Monday, September 28, 2009

Marvellous Manti

This is a long post, full of pictures of people that you may or may not know.

Consider yourself warned

Last weekend, Eric and Heather and I traveled down to Salt Lake, and eventually Manti (a very small town quite close to the the middle of nowhere, which also happens to have what I think is probably the most beautiful LDS temple interior on earth.) to attend the wedding festivities of my cousin, Emily.

We had a great great great time.

To be honest (and I hesitate to say this, since I know that Emily and many of our other shared relatives read this blog), neither Eric nor I was looking forward to the trip with a whole lot of enthusiasm. Eric actually asked me at least four times if I would rather just go down by myself. (I said no, at least four times).

It's not that we don't love Emily. We do. It's not that we don't love seeing family. We do. It IS that Eric is happiest when he is home, puttering around, working on projects, doing his thing. As for me, I very much enjoy getting away, but now that we have little Heather, picking up and going isn't as easy as it once was, and since I'd been road-tripping with Heather the previous two weekends, I wasn't all that keen on going for another jaunt.

How glad I am that we went though. It was a glorious weekend, one that recharged us both.

And now I'll post some pictures, with some of my trademark rambling explanations. Perhaps then you'll be able to understand why it was such a great time. (Or, perhaps not. I make no promises here.)(Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I didn't take all these pictures. Some of them I lifted straight from my Uncle Warren's smugmug site. He actually didn't take the pictures either, but that's another story.)(Goodness, we started with the rambling explanations right off the bat, huh?)

Here is Eric and Heather at the reception, along with Emily's sister Elizabeth. Notice Eric's very casual shorts. Not really reception attire. We had a little miscommunication (for a change), and Eric didn't realize that we'd be going straight from Logan to the reception, without stopping to change first. I offered to guard the car and protect his modesty as he changed inside, but surprisingly, he chose not to go that route. Oh well. Still a pretty handsome guy, No?

the happy couple

After the reception, we drove to my brother's home, where we spent another hour or two laughing at stories that he and his wife told us about their three girls. Of particular interest was the tale of when they took the girls (ages 6,4, and nearly 2) in to get flu shots all at the same time. Oh the drama! I laughed so hard at that one that I cried.

The next morning we arose, ate waffles that were so good that Eric (later) made me e-mail Krista for the recipe, and then we hit the road.


The drive over to Manti was (quite obviously) gorgeous in places.


There were moments when we (I) worried that we wouldn't make it in time, but thanks to the adept driving of Eric and my father, we arrived with ample moments to spare.

We left Heather in the capable hands of Rebecca, Elizabeth, and John, and made our way into the temple for what was a beautiful sealing.


Judging from the surprise pictures that I found on my camera, It appears that Heather was able to have a few unique experiences, and a good time was had by all. (Thanks guys!)

After the sealing, we had the obligatory picture session,

as well as a session that was not so obligatory.

Then it was off to the (delicious) wedding luncheon.

As we waited for the bride and groom to arrive, my mother played "show-and-tell" with some of her latest projects--a bunch of really fun and wildly colorful quilts. We're actually in the process of investigating whether or not she can sell these in my etsy shop, or if she'll have to get a shop of her own (which, let's be real--that's not going to happen). This particular event resulted in Eric saying my favorite quote of the whole weekend.

As all the aunts and female cousins rushed over to ooooh and ahhhh over the quilt tops, Eric turned to me and my Uncle David (Farnsworth), and with a twinkle in his eye, said,

"You know, there's just nothing as exciting as a good quilt."

And that friends, concludes this photo essay. However, if your initials are L.J.W.H., and you were unable to attend this wedding through no fault of your own, and if you happened to feed your niece as often as was humanly possible when she was a poor starving missionary in your city, please read on. As a special postscript, I've posted three other pictures that I took, especially for you.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

same style, different length

Two of my favorite quotes from my friend Lee Hubka:

Don't get old too fast, you're old for a LOOOONG time.
-via letter written to me when I was attending school at Utah State University, around 1995 or 1996

No good is ever lost.
-via letter written to me when I was an LDS missionary serving in Northern California

One of my not-so-favorite quotes from Lee Hubka:

"If I had a daughter who was as active as she is, I wouldn't do anything with my hair either."
-spoken to me about three weeks ago, as Heather and I were visiting with Lee, the morning after I attended (and sang at) her baptism
(I'm absolutely certain that she meant it as a compliment)

In Lee's defense, personal style has always been more important to her than it has been to me, and that fact has never stopped her from loving me with all her heart. Even now, Lee (who is 84 years old and lives in a care center) spends more time on her physical appearance than I do. In fact, she still puts her hair up in curlers every single night.

