29 November 2010

The One With All the Rolls

Our Thanksgiving felt like it was straight out of a Friends episode. Except instead of Joey having to eat all of the turkey, Troy had to eat all of the rolls.

Let me back up to 24 hours before the feast. We were compiling a grocery list and everyone was giving their input on what should be included. Troy made it very clear that the most important item was the rolls. I looked up a daunting recipe from the "Tanner Tasties" cookbook. It was a recipe submitted by Troy's aunt, an incredibly talented and experienced baker. I can barely even survive in the kitchen when it comes to baking. But not wanting to disappoint Troy in his first Thanksgiving in our own home, I set out to conquer the rolls.

Troy also requested a whole plethora of rolls. The dough was supposed to make 18 rolls, which he didn't think was near enough for six people. He said that he would eat 3 rolls before we even sat down to eat and he wanted lots of leftovers. So, I made two batches of dough. I was stressed the whole time, worrying that they wouldn't turn out.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving morning. After rising in the refrigerator all night, one batch was successful and the other was a total dud. That was not surprising to me at all; remember, I'm not a baker. But I knew that Troy wanted as many rolls as possible. So, I threw out the failure batch and made another one to let rise all day.

Then, as my mom and I were rolling out the dough later that day, we realized that each batch was supposed to be split in half, and each half made 18 rolls. So instead of the 36 rolls I thought I was making, we ended up with 72 rolls for six people!

It became the ongoing joke of the day, that Troy better be prepared to down a lot of rolls. It felt like we had rolls coming out the windows and doors by the time we were finished. But in the end, they tasted excellent.  Despite all of the work, I think I'd have to call the rolls a success! Besides, Thanksgiving is supposed to be spent in the kitchen with your family making memories, right? Thankfully my talented chef dad prepared all of the other fixings. The rolls were more than enough for me (and my helpers) to handle this year. They were one step forward in my l-o-n-g path to becoming domestic.

I had fun being the hostess.

A delicious feast! And would you believe that I forgot to capture the final product of all the rolls?

My mom always asks for a lot of ice in her water. My brother took her request quite literally. There was an iceberg in there.

Blake liked my place settings.

And Nash did too!
Happy Thanksgiving!

27 November 2010

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year. Our long running tradition in my family is to read "'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving," on Thanksgiving Eve, followed by our annual (edited) feature presentation of "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles". Then we top off the night with a round of harmonized gobbles. Oh how I love traditions.

I think we have the book just about memorized by now, but even so, we take turns passing it around and reading the story page by page.

Troy was really enthused about the tradition, as one might gather from his concentration on a Forbes magazine. Those raised eyebrows weren't out of sarcasm at all in response to our giddiness...

Blake figured out how to use my remote camera clicker, so we humored ourselves while the guys rolled their eyes. Oh and I promise that Blake has pants, it's just so much easier without them while he is perfecting his potty training skills.

It is so much fun (and helpful) to have family gathered for the holidays.

25 November 2010


So much to be thankful for.
We've been adding feathers all month (it may be obvious who added what). I'm a firm believer that gratitude equals happiness. We are certainly blessed.

24 November 2010


The whole state of Utah basically shut down last night because of a blizzard warning. I had no idea how big the storm was going to be until I got a call that the whole school district was shutting down and my yoga class was going to be cancelled. Universities were shut down, businesses closed early, and employees everywhere were sent home in the mid-afternoon to avoid white out conditions during their commutes.

What made all the blizzard hype even more scary was that my parents were en route from Arizona. Thankfully they left early enough in the morning that they beat most of the storm. The conditions only worsened in their last little stretch and they were safely tucked inside our house before the snow really started coming down.

Troy went out after a couple of hours to shovel the eight inches or so of snow that had already accumulated. He wanted to clear at least some of it before his early morning commute.

And once Troy was outside in the winter wonderland, somebody else immediately wanted to join him...
Yes, Blake put on his socks and shoes and tried to sneak outside with no pants on. He was devastated when I informed him that his underwear-only fashion wouldn't quite cut the harsh blizzard.

22 November 2010


My friend Kim and I went to a Time Out for Women Convention over the weekend. There was a sea of 4,000 women generating strength and hope. The presenters were full of wisdom and love, filling me and lifting me.

Our husbands took care of our children in every way back at home - and I for once just got to go and listen and absorb. It was much different than my weekly church adventures. I wasn't trying to get little bodies to sit in chairs and stuff their mouths with cheerios to keep them quiet. I wasn't trying to get teenage bodies to pay attention to my lessons. I wasn't distracted thinking about what I would prepare to put in bodies after church. I actually got to pay attention, and it was wonderful.

But as I listened and reflected on motherhood and a myriad of other inspirational topics, I missed those little bodies like crazy. I couldn't wait to get back to them and snuggle them up and tell them how much I loved them. Especially when Hilary Weeks sang "If I Only Had Today" and expressed so poignantly what the important things to do would be, if today was all there was.

