Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pleasant Surprise

I made something yummy last night, and we all know how surprising that is. I made chicken and wild rice, and while that was good, the surprising part was the glaze I made to drizzle on the chicken. I diced and sautéed a green apple, then added chopped walnuts and ¼ cup of maple syrup. Sounds sickening, right? It was so delicious! My good intentions are rarely good, so I was really pleased with myself. Now, don’t be too impressed; I got the idea off of the wild rice package (what, did you think I made either on my own?). My dad once told me that my sage wisdom to Darby would be, “If God wanted us to eat it, He would have put it in a package.” That is my mantra, but I did at least make the glaze from scratch and not a dehydrated package (like my rice).

What weird cooking success have you had?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Continued

making pie with Gran.

Darby dancing with her daddy

more dancing with Daddy

floor sliding. notice Brett and Frankie's hands working together to get the most distance possible!

don't you love this face?

these pictures belong with the last post. i'm not very good at this and i'm sort of rushing. so, read the last post because it belongs with these pictures. also, i forgot to tell you that for the 15 hour drive with a potty-trained child, we brought a potty-chair in the car and it was the most brilliant idea i ever had and it worked perfectly!


time of Darby's life!

she loves the snow.

Frankie and Pa making a couch for Darby.

Darby, Montanna, and Auntie Britney

little happy cousins

Alright, I’ll start with the business and then we’ll get to the fun stuff. It has become imperative that I get back on my meds, so Frankie and I are no longer trying to get pregnant. This isn’t a pity plea; I only mention it because a lot of you were praying for us and we are really grateful to you and thankful for that. It just seems that it isn’t the time, so it’s nothing to be sad about; our Heavenly Father is aware of us and that’s it.

We had a great Christmas! Darby opened her presents from us the Saturday before Christmas. She got a ton of stuff, including a Hello Kitty big-girl bike. She calls it her "Hello Beauty Cat Bike." She took off on it and I had to run to keep up with her! Then we took off that afternoon for Colorado. We arrived at Brett and Corrine’s on Sunday evening and spent the next week just enjoying our family. We got to see Adam, Lindsey, and Montanna for a few days before they left for Utah, and that was so fun. We’ve missed them since they moved away. Darby had a blast playing with Montanna and Britney especially! She is so loved and entertained by our family. Frankie and Brett had her lay on her stomach on the wood floors and they pushed her so she slid on her belly across the room. She loved that! She got to watch the Tinkerbelle movie and I got to watch Star Trek. Frankie and Brett built Darby a little couch and it turned out so great! I helped make pie crust, believe it or not. Darby had so much fun playing in the snow. She had the best day of her young life when we took a walk and a neighbor let Darby pet and feed her horses. We had such a nice time and really hated to leave.

Some people really have trouble with their in-laws. I am so lucky and thankful for mine. Frankie has a really great family and I am so glad to be a part of it; I love them and consider them my own. I don't know how i got so lucky to come from a great family and marry into one (for a rare picture of my whole Judd family, see Aramie's blog

How was your holiday?

Friday, December 18, 2009

I Can't Put My Arms Down!

Well, we are supposedly leaving tomorrow for Colorado, where we will be all bundled up for the next week. So, Merry Christmas to each of you and I hope you have a really great and safe holiday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Como Te Llamas?

Last night, Frankie was teasing me about something that I don’t commonly share; an incident which occurred when I was in kindergarten. As a savvy 5 year old, I decided that it would be better if I were named Helen. So, I took it upon myself to scratch “Hillary” off of everything I owned and write “Helen” instead. I’m sure it was confusing for my teacher to find out half-way through the year that “Hillary Judd” was defunct and a new student, “Helen Judd” had taken her place; from her desk to her cubby. The fink teacher alerted my parents and my dreams of being named Helen had to be cast away.

Thank goodness. Helen is not a pretty name (if you are named Helen, no offense. But you know it is true).

So, we were laughing about that and I asked Frankie what he would’ve changed his name to when he was a kid. His response was perfect. “Probably something lame,” he began, “like Jason. Or Captain Kirk.”

Thinking back on yourself as a young child, what name would you have chosen?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Devil Wears Steve Madden

While attempting to organize our bedroom, Frankie and I had a disagreement. Imagine that. He said that if we get the dressers that I want, we won’t need to eventually add on a walk-in closet (you know, when we suddenly become rich). I said that we needed a walk-in closet for the storage of my shoes. He then blasphemously suggested that I get rid of some of my shoes. I’m so sure. He then asked if I thought I had too many shoes to which I replied that I obviously don’t think so. He said, “I’m going to take a poll. I’m going to take a poll at church next Sunday and see how many pairs of shoes each woman has and I guarantee that you have more than all of them.” I said, “But you can’t poll certain people, like Alisha. She’s far too sensible to buy tons of shoes!” It’s true; she always looks perfect, but is such a sensible shopper. So is my sis Haley. And my sis Jessica, for that matter. I hope to be more like them someday. Anyway, so I need each of you to go to your closet right now and count your shoes. Please have more than or near 65 pairs. That would be helpful to me (and awesome for you!). I am particularly interested in Aramie’s count; she’s definitely going to be on my side. That’s what sisters are for. And Bing; I already know how you feel about this. Don't judge me!

What are you waiting for? Go count your shoes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


In a desperate attempt to forget about Dustin and Jessica's volatile attitude towards A Christmas Story, I’ve been wondering about something. Sure, I could look it up online, but what with all the school-work I have to do, I am intensely averse to researching anything of my own free will and accord. So, here is my question: From where do fruit flies come? I mean, are their little babies living in my fruit and if I don’t EAT them right away, they then have time to hatch? Are they birthed right out of my banana? That is filthy.

Without researching it, what is your theory?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poetry. Sheer Poetry.

