My Family

My Family

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Michael!

It's my son, Michael's, 19th birthday today. He isn't here with me, he's at college. I'm missing him lots, so I thought I'd blog about him today. Michael was the only one of my kids born in Morristown NJ. He has always had "ants in his pants" - he can't hold still for even 1 minute. It's pretty funny. When he was a baby, we had to put him in a high chair across the room because he would throw food at us. Michael didn't really talk until he was around 3 - Grant talked for him. He just started talking in sentences one day! Words that Michael came up with: Hobone (hobo), elbone (elbow), Batman bedones (Batman Returns).

Grant said that when they were little and shared a room, he could always get Michael to have uncontrollable hiccups by making him laugh hysterically. Then he would start laughing too, and then Dad would come in and get mad. They would do it again, quietly, after he left.

When Michael was young, he thought there were monsters in the closet, so we had to make "monster spray" (we covered a can of air freshener with black construction paper and wrote Monster Spray on it), and then sprayed the closet with it. It worked!

Last year at the cancer walk (it was on the track of a local high school), Michael (who was 18) and his younger brother Alex and cousin TJ disappeared. We couldn't find them anywhere. We looked for hours. We finally reported them missing to the police department. Then they just magically appeared! I asked them where they had gone, but they would only say that they had been "around". Well, a few months ago, I learned the truth. They decided they wanted to tour the high school (it was late at night) and so they went up on the roof and found some kind of skylight and broke into the school. Seriously. (???!!!!!) They went to the principal's office and got a map of the school. Michael didn't just want to take it, so he used the copy machine in the front office and made a copy. I'm one of those moms who believes that her kids are really good kids. They would never do anything naughty. Yeah, right! I know there have been other episodes like this, but I don't really want to think about it right now.

Michael is always concerned about his friends. He has a soft heart and always wants to help. He is always the center of the party - he gathers people together and helps them have fun.

Michael is so much like his dad. He loves to figure out how things work. He takes things apart. I can always count on him to figure out what's going on with my computer.

Michael's Favorites:
FOOD - Chinese
BOOKS - Ender Series, Battlefield Earth, Harry Potter Series
DRINK - Cherry Coke
MOVIE - The Prestige
TV SHOW - Important Things by Demitri Martin
GIRL - Ashley Yoshikawa
SCRIPTURE - Book of Mormon
JOB - Dominoes Pizza Delivery Man
CITY - New York City

Michael is brilliant! He wants to do something in the medical field, but doesn't know what. He is currently studying for his last final - tomorrow he will be done with his first year of college. He is headed home to work for a year, to earn money to pay for his LDS mission.

A few words that describe Michael: kind, smart, funny, sincere, obedient, happy, friendly, spiritual, handsome, tall, talented, dedicated.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Michael:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dream Dinners Reunion

I used to work at a place called Dream Dinners. I worked with a bunch of great women. We really had fun and it was probably my favorite job up to that point. It's been over a year since I've seen most of these girls and today we met at a buffet and caught up on our lives. A great big SHOUT OUT to all of my Dream Dinners buddies. It was fun seeing everyone. So much has changed in the last year, and yet it seemed like no time at all has passed. Someone suggested we get together once a year - girls, that's way too long between visits. I say we do this 3 or 4 times a year!

As I drove home this afternoon, I thought about the different groups of friends that I have - those I've known forever and kept in touch with, and I'm so grateful for good friendships. There is the group of high school friends that Rick and I get together with every quarter (Hi, Morrells, Klunks and Hogans!), our best friends that we go on dates with (that's you, Spears and Larsens), my bookclub friends (Hi girls), the group of missionary moms that I keep in touch with through email (Go MMJapan!), my Cherish Bound friends, who've come to mean so much to me (Find, Capture and Share!), and of course, all of those people we've met all over the country through our travels (thanks to Facebook, we are connecting again). Friendships are so important to me. I'm the one in a group that tries to stay in touch - I hate losing touch of people that I love. I'm one of those people who sends out 5 tons of Christmas cards every year, even though I only get about 1 ton back. I'm just afraid that I'll lose touch with someone.

I believe friendships are essential in our lives. Friendships make our lives meaningful. I hope I'm as good of a friend as those in my life. Abraham Lincoln once said: "The better part of one's life consists of his friendships." To all of my friends... one of the BEST parts of my life - mmmmwwwwaaaaaaa! Love ya'll!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring is Finally Here!

