December 21, 2011

Worthwhile Read

With the death of Kim Jong Il, I was reminded of this book. It is is one of the most interesting I've read in ages. I was amazed at how little I knew about North Korea.

Definitely worth checking out.

December 8, 2011

Bad Decision

A few months ago I went to my parent's home and took this picture. But the version you saw on the blog was this:

The difference? Teeth (and a few other PS tricks. But mostly the teeth.) Photoshop whitened in the second shot. After looking at the originals my pearly whites looked more like a yellow brick road. So I learned a new Photoshop trick and viola, a brilliant smile.  If only it were that easy in real life, right? 

About a week later one of my friends was having a charity auction to help bring some orphans from Ukraine to Salt Lake. One of the offerings was Zoom teeth whitening from a local dentist. I wanted to support the cause, and as evidenced by my above handiwork I wanted whiter teeth. I snatched it up. 

Tuesday was my big day. My mom tried to disuade me. Told me how painful it could be. But my mind was made up. I pre-medicated with 1000 mg of Tylenol and 600 mg of Ibuprofen. I showed up at 9 am and halfway through watching Notting Hill on the ceiling I was done. A few little "zingers" but really not bad at all. I was thrilled. 

The rest of the day was jam packed and by 3 pm my teeth started to hurt a bit. I took 600 mg of Ibuprofen and thought I'd be good. By 5 pm I was home and hurting. Bad enough that I took a Lortab (left over from my c-section three years ago--I never take them). By 6 pm I was hurting so much that I had a hard time talking. I took another Tylenol. Didn't touch it. This was the worst pain I've felt in years. I couldn't eat.  I couldn't talk.  I was barely functioning. Ella wanted stories and I was mute. It was awful, and even more so because I had brought it on myself. By 8:45 I was beat and took full doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Thankfully I slept fairly well and by morning I was mostly better. 

Ryan couldn't believe that I had done it. I have weak enamel to begin with, and this was adding insult to injury. Oh, the things we do for beauty. I posted a moan on facebook and a friend (whose husband is a dentist) said "One more plus for teeth colored teeth." Amen, sister. Amen. 

In other (completely unrelated) news, my friend Molly is having a giveaway. And she's giving away a chart from Kimmy's shop. So double worth checking out. I'm smiling brightly just thinking about it. 

November 24, 2011

the thanksgiving that was not to be

This was going to be a great Thanksgiving. Jamie and Taylor were flying in and we were all headed down to St. George. Ryan was taking the week off and we were going to head down early, on Tuesday. But Tuesday came and Ryan came down with a cold. So we held off until Wednesday. But Wednesday came and Anna developed an ear infection. So we held off until Thursday (when everyone else was heading down--we were celebrating on Friday). But Thursday came and I was up all night throwing up and Ryan was up all night coughing. So we sent Ella with Grandma Sue and had a non-Thanksgiving lying on the couch and watching bad HGTV. I'm still holding out hope that tomorrow will be the day and Ryan and I will head down south and join the gang. Ella is really excited about the "feast with the whole family" that she learned about in preschool. When I told her that Daddy and I weren't going to be there she said, "Well, we will just have a feast with the rest of the family."

November 20, 2011

i (chart) you

Last year for Christmas my sister created a Family Tree chart. I loved it, and for the past 9 months I've been trying to talk her into making them for others. She finally caved and started a little etsy shop.  Since I was the one who talked her into it (because really, I love mine) I thought I'd try and help her spread the word. So check it out, put it on your blog, facebook, pass it on to your friends. It might just be the perfect Christmas present for those hard to shop for in-laws of yours...

November 14, 2011


Ryan and I have a knack for picking the same foods for lunch and dinner. If he goes to Cafe Rio for lunch it is inevitable that I will make enchiladas. If he goes to Five Guys we are having burgers. But tonight topped the charts.  For dinner my nanny made a pene pasta salad with peppers, spinach and sausage, seasoned with fennel. Guess what Ryan had for lunch? A sausage and pepper pizza (seasoned with fennel) and a side of pene pasta.