My favorite Christmas movie of all time is A Christmas Story. We’ve all seen it, and we’ve all loved it. When I lived at home, it would play for 24 hours on Thanksgiving day. It is quite possibly the greatest film ever made.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Respectful Declination

So, today Darby asked me if I wanted to smell her giney. Yeah, you read that right. We tease her that her armpits and feet stink and she laughs when we act like she’s stinky (which she rarely is, by the way). So, today while she was in the bath, she asked me if I wanted to smell her feet and I pretended they were stinky and we had a good laugh. Then she asked if I wanted to smell her giney, and it got a little awkward. I mean, how do you respond to that? I’m just teasing; it didn’t get awkward and it was actually hilarious. I declined, by the way, just in case you were wondering. So which one of you sickos taught that to my baby?!

What is the weirdest thing a small child has asked you?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Worst Idea Ever

Seriously, who okayed and then profited off of candy cigarettes? That is just the most negligible creation. But, they sure are delicious! Didn’t you love those as a kid?

What is something you loved as a child?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wii The People

Over the weekend, we went to visit our dear friends Liz and Kris down near Tucson. They have 2 sons and another on the way and Darby has just as much fun we do. Kris and his family lived 2 doors down from my family all growing up and he was my brother Dustin’s best friend and one of mine, too. Liz was my roommate in the MTC, so we have a lot of history with this great family. Anyway, our friends introduced us to their Wii while we were there. I hate video games. I’m terrible at them and have no sort of coordination at all. That said, I love the Wii! It was so much fun! And I even beat Frankie at a game or two. We were so into it that I was sore for like, 2 days after! Anyway, it was way fun and I know everyone else has played it before, but I hadn’t. The last video game I played was at their house, but it was Call of Duty and I couldn’t get my little guy out of the corner and I just screamed the whole time. Before that, it was regular Super Mario Brothers. And I’ve never passed level 3.

Other than that, I thought you could use a recap of our Thanksgiving. I cooked a 6 pound turkey breast at 450 degrees for 3 and ½ hours. Yeah, I didn’t realize until the last 30 minutes that I should have turned the heat down about 100 degrees and cooked it for about an hour and a half less. But, I still didn’t turn it down or take it out! I just decided to see what happened. The top was charred black, of course, but luckily I placed it breast down in broth, so the turkey turned out awesome! It was looking pretty dismal at first, but it turned out great. Darby ate a nutrigrain bar and called it a day. I guess she’s not a fan of gourmet cooking.

A really great guy from our mission died over the holiday. I don’t want to touch on that too much, I just feel really sad, especially for his wife. Please pray for the Jones family.

For FHE last night, we put up our tree and lights. I have all my nativity scenes set up and I love it. We listened to the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas album, which I love, and then we drank hot chocolate with candy canes for stirring. I love to spend time as a family.

How was your holiday?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dia de Palvo (or Polvo, if you are Aramie)

Happy Thanksgiving! I just wanted to give you all an update on our day so far. As most of you know, we are on our own for this meal for the first time ever. Most of you also know how domestically inept I really am. I think Adam put it best when he asked me yesterday about our Thanksgiving plans. He asked, “So, are you just going to go to Red Robin, or what?” And that’s exactly what we should have done. Let me ‘splain. Frankie’s Thanksgiving must and favorite dessert is cherry pie. But, he likes it cold. So, I cooked that first thing this morning so that it could cool and then go in the fridge. Don’t be too impressed at my ability to cook a pie; Corrine made the crust when she was here last and the filling was from a can. Anyway, Mom told me that I should have put the pie on a cookie sheet to bake it because fruit pies have a tendency to spill over. I didn’t know this as I dislike fruit pies and stay far away from them under normal circumstances. So, there was a ton of filling that spilled into my upper oven. I meant to clean it, so I turned off the oven to let things cool. I forgot, of course. So, I then made Aramie’s famous pumpkin spice cake and preheated the oven to cook it. Smoke began to billow into the house and before we knew it, we were suffering from smoke inhalation. 4 ceiling fans, open doors, and fanning towels later, we are breathing a little more easily. So, I go to clean the 350 degree burnt junk off the oven and find that I cannot lift the plate which covers the flame. I scraped it all with a spatula resulting in my having billions of pieces of burnt cherry filling just sitting in the oven, not knowing the best way to remedy the situation. Frankie and I are stricken by the same epiphany simultaneously. “Dust-buster!” Yes, I did. And it worked like a crazy charm! Just so you know, the dust-buster has lots of unadvertised uses. I hope your day is so great! Today, I am thankful for my family, the true gospel of Jesus Christ, a place to live, food to eat, and dust-busters. Amen.

How is your day shaping up?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Cheese Incident

the following is a true story. i have changed no names as nobody is innocent. this form is actually an essay i wrote for one of my classes this semester. it was fun to write and remember, and i got a really good grade on it. so, for your reading enjoyment, may i present to you the Judd Tale Theater story of The Cheese Incident.

Standing at 5’6, Aaron was not yet an intimidating figure. So, not only his stature but also his tender age of twelve made him an unlikely prankster in the family. That didn’t stop him. His prey was our older brother, Nathan. Nineteen years old and 6 feet tall, he was slightly more imposing. Aaron has always been fearless. I was sitting upstairs, reading a magazine when he walked past me and into the kitchen. The refrigerator door opened and shut. Aaron emerged from the kitchen carrying one individually wrapped Kraft single. As he headed for the stairs, I knew something interesting was about to happen. Aaron always made interesting things happen. I wanted in, so I inquired about the cheese and he motioned for me to follow him.

The downstairs bathroom was positioned just beyond the laundry room. This is where we set the trap. Nathan was getting ready for a date and Aaron couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The shower was still running and we knew Nathan was a fan of throwing his clothes into the dryer to work out any wrinkles. It’s the lazy man’s way to iron. So, we gauged the length of his stride from the bathroom door to the dryer. When we felt like we had found the right space, we un-wrapped the cheese. A slight argument ensued over whether or not to leave the slice lying on top of the plastic wrap, but logic overcame and while we wanted to tick off our brother, we knew better than to tick off our mom with cheese smashed into the carpet. Our devil-may-care attitudes extended only so far. So, with the cheese face up in front of the dryer exactly where we thought Nathan’s foot would land, we ran up the first half of the stairs to where they wrapped up to the second flight. Positioned safely ducking under the banister, we waited.

