Thursday, July 31, 2008

Photo Critiques

My photos were critiqued by my instructor and I am so proud of myself (and I cried a little) that I had to share what she said about my images with you. This is one of the best things I have done for myself in a long while. Being a SAHM, days seem to blend together. My brain was challenged and I have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

Red Image

Exposure: Excellent. By this week, you should be comfortable using Av (and Tv) mode and this is really the week where you get to put together not only the settings but also to use them to achieve your vision for the scene. Your caption comments tell me that you thought through this scene to include and tie in the red on the horse with the red brick in the background. By setting a narrow aperture, you let the detail and color of the background become an integral part of the scene. If you wanted to have only the red color of the bricks play into the scene, you could use f/5.6. You approach works well visually with a very interesting subject.

Focus: Tack sharp.

Lighting: Bright. Interesting to see that the shadows of the railing help form visual eye direction around the scene.

Color: Excellent

Image concept & composition: The subject is interesting and unusual. In Seattle, we have pigs painted in bizarre colors and decorated entirely with pennies. Having the diagonal line of the horse works well with the beginning of the circular walkway. Tying in the red of the building with the red on the horse is good and the building also provides good context for the horse. Nice work on this image.

Happiness Image

Exposure: Excellent. Just looking at the exposure information shows me that you balanced the settings so that you could get the shot with the DOF that was best for this subject and still maintain the great ambient light in the scene. Moving to ISO 200 was called for in this scene since a good portion of it is in low light. I assume that you stabilized the camera somehow to get the sharp focus on “Connie.”

Focus: Very sharp with a good point of sharpest focus.

Lighting: Visually inviting and authentic of coffee shops (I know, I go to them!)

Color: Excellent

Image concept & composition: This is a fine “lifestyle” shot that has great warmth and color for a familiar subject. The personalization on the Venti cup add a fun touch and some whimsy. The deep red and gold/reds of the background work well with the pastry and the brown on the cup sleeve. This is definitely a personal best and a photo of the week.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Photography School

I'm not good at going to school. I didn't mind it when I was a kid, I mostly liked getting new clothes and school supplies....I love school supplies!

Four weeks ago I signed up for an online photography class at so that I could learn to use my Canon Rebel XTi camera and take better pictures. The camera does a great job in Auto Mode but I wanted to be able to really use all of the functions. I highly recommend taking a class. I have learned so much!

Week One ~ Color & Exposure Practice



Week Two ~ Basis Zone Modes


Freezing Action Shot....This was Photo of the WEEK!!

Week Three ~ Creative Options

I was really proud of both of these....

The light here was perfect!

Week Four ~ Personal Best

Take everything I have learned and shoot two great pictures. However, we had a theme. One had to be RED and one had to be HAPPY.

RED....This is Calvin's favorite photo. There is some red in the horse....


Mommie's Movie Morning List

I have decided to keep track of the Movies that I watch during my special Sunday Morning time.....

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

Definately, Maybe...Love this one!
Roman Holiday....very good!
Atonement....Great Movie!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Easy Like A Sunday Morning

I enjoy going to the movies and knowing what movies are coming out and seeing old movies that I've never seen before and finding new movies that I love.

I absolutely love to curl up on the couch with a blanket and some wine and watch a great movie. Unfortunately....this doesn't happen as much as it used to. I'm lucky if I see one movie a week because of caring for my lovely children, housework, watching soap opera's, eating bon bons and playing World of Warcraft with my husband.

But this morning...I think I discovered the perfect time to carve away some time for ME. This morning my brain woke me up at 6:15am like it always does. And I laid there thinking....what am I going to do now?

I decided that instead of pulling weeds in the flower bed or doing a load of laundry, I would watch the movie that I downloaded from Apple TV on Saturday night.

I made my coffee, got my bowl of cereal and turned my movie on. It was great! I was able to watch Definitely, Maybe without any interruptions and I drank a half a pot of coffee. I can't believe that I haven't thought of this before!

I think this will be my weekly routine. Mommies have to take their time whenever they can!

By the way....Definitely, a great movie. I loved it! I had high hopes for it since it is made by the same folks that created Notting Hill and Love Actually....and they didn't disappoint me. And now I want to read the book Jane Eyre. I liked it for another reason that you may find completely odd. Much of the movie takes place during the 1992 Presidential race. This would be the year of President Bill Clinton, and his campaign is featured in the movie. I love Bill Clinton. I don't know what it is about him....but I find him to be kind of sexy. There I said it. I don't know why, but I....find him attractive. My husband even proposed to me in front of him at a wax museum because he knew I liked him. I think he was trying to make Bill jealous. But you see the problem is.....I'm a card carrying, red state living, pearl necklace wearing Republican! {hangs head & clutches pearls in shame}

So this brings me to TWO questions.

