Monday, August 30, 2010

The Way We Roll-O

I've grounded myself from shutting the garage door.
It's either that or see Jason lose his cool for the first time.
You see, the first time I shut it when I shouldn't have, I forgot we had the bikes on the back of the car...
...thankfully the door barely touched the handle of my bike before it went back up.
The second time was just the other day.
Jason hadn't pulled into the garage completely...


and yet as I walked into the house I pushed that stupid grey button.
And so the new car...the one we just got a few months ago...
Thankfully, the garage door just barely touched the hood of the car before it went back up.

What is my problem?

Here's the other thing I'm grounded from:

talking to people

The other day I made a phone call to someone who needed my fax number.
I got their answering machine.
I said, "Hi this is Noelle from Linden Nursery.  I'm calling with my fax number.
It's ..." and then there was a pause.
"I can't remember what it's 801 - blah blah blah..."

As soon as I hung up I called my sister.
"What is the fax number to my office?"
"801- blah blah blah..."
Guess what, I totally gave a wrong fax number to the customer I called.


Thankfully I'm not the only one in my marriage who has problems.
We went for a walk tonight to deliver some cookies I made.
OH...those cookies!!!
I'm going to give you the recipe...that's how much I love you...and how much I love those cookies!

BUT...back on topic...

We went for a walk tonight to deliver some cookies.
The families we wanted to give the cookies to weren't home and so we went with Plan B:
give the cookies to different families.
The different families weren't home either.
As we stood at the door to one of the homes, Jason turned the doorknob and OPENED THE DOOR!
"It's not locked.  Should we leave them inside?"
After I swatted his arm I said, "No, that's an invasion of privacy!  We can't just open their door.  What if someone is home and they think there is an intruder and we scare them half to death???"
Then I said sorry for swatting his arm.
 See...he's got problems too.


Our biggest problem will be solved at 1:00pm tomorrow!


Do you realize what this means???
It means that for the first time in our 6 months of marriage
(6 months can you believe it?)
we won't be paying two mortgages!

Ahhh...that sound you hear?  That's the sound of weight being lifted off of my shoulders.
...too bad it can't be lifted off of other things as well...'s the recipe and then it's time to find my bed and my book...

Actually, here's a picture first, because if I'm going to go all Betty Crocker on myself, the least you can do is appreciate it with me:


1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 and 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon soda
1 pkg. rolos (aprox. 20)

mix everything except rolos.  wrap dough around the rolos and coat with sugar.
bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes

You're welcome.
We'll be back Wednesday sometime.
I'll miss you while I'm gone.
And no, I'm not just saying that.
I'll miss you the same way someone misses a Dr. Pepper if they stop drinking it all of a sudden.
But I won't miss Dr. Pepper ever...because you all know what caffeine does to me...

Okay...okay...I'm going...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

As The Ice Cream Melts

There was a time I was almost asleep when the husband started singing songs he didn't know the words to.  It went something like this:

"Lady, I'm your knight in shining armor and ... I don't know the words ... but I want some strawberry ice cream..." and so it went until I finally said, "Okay, go get your ice cream and watch whatever show you want to watch, but now that I'm not going to get to sleep, will you bring the laptop when you come back?"

"You're once, twice, three times a lady, and I'm going to eat ice cream and you're going to write a blog..."

That time when I was almost asleep was 10 minutes ago.

Do you ever just have a day where you feel that everything is right with the world?

Today was one of those days for me.

My heart is so full of peace and happiness, and I'm grateful for that.

Jason played a piano solo in church today.  It was beautiful.  Later, we went to the Assisted Living Center where Jason played for two more church meetings.  I'm a lucky girl...really.

I'm almost asleep again so I'll give you one story and call it a day.

We were sitting next to Gabi (my five year old niece) at dinner.  Jason put two meatballs on her plate and with a scrunched up face she asked, "What are those?"

"They're meatballs Gabi."

"They look spicy.  Who made them?"

"Uncle Corey made them Gabi."

And then while pointing a finger at Corey, Gabi scowled and said, "You're chopped!"

"He's what?" I asked.

Gabi said, "Raise your hand if you have Dish Network," and then she raised her own hand.  "Chopped is on channel 102."   (I can't really remember the channel, I'll have to ask Gabi tomorrow.)

I cracked up.

A bit later Gabi took a bite of the meatball.  She decided she liked it and said to Corey, "You're not chopped.  You can move on to the next level."