I guess we should be happy we are on the same wavelength.

November 13, 2011


For someone who's favorite number is 11, last Friday was kind of a big day. The kind that only comes around once a lifetime. Grandma Sue celebrated with 11 little presents, each containing 11 items. 11 skittles, m&ms, stamps, stickers, goldfish crackers, die cuts, blueberries, erasers, clips  and crayons.

November 7, 2011


November 6, 2011

mr. sun

This one cracks us up. No performance jitters here.

November 1, 2011

Room Tour

 Kimmy asked me to put up some pictures of my new furniture. I had visions of a really great post, with close-up pictures that make everything look all artsy (but are probably just hiding the peeling paint or the junk on the floor). You know, Design Mom style.  But I finally realized that wasn't going to happen and I'd better just take some shots and throw it out there. I'm still looking for a few final pieces, but here's our almost finished family room.

On the wall are the vintage postcards Jamie and I found in Rome. They are really cool and were $1 each.

This is a knock-off of this. I was really pleased with how it turned out (it's better in person). I bought sea urchins on eBay and took it to Brushworks where they put it together for a fraction of the cost of the original.

Kimmy & Chris made this for me for Christmas. I love it.

October 31, 2011

Halloween, 2011

Ella and Bea trick or treating (not a great video, but you get the idea).
Best line of the night:
"Sorry tids. We might not have enough tandy for you." (Ella to trick or treaters while holding a huge bowl of candy)

Tuckered out

October 29, 2011

On the move

Today Anna started crawling. Grandpa Paul noticed it. We gathered around, oohed and awed for a bit, then moved on. Grandpa didn't think Anna was getting her fair due. "When Ella started crawling it got more attention than a Constitutional amendment." 

The second child. 


Without the accolades. 

October 27, 2011

A star is born

Ella had her preschool Halloween program today. She didn't want to upstage the other kids. You know, she's humble like that.

{excuse the poor video handling. Anna was on my lap and grabbing for the phone}

Mom found out that "bring nine wrapped treats" does not mean let Ella pick out 9 pieces of candy from the Halloween stash. It means make something like this with a chocolate dipped pretzel for the handle, filled with goodies. Even the moms who only gave a single piece of candy gave cool things, like save the forests chocolates, or DIY candy necklaces. Good thing El's not old enough to be embarrassed by her lame offering.

October 25, 2011

France, 2010

Jamie is a little slow (like, a year late) with her pictures, but they are always great. You can see photos from last year's trip here.

October 24, 2011

Cousin Camp, part 3

With Ryan gone for 12 days I knew we would need a little distraction to stay sane. So we hopped on a plane and spent the weekend in Texas with Lauren and gang. We had a fantastic time. Never mind that 7/8 people were sick. That mosquitos were in full force. That we had to fit 5 carseats and 3 adults in the Honda Odyssey. We cooked, ate, crafted, movied, zooed, farmed, parked, beached, laughed, played, played and played. The kids got along amazingly well, and the adults didn't do half bad either. 

{Ella's first step into the ocean}

Thanks, Lauren, for making it a great trip.

October 17, 2011

guy on a buffalo

Don't worry, there are 4 of these little gems. Episode 2 might be my favorite.

And t-shirts.

Love it.

October 16, 2011

Private/Public Blog

The worst thing about a private blog (in my opinion) is not being able to use your reader. I've tried to get around this by making a duplicate public blog, that only has the title of new posts, with a link to see the full post. You can put the public blog in your reader.

Sunday night pics

The girls and I (Ryan is in China for 10 days) went to my parents for Sunday dinner. The fall colors are gorgeous in PC so we took a few pictures.

October 12, 2011

don't clap

Oh, the many, many, ways you can scar your child's psyche, without even trying.

