Saturday, December 20, 2008


For Christmas this year Brent gave me tickets to Wicked.  I'm a sucker for good music, costumes, theatrics, etc.. and this did not disappoint!  I'll never watch the Wiz of Oz the same way again.  Without giving too much away, it's about the power of friendship.  And it was absolutely beautiful!  Good friends are an amazing strength and joy in my life.  And I'm most grateful of all for the blessing I have of being married to my best friend.  Thank you, Brent, for an awesome nine years.  It just keeps gettin' better an better!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas letter

Although I sent out a few cards, and I did just post pictures of the kids, I neglected to include a family letter.  There are several reasons for this, the first one being I just didn't make the time to do it.  And second, I'm leary of the brag fest kind of letters..."my life, husband, and kids are all perfect.  We all get straight A's.  I lost 20 lbs and just ran a marathon, ect, etc.. " Those things are all great ( I wish I just ran a marathon).  Of course on the flip side, you wouldn't want to share your family dirt.  Truth is, I just find it difficult to sum up an entire year in a letter.  Just know we are doing well.  We are healthy, happy, learning every day, and very, very grateful for our blessings.  I asked the girls this morning what they are most thankful for.
Tyler is just happy to be here!  He can now say Mom, Dad, hi, and baby.  So I guess those would be the things he's most thankful for.
Lauren is thankful for Jesus, angels, cows, horsies, deers, dogs, and cats.  And choo-choo trains.
Abbey is thankful for Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and her family.
Sarah is grateful for fairies, her family (including Molly the guinea pig), her bed and everything on it.

As for me, it's hard to put my gratitude into a list.  There are too many things.  I'm grateful for Brent and for my children.  For sunshine, green grass, good food, and baby kisses.  I'm grateful for my life and each day I get to share it with the ones I love most.  I'm grateful for my Savior. Because of Him, we have the opportunity to change ourselves, to become better, every day if we choose to do so.  And because of the Atonement we have the opportunity to be with our loved ones into the eternities.  We have perspective and that often means the difference between joy and misery.  This Christmas we choose gratitude and joy.  Merry Christmas friends!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

attachment issues

He wouldn't give it up for his bath.  I think it's time to wean that boy. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

smart home

So for those of you who don't know me, one of my somewhat obsessive hobbies is learning how to simplify, cut back, minimize.  If you haven't used it in a year, then for heaven's sake, throw it out!  Let it clutter up someone else's garage.  You get the picture.  So I've been reading this book and I gotta say, it's pretty good!  The main idea is to buy higher quality "home goods" that work great and if possible, live longer than you do.  One thing she recommends is tossing all your nonstick cookware/utensils and using cast iron pans with a stainless steel spatula.  I read that and laughed.  Visions of scraping nasty burned scrambled eggs off of some old cast iron pot came rushing back.  Of course, we were camping, and I was ten.  So anyway, I decided to try it again and picked one up at a local discount store.  And I love it!!  It works just like non-stick (seriously, it does), but you don't have to worry about a high temp.  It sears meat perfectly and because of the even heating, fried eggs don't get those crusty, hard edges.  Ok, it's late and I'm beginning to sound a little freaky about cooking.  So there you have it.  My "home goods" discovery for the week.  Night all.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nikon D60

After saving my pennies for an entire year I finally had  enough for a new camera.  Truth be told, it's not just any camera.  It's an awesome camera!!  I've had my eye on something like it for about five years.  Currently about only one third of my pictures turn out, but man am I having fun!  Here's a few of the kids I took at the park the other day.  Happy friday everyone.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I realize it's been quite a while since I  posted.  We left town for Thanksgiving and I've just felt very, very busy since then.  Not the I'm-having-so-much-fun kind of busy, more like the my-house-is-a-wreck-and-I'm spinning in-circles kind of busy.  I seriously need to change that.  So in the spirit of the holiday, and to preserve what little sanity I have left, we put our books away and went to visit Santa.  And I gotta say, South Coast Plaza has a great looking Santa! Could be because we were the first kids of the day, but he seemed genuinely jolly.. twinkly eyes and all.  He was really, really great and so sweet with the kids!  I had to fight off the urge to sit on his lap, give him a hug, and ask for a new filter for my camera.  We really try not to focus on Santa too much at Christmas time.  But it is lovely to see such a sweet old man, who obviously loves children, spreading some holiday cheer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Feeling better

