutes, but the good thing about that was that we were about the only people in the entire building. We didn't have to wait in line to see anything. It was awesome seeing the Magna Carta, The Constitution, and The Declaration of Independence. It was pretty funky how weird they looked under their protective cases and lighting. Glad I finally got to see the official John Hancock myself. We had just a few minutes to check out the other exhibits which had letters and journals of George Washington (one which basically was telling off the paparazzi, which was awesome), and Abraham Lincoln. Very cool, wish we would have had a bit more time here. Then we headed back to Sharon's house where we enjoyed visiting with her and her husband for a while before bed.

* I didn't take many pictures in these places because, well, you couldn't. Sorry :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

DC Part Duex

May 13, 2012

Sunday was really nice. We got up and found the nearest LDS church and the most convenient time. We scrambled to make the metro shuttle (I literally had to bang on the window as he was driving away!). And raced to Chevy Chase (which is where I think Carolyn Franklin is from), and caught the Singles Ward. It was eerily quiet. Well, correction, it was freakishly LOUD before the meeting and then eerily quiet once it had started. It was ironic that it was mothers day since I was one of only a small handful of mothers in the enormous room. We enjoyed hearing the speakers and attending the first sacrament meeting I can remember in a long time where I wasn't taking care of kids :). Oh we also enjoyed that one of the callings extended during the meeting was "ward tweeter". That's a new one.

After the meeting I was able to meet James (Blaine's housemate), and I also got to meet um. Dang it. I can't remember his name. But the guy that Blaine met on the metro his first day in DC and had invited to church. Apparently this guy had kind of fallen for one of the girls that Blaine was with and has called her almost every day since then. So, his motives maybe weren't most pure, but at least he was there, which was fun.

We then got back on the Metro and headed to Arlington. We figured that would be a great Sunday activity. And it was! I loved Arlington. We meandered around, saw the flame on JFKs grave (lit by Jackie at his funeral and hasn't been put out since).

My favorite part was the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. Wow. There's not much else to say but ... wow. I sat there for a long time, just indulging my thoughts of gratitude towards those who have given their lives for our country. We hung around long enough to watch the changing of the guard, which was also amazing. We even got online and read some interesting facts about the soldiers who protect the tomb. We were also able to witness a couple of groups who were presenting wreaths to the tomb, which was awesome (an amazing rendition of TAPS was played each time). Wow, it was just an amazing experience to be there.

Afterward we meandered around and found the memorials to those on the Challenger, and a couple of other memorials. Then we made the long trek back (maybe it wasn't really that long but we got lost a couple of times). The sheer quantity of graves is just enough to blow your mind, and break your heart.

We stopped on our way home at Whole Foods to buy some breakfast for the next day (chocolate croissants!), and then grabbed some dinner at Cosi, where we tried to pretend our expensive yet meager portions had filled us. Unfortunately we had to resort to eating our next days breakfast for a second dinner later on! 

We spent some time on FaceTime watching the kids jump on the tramp and being jealous of all the people who were eating homemade ice cream!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

DC Part 1 of Many

In honor about this blog now being more about me than you... (wow, when I put it that way it sounds kind of rude!). An indulgent, indepth recap of my trip to DC. I tried to keep it bare bones for you. And I wrote this for our Bassett Family um, if I refer to "you guys" it means Blaine's family. Just an FYI :)

Friday May 11 -

I left Salt Lake about 10:30AM, I was relieved to sit by THE NICEST man in the world. He was probably 55-60 years old, owns a 600 acre cattle ranch in Kansas and was just a pleasure to talk to. It came up that I was mormon and he got a puzzled look on his face and asked, "wait, so, if you are mormon, what is your husband doing in DC?". Which made me laugh. Apparently he didn't realize that mormons were allowed to stray from the "homeland" :). We both had four hour layovers in the Denver airport and he was so kind and bought me lunch and kept me company for the layover. Probably seems weird to write so much about the person I sat next to on my first flight but it really changed the tone from being a scary thing to being a fun thing. So, be nice to people on planes! You never know when you are sitting next to someone who is terrified! (Unless they tell you, like I would!). Ha.

I got in to Washington Dulles around 9:30 that night. One of Blaine's co-workers (well, not exactly a co-worker...but an acquaintance who happens to be LDS as well) was so nice and offered to drive him to pick me up from the airport. We stopped at McDonalds for dinner and then he dropped us off at the Marriott Bethesda. Blaine had bought flowers for me, which was kind of a big deal since he had to drag them, along with his luggage around DC and the metro all day!  The hot tub was closed, much to Blaine's dismay.