I looked at Gabi's dad and said, "Watch a little TV at your house?"  He just laughed.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thought For The Day

Don't you hate how when someone points out your flaws and weaknesses, you spend the next 12 hours thinking of all of your other flaws and weaknesses?

Me too.

I'm headed to a wedding today.
My mom, bless her heart, doesn't like to drive on the big roads anymore.
I think it has something to do with raising 7 kids...
...something about how her nerves are shot...
I'm going as her chauffeur.

I'm running usual...and still have to finish combing my hair.
(first time this week)
So I'll leave you with this thought:

image from

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Sad Story

I slept for a really long time.
I feel better.

I've got a story to tell you.
It's not the happily ever after kind of story.
Pop yourself some microwave popcorn and get comfortable.
I'll try to keep it short.

I have an aunt who has 7 kids.  After 6 of her kids were born, and all were still fairly young, her husband died from a heart surgery gone haywire.
It was tragic.
After many years of being alone and doing her best to raise her kids, my aunt remarried and had one more child, a daughter.
My aunt's second husband had some severe mental issues that he wouldn't treat, and after several rough years my aunt divorced her husband.
My aunt remarried a third time.  And then after a while divorced her third husband.  He wasn't as nice as we all thought he was.
Somewhere in the middle of her third marriage my aunt's oldest son who was my age, was killed in a train/automobile accident.  It was awful...and horrific...and has left all of us with a healthy fear of train tracks.

My aunt's 5 oldest kids suffered as a result of their turbulent life, and have struggled with drugs, and alcohol, and bad marriages, and some have spent time in jail, and one has lost her children as a result of her bad choices.  None of them graduated from high school.

My aunt's youngest daughter spent her whole life fighting against the trends set by her older siblings.  She went to church on Sundays, and avoided all addictive substances, and studied hard and graduated from high school, and got a good job, and had plans to go to college.  She met a boy and fell in love and got pregnant.  She was upset with herself.  I remember her saying on more than one occasion, "I am no different than my siblings."  She and the boy got married and she was determined to 'make her life right again.' 

6 weeks ago my cousin and her husband and their baby daughter were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple.  (By being sealed in an LDS Temple, we believe that we will be with our families forever, not just until death do us part.  For members of my church it's a big deal.)  And for my cousin, it was an amazing accomplishment. 

My cousin's husband was going to be putting in some really long hours at work and my cousin decided to go to Colorado to spend some time with her mom and sisters.  She and her baby daughter have been in Colorado for about four weeks.  My cousin was scheduled to go home this week. 

But in the past two weeks her life has fallen apart.

Her husband called her and told her that she should come home, but that when she got home they needed to talk.  He didn't love her and he wanted a divorce.  She told him she was coming home early to try and work things out; he told her if she came home early he wouldn't be there to pick her up from the airport.

He's taken money out of their account, he's had long phone/text conversations with another woman, he's filed divorce papers with the court that he hasn't even told her about yet. (She only knows because she got suspicious and called the courts.)  And the worst part...his plan was for my cousin to come home and drop the baby off at his parent's house so that he and she could 'talk'...all while his parents disappeared with the baby.  My cousin is still in Colorado,with her baby, where she calls my mom at least 10 times a day and begs for advice and help.

Yesterday my mom finally said, "STOP CRYING RIGHT NOW!"  And my cousin, shocked to hear her aunt talk that way, stopped.  My mom said, "Right now isn't the time to mourn.  It's the time to be mad as hell, and it's the time to get so damn mad that you do whatever it takes to fight for your rights.and for your baby girl." 

I'm sure that some day when my cousin isn't in the middle of all of this, she's going to remember that conversation and maybe die from the shock.  "Aunt Val cursed???  Aunt Val used those words?"  Between you and me, I'm kind of proud of my mom.

My aunt and my cousin found a lawyer that they can't afford.  They found a lawyer who happens to be friends with the jerk of a husband's lawyer, and who thinks he can really help them...but he can't do it for free.  So now my aunt and my cousin are scrambling to figure out a way to pay for this lawyer.  It's times like this I wish I were made of money.


Aren't you glad you stuck around for story time???

My mom has already called me twice today to give me the latest changes hourly.

It makes me really really really really really grateful for my husband.  Because the worst that he does?  Talk until midnight...