This is our therapy.  In case you're wondering, they get their moves from their dad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


After reading Governor Schwarzenegger's (dang..I  just had to google that for the spelling!) comment about prop 8 yesterday, I felt so discouraged!!  After all that time and effort put into protecting traditional marriage, I have a feeling it's only a matter of time before gay marriage is legal.  If prop 8 is overturned that tells me our state is not governed by the voice of the people.  A very frightening realization with even more frightening repercussions.  Honestly, it's been a struggle to keep my spirits up and to have hope in the face of such hatred and contention.  There are times when the weight of it feels nearly suffocating.  And then this morning I listened to a talk by Elder Uchtdorf.  I was reminded of the power and beauty of hope.  What a glorious gift!!  I couldn't possible talk about hope as eloquently and thoroughly as he did so I won't even try.  Suffice it to say that hope allows us to experience great joy even in the face of tribulation.  It strengthens our faith and increases our charity.  I have never doubted the final outcome of this battle, but this morning I was reminded that even when we experience small defeats, all things work together for our good.  John 14:27.  Peace..peace.  Now I can go on with my day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


One Saturday + two crates of apples + one totally hot husband (who wore an apron and helped me ALL day) = 10 quarts of chunky applesauce, 12 half pints of apple butter, and one apple pie (that's for the totally hot husband).

Friday, November 7, 2008

They gotta blame someone

I don't even know where to start.  I'm frustrated and sickened by the twisted facts and hate I see as many "no on 8" supporters attack the mormon religion.  I understand the anger and despair that comes when your views are not supported by the popular vote.  And the need to blame.  But seriously people.  Where are you getting your facts?  I am proud for the right to vote on what I see as a MORAL issue and to donate MY money to support that issue.  I've never felt so torn by an election and such sorrow for the folks who lost.  Let me clarify that.  I'm not sorry for them because of their views.  I realize everyone thinks they are doing what's right.  Rather I feel sorrow at their grief, pain, and anger.  That said, I will campaign, donate, and vote according to my conscience and for that I do not apologize.   Here are a few facts a friend sent me that might put things into perspective.

1. Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.

2. Mormon voters were less than 5% of the yes vote. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.

3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.

4. The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.

5. Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.

6. The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8. (I will add San Bernadino, Riverside, San Diego and Orange County too- 3/4 of the counties)

7. African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.

8. The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).

9. The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims – all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.

10. Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.

11. The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.

12. Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do – we spoke up, we campaigned, and we voted.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


This morning Abbey had her last soccer game for the season.  I can't say she really caught the vision of competitive sports this year.  Most of her time on the field was spent either picking flowers, running the wrong way, or begging to sit out so she could pound down as many oranges slices as possible.   But we had fun watching and cheering, and she can't wait for next season.  So all in all, it was a success.  Way to go Abbey!!

That would be Abbey picking flowers while the other team just scored a goal.

Home schooling

Ok I'll just start this with...yes, yes, I want my kids to be socially backward.  Thank you for asking.   And yes, I'm well aware I'll be tremendously busy, and finally yes, I also think I'm a little bit (maybe a lot) crazy to be doing this (so you can just stop thinking it yourself).  That said, it's been a lovely week.  Really.  I took them out on Monday last week and aside from the initial panic attack and screaming thoughts of "Holy Crap!!! I've just ruined their future!!", we're all doing great.  I'm enjoying my kids much more.  The morning drill sargeant routine isn't happening (come on kids!!  MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!!)   They're not coming home exhausted, hungry, and full of attitude.  And teaching them has actually been really, really fun.  So, well...wish me luck. 

