Birthday Extravaganza

So last weekend, Kaila and I had our birthday extravaganza. We had a pretty perfect day. First, we went out to breakfast at a local cafe and Kaila had her very first Eggs Benedict. Soooo delicious!

_DSC0171 Then, we went to the library. Our library is a fabulous, gorgeous, light-filled place with little shops, and coffee, and tons of nooks to read in. Our plan was to spend a little time in each store, and to spend an hour on each floor. I had to take a few pictures of Kaila as we rotated from spot to spot.

After a lunch at the library cafe, we headed home and were greeted by some gorgeous flowers from my parents.

And, I got to open my present from Mike, which I am super excited about. _DSC0166Kaila, being the sweet kid that she is, made me some gifts and wrote me the sweetest, most heartfelt card a mom could hope for.

We gathered up the troops and headed out for the mall. First stop, the place of an American rite of passage: _DSC0193

Kaila got her ears pierced! She was nervous beforehand, but she didn’t even blink an eye while it happened. (And she has been so incredibly cute about making sure she cleans her ears three times a day with her solution. She even tacked up a checklist in the bathroom so she can religiously adhere to the directions – a girl after my own heart!)

We then traveled on to the Lego store, where Kaila picked out a new kit as a gift. We put in our name for the two hour wait at the Cheesecake Factory, and we stopped into Justice to pick out a new outfit for her. We had a little bit of excitement when a toddler in the store injured the back of her head and the paramedics were called. Mike and I helped the parents with the little girl, and Emmie brought her stuffed animals from the store to hold. She ended up being okay, thank goodness.

We finally, finally, finally made it to dinner, and sang Happy Birthday to the two of us. It was an excellent birthday. I’m glad I get to share it with my girl.



Broccoli Obama

Last Friday, Kaila and I went to another Utes gymnastics meet, and watched them just barely beat Washington. It was a special night, because after the meet, all the athletes stayed afterward to sign autographs. Kaila has been a collector of the team posters for years now, and she pins them up right above her bed. She definitely wanted to stay for the autographs, and I wanted to stay to get a picture of her with Kailah Delaney, a senior on the team (she even pronounces it the same way that we do!). About three years ago, Kaila attended a summer camp where Kailah Delaney and Kassandra Lopez were helping to coach recreational gymnastics. They were both very sweet, and Kailah and I chatted for a few seconds about her unique name. They also helped encouraged me not to worry about letting Kaila have a go at becoming more serious about gymnastics. So, it was really fun to get Kaila’s picture with our second-favorite gymnast. 🙂

We didn’t realize that we’d be staying until about 10 pm (which is past this mom’s bedtime), but I know Kaila was really glad that we did.

On Sunday, we celebrated Valentine’s Day. Kaila and I went out to brunch with some friends, and I came home to a gorgeous bouquet of roses from my hubby.


That evening, we had our traditional heart-shaped pizza dinner, and opened some Valentines from each other.

The kids drank a Cupid Float, which is a mix of Cherry 7-up, vanilla ice cream, and a Red Vines straw.

I enjoyed a (slightly) more adult Valentine’s beverage._DSC0112

Notice that it’s 3.2. Because Utah.

On Monday, we finally got to celebrate the most anticipated holiday of the year! PRESIDENT’S DAY!!!! Ok, maybe it’s not your favorite, but it’s our favorite now. Kaila had gym in the afternoon, so the twins and I had a rousing game of “Don’t Eat the Chief”. It’s basically a set of cards with all the presidents’ faces on them (which prompted me to start a discussion about the amazingly homogenous group of white men who have served in the role, and how we are slowly but surely headed toward more a more representative leadership. But I digress.) and you put a piece of candy on each one. You send one person out of the room, pick a president you’re going to focus on, bring the other person back in, and watch them start saying the presidents names and eating candy. If they take the candy off the president you’ve chosen you scream, “Don’t eat the chief!!” So really, it’s not a game, and it’s pointless, and this kind of made Kaila upset, which is why we played when she went to gym. Anywho, the twins had a blast with it, and I think they actually might have learned some president’s names.

Then, for the grand finale, we had our President’s Day dinner. Thanks to the magic that is Pinterest I copied the amazing woman from this post and we had presidential pun food! We had, in no particular order…

James Monroll:


Ruffles-ford B. Hayes:



William Howard Taffy:

Broccoli Obama:


James Bananan:


Calvin Kool-Aid:


And my favorite, Lyndon B. Johnsonville Brats:


I really like how serious he is about delicious grilled foods.

