Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, Merry Hangovers

I had so much fun getting ready for Christmas this year because Amber and Karli were actually excited about Santa Claus, and they seem to understand the purpose for the holiday, which makes it even better. I got to shop for our kids this year (after three very lean years of law-student budgets, it was grand) and I made them some cute little pajama pants to accompany the darling turquoise robes and t-shirts my mom found for the girls. Rex discovered candy canes in his stocking and decided to help himself--they are his new favorite--and the girls have spent the day playing with their Snap n' Style dolls, Princess Polly Pockets, and doodle boards while gorging on oodles of yummy junk food.
My role as Mrs. Claus kept me up way past my bedtime many a night over the past month, which explains my zombie-like state of semi-lucidity today. That said, I'm off to bed early tonight to enjoy the feeling of having nothing else to do for a few moments. Whew. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Christmas 2008

We definitely had a very, merry Christmas this year. It was busy, but very fun to be with family. Leslie bought some cute costumes for the kids to wear as they acted out the Nativity story on Christmas Eve. Amber and Karli were angels, Gracie was Mary, and Kinzie (bless her heart) was Joseph, complete with robe, head dress, and beard. She was amazing! It was darling to see the kids act out their respective parts.

Doesn't Kinzie look thrilled? She was such a good sport.

Cooper and Rex were way too cool to be a part of any organized activity, so the girls made the show go on without the two boys. Gracie obviously wanted no part of the post-performance photo shoot.

On Christmas morning, Rex loved feasting on the contents of everyone's stocking, including lip gloss, oranges with peels, baby food, candy canes, crayons, and coloring books.

Here is Karli's nighttime ensemble. Isn't it darling? I was really happy with the way the pajama pants turned out. I didn't have a pattern, so I had to wing it. The purchased robes and cute shirts made the effort of sewing for a few hours worth it.

The girls spent hours playing with their princess Polly Pockets. I joined them for a bit and it was grand to play with dolls again. I guess I loved it more than playing dress up with my real little girls because the dolls don't protest. He he he.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm International, Baby

I'm thrilled and flattered: I now have an international blog reader (that I know of, I mean...he he he). My sister Allison is in Copenhagen on a mission, and she met a cool gal named Mette. I found Mette on Facebook and now we are virtual friends, for which I am grateful and very happy. Welcome to my madness, Mette!

Olfaction and Sophistication

Karli has recently discovered that she can smell things and it's very entertaining to wath her squint her eyes, wrinkle up her nose, take a big whiff of the odor du jour and implore, "What is that smell like?" She's learning that her ability to use the potty and leave the terrible odor in the bathroom where it belongs is actually a good thing (ahh...brilliant!), and that cookies baking in the oven is one of the most joyful fragrances on earth.

Today, she came downstairs dressed all by herself in her favorite pajamas, holding the magnificent night light pilfered from Crown Plaza hotel by a dear friend, and said, "Mom, I've changed the green light in my room several times." I said, "Oh, really? How many times did you change it?" "Several times." she said matter-of-factly. It was so cute.

Potty training seems to have been the magic event in Karli's life; she suddenly grew up when she told me she wasn't going to wear diapers any more. It's so nice to have one baby and two "big girls" who can play together, clean up after themselves (once in a while), and with whom I can have rather interesting conversations.

It's Definitely Innuendo

If you read my post a few weeks ago about the crazy word verifications I keep finding when I leave comments on my friends' blogs, here's the mother of them all (now I know the geeks are plotting and laughing their heads off). I just had to type this word when I commented on Tiffany's blog: rearbear. Nice.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Hands of a Hard-Working Desert Dweller

Since they are truly a horrifying sight to behold, I've refrained from posting a picture of my poor, scaly, and utterly-cracked hands. I've always had trouble with dry skin (especially in these wonderful winter climates), but this year seems to be the worst ever. At this moment, I have 31 cuts/cracks on my hands, and despite my best efforts, they will not heal. I couldn't even buckle my kids in their car seats today because my skin hurt too badly. Yikes, huh?! Vaseline and socks at night doesn't fix the problem, nor does Amlactin or Eucerin. Does anyone have a solution to this woe? I'm desperate!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adorable Futility

Read the previous post and you'll know why I needed twelve tiaras today. What you won't find out is how the original, "real" tiaras made of rhinestones that I ordered two weeks ago didn't even get shipped, so I pulled an all-nighter crafting these beauties from random hosehold items. The process took seven hours, and considering how nothing seemed to go right regarding uniforms for my two teams' competition today, genereated a grand amount of frustration and grumbling. I cut the marquis parts from foam core with an Exacto knife ( fingers are blistered), hot glued them to some ghetto headbands from the grocery store, added wire loops for bobby pins, wrapped the bands with silver ribbon, and dipped the marquis sections in glue and glitter. I was thoroughly proud of my finished product and put-out by the process (my ability to pull all-nighters left me shortly after I became pregnant with Amber), but once the gals had the tiaras on their heads, it was worth it. They looked so cute!

