Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy 32nd!

Today is Matt's 32nd Birthday!  Boy is he getting up there!  I got up just before 7 am to go to the store for breakfast food.  I was hoping Matt would still be asleep when I got back so I could surprise him.  He was already up and in the shower.  He thought I had gone to work out (I'm sure he was hoping I had gone to work out), so I guess it was still a bit of a surprise.  I cooked bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs, and biscuits.  We went to dinner tonight with Matt and Becky, and Jon and Jess.  We went to DoDo in downtown SLC and then to Cafe Trio for dessert.  We had a great time without all the distractions of the kids!  Not that we don't love our nieces and nephews, but sometimes it is nice to have some adult time.  

Happy Birthday Matt!  I love you!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve and Day

I had Christmas Eve off this year.  I think that is a first in five years!  It was nice to be able to relax and enjoy the holiday a bit more than normal.  Working retail, holidays just aren't quite the same.  I can't ever go anywhere (at least very far) because I either have to work the day before, the day of, or the day after.  Last year, I got the flu on Christmas Eve.  I went into work at 7 am to set the new floor set and by 2 pm I was really not doing well.  I puked twice at work.  The second time I didn't quite make it to the toilet and it got all over my nice skirt, tights, and 4" high-heels. I stayed in bed Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day - that was Matt's and my first Christmas. I couldn't go over to Heather and Steve's as planned because I couldn't get anyone sick - Heather was actually just about ready to have Brooklyn and really I couldn't eat anything anyway.  My parents were staying with us and so I tried to stay in the bedroom - quarantined for Christmas!  So, I was really grateful to be well this year and to be able to really enjoy all the food, the company, and thoughts of our Savior.

Christmas Eve we went back to Jon and Jess's and had breakfast for lunch with the same crew.

Only problem was that they were doing some kind of construction on I-15 northbound and it took me over an hour to get to Jon's house.  I was on the verge of road rage when I saw that I couldn't even get on the highway from University Parkway and it took me over a half hour just to get over the overpass and onto Geneva Road.  By that time, Heather caught up to me.  She was on the highway just before University Avenue when I called her and told her to get off.
Thanks to Heather's handy map in the car and her excellent navigating, we made it onto some back roads and back to I-15 in American Fork.  We had a good time again and the food was excellent - homemade waffles with fruit and whipped cream and quiche.  

I found Ira enjoying a chocolate ball.  First of all, I have no idea how he got into it because I unwrapped another one for Beckham who couldn't open his own.  The adults were in the
 other room enjoying conversation and I happened to find Ira quietly enjoying his chocolate in this chair.  I hurried and grabbed the camera and told everyone to come look.  Of course when everyone came over he started hiding his face and proceeded to rub the chocolate ball all over his face - this is the result!  Jess had just put him in this nice sweater to go up and visit her family for the holiday.

Matt and I took it easy Christmas Eve.  We watched a bit of It's a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Story and enjoyed the fire.  We opened one present - my dad's tradition - pajamas.  

Christmas Day we woke up at 8 am to open the rest of the loot, went over to Heather's for the day.  We had a great time with the girls.  Katie and I played Biggest Littlest Pet Shop.  We were able to talk to my parents via Skype.  They had a nice Christmas in Ghana with the other missionary couples.  

We had Matt's sister, Jackie and her family over for dinner.  We had a second Christmas dinner at Heather's house the next night.  

Jadon had a good time building with the blocks - the one toy we have in our house.  He also was way into Joshie's headlamp and cantine.  
When I found our headlamp for Jordan to use - he was feeling sad he didn't have one to play with - Jadon immediately offered the his headlamp to Jordan for the sleek one on Jordan's head.
Joshie and I had a good time chasing after each other.  He gave me a good workout as he tried to catch me.  We ran in circles all around the couches for about 20 minutes until I gave in.  I need to have him over every day so I can get my exercise in!
Little Jacob with Jackie - he was confined to the pack and play for a good part of the night - our house isn't quite child proof.  He is making all sorts of noises and is starting to talk. 

A Night out with the Shipley Bunch

Matt playing with Ben who loves balls!

