Tuesday, December 30, 2008


you read it right. my little blog. and it's not my ornery children that i'm giving away. nope, something else that i have a real passion for.

FOOD and eating out.

the sonora grill is located in ogden, utah at the new solomon center in ogden. it is really quite the happening little complex.

we ventured down there after it first opened. s.mac and i are friends with the owner. he and i have known each other since childhood and he and s.mac were buddies in high school.

i am used to utah mexican, which is its own variety. i love it, i do. but if you are looking for an experience and something very authentic, the sonora grill will give you that.

what do i love and can i describe it for you?

when we first went in we weren't sure what to expect. the building is beautiful with every art piece and fixture authentic to the area they patterned the cuisine after. everything there is authentic.

the cheese is other planet good. it is specific to the regional cuisine they serve. their beans smooth and light, the corn on the cob is a pleaser anytime. in fact, my "winds of love" got it yesterday, in the middle of winter, and it transported me to mid summer with the baby corn taste. awesome. the salsa is very different. it is not going to be your typical tomatoes and onions. it is a smoky morita salsa served alongside a lime salsa. i want to drink them both. the chips are perfection and the biggest thing i am a fan of, okay 2 things that rock my world.
the carne asada burrito and
the chicken quesadilla.

the meat in both are so incredibly seasoned and prepared, i can't get enough.

okay, okay, i'm lying. there's more. the carne asada quesadilla, the ceviche. what is ceviche? well, the one i like is their big rock shrimp ceviche. it has shrimp, cured in lime juice, with tomatoes, onion, mint and you must. i mean really, you must. you eat it with chips and oh, lawsy mercy, other planet good.

their lemonades are exquisite, everyday featuring a new flavor that transports you from rocky mountains to the islands. divine.

dessert - i am a huge fan of the banana split. vanilla bean ice cream with a grilled banana, pineapple, chocolate fudge with chocolate shavings on the top. we have to with hold the snorting while we gobble it up. my honesty begs me to tell you i have tried all of their desserts and you can't go wrong with one thing.

they also offer a variety of specials you can read about it here on their blog like early bird specials, free anniversary dinners, free birthday dinners, hello! also, they have a great room in the back that is private and can seat up to 10 people. i love this! we go out to eat with big groups often and i am always dreading the wait for a place that won't take reservations so a private eatery that is so willing to accommodate is a heaven send. these people are here to stay. that is one thing i look for in a restaurant, the service and how you feel when you go in. the owner is sure to be greeting every guest, filling water as well as telling you about avocados that he prepares table side when you order the out of this world guacamole. he is dedicated to the ogden area and his sweet wife is a trooper to let her husband serve us so much, really. they are dedicated to making your experience pleasurable.

have i not convinced you? here is their site HERE and here is another write up with fabulous pictures HERE.

the most gracious emily of the sonora grill contacted me and told me i could give away a gift certificate for $20 to one lucky winner. i know i have a lot of out of staters reading this blog and i also know you visit once in a while, so don't be shy! leave a comment in this post, we will close the give away on sunday, january 4 and i will announce the winner on monday. good luck to all of you!

p.s. add a link to their site on your blog and you will be cool. cuz i think it's pretty..........

Monday, December 29, 2008

my obsession...

is being cheap. i like a good deal.

my friend lori turned me onto this site tonight and i am a little, okay A LOT excited about this. they had these on the east coast and i am major excited to have this.

click here for the food co-op

i have been couponing on and off for the past year. last week i had a "cry in the store" experience with my now {not favorite store} and it makes me slow down in my intensity with couponing. it is a lot of work and i hate that sometimes i get so excited about .50 cent crackers and .50 cent toothpaste. i load up so much that when i go to fix dinner, we have to eat toothpaste crackers. i haven't figured out the balance yet. this co op is so cheap, plus the fresh veggies and fruits? this is my idea of heaven. also, since i have been couponing, i find us eating frozen food occasionally because it is so cheap and always on sale. I HATE FROZEN FOOD. s.mac had a professor that would use the phrase, "it'll kill you deader than hell". and that is how i feel about frozen food. it just can't be right. i even went thru a phase where i made a bunch of meals and froze them. i just couldn't eat them frozen. in fact, a perfectly good lasagna sits frozen in my freezer month after month because of my issue.

this tangent was brought to you so that you could check this site out, go and click here

Sunday, December 28, 2008

birthday love for my bud "e"

he's my little guy.

well, not so little anymore.

he's growing into his boy skin much, much too fast, one potty word at a time.
when i'd hold him as a baby, i couldn't believe how in love i was with a boy. there
is nothing quite like a little boy loving his mom. nothing.

he was the most quiet, sleepy baby ever. he loved, loved, loved his momma. that love got me thru a hard time in my life and i am so grateful i had him for that stage.

his strengths are his sleeping abilities. they have never ceased to amaze me. when he was little he was sleeping thru the night at the hospital. he had to be circumcised to awake after many cold baths and 11 hours of no waking up, that is how serious the boy takes his sleeping. as a toddler he would tell me, mom, it's time for a nap or bedtime, and then go put himself to bed. ahhh, this is a glorious perk.

always attached to me as a baby and now, growing into his big boy skin, gravitates towards legos, "guys", being naughty and star wars. always has. as a wee toddler, he told everyone the baby in my tummy {hella} was "bump bader" (darth vader). he has had light saber fixation since he turned 1. he has watched with intense interest and at 2 years old could tell you more about the star wars trilogy than george lucas.

he loves. loves and loves. he loves his sisters although days aren't complete without a right hook or a good tease. he has humor deep in his bones and likes to break out in song with hilarious lyrics often. this year, he told me the following,

"mom, santa doesn't really care if you are naughty or not. last year i said like a ton of potty words and i still got my DS (nintendo). so this year i don't think it really matters if i try to be good or not." he has it all figured out, little stinker.

i love him and adored him with transformers, a spidey man bike with training wheels and chocolate chip pancakes with buttermilk syrup. i plan on smooching him and telling him how it took a lot of love to get him here. a little waiting to have him in my belly and some salad tongs to pull his head out, i think i will limp all day to remember the bazillion stitches i had and how i couldn't walk or sit for 3 weeks. it was a big cranium........

that aside, i love how a little boy and his momma share a strong bond.

Friday, December 26, 2008

a.t.t.e. and b.u.t.t.

the discovery of the b.u.t.t. walker teacher game for her DS

needing some comfort when she tried to open presents that weren't hers, ahhh

the "santa" presents, one for each

a tired father on the "eve" of and proof that we do stick with 3 presents for each kid and 1 from santa....

when christmas morning came upon us, we were greeted with a little boy who had waited for this day for a long, long time.

the glowing jammies with motion activated lights on them, crawled into our bed at 5:00 AM. every time he turned or sniffed, the lights were in our face, reminding us that we have children in our house.

the bathroom break at 6:00 AM from "winds of love" was a welcome thing as she returned to her room and finished reading her book "the secret garden".

they knew what life would be like waking the "hella" baby. we HAD to wait until she awoke on her own. HAD TO. she is like a hibernating bear disturbed mid way thru when her sleep is interrupted. and...

she kept waking up every hour crying "no santa" repeatedly. scared to death of the jolly man, she was petrified when everyone we ran into told her of tales of the jolly man coming to her house while she slept. petrified.

"hella" woke up at 8:10 am. a long wait for a "lighted" brother and reading sister. they ran in and it was a flurry of wrapping paper and shrills of delight.

"bud e" scored with an AT TE walker from the clone wars movie. hella was just as excited for this and kept yelling "sta bors" (star wars), then.....

she found her stocking and sniffed the chocolate from her crib. she went into a classic potato bug stance all curled up and such, eating away at her chocolate santa. making sure no one would hover near, she stayed to herself until the jolly souls entire contents were in her christmas belly.


i hear "bud e" asking what is this star wars ship called again.

the AT TE walker bud, i kept replying.

in a moment when i was making crepes for the cheese blintzes, i heard bud "e" tell "winds of love" it was the b.u.t.t. walker. there are mostly boys in his preschool class and he has come home with a variety of new information. he doesn't know what it says, he just knows that we can't SAY that word at our house, never mind the spelling of it. and, you know, there are some of the same letters associated and all.

