Monday, December 31, 2007

May we always remember....

As time has passed and childhood erased so only fragmented memories remain, may we always remember the Manuh Manuh.

Click on the words Manuh Manuh to take you to the magical world of Muppet Mysteries.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Everything Golden

"It's my golden birthday," I exasperated for what must have been the 30th time. Staring back at me a tight knit group of quilting crafting friends nodded their heads in understanding, accompanied with affirmations of, "oh, ok," and "uh huh." I explained, "I turned 29 today and today is the 29th!" Of course, they knew it was my birthday and that is why they had gathered together at my home. After overloading my emotional senses with the most thoughtful, helpful gift, a set of albums for my photography portfolio and two gift certificates to two of my favorite places in Utah county, we sat and talked about the day. Most of my friends had errands to run or shows to see, but one had the day open and I took the chance to invite her to double date with me and Mark.
Earlier in the day, Mark had called me when I was out to my annual omelet breakfast with life-long chum, and stated that he had finally decided where he wanted to take me on my birthday, to the movies. Being a little bit of a cinematic recluse, I only like to see movies at one theater. One of the smallest and outdated cinemas in Utah county, I love it because it is close to my home, the prices are still in a considerable ranges, and I often am one of maybe a handful of movie goers. Mark explained that the movie I longed to see was not playing there and he was forced to take me to see the movie at the newly built megaplex, that has overbearing stadium seating, reclining seats and droves of hungry cinema addicts. Although this new high-falutin cinema wonder world is not for me, I conceded to go because the woman sitting right behind my cozy breakfast booth kept shooting death stare daggers in my direction for what must have been my rude restaurant cell phone use.
So later in the day when we were preparing to go, Mark told me that Alecia, my very close, but bed-ridden pregnant friend was going to baby sit. I was very frustrated because I thought that asking a pregnant woman, who is supposed to be on bed rest, to babysit was rude. Mark explained that my parents couldn't because they had to go to a holiday party. So we had to impose on Alecia. I felt terrible. I even called her and apologized, but she said everything was fine. Feeling miserably embarrassed that we were imposing on a dear pregnant friend, I voiced my concerns to Mark, to which he just brushed them off. Ugh! He was acting completely impossible on MY BIRTHDAY...MY GOLDEN BIRTHDAY! We pulled up to Alecia's family's home and Mark and I unloaded our troops. We marched up to the door and knocked. I peeked around the corner into the large front room window and saw balloons decorating the room. Ohhhhh, I was steamed up inside. Not only was bed-ridden, pregnant Alecia babysitting for us at her parent's home, because they live right around the corner from us, but they were probably having a family party! I was utterly embarrassed.
The door opened and Cami, Alecia's sister greeted us with a down look on her face. "oh, no," she said, "today is not a good day for us to babysit." MORTIFIED, I stood at the door, steaming mad, I couldn't even turn and look at my dear husband because HE DIDN'T LISTEN TO ME AND NOW WE WERE IMPOSING ON SUCH DEAR FRIENDS. I could barely mutter an, "oh," when Cami swung the door open and every one in the family gathered around, amidst pink balloons and yelled, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

Gifts: Besides the wonderful portofolios, the crazy lady at the omlette restaurant, and the surprise party from my dear, loving, wonderful husband and life-long wonderful friends, I recieved this crazy little stuffed muppet that sings the manuh manuh song (if you don't know it...look it up on youtube), and I got high school musical 2...that's right, I am not ashamed of my love for singing and dancing high school students.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! If you haven't received a card from me, I am still sending them out (I guess I am still on Hawaiian time). I hope your Christmas was as delightful as ours. Here is a list of some of the highlights of this year:

1. We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, long time family friends and their grandchildren. Not only did we prepare enough food to feed 100 hungry elves, but one of our guests brought caramel, dark chocolate, white chocolate and nut covered granny smith apples...yum, yum, yum. After pulling our Christmas Crackers, and stuffing ourselves, we played a rousing game of Christmas inspired white board Jeopardy! We ended the evening by reading the New Testament Account of the birth of Jesus and singing some good ole' Christmas songs in a confused harmony.