During my trip to Arizona last week, I realized that spring is finally here. There were flowers on all of the cactus plants! I've never been to Arizona is the spring, so imagine my surprise at seeing these ugly prickly plants bloom and become beautiful. That's kind of the way I feel right now. I've lost my hair, my good complexion, my pretty hands and nails, but now things are starting to come back. I kind of feel like one of those springtime cactus plants. One of the reasons I love springtime is that so many things are blooming and becoming so beautiful. It's nice to have my cancer-free body start to bloom again too. Here a some of the pictures we took of those incredible prickly blooms...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tulip Festival

Today I went to the Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival in Lehi, Utah. I've lived here for 8, almost 9, years, and I've never been to this festival. There are hundreds of thousands of tulips on display. It was even more enjoyable, because I went with a friend from work, Shantel, and one of our Cherish Bound consultants, Vicky Lamb and her husband, Randy. My son Grant came along as well. I'm going to post some of the pictures that Grant took here. He told me he snapped around 200 pictures (so I was expecting to have pictures of everything), but like all photographers, he deleted probably 150 of them that weren't to his liking. Unfortunately, he didn't bring his D50, so he used mine. Bummer - I probably would have had way more pictures to share had I taken them. That's ok, though. The pictures he did take (and keep) are quite lovely. Here are some of the incredible things we saw...

I've lived near some awe-inspiring sights in my life. And I've tried to take the time to visit those sights. I've been to Washington D.C. (with all of the museums/statues/buildings that are so familiar), Ashville, NC (with the largest privately owned home - Biltmore House), Gettysburg, PA (with the heart-wrenching graveyards), Lancaster, PA (with all that gorgeous farmland and those Amish homes), New York City, NY (with things like the Statue of Liberty, the Twin Towers, Times Squares, etc.) and I could go on and on. Sometimes, when you lived near something like these gardens at Thanksgiving Point, you never quite make it out the door to visit. It's a shame, because Utah has many beautiful parts. I've lived here most of my life and I guess I've never realized how pretty it is. Except for the mountains - the one thing that I missed so much when I moved away. When we sing "Purple mountains majesty" - that's my home. We live in a very beautiful area. Right under those Rocky Mountains, actually.

This picture is looking right outside of my front door! BEAUTIFUL.

I really need to take the time to stop and enjoy what is around me more than I do. What's around you? Go and visit!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lake Havasu Show Offs

This week I was traveling home from Arizona with my sister, Kris, and we went through a town called Lake Havasu. We started noticing some really nice boats and soon it became obvious that something must be happening - a boat show, or races, or something. So, we went down to the pier and talked to some people, who told us that the Desert Storm Boat Races were happening in 2 days. We snapped a bunch of pictures and then headed toward Las Vegas and home. At first we loved the boats, we thought they were amazing. But, then, after seeing the people on display - there were topless women and families with young kids, all within a few hundred feet of each other - we started to discuss what a ridiculous amount of money and greed and vanity was on display in Lake Havasu. Quite unbelievable. When you've gone through some of the things I've gone through this last year - a life threatening illness, trouble with finances, having to pay for college and a mission, etc. - you realize how stupid it is for people to think that something like having the greatest boat around is important. Silly, really. I'm grateful that my life doesn't consist of just sitting around on a Thursday afternoon (don't these people have jobs?!) and drinking and partying and showing off. Here some of the pictures we took - you'll see what I mean...

Get a life!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On Vacation...

I won't be blogging for the next week most likely. I'm going to Arizona to see my grandmother and she does not have internet access (no surprise there, right?). My sis, Kris, is with me, and we've got Ellie, my niece, here too. I'll try to check in sometime this week.

I just updated the look of my cancer blog. Go check it out and let me know if you like it. Also, I've added a button to this blog about the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Salt Lake City, UT. I won't be able to make it this year (my reconstructive surgery is 8 days before, so I'll be down and out), but I'd love it if any of you could make it. I'll be there next year for sure, so plan on coming with me.