If you come back tomorrow I promise something happy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nothing Important

How long have I lived in Utah?
Only my entire life.
How many times have I been to Utah Lake?
Not once that I can recall.
Last night Jason and I rode our bikes out to the lake.
And we watched the waves crash into the rocks.
And I thought, "Where have I been all my life?"
It's not the ocean to be sure...
...but it will take a good second place.

I got glasses when I was in the 6th grade.
I wore glasses until I had LASIK a few years ago.
Months after the procedure I found myself still reaching for my glasses when I woke in the morning.
Over time that stopped.
Recently I've noticed myself going through the motions of pushing my glasses up on my face.
I can't figure it out.
Maybe my eyes are out of focus...or something...

And if my eyes are out of focus it's because I'm so tired.
I had mono once.
It wasn't from kissing if you're wondering.
The doctor told me it was from too much stress.
Your first year of college should be the beginning of the best times of your life...
...mine wasn't.
I had mono for a long time, and it did a number on my body.
Maybe I have mono again...that's how tired I am.

Sometimes when I'm at work people need me to be the bad guy.
We have two divisions at my workplace: retail and wholesale.
I work in the wholesale office.
My sister manages the retail store.
She took a day off, and my mom was working in her place.
Mom called me and asked, "Can you please come up here and be the manager?"
When I asked her why she told me that someone was trying to return something without a receipt.
She didn't want to deal with it.
...makes her stomach tie in knots is what she said...
I walked up to the store and found a guy with a cart full of product we don't even sell.
"My wife bought this here and I need to return it."
I asked, "Do you have your receipt?"
He didn't.
I told him, "Sir, we don't even carry these products.  Your wife didn't buy them here."
"She told me she did."
"I'm sorry.  I can't help you."
"I'm sure she got these items at your store."
And then I told him that 1. the items didn't have our pricing on them 2. one of the products he had hadn't been packaged that way in over two years, and 3. he didn't have any proof of purchase.
He sighed a big sigh and said, "Fine" and then walked away.
Do you need me to be the bad guy for you too?

Last night there was a knock at my door.
I answered it to find a lady holding a box of baked goods.
She gave me her spiel about how her kids are in Ohio with their dad and she's trying to get enough money to fly out to Ohio at Christmas to be with them.  She had a picture of her kids on the box. 
She turned the box to the other side and showed me a picture of her broken down car that she's trying to repair.
And then she showed me her business license ... and her machine to take credit card payments ... and asked if I could spare any cash.  "I'm just trying to make an honest living," she said.
I had $4.00 cash in my wallet.  I gave it to her.  I wasn't about to give her my credit card number.
When she asked which bag of baked goods I wanted I told her to keep it, that she needed it more than I did.
I'm not sure that I believe her story, nor am I sure that I agree with her way of trying to make money...
...but if she's desperate enough to go door to door...
...and if she shows up again I'm going to ask if it was her son I gave money to last year...he had a box of baked goods too...

I got to work this morning and found two ears of corn on my desk.
Looks like my brother is sharing the wealth from his garden.
Thanks Brother.

Jason asked me when we were going to hike Mount Timpanogos this year.
I told him that hiking Mount Timpanogos was equivalent to hell.
He laughed and said, "So when are we going to hike it?"
Anyone care to join us?

I'm going to go and find a blanket and a corner and curl up for a bit.

Oh...and just because...look what I found this morning...

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Not Looking Good

Do you remember the craziness that is my family?

-Another set of twins-
-And then Baby Sister

Growing up, whenever anyone asked my mom, "Will your kids have multiples too?" my mom always answered with, "It's not likely.  Multiple births usually skip a generation."

And then when I got older and people asked me the same question I said, "No, it skips a generation."

And I believed it.  Until recently.  The evidence strongly suggests that the trend has does not in fact skip a generation.

Here's the evidence:

My cousin who is a twin just had twins. (Technically, his wife had the twins...)
His brother and sister-in-law just had twins as well.
Another cousin on the same side of the family just had twins.
My sister, who is a twin, has a best friend who is also a twin.
The best friend just announced that she is having triplets.

Now, to be fair, my siblings who have 10 kids between them, haven't had multiples.

But it's like a ticking time bomb...just waiting...

AND THEN yesterday Jason said something about how he isn't going to change more than 5 diapers a day.  I hung my head and shed a tear...or two...

Because it was words nearly the same that got my parents into trouble.  Dad swore he would never change a diaper...and then a few months later the doctor told them, "Surprise!  It's triplets."

