Starting graduate studies has forced me to rearrange my schedule, drop certain activities, and really look at my priorities.  One priority that I insist on making number 1 is my family.  I don’t want my family to ever feel that I put school, or a future job made possible by school, before them.

This week’s dilemma?  Hoob’s 16th birthday.  How do I make it special for her and still meet my school, church, and other family obligations?  Hoob’s birthday is on Friday which also happens to be a full-day youth conference for our stake (group of congregations in our church).  Here are my ideas to make the day as fun as possible for her:

*I had her choose the shoes she wants for her birthday from and we ordered them last week.  They should arrive before her birthday.

*Even though we will be visiting four historical sites in SLC during the day with other youth and leaders from our stake which makes it hard to celebrate her birthday, I have arranged with one of the ward (congregation) leaders to buy a birthday cake.  We will keep it secret from Hoob until we break for lunch and then we will pull it out and have the youth and leaders from our ward sing happy birthday to her and then share the cake.

*I will make sure to take pictures of the cake activity.

*Tomorrow afternoon I will put homework on hold and I will take Hoob shopping for new capris and flip-flops–the rest of her birthday presents.

*I always give my kids a chance to go to lunch or breakfast with me on their birthday for some one-on-one time with me.  Because of the youth conference starting early, making it necessary to eat a quick breakfast at home, and then including lunch and dinner as part of youth conference, Hoob and I will, instead, go to see a movie together that night as our one-on-one time.  The movie she has chosen?  “Green Lantern.”  Once again, homework will be put on hold.

*Of course I will wish her a happy birthday on facebook so that others can know it is her birthday.

*Hoob, or course, is anxious to get her driver’s license.  With Friday’s schedule being what it is, we will go Monday afternoon as soon as I am done with class to pick up her license.

I am hoping these ideas will help Hoob to have a special day.  Hoob is so good-natured, I really don’t have anything to worry about, but it really is about…

…making family #1!


Eleven years ago today I mowed my lawn and didn’t even know I was in labor!  My wonderful son, Yawlin, was born at 4:03 that afternoon weighing in at 8 lbs 8 oz.   And so today I focus on his birthday rather than trying to craft an award-winning post–which I have never done anyway, so there is absolutely no loss!

For his birthday breakfast Yawlin requested crepes with Nutella and bananas (something he has come to love ever since the two of us visited the SLC library a couple of years ago).  I will check him out of school later today to take him to lunch.  His choice of lunch venue?  IHOP!  Last year the two of us went to Zupas.  I was hoping for that again today.  No such luck.  IHOP it is.

For dinner Yawlin has requested Lasagna.  That dinner will be pushed to Friday because Yawlin’s dad called earlier in the week informing me that he would be in town and he asked if he could take Yawlin to dinner on his birthday.  I don’t mind pushing the birthday dinner back a day. 

Yawlin has requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for his birthday cake.  I think Huh has the afternoon off from work today so I am going to ask her to make the cake for him.  A risky proposition considering the cake she made for him last year was quite…interesting.  🙂

Even though the river trip a couple of weeks ago was Yawlin’s birthday present from us, I am going to take him shoe shopping after school today.  When you see your son putting packing tape on the bottoms of his shoes, you know it is time to get new ones!

And so with that…I am off.

Happy birthday Yawlin!

Today’s post is going to simply consist of a run-down of Hoob’s birthday happenings.  It has to be a quick one because I am committed to spending the day with her.  So far today we have…

*Gone to breakfast at IHOP (her choice).  Just the two of us.  She is the only one who gets to choose between breakfast or lunch for a one-on-one meal with me on her birthday.  All of the other kids have birthdays during the school year and so are limited to a one-on-one lunch so that they don’t miss any school.

We both “heard” crepes calling our names.  She tried the Danish crepes, and I tried Swedish.

*Went birthday shopping.  She requested art supplies and cake decorating supplies this year, so we were able to do all of the shopping at a craft store.  She chose some fun stuff and seems excited to expand her hobbies.