What do you do to take time for yourself.....and who do you have a crush on that you shouldn't?

I have decided to keep track of the Movies that I watch during my special Sunday Morning time.....

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** 

Definately, Maybe...Love this one!
Roman Holiday....very good!
Atonement....Great Movie!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Homeless, Headless & Hot

We went on a trip to Salt Lack City this morning. We like to venture south to the city once in a while to roll around in civilization like a dog rolls through dog shit. We are still not accustomed to the lack of shopping and whatnot in the Northern Utah area so it is a fabulous treat for us to go discover some new things.

We had a mission today, like we do much of the time that we head this direction. I found a recipe in Food and Wine Magazine that required Lamb Sausage. You wouldn't think it would be that difficult to find. First I tried Snider's Family Meats in Ogden. No dice. But I did pick up a nice mexican pork sausage that I 'm eager to try with some eggs.

I had hoped to find Lamb sausage at Tony Caputo's Market and Deli in Downtown SLC. I'm sorry to say that they did not have it. But we did find a wonderfully stocked specialty food market. I was amazed at the selection of great food products. From locally made pasta, white truffle oil, large selection of olive oil to the most amazing cheese and artisan meat counter I have ever seen! The folks working behind the counter are friendly, informative and so helpful. We sampled and purchased the following:

Fresh Pecorino Toscano Cheese a table cheese from Tuscany
La Peral Cheese a light blue cheese from Northern Spain
Sopresata Italian Salami infused with garlic and spices
Felino Italian Salami a traditional salami from Parma

They also have a deli with some great looking sandwiches. AND the biggest selection of international chocolates in Utah. We wanted to buy some but there was a group of ladies hogging the only employee working the chocolate case. Next time....

In the park right across the street, the weekly Farmer's Market was going on. It is huge!! It takes up most of the entire park and there must have been 500 people there. We decided to walk through one little section on our way to our vehicle and there was so much to see. And amazingly, we found a booth selling Lamb products and I got their last package of Linguisa Lamb Sausage!! I almost kissed the guy!

Since we didn't have to continue our search for the much coveted Lamb....we decided to walk a couple of blocks down to our favorite mall. The Gateway Mall! We love this mall because it has the best stores (Banana Republic, Gymboree, The Apple Store, Starbucks & Sur La Table) and it has GREAT restaurants.

We don't know our way around SLC. We have been to a couple places downtown (okay THREE places) but we don't know the lay of the land. We ended up walking past the rescue mission. Two blocks of people sitting or sleeping on the sideway in the 90 degree heat. There was a woman with a little baby and a family with two small kids. I didn't see any food or sippy cups. I felt so horrible walking past in my pretty outfit with my expensive camera and my new iPhone in my diaper bag. It was heartbreaking. I guess if anything it made me completely aware of how incredibly lucky I am.

We tried to do some shopping at Baby Gap but the headless child-sized mannequins where scaring the heck out of Mallory. How am I going to turn her into my little shopping buddy if she can't handle a couple decapitated models! We ended up at The Apple store where there were about 15 people standing in line in the blazing heat waiting for iPhones. Alex and Mallory had a ball at the kids table.

We were famished and in need of relief from the heat, so we went to our favorite restaurant, Thaifoon. We tried some new dishes this time. I highly recommend the Siamese Spring Rolls. They are fabulous little handfuls of crabmeat & pork with fresh chopped cilantro, mint and sweet chili sauce on the side. I could eat these as a meal! By the way...I think you are supposed to take a piece of lettuce and put the roll inside like a lettuce roll up.

For our main dishes, I had the Mango was nice and spicy with a little sweetness from the mango. Calvin had the Evil Jungle Princess Beef. The name made me laugh and the dish made me cry! It was so is a red curry based dish with Filet Mignon, vegetables and peanuts. It also features coconut milk, which I love and plenty of fresh basil. The kids shared a chicken finger bento box. I snuck a couple bites and it was really tasty.

Just outside of Thaifoon is the dancing waters of the Olympic Snowflake Fountain. There were a ton of kids having a great time in the sun and of course Alex wanted to go check it out. I kept reminding him that he doesn't like water that shoots out of the ground but he wouldn't listen to me. He immediately began to cry after the water shot him in the face.

