Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cousins Rock!

While we were in Utah, Stellan got to play with his cousins. He hadn't seen them since he was six months old, so the concept was new and wonderful to him. They had lots of fun toys and backyards (did I mention Stellan loves yards?), dogs and energy to spare. It was so fun to hear the laughter spilling out of a crowd of cousins, and we all did OK with the occasional pushes, toy stealing and tantrums. They even gave Stellan a birthday party! (He'll be two soon.) Stellan hit it off particularly well with Jocelyn, who is two months older than him.
I ended up taking hundreds of photos of these adorable cousins, but I have managed to keep the posting to a minimum. (If you are one of those relative-types who wants to see more than this slideshow has to offer, I've posted 40 or so here.) The video will give you an idea of just how much giggling there was. Thanks again to all the cousins - and aunts and uncles - who made these good times possible!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Surprise Trip To Utah

With Kevin away, Stellan and I decided to visit his family in Utah. I'm really lucky to have super great in-laws who will let us come and play even without their son. We spent lots of time in the backyard (yards are a rare treat for Stellan), playing with the dogs and of course being spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa.

We did manage to squeeze in a couple of other things between play sessions and fetch sessions. We went to Wheeler* Farm:

We also got to go to the open house of the Oquirrh Mountain LDS temple:

We had a very nice and relaxing weekend. Thanks again, Mom and Dad!

*Much to my dismay, there were no Wheelers at the farm. I looked for you, D, I really did!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kevin Goes To Camp

Kevin returned from Scout Camp bruised, battered and shorn, but happy. He had a great time with the boys and even did some astronomy with them. (I sent him with a star chart and green laser pointer in case the opportunity presented itself.) Here are a few photos for you to enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Penthouse Girl

(I just knew the title would get you read this entry!)

As you may know, dear readers, I spent my freshman year of college at Brigham Young University. After that year, I decided to continue my education at a different institution of higher learning. While there are many memorable things that happened in that one year, perhaps the most important is how I was adopted in the Penthouse Girls club.

You know those girls who always seem to have fun? The kind of fun that's just on the brink of troublemaking? Those were the girls on the 7th floor of T Hall (a BYU dorm building) that year. I lived on the 6th floor for the first semester, where I met those girls and noticed that they were not just the life of the party, they were the party. I was moved up to the 7th floor my second semester and couldn't help avoiding those girls, not that I wanted to. They called themselves the Penthouse Girls because the building only had 7 floors, and just being around them made life exciting and fun.

Freshman year is perhaps the best time of your life for reinventing yourself. No one knows you, and they are all so busy reinventing themselves that you have some time and some leeway in trying to determine who you are going to become. I took full advantage of this; I was a very quiet and nerdy high school student, pretty sure that no one who was cool would want to even look my way. But in college, the Penthouse Girls didn't know that. So I spent more and more time with them.

I loved listening to Kristen's "song of the week," as I called it. (She would become obsessed with a song and listen to it nonstop for about a week before she moved on to the next one.) She also got me excited about ballroom dancing (as a spectator, not a participant). Lindsey (AKA Line-sey) was so funny I still smile thinking about her. Carrie was smarter than just about anyone I've ever known but still totally cool and fun. Erin was my SoCal homey and was happy to help me assimilate myself into the group. Johanna and JJ were BFFs from before college and were always ready to encourage craziness to ensue. Jaime had that knowing twinkle in her eyes and was quick to jump in with a funny retort. Mia was goofy and big hearted with a bright smile to match. I could go on and on, but unless you're one of them, descriptions of old friends can get tedious.

We had some good times; I have fond memories of Gloria Gayner dance parties at 2:30 AM, dropping water balloons (and rubber gloves when we didn't have balloons) on expelled lobby lovers (a term that merits its own post though I make no promises), 3-D puzzles instead of studying for finals, and a particularly awesome road trip to Vegas. (If any of you girls are reading this, I still have and sometimes wear my blue fisherman hat.)

Although I moved away from BYU after that year, I got to visit a few times and was always welcomed back. I don't think I'll ever consider myself a full-fledged Penthouse Girl because of my early departure, but I learned a lot from them. If you have ever appreciated my speedy acquiescence to any mischief; spontaneity; readiness to start a party any time and for any reason; willingness to forgo bedtime no matter how late it is in favor of girltalk; appreciation for blue darts; and/or insistence that nothing is worth doing unless you're enjoying it; in large part, you have the Penthouse Girls to thank for it.