2. We spent the Christmas Eve night at my parents home for many reasons:
a. We don't have a chimney on our home so obviously Santa would have a hard time bringing gifts to our new home.
b. our trash bin is loaded with remodeling trash; thus, there is no room for wrapping paper and box trash.
c. Grandma makes cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning...'bake it and they will come'
d. Grandpa has a PS2

3. Santa came late last night and the boys actually could hear the ringing bells of his sleigh!

4. Grandma woke everyone up a little after 6am!

5. Santa brought Heelys (spelling?) for George and a Bike for Henry...unfortunately this caused a great shedding of tears by the younger because he also wanted Heelys. Santa left a message trying to explain that they do not make Heelys in Henry's size, but Henry, so overcome with little sleep and the emotion of the day, could not understand why Santa did not just make them his size!

6. After many months without a DVD Player because the salty air of Hawaii corroded our less than 1 year old expensive Sony player/recorder, Santa so kindly took pity on our DVD-less family and delivered a new one!!!

7. Word to the Wise: Don't feed your dog Ham...ewwww Gross Dog Farts!

8. The rest of the day went something like: Sleep, Eat, Play!

I hope your Holiday was as joyful as ours. At this time of year, we want you to know how much we love you and appreciate your friendships!
Mele Kalikimaka

Saturday, December 22, 2007


You know the old adage, "oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we use our voice to deceive." Well maybe that is not quite how it goes, but that is how I am going to refer to it from now on. Over the last 20 years or so, from the time I first was allowed to answer phone calls and call others with my mad phone dialing skills, I have been drawn to the art of telephone communication deceit. At first I indulged in catchy answering machine lyrics, then like all indulgences, my appetite grew to 'playful' live phone greetings. It was not out of place for a stranger to call my home and hang up bewildered, thinking he/she had called Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, the Veterinary Clinic or the Obgyn. In wild laughter I would jump and rejoice around the home after each phone deceit triumph. As time passed and I matured into woman hood, I abandoned my childish phone deceiving ways and turned my telephone communication immaturity into well scripted, yet, most often spontaneous, masterfully deceiving phone messages for those who do not answer the phone when I happen to call upon them. At any given time, If I feel that a particular person is screening my call or not answering for a justifiable reason, then I am compelled to leave a voicefully deceiving message.
I recently called a dear friend of mine who just so happens to be a single high school teacher. I knew that she was home because I had just spoken to her sister moments before. When my dear friend did not answer her phone, I had only one option: LEAVE A MESSAGE.
So, leave a message, is exactly what I did. The message went something like this:

Deep Man Voice: Uh, hello Ms. (insert last name), I mean (insert first name). This is Bob, I think you will remember me from your senior English class two years ago. I'm graduated now and I saw you out. You are looking really good, and I think that it is legal now for us to hook up...Uh, ms. (insert last name), I mean (first name) I am in to you and, I used to really think you were hot when you were teaching English...Uh, it would be awesome if we could get to know each other better... give me a call at (insert phone number)...

Even though I felt this message was the pinnacle of my game, I truly believed that because my dear friend is so good at decoding random messages, she would see that it was really me. HA HA HA, I am now laughing out loud because she did not think it was me. In fact, she was petrified, thinking some pervert, over-grown adolescent ex-student was out stalking her! I have to admit that 4 days later when she finally realized that it was me and she called me how she felt, I jumped up and down and danced around the house rejoicing and basking in my phone deceiving victory!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is the Season...for taking AWESOME pictures!

