Thursday, January 30, 2014


My mother is amazingly talented when it comes to words. She can make a fantastic poem in the time it takes to toast a piece of bread. She write stories, and plays. Really, I think she could write speeches for the president if called upon.

Some of her talent has trickled down to her daughters. I don't claim to be anywhere near her level, but I have written a few good things in my time. My sister has the talent as well. Both of us just don't use it very often. When Miranda came to visit, she brought along a poem that she wrote a long while ago. While I read, I enjoyed it all over again. When I was a kid, I thought it was cool, but as an adult (I can call myself that, right?), I realized how good it was to be written at such a young age.

Because I am not the best as keeping track of pieces of paper, I figured I would document it here, to preserve it longer. Plus, I thought you would enjoy it as well.


    When the mouse runs, the cat will pursue.
The heat of the chase is a grand site to view.
    Next the cat flees with the dog in pursuit.
In the cat's eyes, the dog's quite a brute.
    Now the wolf howls and the dog's blood runs cold.
He knows that the wolf is an enemy bold.
    She stares at the wolf in a cage, he's in pain.
Her persistant eyes start to drive him insane.
    Now the man comes, his lust to fulfill 
but that's where this pattern of hunting stands still.
    For she takes his hand and wants him as her spouse.
And when he hears this, he will run with the mouse.

                                                            Miranda Dargan

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mambo # 5

A little bit of Robyn in my life. A little bit of Daisy by my side... (Actually, I'm not sure how I feel about that song. But it is stuck in my head right now.)

Let's do some random pictures and a conglomeration of mini posts. Ready, set?

Reflections officially ended with Daisy getting an honorable mention at the next level. I love her little self and her sweet haircut so much.

Remember how I mentioned that puzzle that Pearl does all the time? She still does. It is bigger than she is, but she conquers it daily.

Ivory also put together some dominoes and wanted a picture. Sure, why not?

Before Christmas, some good friends visited from Colorado. It is always fun to reconnect with fun people. Thanks for stopping by Peterson's.

Daisy and Pearl are still thrust together in many situations, simply from their birth order. But they usually get along very well, and sometimes they are downright cute. I think Daisy is tucking in a 'sick' Pearl.

Daisy is her own free spirit. I am pretty amazed with some of the things she comes downstairs wearing for school. Most of the time I let her, because I encourage individuality. (You know...up to a point.)

If you look closely, you will see Daisy has a scab above her lip. For a week straight she came home every day with a new injury. Ice + Daisy = Bandaid Heaven

June's best friend had a birthday. I told June that instead of getting her a gift, we should get her an experience. So, we kidnapped her and took her to the Ropes Course.

June was bounding all over the place. Hannah was a bit more cautious. But I think they both had a good time.

And lastly, I like this picture of Robyn peeking through a doorway. It just seems so warm in there. I think she was trying to hide from the camera. She should know Mom will win that game every time.

I'll be the first to admit that nothing terribly exciting is going on right now. We still laugh and play, and whine, and cry, and giggle, and pout, and draw, and dance, and sing 'Let it go!' at the tops of our voices almost daily. Good times.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Christmas Around the World

In both 2011 and 2012, I had been in charge of the Christmas party as the Relief Society President. I worked very hard to be in charge of something else in 2013, and the Bishop generously put us in charge of Halloween. I was thrilled. Then I moved.

In the new ward, Tyler and I were immediately called as Ward Activity Specialists. I was excited, but that meant that I was, yet again, in charge of Christmas. (Thank you karma.) Clearly I had not learned what I needed to the previous two years. Luckily, we had a great group of people helping us, and the Second Counselor in the bishopric was more support that we could have asked for.

I think it turned out great, although I have no other ward functions with which to compare from this current neighborhood. We did a breakfast, and everyone brought cinnamon rolls. Simple. The decorations were black tablecloths with poinsettias and Hershey kisses. Simple.

Our 'theme' was Christmas Around the World. We had fantastic people help prepare five rooms that everyone visited in turn. There was Scandinavia, Latin America, France, Germany, and America. Tyler made passports, and as people visited a country (room) they would get a stamp in their passport. This activity was so fun, but it only worked because there were so many wonderful, culturally savvy people in the ward willing to share their time. All the rooms were fantastic. (I forgot to take pictures. Typical.)

