Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Stuff

We spent Christmas in Manti this year.
On Christmas Eve we gathered at my 98-year-old Grandma Nora's house where the manger scene is reenacted each year. Millie was an angel and Ivy thought she was a shepherd. She was enamored with the baby Jesus doll (not pictured).
Before we left for Manti. Mark had an early Christmas present for the girls: A toy kitchen of his making. They loved it and started playing with it right away.
In Manti my sister Ariel gave the them aprons to make them professional chefs (Mark and I also got aprons!).
My mom also gave this "talking" baby doll to Ivy. She mothered that doll for hours! It was perfect.
On Saturday afternoon my mom took us all to "Princess and the Frog". It was Millie and Ivy's first time in a movie theater. Millie was in heaven. She was giggling and screaming and even dancing. It was great! Thanks mom. Millie will remember that for life.
And Millie's cute hair was courtesy of her lovely Aunt Ariel.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ivy's 2

It's hard for me to believe, but my baby is two years old!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful for Turkey

Wow! I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone already!
We had a nice time at Mark's parent's house. There were 16 of us in all and we ate at two big tables in their great room. I'm so glad we have special days like Thanksgiving, or else we'd probably never all get together at the same time.
The food was delicious. And now I wish I would have taken a picture of it. Mark ate three plates full! And I was full after one (but still helped myself to a second serving of turkey and mashed potatoes :)
I don't think I've ever seen Ivy eat so much! Maybe if we had Thanksgiving every day, she would finally gain some weight!
And one last interesting tidbit about our Thanksgiving: Seven people came wearing purple! Not at all planned, so that made it fun.

P.S. Don't mind the huge cold sore on my bottom lip!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ivy's Before and After

Before picture courtesy of Millie.
New "do" courtesy of mom.

Scruffy Hubby

Mark had a little extra facial hair prior to Halloween in preparation for the holiday. Any respectable Captain Hook must have a mustache right?
However he ended up looking a little less like a pirate and a bit more like a man born south of the border! Good times.
But the look didn't last long. He shaved as soon as the party was over.

Goodbye Dial-up (again!)

In case you haven't heard the good news: Mark and I have upgraded! Yes, it's true: we penny-pinchers will once again be forking out 20 more bucks a months to have DSL. (However Mark did insist we drop our land line to off-set the cost, and use our cell phones exclusively -- blah.) So in honor of the blessed occasion I have uploaded a video. You heard me right, a video (entirely impossible to upload with dial-up!) of my oh-so-sassy Millie (dressed as Indian princess Tiger Lily) and her preschool class in their very first Halloween parade. Enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

P is for Pumpkin

I survived my week as "teacher." But it seriously wiped me out! I learned a lot though, so hopefully it's easier next time around, which (fortunately) won't be until January. (One of the mother's is expecting twins in the spring and so she took my November week and I am teaching her week in March). I don't have pictures of the actual preschool class, as I was too stressed out to think of that. But the kids all had a good time learning about leaves and the letter L (on Tuesday), squirrels and the number zero (on Wednesday), and pumpkins and the letter P (on Thursday).
On pumpkin day, I used a pumpkin as a punch bowl at snack time. That night I had Mark carve it for our front porch. Millie has loving named our jack-o'-lantern Linda. So if you're in town, make sure to drive by our house between the hours of 7 and 10 p.m. to see Linda in action.

Zuri and the Zebras

This one's for you mom, (because the zoo makes for a really boring post since everyone has already been there a gazillion times).
So it only took Mark and I four years to take Millie to the zoo (bad parents, yes, I know.) But making the trip felt much more worthwhile with two kids!
The baby elephant, Zuri, was super cute! Even if I didn't get a great picture of her. When I was a kid I remember getting to ride on an elephant at Hogle Zoo, now you're lucky if you get a good view of one (oh, how things have changed!) Also, I was disappointed that the zoo no longer has lions or hippos! What happened?
One fun story from the trip: Toward the end of our tour Mark and I wanted to take the girls on the train but for some reason thought you needed cash to get your tickets and we only had a credit card (I'm sure they would have taken it, but at the moment we were convinced otherwise). Then as we were about to leave, Millie remembers that she didn't get to see the zebras (because they weren't there when we passed by the first time.) So we headed all the way back to the zebras and the greatest thing happened on our way there. This man stopped us and asked if we wanted his train and carousel tickets! He and his family had to leave and didn't have time to use the tickets. That totally made our day!
And to make the trip complete, we ate dinner at a restaurant afterward. We stopped at Pepperbelly's in Kaysville. (I love that place, and wish they still had one in Ephraim so we could eat there when we go down for visits.) The restaurant was celebrating its birthday and handed out free birthday cake (before dinner even arrived) so of course that's all the girls wanted to eat. Ivy especially enjoyed the cake and must have thought it was her birthday.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Singing the Pre-K Blues

Millie is now in her fourth week of preschool. She is doing pretty well, but we've had our ups and downs:
The mothers each take turns teaching for a week (3 days actually for 2 hours per day) so class is taught in a different house each week. On the second day of the second week Millie started crying and didn't want to go anymore. From what I could gather, the father in that home, works from home and made an appearance from time-to-time and that was NOT OK with Millie. (Don't get me wrong, they are a great family, Millie's just very particular about things."
She made it through that week but when it came time to switch houses again, she was not excited and the night before class I could hear her singing in bed: "I don't want to go to preschool. I want to be 3 years old. I wish I never had a birthday." It broke my heart! Luckily, the next house was a much better experience for her. I just hope she's over it in five weeks when it's time to go back to house No. 2.
I am the last teacher on the rotation so I have yet to teach, and I must say I am a little nervous about teaching six 4-year-olds!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Our Tomatoes Have Cancer

Our tomato plants have produced a number of odd-looking fruit but this one has got to be the strangest!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Read Now - Time Sensitive Post!

