Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Married a Winner!

We were invited to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party.

Well, if it had been a few years ago, we would have had plenty of sweaters to choose from.  The one Jeff is wearing in the picture below (1992) was a Christmas staple for years.


I’m sure it was in the closet until recently.  (Notice how I don’t mention the sweater I’m wearing?)

Of course, truly ugly sweaters are never appreciated as such in the era in which they reside.  Or, maybe they are and we are just clueless.  Hmmm.  A mystery of life to ponder.

Regardless, I set off to find ugly Christmas sweaters.  Prizes were involved, we had to make an effort.

I was stuck at home one day and thought I’d search that online garage sale called eBay.  I found a lovely winter accessory themed vest with 3-D effects (pompoms). 

All for $3.99 and $6.49 shipping.  Money well spent.  Done.

But then I started looking for Jeff.

Did you know there’s such a thing as “vintage ugly Christmas sweaters”?  They want upwards of $100 or more for such things!!  Uh, no.

For instance:

Then I just “googled” ugly Christmas sweaters.  Guess what?  WHOLE STORES are devoted to ugly Christmas sweaters!   Check THIS out!  However, still a little pricey for a joke.

So, I had a coupon and JC Penney was advertising some sweaters so we headed to the mall.  However, the sale had expired so we were still looking at $30 for the one with reindeers on it.  Jeff at least reasoned he might buy a more questionable sweater that he MIGHT wear again for $30 so he chose THIS.  Meanwhile, he also picked up a few solid color sweaters on sale for $12.  Big spenders, eh?

However, we knew the sweater he purchased was not a prize winner.  BUT, he had an idea!  What if we converted one of the plain $12 sweaters into a MASTERPIECE?  Yes, that’s the ticket.  So we returned the mediocre $30 sweater and went to work.

We brainstormed.  I don’t think he slept at all that night as his mind was awhirl as he created.  I drew inspiration from an old ornament I found that one of the kids had made in elementary school—a construction paper reindeer with handprints made into antlers.  Jeff made a special trip to WalMart and we had everything we needed.

We arrived at the party and there were several good contenders…


Some couples came with a theme.


Extra credit for headgear and the little dance he did whenever you asked (his hat wiggled too).


Our party hosts (sans their wives, I hasten to explain).  The tall one is wearing his mother’s sweater and she was a little offended when she heard why he wanted to borrow it (it also has a recipe for sugar cookies embroidered on the back!).  The other one is wearing all women’s clothing.  Just because he likes to.


Winners for best couple.  I think it’s obvious they went the extra mile.  We think they just wanted to get their money’s worth for the hairpieces they picked up for Dionne’s 70’s themed party last year.


Whatever.  He didn’t even wear a SWEATER!?!

But no, here was the winner…




The lights add just that little something it needed and created a nice glow when we were outside.  I only wish the pictures adequately showed the 3D effect of the reindeer head which is one of my socks, stuffed, and sewn on where it meets the antlers.   Incongruently, when Jeff added the tongue, he forked it--like a snake. 

Hands off, girls.  He’s mine!

What did he win?  Oh, the last pick in the white elephant gift exchange.  So, 10 lottery scratcher tickets.

By the way, how many Mormons (with several advanced college degrees between them) does it take to figure out the instructions on a lottery ticket?  Well, at one time we had at least eight trying to figure it out.  We THINK we won $8.  But now we have to figure out how to redeem them.

Fun night, thanks to our hosts!   We hope it will become an annual event.  Although, now the bar has been set.  We’ll have to start planning now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meeting Zorrita, aka “Zoey”

Yes, I am a pleaser.

My birthday present, my puppy.  But….

My Mexican Missionary wanted a Spanish name.  My (very vocal and persistent) son at home liked Zoey.  In fact, I think he would have called her Zoey no matter what I named her. 

I had looked at puppies last summer and found this little fuzzball that I immediately dubbed Sugar, so that was the name that had stuck with me. 

We picked her up from the airport on Nov. 6th:


Brave girl.  She flew all the way from Arkansas.  All by her self.


She was so tiny.  We thought we’d let her out at the little patch of grass at LAX, but it was so loud and chaotic we decided just to go home first.


Bryce tried to lure her out of the kennel as we drove home.  She would stick her nose out, even got her front paws out a few times, but would not come out.  Bryce put a small towel out on the seat in front of the kennel for her to sit on, but she just dragged it into her kennel (see the red towel in the picture below).  She was perfectly fine to just hang out in her safe place.


We finally coaxed her out at home.  It was raining, but she didn’t care.  Every leaf commanded full attention.


She dragged around branches 3X her size. 

FINALLY I got to hold her!


Bryce posted his picture with her on Facebook.  Puppies are real chick magnets.  Just sayin’.

But there was one more introduction that needed to be made.


Umm.  Houston we have a problem.  Sparky wanted to eat her.  Severely maim at a minimum.

She kissed him, she rolled over for him, she crawled on her belly demonstrating her immediate and undying devotion and submission.

He growled, bared his teeth and snapped.

He growled for 3 days straight, I think he eventually broke his growler.

So that first night, they spent a lot of time apart.


She’d had a big day. 

She snuggled in and fell asleep on Bryce’s lap while we were skyping with Tyler, cozy under her new snuggie courtesy of Dionne.  We melted.