On the way home, I mentioned to Calvin that it is so upsetting to me that Ogden can't have a cool store like Tony's. They just can't support such a place because all people eat around here is burgers, pizza and giant buffet food. He agreed that there aren't any food snobs in Ogden and he told me that I am pretentious because I like to cook with pearl couscous and lamb sausage. Pretentious? Me? As If!

The drive home was also illuminating for another reason. I discovered the reason why my husband comes home so.....happy. Here are two billboards that he passes every day on his way home from a hard day at work as an engineer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Christmas in July!

I am a planner.

As much as I love surprises....I have to plan things. I can not just go by the seat of my pants and do things spur of the moment. Especially since having kids. I must prepare for everything that I possibly can. Calvin, on the other hand, likes to just take things day by day. He doesn't even like to plan for vacations. I don't know how he is a Virgo. {shakes head in disgust}

Every year around June 25....I start planning for Christmas. I like to draw our Secret Santa names with Calvin's family and start making gift lists and buying and making gifts. I have a master notebook with my lists and budgets and ideas in it. I also have a larger binder with tons of ideas for decorating and crafts. The method to my madness ( I have been called CRAZY) is that if I can have things figured out, purchased, made and organized before the big day....then I can better enjoy the holidays with my family. The plan is to reduce the stress by planning ahead.

I try to devote most of the day on the 25th of each month to working on Christmas related things. I listen to Christmas Music and if I have time....I watch a Christmas movie at the end of the day.

Every month on the 25th I am going to blog about my list and what I hope to accomplish. Hopefully this will also keep me on top of things and I hope I can be an inspiration for other's to plan their holidays.

Christmas in July List of Things to Do:

1. Organize Planning Notebook.

2. Create Gift Lists and Budget spreadsheets.

3. Add craft ideas to Master Christmas Binder and decide if Crafts deserve their own binder.

4. Find a support group for binder addiction.

5. Start thinking about gifts for family members.....add these to Gift Idea List.

6. Research Magic Elf that will be visiting the kids this year.

7. Watch Surviving Christmas starring Ben Affleck

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things I Love!

I like Oprah. She has some good ideas and is great at inspiring a nation. I used to love her but she is getting on my last nerve lately. I may still be bitter that I was this close (hold your thumb & index finder really close together) to being a guest on her show. A show that they never made. Anyway, where was I going with this. OH YES.

Connie's Favorite Things!

1. Sunsilk Captivating Curls de-frizz leave in creme.
Since having hair is now wavy/curly and living in Utah, it is dry as a bone. I just picked this up the other day and it is the best de-frizz creme I have found. And I have tried them all. The best part is I paid $2.33 for it at Wal-Mart.

2. Cafe Sabor in Logan Utah
We made our first trip to Logan last week as part of our week long celebration of our 4 year anniversary. We met some friends at Cafe Sabor for dinner and we absolutely loved it. The chips and salsa were so fresh and spicy. I had the Cod Fish Tacos and they were amazing. Calvin had some shrimp stuffed pepper thing and he loved it. The staff even brought out a ball of fried Ice Cream for us to celebrate with. They have one of the best liquor menus I have seen in Utah....I tried the Mexican Martini, it tastes just like a screwdriver but will a little bit of pomegranate juice.

3. Weight Watchers English Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Bar Only 2 Weight Watchers points....
I have been on Weight Watchers for a week now and I have to have a treat at night. I grew up having tea and dessert every night and that is a hard habit to break. These don't taste like diet ice cream at all. I could eat the whole box...but I won't!

4. Swingtown and Army Wives
Summer TV season is hard for me. There is usually at least one new show that I end up liking and then it disappears...never to return. I'm getting smarter and I decided that I would watch the controversial Swingtown, just enjoy it and not expect to see it again. Ever. It is really entertaining and who doesn't love a kinky love story? Plus, the straight laced Janet just cracks me up!

Then there is my other favorite show. Army wives was on last summer and I was so thrilled that they brought it back. It is on Lifetime (you know the channel for women and drama) on Sunday nights. Such a wonderful cast and I end up crying every week.

5. Orange Mango Banana Vivanno Nourishing Blend from Starbucks! Only 4 Weight Watchers points.....

These are yummy, healthy and so refreshing on a hot summer day. It has 6 grams of fiber and everyone could use a little fiber in their diet. You know what I'm talking about.