Saturday May 12 -

Our hotel had a shuttle to the metro, which was nice. To get down in to the metro you have to take the worlds longest escalator, which was a fun adventure.

 Turns out I kind of have an irrational fear of mass transit too. The
subway kind of stressed (and grossed!) me out. I eventually got over that during the week, but it took a while : ) Our first destination was to Wingos. See-- being that this trip was sponsored by student loans, and that no matter what we did the trip was going to be pretty expensive, we did our best to save on hotels and meals. Groupon has a cool thing in big cities called "Groupon Now" where it posts a lot of deals that have to be used within a couple of hours. So we paid $5 for a $10 certificate at Wingos, and I had $5 of groupon credit, so this was a free meal. And we walked about two miles to get it :). Ha ha. It was literally a hole in the wall, but man, I've never tasted such good wings! The area Wingos was in was kind of a ritzy shopping district (Georgetown), it was fun to walk around and see Hugo Boss stores in really old buildings. I was in awe at how green the city was. 

Oh also while we were eating our wings I had a nice conversation with a policeman, and being LDS came up again. Man, if you ever go to DC don't forget to take your pass along cards! 

We then walked over to the Potomac where there was a big Crew race going on. It was kind of fun to watch for a while, seeing as how I've only ever seen people rowing in movies!

Then we rented a kayak. When I got in I kind of broke the seat. And as we were drifting while getting settled some dude in another kayak started freaking out, "watch my oar. Watch my oar! WATCH MY OAR!" And I was thinking, dude, I am not in control, you may want to get your oar out of my way. Oh well. Now we have a fun quote (WATCH MY OAR!).  Since the crew race was going on (which the guy on the doc so kindly reminded us of as we started paddling that way), we headed South down the Potomac. Saw a dead fish. I had a panic attack because I thought I saw a snake. And finally about half an hour in to our hour rental we made it to see the back of the Lincoln Memorial :) It was pretty darn fun!

Then we walked around "the mall" and just kind of got the lay of the land and saw the memorials and monuments and the white house. Blaine showed me where he worked. I thought my feet were going to fall off. I can't remember what we had for dinner that night -- I think we took the hotel shuttle to a mall and ate at The Cheesecake Factory (don't worry, I only got an appetizer to save $$). Oh yeah, when the table next to ours got their meal Blaine said something like "dang! I wonder what that is, it looks good!" And the girl just turned and told us what they had ordered and offered us some, it was so funny. Turns out they were LDS and in town for a DoTerra convention (DoTerra is the essential oil company my granola neighbor sells for). They were really funny and nice, it was a mom with two of her TWELVE kids. Crazy. I can't imagine raising 12 kids here, but they must have gotten some stares raising 12 kids in Delaware where they were from!

We made it back in time to sit in the hot tub (thankfully!). And I think maybe this is the night that we were with three older women in the hot tub who had taken a road trip together to DC. We talked about the price of milk in our respective areas of the country : ) Oh and I had fun being cynical of the lifeguard who sat in the corner applying her makeup while kids were swimming in the pool. Awesome. 

Wow, Maybe I better take this one day at a time so as to not write the worlds longest post!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Out With A Bang

Do I really think I am going to die on a plane tomorrow? Meh...I'm like 60% sure that I won't.  But considering I white knuckle the calmest of flights, I know I am in for a long, exhausting, trying day. And if I come through it all in tact at the end, well that would just be great.

This anxiety does weird things to me. I've been really sluggish the last few days, I can't get myself to do anything but sit and think of the worst possible things that could happen. Add to this that I also suffer a fair amount of anxiety about leaving my kids. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy leaving my kids, I love time away from them, but boy do I ever worry about them. We have close calls all the time and I am the hyper vigilant helicopter mom. I worry they'll choke on food. That someone will back over them in a car. So scary. So anxiety is the name of the game for me for the next little while. I wish I could just not be so wound up about it. But, yeah, it is what it is.

In honor of all of my anxiety though we took today by the horns and just rocked it. I let Gwen miss school. Originally it was because she had a doctors appointment at 11am. But, it turned in to an entire day affair. She slept in two hours past the time that she normally has to wake up for school ( which makes me wonder if she is getting enough sleep normally?!). I made blender whole wheat waffles with lemon curd on top for breakfast. Then we had about an hour long dance party.

That was my favorite. I always had visions of dancing around with my kids and singing and laughing. The reality is more me singing, Gwen moping and rolling her eyes, Ivy crying, and Ben screaming and running around like a wild man. Not today! Today was awesome. We sang, we danced, the kids even got along with each other. That's huge for us.