Be that as it may, a few days after I visited with Lee, I got looking at some pictures of myself, and I decided that if I was going to spend my mornings trying to keep Heather from unrolling all the toilet paper, or putting her hands into the toilet bowl, or falling head first into the empty bathtub, all at the same time that I was trying to make myself presentable and (dare I say) even semi-pretty for the day, I was going to need to do a little bit of simplify-ing in the hair department.

quirky 9-09
So, I did.

ps-if you're (Willis) family, stay tuned. I'm hoping to post pictures of Emily's wedding, along with some details of what a nice experience it all was within the next few days.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


quirky 9-09
When he was young, my father played the trombone.

My mother played the flute.

So, of course, it was only natural that when I got old enough, I would play a band instrument. Actually, growing up, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't play an instrument. It's not that my parents pushed it or anything. I've actually never seen my father with a trombone in his hand. It's just something that I assumed would happen. Actually, I assumed that ALL people learned how to play an instrument, and I remember being quite surprised when I learned that this wasn't the case.

I chose to play the clarinet. We had a book in our house called Would you Rather be a Bullfrog? by Dr. Seuss. In it, there was a page with a picture of a clarinet, and the question, "Would you rather be a clarinet, a trombone, or a drum? (How would you like to have someone going BOOM BOOM on your tum?). I remember turning to that page often, and knowing that THIS was what I wanted to play.

And so it was that when I was registering for the sixth grade, I signed up for beginning band. I spent the next three years learning how to play the clarinet in the windowless middle school band room, tapping my foot, and watching Mr. Larry Wright in his rainbow suspenders as he tried to keep me and about forty-nine other young aspiring musicians on the same beat at the same time, and playing some semblance of the right notes.

I've thought about Mr. Wright quite a bit over the years. The thing is, there are people who appreciate good music, and there are people who appreciate other things. There are people who can hear a well-trained singer, violinist, flautist, or any other musician, and feel the beauty of that music all throughout their soul, and there are people who can't really tell the difference between a world-class musician and a run-of-the-mill musician.

I never asked Mr. Wright, but I'm just guessing that he was one of those who felt the beauty of well-performed music in his soul.

And yet, he spent hours and hours every day for years and years hearing music that was anything but well-performed. Squeaks and shrills, missed notes, and so many other imperfections filled his ears day after day after day. Then, just as some of his musicians were getting good, he would send them off to high school and start with a brand new crop of novices.

I'm sure there were rewards--the thrill of teaching a particularly gifted student, the joy of having the band get it right after having them get it terribly terribly wrong for several weeks, little joys along those lines. And let's not forget that huge paycheck that all public school teachers take home every month.

But, the fact remains that Mr. Wright chose to spend his days surrounded by beginner band music, all the while knowing what good music really was. If that's not a heroic sacrifice, I don't know what is.

Mr. Wright passed away several years ago. I never told him thank you, and I regret that now. I'm not a great clarinetist or anything like that. I actually haven't touched my clarinet in at least fifteen years, and my niece uses it now in her middle school band.

However, one of my childhood goals was to learn how to play the clarinet, and Mr. Wright made that possible for me.

That makes me feel like one lucky lucky girl.

Thanks, Mr. Wright.

Friday, September 18, 2009


When I picture myself in my mind, I'm prettier than this. I take solace in the knowledge that at least I'm getting my hair cut on Monday.
Oh-and I didn't make these cakes. Camille did. Nice, huh?

I posted a long sentimental entry over at the private Heather blog, full of the intricate details of Heather's birthday, and how I felt about it all, and how wonderful it all was.

I'll spare you that over here, and just post a few pictures, with the statement that it was a great, great day. Thank you all for your good wishes.

(Watching Heather go at her own little birthday cake? Awesome!)

And now we're on to other things. Our ward primary program is on Sunday. Two weeks ago, I gave the kids a big pep talk about practicing and praying, and asked them to do a bunch of both as we prepare for the big day. Then I promptly went out of town the next weekend (to sing at that baptism, you know). So, I guess I'll soon find out how effective my pep talk turned out to be.