The shower stopped. We stifled an anticipatory giggle. The door opened. Our hearts began racing. The dryer door opened and shut. The bathroom door closed. No reaction. We looked at each other, puzzled, then clambered over one another as we raced toward the cheese. What went wrong? How could this have missed? It was fool-proof! Knowing that Nathan had only retrieved his boxers from the dryer and would still need his pants, we rethought our stride, stepping from the closed bathroom door to the dryer. We once again placed the cheese. We once again bounded up the steps and once again took our huddled places just beyond the curve of the stairs. Suddenly, Aaron had an epiphany. “The cheese is too far,” he whispered, barely audibly, “I’m going in!” We knew the timing was dangerous, but the cheese had to be moved. “God speed!” I whispered loudly, peering over the banister as Aaron stepped hurriedly, intent on correcting our error.

He barely made it back to our eagle’s nest when the door opened. We huddled closer, waiting. Nathan’s voice boomed through both levels of our home, “What? Ch...cheese? How…wha… I stepped in cheese? I stepped in a damn piece of cheese!” We looked at each other instantly and I imagine my face was much like my brother’s; wide, smiling eyes, mouth tightly closed, a laugh threatening to burst out at any second. The bathroom door closed again and we raced up the rest of the stairs and took unassuming positions on the couch, Aaron with the newspaper and me with a magazine. Our bodies trembled in silent laughter behind our disguises. Only Dad was witness to our mischief.

“What did you guys do?” he asked, in an exacerbated tone. We described to him, in hushed voices, our perfect crime. Between bouts of laughter, we barely got it out. “Geez, guys!” he said, chuckling and shaking his head. It’s no small feat to make dad laugh.

We heard heavy steps scaling the stairs.

Our faces straightened as best they could under the circumstances, and we pretended to be engrossed in our reading material. We were not suspicious looking at all.
“Dad,” Nathan began, “I got out of the shower and I stepped in a piece of cheese right there in the laundry room. A damn piece of cheese!” His intonation told that he was totally disgusted at the state of our home; a place so filthy that an innocent shower-taker could step in a stray cheese slice.

“What?” Aaron said with a poker face. “You stepped in cheese?” “Weird!” I added, drawing on my theater training. Nate grew suspicious immediately before dad ratted us out. “Nate, your brother and sister did that to you.”

The look on his face almost made me feel remorseful. He was betrayed and totally speechless. Aaron and I, of course, burst into maniacal laughter at the best prank ever played and Nathan just looked at us in disbelief.

“You guys did that?” His tone was both hurt and impressed. Aaron always has a ready answer and said, “What did you think, Nathan; that there was just some piece of cheese hanging out in the laundry room?” Nathan admitted that it seemed strange, but why would he suspect that someone had set a trap for him? It was a reasonable question. He walked to the brass coat hanger and slipped on his jacket. He noticed that there was something in the pocket. Unbeknownst to me, Aaron’s prank was not yet over.

The horrified look on Nathan’s face as he pulled from his jacket pocket the matchbox car with the note attached was all Aaron needed. My baby brother erupted in his trademark belly laugh and without even knowing the punch-line, Dad and I started laughing, too. We knew it had to be pretty terrible. I don’t reveal family secrets, so I won’t tell you what was written on that note. Suffice it to say that Nathan spent the next several minutes furiously washing his hands.

what is something funny that has happened in your family?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

sorry saps

yeah, i've seen New Moon, suckers! and i haven't even read the books. blasphemous, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Recently, Darby has been extra hilarious. She is so strong-willed at 3 years old, it fills me with trepidation for the teenage years. She’s a tricky little cuss, too. The other day, I was sitting at the table and she was laying on a chair in the living room. I could see her from where I was seated and she called out to me with a pitiful look on her face. “Mom, I need you!” Now, she says this frequently, but there was a tone of distress in her voice, so I rushed over to find out what was wrong. I said, “Baby, what do you need?” She sat up and said, “I need you…to get out of your chair!” She then jumped off of her chair and ran to sit in mine! I couldn’t believe it. Outsmarted by a 3 year old. Again. The other day, she was on a roll with the funny things she was saying. Frankie got home from work and she rushed into his arms and said, “Daddy! I missed my car.” Later, Frankie kissed her and told her that he loved his daughter. Darby crinkled her brow into a stink-eye and said, “I’m not Daughter, I’m Darby!” Finally, we were all playing and I pretended to hit Frankie (yes, pretended). Darby put her hand on my arm, as though to hold me back, and said, “Don’t touch Dad! He’s my sister.”

She is currently kicking the wall as hard as she can. Not really sure why.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rise and Whine!

This is a webcam picture of Darby lounging on the couch, watching Little Monsters, and hiding her face with an Elmo blanket. I stayed up very late last night working first on homework, then helping Frankie paint his office. While I didn’t have to get up as early as did my poor husband, I am very tired and wondering, what with all the lounging, why are we awake?!
What would be your dream morning?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Home Cooking

(this is a picture of the Ecuadorian flag flying in the city of Quito)
Darbenstien has fallen asleep on the couch and I hardly know what to do with myself. This is completely unprecedented. And beautiful. You’d think I could come up with something, but I don’t want to waste a nap (which Darby no longer takes and hasn’t since she was 2---I hear it’s genetic, so thanks for nothing, Britney!) on housework. So, what do you think I did? I’ll break the suspense. I ate a whole can of spaghettios. With some goldfish crackers mixed in. It was actually remarkably undesirable, but I ate it nonetheless. Which brings me to another mission story.