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I would definitely say I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween.  First and foremost, I hate the candy!  Well, ok, so I love the chocolate candy bars.  What I hate is that my kids have unlimited access to pounds of candy for weeks on end.  I've tried the rationing approach.  All that means is they have candy everyday until Easter.  Now I let them have at it for about a week and then discreetly toss whatever is left.  What I love about Halloween are the adorable little kid costumes.  
In case you're wondering, that's four full size suckers.  My kids have many talents, one of which is efficient candy consumption.  And she's a bunny minus the bunny ears.  Apparently they felt weird on her head.
Ever try to get four little kids to hold still for oh...three seconds?  Impossible.  So this is the best group picture I could get.
Abbey the good witch.
And I thought this was just cute.  He was so good about keeping his trunk on!  Happy halloween everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A house of manners

I just looked over at my son. He's laughing and, well...chortling for lack of a better word. Adorable, except for the goldfish cracker sticking out of each nostril.  And it all comes rushing back!  This weekend.  My in-laws (with lovely manners I might add).  They were here for oh, ten minutes, when Sarah proceeded to show them her newly acquired skill.  Armpit farting.  Please excuse the uncouth term, but I don't know what else to call it.  And I might add, this was also the first time I'd seen her attempt it.  Then, an hour or so later during dinner, Tyler showed Gramma the nostril trick again. Only this time with a sizable piece of chicken nugget.  I couldn't help it!  I laughed my head off.  It's the first time I'd seem him do it, and was really funny! Ok, my bad.  I shouldn't have laughed.  Now he's doing it all the time.  Moving on.  A few minutes later, Abbey packs her cheeks with mashed potatoes and then of course, gags, and sprays them all over the place.  I didn't laugh.  I just thought,  "Where did I go wrong?!!"  I can honestly say manners are important to me.  We try to encourage by word and example that good manners have value.  So my question is, how the heck do you teach them?  Please, please, say it gets easier as they get older.  And I mean older as in twelve, not twenty five.  I suppose if I fail entirely, I can always send them to my in-laws.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Did it matter?

Yesterday Brent and I chose to participate in a grass roots protest against the California Teacher's Association.  They donated 1.25 million dollars of California teacher's dues (and ultimately my tax dollars) to support the defeat of proposition 8.  We are in support of proposition 8 and therefore kept our kids home from school in an effort to make our voices heard.  The hope was that if enough parents participated, the financial impact this caused the schools would somehow pinch the CTA and show them our disapproval.  Honestly, I have no idea if it worked.  I second guessed myself all day.  The CTA is an enormous organization and the money I cost my school will probably just mean we get one less hole punch next year.  It's hard to know just how to make a difference and at times my efforts seem futile at best.  I felt this way all day.  Until we tucked the kids into bed last night.  I have tried to talk to them about prop 8 and gay marriage several times and I'm never quite sure the  message I mean to send is getting across.  Am I saying too much to them?  Not enough?  Do they understand that we support a righteous cause but also respect and treat kindly those who disagree?  Even though many of those people openly hate and despise us for our beliefs? (Sorry, another post for another day.  In case your wondering, it's getting pretty rough here in So. Cal.) But keeping them home from school affected their world to a degree that I know they finally got it.  So did my efforts yesterday matter?  Probably not to the CTA.  But it did matter to my children.  They saw their parents stand for something.  And by allowing them the choice to stay home or not, they felt like they were standing for something too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It'll have to do!

The girls have been asking for a pet, well.....since they started talking really.  Their pet of choice changes regularly, but for the last year or so it's been a chihuahua.  Here's how I look at it: family of six + 1200 square foot apartment with a no pet policy = no chihuahua.  Pretty straight forward.  Last Christmas we broke down and purchased a guinea pig.  Long story.  She's a good pet as far as pigs go.  We bought her a leash the other day because the girls wanted to take her on a walk.  Ever seen a guinea pig on a leash before?  Me either.  All in good fun. 

A weekend away

Brent's firm had their annual retreat this weekend and thanks to some totally awesome in laws, we got to go all by ourselves!!  The kids had some quality Gramma and Papa time, and Brent and I had some much needed alone time.  We haven't had a "weekend away", well...ever. We slept in, sailed in a Saturday regatta, and spent the weekend eating really good food that I neither prepared or cleaned up.  It was lovely and I want to go back!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Doheny Beach campout

I would definitely qualify us as amateur campers.  At least this time we remembered our tent (long story for another time).  However, despite the foggy, cool weather, we had a good time.  The kids might even say a great time.  Doheny State Beach is right off of the freeway so it took until late into the night for the traffic (and RV generator) noise  to die down.  But once it did, sleeping to the sound of the waves was lovely.  Next summer we may even venture a little further from civilization.  I have a new respect for my parents who routinely hauled four kids out into the middle of nowhere to "live off the land" for the weekend.  It's a whole lot of work!  And often, in retrospect, a whole lot of fun.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This week, on several pages of Abbey's school work, I noticed she had signed her name Abbie.  Upon further investigation, she explained to me that Abbie is a much "funner" way to spell her name and she'll now be signing it as such.  Is it legal to change your own name?  I mean, when you're in kindergarten?!  I just laughed and felt grateful she didn't decide to change it to Arrianna or Star Girl.  Neither of which would have surprised me.  