Moments before my team was to run onto the mat to compete, the competition "boss" came over and informed me that cheerleaders were not allowed to wear tiaras; we had two choices: take them off or receive a 5-point-per-judge penalty. So I frantically grabbed three moms and we ripped the tiaras off as fast as we could, making some of the cheerleaders cry...not because it hurt their heads, but because they wanted to be bling-ed out for the competition. I was really glad I went to all the trouble to make those darn things!

Cheery Little Princesses

Amber and Karli participated in their first cheer competition today and they did a great job! I coach their team, the Flash All Stars Tiny Tots, and their routine has a princess theme. I mixed the music with selections from "Drama Queen" by Lindsay Lohan, "Lip Gloss" by 'Lil Mama, and "Happy Working Song" from the Enchanted soundtrack. The uniforms are extra princess-y thanks to those adorable tutus under the skirts, plenty of rhinestones, and some cute tiaras. All twelve of my students looked absolutely darling and they got a standing ovation from the crowd (sympathy ovations are just as good as any, right?).

Since I was running around like a mad woman, trying to arrange everyone's tiara, pass out uniforms (gotta love the last-minute operation I get sucked into by my boss), keep Karli from throwing a fit, direct moms, apply lipstick to twelve little mouths, etc., I didn't actually have time to tape or photograph the routine in progress. The team suffered a bit of stage fright, and made some dazzling improvisations to the choreography, but all in all, they were so cute and tried their hardest and it was one of my proudest moments to date.

Here are the pretty princesses after the competition; Karli couldn't wait to have her hair taken out of those two messy buns. She hates having her hair fixed any way but "like Madeline's". They are also missing their tiaras...those really complete the look (even more than the pirate smiles seen here).
Karli seemed to be intimidated by all the commotion, but when she ran out on the floor to compete, she was a star! I was so thrilled that she did a great job (she's the youngest in her class and still gets a bit distracted once in a while).

Amber looked adorable with her cherry red lipstick, mascara, blush, and tiara on. She kept checking herself out and shaking her booty, and saying, "Oh! I look fancy!". It was darling! She and Karli both sang "Happy Working Song" at the top of their lungs during the routine at the competition. I'm telling you...these kids are talented. They sing and dance (Disney Channel, here they come), which is probably why they won third place. Not too shabby for a bunch of first-timers!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grundy County, Here I Come

I've purchased a few items on eBay and must admit that each time I place the last-minute highest bid, I get a huge rush. Is that bad? I feel like I may be on the road to some serious shopping addiction problems, because not only do I get a major dose of satisfaction from buying a product, I get all jazzed about winning the bidding war. It's a compound problem. Do I need an intervention? I'll pass for now, thank you, and enjoy my cloistered love for competitive buying.

Since the item I purchased is a Christmas gift for a loved one, I'll post a picture of it and give details about the absolutely killer deal (75% off retail for a new-in-box item) I got on December 26th. I hope I can contain my excitement about said gift until Christmas. I think this episode is even more exciting to me than when I was a child awaiting Santa's arrival. I'm such a nerd!

Almost Three in a Row

The wondrous day has finally arrived...moms know what I'm talking about; the day your potty-training toddler suddenly decides diapers are for babies and wants nothing more to do with them. Karli has been in the potty-training process for about six months now, having on again/off again spells, but for the last two days, she's used the potty every time! Can I get a witness? I'm about to do a back flip!
Aside from one major poop-in-the-pants incident yesterday (which ultimately wasn't that bad because I just threw away the undies, the pants, the shirt, and the's true...I cannot handle bodily byproducts), I haven't had to change her for a full 56 hours. Now that she's grasped this newfound source of independence, her tantrums have nearly stopped, and she's using words to express needs instead of baby pterodactyl-style shrieks. Maybe I'll go join a robe-wearin', hallelujah-shoutin', Heaven-praisin' congregation so I can fully express my joy. This is certainly a glorious event!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One of Those Days

Can someone please remind me that it IS fun to have a never-ending, thankless job? :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Not Creativity...It's Using My Resources

I've always been a wish-list maker and a major catalogue freak, and I'm proud to say that my girls are taking after their mama. Each week when the "all-new" Pottery Barn Kids catalogue arrives (that's our fave), we hunker down to carefully examine each page and decide what we'd buy if we had infinite income to support what could be very healthy shopping habits. We all fell in love with these stockings; Amber and Karli were especially excited to see the ice skate stocking (they actually think the sled stocking with the doll is an ice skate, so that's what we call it) and begged to have one for themselves.

