I'm moving.

I'm consolidating.

I will no longer be here.  But I will still be filling the internet with all of my rants, feelings (soooo many feelings) and pictures elsewhere.

You will soon be able to find me (and really the entire Davis Family) over at adayinapril.com soon.

I'm pulling highlights from this blog, my foto blog and everywhere else to combine into one giant mess of information.

We'll see if I like it.  I have high hopes.

Wish me luck!  We wish you well and love everyone that stops in ♥



the storm.

The calm has ended and the storm rages.

I have a cold and I can't process everything that's going on right now.

A year ago I noticed myself becoming sensitive to dairy.  I had stopped drinking milk for the most part and just hadn't craved ice cream.  Then one day I did and it made me sick.  I figured that I had a bug or something but then I ate it again and I got sick again.  A glass of milk?  sick.  Ice cream?  sick.  Sometimes just upset stomach and sometimes full blown puking and down for the next day.  I had already eliminated most dairy out of my normal diet so it wasn't a big deal.

Six or so months ago I began to notice the same thing when I'd eat lots of pasta or pizza or lasagna especially.  I figured it was the cheese.  Then it started happening more with other things...eventually leading me to realize that it wasn't the only the cheese, but the gluten.  I feel like this one came on more gradually and wasn't as consistent.  So I cut back on gluten (but didn't put a lot of effort into it, no label reading just the obvious stuff) and I started feeling better.  I did not want to truly acknowledge the possibility of a gluten allergy because I don't want to be allergic to gluten.

The more I cut back the better I felt, the less bloated I was and I had more energy.  Then I would eat some (because remember, if I don't acknowledge what I'm really doing than it can't be for reals) and get a little sick, but it was manageable.  I decided finally to stop this game and made an appt with my doctor to be tested for celiac.  Reading up on the testing it's important to still be consuming gluten while you're tested.  I took that to heart and wolfed down donuts, bread, cookies and anything else I could get my hands on (last meal).  The next day I was down and SICK.

Appt with NP (doc is sick), labs drawn, blah blah blah.

I don't have celiac.

But I do have a gluten intolerance.

But it's not celiac and until it is the medical community isn't interested in offering advice or help in the matter.


I went to another clinic.  Had many more labs drawn.  Still not celiac, not pointing to any diagnosable auto-immune disorders (which is probably a good thing) and they have a diet plan that will heal my leaky gut and ideally help me significantly.

But I'll probably still be gluten intolerant in the end.  Oh, and the diet with them costs $4000.  It's not covered by insurance because it's nutritional therapy (of course).

I've had some good friends with some good advice.  I'm heavily looking into the GAPS diet that will heal an existing inflammation and ideally also help me in the long run.

The problem in the short term is what this means for me and any future babies.  Because of the severity of my hyperemesis I was already super scared to get pregnant being intolerant to dairy.  If you remove gluten from my options I'm going to die.  Cow's milk stays down better than water when I'm pregnant. Cereal is the only thing that I survive on for the first 4 months.

I had already removed most dairy from my diet when I got pregnant with Stella and was forced to go back to it because all other alternatives were awful!  I love coco/almond milk but when I'm pregnant it's the worst thing ever.  Carrots and lemons and coconut water stay down but they don't provide any energy like dairy and gluten can.  I'm afraid in my current state I'm looking a hospital stays through my next...so right now I just can't stop crying about this being a *hopefully temporary* end to me having any more babies.

I've done some research.  Hyperemesis throughout the duration of the pregnancy like mine is rare.  Finding a celiac or gluten intolerant person that has hyperemesis is also rare.  The few cases I've read seem to be 50/50.  Some change their diet and their pregnancies are delightful and completely different, some change and nothing changes and they try to die their entire pregnancy.  There's really not a large group to pull stats from.

I'm too foggy to think right now.  I'm meeting with my actual doctor today (I think this cold might be an ear infection) and I'm going to cry a lot and try and get some answers and he's going to put me on antibiotics and offer my an Rx for my Vitamin D deficiency.

In other news Stella has hit that blessed time in her life where she want to make ALL of her own decision NOW and screams at me a lot.  I'm up to my eyeballs in parenting books trying to remember how I'm supposed to discipline a 2 year old in a way that she'll feel independent but not need to draw on my entire house with marker.