Also, on my cancer blog, I've got a breast cancer button that you can click on - this takes you to a site where you can click on a button and help give a woman a free mammogram. It's free - and important - so click on it every time you visit my blog, please.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Graduation Memories

For those of you who have kids graduating - from high school or college - now is the time to get started on their graduation book. You won't want to miss any of those great memories they are making right now, during the last few months of school. Prom, Senior Night, Concerts, Graduation, Senior Trips, etc. There are so many moments to record.

I didn't know about Cherish Bound when my oldest son, Grant, graduated from high school, so he only has a few pictures. (I'm NOT a scrapbooker). Luckily, I found Cherish Bound before my next son, Michael, graduated. I had a great time putting his book together. The first thing I did was his graduation pictures. You can either pay a ridiculous amount of money for one of the professional photo packages, OR you can take them yourself. All you need is a camera, an imagination, a graduate, and a nice place - like a park. I paid someone to do Grant's photos for graduation, but I did Michael's myself. I even took one of his friends, Stuart, to the park and did his pictures too. Here are a few of the great pics I took (if I do say so myself)...

Easy Peasy!! Right? I did change a few of the pictures - to sepia and black and white, etc., using Photoshop.
Instead of paying for expensive announcements, my friend, Carol, helped me Photoshop/InDesign some of my own. I won't say easy peasy here, because it wasn't easy - not for me - but for Carol, who is very talented, it was! We just used 5 of the photos I took and made this great announcement:

So, once that's done, you have them printed (mine were 5x7) and find some nice envelopes and send them out.

Your next photo session will be when you get the cap and gown - a few days before graduation. Make some time to take your graduate to another nice park for more pictures. (see above - Michael's pictures were taken on two different days). Here's one of my favorite photos from the cap and gown shoot I did:

Now, even though you might like this nice graduation book to be a gift on the day of graduation, you can't make it without the actual grad pics, so chill out and take tons of pictures (you might even want to wait until your son/daughter gets back from their senior trip and include those pics) and then work on the book after all the hullabaloo is over. You don't want to be without pics of the actual graduation, right?

Michael didn't really care about recording (in words) all of the fun things that happened during those last few months of school, so his graduation book had mostly pictures. I looked for great graduation quotes and added them here and there throughout the book. I also typed up an essay that Michael did his Senior year - what he had learned in each grade (Kindergarten through 12th grade). This was priceless. You can add anything you want into this book. Here is the cover - I Photoshopped one of the pictures that I took (I made it look like a watercolor - which took just one click of a button).

Michael loved the book! In fact, as a graduation gift for his two best friends, we put together a small graduation book for each of them as well!

And now that you have an idea for sharing those graduation memories, you can go back and do a book for each of your kids - just like I'm going to do for Grant. Here are a few of the fun pictures I'll use in his book:

You can even add some cute little boy pictures to start your book with:

I actually made a small "Graduates" book for me - with both Grant's and Michael's graduation pics. This cute picture was on the back of the book.

Don't forget - Cherish Bound stores your books, so any time you want a copy, just go online and order one. These graduation books are lovely gifts for grandparents, too!

Cherish Bound makes capturing and sharing important memories so easy. Good luck with your graduation books. Email me if you want a list of quotes you can use for graduation, or any other ideas.

Cherish Bound - Simply Sharing Stories...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fun Friday Tips - April 10th

It's time again for Fun Friday Tips. I love Fridays! Work is over, school is out, kids come home to visit, etc. So here are the tips for this week:


"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have."
Ronald Reagan


Q: How often and how long do I need to work out?
A: To ensure you continue to progress and avoid the dreaded plateau, follow the FITT Principle when you plan your workouts. FITT stands for:
FREQUENCY - How often you work out
INTENSITY - How hard you work out
TIME - How long you work out
TYPE - What kind of exercise you do

Your body adapts to an exercise program after a period of time. Keep it challenging by changing one or more of the FITT elements.

How to Remove Candle Wax, By Susan M. Keenan

I was excited when I found the instructions on how to remove candle wax. Rick blew out one of my candles a while ago, and it splattered everywhere! It went all over the candle holder, the furniture, the floor. So, if you've had a similar problem, here are the instructions...

Wax drippings can be removed almost as easily as they accumulate. Depending on the surface type and the location of the wax dripping, different methods can prove successful for the removal of candle wax. Several easy to follow sets of instructions are offered here. Simply select the appropriate one for your needs.

