Category Archives: Love and Marriage

Taking a Break

A few weeks ago I found myself faced with a sudden realization.

I needed a break.

A break from stress.

A break from the constant every day reminder of Lizy being gone.

A break from life.

And I tossed the feeling aside, because, how can one really take a break from life?

I mentioned to Paul how I would love to get away – just the two of us for a little while – it had been SO long since we went anywhere over night without the kids. He agreed and my heart soared.

We weren’t sure how to do it and we knew it would be at least spring before it happened.

One afternoon I was sitting at the kitchen table with a good friend, working on a project we were giving the Young Women for New Beginnings and I mentioned that Paul and I were thinking of getting away.

She said, “Finally! G and I were talking about this just a few months ago – that what you two really need was just to get away. I’ll tell her you’re ready now.”

I think I stared at her for an astonished moment while crickets chirped.

“She has one of those vacation ownership things and can’t use all her points, she was going to send you guys on a vacation.”

SO, the long and the short of it, here we are in the Smokey Mountains at a beautiful resort having a wonderful time.  It happened much faster than we thought – we figured there wouldn’t be available rooms for a month or two at least and she called saying, “I booked a spot for you next week, let me know if you can’t make it.”

After some fast arrangements we were on our way. She and some other good friends descended on our home to wrangle our crazy crew. I can’t begin to say how grateful we are.

It’s been amazing.

I got to take a 2 hour (I watched a movie and painted my nails so I didn’t get bored) bath in an amazing jacuzzi tub. I’ve NEVER done that. We’ve been able to go at our own pace and in essence really take a break from life. Since we’re in a new place that we’ve never brought the family there are no memories (often the memories are wonderful – but they are hard too) of all the kids having a grand time. We miss (sort of, lol) all the kids so it’s not obvious in our brains and hearts that we should miss one more than the other. It’s been wonderful.

The area is crazy! Paul and I decided it’s like Las Vegas but instead of Casinos lining the main strip, amusement parks, miniature golf, etc. line the main strip – las vegas for kids, lol. We’re not into all that. We just stare at its garrish awe until we hit the mountains. It’s a bit stormy, so we haven’t been able to do much – a lot of the park has been closed. But we’re hoping to see more today – and take some photos of some of these crazy stores and amusement attractions.

One thing that has been so neat and beautiful is to see the icicle covered rocks – so beautiful! Today we’re hoping to go for a walk in the mountains, and since it’s Sunday we’ll go to church first – how odd it will be to just be two of us.

I’ll have more photos later, but here are a few of our vacation so far:

Smokey Mountains Collage 1

Smokey Mountains Collage 7

Smokey Mountains Collage 6

Smokey Mountains Collage 5

Smokey Mountains Collage 4

Smokey Mountains Collage 3

Smokey Mountains Collage 2

Smokey Mountains Collage 8

I Thought this wood carving was awesome – all done with a dremel

Smokey Mountains Collage 9


Filed under Every Day Life, Love and Marriage

Just a Bit of Silliness

I love writing games. 

Of course, I love writing.

My favorite writing game is the one where you write a little bit and fold the paper covering everything but a one or two word lead in. The results can be absolutely hilarious.

Friday night Paul and I were on one of our famously fun dates.

Only, it wasn’t as famously fun as usual because we forgot to bring a card game with us.

We almost ALWAYS play a card game or something on dates – especially when we’re eating out –

but we’ve been known to play just about anywhere…

waiting for a movie to start…

waiting in a really long line for something…

waiting for contractions to kick in and get that baby outta there…

Just about anything that takes any amount of waiting requires a card game

which results in LOTS of LAUGHS

and strange looks from many people – which make us laugh even harder.

Only, Friday night we forgot the game.


I had a pad of paper and I found out that my Husby likes to make up stories – write stories

We’ve been married 14 years and I did not know this!

Shame on me.

(Apparantly he said he doesn’t mention it because he has no time to give it a whirl, so I’m not COMPLETELY lame – just partially lame)

Anyway, that got me thinking about my FAVORITE writing game…

and I remembered I had a pad of paper in my purse.

Well, of course I pulled out that pad of paper and we got to writing….

