Saturday, November 17, 2012


Ok I know, if I am breaking back into the blog-o-sphere this is probably not the post you all would be expecting. And if you want the truth, I've been doing some thinking about this blog of mine. The last time I posted it was in June. So, the natural thought to this could be one of several things

1) It's been summer and she is too busy living to post about living
2) It's been summer and she taking some time off
3) She leads a boring life and has nothing to write about
4) She's now into Instagramming and has no time for the clunkiness of posting on an actual computer
5) There are so many important things to write about she doesn't know where to begin.
6) She'll never be caught up - so she's probably not even trying
7) The guilt of not writing is paralyzing her.

Which one did you think?
The answer. All of the above.

So, having pondered all of these things for a while and I finally became prompted and inspired by these people (really, nothing new). Stacy Julian, Rhonna Ferrar and Becky Higgins.

(Watch them on their "Studio 5" segment that aired last week. It's only 5 minutes (then if you're feeling adventurous, they each also have their own 5 minute segment).

Back in the day, Stacy Julian was the one who gave me permission not to have to feel like I had to scrapbook every picture or scrapbook in chronological order. She, and Rhonna and Becky, are now giving me permission to do what works for me when it comes to memory keeping.

That being said, I love my blog and I love reading back and looking at the pictures so I'll still be here. I'll still be posting about so-and-so's birthday or this-and-that activity (when I feel like it) but, what gets me in a funk is feeling the pressure to "stay caught up"and trying to document all the important stuff going on AND to make it so meaningful that it will move others to tears. So many other people are good at it, sadly I am not. To me it's overwhelming and paralyzing. So, I'm giving myself the freedom to post random and unimportant things whenever I feel like it - even if we've just been in the midst of the most important events of our lives. In fact, here's a clue to the inner workings of Stefani (a scary place to be)... the more random the post, the more likely I have a lot of really meaningful things going on in my life. There that's it. That's the truth. Embarrassing and probably a little self-centered. But I do feel like part of my story telling has to do with just that - the inner-working of Stefani. I believe you can tell a lot about a person by their insane ramblings. Maybe that's it - I want my posterity to know me (insanity and all).

So in honor of my new found freedom here's the latest weird, but true, thought out of my head.

It has to do with 
Target. Tarjay. The Red Circle Boutique. or just, The Boutique
One of my favorite hangouts.

I often go in there to get one or 2 small things. Something like air freshener and mascara. No cart needed right? The reality of it is, I usually find myself walking to the cash register with my arms full, things flung over my shoulders and dropping things on the floor in almost every department, because I should have gotten a cart - or at the very least a shopping basket.

There have been times where I walk into the store and tell myself to get a cart - and then I talk myself out of it saying, "No, it'll save me money if I have to hold the items." I'm sure you can imagine what happens.  I usually find myself walking to the cash register with my arms full, things flung over my shoulders and dropping things on the floor in almost every department because I should have gotten a cart - or at the very least a shopping basket.

Until recently I thought I was a freak - a shopaholic, unbridled in my desires. Then I saw this and now I know, it's all completely out of my control.

At least she had the good sense to get a cart.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Did you think this post was about this?

It's actually more about this.

As you may or may not know someone very important to me had a birthday this week.  It was a major milestone birthday. 50 years is a lot of years to be alive.  50 years is more than438,291 hours. That is A LOT of hours.

One day while I was out running, I got to thinking about our friend and Bishop Loren Dickson.  A couple years back he ran 44 miles the week of his 44th birthday. I thought I might do that for my 50th birthday. Then I realized I couldn't count on that -- for me 50 is still 5 years away.  Who knows what my physical or mental state would be by then. But then I realized that someone very close to me was, indeed turning 50 this very year.  I thought about running 50 miles the week Brad turned 50, in honor of him.  Let me tell you, facing running 50 miles in a week, right now, is a lot more scary than thinking about running 50 miles in 5 more years. It's all about the procrastinator in me... I mulled it over and wondered if I could do it. That would mean 10 miles a day for 5 days. At that point the furthest I had been running was 5 miles per day. I decided to test the waters a bit. The next week I increased to 7 and the following week to eight. I did it but still didn't know if I could commit.  Then I got the dreaded jury summons for that exact week.  I didn't know if I was relieved or disappointed. There would be no way I could run 10 miles and still make it to the courthouse by 9am. Something in the back of my head told me to pray and have faith that I wouldn't have to serve (my odds weren't good though, the other two times I've been summoned I've been picked).  Long story short, I prayed, I had faith and I wasn't picked. The other things that I had that week also disappeared.  Brady's Graduation = over. Brad's Birthday = over. Helping with the Youth Activity = delegated. Family Reunion = postponed.