We hit up the doctors office, Gwen's little growth on her leg isn't cancer (holla!). I had the kids in hysterics and I did impressions of them when they get their shots as babies. They literally had tears rolling down their eyes from laughing so hard (I guess you just never know what will be funny to kids, eh?).

Then we hit up the library, maxed out our card and prayed that that would be enough books to last Gwen while I am gone.

Stopped and grabbed a sub sandwich (and an extra extra large Dr. Pepper). Took it to the park to eat.

Then we played at the park, more specifically the swings. I swung as high as I could. It. Was. Awesome.

Then somebody's car ran out of gas and we gave them a ride to get a canister and gas. The kids were completely weirded out by it and weren't shy about saying so. "MOM! What is SHE doing in our car?". A bit awkward. Especially awkward when she came out of the  store with a gas canister AND a lighter. In the spirit of being overridden with anxiety I was sure she was going to blow us all to smithereens. She didn't. Also awesome.

Then I went to the mall. And I found stuff I liked (rare!). And the kids were good! They were entertaining each other!

I ran those suckers ragged today and they were being so good. It really was monumental.

Back home for some while I tried to get some packing done (fail). A few more errands.

And finally we ended with a delicious healthy dinner of twist cones at Thanksgiving Point. Then prayers and scriptures. (I am ashamed to admit that they had to beg me to read scriptures, but man was I ever proud! "Mom, I love reading scriptures. Jesus wants us to read scriptures!"). Bentley prayed for me to be safe and to make lots of new friends in DC.

Really, if today were my last day, I couldn't ask for a better one. (Well, I guess I could ask for one where I actually get to see my husband, but..beggars can't be choosers ;).

Everyone cross your fingers and say a little prayer for me. I bet none of you guys pray for your pilots the night before your flights do you? (ha ha, I just love to give you all insights to what it is like to be certifiably insane--- at least my insanity has a specific trigger-- it would be exhausting to be this worked up about every day life!).

Peace out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


The other night I stayed up until 3AM. I didn't intend to. It started out because I had an idea to follow up on a blog I had read about a year ago about a guy who had lost his wife suddenly. I just thought I would check in and see what had changed in the year since her passing (such a sad story). But then I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on his blog, which lead me to this blog. I had heard the story of Sheldon and Jace a few weeks earlier on facebook, they are friends of a friend of mine.[If you don't hop over to read- On Julie's 31st birthday her husband took her toddler out for a canoe ride on the lake behind their house, and they both drowned]. Wow,  reading her blog really did a number on me. I literally felt so much physical pain for her, such an aching, such empathy. I couldn't help but just sit and sob the whole night through. And of course, reading some of the comments on her blog led me to others. It was a long night full of tears, love, and mostly full of prayers of gratitude that I have not had to experience such tragedy, and pleading that I never will. 

It was timely to read those blogs when I did. I had had a hectic day, it was day 10 of being a temporary single mom. I had made it through the day but had hastily thrown the kids in bed, no story, a rushed family prayer, a quick goodnight and a sigh of relief. I think there was quite a bit of yelling in there too. As I sat alone in my bed reading I just wanted my family to be with me. I wanted Blaine by my side, and all of my kids in my bed. I didn't care if Ivy's feet were in my face, or if they were all fighting, I just wanted them close. It pained me to not be with Blaine. The pain eased only by the fact that he is not gone forever, just for a little while. And that I can call and talk to him on the phone each day. A luxury all of those people I mentioned no longer have. 

Lots of things struck me on those blogs. It was heartbreaking to read the posts that happened right before the posts that talked about the tragedy. These are normal people with normal lives. Doing fun things, having fun days, having rough days,  playing at the park and then BAM. It ends. It's over. A huge part of their life is gone in an instant. I bet they'd give anything to read their kids a story, to fold their husbands laundry. Julie talked about a dream she had where she was wiping Jace's face after he had eaten lunch. Such a simple thing, a thing we do twenty times a day, something we likely dread doing, and she misses that so much and would give anything to wipe his face. 