The resulting story had us laughing so hard we were in tears and I decided it HAD to be shared…

It’s very short (hey, the notebook has to be small enough to fit in my purse for crying out loud)

My part is in PINK with the lead in words in GREEN

Paul’s Part is in BLUE with the lead in words in GREEN

Remember, we don’t see anything that the other person has written except for the lead in words.

Alice stood on the porch railing trying to balance herself.  She grabbed the toothpick and broke it in two. Now he had nothing to poke into her nose to get the rock out. She pressed one nostril and blew. The stone flew across the grass and hit John square in the forehead. He laughed at the attempt to keep him restrained. Nothing could stop him now. His goal was in sight and she gasped in dismay. The love of her life disgraced forever. What could she do? He ran his fingers through her hair and realized it was too late to stop her. The deed was done. Forever would they live lives of love lost.

We decided that we had so much fun with that one we had to do another one. It turned out completely warped and rather funny too…

The sun was setting as Randy strode into the yard. He could not believe the luck he had. His bag burst open and twenty frogs escaped. Desperately he tied his donkey to the hitching post and headed for the house. His mind raced as he tried to think of the place where he had stabbed her big toe. The scar blazed white against her skin, marking her as an undesirable. She had now way to hide her deformity. She must never know the truth. Her life and that of their son depended on his ability to walk on lava. He would never succeed in breaking the curse and bringing equality to the land. He shook his head and took her back inside. As they entered the house he thought he heard a distant rifle shot. It might already be too late. Now she had no choice.

Personally, I just like the idea of John being restrained by a nostril flung pebble….

that’s just pure


right there!

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Filed under Humor, Love and Marriage, Writing

Finger Food and Wedgwood


That’s what was for dinner, and by the time

I got around to getting what was left to be gotten

there wasn’t much left for the getting.

In short, come evening as Paul and I dismantled Christmas, I was


There were no left-overs left and my mind sped through the items in the cupboards, fridge, and freezer like an empty rollodex until they came to rest on

chicken fingers


Totinos pepperoni pizza rolls.

I had snagged some on a whim (they were on sale – we don’t typically eat them) and they were sitting in our freezer.

With few options I decided to throw some in the oven. I asked Paul if he wanted some, and he said, “Sure.”

While Paul continued on packing away all the Christmas things, I decided to have a little fun.

I dusted off our


pulled out a bottle of

sparkling cider

and found our


I placed the china on our

dark blue chargers

and arranged the table in a

soft candle-lit glow.

The oven beeped and I pulled out our pizza rolls and chicken fingers which I heaped on a

crystal platter.

I flicked off all the lights and called Paul in as he set the mood with Josh Groban and Michael Buble.

And we ate.

Finger food



and laughed

and made jokes

and decided that every week this year we are going to have some kind of candlelight dinner.

Even if it’s just fingerfood

or pizza on pottery.

Paul chased me from the kitchen afterwards to do the dishes and said,

“Thanks for the nice meal.”

I burst out laughing and ran as he snapped my bum with a towel.



Filed under Humor, Love and Marriage

He Promised to Always Make Me Laugh

No one can make me laugh like my husband can. Well, a select few, like my crazy friend Betsy :-), offer up good competition, but Paul inevitably comes out the winner. Most of the time he doesn’t mean to, which makes it even funnier. He has this way of accidentally jumbling his words up – like switching immorality with immortality or Churchton Winsthill rather than Winston Churchill (that little slip happened during a trivia game the first year we were married and to this day I confuse it because I teased him so much).

Sometimes its just silly stuff that no one else would think is funny that we just laugh over for hours. We spoof our favorite movies and quote them to thumb wars. We turn every day conversation into songs we know – or turn songs we know into everyday conversation. We, to everyone else, would probably sound really dorky, but we laugh together every day.

We banter a lot too – with each other, with friends, even with strangers. That is one of the things I love about him – he always goes out of his way to make people laugh – me, his kids, our friends, the grocery store clerk, the gal at the window of Wendy’s, the employee working the aisles at Lowes or Home Depot, the hapless tour guide who gets stuck with us on his tour of Cincinnati, and so on.