Tablecloths, Cloth Napkins, and Placemats

Once wax has dried onto a tablecloth, cloth napkin, or placemat, several steps are required to remove it properly and completely. The first thing to do is to apply an ice cube or ice pack to the wax. This will make the wax brittle, allowing you to scrape off what you can. Use a credit card or a thin butter knife to gently scrape away as much of the wax as you can. Never use a regular dull knife that has serrated edges since this may damage the cloth.

Once you have carefully removed as much of the wax as you can, it will be necessary to get your iron and a few clean paper bags. Place one paper bag underneath the cloth while you set the iron to heat on a medium to medium high level, depending on the fabric. Place a second paper bag on top of the wax.

Gently iron the area until the wax has been transferred to the paper bag. Throw the paper bag with the wax residue into the trash once it has cooled. Repeat the process with another paper bag until all of the wax has been removed.

Unfortunately, if the wax came from colored candles, a stain may appear on your tablecloth, napkin, or placemat. If this is the case, pre-treat the stain and follow the laundering instructions for the tablecloth, napkin, or placemat. For the best results, launder the soiled fabric as soon as possible.

Wooden Furniture

Occasionally, the wax from our brightly colored candles drips onto our furniture, especially our wooden buffets, bookcases, and tables. In order to remove the wax drippings, simply apply an ice cube or ice pack to the wax to harden it. Gently scrape off as much wax as you can with a plastic credit card or other nonabrasive item such as a thin, dull butter knife or a smooth, plastic ruler.

Some of the wax residue may remain on the wooden furniture, especially if you have been extremely careful not to scratch the surface of your furniture. Simply use a soft, clean cloth and apply a bit of cream furniture wax to the area. Rub gently and remove the remainder of the wax residue.

Carpets and Upholstery

Candle wax often finds its way onto our carpets, area rugs, or upholstery. How this happens is no real mystery, as many people move the candles while they are still lit. Additionally, people sometimes forget to allow the wax drippings to cool before moving a candle once its flame has been extinguished.

If this happens to you, simply freeze the wax with an ice cube or ice pack. You can also use a commercial product that is designed to freeze wax on carpeting or upholstery. Once the wax is frozen, use a clean, blunt object to shatter the wax. Immediately pick up or vacuum the pieces of wax from the area. If you wait too long and the pieces soften, then you will need to refreeze them.

Glass Votive Holders

The best thing to do with glass votive holders is to prevent the wax buildup in the first place. If you place a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the glass votive prior to placing the candle inside, it should prevent the wax from sticking to the votive.

However, once you have wax stuck to the votive, you should clear a small area in the freezer and gently secure the votive inside to freeze the wax. Allow the votive to sit inside the freezer for several hours to ensure that the wax freezes. After several hours have passed, attempt to pry the wax loose carefully with a dull knife, preferably a butter knife.

The wax should easily become dislodged. Any remaining wax residue can be removed by washing the glass votive in a solution of hot, soapy water.


This is a yummy treat that Michael's girlfriend, Ashley, made for us last weekend. I'm not sure what it is called, so feel free to figure out a name for it!

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 stick of butter
Bring to rolling boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla. Pour over 2 bags (about 25 oz.) of Bugles. Stir and enjoy. :-)

Here is one of my favorites songs - from the 2nd Narnia movie, Prince Caspian. I love Regina Spektor's voice. It's called "The Call". If you'd like to listen to it, scroll down the left side of my blog until you get to the music player.

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Citizens! Your Emporer, Trent Trendycrest, demands your attention!

It's been awhile since I last posted, because I had a surgery done. I'm back home now, so back to blogging. I'm glad it's book review day. Hmmmmm. What book should I review? So many books, so little time....

Oh, I know! Here is a wonderful book - a story you'll no doubt recognize, but done in a completely different way. The Emperor's New Clothes - An All-Star Illustrated Retelling of the Classic Fairy Tale.

This book was done as a benefit for the Starbright Foundation. Here are the things I love about this book:

1. It's told by several different very famous people: Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford & Melissa Mathison, Angela Lansbury, Nathan Lane, Jason Alexander, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Madonna, Carrie Fisher & Penny Marshall, Melissa Joan Hart, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jeff Goldblum, Dan Aykroyd, Robin Williams, Geena Davis, Calvin Klein, Rosie O'Donnell, Fran Drescher, Joan Rivers, Steven Spielberg, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, and John Lithgow! WOW!