And Paisley.  Supposed to go to school in the fall.  Still don't feel good about it.  Not her going, but about the school.  Idk.  That's a whole other post.

My brain!!


my birthday.

I get so wrapped up in life that I forget to blog and then I'm sad later that I have those gaps.  It's really enlightening sometimes going back and reading things I've forgotten about.

I had a really amazing birthday.  I'm constantly overwhelmed by all of the love in my life and just incredibly grateful for all the people that provide it.  I find myself often wondering what in the world I did to deserve so much...I hope I'm passing that love on.

I'm continuing to find myself lost in the worlds of photography and birth.  It's like I have 2 different homes that I love so much.  I just spent a bunch of birthday money on buying a birth library to loan out and re-read, but I'm also saving for another lens I just have to have.  They're both mistresses to my real life anyway, but my career in motherhood is fairly certain at this point while both of those are up in the air always.  

I've recently met a friend that's given me a new breath of fresh air..I don't know what it is about the kid that did it but I've needed a revival back into loving photography for too long now.  We played with lights yesterday, shot underwater a few weeks ago and have plans for upcoming projects and I'm really quite enjoying it.  I have finally picked up my camera for fun again.  I realized it was time for some practice and it's been so good for my soul.

I also spent birthday money on a lampshade, more frames and a Bluth banana stand shirt.  My current lampshade has been hanging on by dental floss for 3+ years now and I am more excited than I should be to have a new one.  And honestly, what photographer doesn't need more empty frames around the house??

I'm enjoying this peaceful time with my girls.  They're mostly easy lately and it feels like the calm before the storm.  Stella is sweet, still cuddly and such a lover.  Paisley alone with me is quite the conversationalist and has so many thought provoking questions about the world.  I hope I'm answering them correctly.  They continue to grow and love running around and sneaking chickens into the house.

Jon and I are coming up on 9 years soon.  I love that man.  I have big plans for an incredibly sappy post about that later.

Life is good right now.


update | a list.

It seems that blogging has become a place to empty my brain, post seasonal pictures or tell random stories.  Today, once again, I empty out my brain:
  • I hate it when people are rude.  Sometimes though, I think maybe it's not a bad thing because it reminds me not to be that way to people. 
  • January 1st brought on an entire head trip of "oh my gosh its next year..." for me.  I have a desperate desire to grow and progress and learn and do and do better and sometimes I let it overwhelm me.  I'm not writing out resolutions right now for good reason.
  • I need someone to talk me into having another baby.  I actually would LOVE to be handed a newborn and told that it was mine and that I didn't have to suffer the 9 months of trying to die to get the critter here.  I don't even mind labor and delivery.  I just can't do the 9 months of the flu.  I am really, really intimidated this time around because all those comfortable foods that I could eat that kept me alive I am now allergic to.  I also had 50 extra pounds on me so losing a bunch while not eating wasn't as big as a deal.  This next one I'm looking at starving to death and hospital stays.  I think that's what hit me in the face the hardest January 1st.
  • My own mortality has been haunting me more than usual.  I know it's because whenever I see death he reminds me that I could be next.  That's a head trip of its own.
  • Every January I just have to remind myself that in a month we'll be outside and the month after that we'll be swimming.  I love St. George.  I often feel spoiled that we get to live here.
  • I think I'm developing a gluten intolerance...I really REALLY hope not.  Lots of things have been upsetting my tummy lately but I'm hoping it's just a phase or I need some probiotics or something.
  • My babies are big.  Stella is teething and Paisley is incredibly smart.  Stella is adding more and more words to her vocabulary:  baby, daddy, mama, doggie, nuggs (her blanket), paisley, tink (drink) and a host of other noises that have meanings behind them.  I love being able to better communicate with her.  Paisley asks every time we drive by when she gets to go to school.  I can't believe it will be this fall.  I'm so excited for her.
  • The wedding showcase is coming up.  My brain is going to explode.  I hope it's awesome.
I think that sums it up...who knows.  Happy January.


debriefing | the story

For those that are curious, and for the sake of journaling, here is the entire story:

Thursday afternoon I was coming home on I-15 south and ahead of me traffic began to slow down and was swerving around something in the road.  I saw 2 women running towards it and assumed that something had fallen off the back of a truck.  As I got closer I realized it was a man laying in the very middle of the freeway.  I immediately flipped on my hazards and pulled into the median-struggling to get my seatbelt off and door open fast enough.