"winds of love" had a boring morning after the discovery that her parents were not "podders" and her most asked for and beloved IPOD of 2 years was not up their ally. that would require the assistance of a teenage auntie down the street. so, she had to wait and play with the b.u.t.t., i mean the AT TE.

all in all, a snowy day drenched in the tiredness only a parent can feel on christmas day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas

this week alone we have already had at least 2 feet of this stuff and supposedly, christmas day is going to give us a "storm to remember".
happily i accept this gift of a white christmas, determined to get my coconut syrup and pancake mix and toppings out to the appropriate homes. if i don't, why then what a great feast for us to eat all christmas day.
may your day be real merry and bright, we will throw a snowball for you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

her condensed version...

she is really unlike any of my other babies. she has done things her own way and her own style. she has a dresser full of frilly jammies from her sissy and new ones from her motha. but.....

she likes to wear bud "e"'s tops and her "skinny pants" to bed. she also loves the 1960 and 1970 school chairs we picked up at the antique shop the other day.

her speech.

she condenses everything. while "winds of love" was speaking in complete paragraphs by this age, bud "e" was whipping out sentences and such, little miss "hella" repeats and condenses.

mom, mom, MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM
pointing all the while.

gum, gum, GUM, GUM mommy mommy, gum mommy MOMMY GUM.


make, make bed (bread) MAKE MOMMY MOMMY

i turn my kitchen aid on and it is like a magic wand to attract fat chubby toddler feet a running. she eats the weekly bread dough in gobs and i have to hustle to get it in the pans or else large chunks from chubby fists are mysteriously missing.

last week after the beloved church party, she kept repeating
"kiw santa, kiw santa."

using my best detective skills i tried for 3 hours to decode what i thought was "kill santa"

she trembles something awful at the sight of his "big hat" (in her words). she just starts shaking and rolls like a potato bug into a ball in hopes of camouflaging herself from the jolly soul.
after chalking the kill santa remark to playing "guys" with bud"e" too much, i figured out she was saying scare santa, scare santa. phew, that was a relief. no slaughtering on christmas little "hella" only love. pure love.

i am hoping one day soon she will start developing her language so we can work on her tantrums and anger. i need to start working on my therapist skills so i can get to the root of the anger that manifested from the instant she was born. screaming, screaming from the birth canal. after 3 hours of screaming my dad came to the hospital and was able to calm her down and get her to sleep. the nurses kept commenting on her anger, whew. i wonder if they knew it would still be going on 2 years later.

on the bright side of a "hella" child.....

she loves much. i am the subject of many smoochy coochies. my innocent lips all vulnerable in public settings only to be attacked by hers at crazy moments. church, grocery store - never at the appropriate time when you have just expressed your love to her or you are having a tender moment. no, that is usually when a face smack comes around. but i will take grocery store lovin, church meeting smooches and all that come with her, such a new experience for me.....

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

my mother heart...

you know what is deep inside of you that tells you when to start your family, when the next one should come and that there may be more waiting, just for you. the kind word you feel the need to offer to a person in need, the words of encouragement only you can say just so to the person that needs you and that powerful need to feed people {okay, i realize that is harder to come by now aunt bea is not as revered as she used to be}.

that is what i call the mother heart.

my admission of being a young "girl" when my mother heart started shouldn't surprise anyone. 22 is a young age to have a baby. every part of me wanted her and knew it was certainly "she" waiting to come. and then a "he". i could feel him. and then the "her". i just knew. deep down. it certainly seemed funny to think of what i wanted. because. how can we change what god determines? sometimes do you wonder if you accepted the calling of a mother before you came? i do, and there is nothing that i wouldn't do to make good on that promise to those spirits and an all magnificent creator.

what about having children is something a normal, sane person would find convenient or normal by any one's standards? in this selfish country in the which we all set as a fatted calf, we certainly take on entitlement. especially in the area of family. more and more i hear so much about convenience and what is going to be easiest.

maybe in my parenting years i have been on a planet set aside for the crazys. it is the hardest job i have ever done, hence why i know we are not done. i know i have things to learn that only the humility of wanting and having a babe placed in your arms can bring.

no lesson ever taught in my young life has ever brought the learning curve that being a mother 3 times over has. there is nothing like the helpless feeling of being so overly tired, physically drained and then on the exact opposite spectrum, the feelings of extreme highs that smiles, hugs and kisses bring. there is no "thing" i could buy that feels like meeting a baby for the first time, mine or another. no love felt greater when a desperate plea to be "with" child is granted.

i remember seeing the positive sign on that stick and knowing what i knew all along. i wanted to be a mother, knew i would and would do whatever it took to hold those babies in my arms, be it by the physical sacrifice of another or my own. it confirmed years of faith i had to have being unmarried and being told the "chances" are slim, your body is broken.

there is no feeling like that of being ready to start the journey of bringing another baby into your home and starting that process. for some it is a journey of an "emotional pregnancy" with a physical pregnancy absent. i firmly believe it brings about the same lessons and the same feelings that make the "mother heart" come alive. for some, it is the lessons learned from waiting a lifetime and simply showing faith.

sixteen years old, things going in the wrong direction for a doctor to deem my body "normal". but, yet, thru the years of new pills, new drugs, another surgery, another road block, i knew it would come to pass. something deep inside told me i would be a mother. it was planted young but so strongly, maybe this is why my passion runs deep.

as mothers we discover who we are, why we were put in the "here and now" and what we have yet to do to grow a little more, be a little better - line upon line.

so, with this admission, let me tell you phrases that make me sad.
we are so done. __ is plenty for me
we don't have near enough money to have kids.
i am tired and i am done.

the thing i find the most humor in is when people say "i want a boy or girl next". i have fallen victim to this plague. really, i think things work too well in this universe for us to be giving the orders.......

and humor... have you ever read more that one entry of mine? yes, humor is a wonderful blessing granted from someone who has obviously gone thru parenting before. i would be lost without humor in the world of speech impediments, dirty diapers gone wrong {how much could be right about one in the first place?}, laundry that only a kid can dirty and all of the labor intensive meals thrown in the trash.

the best part about a mother heart?

it is unique and every body gets theirs one way or another, kids or no kids, wives or not. i love finding out what cultivates a mother heart in the strong women in my life. i surely have wonderful support and good strength in the mother hearts that surround me.

there, you have it.

how i feel about mother hearts, parenting and kids.

and just so you know, we aren't "done". when i lay in bed at night, i haven't kissed all the lips i'm supposed to........

Monday, December 8, 2008

the phases

my kids go thru sure keep me up at night.

bud "e" is just filled with hate lately. i mean, maybe he is just getting his boy skin. i have 4 brothers, i know the severity of a little boy. they all kept telling me i lucked out with bud "e", generally he is very mild....

although, there was this phase in his early toddlerhood when he had to claw. just get his chubby little fingers and clamp them down on someone's unsuspecting cheeks for no reason. he was never angry when he did it, just curious.

one time we came back from a Friday night date only to find he had mangled the face of his good friend L. i mean mangled. blood all over and tears. bud"e" just had this dumb look on his face like "what?" (one time L made a small attempt at a scratch when we were babysitting and we didn't do a thing, we told bud"e" it was payback)

it was so bad once we were in the jogging stroller {aka kid cage}with both kids that we had to glove bud"e" s hands and tie rope around the gloves so he couldn't rip them off. he somehow managed to get our contraption loose, so we had to keep his hands tied to the safety belt. sigh.

then there was last year. the naughty word phase. whenever he got frustrated {mostly when he had to go potty} the words flew. butt, butt head, fart, stupid, poopy head, poo. i was laughing so hard most of the time i had to hide my face while on the timeout countdown. he has spent a lot of time in time out.

as of late, christmas is getting him down. i will find him with his head down between his hands and ask him if he is okay and he says "yeah, i am just thinking about the lego star wars i want for christmas, i want it so bad i have to think hard about it."

yesterday he woke up i a fowl mood. i asked him what was wrong and he told me he had a dream santa brought him the wrong thing and he was so mad ALL DAY.

reasoning does no good.

how do you handle your boys mothers?

time out is not working so well, he was in 4 consecutive time outs the other day and it didn't do a thing. i have tried taking away his toys but he doesn't care. i told him we would tell santa not to bring him anything and that makes him cry and i feel mean. even the letter from santa that came out of the north pole, alaska specifying how he should not act only worked for a day....

maybe someone could volunteer a deep voice with a jolly laugh and a phone call.....