2. When I say "told by", it's true. The story is recorded by the above celebrities on a CD that comes with the book. You can just listen and turn the pages. LOVE IT!

3. It's illustrated by several different very famous people: Quentin Blake, Maurice Sendak, Peter de Seve, Etienne Delessert, C. F. Payne, Mark Teague, Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher, Daniel Adel, Carter Goodrich, S. Saelig Gallagher, Gary Kelley, David Christiana, Chris Van Allsburg, Berkeley Breathed, Kinuko Y. Craft, Steven Kellogg, Tomie dePaola, Michael Parashevas, Fred Marcellino, Don Wood, Graeme Base, and William Joyce. That list includes many of my family's favorite illustrators.

So, to give you an idea of how each of these famous people play a part in this wonderful book...

The story is told by a moth, illustrated by Quentin Blake. Each character in the story is played by a famous person and illustrated by a famous person: i.e. The Imperial Prime Minister, as told by Liam Neeson and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The Weaver Thieves, as told by Harrison Ford & Melissa Mathison and illustrated by Peter de Seve. Etc., etc. This is such a clever way to tell a story. I can't wait to turn the next page and listen to hear who is next going to chime in with part of the story. It's a very fun book to share with your kids.
(This is the paperbound cover)
Here are some of the inside pages...
The Emporer as told by John Lithgow and Illustrated by William Joyce

The Empress as told by Madonna and illustrated by Daniel Adel

The Dresser's Spectacles as told by Jason Alexander and illustrated by Mark Teague

You can go to and find this book in Hardbound or Paperback. It's definitely worth getting for your library.

FYI: The Starbright Foundation benefits seriously ill children. The proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the Starbright Foundation. From the chairman, Steven Spielberg: "Most children in hospitals are scared. I've found that they desperately want to know what's happening to them. Helping kids find answers to their questions about disease and giving them creative ways to cope with the challenges of serious illness if what Starbright is all about." All 23 celebrities and 23 acclaimed illustrators donated their time and creativity to help produce this book.

To learn more about the Starbright Foundation, go to OR contact The STARBRIGHT Foundation, 1990 South Bundy Drive, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90025, 1-800-315-2580.

(This information came from the inside the book)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Runny Babbit Rook Beview

Have you seen the book, Runny Babbit - A Billy Sook, by Shel Silverstein? It's adorable, and the perfect book to give kids of any age in their Easter basket.

I gave this book to my son, Matthew, a few years ago. A typical Shel Silverstein book, it's full of fun rhymes and black and white sketches.

There are cute characters, too: Millie Woose, Snerry Jake, Toe Jurtle, Wormy Squirm, Goctor Doose, Bumping Jean, and Skertie Gunk.

This book was completed prior to Shel Silverstein's death in 1999 - it was a work in progress for over twenty years. It was printed in 2005.

Here's a quote from the pirst fage:

Way down in the green woods
Where the animals all play,
They do things and they say things
In a different sort of way -
Instead of sayin' "purple hat",
They all say "hurple pat".
Instead of sayin' "feed the cat",
They just say "ceed the fat".
So if you say, "Let's bead a rook
That's billy as can se,"
You're talkin' Runny Babbit talk,
Just like mim and he.

This is such a fun book to read out loud to your kids - you'll all laugh so hard, that you'll snort. I promise! Run right out and buy it NOW!

Ploppy Sig, Gillip Phiraffe, Rirty Dat, Calley At and Kittle Litten, Flutterby, Batty Meaver, and Franny Fog will all thank you. ;-)

Bood-gye...Nor Fow...

My Cancer Journey Has Moved...

I've decided to make a new blog for the sole purpose of recording my cancer journey.

I wanted a dedicated place to blog about cancer and also list other cancer blogs and websites, books, and information.

I will no longer be blogging on My Story Moments about the cancer. I've moved all of my cancer posts over to the new blog and taken them off of this blog.

If you'd like to follow my cancer journey, please visit the new blog at:

I hope you'll continue to follow this blog as well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday - My Beautiful Babies...

We watched home movies the other night and now I'm, once again, missing those adorable little boys:

Grant (currently, age 21)

Michael (currently 18, almost 19)

Alex (currently 14, almost 15)

Matthew (currently 12)
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My Gorgeous Boys

My Gorgeous Boys