Me, being the ultra-frugal, wanna-be Martha, decided to try making some because the PBK version ran a steep $33 each once monogramed. Here is my finished product; although I wish I would have sprung for felt-by-the-yard to make the actual bodies of the stockings, I'm proud to report that I made all five for only $10.78 and about three hours of work. I think I'm going to carefully remove the embellishments from these and add them to new felt stockings for next year because broadcloth just isn't sturdy enough, even with French seams inside. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself:

I still need to add the names. I'm working on cutting the letters out of felt because I'm too cheap to pay for professional personalization. Gotta love the rip-off!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Big-Time Pay Off

Today I had a wonderful moment where I felt like my efforts as a mom are paying off. Adam asked the girls to clean their room and left them alone. They actually cleaned it! I was so stunned when I walked upstairs, expecting to see a major disaster area, and instead saw a perfectly clean bedroom. The pillows and blankets were all on the beds, the toys were on the appropraite shelves in the closet, the dirty clothes were in the laundry basket, and the garbage was in the garbage can. It was grand! The best part about it was that the girls were completely proud of their magnificent accomplishment. Yay Amber and Karli!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lamenting the End of an Era

I'll admit that while I generally view death as a beautiful part of Heavenly Father's plan, I am rather sad to see these wonderful disciples to whom I've listened during my entire life and grown to love pass on to the next station of existence. The last thirty years of Church history have been amazing, progressive, and interesting thanks to the efforts of these fine men and others like them. I definitely love President Monson and the wonderful new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but I want to pay tribute to President Hinckley and to Elder Wirthlin, two of my very favorite speakers.

I loved President Hinckley's sense of humor and his gentle ability to diffuse any uncomfortable situation. He was great with the media and delighted me during every speech with his wit and charm.

Elder Wirthlin...Mr. Football...a Ute...what more can I say? I absolutely loved his last conference address about living life, enjoying every moment, and having a sense of humor. What great men! I hope I'll be able to meet them in the next phase of life.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A-D-A-M Spells Amazing

You all know that my husband is a magnificent guy, but here's the latest proof:

This morning, I enjoyed a wonderful sleep-in and some snuggling with cute, little Rexy. I didn't expect to see Adam in bed as he is now nocturnal; 10:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. are prime studying hours around here and he's taking full advantage of the quiet time for Bar Exam preparations. When I finally gained full consciousness, I heard vacuuming downstairs. As I walked down the hall, I heard the dishwasher running and could smell the "clean smell" in our house. Adam had cleaned the whole house from top to bottom while I slept in. Isn't he the best? He did about three loads of dishes (gross, I know), put away all of the kids' stuff that was strewn everywhere, vacuumed, scrubbed the kitchen floor, the whole bit.

I love that man!

My List

My friend Elaine posted this on her blog and I like it. For posterity's sake, here are the things I've done (bold) and the things I still want to do:
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (I'll go watch one)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (does XML count?)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (when I was three years old)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (Mitt Romney during his presidential run)
92. Joined a book club (do Holt Ward playgroups count?)
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (no thanks!)
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Totally copied a post from someone else's blog to your own (this one!)

My Poor, Neglected Blog

It must be December, because I find I have holiday events every single night of the month, mounds of laundry to be folded, piles of dishes to be washed, and I haven't even begun to decorate the house for Christmas. I haven't blogged for a week, and my stack of paperwork is growing exponentially. I have at least removed the Thanksgiving decor from the house, which is better than last holiday: I left Halloween items up until the middle of November.

I am definitely overwhelmed, but for some strange and truly uncharacteristic reason, I'm not worried about whether or not my house is decorated and I'm finding that I don't really care if I have the laundry done completely. My family may disagree, but I feel like we'll all be fine if we don't have three Christmas trees (we'll be lucky if we get one decorated this year), if we have to retrieve our clean clothes from the dryer, and if we have to dig our clean plates out of the dishwasher. Perhaps I'm becoming lazy, but I just can't be bothered by all of the manufactured hustle and bustle of this time of year and I kind of like it.

I DO have the Christmas shopping done, my kids get bathed (almost) every day and we're surviving. For once in my life, I'm doing the best I can and that's good enough for me. Maybe there's something wrong with my attitude, but until I discover what it is, it's nice to be at this point!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

That's What I'm Talkin' 'Bout

Take a good look at my ever-disappearing waistline (I promise...I had a waist at one point in my life!), and you'll know that food plays a major role in my life. Not only do I love to eat it, but I love to prepare it, to see it, and to smell it. Thus, Thanksgiving is among my favorite holidays. This year was extra fun because it's the first time we've had Thanksgiving dinner as the Adam and Natalie Clark family. The girls are old enough to understand traditions and were so excited to "celebrate all day" (Amber said that over and over). They helped me cook all of our favorite foods and we had a magnificent feast.