Friday, December 5, 2008

one wave was all it took....

saturday, we were sitting in the parking lot of maverick trying to figure why the red box was not giving the kidlets the movies we reserved online. frustration, tears and "oh mom, i just waited my whole life to watch star wars clone wars".


as we were pulling away i saw a white bearded man sitting in a late 90's model honda odyssey. he waved and i said to my non believing 4 year old, "hey, santa just waved to me."

what, are you serious? they were scrambling and screaming, where, where.

santa was chuckling. i am sure it is a common occurrence.

they finally got their glimpse and a wave, squealing ensued.

oh man mom, he really is real - bud.e jubilantly screaming.

for weeks he keeps telling me that santa is not real. it is just you guys, you go to wal mart and buy our presents. santa doesn't bring them, he's too fat. and plus, that's impossible to go to the whole world, it's so stupid.

growing into his boy skin he is. myself and my ever believing "winds of love" keep telling him, santa only comes to those who believe.

with one wave at the maverik,why, now he's a believer. after all it's much more plausible that the jolly soul lives by us, yep.....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

what i am loving as of late...

i loved every minute of this! i am a bing crosby girl by the way. he was so cool and collected and i loved the whole concept of this. could their leading lady be any more lovely, classy and beautiful? the best part, the action loving red head was in the other room watching Rocky - translation, we were both happy.

This is how we ring in Christmas on thanksgiving at our house. i love this tradition. the red head however. well, we disagree. he would rather see something more in the "now" and thinks it is weird we all gather for this movie. he played video games downstairs with the kiddos which was just fine by me. {i think i wanted every dress i saw in the movie this year!}

and although not festive, oh - gregory took my heart to Rome in this one. oh, he was so. mmmm. anyway. i was not sure how i would feel about it as i grew up with him being Addicus Finch as we watch to kill a mocking bird every fall, but i was so pleasantly surprised, and Audrey? beautiful.

topping the list of my oddities stems my great stomach ache from watching any movie that currently plays. i find them full of smut and i HATE that! i must have missed my time era and should have been born 50 years ago. s.mac just laughs as he is a true cinema lover, he was raised going to see movies and i was not. funny how we cross that bridge in marriage. i am grateful that is our biggest complaint!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

vintage love

this discovery was made as i took my mountain man brothers camera to my grandpa's house. in grandpa's final hours, i felt a deep need to snap shots of every nook and cranny of their house while he was still living.


they were homebodies, they loved their house and you felt warm just thinking about a visit.


i snapped away on this beautiful camera on one of the final sunsets of his life. took my baby brother with me. just how he left it was what i wanted to get, we knew he wasn't coming home.

click, click and click.

thru the house, thru the tears. the neighbor asking where pete had gone. it was his birthday soon, he had to be home to celebrate that. then, i cried and i could hardly tell her where her neighbor was.

so, i took pictures of the sunset from his house and wandered back in to his spare room in the basement. wanting to hide. then, i found this beautiful buffet in a corner, needing new life.
and i knew it was okay to ask, does anyone want this. i found that grandpa had been trying to get rid of it, trying to get it to the DI to no avail.

i needed this, i had been scouring vintage stores trying to find an old buffet i could redo and use for a TV stand. i am not a fan of entertainment centers, i would rather have a "piece" to house our electronics.

so it sets, in my garage.

the top layer has been stripped, waiting for me to decide if it should be white and chic, or a new beautiful stain put on, deep mahogany......

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

opening pandoras box

or your christmas box.(es)

i was feeling tired from the festivities involving turkey and other food enhancements.

tired, and sleepy. thanksgiving eve found us with a determined girly who didn't want to lay flat in her crib. i mustered up my patient mom tactics and rocked her gently in the recliner until 1:30am. then.
i gave up. the red head wanted a turn. he made a beautiful bed of pillows on the couch. propping her up perfectly so whatever fear of lying flat she had was overcome instantly. instead of having me sleep on the couch whilst the other 2 slept in the bed, the red head slept on the floor. yes, i kissed him upon my discovery.

when i took over the early am shift of holding and soothing, i discovered evidence of a ruptured ear drum. one side telling me there was a reason beyond stubbornness we were propped up all night. then. your mother heart goes all crazy with guilt that you didn't pull out every stop to know there was an infectious ear {later to discover both ears} involved.

oh, the life of a 3rd child.

seeing as we were going to be home bound for the weekend, s.mac decided it was high time to put christmas out. yes- high time. seconds passing away since the departure of thanksgiving. yes, high time i tell you.

my crazy mind has to have certain places for my stuff to go or i get all frustrated and ornery. so, i let him do it. this current residence is a new set up and different than we have ever had before. pretty soon they were all involved, chipping away at the mess of rubbermaid totes and such. a baby jesus here, a donkey there, maybe some stockings here. oh, their hearts were in it.

then, "winds of love" summoned me to her room. she had something to show me.

there it was on her dresser, all adorned with ornaments with no rhyme or reason. so proud. and then a little voice came to my mind, sweet little grandma-busy on the other side, happy, chuckling because "hella" was going nuts over a little bird on the tree. i could hear her famous,"oh what a sweetheart" in my ear.
this was the christmas tree grandma and grandpa used that "winds of love" gathered so diligently on the day we dispersed all of their "stuff". this was the tree they used for years, with all of the little ornaments grand kids wanted to see displayed. a bird here, a paper tree there. this was the tree grandpa put up alone, without his sweetheart for 2 years. this was the tree that saw them through their final christmases together. caught glimpses of their last "seasonal" time on earth. and there was grandma, right there. laughing and looking at the new life this tree would get. and, somehow the christmas spirit came alive for me.

new life given.

it is going to be a good christmas at this house....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


finds me doing this all day,

what more could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the making of me {chapter 7}

to escort me to our new abode, he drove along prospect street. it nabbed up all of the bits and pieces of the most beautiful parts of town. driving thru the undergrad campus and the beauty of the architecture, up the hill to the business buildings on to the school of forestry and then past Bet's house and the divinity school.

We pulled up to the sign that said "whitehall" graduate student housing.

pulled into the parking lot and into our parking slot. walked past the fence bordering "foote" school, the private school i would be looking at for the next 2 years. up the steps, thru the outside door and to the left. right to our door. oh, i was thrilled, OUR door, OUR doorbell. upon entering the kitchen i instantly designated the space a one bum kitchen, a hallway really. thru the rest of the house he took me. 2 bedrooms, wow! i wasn't thrilled but i wasn't devastated. it felt tolerable. we got to work bedding down for the night in our separate rooms only to discover the misery a night filled with humidity offered. within minutes, we were all on the queen blow up mattress under the one and only window cooling unit s.mac had installed the night before. oh, the torture. wet, hot and miserable.

looking back, it was really quite funny. i felt like i had been dropped off in another country. everything was so foreign to me.

within 48 hours of our arrival we had been greeted by a fresh loaf of bread, a welcome packet from the LDS church and the discovery of the routine in this city. it did indeed have rhythm, rhyme and reason.

walkers and joggers all over, IPODS everywhere and oh, the busyness of this town. everything right at our fingertips within walking distance. shops, restaurants boasting every cultural pleasure our tongues could imagine, people from every walk and country of this vast great world.

