Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Jimmer Effect

I was reading an article last week that said that, according to the Social Security Administration, the most popular baby names in 2010 (and 2009) were Jacob and Isabella.  This is being called the Twilight Effect because those are characters in the popular Twilight books.  However, Utah and Idaho don't follow this trend.  For whatever reason, the most popular names in those states were William and Olivia. 

When my sister-in-law recently learned that she is having a boy, she sent an e-mail to the family asking for name suggestions.  I sent her a few, some serious and some not-so-serious.  She wrote back saying she was surprised that Jimmer wasn't at the top of my list.  I laughed and joked that I figured that would go without saying. 

Just like the Twilight gang has a strange effect on people (thankfully I'm not among them), I've seen my share of people completely taken with Jimmer.  We definitely had Jimmer fever here!  So, when we learn the most popular baby names for 2011, I won't be a bit surprised if - at least for Utah and Idaho - Jimmer is on the list! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Memories

When I was six, my family moved from Salt Lake City to Sandy, Utah.  The move put my dad much closer to his job as the manager of a local cemetery.  Cemeteries were never scary places for me.  Sometimes we would go visit my dad at work and my sister and I would roller skate all around the little roads going through the grounds.  Once we even slept overnight because, in my recollection, there was some concern that someone might try to steal or play a prank on the body that was being kept there for a funeral the next day.  My dad brought the hot air popper and a small television and we had a great time. 

Memorial Day weekend was always fun because my sister and I would dress up in our Sunday best and serve punch and cookies to all the visitors.  While that weekend must have been quite difficult for some, what I remember is a lot of happy people visiting with us as we served them their refreshments.  Maybe we brightened their day just a little.  It's a good memory.

ca. 1978
{This photo was taken on Easter - aren't we lovely!? - but knowing me, I probably wore the same yellow crocheted dress that year to serve on Memorial Day.}

Saturday, May 28, 2011

For Your Listening Enjoyment, part 2

Sterling's violin recital was last night. He played "Fiddle Faddle," by Leroy Anderson and did a great job.  He's worked really hard!  Savannah accompanied him (she also accompanied five other students) and also did really well. Jeff wasn't quite ready with the camera when Sterling started so he missed the first few notes. Enjoy this fun piece!

Friday, May 27, 2011

For Your Listening Enjoyment

You'd really be better off to close your eyes for this one.

Savannah performed "Perfect" at her middle school talent show earlier this week.  She really did a great job and I'm anxious for you to hear her.  Be warned, however, that the obviously amateur video is horrid.  Seriously.  I was sitting in exactly the wrong spot.  I tried to move at the beginning to get the microphone stand out of her face, but all I managed to do was video everything but Savannah.  It does get better, but then you have a nice view of a trash can in the background for the rest of it.  Live and learn.  I hope you enjoy this anyway...

In other news, the kids' last day of school was today. There has been much rejoicing at our house. Yippee!! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

16 Years Ago Today

Jeff and I were married on May 26, 1995.  It was a rainy day, much like today.  We were both students at BYU at the time, Jeff had a year left on his Master's Degree and I was finally finishing up my Bachelor's.  Ever practical, we chose Memorial Day weekend so we would only miss one day of school.  We spent the weekend at his grandparents cabin near Sun Valley.

For a quick version of our engagement story, head over here

I'm missing Jeff today.  He flew to Washington DC this morning for a one day whirlwind trip.  He's presenting at a conference then he'll catch another plane and make it home around midnight. 

At Ricks College shortly after we first met - November 1988
Happy Anniversary, babe.  We've had some great adventures in 16 years.  I can't wait to see what the next 16 hold.  Love you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just Picked

Fresh from the garden this morning.  Heaven!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blue Bird

We are loving the blue finches that are coming to our feeder this year.  We rarely see blue ones.  In fact, this is only the 2nd year that I can think of.  I know the photos are not great, but if I were to actually open the door to try to take a picture outside, little blue would fly away.  Through a window is better than nothing.

Little blue bird, you make me happy! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Too Cute!