It made me realize too how we need to live for the now. For instance in the case of Julie and Sheldon, he had just barely finished optometry school. He had been in school for their entire marriage (10 years I believe) and then six months after finishing the accident happened. I am so glad Blaine is in school and following his dream. We've been lucky, our lifestyle hasn't suffered too much (thank you student loans!), and I really am enjoying life right now. The days are long, Blaine is working his tail off, but things are good. Blaine is learning and growing in so many ways. It's amazing to be a part of his growth and to watch his accomplishments. His work, for example, is practically on the back lawn of the white house ( he has fun making his way through protesters of some sort almost every single day on his way to work, exciting right?). I think if something happened to Blaine during school or shortly thereafter that I wouldn't consider the decision to do law school a waste of time or money, because he is truly a happier and more fulfilled person because of it. I just hope that we can always focus on being happy where we are at in each stage of life, because accidents don't care if you are just finally starting your "real" life, the part you've been waiting for-- or if you are in the middle of working towards that life. They just happen. So I'm determined to be doing everything I can to ensure our family is just living up every stage of life we are in. Sorry, random thoughts I know.

I've been thinking a lot about my kids too. Each of those bloggers I mentioned probably clings so tightly to any and every memory, snippet, post, picture, video, etc they have of their lost loved ones. I've been horrible at blogging or documenting anything for a long time now. Something about being back in Utah made my life seem completely boring and dull and overall not worth writing about. I had been writing this blog for the masses, to make you all laugh, and to be validated as a good writer. And I didn't have fodder for that any more. But...if something were to happen to the kids or Blaine, I know I would wish that I would have documented more of our everyday lives. So I am going to try to do that more. (I just heard a hundred of you go and delete me from your google reader feed, ha ha). Oh well ;) 

So now I am basically just rambling. But I love my family, I hope they know it. I also love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that has allowed me to be sealed to my family forever. So that if something ever did happen, I would know that this life is not the end. That we can be together again. What peace that brings! 

Now... off to write sappy individual posts about each of my kids. Look forward to that! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Double Take

A few weeks ago as Blaine was having a lunch with a professor the professor casually asked Blaine if he was related to a Morgan Bassett. Blaine scoured his memory and came up dry, so responded that nope, there was no relation. The professor looked a little confused and said, "really? Because you remind me so much of him!". Apparently this professor had attended law school with said Morgan Bassett and they had been good friends.

Then a light clicked on for Blaine and he remembered a year or so ago that his uncle had told him that one of his cousins was an attorney in New York.
So it turns out there was a connection, though Blaine wasn't familiar with this particular relative. So of course he wanted to find out more about this like-minded second cousin. After a few minutes googling he came across this picture...

Which, I don't know if you have seen my husband lately but he looks like this...

*Eerie Twilight Zone Music Playing*. Even our kids, when shown the picture of Morgan Bassett claim it is Blaine. I wish I had a better picture of Blaine's head positioned the same way and with no smile, because it would be uncanny. He looks more like this second cousin than he looks like his brothers and sisters!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Awkward Silences

I keep thinking about funny things that happen and wish I could blog about them but don't do so because,'s been half a year since I posted, it just didn't seem right to jump in and pretend like that awkward six month silence didn't happen.

Anywho (casually ignoring the six month silence). . . so the other day I went to IKEA. I was parked in the loading zone, because I was just running in for a sec. When I was done I got back in my van and was messing around on my phone for a bit before leaving. I looked up and saw a man approaching my car with his hand up in the air, in a friendly, "hey wait up lady, you dropped something" kind of way. He got closer and then tapped on the door. So I unlocked it, expecting him to hand over my purse, or receipt or something. Instead he picked up the mail that was sitting on my front seat and started riffling through it. It was then that I cautiously extended my hand to protect my purse, assuming that he was going to grab it and run. After he flipped through a bunch of my mail he looked up at me, and jumped about a mile high. Then he shut the door. Opened it again and said, "sorry, wrong car". And then went and hopped in to the dark grey Sienna parked right next to me. And then I laughed and laughed. It was a nervous laugh though because I really thought I was toast when he started going through my stuff.

We took a spontaneous trip to Disneyland a few weeks ago. It seemed like the right thing to do. You know with Blaine so busy in school, and our income of nothing, why not? No really, it was good. Except the part where everyone else in the entire world decided to go to DL at the same time. In February. And also the part where Ivy had just gotten potty trained the week before. Well, at least now I can cross off "visit every public restroom from Lehi to Anaheim" off of my bucket list (not fun folks, *shudder*).