Friday, September 19, 2008

Vader vs Jedi

It's an interesting thing as a parent to watch your children grow.  I was writing today about Sarah's birth.   She's blessed our family for seven years now.  Have I taught her enough about her place in the world?  And not only Sarah, but her brother and sisters as well?  Will they be strong and confident and grow with integrity?  When the challenges come, will they choose the right?  Agency is such an awesome and terrifying gift!  As I watch my children, they amaze me with how much they already know.  They are so sweet and smart and good...and stubborn, independent and ornery!  All things that will serve them well as they grow.  And they are all so very different.  For halloween this year Sarah is going to be Darth Vader.  Appropriate considering her Dad's childhood obsession.  Last year she was a pirate.  The one eyed, growling, candy stealing kind.  She keeps justifying her naughtiness by saying "But Mom!!  Darth Vader doesn't have a mommy to make him be good!"  I think next year I'll make her be a Jedi Knight.

Monday, September 15, 2008

sister's weekend

Thanks to awesome friends and an even awesomer (hey, if you can say it in a sentence, it's a word!) husband, I was able to sneak off to Boise without the kids, to meet my sisters for our first annual Peterson girls retreat.  We spent three days seeing family...lots of family...and just bumming around Boise with absolutely no agenda whatsoever.  It was great!   A few things I learned..
  • It is possible to eat almost an entire box of raspberry zingers in one night.  We lovingly refer to them as "tiger tails".
  • I snore.  My sister made this crystal clear.  Instead of kindly whispering "wake up.. your snoring!" or "roll over please.  Your waking me up!" She would grab one corner of my pillow and give it a yank.  Not a pleasant way to wake up.  But then, I guess having someone snore in your ear isn't pleasant either.
  • Downtown Boise is a lot cooler now than when I grew up.
  • Doing just about anything is more fun when you do it with your sisters.
Here's to next year girls!  New York is looking good to me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

snow in September

So my title may not particularly grab you until you realize we live in Southern Cal.  Never snows here.  Except for inside my little apartment today.  I'm writing at this moment because...well, I'm trying to see the humor in this situation and  not come down on my children like a freight train.  As I write, there are little puffs of white powder jumping up from my keyboard (can't be good for the computer), and I can feel a fine dust working it's way in between my toes.  Let me explain.  I was in my room folding laundry.  Babies are sleeping and I hear Sarah and Abbey giggling, laughing, snickering and the like.  "Ahhhh" I think with a smile.  I just love it that my two oldest play together so well.  Ha!!  As I walk out of my room I smell baby powder.  LOTS of baby powder.  In fact, the sun is coming through the windows and I can see powder swirling and spinning through the air.  I think it's mocking me.  Do I walk out in to the front room now or should I sit down while the powder settles and count to ten very slowly? I do the latter.  When I finally peek around the corner to assess the damage,  I see Sarah and Abbey, looks of panic on their sweet little guilty faces.   They're trying to sweep the half inch of powder off the couch and rub it into the carpet.  Maybe Mom won't notice if we can make the orange couch look orange again.  So in a few minutes I'll be dusting, sweeping, scrubbing my front room/kitchen/hallway.  Because seriously people, that stuff really spreads.  Up side?  After I change Tyler's diaper I can just strip him naked and let him run through the house.  He won't get a rash.  Not anywhere.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