Molly and Taylor.  Don't you just want to eat their little faces off?  So cute!
I just got this photo from my little sis.  Her girls are SO cute!!  It's been almost a year since we've seen them.  One of my kids didn't even remember their names...or what family they belong to.  Sad!!  We live so far away from everyone.  But we'll be seeing them in July.  We can't wait.  For now, we'll enjoy their cute faces on our refrigerator.  (I love the dimple on Taylor's chin!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not a Moment Too Soon

This is the face of a guy who received the Anchor Award at Seminary Graduation tonight.  That means he:
  • memorized all 25 scripture mastery scriptures
  • Read scriptures for 200 days
  • Memorized the Presidents of the church in order
  • Memorized the Twelve Apostles & First Presidency in order
  • Read the entire Doctrine and Covenants and Joseph Smith History
  • Completed Seminary with at least 80% attendance (actually, Sam had 100%)
  • Did baptisms for the dead at least once during the year
  • Handed out two copies of The Book of Mormon
  • Invited two friends to church activities or meetings
  • spoke in Sacrament Meeting during the school year
  • Participated in a service project
  • (Not to mention the fact that he left the house before 5:30am five days a week to attend Seminary.)
I'm proud of Sam for his accomplishment.  He worked hard to get everything done and he really enjoyed his first year experience.  However, he was a few sections behind in his reading and got a little lazy about keeping up near the end of the year.  So yesterday and today he was in a reading frenzy trying to get done before graduation tonight.  He finished up just in time.  Literally.  I think he actually finished about 2 minutes before the meeting started.

Any suggestions on how to keep this kid from procrastinating will be greatly appreciated!!

{Way to go, Sam!}  :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm In Love

Oh. Yum.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Funny

A pharmacist arrives at work to find a frightened looking man leaning against the wall.

"What's wrong with him?" the pharmacist asks his clerk.

"He wanted cough medicine but I couldn't find any, so I gave him a laxative."

The pharmacist yells, "Laxatives won't cure a cough!"

"Sure they will.  Look at him -- he's afraid to cough."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just Daddy

        When Jeff received his PhD from the Ohio State University in 1999, I joking told Sam and Savannah (age 4 and almost 2 at the time) that they could call him "Doctor Daddy."  One of them quickly replied, "No, he's just daddy."
        Fast forward 12 years.  Jeff just received notice that he's been promoted to Full Professor.  While we are grateful for his professional accomplishments and his students always give him high reviews for his teaching and mentoring, he's still "just daddy."  He works hard at school and then comes home and works hard here.  Right now he's building the kids a tree house.  He's our master landscaper/garage-builder/basement-finisher/bedtime-story-teller/dish-washer/plumber/electrician/car-fixer (I could go on) all rolled into one handsome package.

To this crew, he'll always be "just daddy!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Beautiful Weeds

Usually planted with corn or soybeans, some of the fields on the outskirts of town - for whatever reason - haven't been worked and are covered with these pretty yellow flowers.  I'm sure the farmers are calling them weeds, but to me they look like sunshine covering the ground.  The photos I've taken of the fields haven't turned out so well, so this one - taken when Jeff and the kids went camping last weekend - will have to do.
So pretty!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I needed a quick card to send to some High School graduates.  Here's what I came up with:

The cards are made with their respective school colors (the cap on the first one is a dark green - hard to tell in the picture).  I glued a piece of yellow paper inside the black card so I could write on it.  I don't know what they'll think of the cards, but they'll probably like the green inside them...  ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sit down...Stay awhile

We have benches on our front porch.  They are nothing fancy, but I've always liked them.  They convert from bench to picnic table in seconds.  After at least 10 years, they were in desperate need of a paint job.  Here's what they looked like before (this one is set up in table configuration):

I decided to break out of my safe mode and paint them blue.  What do you think?  I'm liking it so far.

  I love coming home!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday!!  I made you a custom playlist full of songs I remember from when I was little.  I'm not sure if any of these songs were your favorite, but from the albums that we usually listened to, these were some of my favorites - or at least the ones I remember most after all these years.  Back then we listened to them on 8-track tapes or records so we've really come a long way (and that makes me feel really old...but not as old as you!!)