6. Anthony Field
Anthony (the one in the blue shirt) from The Wiggles! I have loved him since the first time he shook his fingers at me. I love his accent and his smile. And he is such a great dancer. I don't let the kids watch The Wiggles very much because I get this funny feeling in my tummy when I see him and I don't think that is appropriate in front of the children. My husband knows about my feelings for Anthony and he is okay with it. I'm thinking of writing a letter to Oprah about my crush and see if she can help me meet him. I've written to her before and I was almost on the show! I'll post about that another time.....

Off to write my letter to Oprah.

Lil Cowboy

I struggle.

Almost daily, I struggle with my desire for another baby to hold and love. These days all it takes to bring me to tears is to see a baby on TV, a picture in a magazine or the news that another hollywood starlet has given birth to twins or is pregnant.

On a daily basis, I have to talk myself out of getting Calvin drunk and throwing caution to the wind. Then be all....opps honey....I guess we should have been more careful. While secretly doing the pregnant happy dance.

I am usually successful at explaining to my ovaries that I can't have a baby. That we would have to get a different vehicle that would hold THREE ginormous carseats and that someone would have to share a room with the new bundle of love and joy. And then there is Calvin's age. He is going to be in his mid-40's this year and he acts like he is 85. He doesn't think he can handle another child. I work through my feelings and then I got eat a Pop Tart. Good thing these things come in packs of 16!

Well, I've been doing well lately. Even though I have two new friends with newborns and there have been a couple new babies born to my message board Mommy friends. I've been doing fine until today when I saw this.....

AND it is from my favorite kids store. The one that I get most of my kids clothes from.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Hi! It's me Mallory....guest blogging for my Mommy who is sitting in the corner rocking back and forth and chanting 'only five more hours, only five more hours'.

I thought I would share some pics of what Alex and I did today. Mommy wasn't very happy but we had fun.

Mommy was in the bathroom. She said she was taking care of business but I know darn well that woman doesn't work. Anyway, she heard Alex in the kitchen asking for cookies and she yelled out that she would get us one when she was done. We were thrilled because we LOVE cookies.

She came around the corner and let out a horrible noise. It reminded me of some crazy animal on the Discovery Channel. She said, 'what have you done!' and then she grabbed her camera for some crazy reason. That woman takes pictures at the oddness times.

I was trying to tell her with my eyes (because I don't talk yet, YO) that I made a pretty design on the floor with cornstarch when she kicked us both out of the kitchen.

Then she was sweeping and muttering to herself....something about having more kids, privacy and being constipated for the rest of her life.

Mommy said we have new nicknames...Bonnie & Clyde. I love nicknames.

Well, I have to go now...I'm going down for an early nap!

Hugs & Kisses!


Goggies and Buppies

I want to begin today by saying that I am an idiot. I have this beautiful new fancy camera and I often forget to bring it out at times when I really need it. I also have a video camera that should be getting use and I forget about it too.

I am in serious Mommy Brain HELL!

My cousin Tara and her family stopped by on their way to Yellowstone Park on Sunday and she had her two dogs with her. Duke and Dutchess. They are little dogs...not sure what kind, but they were so much fun to watch with the kids.

Alex took to the Goggies right away...following them all over the yard and dumping their water dish over. Then he started to imitate them....

He was trying to drink out of a puddle and then he was rolling around on his back. It was so funny! The dogs were chasing each other around the yard and Alex and Mallory where running right behind them.

I was amazed at how gentle they were with the since they haven't been around dogs before. The only dog they know is the Learning Puppy!

I'm wishing now that we could have a dog in this house.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why Starbucks?

After yesterday's breakdown over my local Starbucks closing, I decided to go there this morning and spend a little quality time with my obsession.

It isn't like I get Starbucks every day, or even every week. Some times I will go weeks without Starbucks because I'm not in the right part of town. My general rule is that if I pass one, I stop and get something because they are so few and far between here in the land that time forgot.

I decided on this trip that I was really going to pay attention and try to remember every moment of my visit. I told the cashier (who ended up being the manager) that I was sad about the closing. She was very empathetic and told me that the employees from her store are going to be reabsorbed into the store in South Ogden and anyone that isn't will be getting a nice severance package. She also said that she doesn't know when they are closing and she will have at least 30 days notice so I can keep visiting until then. It is good to know that I don't have to quit cold turkey and can slowly deal with my loss.

I sat in one of the nice arm chairs that they have there and enjoyed my coffee. I took in the atmosphere and let my soul soak up the happiness that I feel when I am in Starbucks. I decided that I wanted to figure out why Starbucks means so much to me. It can't be the overpriced coffee! And then it hit me.