I'm not all that worried though. The kids know the songs, and even though they'll get nervous and spend much of their time up there waving an winking at their parents, it will all work out. It always does, you know.

And with that, I leave you. Have a great weekend,

Monday, September 14, 2009

a good sign

Just barely, as I was moving some invoices off my desk I saw a ladybug. She (if it is a she) crawled out from under the invoices and has just sat in the same place on my desk for about five minutes now. I suppose at some point I'll take her outside and set her free among the roses, but for now, I like having her here.

I love ladybugs.

quirky 9/09

(In case you're wondering, the song went well and the baptism was great great great. It was a real treat for me.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

unexpected joy

quirky 9-09
Around a year ago, I became a mother.

"Nice" doesn't even begin to cover it.

As I've reflected on the past year, I've been surprised at the number of aspects of motherhood that are different from what I was expecting.

Here are a few of them:

I thought I would mind changing diapers more than I do.

* * *

Before Heather was born, I would guess that Eric and I had disagreed with each other a total of probably three or four times. After Heather was born? . . . Well, let's just say that there's been a lot of compromisin' on the road to our horizon.*

I wasn't really expecting that.

* * *

I didn't know that spoon-feeding and cutting food up into bite-sized pieces would get sooo old soooo quickly. (Sigh.)

* * *

Much to my surprise, I found that I relish nursing. In fact, once the frequency diminished considerably from those "at-least-every-three-hours" days, I started counting the time I spent nursing Heather as some of the very best moments in my day.

* * *

I was stunned (and discouraged) to discover what my body does when it isn't able to get more than three consecutive hours of sleep. In Heather's first few weeks of life, I would keep track of the sleep that I was getting, and when I added it all up (naps included), I found that I was often getting as much or nearly as much as in my pre-Heather days. Man, oh man, though, the results manifested in my life were NOT EVEN CLOSE to the same. I was grouchy, tired, irritable, emotional, and often felt as if I was clinging to my sanity by the skin of my teeth. (remember?) I honestly don't know how I would have survived if Heather hadn't learned to sleep for several hours at a time at a relatively young age.

Along that same line, I was shocked at how much difference it made when I was able to sleep for five or six hours in a row, uninterrupted. Even now, (nearly nine months after Heather started sleeping for seven hours at a time), sometimes I wake up in the morning and am thrilled to realize that once again, I've been able to stay in my very own bed all night long.

* * *

I was not expecting to feel so much joy as I saw Eric play with, read to, bathe, care for, and otherwise love our daughter.

quirky 9-09

But, most of all, and most importantly of all, I was completely floored by how much and how soon and how deeply and how unconditionally and how blindly and how joyfully I could love our precious little girl.

I know I say this often, and perhaps I say it too much. All the same, I'm saying it again.

quirky blogged 8-09

I didn't know it would (or could) be this good.

*can you name the song that contains this phrase? 10 points are waiting for the person who can.

Thursday, September 10, 2009



Tomorrow I'm singing again.

This time, I'm singing at the baptism of one of my oldest friends.

"Oldest"-meaning that we have been friends for going on 20 years now.

"Oldest" -meaning that (although I've never actually asked her her age--propriety, you know), I think she's probably around 80 or so.

Fun, huh?

Yeah, I'm excited.

Actually, to be honest, I'm a little nervous. The song she requested?

O Divine Redeemer.

Have you ever sung O Divine Redeemer?

I have.

It's kind of hard. And high. And it hangs out for several measures on notes that are right in the little range where my voice changes from the mid-notes to the high-notes.


Actually, back when I was a voice-lesson taking, every-day singing, yoga-doing, abs made of steel-ing, never-been pregnant(ing?) young maiden, I made the rounds of several Cedar City wards with my roommate, singing a duet of O Divine Redeemer. It was great fun, and I felt confident and thrilled to be doing it.

This time, "apprehensive" is probably a more appropriate word to describe my feelings.

But I am absolutely thrilled to the tips of my toes about the baptism.

So thrilled that when my mother called to tell me about it, I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day.

So thrilled that I couldn't restrain myself from telling everyone who crossed my path about it, even though not a single one of them had ever met my friend or had any idea who I was talking about.