He was laying on his back with his head to his side.  A man was on the phone with 911 and someone else was trying to redirect traffic around him.  Two women stood over him, panicked and unsure of what to do.  I tried to wake him up and searched for a pulse.  He had one, but it was erratic and irregular.  I remember verbalizing that I really shouldn't move his head, but he needed an airway and that was more important (and I proceeded as gently as possible).  As I turned his head he had a compound fracture on his jawline and a large laceration to match (meaning air was escaping out of the hole...bad news).  His eyes were wide...and had no life.

I lifted up his shirt (I had left my small kit in the car and wasn't about to run back for it or I would have just cut all of his dang layers off!!) to see if he had any more damage, located his sternum and began chest compressions.  He had maybe 5 layers of clothes on and was dirty and smoky.  I did my first round and then readjusted his airway-air was moving in and out and based on the amount of bleeding he had I wasn't about to do mouth-to-mouth (You just shouldn't when you don't know and they're bleeding that much!!).  I continued chest compressions and was joined about 2 minutes in by another man who began mouth to mouth.  We continued on like that for a few minutes before a highway patrolman showed up with an AED and bag-valve mask (so he could bag him instead of continuing mouth-to-mouth).

He didn't have a shockable rhythm but was maintaining a pulse on his own-still erratic and not good enough to stop CPR.  Ambulance arrived a little after that and took over.

The driver of the car that hit him was a mess.  He stood over my shoulder a good portion of the time explaining that he tried so hard not to hit him, he kept running in front of the car and just couldn't swerve far enough away.  He was in shock and very, very shook up.  I am so grateful not to have been the person that hit him.  It was so devastating for them.

I talked to they guys that packed him up and highway patrol for a minute-they were not hopeful.  I really wasn't either.  The reality of CPR is that if you're performing it, it's because the person is dead.  He got hit in the head by a car going 70 mph too-and that's not good.

I'm not going to lie-I absolutely wanted to believe that I was there at that time for a reason, and he was going to miraculously going to recover, have a come to Jesus and get better and be so grateful for a second chance at life.

I think anyone wants to believe that story.

The unfortunate truth also is that I couldn't imagine trying to commit suicide and waking up to that big of a hospital bill and bump on your head-and anticipating him being mad at anyone that helped keep him alive.

My sadness now stems more for what was so awful in his life that he wanted to do that?  Where is his family?  Is his mother alive?  Will she miss him?

I called Jon on my way home and his phone was dying so I walked in the door to my empty house and no one to really debrief with.  And the craziest thing in the world had just happened to me-minutes before that I was kneeling on one of the midlines of the freeway performing CPR on a real person.  So of course I posted it on fb.

Not only was this super crazy but also I am a huge advocate of EVERYONE having CPR training and being fully trained to run in to a situation like this and help.  If you're not, do it.  I walked away ok because I knew what to do and did what I was trained to do.  I get shook up in situations where I feel powerless and out of control and because I had the training I did-this was the opposite.

Get CPR certified.

You might get to save someone.  If me being involved in this was not to save his life it was for me and my loud mouth to tell everyone I know to get some training and save some people.

Get some training.  Save some people.

And don't walk into traffic on the freeway.

*I have to add too-thank you so much everyone for your love, your concern and your support.  I love you all so much.



We started off this beautiful season with a trip to this darling farm out in Hurricane, UT.  They had all sorts of fun things for kids and it was nice that it wasn't too cold yet when we went!  Paisley LOVED the headless horseman-I think he was more confusing than scary for her.

This is her first time on a horse and she is ECSTATIC!!  She was so excited-she pretended it was Rainbow Dash.


We also had our annual Halloween Party and did a murder mystery.  With all the switching around and issues I had planning the whole thing I swore I would never do one again...it ended up being hilarious and completely worth the headache!!  I think this may become a halloween tradition!

Desserts were fabulous!!