little boys

Tyler is now officially 15 months old and I'm constantly amazed at how different he is from my three little girls!  Besides he ability to trip/fall/crash/bang on the ground, stand up, shake it off, and go on with his play, here a few other differences I enjoy.
  • Although he isn't talking yet (other than mom, dad, and hi) he makes stellar truck, airplane, cow, and horse noises.
  • His favorite toy is the vacuum cleaner attachment.  He waves it around like a sword and charges whatever he can (doors, walls, sisters)
  • His ability to climb is currently unsurpassed.
  • If he sees you close and latch a door, watch out.  He'll be into it as soon as you aren't looking!
  • He has his mom, dad, and sisters wrapped around his little, chubby, manly looking fingers.
I thought this was so funny that I had to take a picture before I rescued our poor guinea pig.  In another few seconds, Tyler would have been all the way in.  Fortunately for the pig, Tyler's not that coordinated yet.  I'm not sure how long he'd been trying, but she was still free when I found them.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Water bottle contraband

Yesterday Brent caught Sarah and Lauren hiding in Tyler's room taking "hits" off the water bottle.  As funny as that sounds, I alone created this obsession in my children.  Explaining to them that the water is stale, probably squirming with germs, and has just gotta taste bad, doesn't seem to have much effect. Even that nasty warning of "it'll probably give you diarrhea" does absolutely nothing.  Merely by saying "don't drink that!!" I've instilled in them a permanent desire to snatch and drink.   Wouldn't it be great if this worked across the board?  "What ever you do, don't do your chores!!"  "Please, stop eating that broccoli"  "I don't want any hugs and kisses today!" I suppose if sneaking my water bottle is the worst thing they do, I don't have much to complain about right?  And I do get lots of hugs and kisses.  Like I said, not much to complain about.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The birthday grinch

We have a serious problem in our house when it comes to birthdays.  I'm just not very good at them.  Sure we have a family party: cake, singing, a few presents.  But if I throw a huge party one year, won't they expect that every year?  And if I do it for one child, do I have to do it for all four? Every year!!? That's way too much pressure.  I'll stick to the low key, low cost, family get togethers.  Although my feelings are quite clear on this matter, I  still feel mildly guilty about not writing the "see how my glorious children have grown?" posts.  So in my repentant state, I was going to write about Lauren's birthday. Until I realized I hadn't written squat about anyone else's.  So here's my birthday blog for the year.
Sarah turning seven
Abbey turning five
Lauren turning three
Tyler turning one
So there's my four awesome kids.  They are glorious aren't they?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Where in the World are our Hits?

You might notice that we have a map at the bottom of our blog. The map records the time and location of all of our visitors. So after seeing some fairly random places listed we (or maybe it was just me) decided to see who it was that was visiting our blog.

Over the month of July we made a record of all the hits to see what we could find out about our friends, old and new. We recorded about 300 hits. Tuesdays and Wednesdays seem to be the most popular days to visit.

Top ten locations
1 Irvine, CA, United States
2 Las Vegas, NV, United States
3 , , United States
4 Provo, UT, United States
5 American Fork, UT, United States
6 Dallas, TX, United States
6 Denver, CO, United States
6 Williamsburg, VA, United States
9 Los Angeles, CA, United States
9 Mesa, AZ, United States
9 Newport Coast, CA, United States
9 Placitas, NM, United States
9 Roseville, CA, United States
9 West Jordan, UT, United States

Top States with number of hits
1 CA 103
2 NV 40
3 UT 37
4 VA 17
5 AZ 10
6 ID 8
6 CO 8
6 NM 8
9 TX 7
10 OR 5

This list is not that surprising as some of the top locales are where we live (Irvine) and have lived (Provo, Williamsburg, Roseville). Most of the other top places are either close to those places (American Fork) or places where we know many of our friends have moved (Las Vegas).

Of course we really do not know who everyone is that is visiting our blog but we do have some guesses. For example, we can only assume that Kobe Bryant must be checking us out from his place in Newport Coast. Also, “, , United States” must be our friends in the CIA (from Williamsburg) who are able to search the web while hiding almost all of their information (don’t be surprised if this sentence is mysteriously erased at some point in the future).

Top Countries besides the U.S.
1 Switzerland
2 Australia
3 United Kingdom
4 Canada
4 Taiwan
4 France

People that I would like to know who you are, the repeat visitors from:
Denver, CO
Lynn, MA
Palm Bay, FL

Top 10 one-time visitors in no apparent order (i.e. coolest, most random places)
Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Placé, France
Taipei, Taiwan
Baton Rouge, LA, United States
Juneau, AK, United States
Honolulu, HI, United States
Laramie, WY, United States
Omaha, NE, United States
Randolph, NJ, United States
Rexford, NY, United States
Spanaway, WA, United States
Tulsa, OK, United States

Ok so that was more than ten.

