Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gentle Ben Turns 4!

Yes, yes, it's another birthday post! February is just chock full. My little Benjamin turned four years old today. Seems like just yesterday that I was in the delivery room awaiting the arrival of my very first boy! He's such a sweet, gentle little guy. I couldn't ask for a better boy. It seems odd to do such a short list, but since I did it for my sisters, I suppose I can come up with four reasons I love Benjamin Walker Reynolds...

1. He has a GREAT sense of humor. He gets a big kick out of his sisters, and especially his rotten little baby brother (aka "Stitch")

2. I've never seen a 3 (now 4) year old kid who can put a puzzle together the way he can. He's a whiz.

3. He looks like a Precious Moments kid (or so I'm told). I just think he's got the dang cutest face and the most winning smile of anybody around. When he smiles, his whole face lights up.
4. He's absolutely huggable. He never refuses a hug and a kiss from his mommy. I hope he never outgrows that one.

Now, for those of you blog stalkers who have visited Polly's blog and seen her amazing Sponge Bob cupcakes and other such nonsense (uh, I mean "works of art"), don't judge my cupcakes! They were made with love (and tons of butter and powdered sugar). Polly, you know I love your cupcakes to pieces. You've got the best cupcakes on the block, baby. I'm just jealous, that's all.

Your family loves you, Benji boy!

Monday, February 25, 2008

26th Anniversary

Today is a special anniversary. Nope, not the wedding kind. The birthing kind. Little sis number two (the tall dark one), arrived on this earth 26 years ago today. And in keeping with a long-standing birthday tradition (the one I started approximately 20 days ago when I did this for Jenna), I now present 26 reasons we love Alyssa J. Walker, with contributions from her mom and sisters.

1. She is very hygienic - she brushes her teeth every time she eats, even if it's a snack. She carries a toothbrush and toothpaste with her at all times!
2. She is the best babysitter and aunt. She even does the dishes when she watches the boys (for FREE).
3. Go-go gadget arms. Can't reach that cookie jar way up on the high shelf? Never fear. Alyssa's arms are here! (see bowling lanes picture above)
4. She's not afraid to make a spontaneous decision, so long as it's carefully planned and well thought-out.
5. Gets big laughs out of simple things, like our mother falling down on Sunday morning in the church parking lot. Now THAT's funny!
6. Remembers EVERYTHING. (watch out for this one)
7. Incredible vocabulary comprised mostly of lines from movies and television shows.
8. Beautiful brown-eyed brunette.
9. She has an excellent sense of smell - she told us once that she "can smell everything"
10. She is wise beyond her years. She has a very old spirit (yes, that's a compliment)
11. Clumsy, clumsy girl. This makes for great entertainment.
12. She went from the fattest baby ever to, well, have you seen this girl? She's just long! Impressive transformation.
13. She's a healthy eater. Very admirable.
14. Two words: Spiritual giantness.
15. Fantastic sense of humor.
16. Very motivated and focused. She's going for her PhD! Yea for Alyssa!
17. She's always available when someone needs her ("Do you need to go get a pretzel?")
18. Generous. She came home from London with a new wardrobe and loaned out her clothes to us before she had even worn some of them!
19. Served an honorable mission for her church in Chile and speaks fluent Spanish. (wait, that's two things)
20. She is easy to talk to. She is an excellent listener and is very compassionate and gives great advice.
21. She has freakishly long Snow White-like eyelashes.
22. She dates hot guys.
23. Laughs at Jesus videos even when her family is afraid to show them to her. (don't ask)
24. She's got some muscular legs! Being kicked by her feels like you've been kicked by a horse! (don't ask how we know this)
25. Never heard a naughty word come out of her mouth (she's squeaky clean)
26. She makes a kick-ace lasagna (Bethany's word)

Happy Anniversary of the day you were born, Alyssa! We love you! CLICK HERE FOR SOME SWEET BLACKMAIL PHOTOS OF THE YOUNGER, CHUBBIER ALYSSSA

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Schmich on Sunscreen...and Life

I needed to post, for a couple of reasons. One, it was time to move my dead little cupid down a few notches. I have to agree with local Debbie: seeing the cute little cherub lying there lifeless every time I opened the page was beginning to disturb me, for many reasons! Two, I L-O-V-E this column I'm about to post. It was written back in 1997 by a Chicago columnist named Mary Schmich, but was only recently brought to MY attention by a good and thoughtful friend who thought I could use the nuggets of wisdom contained within! And since I think we can ALL use them, I'm sharing. Hope you love it as much as I do. Here goes:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

(end of column)


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Simply Valenterrific!

