Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We made it to Utah!!!

We're here. It's crazy, so I'm going to use bullet points to post this concisely.
1. We interviewed in Casper, Wyoming on Monday. (We drove 12 hours on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. We found a teeny little branch along the way in Nebraska on Sunday, and among the 20 people in attendance, we found a connection. The world is tiny if you are Mormon.) I think Casper is not my favorite. That is all I will say.
2. We made it here late Monday night. My brother's apartment is darling, and his new wife is incredibly hospitable. Despite a misunderstanding (she thought we were coming Tuesday night), we slept like logs.
3. We ate at Los Hermanos yesterday (I love that place) and wandered BYU campus. The girls loved the Y on the mountain and all the little science exhibits in the Eyring Science Center. I felt like I was back home, and I kept looking down feeling like I must be with someone else's children because they certainly didn't belong there.
4. We spent the afternoon today up American Fork canyon. Oh. . . . the mountains. The mountains! The freezing, bitter wind tearing down the canyon and ripping through my coat. The snow with sunshine? And the mountains!!! The girls threw rock after rock into the Tipple Fork Reservoir, and their little cousin tried to do the same. We have pictures, but they are on John's brother's camera. I shall post them later.
7. I ordered some new prescription glasses from $8.00 total for frames and lenses. Can you believe it? I'll take a picture of me in my new sassy specs. I recommend it to everyone.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Now reporting from Indianapolis

I have no pictures, which is sad, because we have done quite a bit.
John and I interviewed in Muncie, Indiana, on Tuesday. They have a fantastic program: c-sections, scopes, good peds, and--best for me--home call. Home call! Some of the wives said that their husbands usually get to come home and kiss the kids goodnight at least before they have to go back into the hospital for the rest of the night. That's a bonus. So, despite my aversion (completely irrational) to the idea of living in Muncie, Indiana, that may be the best place for us. (Disclaimer: I am perfectly delighted to agree with whatever program is telling me they are the best. I am swayed by every friendly face I meet. There are pluses and minuses to this quality in myself. Positive: I will probably be happy no matter where we end up. Negative: I am no help to John in making this decision, and I (again, completely irrationally) feel like I will be hurting the feelings of whichever program we do not choose.)

Thanksgiving yesterday was delightful. Our wonderful friends here in Indy, Sara and Joe, have hosted us since Monday, taking care of our kids while we did interview stuff, and Sara and I did most of the Thanksgiving feast preparations on Wednesday. We had only the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and brown sugar carrots (thank you, Leisy) to do yesterday. However, one hour before the rest of Sara's guests were to arrive (bringing the turkey and gravy, thank heavens), Libby Soelberg slid down the blow-up mattress into a windowsill and split her lip badly. Sara, Joe, and John (because he just couldn't resist) took Lib to the emergency room, and I was left with the other three children and the rest of the dinner to make. No problem. Then I plugged the disposal. I've taken mine apart before to unplug it, but it's much different when it's someone else's and you have a dinner for 13 cooking. I called my dad frantically, and he talked me through the checking of the p-trap. That drained, so I put it back together and checked it again. Still plugged. I took the p-trap apart, plus the t-bar (to keep with the alphabet theme, I don't really have an idea what that horizontal bar that joins the disposal to the p-trap is called), and again it drained. At this point, the problem should have been obvious (the clog was IN the t-bar), but I had potatoes boiling, carrots simmering, and onions and celery sauteeing, plus Jenna (Sara's two-year old) was crying to be let out of her crib because she needed to go potty, but she wouldn't let me get her ("NO!" she would yell, "I'll wait for Mommy."), so I stupidly put the whole thing back together again and tested before I figured it out. (That was a long sentence.) The third time was definitely the charm, and luckily Sara, Joe, John, and a four-stitched Libby returned minutes before the other guests arrived. Whew!
Lesson learned: Don't ever send any potato peels down the disposal (even if you do one potato's worth at a time) on Thanksgiving Day. Turn the dang peels into turkey-shaped centerpieces if you have to, but don't put them in the sink. You will regret it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Maybe we need to work on our Family Home Evenings.

Olivia put on Mimi's "scripture specs" from nursery on the way home from church, and she won't take them off. She's firmly convinced of their beauty.
Two conversations that happened today:
Setting: Sacrament Meeting, the sacrament is being passed
Olivia: Um, Mom, there's a problem.
Me: What?
Liv: I keep thinking about Barney.
Me: What??
Liv: I keep thinking about Barney instead of Jesus.
(Clearly we are very spiritual people.)

Setting: In the van on the way home from church
Raucous, riotous noise from the back seat
Me: Girls, stop. Let's talk one at a time. Liv, what did you want to say?
Olivia: I think we should pay our tithing first and that would be a good idea.
John: Good job, Olivia, that's exactly right.
Me: Mimi, what did you want to say?
Mimi: I'm sad because the Nephites took all the popcorn.
John and I exchange confused glances and almost respond when . . .
Olivia: No, Mimi, the Nephites didn't take the popcorn. The Nephites nailed Jesus's hands. That's the problem.