Pray for me won't you???

And NO this isn't an announcement.  Geesh.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Look What We Got!

I have an amazingly talented sister. (Trouble's mom)

She married an amazingly talented guy. (Trouble's dad)

Together they make amazing things... this that they made us for our wedding...

They delivered it yesterday, and I spent the afternoon filling it.

Thanks guys.  I love you!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dear Husband,

It's me, your wife.
Remember this day?  That was fun huh?

I thought I would tell you what I've been doing while you've been gone.

I hung 5 pictures last night...that's something.

I went to see a chick flick with my mom and sisters. 

I took the garbage can out of the garage and put it outside where it will remain...unless you decide to clean it.  Because the smell almost caused me to lose my lunch.

I am not sleeping well.  The house makes really loud noises...but only when you're gone. 

Kevin made me lunch yesterday.  I think he took pity on me.  (Kevin is my brother-in-law.)

When it was raining really hard and I thought of you hiking in the mountains, I might have laughed just a little bit, but then I hoped you had taken your rain gear.

I combed my hair today.  That's probably the biggest thing that's happened since you've been gone.  I'm going to dinner tonight with my friend and I wanted to look my best.  I hope you don't feel bad that I'll comb my hair for her but not for you.

I took the kiddies for a ride on the 6-wheeler.  I took a picture for you to see us, but my camera was in a bad mood and decided not to save the picture.  I let Nick push the gas and believe me, we were flying.  At one point I had to knock his finger off of the gas button really fast so that we wouldn't crash into the pile of dirt that was coming our way.  Some might say that I'm an irresponsible aunt, but when Nick and Nick's cousin got out of the 6-wheeler they both said, "That was wicked!"  I guess that means I'm an okay aunt.

Tomorrow I promise I will do the dishes so that when you come home they aren't still in the sink.  And I'll try to iron your shirt for Sunday, and I'll make the bed.  That's all I can promise though because I'll be busy...reading a new book.

Even though you don't bring me flowers...and you don't sing me love songs...I still love you.

And I'm happy I married you.


Your Wife

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Facts and a Tragic Story


I got stung by a bee and now my entire upper arm is numb.


If you leave Hot Tamales in your car, where the temperature is sure to exceed 100 degrees, the Hot Tamales will in fact get hotter.  So hot that they will burn your entire esophagus and stomach lining and make you wish for a fire hose with which to douse the fire...and you will feel like that for over 24 hours.


Once upon a time I lived in Mexico.
I think you knew that.
I had a lot of free time on my was way before blogging...and I had no books to read.
One day I was shopping with Ana, the mother of the family I was living with, and we stopped at a fabric store.
I found a cross stitch pattern that I liked and I bought it. 
 (Did you know that I cross stitch?)
I spent all of my free time working on the pattern.
Every day after school the girls would find me to check on my progress.
They were fascinated and Ana asked me to teach her how to do it.
I tried.  I wasn't a good teacher.
A year after I had moved home I was going back to Mexico to visit.
I had found a cross stitch design that I knew Ana would love and I spent months working on it.
Every spare minute I had was put into finishing this piece.
The night before I was to fly out to Mexico, my dad and I finished framing what I had done.
I took the frame on the plane as my carry-on and guarded it like it was a new-born baby.
This is what it looked like:

Sorry it's a little fuzzy...

I put my entire heart into this cross stitch and it was bittersweet to finally give it to Ana.
I was the only one who would ever know the hours that went into it and I wasn't sure I wanted to give it up.
But I did...and Ana loved it.

When I went back to Mexico again...a few years later...I stayed with Ana and her family.
When I was alone in the house for a few minutes I went on a search, because at first glance I didn't see the cross stitch anywhere.
I looked on every wall in every room and it was no where to be seen.
It was gone.
And I cried.  It's true, I did.

I never asked Ana about it...
But from time to time I think about it...
(Is that pathetic?  To think about a cross stitch I did a hundred years ago?)
One of these days I'm going to stitch it again...and hang it on my wall...

my arm is still numb...

PS.  I adore Ana...I always will...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

There's An Important Question At The End Of This Post

This is my sister Tiffany.  I just wanted to show you how lovely she is...
Not only is she lovely, she's amazing: she's getting her masters degree AND teaching high school spanish at the same time. 

