Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blessing Day Photos

Great-Uncle Matt, Baby Owen, and Papa Jim

Grandpa Bill blowing out his candles

Aunt Lisa and Baby Owen

Kris & Sam welcoming their guests
All the blessing participants

Great-Grandpa with Owen Elrey Layton

Sweet Baby Owen with Great Grandma Dever
Papa Bill & Nana Lyn walking to Devers' house, site of Owen's blessing and Papas birthday celebration.

My Fab Weekend

The sun us up
the sky is blue
it's beautiful
and so are you
dear prudence
won't you come out to play?


Man, it is so beautiful in AZ! I'd forgotten what a sonoran spring looks like (gorgeous) and I'm in love. Flowers in the desert! 75 degrees, sunny with a light breeze! Sign me up! When I got off the plane and put on my sunglasses I almost cried.

My trip down here on Saturday was lovely. I left my house in Livingston at 5:34am and drove to Billings. I parked the Honda at the Sleep Inn and called the yellow cab to pick me up at about 7:50am and drop me at the airport at 8:15-ish. It took me about 15 minutes to check in and get thru security, so I had an hour until my plane started boarding. I went to a cafe and had an orange and a croissant and read my Family Fun magazine. By the time I read the whole thing, it was time to line up at gate B4 and catch my flight to Mesa. It took a while, but we were in the air by 10:20am Montana time. I took my seat by the window and waited for the other 2 passengers to come. It turned out to be a father and son from Livingston (the Murphys), and it was the son's first flight, so I traded seats with him. He was so cute--they were really nice and made the trip pleasant.

We landed in Mesa at noon, which was 11 Mesa time. Sam picked me up about 10 minutes later and we drove out to Ahwatukee to Lisa's house. We wished her stepson Joey a happy 13th birthday, and then we all met Dad Layton and Becky at Mimi's Cafe for lunch. It was such a nice visit with them--we had delicious food and such a nice time talking. We parted ways and Sam and I headed down to Tucson to help Kristen get things ready for Owen's post-blessing dinner and Papa Bill's 84th birthday. I rocked Owen for 2 hours while Kris and Sam arranged her parents' house for the festivities. It was so sweet to sit in the Devers' gorgeous garden-of-eden backyard, watching the sun set over Pusch Ridge, snuggling my sweet baby nephew to sleep.

At about 8:30 pm, Sam drove me down into the valley to the Grandparents' house to sleep over. It was a sweet homecoming--so nice to sit in the quiet and chat with the g'rents on Grandpa's birthday eve. We chatted for a couple of hours, then went to bed. I slept in my old bedroom, on the Jenny Lind beds with the windows open. It was a perfect night's sleep! Little birds woke me up for church at 7:30am, but I went back to bed for another hour and a half! HOORAY! Best sleep ever! I went to the grandparents' sacrament meeting, then home for a little rest before we headed back to the Devers' for the baby blessing/dinner. It was so very sweet! Kristen's grandma, sister, and other extended family came, and all of my mom's siblings came, plus our sister Lisa, cousin Dave, Dad and Becky Layton and Aunt Maxine. The circle of blessing was HUGE, and the party was sweet. I hope Grampy had a good day--there was a whole lotta love in the room!

I am just hangin' out with Sam and Kris, ready to head back down to Gram & Gramp's house. I am so looking forward to another great night of sleep. I think I will feel so much better when I go home to see my babies...YAY! Thanks, Rich, for letting me come, and to all my amigas who are helping him with the kids this week. I am having a wonderful time, but I miss you guys like crazy! Hugs! (fotos coming soon)...

Friday, March 27, 2009

It Seems Like Years Since It's Been Here

It's been a long, cold week here. The girls are back in school and James and I have just been puttering around the house while it blizzards out side, getting things ready for my 5 days in AZ. So I don't have any fun pictures or anything this week.

I wish I had pix of last night, though, because we went to Heidi's preschool where the kids made a restaurant called Hot Wonko's and served us sampl platters of food they made yesterday during school. All the kids had on chef outfits and they served the foods they made. Heidi made PBJ sandwiches cut with cookie cutters into different shapes. There were also Little Smokies, Alfredo Pizza, Pasta Bake, Fruit Smoothies, and quesadillas. It was pretty fun and hte kids were sooooo cute!