We'll be addressing these doctrinal issues very soon. Apparently we haven't covered them clearly enough.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One down, one to go. . .

Hi-ho-Emilee Wells here, reporting from South Bend, Indiana. We finished our (and I mean our) interview with Memorial Hospital here yesterday. I don't think I said anything horrendously stupid that would ruin the good impression John was making, but I can't be entirely sure. I think John did magnificently. It was incredibly interesting to see him in an interview setting. It was very casual, very kind, and very conversational, but still WAY too much pressure for me. A migraine by the end of the day, for sure. (I was incredibly grateful I didn't have an ulcer attack from all the anxiety.)
Today's interview has already started for John. He's with the people from St. Joe's, and luckily I was not invited to the interview with them. A wife of one of the residents will be picking me up shortly, and I'm going to lunch with them and then to the hospital tour. More wining and dining tonight.
For an account of what my children are doing, please look at Shelly's blog. Thanks again, Shelly. You are wonderful!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Boring, boring, boring.

I've been tagged by Brittani to reveal six interesting/uninteresting/unique/perhaps unknown things about me. There are just a few problems with this: a) I talk so stinkin' much that there aren't many things that are unknown about me; b) I am incredibly typical and boring; and c) refer back to (a). If ever there is a conversational opportunity to slip in a story about myself, I capitalize on that and monopolize the rest of the time. Sorry everyone! These are the things I could come up with, and I'm sure you already knew most of them.
1) I was a sober, sober child. I never smiled in public. My uncle told my mom when I was 14 that she should get me to smile and laugh more. (Did it work?) Almost everyone that knew me only casually didn't think I ever laughed. When the seminary council traveled to a rural branch (yes-even more rural than Monticello), I started my talk with an account of Jesus healing the lepers. Only I said "leopards" and started to giggle. Then I started to laugh so hard that I couldn't get control of myself. (In Sacrament Meeting!!) I kept trying to regain composure, but when I looked to the side, the entire bishopric and seminary council were all in hysterics. I didn't want to leave the pulpit on that horrible note, so after five minutes (really--5 MINUTES!!), I finally worked it out and finished my talk. Afterward several people approached me from the congregation and said it had done them good to see that I actually laughed every so often. That really makes me laugh now.
2) I play with numbers in my head all day long. I try to make license plates and highway signs work out in equations. I try to add up words if a=1 and b=2, etc. I try to figure out the ratios of different sides of rectangles. It's weird, and I'm sorry to admit it.
3) I hate hamburger, in any form. It's one of the very last of my picky-eater childhood hangups.
4) I know most of the buses in La Paz, Bolivia. They are organized there by color. Both the dark green and pale green would take us down to Obrajes to the orphanage. The blue buses would go up to San Francisco Cathedral. The orange buses went all the way to the cemetery. However, my favorites were the combis/minibuses. They weren't organized by color, but they each had a "shouter", someone who rode next to the sliding door of the van and yelled where that bus was going. I wanted to open my own combi business in Provo when we got back. John would drive and I would yell "University Mall, Cougar Stadium, University Mall." Isn't that a great idea? Oh, and I once rode under the bus from La Paz to Cochabamba, in the luggage area.
5) I was on drill team in high school. Drill Team! I'm the least coordinated girl at Monticello High School, and I'm on the drill team. Says quite a bit for how desperate they were.
6) I'm the first cousin four times removed of President Hinckley. My grandpa (his first cousin twice removed) looks just like him. Not much of a claim to fame, but it's all I've got.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A "Prank" (known as theft and vandalism outside Oak Hill Ct.)

Setting: 9:30 p.m. Friday
Footsteps, two loud thumps, a crash of broken glass, and some louder, faster footsteps down the front stairs.
Em dove for cover into the girls' room.
I ran to the peephole to see what had happened. (I'm loitering. They were not.)The night security guard said it was probably a "prank." (I wasn't sure what part of "there is broken glass all over the floor and the fire extinguisher is gone" he didn't understand. Pranks involve toilet paper and eggs, right?)
It took all of Saturday (and a phone call and a personal visit) for the maintenance crew to get the big pieces picked up. The little ones are still there (much to the delight of Liv and Mimi, who think this is a shower of diamonds).
To the person who took the fire extinguisher: Please bring it back. Our neighbor upstairs can't really be trusted to not fall asleep while smokin' his dooby (not to mention the firecrackers his son throws around inside the building and on to our deck or the lighter with which he burns the sticky notes off our mailbox). We may need it.