Starbucks is my Tiffany's!

I just happened to watch Breakfast at Tiffany's for the 1st time yesterday and it was as if all of the puzzle pieces where coming together.

I thought about the quote from the movie that I rewound a couple of times because it seemed to profound.

Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there.

You see, I had my first cup of Starbucks Creamy Goodness back in August 2000. I had just packed up everything that would fit in my little black Ford Escort and left my horrible marriage. I moved to Denver and I never looked back. Well, maybe for a minute but I left my crappy life and started a brand new one.

I got a job and my Sister let me sleep on her couch. Then, in the next couple months I had a couple of runs of bad luck. I needed a root canal and didn't have insurance yet. The engine in my car blew up and my soon to be ex-husband dropped off the face of the earth. I later found him living in his truck but I had to find a way to divorce him without his input.

I was flat broke but I was happy. I was beginning a new life in a new town and I had Starbucks. I couldn't afford it all the time, usually once a week or so but sitting inside a Starbucks with it's warm woods, comfortable chairs and soothing music was a reprieve from my difficult life.

Starbucks became a calm in the storm for me. Somewhere I could go and feel carefree. I would get so excited for that first taste of White Chocolate Latte with Whipped Cream! Happiness in a cup. And you know, holding a Starbucks cup in your hand is a status symbol. Just ask half of Hollywood and Britney Spears! I felt better about myself and my life when I had a Starbucks.

Sitting in Starbucks this morning with my memories brought me to tears. I cried for the poor girl that had to be brave and face every fear she had and start a new life. I cried because I am so proud of her and what she has made of her life. She has a great husband and two beautiful children. If you had told her 8 years ago what her life would be like today....that all of her wildest dreams would come true. She would have laughed at you and then voted for Pedro.

And then I realized....I don't need Starbucks anymore. I have everything I need and more.

Mallory's First Starbucks

Friday, July 18, 2008

Need MORE Starbucks!

I was all ready to turn over a new leaf here. Since it looks like we are going to be stuck staying in Utah for a while I was going to try to be more positive and find things to like about Utah.

I really was. I am not kidding. Stop rolling your eyes. I was. Really.

One of my major issues with Utah is the lack of Starbucks. When we moved here there was ONE and it wasn't even in Ogden, it is in Riverdale. And it was 10.6 miles away from me.

Well then, they put one in South Ogden and I got a little excited. THEN, they built one in Ogden. It is only 8.8 miles away. That is close in Utah terms.

Then today, I see the list. The list of stores that are being closed. I thought to myself that they couldn't possibly close any stores in Utah because there aren't that many to begin with.

I was wrong.

They are closing the Ogden Starbucks. The one that is right by the college. I can't believe they are doing this to me.

....stomping feet and pumping my fists in the air......

Now I know how my 2 year old feels when I take a prized possession away from him.

I guess my chances of getting a Starbucks in North Ogden are slim to none now.

Edited to add this funny clip!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Serendipity ~ A Love Story

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.
~Albert Einstein

We met on eHarmony, in August 2003. Calvin was one of 10 guys that matched my personality profile. We emailed back and forth for a week or so and then we decided to meet at The Village Inn.

After three hours of drinking coffee and non-stop talking. I was smitten.

He called and asked me on a proper date. We met at Bennigans for drinks and the plan was to go to an Indian restaurant, then to a movie. We talked so long that we missed dinner and just headed to the movie. We saw the Kevin Costner blockbuster, Open Range...a romantic/drama/western. I kept wishing he would hold my hand. At the end of the night, he did kiss me goodnight and he asked if he could take me out for my birthday.

I said yes....

He took me to The Melting Pot and we had a great time! I was mesmerized by him and his stories. He looked so handsome and I thought to myself....I could listen to his man talk for the rest of my life. He came to my side of the booth for the dessert course and in between bites of melted chocolate and fruit....we made out like teenagers.

And then....

I didn't hear from him again. Days passed and he didn't call or email me. I became concerned because we had had such great times together and I really thought he liked me. I couldn't imagine that I was wrong.

He conveniently hadn't told me where he lived, so I couldn't stalk him. I finally sent him an email and asked him if he was dead. I had these visions in my head that he was laid up in a hospital bed somewhere and couldn't tell anyone how to contact me, since he didn't own a cell phone so he didn't have my number handy.

He was fine.