I have been out taking lots of pictures again. I just thought I would post a few of my favorites from this last week.
Here is a very beautiful bride that I shot pictures out in the snow. Even though she was cold, she never once complained, and her pictures turned out great!
The next set of pictures are of a dear friend of mine. She is having her sixth baby and she looks absolutely radiant. I was so thrilled to take maternity shots of her. Here are my favorite three. I had never thought of taking shots of myself when I was pregnant because I felt like an over sized waddling hippo, but after seeing how well these turned out, I might reconsider it the next time I am large with child.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Changes

Here are pictures of my favorite rooms in the entire home, my master bedroom and the master bathroom.
Before Master Bedroom: This picture was taken 2 days into our great remodel. We had pulled up the old carpet and discovered the wood floor beneath is rotted. We were discouraged at first, but took the opportunity to whack some of the creaks out of the old floors when we laid the new subfloor!New Master Bedroom!!! IN the master bedroom, we hung crown moulding and new base boards. We added a walk in closet (shown in older post) and we added a master bathroom. We laid new plush carpet and painted the walls with two tones. There is a new window and new window trim.

Before: Upstairs bathroom. Since the upstairs bathroom was quite large and spacious, we decided to split the bathroom into a 1/2 bath which has an entry from the hallway, and a master bath which has an entry from the master bedroom. We used the original entry to the upstairs bathroom as the entry to the new 1/2 bathroom, and we knocked out the old master closet to make more room for the 1/2 bathroom and an entry into the new master bedroom. Here are the before pictures:

Of the picture above, we knocked the wall out on the immediately left of the picture. That wall used to frame out a hall linen closet, which we removed to make room for a 1/2 bath.
In the picture below there is a towel rack. We knocked that wall out and moved the entry further back into a large master bathroom.This picture was taken 2 days into our project. You can see we have knocked out the wall where the towel rack was and it opened up the space into the master bedroom. This space was formerly the master closet. We kept the tub and toilet and sinks in basically the same areas. After: Master Bathroom. In this room we turned the single vanity sink into a double vanity which has a knotty alder cabinet and a granite counter top with under mount sinks. We kept the toilet in the same place and added a new tub. We pulled up the old linoleum and I laid textured tile. We hung bead board on the walls, added all new oil rubbed bronzed fixtures and replaced the old tub with a larger garden style tub! We added tile around for the tub surround and used bead board to frame out the new tub. I came up with the tile design myself, I tried to have a hint of 50's to our design with the black checkers and the contrast of the white bead board.
Sorry this picture is a little out of focus, I didn't have time to re-take it. I used a variety of different tiles to create this surround. Thanks to the help of Mark's family, we were able to get all the tile in the bathroom done in just 2 days! After: 1/2 bathroom. Because the 1/2 bathroom is smaller, it was a little difficult to take a good picture, so here is a shot of me poking my head in the door and looking at the pedestal sink we added and new mirror. We also added the bead board in the 1/2 bath and we tiled the floor with Travertine to match the kitchen tile.
Here is what you would see if you opened the door of the 1/2 bathroom from the hallway. I used travertine here because it flows from the wood floor area just like the kitchen flows from the dining room. That way, I have travertine butted up next to wood floor, and it keeps a consistency in the home which, I think, ties the home together better.
I am glad you like the changes so far, I will keep posting more and more!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Remodel Complete!!!

It has taken quite some time, a lot of effort and a great deal of support from family and friends, but we have nearly completed our home remodel. Because Mark had just graduated from UH with his MBA and I am no longer teaching High School, we decided that when we purchased a home, it would need to be a 'budget' friendly home. Thus, we set out searching for a home that would fit our family's needs, but because of the soaring home prices in Utah, we were left discouraged after a few weeks of searching. One Sunday afternoon, we were walking around the neighborhood and saw a 'for sale by owner' sign. After putting it off for a few days, we finally called the owner, toured the home and discussed its possibilities. I say, 'discussed its possibilities' because at that point, that is all the house had going for it. The has was in shambles. It has been a rental for nearly 20 years and at one point, it was actually a crack house...which we feel lucky that crack was the drug of choice and not meth! The yard was an overgrown weed disaster and the home an even greater challenge. In this home, there was not one room that needed complete remodeling from floor to ceiling.

The journey was relatively short, just under 6 weeks, but the work load was intense. There were quite a few times that Mark and I both felt like giving up, but then an angel, disguised as a friend or relative, would show up and give us the energy to work another 4 hours. Most days started between 8-9am and would finish about 3-4am. We are beat and tired, but I have to admit, my house looks freaking awesome!!! The bonus is, after all that we have done, we have a great looking home, and the total amount we spent was less than what we found homes listed for when we were searching for a home in the beginning.