A good time was had by all.

Yes, they are still in their pajamas at dinner. Don’t act like you aren’t jealous.

On Tuesday morning, I awoke to Emmie screaming that another tooth was ready to come out, but she was scared to pull it. So we got some before and after pictures taken about 10 seconds apart. The tooth fairy is about to get really busy traveling to our place.

On Friday, we ended the week with a birthday for Kaila. We decided to celebrate it on Saturday, but we still made some super yummy Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes for breakfast.

And we finished up the day watching Kaila take first place on beam at another meet! The meet organizer actually put her up on the podium all by herself and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to her. She was embarrassed, but I think it made for a really special memory. We are proud of her and can’t believe that our big girl is already 11! Happy birthday, Kaila!



Gung Hay Fat Choy!

We had a very busy and fun week this last week. On Saturday, the girls got to go to a “Girls and Women in Sports” day put on by the local private college. Emmie thought it was great, Kaila not so much.  IMG_0372 At least she tried to smile.

On Sunday we decided that we needed to indoctrinate the children as proper Americans and watch the Super Bowl. And as all Americans know, no Super Bowl is complete without Velveeta. The kids were shocked and thrilled that we were letting them try so many new junk foods (little did they know, it’s all part of my plan).

After the hydrogenation celebration that was The Big Game, you’d think that we’d have a nice wholesome and healthy dinner the next night. You’d be wrong…because it was Chinese New Year!! I slaved in the kitchen all day in order to cook an authentic Mandarin dish…

and we managed to find some Chinese New Year music on Spotify for a kitchen dance party. I think the pictures pretty much tell the awesomeness that is Emmie and Charlie.

After our gourmet dinner, we took the twins outside to light sparklers. (Kaila was at gym.)

And then they got to open a little red good luck envelope with a dollar inside (found here).

_DSC0076So, after all of that, you’d think that the next night would be full of vegetables and healthy foods, but you’d be wrong, because it was Fat Tuesday!! Woohoo! Our church put on a Mardi Gras party where we ate bacon and pancakes and had another dance party. So much fun!!

They did have a lovely small service in the sanctuary to start off Lent at the end of the night, but I will tell you, it is hard to get 20 kids who are all singing “Shut Up and Dance With Me” to decide that now is a good time to settle down and pray.

On Thursday, I got to co-op in Kaila’s class for a lesson on chemical change, which was fun to watch.

And Friday was the Valentine’s Day exchange at school. The twins were SO excited.

(I should add that Charlie’s adorable Lego valentines were found here and we used delicious and addictive Lego candy instead of real Legos.)

And Mike and I had a chance to watch Kaila at a rare weekday gymnastics meet. It was a hard meet with lots of great competitors, but Kaila managed to eke out a first place medal on balance beam (there was a 3-way tie for first). It was truly a gorgeous routine (and the only one we didn’t record!). It’s great to see her loving gymnastics so much still.

Now, you might think that next week would be less celebratory. But once again, you’d be wrong. We’ve got two birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and the craziest holiday of them all – President’s Day. Get ready. As Kaila says, “It’s gettin’ real now!”

Let them eat cake!


Part of my “Year of Yes” has meant saying yes to more things that just bring my family simple joy. We try to do a weekly family meeting (which pretty much means we do a monthly or bi-monthly family meeting), and in order to make it something we do more regularly, I’ve been working on assigning fun jobs to everyone. Dessert chef is one of those assigned jobs. In my second decade of mothering, I’m starting to figure out that the only real way to family happiness is sugar. Yes, I’m diabetic, but we’re going to not talk about that right now. So, this year is going to involve less organic kelp and more doughnuts. Next year will be the year of Weight Watchers.

Earlier this week, I took the kids to STEMfest, which was an expo/conference about science and engineering. It was pretty cool to see all the local companies that were there recruiting and passing out info. The kids got to try out some neat activities, too.


In other news, the reign of the foster puppies continues. We’re now on the downswing of fostering, which I have come to think of as the “Please God, Let it Almost Be Time to Take Them Back” phase. They both came down with kennel cough, so we have kept for a while to longer in order for them to finish up their medication. By this time next week, they will be putting muddy paws on someone else’s bed.

And I’d like to conclude with the fact that this cute kid: IMG_0344has no trouble with self-esteem. I love this girl. IMG_0369