I still hadn't told Brad about my intended plan -- still a little unable to commit, but decided to at least try a 10 miler and see how I felt.  Hmmm, I actually did it. It just so happened that this day was also Brad's actual birthday.  So diving head first in, I told him what I was planning to do. I didn't know how he would receive the news. I thought maybe he would think I was crazy, or that I should do it for myself instead of for him. But he seemed pretty excited. I guess I was committed...

I DID IT! I actually did it!

Monday - 2 miles (the day I had Jury Duty)
Tuesday - 10 miles
Wednesday - 10 miles
Thursday - 10 miles
Friday - 10 miles
Saturday - 8 miles.

One of the highlights was seeing "Da Machine". Mind you I wasn't running in my/our neighborhood. I drove to a place and ran out there.  He was riding his bike this time. He still cracks me up.

Whew! Here's what I learned
- 50 is a lot.
- Enduring to the End is a good thing.
- My feet usually started hurting around mile 9.
- "Your legs are not giving out, your head is giving up. Keep going." is quite an inspirational phrase.
- The neighbors watched out for me. (it was actually usually the farm laborers and the tractor drivers, but on Saturday - when I had only 3 miles to go until the very end - I stopped at a yard sale and the lady, Annie, said she had been seeing me all week. I felt touched she noticed).
- Positive self talk is very important out there ("I've got this." "It's all downhill from here." "2 more miles? I can totally do this." "My legs aren't tired." "I'm not out of breath." "This is easy.")
- If I can let my mind go - I can solve all sorts of problems
- If you keep going your body will finally submit
- I have good running music
- Making your legs run to the beat of the music while your mind is thinking about something else is a good way to get through it.
- I think it was good to run for Brad, instead of myself. It was a big deal and I did it for him.
- Housework suffers when you spend a lot of time exercising
- Planning blog posts or Facebook statuses are a good way to pass the time (even though I rarely follow through).
- It was ALWAYS hard to get out there. I was ALWAYS glad I did it.
- It was hard not to get too relieved after each run, knowing I had to do it all again tomorrow.
- It is good to think of my running role models and people who inspire me.
- The roads out where I run are pretty much broken up into 1/2 mile, mile and 2 mile segments. It was nice to know exactly how far I'd be when I got to the corner (even though my iPod would tell me too)
- There is lots of beautiful scenery out on those seemingly deserted farm roads.

This last picture is one of my favorite's of all time. Not only is it just cool looking but it is very apropos signaling the end of a 10 mile run.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Wants To Have Some Fun?

So since we are all about doing birthday parties early around here... (Kelsi's is at Easter, Brad's near graduation, Afton's in the middle of the summer and Brady's at Christmastime. See what I mean.)...

Afton's birthday, which isn't for another few weeks, has already been celebrated.  The day after school got out we worked out for a surprise birthday party for Afton at the beach.  Mr. Nick picked her up early for a "date" at the beach. Then a little bit later everyone else met here to carpool over. (At the beginning you can see her as a little speck in the water as we all file down the stairs. It didn't take her long to figure out that she knew us).

I took some  really cool pictures and I could write something really cool about what an awesome beach day it was, but my uber-talented husband made this uber-cool video documenting the day and there is no more that needs to be said... except, Happy Birthday my Tiny.  I love you more than cornflakes...


Friday, June 8, 2012

It's All Downhill From Here

So this coming Tuesday Brad will be officially reaching the top of the metaphoric hill.  Knowing this event was coming up, and not wanting to miss the opportunity to be roasted by celebrate with all of his friends, I threw him a surprise party.  Since it was a month early (exactly) he didn't suspect. Of course I'm not that sneaky, so I wouldn't be surprised if he caught wind of it and is just being nice about it.
I told him we were going on a surprise date and he just had to be ready to go at 7:00. In the mean time all the guests had gathered in the neighborhood rec-room. I told them to come dressed as old people. I thought it went hilariously well.