Summer is quickly coming to an end and my stint as an actress will soon be through. And in case some of you didn't know: I play Juliet's nurse in the American West Heritage Center's Wild West Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet - A Musical Comedy. And if any of you have any desire to see it, you better act fast!
Tonight is "friends and family, pay-what-you-can night." And tomorrow night is the last night open to the public. (We have one more private performance next weekend.) So if you want to see the show for cheap, show up tonight (Thursday, Sept. 3) with $5 or so and enjoy. (Show starts at 7 p.m.) Or if you want to pay the big bucks and get the chuck-wagon dinner tomorrow night, call the Heritage Center for reservations (435) 245-6050.
4025 S. Hwy 89, Wellsville. Hope to see y'all there!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It took six years for my German sister Melanie to make it back to the United States for a visit, but it was well worth the wait! It was so good to see her and we had so much fun together! So I guess not much has changed since she came to live with my family for 10 months back in 2002 as a foreign exchange student.
I have a ton of pictures from her stay and had a hard time deciding which to post. So here are just a few of the highlights:
Pickup trucks are not common in Europe so Melanie was dieing to take Mark's for a test drive. I hopes it lived up to her expectations.
We went to Manti to visit my family and enjoyed an afternoon at the swimming pool.
Then my family came to Logan to hang out and watch me in the play, and visit Minnetonka Cave (near Bear Lake).
The night before Melanie's return flight, we ate at Café Sabor. It was so sad knowing she would be leaving in the morning.
After Mark and I dropped her off at the airport, we went to breakfast and then to a store where Mark had to pick up a bathtub for work. By that time it was time for Melanie's departure. I watch several planes take off and most likely saw her plane (although I'll never know). I hope it won't take another 6 years before I see her again. Maybe it's time for me to make another trip to Europe!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Project: Guest Room

A while back I mentioned that Mark missed the Mickelson family reunion in order to work on a project. That day he built the closet pictured above and over the next 2.5 weeks he made a guest room and bathroom out of the empty wall frames that stood in our unfinished basement.
I forgot to upload the "before" picture but I'm sure you all know what an unfinished basement looks like. Mark worked like crazy to get it done in time for our special house guest (whom I will blog more about in my next post). His labors included: electrical and plumbing work; hanging sheetrock, baseboard, casing, taping, mudding, caulking and painting the walls; sealing the cement floor; installing the vanity, mirror, lights, tub-surround and a bunch of other things I'm sure I've forgotten. Thanks-a-million honey!
Of course Mark did all the real work, but I felt like I had a million and one decisions to make, and kept busy (repeatedly) visiting stores all over town to make them, so it was work for me as well :)
P.S. We expect more visitors now. Hint, hint.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I'm so excited and had to share the news with all of you: At 3 days shy of 20 months old, Ivy has finally cut her very first tooth!!! Hooray! Even Mark and Millie are excited and we're now discussing plans to celebrate this momentous event.

Friday, August 7, 2009

More Wedding Photos

My mom took a bunch of great shots at the wedding that I snagged off her Facebook page. Above is Millie with her cousin Xander who is one month older than her.

My mom feels so bad that she didn't get a picture of all 5 of her daughters together at the wedding but 3 out of 5 isn't too shabby.
Left to right: Millie, my neice Ellie, my brother Max, nephews Kurin and Xander.
Ivy and Mark had a great time sitting back (eating) and watching all the action.
And here's another windy family shot at the temple.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mandie's Married

My little sister Mandie got married on Tuesday. She is now Mandie Valenzuela! She and her husband Danny are a perfect match and we are so happy to have him as part of our family!

Millie was the flower girl and here she is passing off the bouquet to the bride after the ceremony.
The Manti Temple grounds were so beautiful, and this would have made a great family picture if it weren't for the wind and Millie's uncooperative attitude. (I was holding her hands because she kept covering her face!)
Millie was a much better sport when it came to modeling with her aunts Ariel and Deanna, and uncle Max.
Mark and I were also married in the Manti temple, so it holds a special place in our hearts as well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Over the Weekend . . .

I have nearly recovered from our long weekend in Manti. I took the girls down for the Mickelson family reunion and my little sister's bridal shower. Mark stayed home to work on a project for me (more on that in weeks to come). And making that long trip without his help, was a lot of work! Especially since my 4-year-old acted like a "ba-lunatic" the entire time!
The reunion was fun. We swam at the Manti pool in the morning and had lunch at the park. Ivy was worn out from the pool and slept through lunch.
Aren't kids cute when they sleep? (Especially this one below.) No fighting, whining, or complaining . . . it's amazing!
We slept at my grandma Nora's house. I got a picture with both the girls, but Ivy was hysterical and no one looked very happy.
I only managed to take one picture during the bridal shower and it wasn't a very good one. I was tired and just wanted to sit back and watch Ivy walk. Yes, you heard right: Ivy is finally walking (and has even started talking)!!! Now, we're just waiting for her first tooth!