my first and foremost important task?
a grocery store. yes indeed. i had already googled WalMart and saw there was one right up the way from us. we made that one of our first stops, only to discover it was not a super center. it was devastated. we couldn't afford to shop at a regular grocery store, no way was $30 a week going to feed us at a regular grocery store. the local wal mart did offer some canned goods and other varieties that would get us by. i went home and immediately googled super center walmart connecticut. 4, in the ENTIRE state. what was wrong with these people, hadn't they heard wal mart had run for office and had been elected as rulers of the world? behind the times these people were.

s.mac had spied a "stop and shop" on dixwell avenue right by his barber shop. he gave me the directions, offering to watch the kids and off i went. it was old, decrepit and run down. when i entered i had my first experience of being the only white person in the vicinity. i decided every culture is the same in their need to love and be loved. all the black people in that store knew each other. there was singing in the isles and hugging and reuniting all around me. strangely reassuring to me. what wasn't reassuring to me were the prices. getting the things off my very stringent list and adding the prices on my calculator were putting me into a coma mode. $71.00 my total came too.

i came home with my brain turning on how we were going to survive these 2 years. no way on this green earth could i spend $71.00 a week. no way. milk was almost $5 a gallon and bread was sky high and processed into oblivion. i needed to find the secrets to more provident living for sure. i came home with a determined attitude to beat high grocery store prices and find a routine that would allow fresh food on a tight budget.

unpacking, rearranging furniture over and over again. and, a call home. help, i don't know if i'm up to it dad.......everything is so old in this town, plus their grass is dead and ugly. we haven't seen a sprinkler system yet. dead, ugly and dirty. plus, it seems lonely here. then.....

we went to our first sabbath worship at the parish house for the center church on the green.....

Monday, November 24, 2008


sometimes things work out so well, something about the phrase "he knows every hair on your head" comes to mind.


the day i complained, we got an offer on the condo and it solidified saturday morning -
we are under contract hopefully closing december 17.

there are miracles in this housing market and i am grateful "he" knows us and our silly worries.....

{thanks for all of your kind comments, private emails and sweet notes, sniff, sniff}

*hopefully* digging January 15, 2009!

Friday, November 21, 2008

the making of me {chapter 6}

as i looked at s.mac he looked different. i couldn't quite put my finger on it. i was all covered in poop and oreos and felt suddenly sticky, everywhere, sticky.

man, what is with this airport, i thought, do they have misters or what.

that was my first taste of what we call HUMIDITY, folks. my dry rocky mountain skin and lifelong bloody noses had never experienced such a concept. and my hair, instantly my naturally wavy hair was set free, singing some sort of wild tune. and my make up. i was trying to keep up with it dripping off my face. s.mac thought i was tearing from the sight of his red head, but no, i was dripping maybelline, cover girl and other various assortments as a welcoming act.

then. we kissed. and i felt happy.

and i could see, "oh honey. what have you done to your hair?"

s.mac sheepishly looked at me and replied, "well, i was driving one night trying to find a great clips or a barber shop of some kind. i found this one on dixwell avenue, right by our house. it said 'barbershop' right on it. so i walked in and they said it was going to be $10.00, so i took a seat and let him cut away."

"the weird thing was," he continued, "i was the only white guy in there. the guy was asking me questions about school and i told him where i was going. he acted pretty shocked. i thought it was really weird considering the university had been in the town for over 300 years. so, he told me he was going to give me a nice haircut for the first day of school."

of course, that was our first discovery of the fact that new haven is a most diverse town. yes, this would be the first of many times we were the only white people in a crowd. s.mac had walked right smack into the heart of the african american part of town and walked into a "brothas" barber shop. they had shaved him some bangs and given him a nice haircut for a "brotha". not for an irish redhead. so he got some hair art, his sideburns all artistically shaped and such.

i almost can't control the giggles as i think of him walking into his class the first day all shaved up.

my wee little mind hadn't even thought of the division of a town. but there were italian, asian, african america, turkish, latino, european, middle eastern and student. yes, that's how the cultures were divided there. if you were a student then there were subcultures. sometimes it went by perhaps the forestry school, the public health school or the school of medicine. i will just say, that was our first taste of culture. can you imagine all these folks watching this white kid go into a barber shop in the center of the hood. i bet that was the only white head they had cut since barber school, obviously by the haircut he received. we had never crossed a cultural line here at the foot of the rocky mountains. we didn't even think about different hair types needing different hair shops.

but what's good for one. for instance, a time it was appropriate for a white kid to cross cultural barriers was when our home teacher and fellow neighbor, shane l., happened upon the oriental hair cutting station. yes, he had scored a home run. his hair was as thick as they come. he found his match with a sweet floor of orientals waiting to cut his thick, thick hair. it was right up their alley, and for $12.00 he got a cut and a head massage.

we drove home at sunset from the airport. i wasn't sure what to expect driving in new york city. i was thinking the plane would land right in the middle of manhattan and i would see the statue of liberty, empire state building and somehow be able to view the fallen remains of the twin towers. but i kept seeing alarming and decrepit buildings with people just sitting all around the porches and on the streets. kids running a muck and then my eyes lay hold of the street and exit signs claiming "bronx". oh mercy, i had heard of that before, yes. law and order and third watch often posed scenarios in those places. suddenly i felt uneasy and thought, what on earth have we done?

to my relief as we inched further out of new york state we drove past beautiful villages and quaint towns. once we hit connecticut i could see why martha could call it home. it was the most beautiful green, green everywhere. things growing over everywhere, the ocean right there, greeting me and inside my soul, something very peaceful came alive. that is when i first started to fall in love with an east coast ocean. the drive into connecticut had me falling deeper and deeper in love with grassy beaches, large ships at sea, port towns and every other romantic notion that comes with it.

also, apprehensive. very cautious.

s.mac pulled into new haven and i was wowed. i thought yale university would be in a fancy, manicured town. a very secluded and beautiful place.

it wasn't.

lots of transient people floating all over and around the most amazing architecture you have ever seen in america. buildings that looked straight from the 16th century with gothic and european influence, and transient people polluting everywhere. panhandling and such. wow. plus, it was pitch black. it was night time, although only 8 or so. i was shocked, i thought the sun stayed out late in the summer. i didn't take into account it might be different in another part of the country.

we were hungry. we didn't really know where a grocery store was or a food place. we stumbled on a pop's pizza place on howe street. looking back, it was a scary place. the parking was weird too. no places to park, anywhere. and the streets, tiny itty bitty. there were crazy drivers everywhere. at the point when s.mac came out of the pizza joint with a couple of slices i felt very, very far away from home. yes, indeed. we weren't in kansas anymore todo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the reality...

of our economy.

is making it impossible for us.

and it's getting me down you know. housing has been the biggest pain in our side for 2 years now! it hasn't gotten any easier. we think we know what we are supposed to do and then it all falls and i have to wonder if it is a sign we shouldn't build or a reason to work harder.

we have been working on a constuction loan for months now and it is just not working, period.
the plans are done the hole was ready to dig and now it all falls apart with the new regulations on a construction loan. last night our mortgage lady showed us that we were qualified for a conventional loan with the building price but we couldn't qualify for a construction loan, go figure.

so, the lack of blogging is due to our housing turmoil and the weight of what the heck we are going to do.......

Monday, November 10, 2008

the making of me {chapter 5}

s.mac did his time in an unfun, get thru school job. he worked 4 years of weekends, holidays and grunt grunt grunt. "bottom of the totum pole" was something i was so glad to check off of the "crappy parts" of life list. we were however, grateful for the means it provided us, insurance and money. the basic necessities of newlywed bliss.

his program was unique in that most of yale's programs start at the same time and have regular breaks and vacations. not the pa program. no, high speed, hold onto your panties folks, we're going for a ride pa program. so, s.mac had accumulated enough time off that we had a whole week of paid vacation. utilizing our resources the best we could, he worked until the day before we moved.

you know the intense energy i admitted to earlier? this would be the time it is called a "fault". i had only anticipated needing him there to load up the uhaul. i could surely handle the rest.
and then the day came and i realized my stupidity....

i needed him for more than one day to pack up. both our families were on vacations and i had 2 babies, HELLO! not exhibiting my "complete happy meal skills" with this move. i flew in on a thursday and he started school on a monday. but honestly, those 3 days were the most he had had off in years so we thought it was fun.