If you are looking for a heart-warming, goose bump inducing story, you’ve come to the wrong place. I have those stories; I just never seem to tell them. My spiritual stories are sacred to me. I have to get to know you a little better before I’ll tell those :)

This story is about how nasty I am. Well, most of the stories of my life are about how nasty I am, but this one is different. If you’ve served a mission, you know that you have to get used to eating things that are not exactly what you’d eat at home. Well, I’m not domestic, as we all know, and my Mama wasn’t there to cook for me. So, left to my own devices, my main meal was a mixture of corn flakes, tuna, and barbeque sauce. I know; take a minute to barf and read on.

Tuna and barbeque sauce is something by which I still stand. Give it a shot and then write me back to tell me thanks. I grew up in south Georgia, mind you, and while most Georgians know better than to mix tuna with, well, anything, we all know how important barbeque is to our culture.

That said, I know that my concoction is not only unholy, but unconscionable.

So, we went to an investigator’s house after church one Sunday and began to help the womenfolk prepare lunch for the father. The father was named Fausto and he was a booming, imposing man. Fausto didn’t want us to come around in the first place, but he allowed it because his wife wanted us to come. The first time we met with them, they invited us to have lunch. My comp was an interestingly arrogant girl from Bolivia (la Paz). Fausto asked us our names, and we told him. “Hermana Judd y Hermana Renfijo.” He demanded our first names and Renfijo went on and on about not telling people our first names. She said, “But you can call us ‘Hermanita’.” In Spanish, “ita” added to the end of a word is endearing, and means “little.” Fausto boomed, “I DON’T DO ‘ITAS’!” Renfijo, who always had to be right, said, “You don’t call your wife (who was named Rosa) ‘Rosita?!” She was challenging him and he was ticked. He thundered, “No! I call my wife Rosey!” It was so tense in the dining room with all his children sitting in silence, staring at their father and my comp being super stupid. Without thinking, I said, “So, can we call you Fausty?”

There was silence. This unnaturally huge macho man turned to me, his eyes wide. Wide with what? I didn’t know. I was pretty sure I should just run for the hills and make a new life.

The silence was unnerving. It was long. It was horrifying. And then he roared with laughter. What a relief! I told him our names, but that we preferred to be called “hermana.” He obliged.

So, anyway, weeks later he came home to find us helping his daughter (who was our age) make his lunch. He saw me in the kitchen and said, “Oh, no!” I was genuinely concerned. I asked what was wrong and he said, “Hermana Judd is cooking?! I’m going to have to eat tuna and corn flakes!” And he laughed and laughed at me.

Much like Rodney Dangerfield, I get no respect. Fausto was wonderful and I adored his family. I learned a lot while teaching them. I hope to see them in the hereafter, when they come on a weekend vacation to the Telestial Kingdom. While my cooking skills have improved since then (only slightly), I think I’ll still make them some tuna and corn flakes. I mean, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, right?

What’s something nasty you’ve had to eat? OR, tell me one of your mission stores.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Give Me Something Good To Eat!

Now, I had to steal these images from Corrine’s blog because I never take any pictures at all! I rely so much on her to keep a record of my family! I’m so appreciative of her picture taking tendencies and abilities.

So, Darby was a monkey for Halloween. When Uncle Rich asked me what Darby was going to be, I said, “A monkey.” He said, “I know she’s a monkey, but what is she going to be for Halloween?” And that’s my Darbs! Aramie sent us the costume and it was so cute on Darbenstien. She loved the coat; she calls it her “rain coat” and wants to wear it every time we leave the house! She had a great Halloween; her Gran came down for a visit and they made sugar cookies together. Then, we met up with our friends, the Sell family, and took the kids to this neighborhood that closes off a cul de sac and people just line the street in their lawn chairs to pass out candy. It was so fun! Darby thinks it’s so great. She told me the next day (and that night on the way home, actually) that she wants to go again. She made out like a bandit and really enjoyed herself.

At our new house, I bought tons of candy to pass out and we only got 1 trick-or-treater! That’s a grand total of 2 in my whole married life! Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to eat the candy myself. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have to return it to the store. That would be bad for the economy.

How was your Halloween?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fatty Fatty 2x4

There’s a fat girl inside me, just trying to eat her way out. I love food. Let’s go through our list of top 3’s.

Breakfast food:
1. McDonald’s breakfast burritos
2. Denny’s Heartland Scramble
3. Cake

Lunch food:
1. Hot dog/chili dog
2. Frozen burrito (cooked, of course)
3. Bologna sandwich

Dinner food:
1. Anything from a drive-thru, large sized fries, please.
2. Pizza (no dirty Little Ceasar’s)
3. Really, whatever I didn’t have to cook is best

Dessert food:
1. Little Debbie cosmic brownies
2. Hostess cupcakes
3. And Aramie’s and my favorite, Suzy Q’s! I’ll tell you that story later.

And you? What are your top 3’s?

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Couldn't Get Married, So...

Eight years ago tomorrow, I entered the MTC. Armed with my dork-dot and way too much luggage, I embarked on the most incredible 18 months of my life. I got in a lot of trouble in the MTC, for everything from the length of my skirts to the way I wore my hair. Before I adjusted my attitude, I referred to it as "spirit prison." I was already missing my family, and luckily two of my brothers, Dustin and Nathan, entered the MTC two weeks later. I even had a childhood friend in my district. My husband was there, too, though I didn’t know at the time that that's who he would be (contrary to popular belief!). I left for Ecuador the following January. I’m currently writing an essay for one of my classes about the time I was robbed at knife-point, about a year after I arrived in the country. It was exciting! It was lame at the time, but it sure is a good story. So, maybe that’s the one I’ll tell right now.