We took Halloween picture and made Halloween frames for preschool.  The kids got to paint the frames themselves with glow in the dark paint and they loved it!

We were pretty worn out by the time Halloween actually happened!  For the first time I didn't end up even dressing up on the actual day because I was just too busy getting the kids put together and helping with activities that it just didn't happen!  Our neighborhood does a trunk-or-treat on halloween which I have mixed feelings about but its fun because everyone leaves from there and heads out into the neighborhood to trick-or-treat.  It's fun finally having a neighborhood!

Rainbow Dash! 
Twilight Sparkle

We even dressed up the bus for halloween!


birth thoughts.

I have so much to post.  Halloween, homemade deodorant, avett brothers, preschool...soo much.  But I'm tired of looking at pictures so that will just have to wait.  Today I want to post about birth.

Yes, I am still talking about it-and I am so sorry to those of you that listen to me talk about it, I am a little obsessed, I know.

Initially I wanted to rant.  You don't need that.  Then I wanted to site a bunch of articles.  You can do that too.  Today I just want to paint a picture.

Often in the early hours of the morning I get called out of my warm bed to go on a birth.  I arrive to peoples homes and I'm immediately greeted with the calming spirit that is there, the active spirit of hard work being accomplished and the anticipation and smell of new baby in the air.  It is a very powerful atmosphere to enter.

I witness new Dads and loving Mothers support their wives and daughters as they work through this amazing spectacle.  I make beds, fetch warm compresses and chart notes.  I hold hands to help center and align women as they radiate the power and energy pulsing through their bodies.

I assist in safeguarding miracles.  It is an incredible work-this whole process of baby-having.  It demands respect and understanding and we've lost that in our country.

I hear so many remarks "Oh, but there wouldn't be peace at my house, just screaming." "Oh, my husband is grossed out by all that, he couldn't help."  I see something completely different so often now that my sense of normal has changed.

I watch as I paint this picture for women-many get a far away look just for a moment and then the fear sets back in and they make a sarcastic remark about needing an epidural, screaming and pain.  Why have we ruined birth?

It is possible.  It is painful.  It is incredible, spiritual and rewarding.  I requires preparation, study, meditation and work.  You need support-but that support team benefits so much from it!

I want to change our attitude towards birth.  I want a new generation of empowered women that believe they can do it and want to.

Because I've seen it.  I want everyone else to see it too.


{soapbox}: food

I'm going to get on my soapbox for a minute.  The worst part?  This isn't the only rant I'm in the process of writing right now!  This has been rolling around in the back of my mind for some time and a couple of conversations I've had lately have really reinforced my need to rant.

I'm here to rant about food.  I am a food addict, foodie and general food lover.  My current life motto is to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full.  I preach this concept regularly.  I believe that in it's simplicity it will work to help you find your natural weight.

Unfortunately, things sometimes have to go deeper than that.

I also work hard to make sure I'm fueling my body with premium fuel.  I've started looking at my normal meals in terms of nutrient density because if you don't you spend your days with no energy and feeling like crap.  So I've put a lot of effort into finding out what is dessert and what isn't.

See, as Americans we think that cereal is breakfast.  Cereal is dessert.  Lean Cuisine's are lunch.  No.  Lean Cuisine's are dessert.

How did I determine this?  Most people know they shouldn't have a pepsi for lunch (beause pepsi is a sugary treat, right?).  What they don't realize is that many of those 300 calorie lean cusine's they're eating have more sugar than that can of pepsi.  They are dessert.

My most favorite health food?  Yogurt.  At some point someone deemed yogurt as healthy and health nuts throw it in their smoothies, choke it down for breakfast, snacks and the best part?  They even top it with granola or cereal (also dessert items).

Let's look at yogurt:

For me, eat a snickers instead.  I know it's fun size but really does yogurt really help your appetite any more than a fun size snickers??  I doubt it.  I was talking to someone and she actually said "Wow, this yogurt I got (because she's on a diet) is sooo good it really could be a dessert!"  It is.  It is.

"But April, I eat that chobani yogurt and that's like so much better for you, right?"  It is better....but still loaded with sugar. The only thing chobani has going for it is the amount of protein.  That helps justify the sugar...but still I'd really rather eat a snickers.