*the journeying to the great ghetto.

the drive out. s.mac's part.

we had a kafauffle, hmm, a mishap really. and although s.mac's dad had planned on driving with him, his dad had just flown in from a guided tour as the "tour guide" in the middle of the night the day the journey had been planned for. for various reasons we decided the jet lag and the inconvenience couldn't give us a clear conscience. we turned to who we turn to when we need dependability. my mountain man brother. i think he had a few hours notice before he was driving our uhaul out of the driveway, all with a smile on his face. the plan was to rest every so many hours, catching sleep at random motels along the way. after a full days driving, s.mac told mountain man he was going to sleep a bit and for mountain man to pull over at the next motel he saw. that was the plan.

s.mac woke up 7 hours later in the middle of nebraska to hear mountain man say, "dude, it's your turn to drive, i need some zzzz's."

the animal had driven thru the night. that set the precedent. they drove there in 48 hours, STRAIGHT, as in their cheeks only lifted for soda and corn dogs. they got to the ghetto, unloaded in 2 hours. with that mountain man was on a flight back, with little sleep on his side, to the rocky mountains to help me.

sniff, sniff, i love him.

we had high hopes his airline privileges would get him on the flight with me and my bambinos. i was a mess thinking i would be navigating all by myself with the wee babes. not to mention. bud"e" had a horrid case of the, how can i explain? clogged plumbing, restricted colon, the no pass gas zone, the baby was horribly plugged. i had given him large doses of relief in a spoon with no end in sight. as i boarded, mountain man gave me the look like, {i can't get on the plane sister, it is all full.} it was the first time on our journey i had to use my inner strength. and somewhere i found it.......until we took off.

as the take off began i started unloading the entire king's store i had packed in cute little good mom bags for my kids. all organized and such. bud"e"'s face looked funny to me and the loud sounds of the take off lulled the little bugger to sleep. oh, pure relief, i thought. he's going to sleep the whole time. i had the thought that i knew the grandma's must have been saying extra prayers because this was an amazing situation. sleeping baby, "winds of love" is an awesome flying companion and only a few hours until we arrive to our new "home". perfect, absolutely perfect - that is, until i felt wetness all down the front of me.....

the take off had just started and the relief in the spoon had gone thru the internals of the baby boy sleeping in my arms. i could smell it, i could now see it and also now, unfortunately, feel it. i was not a stranger to situations like this. when my little sister was a toilet training toddler and i, a high fashionista teen, she peed all over me in the middle of a church service. yep, right in the middle of the speaker, pee, all over me and my fashionable jumper made of black corduroy. so, digging into my dirty coping skills, i remained calm until the fasten seat belt sign came off. it was at least 15 minutes into the flight after the leaking began.

i had to wake him, let me repeat, i had to wake him.(please insert wailing and gnashing of teeth here) i took all the wipes i owned and the little poopy "bud"e", with the little toddler, to the one person bathroom. it was a ghastly sight, i had no choice but to throw his pants away. away. away and down the endless airline garbage receptacle. he came out with a shirt on and i can only imagine what the folks thought of his mother. naked babies and oreos. did i mention i thought the best treat to pack for the kids were oreos? we walked off the plane half naked, covered in oreos from head to toe. a beautiful vacationing family from alpine, UT took pitty on me and helped me navigate JFK and also let me call my s.mac on their cell phone. they saved my life and i had never, ever been so glad to see the red head in all my life.....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Small Enough - Mindy Gledhill

this made my worship a little better today......

Saturday, November 8, 2008

*wedding bells*

happy nuptuals mountain man brother,

be sure to take lots of pictures!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

holiday shopping...

i am up to my ears in the holiday budget, lists and ideas.

i always try to get this all done before halloween, but this year i have been so busy with house plans, the financing process and putting our condo up for sale (again) that i haven't had much time.

i am a big believer in cyber shopping for the holidays as you find more variety and you don't get sucked into the wal mart trap.

i was talking with a friend the other day about what lines to draw with christmas gift giving. i like to make sure i am not giving just to give. i like to think about each person i give to and what they would like.

with our kids we have santa bring them one big gift.
{they think about it all year. it is something that has to be durable and that they really, really want. that way it becomes an investment instead of something for charity after a few weeks.}

scott hated in years past that we weren't "giving" them a gift just from us. so, we decided to do the three wiseman concept. they get three gifts from mom and dad.

"winds of love" has caught on that she only gets 4 presents and was disgruntled this year. i told her that the baby jesus got three presents for christmas and he didn't even get a santa gift. i told her getting too many gifts makes us forget why we celebrate christmas. she was really good with it. i think she saw that she could fit everything on her list and it was stuff she was really excited about. her and bud "e" have both had to eliminate and re prioritize what they want several times. i am really pleased with it and hope it doesn't warrant therapy in years to come. i told "winds of love" if we had a million dollars this is how we would do it.

how do you gift?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

i've stewed and stewed all day long....

how i don't want to offend.

so i link you to my friend todd, have i ever told you that his level of genius is among the top percentage of the country? {sorry, todd, don't mean to embarrass you, but there has to be some credibility here}

click here

because sometimes it's okay to let others know how you feel, he did it with great humor and without too much life altering emotion. and when both candidates are who they are, that is how you have to approach it. i loved clicking on each link he tied to each point.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

the making of me {chapter 4}

i started packing up. we didn't have much. a few months previous we had purchased our first bit of furniture. our couches took a long, long time to be able to pay cash for. they have seen us through a lot of love. we also had a crib, a hand me down bed for "winds of love" that saw many mckay boys and some cousins thru, a beautiful kitchen table we worked hard for and a couple of odds and ends.

it was a very emotional process. i had 2 brothers leave on missions at the same time we were leaving and it felt like the family dynamics were all over the place. lots of change. i looked on the internet for everything i could find about new haven, CT. i used the idea of moving as a very romantic notion. pick up and leave, start fresh and new. yes, this was going to be nice. although i am sure i cannot understand what a missionary feels like, i had the ominous feeling of a looming countdown always at the back of my mind. 2 more sundays, 1 more date night with being able to leave our kids and go somewhere because after all, we will know NO ONE. at what point do you say, okay, i hand my children's life over to you for an hour? one week, one warm fuzzy, one background check? where's the rule book here.....

one other thing that thrilled me to very high levels was the thought of having our own place with windows. for four years we had the amazing blessing of being able to live in scott's grandma's basement. it was new, roomy and so beautiful! she didn't charge us rent, which made it possible for us to survive on nothing annually. we had the most amazing benefit of being able to get to know and love her in such a private way. i love her like my own grandma, she is so special to me. the only downfall was that the windows it had were not able to let light in too well. i couldn't see what the weather was like unless i walked up the stairs. being at home most everyday with no husband to break up the monotony got really depressing for me. i love being a homemaker and being in with the kids but i do need to see birds flitting from tree to tree, see the seasons make way for another and see the beautiful sun! so, the thought of having windows with a view, mercy, my heart still flutters. in fact, on our housing application i marked the spot to put us where there was one extra window.

we laid out the logistics of it. s.mac drives across the country with a uhaul and a willing family member and h.mac flies with 2 babies alone to meet him. yes, that is how we will do it. we reserved the uhaul, s.mac's dad volunteered to drive 2400 miles with him and i bought my plane tickets, one way from the rocky mountains to JFK airport, 80 miles from New Haven.

we had lots of tender mercies extended to us before leaving and one in particular was a very sweet one that benefited me beyond measure.

we were moving in late july. before we left, we went to our last community 4th of july celebration. it was a bitter sweet one, it is my favorite holiday. as we were leaving i ran into an old high school friend. we always had a unique bond because we dated the same boy but at different times. so, i think there was always some weird connection, plus, we had known each other since junior high sharing various classes. of course we lost touch after high school, running into one another at the grocery store here and there.

as we finished our conversation that day, we left with a promise that we would get together before i moved. somehow, the call was made and we got together at the golden arches. our kids were the same ages and played brilliantly. she had just had twins and my bud"e" was the same age as the twins. we talked and talked and talked and something just clicked. it was a tender mercy that brings tears to my eyes as i type. we needed one another. i just plain didn't have friends at this point. too busy, too stressed and life was too fast. somehow during the course of these few weeks there was a bond stemming from a deep need in the both of us that proved to flow as smooth as water. we got to go out to dinner right before i left, a first for both of us in a long time. i had a gift certificate for a local fav and that was good because we were both broke as a joke. no, even more broke than that......

the evening was spent relating similar "new to the realities of life" {aka the first 5 years of marriage} experiences. i felt so validated and so normal after talking. something in me came alive with a friend on my side.

we left with promises to call.

and she did, right after i got there to make sure i got there okay. she asked if i had cried yet and i told her, "no, but it was bad and i just might."

and the truth be told, i was a little teary that night thinking of how sweet it was she had called. and she kept calling, once a week for 2 years, it was the highlight of my week....