In the overflow by the cultural hall, I put up nativities donated by the ward.

Visitors could go view them at any time during breakfast or after. There were so many fun ones from all over the world. My favorite was a stained glass set. It has been a long time since I have done any stained glass, but if I ever busted out the old tools, that would be a worthy goal.

We also came back together at the end to sing, but that might have been overkill. I think people were a bit tired and ready to go home. But the singing was beautiful and gave the event nice closure.

The funniest part was that the Sunday after the party, they released both Tyler and myself. Guess they didn't like the Christmas party as much as we thought. I know, I know...they had other callings in mind for us, but it sure seemed like great timing. (Tyler is currently serving as the first counselor in the Young Men and I am serving as second counselor in the Primary.)

And to wrap up all things Christmasy, here are a couple pictures of the Houck's. We had Christmas with them early because they were visiting family on the 25th. We had exchanged names, so they received presents from June and Daisy.

I love how Buckwheat is sitting up on the couch in that last one. Moxy is always so jealous that Buckwheat gets to be on the furniture. Truth: I give preferential treatment to dogs that don't shed.

The Houck's are actually on their way out from our abode. They enjoyed their time here, but have moved forward to the next stage of life, namely a place where they don't have to share a kitchen or be awakened at 6:45 am by piano playing. We wish them the best of luck and will miss them quite a bit.

On the plus side, we will have the house all to ourselves for the first time. I think Tyler and I have almost forgotten how to walk around in our underwear. It shouldn't take us long to relearn our old habits.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Days Are Passing

Anyone noticed that February is on the front porch, knocking rather impatiently? Give me a minute.

These last couple weeks I have been floating along, much like the lazy river. I'm having trouble focusing, or picking a project that best deserves my time. I'm still making sure my ducks are floating in a row beside me, and we have been keeping up on the usual. Check out this fun project that Ivory did. Any guesses on which book she read?

Caps for Sale, in case you have no clue.

I need to drink more water. Sorry, that isn't necessarily related to anything. I've just noticed for a long time that I probably am not well hydrated. I don't feel thirsty or lacking in liquid, but if you are supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day, I am about 6 glasses shy. (I just don't think about it.) It only crosses my mind whilst I am staring at tea* for a really long time, at the store, looking for 'orange' (which they didn't have) and becoming lightheaded. I thought to myself, Pearl would really freak out if I dropped in a dead faint here at the store. Plus, the milk would get warm and I certainly don't want to start this whole shopping trip over again. Maybe I should drink more water. You know, stuff like that.

I still am behind on many a blogging topic, including finishing off Christmas. I don't like any Christmas/December posts to go beyond January, so you can see why I feel like February is breathing down my neck. (Back off, you're supposed to be the month of LOVE.) So maybe I can get motivated this week and really get all my ducks in a row.

Looking back through pictures today, I saw my lame attempts at documenting our time in Idaho right before New Year's. (I like to relax in Idaho, but that also means less pictures.) I got a shot of Pearl stacking the suitcases by the door before departing.

Packing around here is a ritual in itself. There is a master packing list, and each child has their own suitcase. The older children manage the younger ones and 85% of the time, we aren't missing anything. The other 15% of the time, it is usually me who has forgotten my pajamas. (Seriously, why are pajamas so hard to remember?)

In Idaho, we didn't stay for long, but we played with cousins and had a grand time. Tyler took on Kaysen and Hank and beat them at their own game. (I can't tell you what it was called or how it was played, but it looked cool and very confusing.)

Lots of UNO was played, because that seemed the easiest way to win a game and gain a prize. (Grandma had the bag o' prizes which gets a little stranger every year.)

Everyone had a good time. Seriously.

We sure love visiting the crew in Idaho. It's a great time. Every time. (I figure I have another year until KJ outgrows me. Those boys are like magic beans. They shoot right up.)

*No, I don't drink tea. I found this recipe for spicy bread pudding using dried apricots and cherries and the flavor from orange tea. Now that I can't find any orange tea, any suggestions for how to flavor the dish?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vintage Stallion

Tyler actually forgot how old he was turning this year, and when the kids reminded him he was 36, he was pleasantly surprised to have a year back that he almost skipped over. Nothing like gaining a year of life instantaneously.