I was serving in the middle of Quito with Porter at the time, and she was going home in about a week and a half. We were walking to our chapel for the Christmas Conference broadcast and we were less than a mile away. Not two days earlier, we came up behind someone on the street and greeted him with the typical “Buenas noches!” He could see that we were not townies, so he explained to us that you should never greet somebody that way from behind or in front. He said that only bad people do that. I thought the advice strange as I had been in the country for almost a year and had never heard that before. We thanked him and went about our missionary duties, not thinking another thing of it.

Until a couple of days later.

As we walked down that busy road, which was full of cars and devoid of Good Samaritans, two men walked ahead of us. When one of them turned around and said, “Buenas noches,” I stopped dead in my tracks. I then noticed the knife he was holding; the handle was in his hand and the blade extended up to his elbow. This was no butter knife.
Suddenly Porter and I were against the wall behind us (which fenced an Abbey, as it were) and the machete-man was yelling, “Dinero! Dinero!” Then, just in case and as an extra bit of salt in our wounds, he translated for us, “Money! Money!” So, we pulled out our cash ($13 between the two of us) and handed it over. This wasn’t enough. He screamed at us for our watches. Porter’s was a yellow plastic watch she had just bought for a dollar. Mine was a black plastic men’s watch that an acquaintance had given me in my first area. We handed over about $1.50 worth of plastic. My comp dropped her watch as she passed it to him, she was so terrified, and asked in a trembling voice, “Que mas quieran? (what more do you want?)” Seriously? I guess it was easier for me because I was not yet being held by machete man. My assailant seemed to be a mute, doing only what he was directed to do. The next demand was for our bags. We took them off and while Porter handed hers over, I took out my scriptures first and said, “You don’t want these.”
Machete-man was tired of my antics, I guess, and he ran over and pressed his knife to my neck. “Te mato! Te mato!” he screamed (translated: I kill you! I kill you!) My bag now held only my schedule, one tore-up knee high, and a few tampons. Somehow, they were not yet satiated. Poor guys; they were just trying to make a living and let's be honest: this couldn't have been their most lucrative hit! We were next obligated to give them our jackets. I was taking my sweet time because it was my only way to defy them. I couldn’t risk my life over a $12.50 Old Navy jacket, but I was sure pissed. He screamed at me to do it faster and reminded me that he would kill me. I screamed back, “I’m doing it!” He again issued his threat to kill me. Once our things were in his hands, he handed them to his mute goon friend, who ran them across the street. Machete-man then wished us a good evening, with a smile, and ran to join his friend in the darkness of the night.

I saw machete-man a couple of weeks later. He was on my street and he recognized me as I recognized him. He smiled at me, of course, and I was still helpless. I smiled to myself, imagining that he was wearing one solitary, tore-up nylon knee-high under one of his pant legs. Bastard. I also imagine that he read Porter’s scriptures and joined the church. She had her scriptures all marked beautifully and he couldn’t have helped but read the really powerful passages, had he opened the book. So, you know. He’s probably a bishop somewhere in Ecuador, strengthening the stakes. Right?

What’s something scary that has happened to you?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Circle K Feet

Though that is NOT a picture of my feet, I find that with all the tile in my very own house, I just can’t keep the floors clean enough. No matter what I do, I always end up with Circle K feet (I totally stole that phrase from my dear friend Jamie, who is hilarious). I love my new house, despite my white-trash feet, and want to keep it clean. I’m not off to a very good start!

What are your favorite cleaning secrets?

Monday, October 26, 2009


We were called as Nursery Leaders at church. Probably because I don’t see small children enough during the week. Anyway, I pulled out a pack of play-doh and let the kids pick their own colors. The boys picked greens, the girls picked pinks, and Darby, of course, picked black. That’s right; black. Should I be worried?

What’s something weird that you did as a child or that your child has done?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


hang in there, people desperate for diversion. i'm in the process of moving. it's so nice to have my Dad here with us, even though i'm making him work like a slave. Darby is sure loving having Pappy around and so are Frankie and i. so, when things calm down, i'll be back (that might be a threat).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monkey Breath

Do you ever catch the tail-end of a conversation or commercial or some form of communication and get the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard? That happened to me this morning. What I actually heard on the t.v. was this: “Now THERE’S a ship that couldn’t be sunk by monkey breath.” Come again? Is there a ship that COULD be sunk by monkey breath? And why do we allow this monkey to live? It seems pretty dangerous to me.

What’s something weird that you have heard out of context?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Scary Beyond All Reason

Is there anything that just gives you the willies? For me, it is lizards. I shudder at the very thought of a lizard. Don’t tell Adam; he’ll catch one, tie a string to its tail and then tie the other end of the string to me! Just ask Britney (it was mice for her, and Frankie was a culprit, too); it’s no bueno. Anyway, once my dear friend Jamie came over and a lizard got in when I opened the door. In that split second, I thought, “I’ll get a cup, put the cup on the lizard, tape the lizard cup to the floor, and wait for Frankie to come home.” Jamie, sensing my hysteria, boldly offered to remove the little beast. And I let her. I let my 8 months pregnant friend bend over and touch that nasty reptile. That’s the kind of person she is, and the kind of person I am, apparently. So, as I was trying to clean the new house (we all know I’m neurotic), I went into the small bathroom to scrub it clean. I saw motion, I flinched. I fought the urge to run. I looked a little closer, making sure it wasn’t a scorpion. The closer I got, the more the dark figure appeared to be, wait for it…wait for it…, a lizard! I screamed and ran out the bathroom. I shoved something under the door so that it couldn’t get out. I called Frankie, who had little sympathy, so I considered calling Jamie. I decided that was too much and I left the house. That was Saturday morning. On Sunday night, we went over to hang some curtains. Frankie bravely searched the bathroom for the intruder, but found nothing. I went over yesterday to finish the pre-move cleaning (thanks to Alisha for babysitting the Darbs) and as I stepped into that bathroom, of course I saw that nasty lizard! But I was all alone and I needed to clean that bathroom. I put on latex gloves and got a cup and a piece of paper. I chased that creepy thing around the bathroom, screaming all the while, and finally captured him! I put him outside, finished screaming, and ran back to the house and locked the door (you know, just in case). It was traumatic, but I was so awesome!