Monday, November 3, 2008

shopping for the holidays.....

last night on my cyber browsings for the jolly holiday, i came across this beauty, click here

i am in love with a picture on canvas, no frame

this past spring i signed up for one of kat's shoots, you can see her here

i had been wanting to get some canvas's made of their lovely faces and was so glad i found an affordable option with the above mentioned place.

i love canvas. i love that you don't need a frame around it. it turns a family picture into art. this site lets you easily upload a picture and shows you exactly what it will look like on the canvas.
this is what ours looks like in our family room...

Friday, October 31, 2008

where i'll be hangin....

this weekend.

if you need a BIG vintage fix, go here.

i am so happy whenever i go to this bi-annual event. vendors from all over the western states come and bring their "treasures".

Acorn Antiques Show
Golden Spike Event Center Events $4.00 entrance fee, $3.00 with coupon. Contact: Heidi Wilcox 801-645-5933. Saturday, November 1, 2008, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Golden Spike Event Center/Exhibit Hall 1000 N. 1200 W. Ogden, UT 84404. For more info visit www.goldenspikeeventcenter.com.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

that little jokester.

remember the one that called asking for contributions from the enemy's campaign?

well, he just started a political blog which i am sure to love,

patriot pundit

go there, love it too....

p.s. i was able to convince s.mac of the error in his voting ways, all my facts and i swayed him back to normal voting, whew.......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

our political saga

without starting a political debate here, i will not name the objectionable parties in the following saga at our house.

we were driving home from a FHE pizza picnic from the duckpond last week. s.mac wasn't feeling well so i was driving. out of nowhere, he laid his claim as to his political choice.i thought he was joking. when i saw he was dead serious i let my jaw fall. i have strong and deep political convictions and these were contrary to those.

i can honestly say i had never had this feeling about s.mac before. i rattled off a whole list of reasons he was up in the night in his conclusion, he was silent. he said he didn't want to argue about it with me.

oh, were we arguing? we had never, really. i mean, if we disagree on something we put it aside and have never had a heated exchange, until now. and truth be told, i was the only heated one. i don't know if this is a qualification for a heated marital exchange.

i was on the phone with his mother that night and expressed my disgruntlement, she then told me that his family had voted in that party for years and that the fellow that married us was even voting that way.

i got off the phone and told him that he should have disclosed political alliances before the marriage and i almost felt as tho the marriage was null and void with the whole sealer going astray.

as we were going to bed that night i told him i felt like i was sleeping with the enemy.

(he was mostly laughing at my comments and the occasional "hell" my aussie background threw in to keep it exciting)

mostly, it was humor driving my comments. although a part of me felt betrayed. we had never disagreed on politics. i applaud him on doing his own research and coming to a conclusion on his own, but. we've had our first real, true disagreement. i mean where both of us are not budging and wow. it feels weird, i am glad we have 8 years on our side. i feel like we are an episode of "raymond" waiting to happen, that is when you know you have been married a while.

the next day he was giving a temple recommend to one of our friends and he told her of my funny reaction. she went home and told her practical jokester husband.

then my phone rang.

"yes, i was calling to follow up on the contribution mr. s.mac wanted to make to the {"enemy's"} campaign."

(my blood rushed to my head so fast i was pink and red as they come. we have been scrimping every penny for this new house and he is going to donate to the {enemy} at our family's expense.)

biting my lip i held back all of my comments. the mans voice came across as a balding jewish man in his 50's from the east coast. he has the best disguised voice.

i thought i would give s.mac the benefit of the doubt and i asked which address s.mac had them send this information to.

that got him.

"uh. ma'am. my computer seems to be a little glitchy now. i can't seem to pull that information up right now."

then, he started laughing. and with that i knew i had been "got".

my mother laughed senseless when i told her.

so here goes my political posting and what is deep in my bones, honest abe summed it up best for me:

*You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

*You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

*You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

*You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

*You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.

*You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


i'm so into these plates and i can't afford them.....

remember the amy butler vintage plates?

well, i couldn't afford even a saucer, so i had sweet carly give me an early christmas present.

if you want a pretty blog layout with out the hassle of inexperience, please see carly, you can see her everyday blog here, or go here to see her blog layout designs.

i am in love, and i love simple.

i can't do fluffy blog designs with too much "stuff". maybe i have a disorder or something....

Monday, October 27, 2008

the making of me {chapter 3}

"s.mac, you are never going to believe this, i mean. i am sitting here looking at a letter from yale, they said you can come play, for REALS!" i was crying with the most joyous heart.

"what, are you kidding me, oh man, i have to walk outside." he said.

he had been in the library studying with the student that had offered to house him while he was there and give him a feel of the program.

we reveled, we talked, we cried and we laughed. really? it felt like walking on clouds, if that is possible, because ultimately it felt like something impossible had just happened.

"hon, are you going to tell joe {the student taking you around}?" i asked. and then i learned something about this man i love that made me say, thank you man above, all the break ups with other shmos were so worth it.

"no" he said, "i didn't get the details of how he got accepted and if he was on a waiting list and wasn't in on the first round i would feel really bad saying something to him."

i picked my jaw off the ground.

should we tell people? i mean, the postman has no idea what school we are going to now and something in me wanted to have a big dinner with our family to reveal our final answer.

no, we decided, start calling the ones who should know first.

mostly, i wanted him to tell joe so he could celebrate with someone in person. i felt guilty being so far from him, wanting to jump up and down with him, see his smile go just right and give him a big, huge smooch. so, instead i told a 2 year old and a 7 week old baby. they grinned and i screamed, laughed and cried, all at once.

"winds of love" could sense my excitement. really, she was jumping and laughing and buddy hadn't yet started into his nightly screaming, so i proceeded to call all of the living family tree. first my family, who i couldn't find. they were headed to gma helen's i hear. so i called her, she was the first i told. she made an "oh boy" sound and then i told my mother, only to hear her shouting to all there, "he got in. what, are you kidding, oh my heck.........."

in the mean time, "winds of love" took it upon herself to get the celebration started. she climbed into our cupboard and got down a large 5 inch chocolate valentines heart from the local chocolate factory filled with mint truffle. she decided she and bud"e" should mark the occasion with a high quality product. i saw his fat little feet moving and heard squeals of delight coming from him and that begged me to further investigate. when i found them the inside of the heart was empty, the hard chocolate shell remained, i could hear the gas forming in the newborns tummy. oh, murder, i cried. and then i cried and cried and cried. it was the best and worst night of my life, okay that's dramatic. but i did visit the emotional pendulum on both sides. oh, the tummy ache. he wailed and cried and gassed his little heart out. i cried right there with him, it was a long wait for dad to come home.

yes, we are going to yale. aaahh. thank you man above, this made the decision easy.

then, one day a few weeks later, wake forrest called.

they said, "mr. s.mac, congratulations, you are no longer on the waiting list, you can come here."

he graciously told them of our good fortune and told them he had accepted yale's offer and thanks for the opportunity.

then, they started telling him how their program was better and he shouldn't go there.

we had to laugh. we were not turning this down, he had to talk and talk to her. she finally let him go.

so, the preparations began.

without going into boring detail, i will say that a series of miracles fell into our laps. we were guided to housing with an amazing light. it was as if the red sea parted. i am not making light here, miracles worked in our favor and i am so grateful for the small things that brought to pass great and mighty works in our behalf. where we lived made our experience so sweet.

we looked at the cost of the program and saw it was no higher than the other programs he had been accepted into. we were however nervous about the cost of living. it was sky high and i was nervous about making my $30 a week grocery budget stretch. thru another series of miracles, s.mac was granted some academic scholarships and some "you're married with 2 kids" scholarships that paid for his entire tuition plus a little. we only had to come up with living expenses and although it was high we felt so watched over.

i just couldn't get over feeling like it had all been laid out, this whole experience, we were just along for the ride.

inside my little head and deep in my heart there were twinges of fear. how could i move across the country without knowing a soul, not one person? i went into battle mode and dealt with the situation the best i knew how, there was lots of chocolate involved.......