Christmas this year was a bit different as my parents are in Ghana serving a mission. We still managed to get together with family several times. The Saturday before Christmas, we got together with Heather, Matt, and Jon and their families. We went to Jumping Jacks in Lindon and the kids enjoyed jumping to their hearts' content. Presley and Beckham sure have a good time together.  Ben will hang out with those two as well, but he really enjoys playing on his own.  He was a bit more afraid to jump on the trampolines.  Katie was wishing her cousins from Idaho were around - she is the oldest of this group and was heard once to say, "I'm bored." Poor girl needs some kids her age to play with!
  I helped entertain the littlest ones - Ira, Maggie, and Brooklyn. They are adorable. Ira has decided to become the shy baby and he will either cover his face with his hands or put his head down like a little turtle. Brooklyn has decided not to be completely terrified of people and actually let me hold her the entire night! That is a huge step for her. Maybe one day I will be able to babysit without her crying the whole time. Maggie is happy as ever and drooling lots as her teeth are coming in. 

After we were done with our hour of jumping - the girls sent the kids back to Jon and Jess's to play and watch the BYU game and the girls went out to dinner. 
You would think by looking at this picture of Matt that BYU did well - quite the opposite!

I had heard of a new place to eat in Orem that was supposed to be really good - Pizzeria Seven Twelve. http://www.pizzeria712.com/ We all decided to order a different pizza and share. Jess went with the simplest pizza - tomato sauce, hand pulled mozzarella, and basil. Becky ordered speck, soppresatta, garlic, and mozzarella pizza. Heather ordered caramelized onions, potato, rosemary, and fontina pizza and I ordered roasted fennel, house made sausage, and mozzarella. They actually had a dictionary at the bottom of the menu to help us decipher what exactly we were ordering.  They were all so good. We voted mine #1 in case any of you go. I would order any of them again. They had three desserts on the menu which we all shared too. It was great to go out with just the girls and for the others, have a break from the kids.
Matt holding Maggie, Becky and Jon

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Texas (again)

My travels last week took me back to Texas. My first stop was lovely Amarillo. The most notable part of the visit there was the location of my hearing. I pulled up to the address as directed by my GPS device but decided I had to be in the wrong place. It was a senior center. Now, anyone who has done Social Security hearings will tell you that they are held in all kinds of places. They're never held in actual court rooms. The most formal setting is little more than a conference room. I've also been in hotel conference rooms, and a colleague of mine has even held one in a hotel room. Never, however, have I been in a senior center. Right beside the small room where the hearing was held was a large room where scores of old people were line dancing. On the other side were elderly folks anxiously engaged in playing pool.

This coming week is my busiest travel week ever: South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, and Colorado in successive days.

Monday, December 8, 2008


As most of our readers know, my work takes me all over the country. Last week it took me to Texas, where high school football is king, and the size of people's egos is exceeded only by the size of the steaks (see below). I struggled to find things to do in Dallas, but one site I wanted to visit was the book depository, where President Kennedy was shot. Even now, 45 years after his death, rumors swirl around the assasination of one of our country's most overrated Presidents. Was it the work of a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald? Or was it the product of a sinister cabal consisting of communists, mobsters, members of the Castro resistance (who felt betrayed after the Bay of Pigs fiasco), jealous suitors of President Kennedy's famous paramour, Marilyn Monroe, aliens, the CIA, and the John Birch Society? We may never know. Below are some pictures of the scene. Perhaps they can help you come to your own conclusion.

The book depository. From the 6th floor of this building, someone killed the President.

The view from the grassy knoll. Sure makes a fine vantage point for a second gunman!

Looking up from the street to the grassy knoll. Is that the faint image of a man's head and a puff of gunsmoke?

After working up an appetite piecing together decades-old mysteries, it was time to eat. I wanted to eat steak while in Texas, figuring that it, like everything else, would be bigger. The Traildust steakhouse didn't disappoint. I ordered a 30-oz porterhouse with all the fixins (the largest you can order is a 50-oz).

It also came with an angioplasty.