We would love to hear from all of our friends, please leave a comment and include your city.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Lauren asked for a sippy cup this morning.  "I don't want milk Mom, just fill it with butter." Hmmm....a little early in the morning for that I think.  In case you're wondering, I said no.  After I stopped laughing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

summer's over

School started last week!  This year round schedule takes some getting used to. Sarah is in 2nd grade and Abbey started kindergarten.  She's been waiting for this since she was three, so to say she is thrilled would be understating.  I can't believe how the time has flown!  I don't care how old they get. To me they'll always look something like this.
In case you're wondering, they were playing "dress-up".  And three years later, it's still the game of choice at our house.
Sarah and Abbey's "first day of school" picture.

Monday, July 28, 2008

proposition 8

Brent challenged me this morning to write about proposition 8.  My knee jerk response was to say "Well, it's complicated".  My feelings about it are complicated.  In reality, they aren't complicated at all. I just needed to educate myself on the issue at hand.  Prop 8 is actually simple and very straight forward. It reads as follows: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."  That's it.  Amazing that something so simple can cause such contention.  And have such far reaching consequences.  I'm only just beginning to grasp the potential for change that will come if this proposition, or something like it, isn't passed. 
To write about this is actually very difficult for me.  I tend to avoid politics when possible.  I tire of double meanings, hidden agendas, and contention in general.  I appreciate honesty and integrity, two things I don't see much in the political arena. So I search for the candidate that is the least dishonest and that person gets my vote.  Not exactly my idea of great leadership.
But the definition of marriage is something I cannot, in good conscience, leave to the politicians.  I care too much.  I have to become involved and support what I know is true. There is a line in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" that sums it up better than I ever could.  "The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.  Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."  This is so straightforward and so absolutely true!  I know some people say that truth is a relative term. Meaning what is right and true for one person is not right and true for another.  That may be when you're choosing a career or a new car.  But in regard to the laws of God, there is no grey area.  There is a right and there is a wrong.  To fight against that only leads to unhappiness. You can hate me for saying that, but it won't change the truthfulness of what I said.
I know the desire to love and be loved is innate. We need emotional and physical intimacy like we need food to eat and air to breathe.  I wouldn't want to deny that to anyone.  But same-sex marriage is not a solution.  Our sexual orientation is not the same thing as the color of our skin and can't be treated as such.  We came to this earth with gender intact.  We are male and female to our very core and that is the way it has to be.  Now truthfully, I don't understand the challenge of same-sex attraction.  I can only imagine how difficult that would be.  I DO understand that we have a loving Heavenly Father who will help and support us through our trials.  I also understand that there is great strength in numbers.  I for one, am committing my support to the passing of proposition 8.  I hope, and pray,that you will do the same.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Toes for lunch

So in the interest of time and convenience, I fed my kids costco hotdogs for lunch today.  I know, I KNOW, but there are times when convenience outweighs childhood obesity.  No pun intended.  The place was packed but we finally got a table and settled into the business of eating.  Tyler was in my lap and I was trying to eat my pizza despite the handfuls of cheese he kept grabbing off my slice of pizza.  The kid has hands that strike like a cobra.  I look over, and Lauren has taken the dog out of the bun and replaced it with her adorable, albeit dirty, little foot.  It fit just right with her little toes sticking out of the top. She had it up by her plate and was eating the bun  from around her foot like it was the most natural thing in the world.  I may not have noticed except for the table of middle aged, asian, businessmen busting a gut at the table next to us.  Foot long anyone?