Tiff and Corey got married in June
I love this picture of Tiff, Trouble, and Trouble's baby brother

It's time I come clean about something.
This 'something' has been on my mind for a while now.
I'm a bit worried about how you'll react once you've read what I have to say...
...but it has to be done.

I'm not as nice as you think I am.
And I know you think I'm nice because you've told me that more than once.
But it's time you learn that even though my blog title is Because Nice Matters...
Sometimes I forget that it matters.

I'll give you two examples.

One night many years ago my sister and I were getting ready to go to an activity with the girls in our church group.  She asked me what we were going be doing.  I don't remember exactly what I told her, just that she needed to wear a dress.  She grumbled a bit about having to change into a dress and as she got ready I went downstairs.  Several minutes later she came downstairs in a dress, tights, and shoes, and her hair had been combed differently.  Mom looked at her and said, "What are you doing?"
Becca said, "Noelle said I needed to put a dress on."
And then Mom looked at me and said, "Noelle..." in that tone of voice that lets you know you're in trouble, and then I started to laugh.
Becca stood there for a minute and then said, "I don't need to wear a dress?"
and Mom said, "No I'm sorry, you can change."
She was mad at me for at least a day.

See...I'm not nice.

Here's the other example:

We were friends with some kids who lived three houses down from us.  We played together all the time.  One of the older boys always teased drove me crazy.
A few days before Christmas one year, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see Chris, the kid who always teased me.  He handed me a beautifully wrapped Christmas present and said, "Merry Christmas.  Don't open it until Christmas."  I thanked him and then shut the door.  I immediately unwrapped the present, to discover a piece of coal with my initials written in the corner with gold paint. 

I laughed when I saw the piece of coal.  But I also began thinking of a way that I could get even.
I asked my mom if I could make some sugar cookies and she said yes.
The recipe called for three eggs.
I added the three eggs and their finely ground egg shells.
The recipe called for two cups of sugar and one tsp. of salt.
I added 2 cups of salt and one tsp. of sugar.

I baked the cookies and iced them to perfection and then put them on a plate and delivered them.
I handed Chris the plate of cookies and said, "This is to say thank you for my Christmas present."
His mom told me later that as soon as he shut the door he said, "I shouldn't have given her that piece of coal.  She thinks I gave her a nice present and look how sweet she is to make me cookies."

He went on in that manner until he began to chew the entire cookie he had put in his mouth.
As soon as he could spit the cookie out he said, "I should have given her two pieces of coal."

After reading the evidence, and knowing that I'm not always nice, can we still be friends?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Next Time, Won't You Join Us?

Friends, I'm tired.
And I have some sore muscles...and a bit of a limp.
I have at least 40 mosquito bites.
That's not an exaggeration.
And I have the satisfaction of knowing that hiking 20 miles with a 30 pound backpack on my back didn't kill me...I have the satisfaction of knowing that we did something that has been on my bucket list for a long time...and I have a lot of love for my dad and my husband for making the whole thing possible.

Getting ready for the trip

The first few miles of the hike were uneventful.  We started at 9:30am and hiked until about 11:00am - when we stopped for lunch.  It was my first opportunity to experience Mother Nature's version of a bathroom...ahhh...nothing like being exposed for the world to see.  Well, exposed to the world of mosquitoes anyway.

My husband has a rating system for the outdoor bathroom experience.  He judges things like:

-the amount of privacy you have
-how easy it is to dig a hole to bury the evidence
-how many mosquito bites you get

etc. etc.

He judged his best experience as an 8.  I held steady at a -2.  We were camping next to a bunch of boy scouts for heavens sake...and you never knew when one might show up to interrupt your moment.

At about mile 3 or 4 Manda Lou, or Baby Sister as some of you know her, got ever so sick.  Take 10 steps and lose your lunch kind of sick.  Poor girl was suffering from a combination of altitude sickness and exertion.  (Although if you ask her she'll deny the exertion part.)  The rest of her experience climbing that mountain was walk a bit, throw up, walk a bit more, lay down on the trail, walk some more, throw up, take a nap, throw up, and walk...

My dad and my sister Tiffany carried Manda's pack for some of the way, but Jason carried her pack the last 3 or 4 miles.

There are a lot of reasons I love my husband...this is one of them.

The scenery was breathtaking, and thankfully the trail was pretty mild.  If it weren't for that extra 30 pounds and some light headedness due to altitude I probably could have run that 10 miles...except that I'm not a runner.