I once spent 3 hours in costco reading food labels.  I couldn't believe how little I knew at the time-everything I thought I was eating that was healthy wasn't.  Granola bars?  Dessert.  Milk?  Dessert.

"April, I've seen you down cupcakes...you're not THAT healthy."  I'm not claiming to be a beacon of health...but I am educated about it and I know when I'm eating dessert.  I think that's what I want people to understand more than anything-is when they're eating dessert and when they're not.

I have almost every single diet scheme backing me when I tell you that sugar is bad for you.  They all fight about how many calories/carbs/proteins/etc you can have and what to eat but EVERYONE agrees that sugar is bad for you.

So I do work hard to make sure that when I'm eating a peanut butter sandwich that the bread doesn't have added sugar, that the peanut butter is only ground peanuts and salt and that the honey is raw (and ideally local).  Honey actually is high in sugar but has several other nutritional components that help make it justified...and I love a good peanut butter and honey sandwich.  When I want to eat dessert I WILL.  And when I'm supposed to be eating a meal-it's a meal and not dessert.

And now, a soapbox within a soapbox. MILK.  At the beginning of 2010 I started cutting back on milk.  For me that meant no longer drinking it 24/7.  I loved milk.  I got pregnant in 2011 with Stella and due to it being the only thing that stayed down, I went back to milk (and cereal after being off it for a year).  After Stella was born I cut back on milk again...and then one day I wanted a glass so I drank some.  It made me sick.  I am now hyper-allergic to milk!!!  Serious!  If I drink it I wake up stuffy, mucousy and sick to my stomach the next day (and sometimes very soon after drinking it).

{ Great article about some of the sad truths about milk here. }

It now doesn't taste the same and comes with some nasty consequences afterward which really breaks my heart.  You know what doesn't break my heart?  I'm no longer addicted to sugar.  I don't have hayfever anymore, and generally I'm in better health than I have been in a long time.  Why?  Because I'm pretty sure I was allergic to milk all along and harming my body by drinking it non-stop.

I don't think I'm an unusual case.  We've seen a rise in allergies with our generation?  We also drink more milk than any generation before us and any other country.

"But April, what will I put on my cereal?"  Stop eating cereal.  It's dessert.  I promise.

"April, I drink fat-free milk though, so that's at least better, right?"  No.  I'll show you what my problem was:

Fat-free milk doesn't have the fat or calories to fill you up so I could easily drink a gallon a day and feel completely justified because "milk is good for you AND it was fat-free."  If you take the fat out of milk there is nothing to satiate your diet...so you drink more and literally double your sugar intake.

Plus seriously guys...it's cow's breast milk.  It's full of fat and sugar because it's supposed to fatten up baby cows.

Anyway-to sum it up:  I just want people to know when they're eating dessert and when they're eating a meal.  We eat too much dessert unknowingly in this country and as you can see, it's driving me crazy.  I don't rant about this to show off how amazing my diet is-I don't claim to eat perfectly-any one of you that spends any amount of time with me can easily agree with that BUT I have put a lot of time and effort into understanding a lot of this stuff.

My challenge for you:  Get a sitter or go at midnight and spend 3 hours without your kids at the grocery store.  Read food labels...ALL of them.  You'll be surprised.  And make sure you're eating dessert when it's dessert time...and meals at meal time.  The end.


{travels}: september

We're going to post in opposite order today.

Lunch died Sunday morning.  It was really sad.  We knew going in that we would probably lose a chicken or 2, but having to explain death to Paisley has been rough.

We kind of love having roommates.  It really isn't so bad.  I have that many more children to clean my house for me and there is never a dull moment!  I love sharing cooking responsibilities and it is SOO much easier to babysit kids that live with you and have a built in babysitter!  We're having fun.

It seems every time I go to Vegas for one thing or another I have enlightening experiences.  This last trip was no different.  And it was so fun.  It's always nice to miss your kids for a minute.

Gotta love insta pics.
Before that, Paisley and I went to Dallas!!  I had a family reunion for my Clark side and it turned out to be easiest to just take Paisley with me.  She is obsessed with airplanes and LOVES flying.  The plane we got on here in St George was hot and small and I thought I was going to die of sickness-all the while she made friends and happily stared out her window.  We used the bathroom no less that 4 times between both flights to get there.