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I didn't have my camera.  But here's another cute picture of little toes.  Can't say I'm a fan of grown-up feet, but those baby ones sure are cute!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A day in her life

A few of Lauren's antics the last couple of days.  The house has been a little chaotic since the move and she's making the most of it.
  • sneak the five gallon tub of butter and eat half of it with a spoon.
  • use the other half to paint her little brother.
  • sneak the butter again and paint the grate of mom's new floor fan.
  • cut up her sun dress with mom's kitchen scissors.
  • decided using the toilet just isn't fun.  She now goes on the floor in front and cleans it up with the bathroom towels.  (I'm hating laundry)
  • find the scissors again and shave a section of the new carpet.
  • dump a full bottle of shampoo into her bathtub.  Instant bubbles.
  • later paints the dry tub (and the wall and herself) with a full bottle of new shampoo because it "feels really fun and slippery".  It did, actually, look fun and slippery.  I almost joined her.  But the adult in me prevailed because cleaning up that thick soap takes about....oh....three hundred rinses.  All in good fun right?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Brent 1.0

We've moved, again!  That's right everyone, we have moved and to commemorate our move, I've decided to do my first post.  First, I want to thank everyone who has ever helped us move, because quite frankly, we have moved a lot and so if you know us you have probably helped us move, or watched our kids while we packed at some point.  So thanks.  I imagine Niki will send out our new address, or you can e-mail her and she will forward it to you.

Dougal Family Moves since 2000
April 2000 Move to Boise, ID and get married (living in Grandma's basement)
July 2000  Move to Heber City, UT (living in Niki's sister's basement), almost rent a place in Provo (only there for two weeks but it was a real move because everything we owned was in the back in Niki's truck.)
August 2000 Move to Roseville, CA "decide" to take some time off from school
August 2001 Move to Provo, UT, Wymount Quad 7
April 2002 Move to Wymount Quad 1 (up to 3 bedrooms but still something like 600 sq ft)
October 2003 Move to Springville, UT (renting a basement but we also got a yard)
August 2004 Move to Williamsburg, VA
(Summer 2005 Brent spends summer in Alexandria, VA)
February 2006 Move to James City County, VA (Yeah, a house)
(Summer 2006 Brent spends summer in Alexandria, VA again)
August 2007 Move to Irvine, CA (Yeah an apartment)
June 2008 Move to new apartment in Irvine, just because

10 moves, plus two little bumps in the summer, 4 states,  different metro areas, and all in only 8 years, not bad if I do say so myself!  Where are we going next year?  Who knows!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I've often heard people talk about their in-laws with frustration, sometimes even dislike.  Brent proposed to me, and I said yes, before ever meeting his family.  So I feel very blessed to be able to say that yes, I absolutely adore them. They came to celebrate Tyler's first birthday with us.  We took them to the beach, lego land, and just tried to soak in some time together.


Ever try packing up a house with four little ones under foot?  You know the routine.  I put four things into a box; they take three things out.  I'm seriously out numbered here!!  Three more days, three more days, just three more days.... three...more......days.........

Friday, May 30, 2008

future chef

I usually let Abbey and Lauren watch a cartoon in the morning while I'm getting ready for the day.  Because my children turn into zombies as soon as the tv turns on, I know they won't be getting into trouble for that thirty minutes I'm not with them.  The other morning I came out to find Abbey had changed the channel from cartoons to a cooking show. She then told me all about the meat pie they were making, flakey crust and all.  Now, I know Abbey loves food, but she was passionate about this show!  I sat down with her and we watched them make trifle and then dip pretzels in carmel.  Later that night we made a little trifle of our own.  Mmmm!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Brent reminded me the other day that my fifteen year high school reunion will be this summer.  Am I seriously that old!?  There are times when I still feel eighteen, and then I look in the mirror. awesome husband, four lovely children, and twenty extra (not so lovely) pounds tell me differently.  My childhood best friend called the other day.  I met her at a beach house nearby and spent the afternoon catching up.  It really was wonderful to see her.  We were inseparable as children but grew apart after high school.  She moved to Oregon and married while I went to college for the next seven years.  I really did study.. a little.  I also had a whole lot of fun.  My college years were such a defining time for me.  I guess the simplest way to say it is..I grew up.  I became an adult.  My identity and my life goals became clear to me. And then I was blessed to find a companion who shared those same goals.  Now we are six and life is so good!  I quite literally thank God for every day.  For anybody reading this who doesn't already know it, let me tell you, FAMILY is where it's at. Even with the big, bad, ugly days that come now and then, it just doesn't get any better than this.

And here's my childhood best friend and I,  thirty plus years and four children each later.  Look closely.  Can you see the two rowdy ten year olds we used to be?