This is cranberry sauce made the RIGHT way: fresh cranberries and a pinch of sugar. Amber was brave enough to try it and she liked it; I thought I'd be the only one. I can eat this stuff right out of the pan with a spoon. I love it!

Here's the whole spread minus gravy. The rolls are my mom's recipe, and the quintessential, Mormon-kitchen, Cool-Whip-topped Pyrex dish contains the famed "rainbow Jell-o". For those of you who haven't experienced it, it's twelve layers of Jell-o and yogurt that create a dazzling chromatic display. The kids can never get enough of it. I made a pumpkin pie for the first time this year, and the turkey was fabulous thanks to Leslie's wonderful bacon-and-gravy method. Honey butter, green beans, sweet potatoes, creamed corn casserole, mashed potatoes and stuffing completed the menu.

Rex had fun watching me cook for the first three hours, but then became annoyed and felt very neglected. Poor little guy!

Karli meticulously worked her pie dough until it crumbled and dissolved. She loves to use cookie cutters and has a bright future in cooking.

Amber insisted on using the "real" rolling pin instead of the cute, small rolling pins that the kids usually use. She thought all by herself to use Silpats for rolling mats. She's smarter than me!

The food all tasted great, I actually had a blast cooking nonstop from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., we watched my favorite Thanksgiving T.V. broadcast: the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I even managed to wash the dishes as I cooked, so I only have four plates, four forks, and three pans to wash. Hooray!

Abundant Blessings

I know this may be cheesey because it is Thanksgiving, but I feel so blessed that I have to document's a wonderful feeling! I have too many great blessings to count, but here are my top five:

1. I know Heavenly Father loves me and is watching over me. This knowledge helps me cope every day with stress, problems, and all the other junk that tends to bog me down. It makes me smile to think that I have a celestial cheerleader who is peeking down at me and saying, "You can do it!"

2. Adam. I have so much fun being married to him! I love being able to wake up next to my very best friend and to be able to build a little family and life with him. He's a marvelous man and he's oh so sexy! I'm a lucky woman indeed.

3. Amber, Karli, and Rex. I love having three adorable kids who make me laugh every single day and remind me to be nice. They are definitely teaching me to be patient and long suffering, and I love being able to be their mom.

4. Health. We are lucky to have bodies that work and are fairly low-maintenance. I'm glad for this!

5. Being able to "borrow" this gorgeous, humongous house. It is SO nice to have a dedicated laundry room, space for the kids to run around, enough bedrooms for everyone, a fabulous Rowenta iron, and the list goes on and on. It has been magnificent to live here after spending three years in our little apartment in the ghetto.

I am certainly thankful for our wonderful parents, my great friends, and all of my acquaintances who teach me valuable things each day. It has been nice to have a special day to be able to do nothing but cook and appreciate everything I have. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Told You So!

Can I get a woo, woo!? The Utes rock. Six turnovers by the Cougars? Are you kidding me? Maybe it was just that Max Hall doesn't know his team wears the blue jerseys. Tee hee hee. I can't wait for some Utah bowl action.

I started to get worried this morning when we pulled up to my parents' house and saw their yard bedecked in blue and white streamers, spray paint, and all sorts of Cougar pollution by our loving and neighborly BYU fans, and Amber said, "I want BYU to win!" I couldn't believe my ears. She may as well have told me she was quitting our family. Fortunately, she's still young and can still be taught the right way. Gotta love indoctrination!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Can't Wait for The Game!

Lest you English enthusiasts out there criticize my capitalization of "The" in this title, let me remind you that in only 48 hours, the college football game of the century will begin. Any matchup between BYU and U of U is certainly a game worth watching, but this year will be extra fabulous because both teams have actually cracked the BCS' shell of good-'ol-boy SEC domination. Hooray!

I am counting down the minutes to the certain Ute victory and am developing a great menu of tailgate food I can cook on my George Forman grill inside my kitchen. I've already washed my best red shirt, found the ultimate hue of red toenail polish (yes...they are good as new!) and Rex's U of U onesie is ready to go. I think I must have an absurdly abnormal penchant for football games because I get so excited and panicky and worked up that I actually jump up and down and scream at the TV (note to parents: cheerleading may lead to this kind of behavioral issue...think twice before enrolling your daughters). I even heard a great scripture last night at one my scout meetings that clearly points out that Christ is a Utah fan (I hope I don't get struck by lightning). This is gonna be good.