I am so tired of winter. It's not just the snow--I'm cool with spring snow cuz it just melts and makes a very green May. But freezing temps at the end of March? Gimme a break! The wind chill last night was 5 below. That is ridiculous. What are my poor daffodils and tulips going to think? In fact this week I wanted to plant a bunch of seeds and do starts in the house and my MIL said we should wait two weeks to start plants because veggies can't even go out until Memorial Day weekend. GEEZ!

So here's the official song of springtime! If spring can't find me, then I'm gonna go find spring! (well, it's actually hotter than a Montana summer in AZ already, but hey--bring on the vitamin D!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Daughter the Anti-Latino

On the way home from Helena last night Addie got the choose the DVD and she chose "The Three Caballeros"--the classic Disney tour of Latin America. Heidi objected thusly:

H: I hate this movie! No!
Me: Why do you hate it? It's a great show!
H: Because I hate Mexicans!
Me: [somewhat shocked because we freaking love all things Mexican in our home, except the immigration problem] No you don't, Heidi! You love Mexican food and music, and your friend Maria is Mexican!
H: NO SHE'S NOT! How many times do I have to tell you? She's CHINESE!
ME: How many times do I have to tell YOU, she's Mexican? Her mommy came from Mexico and she speaks Spanish--she's not Chinese, that's silly.
ADDIE: [piping up from the backseat] Yeah, that IS silly. How is a Chinese person going to come all the way to America???
[Richard and I were DYING in the front seat by now; I was laughing so hard I almost choked myself]
H: Okay, I don't hate Mexicans, I just hate the way they sing. They sing so stupid!
Me: Let's just watch the movie--it's fun to learn about Mexico and South America...and we dont' say stupid...

Then later on, today, Heidi asked to watch a Dora DVD and I said, "Are you sure you want to watch that? Dora is a Mexican, ya know."

"No she's not, mom. She's Chinese," Heidi responded.

"Then why does she speak Spanish?" I asked.

"She doesn't. She speaks Chinese."


We have much to celebrate this weekend! On Friday we drove to Helena and stayed over at Matt & Amie's awesome pad and had the WILDEST COUSINS PARTY EVER (11 kids). On Saturday, my nephew Jared Lehman was baptized in a very sweet mostly-family service. Congratulations, Jared!Thanks for inviting us!
Today, Sunday, we welcomed cough germs for the whole family and day five of another sinus/ear infection for me (I'm on day 3 of a z-pack) so we all stayed in bed. Also, we welcomed two new baby girls to our extended family...
a yet-to-be named Melin Niece down in Florida
and Lucy Marie Mayberry down in Arizona...
to Jess, Kelli, TJay, Summer, and Matthew
Cousin Dave, Lacy, and Penelope!
We can't wait to meet your sweet baby girls!

Also, today, down in Tucson, I missed a special reunion/memorial by all the "Pioneers of Music" alumni from Magee Jr. High for Bob Gabriel, our music director, who passed away last month. I would have loved to have been there--Pioneers totally reinforced my love of music and helped me to be a better performer. When I think back at what Bob Gabriel and Mari Bell accomplished at that school, it boggles my mind. I wonder how many music teachers and programs they spawned over--what--30 years? Amazing.
So now I'm off to flush my sinuses with saline and take a Claritin. The good news is that I can take decongestants now that I don't have a thyroid. The bad news is that I did my own searches the other night and found out that an enormous number of Graves patients have recurring sinus and ear infections (people who never had them before), even though all my doctors say it's not related or a side effect. Things that make you go hmmmm.
Six more days til AZ...the sun will do me good!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Livingston Photo Safari Alphabet Collage

Photo Safari on Wednesday

We went downtown on Wednesday to take a walk and do an Alphabet Photo Safari. Heidi took about 4 pictures, then she just wanted to find the letters and make me take the pictures. She did a great job. Here she is snapping away in front of the bank.

We also took big pictures of cool signs during our are some Livingston signs:

Heidi and James by the Montana flag in front of Sax & Fryer

[this my FAVORITE SIGN! Hilarious!]

We stopped for a little snack--blueberry scone and a St. Patty's sugar cookie and water--at the Bittersweet Cafe (next to the chiropractor's office).

Heidi bought this little fawn for $1 at Little Buckaroos Thrift Store.

Heidi ate a sugar cookie and named her fawn "Polly."