I love you, dad.  I hope you know how much!

Love, Missy

(Update: I don't know where the playlist went, but it included songs like Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell and If I Had a Hammer by Peter, Paul and Mary as well as songs by Kingston Trio, The Singing Nun, The Lettermen and more.)
Looking good!  I must have had something really cool in my pocket...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Favorite Daughter

My 13 year old daughter Savannah is my favorite child. Like, totally dead serious!!! No, this is not her stealing my computer. This is Missy, honestly saying that Savannah is the absolute coolest person on the entire planet!! She is TOTALLY fashionable, and has lotsa friends, and is just plain cool. SO COOL. She makes me very happy which is why I am posting this on my mom's blog. (pretend you didn't see that.) Favorite children like, totally rock!!

The end.  :D

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Funny

An extremely wealthy man was rather disturbed by the fact that he couldn't take any of his hard-earned money with him when he died.  He decided to pray and ask if there was any way an exception could be made for him.  

An angel heard his plea and was able to make the necessary arrangements, but warned him that he would only be allowed one suitcase.

The man considered the situation carefully and decided that the best use of his limited space would be to fill a large suitcase with gold bars. 

When the man finally died, he showed up at the gates of heaven, suitcase in hand.  St. Peter, who was aware of the unique situation, asked the man to open the suitcase to reveal what he couldn't bear to leave behind. 

Upon seeing the gold bars, St. Peter looked up and exclaimed, "You brought pavement?"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thank You Bread

Hooray for great teachers!!  Here is what the kids gave their teachers today as Teacher Appreciation Week winds down: 

The kids signed their name at the bottom of the note and presented the bread, fresh from the oven and still slightly warm, to their teachers.  One of the loaves went to the Kindergarten principal.  This is our last year at that school and he's survived all six of my kids.  I figured he deserves a big pat on the back!  He was so surprised and grateful for the bread that I wonder if he gets much appreciation for all he does.

Only 2 weeks of school to go - and believe me, we can't wait for it to end!! - but looking back, it's been a good year!

{p.s., Teachers love homemade bread.  It was a big hit!}

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jelly Beans and Tolerance

Just thought I'd share this handout Sam used for his devotional on tolerance in Seminary this morning.

The quote was attached to little bags of jelly beans.  I received a similar handout when I was in Seminary forever ago.  Hopefully it will also be memorable for the youth today.  A good lesson for sure!

{Click on the jelly bean graphic to see where I got it.  Too cute!}

Monday, May 9, 2011


We are so fortunate to live in a community that loves musical theater. Our high school puts on top notch productions every spring and it's something we look forward to every year. In 2008, it was The Music Man.   They needed some younger children for a few parts in the play and Sam and Savannah were asked to participate.  They were in 5th and 6th grade at the time and have been hooked ever since.

It was fun to watch Sam in Oklahoma! this year.  I was in this play in Utah when I was 21 so it's long been a favorite of mine.  We've got a fabulous director here in our small town who steps up and does this every year.  I am always so impressed by the quality of her productions and at the amount of musical talent we have in our little high school.

Sam has had rehearsals four nights a week for 7-8 weeks, sometimes up to 4 hours each night.  His character, Cowboy Sam, did some pretty impressive rope tricks during the "Kansas City" number.  He also showed off some fancy dance moves, kicking up his heels with the best of them.  Our family attended Friday night and LOVED it!  Sterling and Sadie have been belting out the songs ever since.  Savannah and I went back on Saturday and enjoyed it every bit as much as the night before.

While it's bittersweet to have it end, it was a great experience for Sam and he and Savannah are looking forward to next year!

(I'm not sure who took the original photos.  Photography was not allowed in the theater, but there was a big display in the hallway with pictures from the show.  These are pictures of those pictures.  Whatever works!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Feel Like I'm 20 Feet Tall

That's how tall Sadie thinks I am -- 20 feet!  And she thinks I weigh 20 pounds.