*I surprised her and took her shopping for new shorts and capris.


For her birthday lunch, Hoob has requested spring rolls and for dinner she has requested spaghetti.  Mack, who is on meal prep this week, will be making the spaghetti and the birthday cake. 

The other big thing to accomplish today is to go get Hoob’s Learner Driver’s Permit. 

I feel the gray hairs starting…


Not sure I’m ready for this.


Happy birthday baby girl!  I love you.

Nineteen years ago tomorrow, my beautiful daughter, Huh, was born.  I find it hard to believe she is going to be nineteen (how on earth did I become old enough to have a nineteen year-old????).

In my never-ending quest to make sure my kids learn how to do things on their own, I came up with a birthday gift for Huh that will give her confidence in something she has yet to do–until now.  Huh has flown with us on family vacations, and last year she flew with her softball team to Hawaii for a tournament, but she has never flown alone, or navigated an airport alone.  Tomorrow I am sending her off to Phoenix so that she can spend the week with her father.  And, yes, she is going alone.

She will get to check-in on her own, find security and her gate alone, board alone, maybe converse with her seatmate(s), and then retrieve her luggage on her own.  She can’t rent a car until she’s 21, so that life experience will have to come later.  Her dad will pick her up at the airport and take her back to his apartment.  The two of them have made plans to see the campus of the college he works for.  This is the same college that Huh has taken online courses from since her Senior year of college.  She is now half-way through her sophomore year of college, and just graduated from high school last June!  I’m proud of how quickly she’s moving, but there is a part of me that hopes she will fall in love with the campus and choose to go there, even if it’s only for a quarter.  I would love for her to experience campus life!  Sometimes boyfriends have too much of a pull, hence the reason she hasn’t gone to the campus before now.

But, even if Huh still chooses to continue with online courses, at least she will experience flying alone.  And, bonus, my sister lives in Phoenix and plans on picking her up a couple of times to do things with her family.  All in all, I think this is going to be a great experience for my daughter.  One thing the rest of us are jealous about is that Huh will get out of the icky, cold, inversion weather that Utah is experiencing now.  She even rubs it in that she plans on catching some rays while she is there.  🙂

Happy birthday, baby girl!  I love you!

On Wednesday night I felt the lump for the first time.  On Thursday I called my doctor.  Today, my birthday, I go see my doctor…just to make sure…just to be safe.

I have done some research online, and from what I’ve read, I am pretty sure that what I have is simply a cyst.  I don’t think I have much to worry about.  I even told the nurse on the phone that I think it is a cyst, but would see the doctor if it is something he would want me to come in for.  She said that, yes, he would want me to come in…just to make sure…just to be safe. 

After the initial exam, the doctor may decide to order a mammogram.  Since women are advised to have yearly mammograms starting at age 40, I guess it is time I had one.  I’m two years overdue (I’ve been happy in my denial that I’m in my forties! 🙂 ).  THIS is NOT what I wanted to be doing on my birthday!  But, after all the weird health problems I had over the summer, I am convinced that you can never be too careful when it comes to your health.

I am just going to make sure Hub gives me two pieces of birthday cake tonight.

I deserve it.

We have traditions for birthdays in our family.  The birthday child gets to choose the menu for breakfast and dinner, they get to go to lunch for some one-on-one time with a parent, they receive “dollar gifts” from their siblings, a cake is baked and the Happy Birthday song is sung, gifts are received from the parents, and they get a day off from doing chores.

Yesterday was Yawlin’s 10th birthday.  The birthday started out normal enough.  He chose fruit crepes for breakfast.  For lunch, I checked him out of school and we went to Zupa’s and shared a combo meal (the “Nuts About Berries” salad is to die for!).  The menu for dinner was Swedish Meatballs , potatoes, and zucchini (we have zucchini coming out of our ears–thankfully Yawlin likes it). 