Ella's potty training has taken off this week (after I told her that we were all out of diapers and her options were to pee on the floor or in the potty). After her first success we hip, hip, hoorayed, clapped and called grandma. The next time she did the potty dance our conversation went something like this:

Mom: Ella, do you have to go potty?
Ella: Don't twap [clap].
Mom: What?
Ella: Don't twap.
Mom: Huh?
Ella: Don't twap when I go potty. Don't say anything.

And pretty much every time I ask her to go she tells me not to clap. The funny thing is my pediatrician told me the same thing, and I pretty much ignored him. Looks like Charlie knew what he was talking about, once again.

October 11, 2011

it's time

I really, really hate doing this, but I think I'm going to go private for a while. The comments from men all over the world kind of creep me out. So send me an email or leave a comment if you want an invite. I enjoy blogging and suspect I'm not going to like it as much if I think only 3 people are this may be temporary. We'll see.

*btw, if you don't know me, or don't know me well I'd be flattered if you want an invite. As long as you're not creepy.

October 7, 2011

Caramel Apple Cake

I made this last night for book club, and it was delicious. I used pears instead of apples. Great fall recipe.

October 4, 2011

Ella at 3

We had Ella's three-year-old visit last week. Here's some tidbits about Ella these days:

  • She is very precise. Today she told me that she wanted to go to Bajio. I told her it was Sunday and we don't go on Sunday. She told me, "Mom. We don't go to stores on Sunday. This is a restaurant." 
  • Still no luck on the potty front. She can hold it but cannot for the life of her figure out how to go while sitting down. We're trying to be patient.
  • Loves her imaginary friends. Has conversations and playdates with them on a daily basis.
  • Leveled out height and weight. Sadly, I can't remember what her percentages are. around 50th. 
  • Loves Anna. My favorite thing lately is she will recount their encounters. "Mom. I went and saw Anna and she made her face go like this [smiles goofily]." Or, "Mom. I tink Anna is twy-ing to say, 'I don't want any more food, I want my binky.'" Or, "Mom. Anna was yike dis, 'Aaahhhhh.'"
  • She is from Utah. She has started to say "like." It pains me, but it's my own darn fault.
  • She can add and subtract, using her fingers, most single digits. This morning she asked me, "Mom, what's 3+4?" "I don't know, Ella, what is it?" "Come on, mom. You can do it. You know. This is an easy one!" "7?" "Right! Good job." (honestly, I am not pushing this on I write this I realize it looks like I am being a little bit of a Tiger mom). She also wants to know how to spell things. 
  • She has given up the nap. Sad, sad, day. She can be quite the grump come 4 o'clock. Not my favorite stage.
  • Conversation last night: "Mom. Do you know what Daddy yikes more than oranges? Peaches. Do you know what Daddy yikes more than peaches? Ellas." (she and Ryan must have had this conversation a few weeks ago). 10 minutes later: "I yike this slice of pear." 1 minute later: "Mommy. Guess what I yike better than pears? Daddy." melt. his. heart.

September 25, 2011

September 21, 2011


Every year I say we are going to take advantage of Restaurant Week, and every year October 1st comes and goes without us dining o' round. If we make it downtown this year you may find me here, here, or here.

September 15, 2011

apple picking

Amelia and I went apple picking today in Heber. We scored nearly 100 lbs of organic apples. Now we just have to figure out what to do with them...

*post edit

We made 21 quarts of applesauce, 9 quarts of apple juice and lots of dehydrated apples. Kind of wishing we had picked more apples :)

September 12, 2011

lotoja 2011

Ryan decided to do Lotoja again this year. He convinced me to do support, so Amelia and I made a road trip out of the infamous Logan to Jackson. We had a great time. Stopped at local gardens, the Oregon Trail Museum, chatted it up, and ate tons of bad-for-you snacks. Oh yeah, we handed the boys water bottles and gels, too. The riders did great. All had their best times and Justin even made it on the podium. Ryan felt strong, but had really bad luck and got not one, but two flat tires. He ended up stopped on the side of the road for nearly 20 minutes. But still, he did great and we had fun together. We stayed in these cool cabins--"glamping" they called it. Sweet.