Anyway, the other day he made me laugh. A lot. It was another one of those slip ups – one I almost fell inline with and then it hit me what he said and I dodged my agreement just in time (otherwise he’d be teasing me just like I get to tease him now).

We were at a restaurant eating this fabulous desert (we hardly ever get deserts) – but this one we had to try. The picture of it was divine and when we asked what it was, well, we couldn’t resist. It was called “Fire and Ice Cheesecake”. The waitress described it as “Similar to fried icecream (which Paul said he got to try in Mexico). It’s cheese cake coated with finely crushed cornflakes and deep fried so it is warm and crisp on the outside and cool and creamy on the inside. Then it’s drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. ”

If you can resist that, you are a better person than I!

As we were eating our desert, our conversation went something like this:

Me (as I stab my fork in for a fourth bite or so): Wow, it’s frozen in the middle.

He: Yeah

Me: I guess it’d have to be frozen or the cheesecake would turn to mush when they deep fried it.

He: Yeah. That’s probably how they do the ice cream too.

I paused staring at him a second thinking… almost wanting to agree, but something just sounded funny about that statement… then it hit and I giggled, which turned into a guffaw and the poor guy just sat staring with pleading eyes at the ceiling as I railed him with torrents of laughter.

He’s so good to put up with me. He promised to make me laugh, but I don’t think he quite meant it like that. 😀

DH – Thanks for being such a good sport. *giggle* 😀

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Filed under Humor, Love and Marriage

Alive and Posting

Back to posting – I have missed it actually – and I have to apologize for horribly neglecting my friends and their blogs. I was catching up today and it has been fun to see what everyone has been up to while I have had my head buried in writing.

So, I figured today would make a good random post day –


We are still potty training Jacob – why are boys SO much harder than girls? *sigh*


James is a hoot and a half – he is walking everywhere now on those adorable shaky one-year-old legs. He also likes to sing! It is the cutest thing ever. Because of space restrictions in the house he is still in a crib in our bedroom. We are awakened in the morning by “Hi”s, waves, and cute soft little singing. We love it!


Dorothy sang in a school talent show – in front of a ton of people – all by herself and she was even on pitch, and you could understand what she was singing! Go Dorothy – not to mention the courage that had to take. She is also playing the piano non-stop. 🙂


Elizabeth played the piano in the same talent show and did really well – she has tons of courage too.


The girls have a new temporary principal at their school – the coolest thing is that she was my 7th and 8h grade teacher for social studies and language arts. She was the teacher that encouraged me in writing. 🙂


Emily was beaned in the head by a rather large toy – right in the forehead. Thankfully I could just butterfly it and didn’t have to take her in to have it stitched. Man, head wounds bleed a TON.


Paul spent a week in Mexico in the Yucatan in January and had a marvelous time while I stayed home and had fun with the kids – we really did have fun too. (I’m not saying it wasn’t tough sometimes – because it really was – and I might have been just a little bit jealous)


Paul and I got to escape for a weekend (just a couple weekends ago) BY OURSELVES!!! Well, with friends, but without kids. It was SO much fun, and we got to ride a carousel too – coolest thing ever.


I tweaked my Belinda book some more, and I think I am ready to send out another wave of queries. It’s kind of fun. And, I have the opportunity to attend a writer’s conference in Utah in April – very excited about that. My goal is to have The Forbidden Fairytale cleaned up and submission ready by then.


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Jacob, James, Lizy, Love and Marriage, Writing

The Marvel of Music

Traduccion al Espanol

I don’t know exactly how it started, though I think it may have originated with my brother who started attending Ricks College the summer before me. Every Sunday a small group of us would walk off campus, past numerous student housing apartments to a small nursing home on the hill.

I was recruited namely form my piano ability, the rest came to sing. There was a beautiful grand piano in a large lobby area where the residents would gather. I’d crack open my hymn book and we would sing until voices were hoarse. We started with only about five of us. The piano plus a quartet, and we gradually grew. Before long there were easily twenty to thirty of us on some Sundays.