His birthday fell on the holiday this year, so you would think he would have it off from work. Nope. But that makes it all the easier to take things to his work and embarrass him. (Whatever, it is really hard to embarrass Tyler. He likes almost all attention, negative or otherwise.)

He was actually up quite early to get to work. He always looks so good in the morning. (Balloon compliments of June.)

 Most of the kiddos managed to get up to see him out the door. They had made quite a few cards for him the day before. The mantel was covered.

There were sweet cards and a few funny ones.

(Outside) When this magical birthday card is opened, the fairy of youth flies out, and makes you look ten years younger. (Inside) Kinda makes you wish I hadn't opened it first in the store, huh?

At a more reasonable hour, the girls and I joined him at work. We made up some questions about Tyler so everyone could get to know him better. We put them in balloons and then coworkers (and the kids) popped them in turn. If the individual answered the question correctly, they were thrown a Twix. If not, someone else could steal the question and candy. It was a lot of fun.

I made Tyler a cake this year. If he asks for cake, it is always the same kind: German Chocolate. I try to mix it up and try new recipes. This year, I made everything from scratch. The frosting was A. MAZE. ING. The cake was the perfect compliment, but I felt rather deceived by the instructions. I was told to dust the baking pans with cocoa instead of flour to give it a nice color, but the cake layers stuck in the pans. I managed to piece it all together to make it presentable. And I can honestly say it is one of the best German Chocolate cakes I have ever had.

In the evening, Tyler came home and he made the most stupendous kebabs. (Funny, he didn't seem to mind cooking on his birthday.) So delicious. Pearl was having anxiety because she just wanted Tyler to open his presents. She had waited patiently all day. We got him some art supplies, because he has been drawing more. One of these days I need to put some sketches on here.

Pearl was also the one who put candles on the cake. I think she was planning to load that thing up, but she was only at 11 when I caught her. Hence why they are all in a nice grouping. I'm sure they are easier to blow out that way.

Finally, Ivory very generously offered to let Dad pull out her tooth. (Her own special gift to him.)

But the darn thing wasn't quite ready. (She pulled it out herself the next day at recess.)

And so another month of January birthdays are used up. I think Tyler and I feel that each birthday gets sweeter with all these girls who love on us. Happy Birthday Stallion!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Laser Tag

We met on Friday to carry out the largest Laser Tag Birthday Extravaganza yet! We had 17 players, which made for a pretty good game.

It was Caleb, who had been practicing all week with lunges at his desk, who came home the overall winner. He served up 89 kills, which is impressive by anyone's standard! I'd have to check, but I believe that's the record for most kills in one of our sessions! He also had the best accuracy, landing nearly 1 in 10 shots (8.75%)

Dorel was the people-choice "Most Improved" player since last year since he managed to shoot 29,360% more than he did last year (yes, he only managed to fire his laser 5 times last year).

There were a few first-timers among us including Suzy Iverson (Caleb's wife), Lisa Patterson, and Adam Johnson.

I couldn't help assigning a few titles based on the results of the laser tag match:

  • Doug was the most "Trigger Happy" with 1750 shots
  • Lisa was "Immortal" with only 14 deaths (the next best is 23 deaths)
  • Brett was the "Ammo Conservationist" firing a mere 534 shots
  • Paco earned the "Most Killed" distinction
  • Tyler got the "Best Kill / Death Ratio" at 2.28
Here's the tabular data, sorted by rank.

Num Team Player Rank Shots Accuracy Given Taken K:D
20 Red Caleb 1 1017 8.75 89 45 1.98
22 Red Tyler 2 1415 4.88 69 29 2.38
2 Green Ron 3 987 6.18 61 39 1.56
11 Green Matt 4 1181 4.74 56 35 1.60
8 Green Dan 5 1168 3.94 57 45 1.27
9 Green Maleen 6 1275 3.84 49 45 1.09
34 Red Adam 7 867 6.57 46 37 1.24
30 Red Suzy 8 626 7.35 46 45 1.02
15 Green William 9 701 4.85 34 40 0.85
26 Red Brett 10 534 6.18 33 40 0.83
12 Green Jeff 11 942 2.23 21 28 0.75
17 Green Doug 12 1750 1.14 20 35 0.57
13 Green Lisa 13 823 1.46 12 14 0.86
23 Red Langi 14 931 1.93 18 45 0.40
28 Red Arthur 15 1749 0.74 13 23 0.57
33 Red Paco 16 937 1.49 14 55 0.25
5 Green Dorel 17 1473 0.61 9 47 0.19

And here are the actual sheets in no particular order. Red team included Adam, Arthur, Brett, Caleb, Langi, Paco, Suzy, and Tyler.