So thrilled that every time I think about it, I can't stop myself from grinning and even giggling a little bit.

That's how thrilled I am.

(To read one of my favorite things that this particular friend (Lee) ever wrote, you can click here.)


Monday, September 07, 2009

Jewels and Memories

Awhile back, I posted about (among other things) this:

"I keep particularly meaningful memories in a little jewel box in my mind. Then, when I need to get out of the dumps, or if I'm just in the mood for a little treat, I'll open the box, and take out one or two. Pretty helpful really."

Today, just for fun, I thought I'd share just the barest details of some of my (less personal) "jewel box" memories. If you find this too boring, or too "you had to be there-y" feel free to skip today's post and check back later.

So, without any further explanation, I give you excerpts from:


When Eric asked me to marry him.
The time my father gave me a great big hug after I tripped during my race at the Utah State Track Meet in 1988.
The time that Heidi told Mark* that the only way she could describe him was by using the phrase "genetically perfect", and Becca laughed so hard that she fell off of our couch.
When I opened the door on the day of my recital to find that Robert had surprised me by coming down from Denver to attend it.
Opening the envelope that contained the news that I'd (finally!) passed the CPA exam.
Walking through Hyde Park in London with my mom, seeing the Peter Pan statue, and the chat we had there.
When I sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" for Mark's Missionary Homecoming.
When Eric reached for my hand as we strolled around Salt Lake City on the day after our first kiss.
The day that Jacob crashed into the wall of the ice skating rink and fell flat down, just like you see in the movies.
The night at the Corry Family Reunion when the fire hazard was so great that we couldn't have campfires, and Robert and Doug amused themselves by each shining a flashlight into the other's face, and seeing who could take it the longest. (The light wasn't the problem, it was the fact that the moths and other insects were attracted to the light, and would land on their faces. Disturbing and hilarious all at the same time.)
The time that I drove up to the Corry Family Reunion (pre-Eric) and as soon as I got out of my truck, my niece Kaylee yelled "Charlotte!" and came bounding across the field as fast as her 5-year old legs could carry her to give me a great big giant hug.
The talk that I had with my sister on the evening after we had both attended the funeral for our cousin (Lance).
Sitting with Eric in Golden Gate Park on our honeymoon, taking turns reading "Z for Zachariah" to each other, and watching a group of people a little way off play hackey sack and smoke marijuana.
Hearing my baby's heart beat inside of me for the very first time.
Driving Heather home from the hospital, how Eric (normally a semi-casual driver) waited for ages and ages at a two-way stop, all because, "Now we have our baby in the car."

There are more, many, many more.

But, I think that's enough for here and now.

*Becca, Mark, Doug, Jacob, and Robert are all my siblings (both in that every one of them is my sibling, AND together they comprise 100% of the siblings I have.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

You're Welcome

picture lifted from here (which is where you'll find the recipe as well)

I like food.

I especially like sweets.

I especially especially like chocolate.

In fact, I'm a bit of a chocolate connoisseur.

One year, my only New Years' Resolution was to not have brownies for breakfast (yes, you read that right) for the entire year.

I made it, but you better believe that I had brownies for my New Year's breakfast the next year.

So, when I say that these are bar none, the most delicious brownies I've ever made, you know that's no small thing.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Denae for sharing the recipe on her blog, and another to Donna for making a batch and showing me just how good they are.

Now, print out the recipe, and make a batch!

You'll thank me later.

(Even if you generally don't like mint brownies. I don't.)

(Oh-and when I made them, I halved the recipe. It turned out fine. The last thing we need sitting around here is a double-size batch of brownies, you know?)

Grasshopper brownies (can be halved)

2 boxes brownie mix

Mint Frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup soft butter
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Topping:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter

1) To make the Brownies follow the recipe for "cake-like" brownies. Or if there isn't one, add 2-3 more eggs (total-so 1 or so per box). Pour into a large, greased cookie sheet, bake and let cool completely

2) To make the mint frosting, combine powdered sugar, butter, water, peppermint extract and food coloring. Mix. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate until hard on top.

3) To make chocolate topping microwave chocolate chips and butter for 2 minutes (if halving the recipe, only do this for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes). Stir until all chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add 1-2 tsp. peppermint extract. As soon as this mixture thickens and is no longer hot, spread over mint topping on brownies. Put back into the refrigerator until hard.

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