Thursday, October 23, 2008


i have to say i love a good patio sit.

yes. here at the mac house you won't find much game playing.

our recipe for enjoyment consists of the following:





and the best place to do this is outside of course, and sitting in one of these makes this process all the more sweet.

my grandparents estate is being settled and dispersed. would you believe what a hot item the metal retro patio furniture was? mostly i think for the classic colors of red, blue and yellow but also the many, many laughs and time that passed sitting on them. i have been on a quest to find some that will help me remember them with and this is what i have found:

and again, yay target! they carry a full set in a lime green you can see it here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the making of me {chapter 2}

"i got an interview at Des Moines." s.mac triumphed.

"oh, honey, if only you could get in there, it is such a good school. i think that is still within driving distance right?" i questioned.

"oh, hon. i can't believe this, they are ranked pretty high and i hear the cost of living is pretty low there, i bet we could get away with out too much student loan debt." he chimes.

"can you believe it? i mean, wow. this is so awesome." i said. i was reveling in the whole process and mostly glad the prospect of pocatello was on its way out the door.

we scrimp and save and purchase the airline ticket for the interview date. the night before he is supposed to leave, the stomach flu hits him harder than an american gladiator. he can't stop throwing up, all night, all day, shaking violently and fevered into delirium. getting ready to leave, with insistance from loving family looking from the outside in, i look him in the eye and say,"not worth it my dear s.mac. call and tell them the circumstances. if they aren't human enough to understand, we don't want to go there."

he cries, and finally agrees.

they rescheduled 3 weeks later because he needed to be here for the birth of his first son, they graciously understood that part too.

right before the flight to iowa, he got the letter from midwestern in arizona. please come, we think you are neat.

"that one is definitely within driving distance h.mac." he lovingly says.

"sure is." i am happy, very happy.

after the des moines interview, our lives will be complete with iowa in it. we can't live without it and must get in there. we tell everyone, we even feel like maybe we should flag down the post man and tell him.

then, the des moines acceptance comes. right before the midwestern interview.

"i got it, i got in, i got in." s.mac rejoices.

i had a very inexpensive apartment picked out, ready to call on.

then he gets back from glendale, AZ at midwestern.

our lives must have midwestern in them, we can't live without it and yes, here is where we are going......

then, the rejection letters from OSU, Oregon Health and Science and Duke. they didn't consider his current job in the medical field....sigh. they don't allow scholastic merit alone........
{he was crushed but never showed it......i only found out years later}

then, the letter from wake forrest in NC. oh mercy, we are in heaven. they want an interview.

then, the acceptance from midwestern. oh, we tell the postman and the grocery clerk along with everyone else we know, this is where we are going. this school is amazing and we CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MIDWESTERN.

then, the interview with wake forrest. he comes home and wants it bad. real bad. they are amazing, we know some folks out there and i got an hour long video of the place. yes, this is where we will go if we get in.

no immediate acceptance at wake forrest and he gets put on the waiting list. sad, sad, sad.

thru these months there was one place we hadn't heard from. and quite honestly, it was going to cramp our style if the rejection letter from yale came. our conversations wouldn't be the same.

we couldn't say things like, "well, i wish that mailman would hurry and get here, the yale mail is so slow."
"well, since we haven't heard from yale yet, i guess we better go to ____ to interview."
it became our common ground for joking and humor. little did we know....

he sits down in the library one day and opens his email only to be greeted by this snippet about YALE UNIVERSITY WANTING AN INTERVIEW! he stood up in the middle of the library and whooped....loudly, in the library, loudly whooping.

then, he calls a very post partum wife and tells her the news. she cries, and replies,"the interview is reward enough for all of your hard work." then, she called everyone she knew, as did s.mac.

i, at this point, knew being post partum in the middle of winter contemplating a large move was going to be emotional. add all of the stress of the school roller coaster and i was a mess. i was mostly alone at this time. s.mac was gone, a lot. tying up loose ends making sure graduation was inevitable. the demands placed on him were just as heavy as the ones placed on me. i am quite sure i was battling a large bout with depression but wanted to get through it on my own. i wanted to work through it and not depend on a pill to get me through. looking back i don't know if that was wise. i was very fragile and the birth of our little guy took a huge tole on my body. it took weeks to be able to walk again as the size of his head has never been on any charts the pediatricians measure by. through many prayers, our own and others, we made it through.

one thing that came up during the whole interview process really made me think hard about who i as a person am.

all my life i was taught we honor and respect the sabbath day. it is a day of rest and worship.
we weren't able to get away much but when we did, i think on our honey moon, we went to an amazing brunch in the park city area. we saved and talked about that being our reward once he got into a school and to celebrate in our own little way, his graduation. after all, i earned a PHT {put him thru}. the only day this particular place hosts this brunch is on sunday. it certainly wasn't common for us to do this but it didn't seem that big a deal as it was a once in 4 year event.
i remember giving that up thinking, if we want great blessings and miracles in our lives we have to live great lives. we can't go to that brunch.
sounds silly, maybe stupid. i'll take it. but i could feel the weight of living right during this critical time. i knew if we wanted great blessings, we had to live worthy of those, even if it was as little as a sunday brunch.

so we never went.

he called me after his yale interview and told me how amazed he was to be there and what an honor the interview was. told me about the beautiful architecture and the buildings in the city. he was telling me about his interview with the program director, mary. he said her questions were straight forward and were really trying to examine who he was as a person. she asked him one particular question that provoked a heartfelt answer. he threw aside all of the interview coaching he had received from numerous sources and gave a heartfelt answer with a very personal meaning too tender to share here publically. he shed some tears, but mostly he conveyed to her who s.mac was. why this career meant everything to him as a husband and a family man. he told me this later in a private and quiet moment. the day of the interview, when i got off the phone with him i went to the computer to balance the checkbook, when i was greeted with our email i saw something from yale. weird, i thought, he just finished his interview, like 3 minutes ago. i clicked it open to see the words acceptance and s.mac in the same sentence. the tears flowed....

i got to make a very important phone call......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

my thrifting finds...

i have been on a barstool hunt lately.

we inherited a cosco vintage stool in blue from s.mac's gma when she moved. i fell in love. i have become obsessed with these things. i love the stool, the colors from the time period and just mostly that it says "h.mac"

i have ventured to many antique shops, shows and other arenas one might find some more of this love. i finally ventured to ebay to find a few of them, but they are so heavy that they are a bugger to ship.

so, of course, i find them here, being recreated and brand new. ahhhhh....

yes, one in red, blue and yellow - vintage love

Monday, October 20, 2008

{love letters from h.mac}

dearest "winds of love",

you are the sparkle in my eye. and my little helen the other eye.

i love that you cuddle still, it is cool at 7.

i love how determined you are. case in point, last year you were insistent on short hair when no one had it. this year, all of your friends are sporting a fancy a-line and you have a long pony every day.

i love your gentleness.

i love your giggle, oh that sweet, belly roaring giggle.

i love your eyes, they tell me a story....

i love your cute hour glass figure, that cute little waist and a junky trunk, you couldn't be more lovely.

i love that you are taking piano when all the world seems to be taking dance and you don't want to do both. whew.....