The whole group that went to whirly ball
I got to hang out with my Grandma, my parents and spend some time with my extended family.  It was a very laid back trip and I loved just relaxing and talking to everyone.  I had never played whirly ball and we got to go play as a group.  It's a terrifying game that involves driving a bumper car while trying to catch a whiffle ball with a lacrosse style scoop and make it in your teams basketball hoop type thing.  Yep.  It's hard core.

This clustercuss pretty much sums it up.

I had high hopes for Paisley going to a modern art museum...she lasted about 10 minutes.  All those are instillations are just tooo tempting to touch and stand on.  It was just too hard.  I can sympathize-I always want to touch them too.  Thankfully only the bottom floor was open so nobody was too sad about being in and out.
Sunday morning we went to visit Grandpa.  Cemeteries are also not a great place for children.  I love trying to figure out which graves she stole things from...those flowers just look like they're meant to be grabbed and moved around.  She did really pretty good considering.
We finished off the reunion with dinner and cake for my grandma.  As per tradition, we were in our matching reunion t-shirts-something that I love!  This years design was particularly..um...interesting, but I think pictures turned out darling.

The entire reunion was wonderful but I was so happy to get back home!  I missed my husband and Stella sooo much.


{holidays}: paisley's 4!

We love ponies in this house.  Even though she did a pony party last year, she wanted to go for it again this year.  It was either that or Rescue Bots, and she still chose ponies (it was a tough choice though...she LOVES Rescue Bots).  She is turning into such a little girl and has been so much fun.  I'm really enjoying this age with her and I love watching her learn and grow so much.  I think this will be her last year home with me full time and as much as I look forward to it I think I will be sad to see her in school!  

She could not leave her new ponies alone!!  I had to put them back over and over again as she would sneak over and play with them!

The water balloons wouldn't break on the cement!!  It was hilarious!

New Rainbow Dash hat!!

Love rainbow cake.  Totally worth it!

This is totally Paisley in her natural environment!  She loves her chickens and loves playing outside in the dirt.  They are all her babies

This picture is like a little Jon.  She looks so much like him with her neck getting longer!


{update}: a list.

  • ^ Love this quote.
  • Stella is walking.  Like a pro.  She was hesitant at first and crawling was faster and then one day she got her little determined face on and decided to walk every where.  It's super cute because her legs are still just as chubby as ever!  She has been so friendly and happy lately.  She is such a joy to our family and we love her infectious happiness!
  • Paisley is once again either a darling dream of a child OR a complete out of control monster.  It does seem that lately it's been more darling child than monster...but you just never know.  She's processing more, learning so much and asking so many intelligent questions!  We passed a light post at night that's light was out and she said "Mom, you stand on Dad's shoulders and I'll stand on your shoulders and then I'll fix the light!"  This type of problem solving (as far fetched as it might be) was really something I was hoping to instill in my children, so it's amazing to see her put that together.  On good days she's fun to shop with and still loves to be snuggled-we're really just enjoying this inquisitive phase of life she's in.
  • We have roommates!!  A week ago we had some friends move in with us.  Stella is now sleeping in our closet so they can have her room and Paisley is sharing her room with her 2 friends!  It was madness at first but as all the kids are getting used to sharing and such they've actually adjusted really well.  They're building a house very close to ours and their daughter will be in school this week at the elementary school next to us so it just made sense to have them move in.  Now I only have to cook half the week!
  • Baby birthing is fun.  Women in labor are incredible.  The power that emanates from them as they labor and deliver is mind blowing and awesome.  Before going into this I was on the fence if this would ever be a realistic career for me and now I've got my calling.  I love it.
  • Jon's working on a vintage dirt bike for a long trek he wants to embark on.  Crazy kid.  It's good for him.