Although I haven't been the best at keeping in touch, I've been blogstalking some of them. It's so fun to see them "all grown up" and find out what they've been doing with their lives. I would welcome any opportunity to see any of them in the future, so consider this an open invitation to our home, Penthouse Girls! I hear South Florida's nice this time of year...OK, you may want to wait until winter.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

To All You Dads Out There

Although I've put in some nice phone calls and video chats, I have spent the day without any of the father-types in my life. My dad, my grandpa, my other grandpa and my other other grandpa are all in California; my baby-daddy is at Scout Camp. All the lack of celebrating has given me some good time to contemplate how much I love and miss them all. It's hard to imagine where I'd be without them. (That's aside from the obvious biological imperative that I literally wouldn't be here without three of the above-mentioned fathers.) So to all you dads and grandpas, I love you and happy Father's Day!

Also, since this is Stellan's blog, he wants me to send out a special shout-out to his daddy; he says (and this is an almost direct quote): "I miss you, Daddy. I tried to run rampant through the halls at church today, but mean Mommy grabbed me repeatedly. I had a huge meltdown that lasted most of the afternoon, and you were not there to distract me. I wanted to eat your Cheesy Alfredo mac 'n Cheese for dinner, but since you weren't here, Mom said no. Come home soon, OK? Oh, and I love you."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hundreds Down, None To Go

Kevin did it. He took his last final today. He's elated, he's overjoyed, he's so thrilled that he can't keep himself from...packing for Scout Camp. Yes, he'll be in scenic Paisley, FL, for 8 amazing days with a bunch of rambunctious teenage boys. Oh, and did I mention the forecast? High 90s most of the week, with the heat index well over 100, thanks to the extreme humidity in Central Florida. Stellan and I are trying not to be too jealous, what with the ocean breeze we're blessed to experience daily.
Before he heads out tomorrow morning, Kevin wanted me to pass this along:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last Day, Ever.

We all hope.

Today was Kevin's last day of class ever. He turned in his last homework assignment; all he has left is to take 2 finals (one tomorrow and one Friday) and he is done with coursework forever. Before you all start celebrating too much, remember that he still has to finish a thesis and defend it. But we're not focusing on that part this week - we're rejoicing about the end of Kevin's classwork forever. wOOt!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Little Eileen Is All Grown Up

If I were in Cali, I would have some fabulous photos to post of my littlest sister Eileen's graduation from UC Davis this morning. But I'm not. In fact, I'm tragified that we could not be there to offer our congratulations in person. But we did make her some special signs. Here is Stellan's special tribute to his Aunt Eileen.

And for your further enjoyment, here is the video footage of the photo session from the above tribute. Consider the whole thing one big outtake. And GO EILEEN! We miss you, we love you, we're proud of you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quote Board

So I've started a quote board on the side of the blog, on the right near the bottom. So far I don't have much there, but I hope to add to it. If I'm too lazy to keep updating it, I'll just pull it down. I'm giving us a month to see if it sticks. Feedback welcome.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I've found my next talent show number! My only regret is that the rest of my family/talent show posse is so far away that I cannot beg them to join me. It would be the best ever Steward/Stewart/Cook/Peyton/Thompson act ever (and between me and the blogosphere, that is saying something). So my next plea is to my local amigos - who's in?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another Cookie Jar First

That's right, I'm posting a recipe. I'm not doing this because I really love cooking and can't wait to share my latest discovery. I'm not doing it because I like to be healthy and hope that others are similarly plighted in finding just the right vegan-organic-cruelty-free-carbon-neutral dinner recipe. Mostly I'm doing this because I've gotten so many requests for the recipe that it's easier to post it than to email it out to everyone. So here it is, transcribed directly from the 3x5 card my mom gave me:

Chocolate Cheesecake
Crust: melt 1 cube margarine int 9x13 pan; add 1 cup flour and 1 cup chopped almonds; mix together and spread with the back of a fork; bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins; cool.
Cream cheese layer: mix together 8 oz. Cool Whip, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 8 oz. cream cheese; spread over crust.
Chocolate layer: mix until thick: 3 1/2 cups cold milk and 2 3.9 oz. instant chocolate pudding; pour over cream cheese.
Topping: spread 8 oz. Cool Whip over chocolate layer; grate Hershey almond bar over top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. [This part is the kicker for me. Overnight? Yeah, right! Just look at all that deliciousness! But seriously, it does taste better if you let it sit overnight. Good luck with that.]

P.S. For any participating in the dessert contest, this one's a winner. I would have entered it myself if refrigerated shipping weren't so cost-prohibitive.

Monday, June 1, 2009

'Tis The Season

In honor of the first official day of hurricane season, I have opened the storm tracking widgets on my Google homepage. I'm going to try to be better at not checking them obsessively when there is something to track this year. Don't all you Californians wish you were here right now?