I'm also devilishly curious to see what the BYU fans in our ward do to the Ute fans' yards. Better yet, I am beyond excited to be able to respond with some great crimson retribution. I'm glad the folks around here are passionate about football (albeit one game, but's Utah) enough to do some crazy, fraternity-inspired hijinx, because that makes the big day even better.

Red and White forever...Go Utes!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meltdown Commencing in 5...4...3...

Do you ever have a day where several unpleasant events occur and seem like small annoyances until you realize you've had so many of those events that by the end of the day, you're ready to scream and tear out all of your hair? Today is that day, and I am exercising my right to revolt by silently delegating the seventh tuck-in of the night to Adam and blogging about my abysmal, non-pedicured toes instead of actually fixing the problem (perhaps I'll be awake long enough to do both. Ahh...catharsis).

Today actually started with me wanting to finally do my toenails now that it's been four weeks since my last paint job and I haven't EVER gone this long with chipped polish in my entire life. Don't ask me why I've let them go like this. Our random and spontaneous trip to Oregon definitely played a part; I didn't think to grab my pedicure kit and I even had to trim my toenails with the polish still on (Sacrilege!). For some reason, every time I sat down today to remove these hideous remains of month-old polish, someone needed something from me. On the bright side, though, I did trim them last week so I don't have talons. That's good.

Rex is cutting teeth, so he's extra grumpy, won't eat much, and wants to be held all the time. Adam has begun the 12-hour-a-day Bar Exam preparations, so I'm back to being a semi-single parent and having a hard time readjusting, Karli is STILL potty training, Amber is ultra-sassy and defiant these days, and I'm pretty sure I just attended my eleventh scout meeting in November. Normally, I can handle these conditions, but I think I'm having a month-long bout of PMS since my body has still not completed its postpartum regulatory cycle so I'm extra irritable. Add to this equation thirteen tweens who are generally adorable but strangely distracted today and aren't ready for their upcoming competition (my 8-year-old cheer team that I coached this afternoon) and the result may be frighteningly akin to Steve Martin's grocery-store episode in Father of the Bride (hey, I'll take any opportunity I can to use the word "superfluous", even if it entails screaming at a grocery store manager, he he).

Thankfully, though, I did not end up in jail. The day is over, the kids are finally asleep, and I just may be able to fix my forsaken toenails tonight. I only have three more cheer classes to teach before Thanksgiving, and the weather was blissful today. Things are looking better already.

Wow...I feel so calm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hamilton, Stoiko, Boitano, and Clark?

While in Oregon, we took advantage of the amazing ice skating rink at the Running Y Ranch. An NPO called Klamath Ice Sports runs the place and charges very little for admission and skate rental fees, so Adam, Karli, Amber, and I went two nights in a row. Amber has always had an ice-skating obsession and Karli turned out to be quite the little shredder. Best of all, though, was that Adam is totally a closet champion; he could carve, spin, and maneuver better than anyone I've seen. To make me feel even dumber as I wobbled around, clutching the walls, this was Adam's first time on ice skates.

Adam has a spinal fusion, so risking an injury is a big deal for him. I almost had a heart attack when I saw him do two face plants on our last night in K. Falls. Fortunately, all he sustained was a bunch of stiff muscles and a few bruised ribs. His back is fine. I must admit that I did garner a bit of satisfaction when he wiped out shortly after taunting me for being a slowpoke. Just kidding.

Amber didn't like the actual skating as much as she did sitting by the fire place and sipping hot cocoa...I guess she has more of an ambiance-driven personality.

Karli, on the other hand, had a grand time being pulled around the rink. She'd yell at the top of her lungs, "I'm having so much fun!" and "Look! I'm ice skating!" to anyone who she thought would listen. It was so adorable.

We can't wait to go back!

Check out these darling hats and gloves we bought at the town's happenin' shopping spot: Wal Mart. You can't beat $1.50 a piece, especially when it makes the kids this happy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lake of the Woods

After hearing Leslie rave and rave about this place, we figured we'd better check it out. It's called Lake of the Woods and it's gorgeous. We all drove there and planned to have a grand time together, but Karli and Rex both fell asleep on the way. Thankfully, Leslie said she'd stay in the car with them and Amber, Adam, Greg, and I got to get out and explore. The water was nice and cold and the air was crisp...perfect lake weather.

Amber loved taking off her shoes and socks and wading in the frigid water.

The view was amazing.

Adam and Amber had fun rocking the dock.

Amber and Grandpa Greg looked for fish but didn't see any much to Amber's dismay.

Bright sun and large gusts of wind make for less-than-wonderful portraits, but they do great things to the clouds in the trees.