Jason and I hiked ahead and then spent an hour waiting for the others to catch up.  I was grateful for that hour.  I took a nap (which is probably when the mosquitoes took full advantage, disregarding the 6" of bug spray I had all over me), and enjoyed the beauty around me.

After hiking for nearly 9 hours we reached our destination:  Red Castle.

Another reason I love my husband is because he made this the most comfortable camping trip I've ever been on...minus that whole going to the bathroom behind a tree situation.  I was warm, our sleeping accommodations were comfortable, and I ate the most delicious dinner of spaghetti and meat sauce. 

We awoke the next morning to the sun warming our tent.  I loved when Jason snuggled deeper into our down comforter and said "I just want to be cozy for a little bit longer." 

We ate a disgusting breakfast of instant oatmeal (I think oatmeal is disgusting even at home) and then set off on another 4 mile hike.  At some point along the way I asked Jason if he could please just find a trail that only went downhill.  He said if he couldn't find one he would carry his trowel and dig a trail for me.  Isn't that love?

The hike out was long...and our feet hurt...and at some point along the way I think I told Jason I wasn't having fun anymore.  My poor sister Tiffany limped the last 3 miles due to some incredibly huge blisters on her baby toes.  She's one tough kid that sister Tiffany.  But when we finally made it back to our car after what seemed like days of hiking, we could all take a deep breath and say we did it.

I've got to tell you...there's something about accomplishing a life-long goal, and doing it with the people you love most, that allows you to smile for a good long time...while you're scratching the mosquito bites.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I want to go on this backpacking trip.  I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip.  The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head.  I won't die.  I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die. I want to go on this backpacking trip. I'll have a good time on this backpacking trip. The altitude change will not cause my vertigo to rear it's ugly head. I won't die.

There we go...I think I've sufficiently brainwashed myself.
I'll return in a few days...with pictures and stories.
Try not to forget me while I'm away.
Pray for me.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In The Name of Love

I've been a very sick little girl.
Did you know that when you're sick and your husband is out of town you might just lay in bed and cry?
He will be home today. 
I still don't feel very well.
Did you know that not feeling very well and seeing your husband might make you cry again?

In between my trips to the bathroom (I'll spare you the details) and curling up on the floor, I did something for my husband.
Because I love him.

Remember this?

Now it's this:

And one more little thing...if you don't mind...

Dear Jason,

Love, your wife

PS.  Think he'd notice if I sold some of his stuff?

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Post In Which I Whine A Little Bit

If you hear whimpering coming through your speakers, don't be alarmed.  It's just me.
I'll be whimpering a lot during the coming week.
And by whimpering what I mean is I'll be whining and saying a lot of things like "I think this is a bad idea" or "I don't think I can do this," or "Are you sure about this?"

We're going backpacking in the Uintah Mountains this week...and well...I think it's a bad idea.  That's what I whispered to my mom yesterday as we were standing at her stove making fry bread for Navajo Tacos. 

But here's the thing:  I have to go.  I have no choice.  And so while I'm whimpering and whining to you, I'll be all 'I'm so excited!  This will be so fun!' when I'm around my sister and my husband.  (Except that they both read my blog so they'll know I'm lying.)

A hundred years ago we read a book called Return To Red Castle.  And by we I mean all of my sisters, me, my mom, and even my dad, because he wanted to know what the fuss was all about.  Red Castle, in the Uintah Mountains, was the setting of the book...and born within all of us was a desire to hike to Red Castle.  Last year was the closest we got to hiking Red Castle but then Dad cut his head open and needed a million stitches, and the trip was cancelled.

Last year you wouldn't have heard a single whimper coming from me.  But last year I had been working out every day, and I had been hiking at least twice a week...and I had summited Mount Timpanogos twice in two weeks and ... and ... and ...

So when my sister called and said "We're hiking Red Castle next weekend" I said "Okay" and then kicked myself.

Here's part of my dilemma:

When my husband, who I absolutely love and adore, sent me a message that first time (we met on an online dating site) he did so because these were the pictures he saw on my profile:

On top of Mt. Baldy, with Timp in the background
On top of Mt. Timpanogos

See...he thinks I'm tough.  He thinks I can climb anything.  And I could have...a year ago.

I'm whimpering again.


My husband loves me and he's promised that I'll stay warm and that I can indeed hike the 20 plus miles we're going to hike, and that I won't die.  And with those promises I'll go and take lots of pictures so that you can feel like you went too.  That's just the kind of person I am.