 On the Green team, we had Dan, Dorel, Doug, Jeff, Lisa, Maleen, Matt, Ron, and William:

And the final note is that Red beat Green in an extremely close match. It was 328 to 319. Just two minutes before the end of the match, the score stood dead even at 312 to 312. It was probably an epic push led by the Stallion that pulled the victory back to the red side, but those details have been lost in history.

It is duly noted that Maleen was not the victor this time. When interviewed regarding the podium, Maleen did not seem to feel that her game had declined. "If anything," she said, "the others are just starting to hit their stride. Finally there's some competition." 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Half Way to 70

You know you are old when you have to buy more than one box of candles to put on your cake. Luckily, I am not up to three boxes yet, but the actual chances of loading up a cake with over 48 candles are slim anyway based on the surface area of most cakes.

My birthday was yesterday. It was a good day. Lots of sunshine. You could hardly tell it was January. Except that it is most definitely still January. January has a way of making itself felt. In other ways besides weather.

I was up bright and early. My sweet family brought me breakfast in bed. Actually, they brought me THREE breakfasts in bed. I'm still not sure if they couldn't agree what to make, or if they figured I am ultra hungry at 6:30am. (Hard to see, but there were pancakes with syrup, a gourmet omelet complete with diced tomato on top, a yogurt parfait with granola and fruit, and a side of toast in case I got peckish. Next year I vote they spend the extra time folding laundry and then bring me a bowl of cereal.)

The girls made me lovely cards. They were all so sweet. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Robyn's terrible spelling. I make fun of her all the time, but I think it is adorable. My favorite lines from her card were, thank you For everything Aspesily the food on the table and THanks alot For being Yoself. She made me this really cute design.

We didn't do a lot of presents this year since we are saving money to buy furniture (maybe). But Dad did spring for a little something. It came in the mail the day before and he wrapped it and wrote 'Very Fragile' on it. (Although if it came in the mail, it couldn't be that fragile.)

While my parents visited at Christmas, we played our usual card games. Many of the children are old enough to understand rules and participate now. We have been playing a lot of cards since then, and some of our decks are missing cards now (go figure). Two decks are especially important to me. My grandmother gave me cards with my name on them when I was young. I DON'T let the kids play with those decks. They ask, but the answer is always 'no', unless we are all playing together. I guess Tyler decided it was time to make another memorable deck.

So, the gift wasn't as fragile as described, but it was pretty darn awesome. Cards, designed by CazierTM.

They are still a bit stiff, but we will break them in quickly.

June also brought me home a biter. She has been making these triangle paper things for years now. We call them 'biters' because you put your fingers in one side and you can open and close them much like a small mouth. This personal one came with a poem just for me.

To: Mom
From: June

I am a Biter,
But I'm a special one.
I only bite people
Who I love.

So let me nip you,
Let me bite on your thumb.
And always know
It's you who I love.

I finished the day off by ordering pizza since I didn't want to cook. (My right as birthday girl.) But I did make my own cake. Officially the ugliest cake known to man. Really atrocious. It was a lemon blackberry cake. In my mind, I was imagining this bright yellow cake with beautiful purple swirls through it. Not so much. The recipe calls for you to mix the pie filling into the cake mix. It turned this really ugly brown color. And the mix didn't incorporate so well, so there were lots of little lumps of yellow powder throughout. I pulled it out of the oven and winced. If you were expecting a chocolate cake, no problem...but lemon blackberry?? So I covered it in candles so you could hardly see it.

Naturally, my small lung capacity was no match for 35 candles. I won't be getting my wish this year.

The good news is that the cake was actually really tasty. And super moist. If you can just get past the odd/wrong color, it is not too bad.

And so goes another birthday. Another year under my belt. All moving parts still seem to be in working order. (Minus the occasional back outage.) Here's hoping 35 is a smooth year.