Alpine, Utah to Klamath Falls, Oregon: Land of a Thousand Trailer Parks

Monday morning, we woke up and Adam said, "Let's go to Oregon!" His parents are splitting time between Alpine and Klamath Falls, so we figured out a plan to go visit Grandma and Grandpa Clark and took off on Tuesday around noon. The 660 mile drive wasn't as bad as I thought it would be; I must say I expected the worst. I mean, how nice can a drive on westbound I-80 through a barren desert be, right? Aside from the gazillion trailers we saw, sights like this made it fairly amusing:
This lovely monument is in the town of Battle Mountain, Nevada. Since Adam and I are eternal seventh-graders-at-heart, we got a big kick out of it and couldn't figure out why any town in its right mind would advertise its initials when they also stand for a bodily function. Crazy.

Here's the magnificent view from Greg and Leslie's back porch. They live at an amazing resort called Running Y Ranch and it's spectacular! We loved seeing all of the beautiful plant life, woodland creatures, and water features. We were sad to leave that beautiful place, but were glad that the car ride home only took us 10 hours instead of the 12 hours it took to get there.

Cheese, Please

This is one of my favorite pictures. Whitney, Karli, Rex, and Amber are fairly jovial and all have the biggest, cheesiest smiles all the time. They love to play together!

Friday, November 14, 2008


On Monday night, I finally decided it was time to put away the Halloween decorations (no, I am not lazy. HA!). We have a hutch in our foyer that accommodates three ceramic figurines that are each illuminated by a single light bulb with a cord that requires some fancy wiring. The hutch only has a small hole in the corner of each shelf for a cord, so the plug will not fit through the opening. Hence, the cords are cut, passed through the hole, and taped together with electrical tape (ah, the things women do to decorate...).

I really am not an idiot, I promise, but as I began to dissemble the first figurine's cord, I heard a loud buzz/zap, felt a strange sensation surge throughout my body, and I ended up flat on the floor in a stupor. What the $%#&? Yes folks, I had been electrocuted. I forgot to make sure the cords were unplugged before I started unwrapping the bare wires and managed to trip the circuit breaker in the process of giving myself a nice, healthy jolt. Since the voltage was so small, I stood right up and had a good laugh at my stupid self, and cruised downstairs to tell Adam about my duncey episode. A few minutes later, though, I had to lie down for an hour and recover from what felt like the leftovers of a massive panic attack; I had adrenaline racing through my body and my internal organs felt a bit frazzled.

Call me crazy (or crazier, I guess), but I've always wondered what it feels like to be electrocuted. Now I know, and thank the heavens it wasn't a major-voltage situation that resulted in a crispy, black body and a burned-down house. Hopefully the hair on my head will grow super fast now that I've had some significant follicular stimulation.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Brown Dress

Occasionally, we are the beneficiaries of some charitable distant relatives who generously give Amber and Karli the unused clothing of their granddaughter who has more clothes than anyone on this planet. When they drop off a bag, there are usually several items from Gap, Gymboree, and Children's Place that still bear tags and are just the right size, so we are eternally grateful for these. Most recently we found this brown dress in the mix. It's a size 8 (Amber is not), a summer dress, and when worn forward (not backward, as obviously preferred), it shows a great amount of little-kid-cleavage (read: private parts). Notwithstanding, Amber loves this dress. She wears it every single day, and it's all I can do to keep her from stripping down to her skivvies and donning the cursed dress after I tediously vest her in a cute outfit that actually fits. Ultimately, I don't like the dress because I feel like Amber looks like a homeless kid, or even a trailer-park escapee when she wears it, but I have now decided to give up the fight since it happens several times each day. I should be glad that I only have one item of Amber's laundry to wash, albeit every night, and the fact that it hides stains so well makes it almost worth it. Hooray for obsessions!

Innuendo or Just a Little Techie Boredom?

Have any of you noticed recently that when, after writing a comment on your friends' blogs, you are required to enter text in a window, the text now spells words? It seems like I always get funny (okay, okay...I'm immature) words like "duchable" (it means "showerable" in Spanish and I think you know what it means in English), "zotho", "alkabia", "mastu", and several others that I can't remember now.
I think it's a conspiracy among Google employees; they sit in a dark-ish room at their computers, adjusting their glasses once in a while, and create stories with nonsense words. Then, they each take a word and put it up on our screens to see if we catch on, and laugh their heads off because they are really getting us good. Well, maybe with my imagination, I should be one of them! :) Happy typing, everyone.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Whole 'Lotta Booty for Not Much Booty

I procured a Gymboree Visa two years ago (dangerous, I know) because I realized the immense saving potential linked to such a marvelous piece of plastic and I couldn't resist. When I opened my account, I saved like 75% on some darling Easter dresses for my girls. Then, I earned a $25 gift card for activating my card, with which I bough Rex an entire dinosaur ensemble for six dollars. I recently received a $10 gift card in the mail, so I went to Gymboree today and found this darling outfit for Amber. Grand total: $2. That's right, just two bucks for the headband, shirt, and pants. Not too shabby, eh? I do have to admit that I used a coupon for 30% off my entire purchase (the event lasts through tomorrow, so hurry up and go!), but now I feel totally validated in using my Gymboree Visa on a regular basis.