Small groups would break off and roam the halls, singing as they went. It was wonderful to see the face of the residents. How music stirred and lifted them. Brought cheer into their lives. Often we woud visit afterwards, and they had such wonderful stories to tell.

It was the first time he held my hand, on our way home from one of those visits. One of the girls in the group had hinted upon our arrival at the nursing home that my hands were terribly cold, so as we walked back to campus he suavely scooped my hand into his and tucked into his pocket. I still remember the thrill and grin like a giggly teenager whenever I think of that moment.

Those were some of my favorite times, playing and singing at the nursing home, expecially when he was with me. We didn’t have the oportunity much after we were married. We had kids, and it seemed that making it to a nursing home to play music was too hard to juggle with the children.

Then a couple weeks ago someone supplied me with a brilliant idea to have our upcoming (not until May) piano recital at one of the nursing homes in our town. Of course! I thought. Why hadn’t I thought of that.

Arrangements were made, and then it got me to thinking. It’s a Friday night. We need to go on the best date ever. So, I packed up as much old time music as I could find quickly, fetched the babysitter, and Paul and I drove to the nursing home.

We had called ahead to tell them we were coming, and they were waiting. They chuckled when they asked why we came and we said it was our date. We played and played, and sang and played. Paul brought his spoons as well. The memories were grand, and we played for an hour and a half. The smiling faces, the joy – this is the marvel of music.

We wound things down to a finish, put on our coats and headed back to our car. Paul reached down, scooped my hand into his and slid it into his pocket, sending a giddy girlish thrill shivering through me.


Filed under Love and Marriage, Memory, Music

The 10 Year Date

Paul and I try our hardest to go on a date every weekend – inevitably we miss a week-end here and there, but we pretty well. For us this is a necessity – its non-negotiable. Sometimes when things are especially tight and we can barely afford to pay the sitter we simply go for a walk, or play in a nearby park. We find we need the “sanity” break to keep from being overwhelmed by our children – and they need the break to keep from being overwhelmed by us 🙂 . It keeps the spark alive in our marriage as we spend time together, just the two of us, and gives us a chance to visit about whatever it is we are in the mood to visit.

This weeks date was especially special as we actually were able to go out on our anniversary. We wanted to do something a bit more out of the ordinary. So we did something we have always wanted to do, but never have. We went to the Comedy Sportz in Portland. I had been to something like it when I was in Orlando my senior year in highschool for a band competition. I had remembered laughing my guts out. The great thing about the Comedy Sportz Club is that it clean and family friendly. They stress that is is to be enjoyable for everyone, and bad or inappropriate language will earn any of the comedians or audience members the ‘brown bag foul’. Basically you have to sit with a brown bag on your head until the end of that particular game.

So Paul and I made reservations and found ourselves laughing till our sides hurt at 6 hilarious people as they played numerous comedy games. There is a ton of audience participation and jokes flying left and right, even from the audience.

We had a bottle of cider in the car to toast our ten years, had a bite to eat after the show and headed back home after a pleasant break. We returned to four slumbering children and one adorable smiley baby.

I love our times together, and I miss our dates dreadfully when we aren’t able to go. I can go out on my own or with a friend, but I miss that time with my husband as we laugh over old memories, forge new memories, and discuss everything from kids to work, funny jokes to the latest things we’ve heard on the news, or as we rib each other over card games we play while waiting for our food in a restaurant.

So, every week will typically find me out on a hot date – with the greatest man on earth. 🙂


Filed under Love and Marriage

10 Years

 Wedding Rings

10 years ago I was kneeling at the alter across from my husband with eyes full of love, excitement, and happiness.  10 years ago I said yes twice; I was so excited that I said Yes at the wrong point in the ceremony.  It was quite funny, and of course I have been teased about it ever since.  10 years ago Paul and I stood in the atrium of the Portland, Oregon Temple and exchange rings – only I couldn’t get his ring on, so much to the amusement of all our family and friends he had to put it on himself. 🙂 10 years ago I married the most amazing man I have ever known.

Wedding Photo 2

It is incredible to think that ten years have passed by so quickly.  These years have been packed with amazing wonderful experiences and some of the hardest things that I wonder how we have made it through.  But one thing I know is that through it all we have become closer and stronger.  I love that wonderful man just as much as I did ten years ago – and oh so much more.