She fooled us into thinking she could have been a Sugar.  We didn’t understand then that she was just EXTREMELY sleepy.

But she’s definitely a Zoey now.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Name Her!

9 more days…

7 weeks 4






7 weeks 7









Thursday, October 20, 2011

1 Gallon of Milk

That is all I need to buy each week.

I’ve figured it out.  It’s a symbol of all that’s making me sad.

In our heyday, we would buy 4 gallons of milk each week.  Two gallons of whole milk for the toddler and two gallons of lowfat milk for the rest.  I don’t remember when we went down to two gallons, all lowfat, but I seem to remember being pretty excited to regain that refrigerator real estate.

1999-11 family

For years we’ve been at two gallons of milk each week.  Even when Justin left for school, we still needed two gallons.  They might last us a little longer, but I still pretty much picked up two gallons every time I went to the store and it worked out about right.

After Tyler left I continued to buy two gallons of milk.  Soon, there were four gallons sitting in our outside refrigerator in addition to the one currently being used.  They just kept stacking up and I forgot to notice.

Then that refrigerator died (in the hot days of September)and suddenly I noticed.  Yuck.

Now I buy one gallon.  I dread the day that a carton will do the trick.

I spent the first 25 years of my life dreaming of being a wife and a mother.  I’ve spent the next 25 years living the dream.  The transition from the first to the second is so exciting and welcome.  I’m on the verge of the next transition, and I realize that I’ve been living my dream but now it’s almost over.  I need a new dream. 

Maybe once I get there I’ll think, “Eh, why did I make all that fuss?  It’s green and lovely over here too.”

But right now, it’s looking pretty brown and desolate as I walk closer to the ledge begin to mourn the family we were. (this is the whining I warned you about a couple of posts ago)

And all I have is one darn gallon of milk in the fridge.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It’s His Birthday, Let Him Eat Cake!


1996 - 3


2001 - 8


2006 – 13


2007 – 14


2008 –15


2009 –16


2010 - 17

We skyped (LOVE LOVE LOVE Skype) last night as he opened his presents (it was his birthday already in New York) and we hung out for an hour until it became officially his birthday in Utah.  The middle of the night seems to be primetime for college freshmen, but we could barely keep our eyes open and there wasn’t a fancy mirror ball that dropped 20 stories or anything.

Undying gratitude to our friends the Spikers for supplying his cake this year.  His UT grandparents are also filling the gap.  A little piece of my heart has just broken off not being there.  We love this boy!

Oh, and, Tyler got this cryptic message from his roomie:


Explained here:

Yes, I’m sorry.  Like a car accident, you won’t be able to look away.  You’ll be singing/quoting it all day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fact Checking

Last night--

Mom: I thought your blog was funny.  But I never had 7 OR 9 dogs.

Me:  Really?  Didn’t you have 7 puppies?

Mom:  Oh,well.  Puppies.  There were 7 of those…plus two adults.  Ok, 9.  But they were puppies.  Not that tall.

Fact 1:  They are still pretty tall.  Here is a picture (thank you of Ibizan hounds, which is what my mom has.  These look to be rather youngish, maybe a little bigger than those 7 puppies were at the time of Jeff’s introduction.

Fact 2:  Have you been around puppies?  Especially big puppies?  One puppy seems to take up as much space as 3-4 adult dogs since they are in perpetual motion (until they crash from sheer exhaustion).  So, I don’t think the fact that most of them were puppies helps her case.

Fact 3: While you may say, “puppies are short term, they eventually leave to their forever homes”… you don’t know my mom.  Always one or more were keepers.  And, all of her puppies came with a lifetime guarantee.  So, more than a few bounced back over the years.

Fact 4:  Shake all mental images of outdoor living.  Huntington hounds have full use of the household.

Fact 5:  One particular occasion will go down in the hallowed halls of Huntington history (how about that alliteration??)  We were settling down to watch something on tv and the dogs were restlessly circling the area.  My mom chastised my dad,

“George, get off the couch!  The dogs have nowhere to sit!”

To her everlasting chagrin, she realized not only did she say that out loud, but she said it in front of her son-in-law.

Did I mention he has a good memory?

I rest my case.

P.S.  These little idiosyncrasies are demonstrative of an underlying generosity of spirit and only add to our love and enjoyment of all that is Nancy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tyler Has Been Replaced

Tyler’s departure to college left the house entirely too quiet.  Not that Tyler ever made much noise, but since January he’s been getting home at noon.  After graduation, he was gone on excursions a little more often, but Bryce was home too.

Since August, there’ve been a lot of long days of


So, I initially tried to replace





But my mom came up with a

BETTER idea…


While I was growing up there were two kids and two dogs in our house.  After my little younger brother left for school, my mom filled her empty nest with seven dogs.  Seven?  Were there only seven?  Maybe there were nine?  Anyway, seven to nine TALL dogs.  This is about the time my husband (then not my husband) met my family.

My parents are back down to two dogs.

My husband has a good memory.

I had to pinky swear that two is my limit (since we already have one).


I knew I had him when he started thinking of names for MY  our puppy.

She’s not Tyler, but she’ll be a good distraction for sure.

Already she’s distracted me from whining this week (more on that later…) and I won’t even get her until November!

Thanks mom and dad for my early birthday present!