What gives you the willies for no real reason?

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Leap

We are homeowners. For finally! It took 4 months from start to finish, but Brett and Corrine were generous enough to let us live in their Mesa house while we went through the whole process, so we are very grateful to them for that. Also, Adam, Frankie’s brother, was our real estate agent and we put that poor boy to work! So, we are really excited! Our first house! I think we got a screaming deal and it has all the elements we were looking for. We’ll start moving in hopefully by next weekend. Because I don’t have an income, the lender had me sign a disclaimer saying basically that I have no legal claim to that house. I said, “so, if Frank takes off on me, I can’t get his house?!” She didn’t think I was funny. They didn’t think I was funny when we started the process either. They asked me to list my occupation and I said, “trophy-wife.” Come on, that’s hilarious. So, my daughter and I will soon be living in Mr. Parmenter’s house. Sounds a little scandalous, right?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Great Men

So, I love Elder Holland. He’s like, the Lord’s bouncer. "Don’t believe it, you schmuck? You’re out of here!" I loved his testimony of the Book of Mormon today. When he said that attempts to discredit the scripture were “frankly pathetic” I just wanted to cheer and cry out “hallelujah, praise the Lord!” He speaks so honestly and plainly and while I’d be terrified to meet him face to face, I am always impressed and emboldened by his words. What a great conference.

Also, today is my darling Frankie’s birthday. He is the most amazing person ever. I rank him with my own dad, and that is a pretty hallowed place that very few have ever reached. I am so thankful that he is my husband. Frankie is the most intelligent, hard working, and good man there is. He’s not too shabby of a kisser, either! I won’t extol him too much here as there are no words sufficient to describe him. I just love him and am thankful he was born.

What was your favorite part of conference?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

There Is No Middle Ground

What is your stand on denim shorts?

Once, when we were in high school, my brother Dustin and I went shorts shopping. Now, Dustin is no respecter of name brands and so he wanted to go to Wal-Mart. How sensible of him. So, there we were, perusing the aisles of possibilities when Dustin’s eyes landed on a pair of denim shorts. He picked them up and tossed them into the cart. We had moved on to a nearby rack when a chubby and otherwise unfortunate looking 10 year old ran over to the rack of denim Faded Glories we had just passed. “Mom! Cool!” he yelled as he grabbed the exact same pair of shorts Dustin had chosen and threw them into his mother’s cart. Without a word and without hesitation, Dustin removed the shorts from our own cart and placed them back on the rack.

When I recently recanted this story to Dustin, he laughed and added, “Wait, why was I buying jean shorts?” I said, “Dust, that’s not the point of this story.” He paused momentarily before asking, in truly confused tones, “yeah, but why would I buy jean shorts?”

And thus we know where Dustin stands on the matter. So now is the time for you to take a stand; there is no middle ground. Do you or don't you wear denim shorts?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So Pretty When I'm Angry

I’ve been known to get in people’s faces. Since I’ve become a mother, it’s mostly toddler faces. And not my own toddler. For example, today I took Darby to the park for a playgroup activity. She was about to get on a seahorse thing when some monster baby Huey boy grabbed her and pushed her off of it. I imagine that smoke was blowing out of my ears as I hot-footed it over there saying, “Oh, NO!” to rip that kids head off. I ended up just getting in this random 3 year old’s face and saying, “DO NOT PUSH MY DAUGHTER!” through ground teeth. His mom came over and I was ready to go toe to toe with that ill-mannered heathen. But, it was unnecessary as she just got him in trouble and made him go home. Am I a meany? Nope. He got what was coming to him. That’s not the first time I’ve unleashed the mama bear inside me. After a neighbor (and member of the ward) child, again 3 years old, pushed Darby down, I was in that kid’s face, literally yelling and spewing venom. I yelled until she shook her head no, please don’t tell my mom, and then I asked myself, what am I doing? I’m almost 30 years old yelling at a 3 year old! But, I still didn’t feel bad. I’m sure this will eventually get me into real trouble, but I’m okay with that. If parents aren’t going to teach their kids manners, then I’ll do it for them. And I know that my child isn’t the best mannered in the world, however, I watch her closely enough around strangers so that they never have a reason to get in her face, which would in turn give me reason to get into theirs.

Have you ever yelled at a child who wasn’t your own?


Sometimes I have to change my blog background to remind myself that there are seasons. Arizona only has 2 seasons; Hot As Hell and Hotter Than Hell. For those of you who are fortunate enough to live elsewhere, enjoy your fall!

What are your kids going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Target Practice

Have you ever walked into the bathroom to find your 3 year old daughter laughing maniacally, standing on the toilet seat and peeing? Oh, neither have I.

Have you ever attempted peeing while standing (I know I have!)?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nice Shiner

Oh, don't act surprised. I’m always worried that someone is going to call CPS on me. Darby is usually looking pretty roughed-up and I just can’t help it; she’s out of control! As one of my brothers recently said to me, "Hil, your kid is going to break her arm someday." Probably more than once. Most recently, she pulled her slide down on her face. Well, technically, she was trying to hang from her hula-hoop, which she had dangling precariously off the top of the slide. It all came tumbling down, of course, and she looked really shocked. Seriously, you’d think she’d be used to it by now. I don’t think you can see it in this picture, but she really has a nasty shiner. My little nakey-bakey was totally thrilled to have her picture taken with the webcam. Just for the record, she’s wearing nothing but Hello Kitty chonies and is hugging her best friend, Blue Baby. Man, she’s precious (my child, not Blue Baby).