I’d finished baking the cake but hadn’t decorated it before it was time to go to my afternoon crossing.  I asked Huh if she would frost the cake for me while I was gone so that we could have the cake when Yawlin and I got home from the crossing.  She agreed to do it.

This is how Huh ended up decorating the cake:

Lovely cake!

Lovely cake!

The “Shut up” and “I ran out” signs refer both to the sprinkles (she had to use two different kinds) and to the candles.  Yes, those are uncooked spaghetti noodles stuck into the cake to act as candles so that there would be ten total.  This is what happens when you let an 18 year old decorate a cake unsupervised.  🙂

I laughed when I saw the cake, and Yawlin got a kick out of it.  He made some goofy faces while I took his picture next to it–goofy faces for a goofy cake.

Later in the evening, Huh and her boyfriend, Plumber, took Yawlin to go get a smoothie for his birthday.  They came home with a mouse.  Yup, a tiny black and white, whiskered, long-tailed rodent.  They had a cage, bedding, and food.  Apparently Plumber and Huh had hit upon the idea of getting Yawlin a pet for his birthday and he chose a mouse.  A mouse he named Oreo.


Yawlin was so excited, I didn’t have the heart to tell him the mouse had to go–until later.  The cage had been set up, food had been poured into the dish, and the mouse had tried out her running wheel a few times when things suddenly changed.  I was in the tv room watching the evening news when I heard Yawlin yell, “Oreo got out of her cage!”

I looked at Huh and Plumber who were doing the dishes and said, “You’d better go help him.”  Since they bought the mouse they got the fun job of catching it when it escaped.

After listening to lots of bumping and banging and yelling I went up to Yawlin’s room to see how things were going.  The mouse had been caught, Plumber’s finger had received a nice mouse bite, and Yawlin’s room was a mess.  When I learned that the mouse had gotten out of the cage by squeezing through the bars of her cage I said the mouse had to go.  Poor Yawlin was heartbroken, but if the mouse could squeeze through the bars it would end up being a constant vigil to keep her in her cage.  Nope.  Don’t want to deal with it.

Huh felt bad, too, for getting Yawlin all excited to have a pet.  She and Plumber will be returning Oreo to the pet store today.  They put the mouse and her cage in our green recycling bin so that she can’t escape into the house if she squeezes through the bars of her cage again.  Hopefully they will think of some way to make it up to Yawlin.

Sometimes traditions are born unexpectedly, sometimes they are purposely planned.  It might be that sticking uncooked spaghetti into our birthday cakes will become a tradtion.  Receiving a birthday rodent?  Not so much!

Today is Hoob’s 14th birthday.  So, rather than craft the much longer post originally planned for today, I am writing a quickie and then spending the day with my girl.  She has requested German pancakes for her birthday breakfast and spaghetti for her birthday dinner.  She and I will go to lunch together at her choice of restaurant and then shop for a rug for her bedroom (her request for a birthday present).  I will have Huh, Mack, and Juju bake her a cake this afternoon and we’ll all sing Happy Birthday to her later tonight. 


Hoob showing a dance move on the beach in Oregon.

Hoob showing a dance move on the beach in Oregon.


It’s going to be a great day!

Hub celebrates his 45th birthday on the 22nd of this month.  I am looking for unique and quirky ideas for celebrating it.  When I turned 40 in January Hub went all out with the “Over the Hill” theme complete with black balloons and an announcement on the front door for the neighbors to be quiet around the nearly dead.

Side note:  The kids and Hub filled the house with black balloons.  Hoob decided to have fun with it and put balloons in unexpected places.  There were balloons in my bed, my closet, and the sinks in the master bathroom.  She drew a smiley face on one balloon and put it in the toilet with a post-it note that said, “I am a potty mouth!”

Hub and I didn’t know each other when he turned 40 so I haven’t had the pleasure of celebrating one of the milestone birthdays with him.  If you have any ideas or have seen some great celebrations for a 45th birthday please let me know.  I want the kids to be able to have fun with this.