He told me that he was trying to decide between ME and two other women. I told him that was fine, figure it out, do what you need to do but I will warn you.....most men fall in love with me. Not to be narcissistic, but it is true. Men love me. I am a catch...that is why I have been caught so many times!

And then I still didn't hear from him and I started to get mad.


My friend Misty and I were supposed to be going to our company picnic at Elitches. We both had worked that day and would just be going for a couple hours so we decided to bail on the picnic and do something else. We had a wild and crazy idea to go to a little mountain town called Evergreen (30 miles west of Denver). This is home to the world famous biker bar called The Little Bear !

Meanwhile, Calvin was out to dinner, hoping to run into some old friends. Amazingly, he did run into these friends and also met a woman at the bar who was meeting a blind date. He told her that if things didn't work out to come back to talk to him. He was such a ladies man! She came by later and dropped a napkin in his said, meet me in 10 minutes.

He left with her. She said they were going dancing and she wouldn't tell him where. She started to drive up into the mountains.....

I had been at The Little Bear for about 20 minutes when Calvin walked in the door with his whore 'date'. I was facing the door and through the crowd, we immediately locked eyes. It was like a scene out of a movie! I could not believe that he was there. What was he doing here,...of all places. Misty and I checked out the woman. She was thin, but old looking. We decided I was way hotter than her.

His 'date' went to the bathroom and he came over to me. Trying to be all smooth and flirty. I was brushing him off and Misty was telling him to buzz off. He was putting his hands in my pockets and I accused him of trying to steal my money. Finally, he went away, and I started doing shots of tequila.

But he was back a short time later saying that he couldn't find his harlot 'date'. He said her VW Bug Mercedes Convertible was no longer in the parking lot. She must have seen him pawing me and left him there. Then he had the balls to ask for a ride back to Denver. I told him to take a hike.

Turns out Calvin didn't have much cash on him and used all of his change trying to call his brothers to come get him. With his last 50 cents he placed a call to his ex-girlfriend, who eventually got ahold of his brother and relayed the predicament that Calvin was in.

His brother came....with his parents and their dogs. They even stopped at Taco Bell on the way and made a road trip out of it. Calvin was mortified.


I called him the next day to see if he made it home okay because I was genuinely concerned for him. We talked about just being friends and we decided to watch the tv show ED together the following Wednesday.....

We both realized that there was no way that we could be friends. Fate had brought us together in Evergreen and he began to fall in love with me....just like I told him he would.

On December 13, 2003....Calvin proposed to me at the House of Wax in Dallas Texas... in front of my Mom and President Clinton. He even asked my Dad for my hand in marriage!

I said yes.....

On a bright and sunny day in July, four five years ago.....

We joined our lives together for all of eternity. My parents gave me away for the last time in our backyard with our families and a few friends present. It was the perfect wedding for us. We spent our wedding night at The Hotel Teatro in Downtown Denver. That hotel is special to us and it was magical. We ordered room service, almost got stuck in the tub together and passed out too exhausted to consummate our marriage!

The last four years have been the most amazing of my life. I love this man more than I ever thought I could and I am happier than I have ever been. I have always believed in fate and that things happen for a reason and that true love is the most sensational feeling in the world. And that someday....all of my dreams would come true!

I finally found the man that I belong with and understand what love is really all about. Calvin and I are so good together, we come from similar backgrounds and have the same values and many of the same beliefs. And some of the things he does drive me bat-shit crazy! But he also makes me laugh so hard and I love talking to him and listening to what he has to say. I feel protected and loved beyond measure.

This is our song.

And then there are these two precious children that are here because fate brought us back to each other and we fell in love....

While the fates permit, live happily; life speeds on with hurried step, and with winged days the wheel of the headlong year is turned." -
-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Monday, July 14, 2008

Insult to Injury

I was hoping to escape from here....from Utah.

We don't fit in here, we are minorities. Being here feels like being in a different country that technology has forgotten. I get it. Really I do. It has been explained to me really well that these folks have known each other their entire lives, that things have been a certain way for a very long time and they don't want it to change.

But change happens, cheese gets moved.

I thought we were going to move to Minnesota. To Plymouth Minnesota to be exact. It felt like a light at the end of our tunnel, like we would be going somewhere that we would be welcome. But Calvin's boss, who has made work extremely difficult for him, has made it impossible for him to take the job. For the foreseeable future, we will be residents of Utah.

Then today, I see the headline from Money Magazine. 100 best places to live! Guess which city is number one?

Plymouth Minnesota.

I feel like someone just punched me in the gut.