We kept it a surprise from the kids, which kind of got tricky once my parents started loading their suitcases in to our car. "Oh yeah kids...Grandma and Grandpa are coming with us to pick up dad and take him to dinner...and then they brought their stuff in case they decide they want to sleepover or something". After we picked up Blaine from school and headed off "to dinner" at Wendy's. In Nephi (just where you should take your kids and husband and grandparents for a night out on the town), we decided to tell the kids. It was fun. We got video, I should post it but then I might lose my steam and never post this :). Gwen didn't believe us (because actually we often announce to the kids that we are going to Disneyland, and then tell them we are kidding...which now all of the sudden seems kind of rude). When it sank in that we were actually going she was on top of the freaking world! So happy! (side note: she's being bullied at school, and we were both so excited that she didn't have to go for a whole week! Much needed break from tears and drama). Bentley, upon realizing that we were serious, burst in to tears. Apparently he has a phobia of people in costume and the thought of seeing the characters was just too much (who knew?). Ivy... announced that she had to go potty for the first of ten trillion times throughout the course of the drive.
[NOTE: Hey, I found the video on this computer! But, it is uploading and currently says it will take 800 minutes to upload...and I have episodes of 30 Rock to watch, so I just want to post this, but hopefully I can update and insert the video in here in about 801 minutes]

But on to the funny story! So one night we were staying at the park pretty late. We got dinner at the pizza planet place (rip off alert!). As we were eating, Gwen finished and was laying on the bench and fell asleep. When we were all done she looked so darn cute asleep there that I took her picture. Then we picked her up to go. Ivy, not to be outdone, then laid on the bench and pretended to sleep so we would take her picture. Such a ham. We laughed and took her picture. Meanwhile Gwen had kind of woken up and in a state of somewhat delirium didn't want to be outdone. So she laid back on the bench with a dreamy little smile.

*While all of this was taking place there was a nice guy sitting at the table next to us, smiling and enjoying his dinner*

We laughed and told her it was time to go. Then she inched along the long bench toward the guy sitting at the table next to us. We giggled, "Gwen, come on let's go". Which is when she lifted her head, put it on the guy's lap and wrapped her arm around his leg. Oh my gosh, I was dying! I kept saying "Gwen, Gwen, open your eyes, we have to go". Nope, she wouldn't have it. So there she was, cuddling with some complete stranger. He was so funny too. I could tell he was pretty worried about the situation. You should have seen his face. Finally after a painful two minutes or so I was like "Gwen, DUDE, that is NOT GRANDPA!" Her eyes shot open, and she looked up at the guy, and practically ran to the nearest exit. Oh man, the words don't describe it but I'll put it this way...I will never complain about the price of that pizza (which ironically is all that I did during the meal) because that memory is so worth it.

What a good sport that guy was!

Well that about sums it up, but just to glaze over a few more quick points (for posterity)!

* Blaine is rocking law school! It was scary to decide to go back to school, to quit a perfectly wonderful job in the rocky economy, but seeing Blaine learn and grow and just...THRIVE has been awesome. I can only hope that sometime I find something that I am just as passionate about and excellent at. In fact right now he is taking a shower and I can hear him reciting his oral argument for the moot court competition tomorrow. I love it! He is seriously amazing and I would have spent the rest of my life kicking myself if we hadn't taken this opportunity!
* I'm doing the 30 day shred. Today was day 5 and I wanted to die. Since I don't work out on Sundays I get to do the workout twice on Saturdays (morning and night), so that will be really fun tomorrow. Blerg!
*Gwen loves reading. She reads for hours a day. I love it! She is still struggling at her new school. (We changed from the Charter to the local school which has turned out to be one of the worst decisions ever! Oh hindsight...sigh....), but she has made a couple of friends so that has helped. She is growing so much and she will be as tall as I am soon. Craziness.
*Bentley and I are both pretty sad that he doesn't get to start kindergarten this year. Boo! He finds it hard to be motivated to do anything besides watch shows or play electronics. Which drives me crazy. I try, oh how I try! Puzzles! Games! Bubbles! Parks! In fact one time I told him since he wanted to watch shows all day and never played with his toys I was going to give all of his toys away to his friends. A few weeks later I told him that one of his friends was coming over and he got all excited and said, "Is he coming so we can give him all of my toys so I can watch shows all day?!?" So, needless to say, I am on a quest to find something that the boy will love that doesn't involve electronics. Any ideas?
*Ivy is insane. I feel like that is all I can say about her ever, but seriously...where did she come from? She is a ball of crazy energy. Take for example the three nights in a row that we left Disneyland at 11PM and she hopped (not walked, not got pushed in a stroller) all the way from the Disneyland castle to our shuttle stop, which was like half a mile away. Then as everyone on the shuttle was in zombie mode Ivy was chattering away about Disneyland and how much she loved it. She's bossy, she's stubborn, she's spoiled as can be...but man I love her!

Okay well, I think we're good now. Hopefully I will find the motivation to write once in a while. Because I miss it. A lot. The end.