"If there were no more tomorrows
If I knew that I could not stay
I know how I'd spend every minute
If I only had today

I'd hold you and listen
I'd memorize every detail of your face
I'd tell you I loved you over and over
I wouldn't let excuses get in the way

Then I'd remind you of forever
How our love would never change
If I only had today"

Yes, I was happy to get home and sweep the boys up, love them, and enjoy them in the moment. Blake and Wyatt were like two little peas in a pod and Kim and I were so grateful that our husbands gave us some time out to rejuvenate. Although Troy did admit afterwards that he could never be a stay at home dad. How grateful I am that my sweet little boys are my every day reality.

19 November 2010

Missing Mackinac

My parents are fortunate enough to spend summer and fall each year on Mackinac Island. Mackinac is a charming little island between the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. Only 8 miles in diameter and no motorized vehicles are allowed. That means that the only modes of transportation are horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. Mackinac is a historical tourist attraction with Victorian charm and several resorts, but it also contains some of the most breathtaking views of the Mackinac Bridge and Lake Huron.

My mom sent the boys some Mackinac sweatshirts before leaving the island for the winter.

It made me think of all those lazy summers I spent on Mackinac Island in my childhood, riding my bike along the shore with the wind whipping through my hair, going to Monday night movies at Mission Point Resort, and seeking out "prime perchin' spots" with my dad. It's a logistical nightmare to get there now with young children; a five hour plane ride, a four hour drive, a ferry ride, topped off with bicycling 3 miles to the cottage while hauling suitcases, baby gear, and portable cribs. Our trips to Michigan therefore have become few and far between. But I do have a special place in my heart for this place. And someday when the boys are older, they will get to experience the charm and beauty as well. A photographer that I love, Alicia Bock, featured a collection of vintage shots of some of the lesser visited places on Mackinac. I would love to hang up all of her prints! I love her eye for the beautiful simple charms.

15 November 2010

The Potty Train

Yes, we are a little late to jump on the bandwagon on this one.

We were really in no rush to potty train Blake. However, with his third birthday approaching soon, we thought it was time to start encouraging a little more independence. He was showing all of the "readiness" signs, so we cleared our schedule (as much as possible) for an entire week to embark on this new adventure.

The process is going a lot better now than it was at the beginning stages. We aren't completely there yet, but we are having more and more success with potty training every day.

I have to share one aside before going into the details of our system. We really tried to psyche Blake up in advance for potty training. We made a huge deal out of buying big boy underwear. We wrote "potty train" in huge letters on our family calendar and counted down how many days we had until the big event. 

In the midst of all the hype, we talked to my parents on Skype. Blake proudly exclaimed, "I'm going on the potty train! It goes choo-choo!" We all nodded and agreed even though we had no idea what he was talking about or where he got that idea. He kept mentioning "the potty train," until Grandpa figured out that he was taking the word "train" quite literally! He interpreted the word "train" as the noun train (a locomotive), not the verb train (to develop a behavior).

That opened a whole new can of worms, eventually transforming our living room into a play train so that he could "potty train" with the satisfaction of riding on a "potty train."

And so it went. As with any new parenting feat that I approach, I studied different potty training methods and read up beforehand to come up with the best system for us. So, I'm not saying that this is the one way to potty train, but it is working for us, s-l-o-w-l-y but surely. Here is our system:

10 November 2010

Love/Hate Relationship

It's all love and hugs and high pitched greetings until his little brother tries to take his most prized possession.

This captures their everyday relationship to a T.

09 November 2010

He'll Be Wearing Diapers to College

Potty Training Day Two:

9 Accidents

0 Successes

0 Naps

I'm Exhausted.

08 November 2010

Hometown Peeps

I grew up with these girls. Primary. Girls' Camp. Early Morning Seminary. Youth Conferences. Young Women's. Crushes. Heartbreaks. Disappointments. Triumphs.

There is a special place in my heart for my Michigan church friends who helped mold me into who I am now.

Now we're all married and own homes and are in charge of leading those nursery and primary children and young women.

We feel like we were just there giving our leaders teenage attitude (sorry).

We sure don't make these outings occur often enough even though we all have moved to the West.

Our girls' night out consisted of reconnecting and reminiscing about those responsibility-free days. It was refreshing to catch up on the people and places in Michigan - my home that fades more and more into my past with each passing year.

05 November 2010


I have been on a quest to find a large print or painting of the Bountiful Temple ever since we were married there almost five years ago. I have never found one that was just right. I finally decided that maybe I could play around and come up with my own print. I am a very unschooled and inexperienced photographer but I figured that if I didn't capture exactly what I wanted, at least I wasn't paying for it! 

For the last few months I have been trying squeeze in a trip to the temple while the sky was clear and the light was just right - not an easy feat when the boys nap until dark most days. When they both woke up early on Sunday and the sky was perfect and the light was perfect and the trees were absolutely colored to perfection, I loaded them up as fast as possible to catch that evening light. Troy was sweet to walk them around and around the temple while I shot away (and as a side note, I gave myself a little pat on the back for shooting completely in manual mode and finally making the switch to shoot in raw - why didn't I do that before?). 

The fall ambiance was gorgeous. Now I can't decide which one I'll enlarge. I'm leaning towards a black and white print for the room I'm going to put it in. I'm loving some of the lines and shadows captured in a few shots. Now if only my little ones would hold still so I could practice more on them.