What’s the craziest thing that your children (or you as a child) have done?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sugar Bugs

Today Darby had her very first dentist appointment. I worked in a pediatric dental office for about 2 ½ years before Darby was born and I knew that the ADA (American Dental Association) suggests that children begin their dental exams at age 3. I was dreading the day because I know what a wild-cat my child is and the things I’ve done wrong in regards to her oral health and I just didn’t want to put her through it. Well, at the beginning of the week, I started noticing that one of Darby’s front teeth looked slightly discolored. You know me and so you know my mind was everywhere and I was sick with worry. I remembered that 3 year olds hardly ever even sat still for a full exam and if they needed treatment, they’d always have to be sedated; usually they’d have to be put under general anesthesia. I was so stressed. So, today I took her into the office where I worked. It started with some little shit (yeah, I said it) biting her arm in the waiting room. We didn’t see it go down, but her arm was wet and she was ticked. Anyway, I requested my favorite dentist and it worked out that my favorite assistant assisted as well. We got my dental dream team! She did a fabulous job with taking the x-rays, which is rare for a 3 year old, and she did such a great job with the dentist doing her exam. He was even able to do a cleaning for her. She was awesome! I am so proud of her. She didn’t throw a fit or even act afraid. She has no sugar bugs (cavities), by the way, which was such a relief. Way to go, Darby!

What experiences have you had with your kids (or self) in the dentist’s office (Aramie, you have to tell about what Kacey said after her first exam)?

Monday, September 14, 2009

"I've Made a Huge Mistake."

I’ve made a huge mistake. Today, Darby was asking me if she could throw something up into the ceiling fan. I repeatedly told her no, then grew tired of saying the same thing over and over. The next time she asked, I made a huge, landmark mistake. “I can’t stop you from making a bad choice…” Yeah, I know. Her eyes immediately lit up and as a Grinch-like smile stretched from ear to ear, she said, “You can’t stop me?” Oh man. What was I thinking? I was hoping to keep that information from her at least until she becomes a teenager. What have I done?

What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever said?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I thought we could all use a pick-me-up. Because I don't have any available pictures of my Frankie, we'll have to settle for James Franco (and besides, I don't want you all oggling my honey!) . Now, since I am married to Franklin Parmenter, I don't need a movie-star boyfriend. However, I know that many people who are married to lesser men have the need of movie-star loves. But, before you leave your eternal companion for Mr. Franco, I want you to consider the following:

Disturbing, right?

If you were so inclined, not that you are, who would be your movie-star boyfriend/girlfriend?

Friday, September 4, 2009


If you have kids, do you ever look at your child/ren and think, “Man, I make a beautiful baby!” Well, if you’ve ever met MY child, then probably not. Nobody could ever look at my child and then at theirs and still think theirs is cute. It’s like the time I saw Leo DiCaprio (back when he was attractive to my 16 year old, 17 Magazine-washed mind ) in Romeo and Juliet. I saw it with my unfortunate boyfriend. I looked at him half-way through the movie and thought, “Ewww.” Aramie might argue that I could have looked at him and thought that BEFORE I saw the movie, but that’s a story for another time. Besides, she kissed him before I ever did, so she’s not free and clear, either. Yeah, we’re classy like that. So, you’re kids are probably actually super cute, especially my nieces, Kacey and Montanna, and the MOBB kids are all really, really cute. Okay, so you’re kids ARE cute. Anyway, my child is so beautiful, sometimes I just marvel that she belongs to me. I think most of the time that she must be possessed by evil spirits to act the way she does, but I wouldn’t change any bit of her. I’ll fill you in on her shenanigans in recurring posts called “The Adventures of Darby Danae,” which e-mails some of you already receive. I haven’t posted pictures of her yet because a lot of things are still boxed away in the garage, including the camera battery charger. So, Corrine was sweet enough to send me a disc of all the pictures she took around Darby’s birthday, so I’m depending on those for now. I’ll post a few so you can admire what Frankie and I made! Yeah, she’s 3 and an only child so far, but it’s like, we already made the perfect child, why press our luck?

Darby LOVES to swim. She would swim from sun-up to sun-down and beyond.

She was ready to eat her birthday cake. This is Darby issuing a threat.

Opening presents.

Look at this beautiful baby! Her precious outfit was a gift from Nanny.

Brag to me about your kids. They aren’t that cute, right?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't Sweat It

I have always been averse to people wearing sweatpants in public. I don’t care about the cute or stylish kind, just the kind with elastic at the ankles. You know, with the coordinating sweatshirt? I have no problem with sweatshirts, and the pants don’t have to be coupled with the shirt to trigger my aversion. Just those creepy, loose, thick, shapeless pants that reach a fever-pitch right there at the ankle. I shudder at the thought. I mean, what shoes could possibly look good against that background? And that’s how I knew I loved Frankie. I saw him wearing sweatpants, in public, and I still wanted to be his wife. That’s a pretty powerful spell he has over me, right? Of course, there are no sweatpants in our home NOW, for the record, but I even thought he looked cute in them then. Cute! Frankie aside, I have an insurmountable aversion to sweatpants in public, so don’t let me catch you promoting that faux pas.

What are your fashion (or crimes against fashion) pet peeves?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Today IS Special!

Does anyone recognize these guys? They were on the best show in the world. I watched it before I was in kindergarten, and I wish I could watch it still.

What were your favorite shows when you were small?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Under Where?

So, I once had to have a spinal tap. Nowadays, it is actually called a “lumbar puncture” so that it sounds less intimidating. It doesn’t. Anyway, Aramie and I compared our spinal tap experiences and hers was way worse; she’s a total badass. That said, there I was, waiting for 5 hours for my sweet ride to begin. I was finally called back, they took some blood samples that they already had, and I was ushered into a room with a gurney and a weird t.v. screen. The nurse handed me a hospital gown and told me to take off my pants and everything from the waist up. We all know that I say “chonie” instead of “underwear.” We all know that I sometimes like to class things up by shortening my spanglish word to “chones.” The nurse did not know this. I said, “So, I should take off everything but my chones?” She stared blankly at me for a long time. I couldn’t understand what she wasn’t understanding. It suddenly struck me and I hurriedly said, “I mean, take off everything but my…my…” and every other word for chonie left my mind. I stammered for an eternity and finally spat out “…my underwear.” While that wasn’t the worst part of the day, it wasn’t a great start.