Afton and Nick helped me get everything ready. Seriously I couldn't have pulled it off without them. Except for the small, tiny, minor problem of them locking the only key IN the rec-room, while the chocolate covered strawberries melted in the car - and couldn't be brought home or Brad would have seen. It turned out to be only a small glitch in the end though.

Another thing each guest did was to take the Big Bad Brad Quiz. With some help from my online friend Angie - whom I've never met but I read her blog and we communicate via email every once in a while. She is cute and fun and creative and down to earth (her blog is here). So with her help, I came up with a fun way for people to pay tribute to their old good friend Brad.

They had to write a poem, fill in the blanks and then complete a small bio. We read them all out loud and tried to guess who wrote them.  I put them all in a folder so they can pulled out and read at Brad's funeral.  I just can't imagine Brad's funeral being a serious event, and these would be the perfect spring board for a rip-roaring good time. Our friends are so funny and quick.  I loved their answers. (Mind you, I'm not anticipating Brad's funeral anytime soon.)
Here's what the Big Bad Brad Quiz looked like 
(Take it if you want, send me a copy. I'll add it to the folder.)
And just incase one didn't get their fill of Brad Meyer, we also had a Brad word search.

Brad was so surprised when we walked in he was speechless. I'm glad we caught it on film, it doesn't happen often.

Now without further fanfare, here are the pictures of our hilarious friends and their interpretation of what an old person looks like.

Erin's got a hitch in her get-along.

Christy is a Hip Granny

The Darling Shattucks

Do I even need to say anything?

So these two proved that old(er) people aren't really as dorky as we made them out to be. Aren't they cute? Probably the coolest people at the party.

We've established that Christy is hip. Rob, just looks like he needs his daily dose of Metamucil.

I really want Erinn to be MY granny, she looks so cheery. Michael... um, it was nice of him to provide an awkward pillow for her to rest her head.

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple and a red hat, so Tiffiny. Brandon = combination of Matt Foley/Chris Farley (who lives in a van down by the river) and Groucho Marks.

Rick and Denise Shattuck in the awkward old couple pose.

Christy your slip is showing... Leif, you have too many items in the pockets of your leisure pants. It's weighing you down.  

Zac, I think I'd do whatever she says.

Aw, Andy and Jodi love each other even after all these years. (The tennis balls on the walker are my favorite).

I want Brad and me to look like Jen and Jared when we grow up. Aren't they just so cute? Maybe we'll even be lucky enough to have a jacket like Jared's. (Side note: Jared actually wears this jacket to church. Not realizing this, I told him I saw his jacket while I was looking for our costumes at the Salvation Army. Oops! Sorry, my bad.)

Louis and his Trophy Wife, Brandi. Seriously though can't you see Louis out on a street corner playing the sax?

This is a little bit scary isn't it? My outfit, is in honor of my Grandma Lindsey. She really was the cutest grandma ever. I don't do her justice. Brad reminds me a little of his dad.
(another side note: The 2 afghans in the pictures were made by my 2 grandmas - the rust colored, crushed velvet chair came from Brad's Grandma.)

This is an awful photo, but I wanted you to see the close up of my baggy hose.  Awesome, right?

So several of our friends age so well you can hardly tell they dressed up at all.

Mark and Melinda Lawrence

Brent and Camille Cardall

Delisa and Steve Russell

Derek and Angie Banks

Loren and Annette Dickson were there too, but we have no proof. You'll have to take my word for it.

A highlight of the evening...We convinced Brad to do the "Dad of the Dance". Basically just a little rendition of Irish Dancing.
He also showed us his ugly toes -- you can thank me later for sparing you the photo.

I thought his flood pants war so endearing.

He loved all of his gifts of efferent, laxatives, joint medication and the like. He was overwhelmed.

He blew out all 50 candles in two blows. Nothing wrong with his lung capacity.

Don't worry we checked for an indoor sprinkler system before we even lit the cake. cough, cough...