Amber fixed her own hair, if you can't tell.

Here's a sure sign that I'm a bad mom:
A few days ago, I tried on my smallest pair of jeans to see if I could fit into them after having Rex. Amber watched me struggle to lift the zipper and said, "Mom, what's wrong?" I replied, "My booty is just a little too big for these pants" trying to say that I was too fat for jeans of that nature without giving Amber a complex. She said, "So, when your booty is a little bit smaller they will fit you?" "Yep." I replied.
When Amber tried on her new pants that are obviously huge on her (I have the grandma-purchasing-syndrome where I buy things too big so the kids will grow into them), she said, "Hey, dad! My booty is a little bit too big, so when it's smaller then my pants will fit me!" Adam just said, "Nice job" to me and I felt awful despite my heaving laughter. So much for not creating a complex!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Little Sister Lily in Downtown Copenhagen

My little sister Allison, a.k.a Sister Liljenquist (or Sos. Lily for those of you who speak Danish), flew to Denmark on Monday to begin missionary service in downtwon Copenhagen. We saw her off at the airport and it was awesome to see her filled with the exuberant spirit of the Lord's service. She looked great (a bit granola compared to her old self, but still adorable) and was speaking Danish like crazy. I am proud of her!

Can you tell we're related? Allison is my cuter twin.

The kids were a bit sleepy since we had to leave our house at 6:00 a.m., but they liked seeing Allison all decked out in her missionary gear.

Here's Alli with her new companion at the mission office.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Metallica Rocks Salt Lake CIT-TAY!

Sometimes an event becomes so much more than just an event, like Christmas for example. Christmas day is wonderful, but the parties and food and sights and smells that lead up to the actual holiday are the things that make it magical. Such was the case last night at the Metallica concert. I've been to a few great shows (Aerosmith and Trace Adkins were my previous faves), but this spectacle was more phenomenal than anything I've ever seen in my life!

Here's the play by play: I coached last night until 6:30 and when I got home, Adam had all the kids' stuff ready to go, their shoes on, and took them to my parents' house for some quality time with Grandma Shelley and Marianne. I threw on a rockin' outfit (black miniskirt, anyone?) with some gigantic earrings and hopped in the car. We payed for good parking near the Energy Solutions Arena and made our way to the Will Call counter among headbangers who looked like they walked right out of a 1988 music video, teenage skater boys, classy middle-aged couples, and some of the trashiest gals I've ever seen (white tanktops only look good on a select few!).

We arrived in the middle of the opener's set, a band called Down, The Sword, who employs a few of Pantera's members. I've never heard music, I mean noise, that loud in my life! While I must admit it was very entertaining and momentarily hilarious to see a throng of people totally whipping their hair around to the beat of some mean bass guitar played from a serious power stance, I'm just not a fan of death metal. We had amazing seats, though, so it was fun to see how those musicians could perform. Although Down, The Sword had gritty riffs and some outstanding guitar-behind-the-back moves, they were foul enough to make Metallica seem like a group of choir boys, which, I guess, is ultimately a good thing.

Once the ruckus stopped, we talked to a few of our neighboring Metalheads and ate a yummy hot dog. Suddenly, the lights went down and a tumultuous cheer arose. Dramatic guitar music began and about a million cell phone screens illuminated the arena. There were only a few lighters present, from which I could gather one of two things: Generation Y is much more safety-concious, or we were in Salt Lake City where smokers are (thankfully) fewer and farther between than, say, in Lansing. Out ran James, Lars, Kirk, and Rob and every arm in the arena (except mine and Adam's, of course...we are way too boring) went up to the diagonal to proudly fist-thump to the pounding rhythm. It was certainly amazing to behold!

Metallica has to be the best group of showmen I've ever witnessed. The crowd was more loyal than BYU fans (he he, losers!), the pyrotechnics were so powerful that I think my eyelashes singed a bit, and the music was so loud that I could feel my ribs shaking in my chest with every chord. It was such a great combination of crazy, air-guitar-playing, maniacal fans, rockin' music, awesome visual effects, and delightful company (our first kid-free date in about three years, I think) that it became by far my favorite concert ever. I'm still deaf in one ear, but it's a small price to pay to the rock gods!

Here we are after the concert in our stupified metal coma. We shouted to each other the whole way home! I can't wait 'til we're'll be bad.