Here are the cute things I got this morning for Mother's Day:

Sadie's drawing of me.  She told me it looks just like me.
Translation:  My mom is the most wonderful mom in the world!  Her name is Melissa.  She is as pretty as me.  She is 40 years old.  She has blue eyes and brown hair.  She weighs 20 pounds and is 20 feet tall.  Her favorite food is chicken enchiladas.  I think my mom is funny when she tells jokes to me.  I know she is angry when I freak out and the other guys freak out like Sam.  I wouldn't trade my mom for chicken doodle soup.  I love my mom because she is nice to me and she is pretty and funny.  Happy Mother's Day.  Love, Sadie

This one melted my heart:  I love you Mom.  Happy Mother's Day, love Sadie Stowell.  I love you, mom.  I am sorry for freaking out.  I am trying to stop.  Please forgive me.  (Awwww...)  Sadie seriously spent hours on this card.  She worked on it every day.  Can you tell?  I mean, every square inch is colored with little people and hearts, not to mention the very colorful letters.  What a cutie!

Soren came up with all the rhymes for this poem himself.  So clever!
Sterling decorated this cute little purse.  See below for what's inside.

I thought this was so sweet of Spencer to do something completely on his own.  He's such a thoughtful boy.  He even gave me a candy bar to go with it!  (I especially like "If you feel like crap...") 

Jeff created a slideshow and this was the first slide.  It's good to know I am loved more than the Jimmer (barely).

I love my guys. It's been a good day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Birthday List, cont.

Sadie has updated her birthday list

A couple of weeks ago, on the back of her previous list, she picked up right where she left off.  Translation:
"and Despicable Me. and 3 bags of peanut butter cups."

Today's addition (in red) is my favorite:
"and if you don't get me a dog I will cry until I get a dog."  

Looks like Sadie will be getting a box of Kleenex for her birthday!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Funny

A sandwich walks into a bar.  The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve food here."

A horse walks into a bar.  The bartender say, "Why the long face?"

A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you but don't start anything."

A mushroom walks into a bar.  The bartender says, "We don't serve mushrooms."  The mushroom says, "Come on man, I'm a fungi."

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says, "A beer please, and one for the road."

A skeleton walks into a bar and says, "Give me a beer and a mop."

Two men walked into a bar.  The third one ducked.

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teacher Appreciation

We've got a lot of great teachers this year!  While I hope we are consistently letting them know how much we appreciate them, next week is officially "Teacher Appreciation Week" in our district.  I've been busy today making some little treats for the kids to give them at the beginning of the week.  (You can see how to make them here.)

What's inside?  Some of my favorite chocolates, of course!  (Someone has to eat the leftovers...)

I have one other thing in mind for later in the week (I'll post about it then), but I'm always up for new ideas.  What have you done to let the teachers in your life know they are appreciated?  Please share! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rethinking Time

I stumbled upon this video the other day.  I have thought a lot about it and it's caused me to rethink how I spend my time to show what is most important to me.  I thought I'd pass it on:

{I found the video here: bloggerpickles.blogspot.com}

Monday, May 2, 2011

Family Wall Hanging

Several years ago, with some inspiration from my favorite Nativity (left), a friend and I decided to make something similar using our families as the subjects. 

For ours, I drew each of us as stick figures on paper and then, when I had it just how I wanted it, I traced it with a sharpie.  Then I used my light box - a window would also work - to transfer the design onto muslin with a blue quilting pen (water soluble).  I stitched everything in black embroidery floss, soaked out the blue lines, and then painted it with a stencil brush.  Jeff made the frame.  I love how it turned out.  It's one of my favorite decorating items! 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lanterns For Japan

My friend, Jessica, woke up one morning with an idea to raise money for the Japanese earthquake survivors.  She "sold" luminaries (really just collected donations) and then set up 799 luminaries in the image of the Japanese flag on the steps of one of the buildings on campus.  It ended up being a huge project - Savannah and I helped fold the bags one evening for 2 hours and barely made a dent in how much work was left to do.  Jessica's original lighting date was rained out so she held it this past Friday.  We stopped by to see the final display.  This picture doesn't even do it justice.  It was so pretty with all the candles flickering in the bags.  The flag was huge.  It was very impressive and I hope it was worth all the time she put into it.  Way to go, Jessica!