Ryan's already planning next year...maybe someday I'll join him. Or maybe not. 206 miles in a car might be more fun than 206 on a bike.

Thanks to Drama and Drampa for watching the girls. You know you've got it good when the worst behavior is when your child sobs for 10 minutes when she discovers it's time to go home. Love those grandparents.

September 11, 2011

wolka dots

The other day Ella and I were driving in the car and I heard her say, "No, no no. You don't say 'wolka dots.' It's 'polka dots!'" "Ella, what did you say?" I ask. "Ah keeps saying 'wolkadots' and I am just telling her that they are 'polkadots.' She always calls them 'wolka dots'."

Nice work, El. Nice work. Way to keep that Ah in line.

September 6, 2011


Big day today. Real preschool. With real artwork. Artwork that can really clutter my already cluttered home. So I'm going to do this.

Scan in her artwork, save it digitally, and toss the original. When I have enough we will make a cool piece of art to hang in her room.

Day 1:

September 1, 2011

Ella turns 3

Some things about my darling Ella Jane
  • She has a remarkable memory. She gets it from the Packer side, that's for sure. 
  • The imaginary friend thing is evolving. She now has Ah, Va, Da, Sa, Na and Eda-pho-Eda (who knows where she came up with that one). They are her "kids." She converses with them on a regular basis. And today she took it to a whole new level when she told me that she had to crawl on the table because Ah wanted the balloon. 
  • Potty training, oh the joy. Here's where we are at: She feels the urge to go. She tells me. We take off her panties and...put on a diaper. She relieves herself, we remove the diaper and put the panties back on. She can't figure out how to go sitting down. She can sit on the potty and hold it for HOURS. She's not stubborn, she honestly can't figure out how to control the muscles while sitting down. Yesterday I asked her to practice sitting in her diaper and going and she told me, "I can't. That's not how my diaper works." Preschool starts in 5 days. Don't think we'll make it.
  • She is very very thoughtful. She loves her friends and her sister. She remembers what everyone's favorite color is, and then tries to match their popsicle/balloon/cookie/toy/napkin to it
  • The only food she wanted for her birthday dinner was strawberry soup. She hadn't ever had it before, but that's what she she wanted.
  • The morning of her combined birthday party 2/2 guests called in sick. We managed to have a great time anyway. Lots of hand sanitizer was involved. 
  • She has nearly given up her nap. She needs it every third to fourth day. Shed a little tear. 
  • She is fun, smart and sweet. Love you, Ella Jane.

August 19, 2011


fyi, the video on my last post is now up and running. apparently i didn't understand youtube copyright policy. oops.

August 18, 2011

bon voyage

One of my dear friends returned from a six month stint in Paris. She also is moving out of our neighborhood, so we had a homecoming/farewell party for her. Jamie and Kimmy went to a fantastic Parisian themed party in New York a few months back, and it looked like so much fun we decided to try our own.

August 8, 2011


I'm doing another giveaway on my work blog. It makes me look good to have lots of comments, so enter to win yourself some Target love.

August 7, 2011

Bajio's Green Chicken Chile Quesadilla

It was a sad, sad day in the Packer home last week. Ella and I drove to our favorite Monday night dining establishment only to find out it had closed. Bajio will soon be Costa Vida. It still boggles my mind that they would swap a Bajio for a Costa Vida when there's a perfectly good Cafe Rio 1 mile away....but alas...que sera sera.

So to ease my pain I made my version of our favorite meal. The Green Chicken Chile Quesadilla. Or Nachos. Or Salad. All good. And this time I paid attention to how to make it.