{world's greatest}

After driving to Page, AZ and through several small towns I saw lots of opportunities to try "The World's Best [fill in blank here]."  It got me thinking about where I had eaten the worlds best fish'n'chips and I decided to make a list.  The more I thought about it, the more I've realized that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and so maybe those Fish'n'chips at that tiny diner in LaVerkin miles from any ocean really are the best fish'n'chips the owner or some customer have ever had.  A list:

  • World's Best Chicken Strips and Fries:  Kelly Canyon.  After hours of freezing and destroying myself snowboarding NOTHING has been more delicious.  I get them every time!
  • World's Best Turkey Sandwich:  Dixie Regional Medical Center.  They're available 24 hours a day and smeared with delicious cream cheese and cranberry.  It is truly the best treat after pushing out a baby and something I looked forward to after the delivery of Stella!!
  • World's Best Chocolate Milk:  Reed's Dairy.  Any of you that have tried it know you can't argue with me!!  It's the best.
  • World's Best Sushi: Some random sushi shack on Ocean Ave in Huntington.  After sleeping in the car for 2 days and laying on the beach eating those lobster rolls was the best thing that ever happened to me!
  • World's Best Lemonade: Wendy's natural.  2 Hours of shooting Omega force photos in the hot sun here in StG reinforced how delicious and wonderful this lemonade really is.
  • World's Best Tamale:  the awesome tamale lady that used to go door-to-door selling them!  Sooo good.
  • World's Best Stroganoff:  My Mom's.  She would have to double and triple the recipe to make enough to feed all of us because we wanted seconds and thirds.  My mom makes the best meatloaf and chocolate chip cookies too if you were wondering!
  • World's Best Huckleberries:  Straight off the bush in the mountains of Idaho.  Haven't tried a huckleberry?  You need to.
  • World's Best Gelato:  Pedro Eis.  It is the best.  They're on every corner in Bavaria and nothing yet has been able to top it's amazingness...and the fact that you have to be in Europe to enjoy some helps!
  • World's Best Dutch Oven Cooking:  Girls camp 1997.  I'll never forget the first time I had dutch oven chicken and potatoes and nothing has topped those first few bites!!
  • World's Best Breadstick:  Pizza Factory!!  No story with it-they're just the best!!
  • World's Best Coke: Cold and from a single can in Germany on 4th of July.  I'm not a big Coke fan but nothing tasted more American that day than coke in a can.  We missed our country.
  • World's Best Apricot:  Off my tree!!  It might be because she only produced 6 this year so all her attention was on making those 6 amazing.  I can't wait until we get more next year!!
  • World's Best Pie:  the first pie I made successfully all on my own!  Pie making and pie crust are an art and something I wanted to achieve sooo much and on that Thanksgiving that I finally did it nothing was more delicious!!  I still remember my Mom coming home to my flour covered frustrations...
  • World's Best Steak:  made by Jon, donated by the Mickelson's, bbqed on my back patio at the Betty Manor.  I had never had steak properly cooked (medium rare) at that point and it opened up a whole new world to me!
There are so many more...What are some of yours??


{throwback thursday}: sales

So for a season of my life I went door to door to businesses selling online advertising.  It was a very interesting time and I really enjoyed meeting with so many different people.  I found that if you show up at their business in person they tend to be more receptive than if you cold call, so door to door I went.  I originally started here in St. George, we each having our assigned areas and then ended up in Cedar City for the summer that year.  It was amazing getting out of the heat and commuting up there so we took it a step further and commuted all the way to Parowan for a couple of weeks.

Parowan is the most random little town.  If I ever wanted to write a novel, it would be there that I would hibernate for writing.  It's full of crazies, bed and breakfasts, small cafes and a few other small businesses.  So much of the small main street is original, and I love it!

One of the days I was there I wandered off the main road and found a small motel.  You guys, the cat lady from the Simpsons lives there!!  I'm not kidding.  An old woman with crazy gray hair was chasing cats around speaking in an unidentifiable language.  And entire flock of ducks was also making their way down the overgrown dirt road that separated the two rows of motel rooms.

Oh!  Google Images...there's a picture!

the picture pretty much sells it, right?
So, being the young and non-intimidated idiot that I was I decided to knock on the office door.  Sometimes I look back at my days in sales and thank heaven I'm still alive and safe.  Who in their right mind drives clear up to Parowan, finds the most dark and secluded motel off the beaten path and then decides to go to there?  Yeah...