Oh...and one more reason for whimpering?

Jason has introduced me to the X-Men movies...we've watched three and I'm just waiting for him to come home again (he's out of town) to watch the final movie.  Well...with Wolverine being the main character of the movies, and remembering back to the wolverine attack that happened in the book Return to Red Castle ... I dream at night of being eaten by a wolverine, and last night the wolverine turned into Godzilla and it wasn't pretty.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud

I'll bet you just love when I start thinking about things...
I'll bet you just love when I use my blog as my journal...

Actually, I'll bet you say 'Here we go again.'

When I was young we spent several Christmas Eves visiting a woman in a care center.
We went with one other family, and we always sang Christmas carols.
The woman was in her 90s and in order to hear anything she said you had to lean in really close.
She was always emotional as she thanked us for coming.

When I got a little older I remember going with my sister and a friend to another care center...for the same purpose: to sing Christmas carols.
No one told us to go...we were bored and wanted something to do.

I remember going twice a year with the kids from church to a school for handicapped people.  On Sundays we would push them in their wheelchairs from one building to another, and then sit with them through church, until it was time to push their wheelchairs back when the meeting ended.

At some point along the way I became pretty tender hearted when it came to all things 'old people' related and couldn't help but cry when I interacted with them.

When my grandma got Alzheimer's that tender-heartedness only increased.  We helped care for her until she died and with her passing I lost one of my dearest friends and confidants.

I remember going to a care center after my grandma died...once again to sing Christmas carols.  We walked into the room of a lady who had Alzheimer's and when she began to talk, making no sense, the other girls giggled a little bit and left the room.  In a tragic way, it is really easy to laugh in such situations...because what else do you do when someone tells your brother to sit down and act like a lady.  After the girls left I stood in that room, holding the woman's hand, listening to her disjointed stories...crying my eyes out.

Later, in college, my friend and I took a service class.  We chose for our project to visit the same care center once a week for the entire semester, and over time we developed a friendship with John and Dallas, two men who were roommates.  We would spend an hour or so listening to their stories, and then go across the hall to ask our favorite little lady to sing to us.  She never remembered who we were but she could sing her heart out.  I still remember the day my friend came into work crying, to tell me that John had passed away.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember a post where I mentioned my own personal heartache in having to put my grandpa into a care center. 

Today the members of my ward (the group of people I go to church with) were in charge of the church services at the local care center.  I went because the girls and their leaders were singing a musical number.  The minute I walked through the doors of that care center, tears filled my eyes, and wouldn't you know, I cried through the majority of that meeting. 

As I watched the young girls interact with the people there, I thought about all of the experiences I had when I was their age, and I hoped that their hearts were being touched the same way that mine had been, all those years ago.  And I hoped with all of my heart that everyone in a care center has someone who loves them and who holds their hand once in a while.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Story About A Tree and Other Things

See this tree?
It's called the Tree of Heaven.

I call it the Tree of Hell.
It smells like a dirty diaper when it's in bloom...
When it's windy seed pods get blown everywhere...
And it sends it's little tree shoots to all corners of the earth:

Yes even inside my mud room

Would a grove of these trees be called The Garden of Eden?

Or something else entirely?  I'm thinking the something else entirely...
Except that Garden of Hell doesn't seem to flow nicely...


Look what I got:

They're purple...isn't that great???

My husband has been hard at work this week...leaving early in the morning and coming home late at night.  The OR (Outdoor Retailer) show is going on this week in Salt Lake City, and that show is a big part of his business.  These shoes are especially made for the OR show, and will not be found in any store...anywhere!'ll find other styles similar, but you won't find the purple sole.
I feel so lucky!'s the thing.  I've wanted shoes like this for forever, but they would cost my left arm and because I'm left-handed, I've not been willing to make the sacrifice.  Jason got them for $25 - and brought them home to surprise me.  He's a good man to be married to.
Oh...and by the way...when my mom saw my current toenail polish she said, "Whoa Nelley!"