i love when you are tender with bud"e" and helen, oh how they love you.

i love your love for life, there's just not enough time in the day for you.

i love when you were 3 going through your helpful stage of always looking out for others and you told me i should get a jazzy wheelchair and i could get around better. then recited the number to call and the benefits. shortly after, telling me i need new colgate with extra whitening bubble action because my teeth were yellow.

i love how much forgiveness you allow in the way of how i parent you, you make me better

i love your thoughtfulness, like how you gave all of your piggy bank money to UNICEF, that was tender.

i love you and could go on and on.....

much love,

h.mac your motha

Saturday, October 18, 2008

a very hapy birthday....

to you!

oh, my little helen.

i love every chubby piece of you.

i know we are both so glad to have the experience of these last 2 years behind us, we now have communication on our side, lovie.

i love how you can now focus all of your incredible intensity on the following:

*kisses and hugs and kisses and hugs
*eating real food, no more momma's milk or the "mawowees" as you so lovingly called it
*coloring on papo
*wearing manties{panties} and figuring out why easton was given a squirt gun and you weren't
*holding hands when we go places
*saying no and meaning it
*being such a bright spot in our lives

the last weeks have been like day and night with her. the kid inside is coming alive and making me see that one day, she might have a sibling. {one day -very, very futuristically speaking}

happy birthday helen, we love you and every part that comes with it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

am i the only one...

in love with amy butlers new mikasa line?

{pics courtesy of amy butler design}

Thursday, October 16, 2008

the making of me {chapter 1}

"if you could choose dear, where out of anywhere ,would you want to go to school?" said s.mac

i was busy, although i can't remember the exact task, so it was something said in passing.

"well, i heard martha stewart lives in connecticut, maybe that would be nice."

not really thinking too much about that particular statement i felt a little warm fuzzy inside thinking i was grateful he would think of me. truth be told, any mention of moving anywhere with a 2 year old and a baby in my belly ever growing made my head spin.

i had never lived anywhere but at the foot of the rocky mountains. not to mention i had never lived on my own. life elsewhere only happened in the movies for me. before s.mac and i were married i had lived solely with my parents. many reasons kept me there. 2 being a sister and a brother that were only 1 and 2 when i graduated high school. i feared them never knowing me well if i left right out of high school for college. i also had a steady beau who kept me tied to the area. so, here we were, years later, pondering moving somewhere. not knowing where, but surely putting faith in a process so much bigger than us.

the next day i got a daily phone call from s.mac saying,"you'll never believe what school in connecticut has a PA program."

"where" i replied.


we both died laughing. and i am sure there was some joke made about majoring in playing tennis or croquet with a stiff collar.

"i actually meet the requirements hon, i think i am going to apply."

i never thought to look on the map, nor study the geography of it. i was up to my elbows in basement living, 2 year old tantrums, diapers day in and day out and a whole lot of making it on my own. his undergrad was busy and we made a lot of sacrifices. i had my eyes set on his graduation from the local university that had taken 4 long years to get through. we were married the month before his 4 year undergrad journey began. 4 years of taking every semester the college offered, s.mac working to be the top of his class for 2.5 of the 4 years thinking he would be taking on medical school. here we were, the summer before leaving to go to some unknown destination and praying we would get it right. yale was the farthest thing from my mind.

the summer of 2003 was spent solely working on applications and research for every school that offered a PA program. we were shooting for the university of idaho in pocatello, id. that was where we envisioned ourselves and thought anything better than that would be a step up. not that there is anything wrong with that school. it didn't have the clinical experience s.mac was looking for but we had a limited budget- okay that's a joke. we had a below poverty budget. i had quit working my part time job to be with our little "winds of love" and the bud "e" growing in my belly. our goal was to have our car paid off that we could take to school with us and once we hit that goal, i quit. s.mac was working part time as a clerk in the radiology department and going to school full, full time. like 21 credit hours his senior year, he is a determined fella. so, back to the budget. the more schools you apply to, the more green that needs to be in your radar. we needed one ace in the hole and U of I was it for us. s.mac studied very carefully 11 schools he was qualified for, looked at the acceptance pattern and settled on those specific schools. yale being mostly a joke, humoring me.

the application process began. we didn't even know a PA. s.mac had seen them in passing at the hospital. we figured it was our way of having a family life and s.mac fulfilling his medical dream.

we were young and naive when we were married, i don't think that is abnormal. s.mac is goal oriented and i have a lot of intense energy. together we get things done and take a lot on. by our first year of marriage we were preparing for a new baby girl that we were over the top thrilled to be having. i was mostly relieved to have a good excuse to quit a job i considered to be on my list of worst years of my life list, if one exists. well if it does, that time in my life spent at the alarm company would be at the top of the list. thank goodness s.mac rescued me from that. by the third year of marriage we found ourselves overjoyed to be blessed with 2 babies as at one point in my life i was told it would be next to impossible to ever have any kids bearing my genetic make up. we lived thin and loved large to make up for the things we didn't have. it was a hard time for both of us. life came at us fast, ever cliche but ever true.

one night in the winter months of 2002, s.mac came to me after years of having his sights set on medical school and told me that it wasn't the life style he wanted anymore. he worried about the tole it would take on our marriage as we rarely saw each other as it was. he was in a lost state. he took a few months wondering what career choice would fit the family lifestyle he longed for best. he loved teaching. he looked into it and after seeing the reality of not being able to keep a wife at home with the kids that was quickly abandoned. that was a big deal to us.

sometimes i wish we would have had more support when we were pursuing the medical school dream. all we were bombarded with were divorce statistics, memories told of never seeing a dad even on christmas because rounds were being made and doctors bombarding s.mac with talk of not making the same career choice if they had to do it again. i look at the amazing people we have met that have gone thru medical school, internship and residency and know if we would have had the right circumstances it would have been okay. we are happy how things have turned out however. there is that part of me that is still tugged at when s.mac comes home from work being approached by doctor after doctor who tell him to go back because he has what it takes. that part of me still mourns that for him. at the same time, fills me with love knowing what he gave up to see more of us.

i suggested one day that maybe he should look into PA school. i knew the schooling was significantly shorter than that of an MD and he would still be able to dabble in the field that made his smile curve in just the right way.

so he did. and forever grateful am i for that life altering decision.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

{a new weekly installment}

for a long long time, well about two years now, a project has been brewing in my wee little head.

a project including all of my life altering experiences that happened to me in new haven, CT {sniff, sniff, weepiness happens at the mention}

i had the chance to visit with gma helen a week or so back. one of my favorite things.

she was talking about a family member who had a rough childhood and how in the depths of their self inflicted misery was taught a very life improving lesson by a hard decision imposed on him by his mom. grandmas statement about this particular story has rolled around in my head for a few weeks. she said, that tough love was the making of oliver {names changed to protect the innocent}.

i have had the chance to think about the making of me.

i've been fortunate enough to be given a lot of amazing tools thru out my life and our journey in connecticut was the making of me. i got to use all of the tools i was given in a really tough situation. thru it i found who i was, what i loved and what made me happy.

i have always wanted to write a book about how that experience shaped me but as that sounds too lofty i always put it off, so thru the course of many, many weekly installments, a blog book will be born.......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the latest thrift find...

came from a new thrift store that opened up about 10 minutes away, {locals email me, it is a killer find}


bill the dad called me and said h.mac, go to the salvation store now. there is a old tin flour bin that you will want for your new kitchen and it is $5.99, it's good. thrilled every part of me was.

admission: i don't usually peruse thrift stores. i once had to sort stuff at a local one on a volunteer basis and after my friend natalie opened a bag with living things flying from it, i had halted all charity shopping.
my love of kitchen items got the better of me - so, after i grabbed the tin i shuffled with the kidlets thru to the kitchen part. and i found these beauties.
when i got home i looked on the back to find a made in england label with florentine on them. after some searching i found they are hot babies {thanks bill the wise dad}
there are 12 pieces, just right for the eclectic collection i already have going.
more vintage goodness coming next week as i have enough to last for a few months worth of posts....