2 chicken breasts
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c lime juice
1 T Southwest Chipotle Seasoning

1 sweet onion
2 4-oz cans of green chiles
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
2/3 (almost, but not quite. Maybe 2-3 T less) c sugar
1/4 t salt
dash of cumin
dash of chili powder

Marinate the chicken, oil, lime juice and seasoning in a plastic bag for an hour or so. Mash the chicken around in the marinade and pound it until the thick part of the breast flattens out a bit.

Grill the chicken. While it is grilling saute the onions and green chiles. After 10 minutes or so, when they are about half-way cooked, add the vinegar and sugar. Once the chicken is done shred it and add it to the onions and chiles. Let cook together for a minute or so.

Serve on cook at home tortillas (did you know that you can buy food from now? There is a $20 delivery fee, but you'd probably save at least that much by avoiding that inevitable impulse buy) with black beans and cheese. It made 2-3 big quesadillas.

Not quite as good as Bajio, but pretty tasty.

August 2, 2011


Everyone has something they like about their body. For me: my eyelashes. If Anna had to get my nose (of which I am not a fan) at least she also got my lashes.

I'm sorry and you're welcome.

July 28, 2011

4th of July

I'm a little behind on event blogging. It may not happen. But Kimmy and Chris posted some great pictures from Grandpa Rob's 80th birthday party and the 4th of July. Here you go. Isn't that Anna cute?

over and over and over again

Do you ever feel like all you do, all day long, is tidy your house? Not clean, just pick up. All. Day. Long. 'Cause that's where I'm at. All. Day. Long. I think I am genetically incapable of keeping a tidy house without constantly working at it. All. Day. Long.

I know I said this, but apparently I didn't really mean it.

Any good tips or solutions?

July 27, 2011

it must be Y linked

a sampling of what Ryan comes home with when I send him to the store for detergent and batteries.

like father, like son.

July 26, 2011

sitting pretty

Anna decided she was tired of this view

Thought she'd try this

Ended up like this

July 21, 2011

growing up

Doug caught this video last time he was in town. Guess we can't keep her little forever. She'll just be "dwowin' up."

July 12, 2011


{she's picking out her own clothes these days. very stylish}

During my formative years, my parents employed the carrot more often than the stick. Today I learned that Ella is a carrot girl as well. She wants a princess sippy cup like her friend Emma from preschool. So we made a tried and true sticker chart and viola! She's helpful, obedient and kind. 

Hope it lasts.

July 10, 2011

Cutting for Stone

If you liked this book:

Listen to this interview. You can also download it for free from iTunes.  Abraham Verghese is brilliant, in a humble way, and made me want to reread all 560 pages of his book.

July 8, 2011

dinner jacket

Yesterday our friend Justin took his Orthopedic Boards. The Boards are a 'final exam' of sorts after 9 years of training. Kind of a big deal. To celebrate Justin wanted to ride to Sundance and then dine at the Tree Room. We were in. 

Ryan and Justin at the summit of the Alpine Loop

Justin somehow sweet talked the girl at the Spa to stay late (missing yoga) and let them shower. She was supposed to charge them $30 but then felt badly because she thought she was rude to them when they first got there (because they were an hour late and she was missing her yoga) so she gave it to them for free. 

Amelia and I brought clothes for Ryan and Justin to change into.


So Justin ate in his bike shorts and a jacket we found in the car. Gave us all a good laugh, especially when he got a little warm and inadvertently unzipped his jacket. Good thing the Tree Room doesn't have a "no shirt no service" policy.

July 7, 2011


Picked up my first box from our CSA. Pretty excited about it. Also excited about the new camera Ryan gave me for our anniversary. We'll see if the camera makes the picture, or if it's still mostly operator (or photoshop) dependent.

(As I'm writing this, Ella is asking me how we get to Heaven. I told her I didn't know. She told me that she thinks "We just ride up in an airplane because Heaven is in the sky.")