Here's one more little tidbit:

My sister-in-law Rachel, the mother of these kids, reads my blog regularly.
She read my post the day I poured my heart out and told of my fear of all things children
The other day she came to my office and was very serious.
"Noelle, I have a question.  Can I put you and Jason in my will as the people who will raise our kids in the event something happens to Jared and me?"
There was only one answer I could give.
That's 4 kids people...4...all at once.
You can bet I'll be praying every single day that nothing happens to their parents.
Later I told my sister about my conversation with Rachel.
She got this look on her that said I was in trouble.
"Well, you're in our will too."
She has 4 too...Trouble, and all the rest.
That's 8 kids!!!  8!!!

That'll teach me to pour my heart out on National Blogland.

Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Do You Think?

*tap tap tap*

That's me tapping on your computer screen.

If you are reading this in your reader, stop. Click over to my blog and tell me what you think of the new design.

That sounded bossy. Let me try again. If you are reading this in your reader will you be so kind as to click over to my blog and tell me what you think of the new design? Please?

Is that better?

I have a million things running through my mind and I'm going to try and get a few of them into this post.

First there's this:

My cousin, who is lovely, really lovely, just had twins. They're twin girls...and they have some health of the girls has to have heart surgery as soon as she's strong enough, and the other may have to have surgery as well. My cousin is far from home, with her husband going to medical school, and she's feeling a little blue. Will you be so kind (again) as to stop by her blog and leave her some love? And then maybe would you pop in from time to time to see how's she doing?

Next there's this:

I got the hiccups tonight and Jason thought it hilarious that they wouldn't go away.

"Do you know how they can stop?" he asked.

"Yes, you could scare me, or I could hold..." I couldn't finish the sentence because he screamed "Ahhh" at me, and then I jumped a mile high and screamed even louder. Last I checked Jason was still laughing, and I still have the hiccups.

Or this:

I went bowling the other night with some girlfriends I haven't seen since high school. It was good to catch up with the girls, and I took second place which ain't too shabby, but my back still hurts from bowling...which is such a lovely reminder of just how long ago high school was.

Maybe this:

Do you think anyone would notice if I shot out the street light on the corner? The light shines right through our bedroom window and makes it near impossible to sleep. Let me clarify that. It makes it near impossible for me to sleep. Jason has no problem.

And then:

If I had had whatever it is I'm going to shoot the light out with at work today, I might have used it on a few customers. There are days I'm not a fan of people...especially those who carry an air of entitlement.


I did help a girl who reminded me that not all of humanity needs to be shot. Her son died two years ago next week. He was a little guy and the cause of death is unknown. She planted a tree by his grave, and the tree died. (Does it get more tragic than that?) The tree died through no fault of her own. We had a hard winter, and the tree is only marginally hardy here. When she told me the tree died, and the story behind it, I ordered her a new one, free of charge. Because you see, it has to be that tree.

The tree was a magnolia, a grafted variety. That means the rootstock is one type of magnolia, and the part of the tree that blossoms is another variety. The rootstock has one green shoot coming up from the ground, and with that one green shoot she wants to do the impossible. She wants to graft the green shoot onto a branch of the other kind of magnolia, and make it grow.

She simply can't bear the thought of having to dig that dead tree up.

When I told her I didn't think it could be done she started to cry, and then I started to cry and there we were...two strangers sitting in my office crying. And after a minute I heard myself telling her that I would do everything I could to accomplish the impossible. She cried harder and thanked me.

She has another who is just a few days away from being the same age her first son was when he died. She can't sleep for fear of losing her second son to the same unknown fate. You'd cry too if you heard this story wouldn't you?

She left with hope in her heart and I'm going to wait until the next few weeks are past before I tell her again that it's impossible. (But not before I make 150% sure it really is impossible.)

And now:

I find that my mind is suddenly blank.

I think you should know one more thing: I made dinner tonight. Chicken Enchiladas. My mom gave me her recipe but oh my honk, it would have taken a PhD to figure that out. My sister-in-law, who I love like a sister (and it's a good thing because one time she, my brother, and I all shared a king size bed at the Marriott in Times Square...ahh...memories) came to my rescue and gave me an easy recipe that turned out delish...even if I do say so myself. But Jason said so too. Gracias hermana!!!

Okay, I think I'm done...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Words Just Won't Do

One day when I grow up and become accomplished and talented, I want to be this accomplished and talented...

As accomplished and talented as Brittany, the girl who is Aubergine Photography.

I'm thinking there is a real chance that I won't ever be this accomplished and talented. But I'm holding out hope that because I can claim these beauties as family, I might have the same gene pool from which to choose...

Thank you Brittany, for capturing the innocence of these little people I love so much!

*these pictures are from