I knock on the door and I kid you not, a wall of smoke wafts over me as the door opened.  In front of me is a youngish man with an old t-shirt reading "hippies stink."  (they do).  His first words:  "Hey!  Look at you!  Look at me!  Look at me looking at you!"  (In my mind I think I was grateful that he was a friendly stranger).  I introduced myself and the product I was selling.  He said some other very hilarious and only mildly-coherent things here that unfortunately time has taken from my memory.  He had no internet access. (I would be willing to bet they probably still don't have internet access).

An entire flock of wild turkeys then decided to migrate through.  Seriously.  Squaking, feathers and all.

Typically I would meet people and set up appointments to come back and go over the full spiel.  So I asked if I could.  No.  He then asked if I had any lit.er.a.ture...pronounced just so.  Not if I had any more information, but if I had any lit.er.a.ture.  I did.  And I left it.  He made sure to get my personal business card as well (I was hesitant, but thoroughly entertained and curious at this point enough to risk prank calls or stalking..who knows)

While our exchange took place we gathered an audience of the motel's inhabitants.  Old men playing cards, a toothless woman crocheting, and of course the cat woman.  She actually growled at me from behind her bike (like I was going to steal it) as I left.

I'm sad to say I never heard anymore from this.  It was quite the exchange.  We were recently up in Parowan on our way up the canyon and all of a sudden this memory flooded back to me.  Luckily I scrawled down a few tiny details on a notepad because I thought the entire thing was so funny at the time.


{holidays}: stella's birthday

My baby is 1.  I still can't believe it.  It's like we've always had 2 children, but at the same time sometimes in the mornings they're a surprise like "who let these children in our house??  where did they come from?  why are they waking me up!!!?!"  It was so fun putting her in the same onesie that Paisley wore for her 1st birthday!  And of course Paisley had to be all fancy too in her cupcake dress.  It is nearly impossible to get a good picture of the two of them...oh well.  Their Daddy is their most favorite person in the whole entire world, and as you can see they LOVE HIM SOO MUCH.  He gets smothered every day he comes home.

her most favorite place in the world

The cupcakes and her cake were a comedy of errors.  As you can see, everything looks extra homemade!  The vanilla cupcakes came out perfect-they rose beautifully, they didn't burn and everything was looking like it was going to turn out amazing.  So I made the cake.  I wasn't sure exactly how much batter a 6" round took so I looked it up and it said 2 cups...I'm thinking that's for 2 rounds (because it was for a 2 layer cake)...and maybe I just can't read...either way me and Wilton are in a fight.  The first cake layer came out huge and took a long time to bake...so I attempted to even things out with the 2nd layer and do less...I don't know, either way I ended up with severely unequal, uneven layers, but at least they weren't burnt and they tasted good, right?

I then started making the frosting.  I LOVE fresh strawberry frosting but it is a bit temperamental.  I just made it a couple of weeks ago and it turned out perfect, thus renewing my strawberry-frosting-making-confidence.  my mistake.  I didn't realize this wasn't stiff enough until after I was halfway through frosting the cake (which I did let cool plenty long so I at least get stars for that, right?)  Getting an already broken and misshapen cake to shape up is difficult with good frosting, and I would say impossible with runny frosting. Into the fridge it went.  Unfortunately I'd already put the other portion in the bag for frosting the cupcakes so the cupcakes also went into the fridge with the hopes of freeze-framing the frosting.

Determined not to let the same thing happen to my chocolate frosting I made it ridiculously too thick and could not even get it to come out of the bag!!  (Once again, put it in the bag before confirming consistency...ahh, life lessons).

In the meantime, for one reason or another ALL of my chocolate cupcakes came out caved in and stuck to the pan!  The second batch was SO stuck I couldn't even get them out of the pan without completely destroying them so I gave up.  I can't really complain too much because as long as it all tastes good, I will always stand by my baking...I just can't always promise perfect presentation.

watermelon is her favorite

I love how well this captures my siblings and their significant others.

sexy man.

We're going to look back and call this Chad's beard phase.

Paisley's newest boyfriend.

I LOVE that we have room for people!!

She loved her cake and had no problem dunking her own face in!  She was so excited!!

It was delicious, malformations and all.  Thanks to everyone that came to celebrate our little Stella!