The stage setup was awesome; they played on the floor in the middle of the arena. We sat at center court on row 17, so we could feel the heat from the fire and see the sweat flying off the musicians' faces. Thankfully we were far enough away that none landed on us.

James Hetfield has the coolest rock n' roll voice, not to mention his sweet, '80's-throwback guitar.

It was awesome! Maybe someday you'll see me in black tapered jeans, a concert T-shirt cut into an off-the-shoulder, cropped number with a leopard bra underneath, and a wicked Metallica tatt on my left shoulder blade. Adam can grow a bald-on-top mullet like the guy sitting in front of me. Isn't that thought frightening?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Scary Fun for Everyone

We had a grand and marvelous Halloween this year with lots of family fun. Kristi hosted a fantastic party with tons of yummy food (Yoshida-braised meatballs...yum!) and adorable Halloween decor, then we all headed over to their ward's Trunk or Treat where all the kids scored way too much candy and some sweet glow-stick necklaces. Stephanie and I were the only adults who dressed up (both as witches); the Clarks have never been into dressing up, so we in-laws have to add a little spice to the party. Steph let me borrow this sweet wig to complement my witchy wardrobe and makeup:

Doesn't Rex make the perfect little Yoda? This is my all-time favorite Halloween costume! Check out my Hanna Montana tatts, courtesy of Karli and Amber.

Here's Karli as "Purple Tinkerbell", complete with her famous pirate smile. Hooray!

Amber didn't just want to be Ariel, she had to be "Sparkly Ariel".

I had so much fun making Karli and Amber's costumes (I think I had more fun this Halloween than they did), and it was great to be around cousins, siblings, in-laws, and grandparents this year. Amber told me this morning that she wants it to be Halloween again today. Yikes. :)

Here's another fun (some of you may find it scary) fact: Adam and I are going to the Metallica concert tonight! I can't wait to get all decked out in my rocker gear, wear some mega black eyeliner, and do my share of serious headbanging. If I can muster up my senses by then, I'll post a full report tomorrow. YYYYEEEEAAAHHHH (read that with a booming, James-Hettfield-esque roar)!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Giddy as a Schoolgirl

The happy couple.

This post is going to be cheesey, so beware!

Seven years ago this week, I met Adam. For those of you who don't know the story, my parents bought a building-in-process house in Alpine in July of 2001 and we all worked on it night and day until it was ready for occupancy in late October (I was living at home after I graduated; what can I say...I was a loser!). My mom had met some of the neighbors and told me that the Young Women's President had a cute son who recently returned from a mission. "Right," I thought to my self. Like I really wanted to date a dorky RM who was a member of my same ward! I politely declined my mom's incessant offers to set us up, as well as her informative quip that our new ward had a YSA Sunday School class that she thought I'd like to attend. Dating "wardies" (as my sisters dub them) was soooo not my style.

Long ago when we lived in Rexburg, my brother had a friend who was my age named Adam Clark. He was a super nice guy, but totally not attractive to me. Brian always told me, "You're going to marry Adam Clark; I just know it!" and I vehemently denied it every time. I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when, on the first Sunday of attendance in our new ward, a devistatingly handsome guy approached me and said, "Hi. I'm Adam Clark. Do you want to go to Sunday School with me?" I couldn't even get a grip on myself because I was so stunned that a guy as hot as him would even talk to me, let alone walk right up and introduce himself (I was usually the pursuer...again, I was a loser). I think I stammered something ridiculous like, "Hi. I'm Sure, I mean, sure, I'd love to. I'm Natalie" and as we walked off, I pretty much tripped over both of my feet or my shoe fell off or something, but I was thrilled to be walking with such a dashing man who was polite to boot (he opened all the doors and helped me with my chair).

Nonetheless, we made it to the class and I was thrilled to hear the teacher volunteer Adam to drive the batch of YSAs from our ward to the stake fireside that night. Of course, I went (hello! Adam was driving) and Adam and I talked the whole time. I knew it was love at first sight, and after a month of dating, I committed the ultimate relationship no-no that any gal in her right mind would know better than to do: I said, "I am falling in love with you, so if you don't think you're going to fall in love with me, let's not date anymore." Can you believe it? I mean, what was I thinking? Obviously, the results were positive, and we got engaged in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Olympics.

Because of this momentus experience, fall always conjures up giddy, exciting, romantic feelings inside me and I love to reminisce about how awesome it was to know I had found Mr. Perfect. We had such a fun, fast, and exuberant courtship and I love that we are in love now even more than we were seven years ago. I am thrilled to be married to my very best friend and can't imagine a better life than the one we've built. So, here's to young love, Jazz games, CES firesides as excues for Sunday dates, songs by John Michael Montgomery, and making out in Burgess Park. Yeah baby!