How many words can you think of for chonie, and what is your preference?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mr. Alligator?!

Bed-time is an hour of trials in my home. From somehow tricking Darby up the stairs to the absolute stillness required for her to fall asleep, it is a battle; full of peril. Usually, the only way to get her up the stairs is for Frankie to carry her and tell her that they are going to chase Mama into her room. What Frankie well knows, but you may not, is that I am terrified of being chased. I don’t have a clue where this phobia originated, but it is real and it presents itself every night that I am chased up those stairs. It starts out as play; I pretend scream and start fake-rushing up the first few steps. Darby starts laughing and it is a fun game. Suddenly, it changes. I start hearing the heavy footsteps behind me, right on my heels. My heart begins beating faster and faster. My palms get sweaty and my steps quicken. By the time I reach the top of the stairs, my heart is pounding in my throat, my screams are real, and I have tripped on the last step. It’s like every horror film you’ve ever seen. I look over my shoulder in terror as my would-be assailant brutally continues in my pursuit, barreling ever closer, closer and I am dragging my injured body through the doorway of her bedroom, fighting back the tears as I wait for the cold clutch of death to reach me…And then I remember that it is just my sweet husband and precious daughter and we are playing a really fun game. Yes, a fun game.

What is your secret fear? Oh, my other one is lizards.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What the...?

Sometimes I look behind my couch and feel compelled to ask, “Who put that cheese back there, and how long ago?”

What’s the most disturbing thing you’ve ever found in or around your furniture?

Monday, August 24, 2009

UR ine The Right Place!

Have you ever peed outside? Now this question is mostly for the ladies because probably every male in history has peed outside for some reason, or maybe just because he could. Now, for us women it is a considerable feat. The thigh muscles required to squat deep enough to miss your chonies coupled with the tenacity of holding up your shirt/skirt for the duration means that you must be made of cast-iron! When I was working as an archaeologist, my coworkers would steal off into a wooded area and I was always in awe of their ability to pee outside, the audacity to do so, and the lack of class required. Luckily, I can hold it like a camel holds water, so it was never an issue. That stems from my germ OCD, but we’ll cover that another time. So, when I found myself in the campo in Ecuador needing to go as bad as anyone ever has, I was left with no other choice. My comp was off peeing in the distance and I very uncomfortably searched for something behind which I could hide. No luck. So, I squatted over my ill-chosen, ill-fated Doc Martens and did what a missionary had to do. No sooner had I overcome my peeing-in-the-open stage fright than I heard some voices approaching. My head shot to the right and through the shrubbery I saw a group of women. “Oh no!” I thought to myself. “They’ve formed a mob to lynch me for being a North American and disrespecting their homeland!” It was a reasonable fear; we had been called “whores” in the street on the way up. As the mob grew closer (and if I recall correctly, they were carrying torches and chanting something like “kill the pig, slit her throat, bash her in!”) I tried to finish peeing, pull up my chones and drop my skirt, all at once. The Docs did not fare well during the debacle, but at least I looked respectable as the mob walked past me, having dropped their torches, quit their chanting, and seemed to ignore me. It even appeared as though they were not a mob at all; just 2 or 3 women walking with some cows. But I knew better. After my first experience (and seeing citizens, male and female, doing everything in the street---even a woman pooping over a sewer grate in the middle of the city in the middle of the day), peeing in a deserted field became much easier. So easy, actually, that upon my return, I was able to pee in the woods with the best of archaeologists. And not a few weeks ago, Darby and I were swimming in the pool out back and, well, it seemed a shame to drag her out of the water and trek all through the house just to use the bathroom. “Hey, Frankie,” I said, with a slight grin. “Don’t mow in that corner.” His eyes widened as I floated away on my pink flower noodle.

Have you ever peed outside? When, where, and why?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dirty Little Secret

Last night, my husband’s work group was taken to dinner by the Vice President of the company. Employee families were not invited and though I feel slightly jilted, I understand that we are in a recession. After making him change his shirt and pumping him full of encouragement, none of which was necessary or solicited, I sent my husband on his way. I put our toddler to bed and was surprisingly excited when I realized that no dinner plan was expected of me that night. I combed the cupboards, trying to remember the last time I actually set foot in a grocery store. By the looks of the inventory, it seemed it had been quite a while. As I kept looking in the same cupboards over and over again, hoping something forgotten and delicious was hiding behind the dried minced onion and cream of mushroom soup, my eyes focused in on a can of Rosarita’s refried beans. My brow crinkled and I hesitated. Do I dare? I most certainly do! But, with what? Tortillas are not frequent guests in my home. They become lost under the bread or in the back of the fridge and when my excited eyes find them again; my heart is quickly disappointed by the brittle, cracking, dryness of each sad circle. This resulted in my decision to avoid the heartache and leave them at the store, where they belong. So, there I was, with some refried beans, a piqued interest, and the resolve to find something with which to pair my Mexican treat. I’ll spare you the suspense. I ate refried beans and fried eggs for dinner. It was a dirty, shameful experience. When Frankie returned from his fancy elbow-rubbing dining adventure, I asked him what he had for dinner. “It was sort of a sausage, shrimp, and fettuccini jambalaya. It was really good.” He handed me a doggy bag containing a soggy brownie covered with what appeared to be ice-cream residue. I picked at the mush for a moment, secretly resenting him. “What did you eat?” he asked. My silence was deafening and he repeated the question. My eyes shifted to the plate beside me, hoping he didn’t recognize the brownish paste smeared across its surface.

What’s the most shameful thing you’ve ever eaten (and enjoyed)?