Awww...poor little Cupid. Does this leave any doubts as to how I truly feel about the Hallmark-contrived holiday known as Valentine's Day? I've never been a big fan of the day, and many of you who know me well can probably guess why! Now, being a 37 year old mom of 4 little kids who's going through a divorce (close your mouth, yes, you read that right), this picture just seemed like the right choice for my V-day blog decor!! HOWEVER, having said this, 2008 is my year to turn over a new leaf. I am bound and determined to make every February 14th, from this year forward, the simply most Valenterrific day of the year! Now, what I really need are some suggestions. I'm waiting...

(p.s. Isn't "Valenterrific" a great word? I kiped it from a dear friend. You can use it if you want, but hurry--you've only got two days left!!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Jenna Jakes turns 28!

Today is my little sis' berfday! Since it's her 28th, here are 28 reasons we love Jenna (a list compiled by her mom and sisters):

1. She is very passionate about life
2. Noooobody can make blog headers like this girl can
3. She makes up funny songs on the guitar, and laughs so hard at her own musical creation that she cries
4. She throws birthday dinner parties for herself, complete with manicottis and chocolate cream pie
5. She dreams of one day having bright blonde hair and driving a brand new black expensive Escalade (can you say Gwen Stefani?)
6. Gets excited about separating the red M&Ms from the pink and white ones
7. She is always willing to go the extra mile, especially where her family is concerned
8. Insists that her twins wear "coordinating" and not "matching" outfits
9. She has dreams about NFL quarterbacks
10. She is thoughtful and looks out for others, especially her family.
11. She's stood topless on top of Tater Hill (it was years ago, people! get over it! and no, Tater Hill is not a euphemism--it's an actual hill near where we grew up)
12. She doesn't forget a song, no matter how many years it's been since she heard it. A dance, too, for that matter. Reference New Kids on the Block medley, "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson, "Teamwork" by Levar Burton & friends and many more I'm sure!
13. A go-getter - she doesn't do anything halfway. It's all or nothing.
14. Nothing is more important to her than being a wife and mother, and she's great at both!
15. She's the only person I know who's ever randomly jumped off of a bridge in Hawaii
16. The girl speaks fluent italian! Come on, that's sexy!
17. Extremely determined. Don't ever tell her she can't do something.
18. No shortage of drama
19. Shares her birthday with the ultimate republican: Ronald Reagan
20. Loves her boys more than anything
21. She's Monica Gellar
22. Great cook because she's not afraid to try something new
23. Cleanest house on the Utah
24. She has THE cutest little bald-headed twin boys you will ever see in your life
25. Two words: Loud Laughter
26. She has a beautiful singing voice--her sisters love singing with her
27. Great head of hair
28. She's got a great sense of style that shows in her wardrobe and her home decor

We could go on and on, but 28 is all you get this year! We love you...Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Meaner They Are, the Harder They Fall

So here's how it happened...
The blue-eyed monster: Uses kid-sized chair to climb up on grown-up sized kitchen chair.
Mother of the year (as she's doing dishes and watching out of the corner of her eye): You'd better get down or you're going to fall. Continues to wash dishes.
The blue-eyed monster: Unintelligible jibberish. Still standing on chair.
Mother of the year: If you don't get down from that chair, you're going to fall and it's going to be bad! More dish-washing.
The blue-eyed monster: Additional unintelligible jibberish followed by CRASH! SPLAT! SCREAM!
Mother of the year: I told you it would be bad!
And if you're not convinced by now that I should be top candidate for Mother of the Year, see below pics, where my 20 month old (yes, that'd be the blue-eyed monster) is brushing his OWN teeth. I assure you he does a very thorough and effective job of it.