Wedding PHoto 1

In our years together we have seen so many wonderful miracles – five of them being our wonderful children who have joined us over the years.  I am excited for the many years to come and all they will bring.  I love my husband and each of my children.  I love their excitement as we pour over the pages of our wedding album and hearing them exclaim, “You look younger!”  or “I love your dress.”  I love to hear them begging for us to tell them the stories about how we met and got married, “one more time”. 

Wedding line

I am so grateful for all that I have in life, and for my husband, who is the greatest husband and father I could ever dream of. 

Wedding Cake
(The infamous cake before its great demise – it toppled – thankfully after the porcelain temple was removed)

I love you dear! Happy Anniversary!

Wedding Boquet

(The beautiful – and very heavy – bridal boquet)


Filed under Love and Marriage, Memory

Things That Go Bump in the Night

It was late and very dark outside when I stepped onto the damp cold deck to look for our dog Susie.  I peered into the dark, not wanting to go further in order to hunt her down.  I saw something move out of the corner of my eye near the edge of the house.  Was that? I wondered as I aproached the corner of the deck.  No, I puzzled to myself, It was too high to be the dog. Concerned now, and with my imagination diving off into a thousand different directions I turned to quickly hurry into the house.

Something huge hit me from behind as it flew out of the bushes, tackling me to the deck. Strangling a scream I tried to fight the thing off, when I heard the all too familiar chuckle.  I pounded his arm, “You dork, I almost had a heart attack!” I was relieved and flustered to see my grinning husband beside me.

Suddenly I had a very strong urge to use the bathroom. Confusion poured over me as I realized I was laying snuggled in bed with my hubby’s arm around me. Huh? Confusion quickly gave way to hillarity as I realized I had dreamed the whole thing.  Great, I thought to myself,  not only does he lurk in dark corners of the house to jump out and scare me when I am awake, but now he is startling me and making me jump in my dreams.

Either that, or I have watched one too many crime shows on the tele.


Filed under Humor, Love and Marriage

Froggy Goes to the Ball

They had been announcing it faithfully for weeks and I was excited.  Paul and I rarely have a chance to attend dances anymore and this one was to have a live band.  Not only was it to have a live band, but it was supposed to be formal.  Sometimes an excuse to get all dressed up, just for the heck of it, is so nice and fun.

It was the annual Gold and Green Ball that our church does specifically for adults, though teens are invited to attend.  Of course it is free of charge, and volunteers worked tirelessly on decorations and organizing the event.

We arrived and we thrilled to see elegence before our eyes.  The planning commitee really did a wonderful job.  They had borrowed, from another member, a white net cannopy and it was hug and drapes over the middle of the gym – walls were hung with white cloth.  A ‘chandalier’ of vellum paper and white christmas lights was hung – looking elegant, one would hardly notice it was simply vellum.  On each table was a bowl of live gold fish – sushi – Paul and I joked.

I wore my full shiny black skirt with my silver silk blows with beading on the front – I never get to wear those because of the kids. 🙂 (and I even painted my nails! Toe and finger nails! heh)  And we danced all night, it was so fun.

When we were finally too tired to dance anymore we found our friends that we came with and headed out to the car.

“There’s a tree frog!” Paul exclaimed as he pointed to a little frog sitting by the wall as we left the church.

Fancy skirt and clothes forgotten I dove to all fours as I scurried after Mr. Frog. Now, this really shouldn’t surprise you, if you remember the last incident when I tried to hunt down a frog.  🙂  I managed to scoop the little feller up and cupped him in my hands as I sat on my knees, in my dress, waiting for Paul to hurry back with a cup to hold it in.

I must have looked an odd sight – chasing down a frog while so formally attired – but I couldn’t pass the little guy up.  He was a cutie.  The kids enjoyed watching him and were quite taken with his handsome froggy ways.  We let him go in our yard last night – we only wanted him long enough to give the kids a chance to see him up close and personal.

Tree Frog 1

Tree Frog 2

He is a very handsome frog though, isn’t he?


Filed under Love and Marriage, Nature