Before: Front room

After: Front room, in this room we knocked out the wall between the front room and the entry closet because we got rid of the closet. We got rid of the built in wall unit and replaced the drywall. We added new windows, plantation shutters, new tall baseboards and crown moulding.

Before: Standing in the entry, view to the formal dining room. Through the dining room you can see the door to the kitchen and the back door through that door way. After: Standing in the entry looking at the new dining room. We knocked out the walls around the dining room and opened the entry so it flows better. You can see that we knocked down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room and added new cabinets, countertops, windows, plantation shutters, new lighting fixtures, new hanging pendant light fixtures over the bar, new appliances, refinished wood floors, new travertine tile floor in the kitchen and new paint and baseboards. Before: Standing in the front room looking past the front door into the dining room. You can see the smaller entrys and the walls between each room. After: Standing in the front room looking towards the dining room. We have knocked out all the smaller openings and opened all the walls up. In this picture you can see the hall way on the left side of the picture that leads to the master bedroom and the new 1/2 bathroom. We changed the front door, changed the trim around all the doors and windows and changed the lighting fixtures. Before: The kitchenAfter: The new and improved kitchen. We updated the kitchen with new knotty alder cabinets, and dark granite counter tops. I added a bench under the far window to the right because it is near the back door and the kids can use it to take off their winter clothing. I added an island that has an antique destressed finish on the bottom and a solid wood surface on top that matches the knotty alder cabinets. I added lighting under the cabinets to light up the work surfaces and Mark and I laid the travertine floor. Before: Master Bedroom, looking at the master closet.

After: Master bedroom, looking at the new master closet and entry into the master bathroom. Mark added a walk-in closet and entry into a private master bathroom. We took out the old closet and added the entry into the master bath, and used the other 1/2 of the closet as part of the space for the new hallway 1/2 bathroom. The master bedroom has new crown moulding, new carpet, new paint, and new trim.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


If you read the post below, you will understand why this post is so late in coming. I have been too busy to blog my own posts, and clearly to busy to frequent others' blogs. I ventured out tonight in the blogging world, a little apprehensive to what I would find, and low and behold I found this revelation . There is a certain blog that I read often for its witty banter and playful commentary; unfortunately I have been away for so long. My return to Gurrbonzo's blog was like hitting the jack pot when I clicked on this link on her blog. Hopefully you will feel as lucky as I have!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Season is Here and We are Busy!!!

It has been quite some time since I blogged last. Mostly we have been moving into our home, completing the final projects, cleaning up construction debris, and taking lots and lots of pictures!!!
This post is designed to highlight a few pictures that I have taken over the last few weeks. Thanksgiving was great because my sister, Leslie, was in town! Here is a spectacular shot of her family and my cute nieces and nephew!

In addition to taking her pictures, my totally awesome, picture taking, photographer brother-in-law, went with me to a friend's photo shoot and gave me some great lighting pointers. Seriously, the pictures would not have turned out so great without his help. These were fun to do because I have been friends with this family since my family moved to PG back in my glory days.

Nate, Cami and baby Grant

Nick and Emily

Jared and Alecia...and although this is probably not her favorite picture, I loved this one!
Then after I took those pictures, I had to make a cake for my friend's birthday. Like me, she loves the color pink, so I frosted it pink and put brown circles all over it. Then after I made that cake, another friend was having a birthday the next day, and her husband saw the E cake and asked if I would make another E cake for her I did! Because, who doesn't like making E cakes? I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the second cake, but it was frosted white with blue and pink question marks all over it because she just found out she is pregnant!

So, I have been busy, which is clearly not a good excuse for the lack of witty banter at this end of the blogging spectrum, but I will make a concentrated effort to resolve that problem.

And by the way, I actually lost our address book in the move, so if you would like a Christmas card, please e-mail me your address. If you don't know my email address, just write that in the comments section, and I will try to figure out a way to get it to you.