John's favorite food is noquis (or gnocchi, if you are Italian, and not Argentine). Unfortunately, they involve peeling and boiling potatoes, mashing those potatoes, combining those potatoes with flour and eggs to make a really sticky dough, rolling that dough out into snakes, cutting it into little segments, and rolling the segments over a fork to create the classic noqui shape. (Actually, reading those steps makes the task feel somehow more manageable. I assure you it does not feel manageable. Noquis are overwhelming to me in my little tiny kitchen.) The sauce is delicious and relatively easy.
So, we took the mess and deliciousness to someone else's kitchen. We have some good friends, Jason and April, that live in McClure (past Grand Rapids, Ohio). Their new home is beautiful, especially the kitchen, and it was actually a delight to have all four of us (with the four crazy kids outside) working together for the eternity that it takes to make noquis.
John was chopping potatoes until Jason decided that he was not quite up to the task (the pieces kept falling on the floor--sweet, sweet John doesn't do much cooking). Jason wore the fabulous Meijer chefs hats we picked up at the "Grand Remodeling Sale", as he chopped up the ingredients for the sauce.
I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but believe me when I say it was delicious. Maybe we will have them more when I have a kitchen that two people can fit in comfortably.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I did not take nearly enough pictures when Annie was here, but it was marvelous, even if undocumented.*
These are the reasons it was so much fun to have my sister for a week.
1. Annie is Mimi's Favorite. Person. Ever. Period.
2. I had a shopping buddy. A shopping buddy that was never irritated with my children. A shopping buddy that was willing to watch my children while we shopped. Can you beat that? (I hate shopping, but it has to be done. Isn't it better with a buddy?)
3. She was willing to pose as a butterfly. 4. She laughs about everything. Even more than I do, and that's saying something. So much fun to have a laugher in your house.
5. She was willing to be Prince Phillip. Since Mimi was Sleeping Beauty, those two were the perfect trick-or-treating combination.
6. She did the girls' hair in the mornings. They looked much cuter while she was here.
7. She put the girls to bed. Aaaaahhh--such a blessing!
8. She played silly games all day long and the girls were never bored.
9. The phrase became, "Annie, come wipe me." This should maybe be #1.
10. I had another vote every night for a girly movie, should I wish to watch one. (Poor John! The house was 4-to-1 for a week.)
11. The house didn't have to be clean to impress her, but she was always willing to help pick up and do the dishes. (With every one of these reasons, I'm missing Annie more. Maybe this should be #1.)
12. We hardly did anything special, and she thought everything was fun. Couldn't ask for a better houseguest.
Man, I miss my sister!
*(As a side note, does anybody else wish for a personal photographer? Someone who follows you around all day long and captures the moments, but always makes you look beautiful--unless you are trying to capture how awful the day was. But I don't really need anyone else around, since there are already plenty of people in this little apartment. Maybe a floating robot photographer? )

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A vignette from the Art Museum

The Toledo Museum of Art has a wonderful Family Center that offers art projects on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. My girls love to paint on the easels there, so we've made it quite the tradition. When we went on Tuesday, we ended our expedition with a tea party in the playroom next to the art room. Olivia and I were passing spaghetti and meatballs around the table and adding ketchup to our tea with abandon when we were joined by a little (five- or six-year old) girl in a spidery witch's costume. We happily passed her some cheese wedges and asparagus, and she laughed with us about birthday cake (it was a very funny joke, but I don't remember it at all--probably because it was lovely 4-year old humor, like "I think I'll call birthday cake 'candle tandle.'" You know--very very funny.). When she got up to peruse the dress up box and came back wearing a crown, I said, "Oh wonderful! Are you the queen?"
She put on a deadly serious face and replied, "No. I'm the princess of darkness."
I stifled a chuckle and her dad said, "Um. . . Kelly Osborne?" whereupon I nearly guffawed (Annie did) and Olivia looked confused.
Then she smiled, a dazzling smile for the princess of darkness, and said, "Do you want to come over to my house for a sleepover?"
I responded, "A sleepover? With the princess of darkness? I think my mom would be nervous."
Her dad said, "Come on, Ruby, I think you're scaring the nice lady."
I loved it. What a little character!

Friday, November 2, 2007


Here are all the fabulous little munchkins of our playgroup, ready to go out and get some candy. I love the Perrysburg tradition of the shops doing trick-or-treat in the middle of the day. It makes things much less hectic at night, I think. It also, unfortunately, adds to the serious overloading of candy at my house. I have no self control, once it is in my house. Yuck!And look at these three darling fairies!! How fun to have these carpool/preschool buddies all dressed as fairies. I must say that getting the wings on as they left the van was a little bit of a trick, but such a cute treat once they were all ready, don't you think?
And here is Liv at the preschool program. (Thank you, Shelly, for helping me even when I flake and forget the camera.) The Island Princess next to her is Cassy, another girl from the ward.
And here are Kailyn and Liv in the Bluebird room after the program. (With a nice foreground of Cassy's plumage, so lovely.)
And here is Mimi, all ready to go. Annie was so darling as to curl all Naomi's hair with a curling iron to be especially princesslike for Halloween. However, she was not so prim and princessy as to give up chewing on a Tootsie Roll to get her picture taken. Hence the crazy expression.