This is my favorite picture of the night. "The Bromance".  Brad and Brandon, can't you picture them in a park playing checkers and talking about the glory days? 

Brad I am so lucky to have you! You add joy and interest to my otherwise mundane life. I love you! Let's go over the hill together shall we?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

From Whence I Came

(Stef, Karen, Shannon, Mom, Kris, Suzie, Janet, Marsha) 

On the last week end in April I attended what has become known as "Sister's Reunion". Of course mom was there too, and Marsha, who isn't a blood sister, but she might as well be. It was a BEAUTIFUL thing. Seriously, one of the highlights of my year!
So why, you may ask, has it taken me so long to document this experience? I know, I know, I'm wracked with guilt over it, knowing that the details are slipping out of my mind faster than Kim Kardashian slips out of marriage. 
In my defense, these type of events are the nearest and dearest to my heart and thence (word of the day), make them the hardest to write about.
I'm going to do my best to covey the details to and to also to write what's in my heart (a very draining prospect).
This year we all went to Arizona. Both Suzie's and Karen's families live there. While we spent an evening at Suzie's house, the majority of the activities were based out of Karen's house.
Thanks Karen, and especially Steve, who took a huge hit on their house from 7 extra people, and acted like it wasn't a big deal.  
Steve looked like this a large amount of the time. He just smiled and cracked jokes. 
And camera holding was probably the least of his, "What the...? - moments". The noise level was extreme. And when I say noise, I mean comparable to magpies trying to out squawk the others over the latest plunder of robin eggs. 
Raucous peels of laughter (akin to coyote pups that yip in the middle of night and drag you from the depths of REM sleep. Trust me, I know from whence I speak) and many estrogen tinged conversations (bra size, birth control, nursing, child birth, swim suit shopping and more) emanated from any given room in the house, at any given hour. Thanks Steve for acting like that was normal.

This was a very typical scene over the course of the 4 days. Some women get together and craft or sight see or cook or shop. While we like to do all these things, we would rather just sit around and shoot the breeze.  I think here, Suzie was giving us a "schpeel" on essential oils and their healing effects. She is pretty amazing in her knowledge.

(Organ Stop Pizza)

Just to illustrate my point, one evening we went to a place called Organ Stop Pizza. It was simply amazing. There is a HUGE pipe organ with all the bells and whistles (literally. I'm pretty sure this is where that saying originates). The organist was amazing! He took requests, anything from Star Wars to Rock music to Classical to Big Band. We requested Michael Jackson's Thriller -- he didn't play it, but I'm pretty sure he could have. Anyway I digress. While this place was totally awesome and amazing, I found myself being impatient to have conversations with my favorite people (it was too loud to say more than, "Pass over that last piece of meat lovers pizza!"). Granted we were only there for a little more than an hour, but that was an hour that we lost valuable "talk time". Do you know what I'm saying to you?

What I did adore though, were these cutie-pies. They danced and danced to the music. They were so cute and fun and enthusiastic, it was contagious. There was even this girl (on the right end) who loved all the dancing so much she photo bombed our picture (this is one of those moments we know we'll have in 25 years, saying, "Now, who is that girl on the end?") It's ok though, we don't mind being envied for our cuteness.

Here's another picture of my cuties, taken at their house after a nightgown fashion show. They wanted to hear and rehear and then hear again, Justin Bieber's "Baby" on my iPhone. They were singing and dancing. Even Meghan who is still tiny, knew the words (granted it doesn't take much to memorize the words, "Baby, Baby, Baby.") They made me miss my little girls, who aren't little anymore.

Despite the temptation to sit around and talk and talk and talk we did drag ourselves out of the house on a few occasions

We went to the Arizona Botanical Gardens. This was a perfect outing because we could stroll around at our own pace and still get in our 25,000 words for the day.

Watch for "the hat". It was supposed to be used so Marsha's scalp didn't get sunburned, but ended up being the strategically placed accessory to hide "baby belly" and "age belly" (sadly it never made it over my miserable chub - just ignore it if you can please, I know it's hard.)

Look at this cute little girl.

and this dude...

and this one...

oh and this one...
(ok he's not THAT important, but  he is cute, none the less)

Whenever someone makes the comment that I look like my sisters, I take that as a total compliment!!