I decide to check to see if any Utah cities are on the list. It takes me a while to find it but I find No. 63 on the list. Orem Utah. Where the hell is Orem? I've never even heard of it before. It must be Utah's best kept secret.

See if your city made the list....

Ogden Botanical Garden

Last weekend, I needed a subject for my Photo Class homework so I decided to take the family to The Ogden Botanical Garden. What you say? Ogden has a botanical garden? Yes, it is only 10 acres but they have one. I just recently learned about this place while researching parks for play dates.

It is a beautiful place and the view of the mountains is pretty great. I only saw part of the gardens because the sprinklers were on and you know what happens when you take a 2 year old near a sprinkler! I can't wait to go back and check it out further.

Here are some pictures. Click on the pics to see them in detail.

The Ogden River Parkway also runs past this garden and it is a great place to take a walk. And rock throwing was the favorite event of the day!

The iPhoner

Calvin spent much of the weekend like this.....does it remind you of anything?

His version 1.0 iPhone has become a fun new toy because of the new applications you can put on it. Apps for list making, radio, twitter, weather and just about anything you can think of. There are even apps to make your iPhone look like a glass of beer or milk.

I've been waiting for months to inherit his old iPhone when the new ones came out. Then the buzz around them wasn't that great and Calvin was disappointed. My hopes and dreams of someday having my own iPhone slowly started to slip away. If he didn't get a new one...I would be stuck with my crappy Razr phone.

Then Saturday, he said we were going to get me a phone that day. We drove to the local AT&T store and there was a line. Only 40 phones left they said. We drove to Layton, they were sold out.

Last year, when Calvin got his phone, he ended up at The Apple store at 11:45 PM to buy it. So, we though that was our best bet. The kids and I went home for naps and he headed to Salt Lack City.

At the Apple Store....they told him that he had to buy it from an AT&T store since we were already AT&T customers. Then he stood in line after line through out SLC, and each time the store ran out. Then at the last store....they told him that they couldn't sell one to him today because we have a discount through Calvin's work. We would have to order it.

WHAT????? That is so stupid!

So I wait not so patiently for my new iPhone to arrive. That's right, I get the NEW one. Calvin wants to keep his old one.

Calvin's picture on the rock reminded me of this....

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It all goes so fast....

I'm well aware that our children grow too fast. Calvin always says that he can't wait until they are {insert older age here} so that they can do this or that or another thing.

I want them stay little as long as possible. I want them to enjoy their childhood and experience all that being kids is about.

Click here and listen to the sounds of a little girl growing up. It made me cry.

Great Little Bags

My Mom's birthday was a few weeks ago and I wanted to get something for her that she would use and love. I thought and thought and finally decided that I wanted it to be something handmade.

And then I came across a blog called Apricot A Lot and found some beautiful tote bags.

My Mom takes her lunch to work everyday and she loves to read while on her lunch break so I thought this would be perfect for her to carry her work essentials in. I chose the fabrics and their placement so it is special. Just like my Mommy.

I love supporting SAHM's when they have a home business and my Mom loves her handmade with love bag!

My Blogoversary Giveaway!


I love bookstores and finding great books and sharing wonderful books that I have found with people that I love. Mostly, if I find a book that is about teaching my kids, then I want to share it with the world.

My kids love being outside, so when I came across this book, I knew it was going to be great!

The book is I Love Dirt! It is written by Jennifer Ward and it contains 52 activities to help you & your kids discover the wonders of nature. Something to learn and enjoy every week of the year. It is like your nature devotional. There are so many great things in here going on a bird hurt (we love tweet-tweets), learning about lady bugs, a wild game of hide and seek and more things to do in snow than you can ever imagine. One that I can't wait to share with the kids when they get a little older is the section about finding a special place to think.

How do you win this book? Leave a comment with your favorite activity to do with your kids. It doesn't have to be outside, it can be anywhere. If you don't have your email address easily accessible from your blog or you don't have a blog, please leave your email address in your comment. I want to be able to contact you when you win!


Contest is open to U.S. residents 19 years of age and older.

Limit one entry per person.

From all entries, one entry and two alternates will be chosen at random by my son Alex and the first selected eligible contestant will be announced as the prizewinner. I will notify prizewinner by email. I am not responsible for any mechanical error, failure or omission; lost or misdirected e-mail; neglect on the part of the US Postal Service; the amount of chocolate I eat or e-mail service disruption.

Substitution of prizes is not permitted. Prizes are not transferable, assignable or redeemable for cash.

There is no purchase or donation necessary. Void where prohibited.

Contest ends at 12:03am (MST) on Tuesday, July 15th!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blog Business!

Blogoversary Giveaway!

This Sunday, July 13th is the one year anniversary of The Weiss Chronicles. In honor of my little blog, I am having a giveaway. I love to give gifts and this item is one of my favorite things right now. If I was would be on my list.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early....I will announce the giveaway. You will have all weekend to sign up and then I will draw the winner bright and early on Monday morning.


My sister has started blogging!

Her blog is called Adventures of the Texas Blonde. She is in the middle of potty training the largest puppy that I have ever seen and she needs advice! She is a massage therapist with her own business and I'm hoping she is going to share some of her crazy adventures.

Please visit her and give her some comment love!


Coming in August!

Thirty One days of summer fun! I printed out the calendar for August and I am filling each day with something fun to do with the kids. My kids are little, so it will be simple but fun. Check back each day and join in with us.

It is the dog days of summer and before you know will be fall. Let's make this the best summer we can!

Ready? Okay!

Puss in Box

The other day, I was going through Alex's closet, taking out clothes that don't fit anymore and making room for more. I found a forgotten box of beanie babies and pulled it off the shelf. When we moved to Utah, I put them up there until Alex was older. I opened it up and it was a bunch of kitties.

Fun, I thought. The kids will love these!

Keith came home that night and began to freak out.

Keith: Why are my kitties all over the floor!

Me: Those are your kitties? I just found them in Alex's closet. I didn't know where they came from.

Keith: {counting kitties} I had them in my apartment and one of them is missing. A white one. Where is my white kitty!

Me: {still confused} It has to be here somewhere. Is it a special kitty?

Keith: No, I just....I had them displayed in my apartment.

Me: You did? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have dated you if you had kitties displayed in your apartment. You must have hid them before I came over everytime. I mean the action figure displays were almost a deal breaker.....

Keith: My Mom gave them to me when she gave up on me having kids. Let the kids have them...but I'm keeping the black one for myself. {Keith affectionately pets ZIP the Kitten.}

This is what Keith looked like when I met him....

We will be celebrating our 4 year anniversary next week. I am still amazed at the stuff I find out about my husband that cracks me up! And then I fall in love with him all over again!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Most of you know the continuing saga with my husband and his Mormon Missionary buddy who has been coming to our house for brainwashing bible study.

Calvin* thought they had wrapped things up last week and he had made clear that he wasn't interested in being Mormon.

Last night, 8 pm....there is a knock at the door. I freeze. I know who it is. It is Brother Horton Hears A Who. That is my new name for him. His name is Brother Horton....I added the Hears A Who.

He has brought Calvin a book to read. Okay. So this guy is f*cking deaf not listening because Calvin told him he doesn't like to read and that is one of his issues with the church. There is too much fasting/church attending/sobriety reading.

We talked last night about how Calvin must really be jacking up their statistics on how long it takes to convert someone. And I bet there is a weekly memo about the attempts at saving Heathen Weiss. I told him I'm glad that Brother Horton Hears A Who parks across the street because I'm sure everyone on the block knows his car and is aware of what he is doing here. They are all waiting patiently for news that we have been proselytized converted.

And Mallory. OH the poor thing. When Horton Hears A Who was at our door last night. She started screaming at the top of her lungs and dug her nails into my neck. It took me 10 minutes to calm her down. She apparently has an allergy aversion to Mormons.

Then....this morning when I was making my coffee. I saw it. The book that Brother Horton Hears A Who brought for Calvin to read.

That would be Norman the Mormon.

I laughed my tushie off! Brother Horton will not give up!! And now he really does think we are Jewish, which was my next plan of getting them off our back. I was looking for a Star of David to put on my front door!

I really wish that our desire to not be Mormons and just co-exist was possible. It seems to be all or nothing here. I have known so many people that haven't tried to convert me to their religion and it was never a condition of our friendship.

In their defense. I am not talking about all Mormons. I have met a few that have accepted me as I am. However, I live in a community that doesn't welcome outsiders unless you become one of them. In fact, we learned recently that for a long time they refused to sell their land and homes to non-Mormons. This is the kind of sh*t I am dealing with.

And it looks like I better find a way to co-exist with them because the word on the street is that we are not moving anytime soon.

I'm crushed about it.

Lord help me find a way to live in Utah. I don't want to be miserable.

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*Calvin used to be iKeith's blog name because he was working on a top secret government program.