There's got to be at least one funny picture of Mom per trip. Here she is channeling her inner Bono (from the 80's), turned up collar and cool shades.  I actually think she looks cute, but it's still a good laugh.

We also made it into the Butterfly Pavilion. Which of course made my brain explode with 
Brian Regan-isms
Docent: I'll be happy to answer all of your butterfly questions.
Brian: OK? ALL of them? (stretches out long, imaginary list)
Brian Regan: .... does this one like to eat? He does? OK....... care to expound on that at all?

"How was work dear?"
"Don't even get me started. I've had it up to here with those butterflies.
I had this yellow one, landing lightly on flowers...

And this purple one fluttering around and around, LIKE I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE'S UP TO."

Here's some flora we saw in the gardens

(this one was my favorite) 

(even rhubarb)

Other ways we spent our time
Time with cousins 
Laurie Lindsey Donaldson and Kris above
Megan and Shannon below - Megan is Aaron's cousin - she and Laurie are in the same ward

Time with old friends (and Roomates) Sally grew up with us and was one of Kris' good friends. Kris and I both roomed with her at Ricks College.

Time Eating- uh, duh!
This was at a place with a mariachi band - one of my favorite happy things

Time on walks
walking off all the time we spend eating

Time cuddling baby Levi - dang he's cute!

Time in the pool
No strategically placed hats here, just strategically placed nieces.

Levi spent a lot of TIME hiding under his blanket ;)  that's what Miranda thought anyway.

 And TIME...

The thing that makes all this so special is being with people whom I truly love and that I am sealed to forever.  I can't even sit here and write this with out crying my eyes out.  See... I knew this post was going to be a daunting task (hence the 4 weeks it has taken me to get the nerve to start). 
Not only do I get to hang out with these amazing people every once in a while. I am going to get to hang with them for all eternity.  It makes it special to me that places like this (the construction of the Gilbert Temple or the reflecting pool at the Mesa Temple) would be a place any of us would want  to go. It is special to be able to talk openly and freely about such important things. We are of one mind and one heart.  As imperfect as we are (and when I say "we", what I really mean is, "me"), we are all doing our best to raise our children correctly, to build and strengthen our testimonies and to be good, happy, positive, people. 

It meant a lot to me that we could just sit around and chat about things that are so pure and so sacred and no one was offended and no on made light of it (except the conversations we had about funny experiences in the temple - we're allowed to laugh about that right?). It meant a lot to me that everyone feels the same reverence and the same devotion to family and to God and to the temple as me. It was sweet that we could all sit in Sacrament Meeting together, that we could go through the visitor center in Mesa together, that we could feel the spirit of the Lord and feel each other's spirits. 

It means a lot to me that I learn so much from these cool and wonderful people, who are all younger than me -- well except mom. Aren't I supposed to be the one everyone learns from? Aren't I the oldest? But as I clearly learned, being old doesn't give you all the brains and wisdom. 

But on the other hand, age must give you some wisdom, or maybe mom is just a natural at any age. But she spent an afternoon going through an exercise with us about being positive and happy. Many tears were shed and many perspectives gained. Our spirits connected and this was one of the true highlights of the whole trip. 

I'm sorry to be sappy - but I wanted to express how important these people are to me.
These are my people!
This is where I came from! 
 I couldn't be more proud or happy.

Plus what I'm about to say may dispel any gauzy film of Utopia that may be lingering.
Another way I know where I came from is...


When someone suggested that we go get donuts after visiting the Mesa Temple. There was a ripple of joy that traveled through the crowd. Maybe even a cry of Huzzah!! could be heard.

I had been so used to being around Brad who blasts donuts at every chance he gets, for being the worst possible treat for you, because of all the grease and all the sugar and the general empty-caloriedness of them (and he is, with out a doubt, correct) that I just giggled like and idiot when everyone else couldn't get in the cars fast enough to get down the street to said donut establishment. 

Here we are enjoying the spoils. We bought enough for not one, but 2 each (yes, we know how to live on the edge). But even better than the sticky goodness of the maple bar and the creamy innards of the boston cream, was the sweet comfort of knowing from whence I came.
And IT is a good place!