Heidi took this photo of me with James at the cafe. I looked a tired as I felt (no makeup--so scary), but I had a great time with James and Heidi! Soon I will photoshop our alphabet collage and post it! Fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Later I will post pictures from this morning's Alphabet Photo Safari with Heidi in downtown Livingston. Man, I love that girl. She is bursting at the seams with personality and sass; she is almost too much for me, but I strive everyday to figure out how to be her mom. The lyrics to "Maria" from Sound of Music often run through my mind when I think of her, and my mom job often feels like pinning down a cloud, keeping a wave on the sand, holding a moonbeam in my hand.

I read THIS POST from cjane today and I felt all kinds of amens coming on. I am often The Bull in a China Shop (speaking of flibbertyjibbits...) and often wish for more grace, more quiet strength. I mean, I am who I am, to a certain extent, I know this; I try to be grateful. I'm just sayin' I could make some better choices. I could learn to be a lady like cjane's Sister Ryan or my own dear grandmother (bless her heart--I'm sure I have horrified her sensibilities a zillion times!). Girlfriends, your thoughts on the secret of womanhood?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

i love this way too much

Random Snowy St. Paddy Pix

Our Cousins across the street made this cool snowman today! Uncle Davey is so funny!...
The snow is melting fast and the snowman's face is falling off!

James and Heidi enjoyed a bowl of snow and some Wonderpets this afternoon.


My Three Little Leprechauns

Makin' Biscuits

These photos were taken yesterday right before it went from a 55-degree, partly sunny day to DUMPING snow--about 4-5 inches over night. The girls went to play with their cousins across the street, and James stayed with me and made yummy cheddar biscuits. It was our first time trying out the Red Lobster recipe and it turned out great! James with the pastry cutter--notice the Crystal Light sippy and the Pringles (what can I say, we're on a health food kick!) on the counter? Once when I looked away, James sprinkled juice and crumbled a chip into the biscuit batter. But no harm done.
James licked off every cooking utensil and ate all the bits of cheddar dough ("Playdoh! playdoh! I eat it!").

Such a happy helper, my sweet little biscuit-face!
Here's the recipe, dedicated to my Aunt Marti, with whom I recently had the following convo:
Auntie: I love those Red Lobster biscuits
ME: Me, too. They are manna from heaven.
Auntie: Manna is supposed to be "sweet" to the taste...well, I guess that means it tastes like whatever you want it to taste like.
ME: Yeah. So for us that just means "cheddar and garlic."
Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ heaping cups grated cheddar cheese
Brush on Top:
4 tablespoons butter, melted (the other half of the stick)
¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
pinch salt

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don't want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and ½ teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.
3. Drop approximately ¼-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop (or your toddler’s hands).
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.
5. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Makes one dozen biscuits.

From abc news, tweaked by me 03.16.09

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Girl, Put Some Makeup On!"

My steri strips came off this morning! Yay...kind of...I like having the gash somewhat covered, but now it's just swimmin' in neosporin. Hey, thyroidless sisters, got any wound care tips for me? The doc told me what to do, but it was just a few hours after surgery, so yeah, like I remember that...! Anyway, here I am fresh from the shower at 9am: From below (so puffy! check out my awesome Elrey jowls!)
From above...a pearly pink neck smile!

My peeps have all gone- the girls to hang out with Grandma and cousins Rosie and Hannah, and the boys to the gun show in Bozeman (yes, we are armed and dangerous now, and I missed hunter safety last weekend! I'll catch the next one and you can just call me Calamity Jane!) I am taking a wicked sweet nap today! I am getting excited to visit AZ, to snuggle Owen, to hang with Sam, Kris, and Lisa, to meet up with my valley girlz in Mesa, to catch the Easter Pageant at the AZ Temple, to celebrate Papa's 84th birthday...what great timing for a trip, and for less than $100! THIS song has been on my's perfect for spring fever and daydreaming of AZ sun! Have a great weekend and SING ALONG...

Three little birds, sat on my window.
And they told me I don't need to worry.
[love the bob marley reference!]
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet,
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete.

Maybe sometimes, we've got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

Blue as the sky, sunburnt and lonely,
Sipping tea in the bar by the roadside,
(just relax, just relax)
Don't you let those other boys fool you,
Got to love that afro hair do.

Maybe sometimes, we feel afraid, but it's alright
The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change.
Don't you think it's strange?

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

'Twas more than I could take, pity for pity's sake
Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger
When you gonna realise, that you don't even have to try any longer?
Do what you want to...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Four Poster Dull Torpor

I am gettin' sick-n- tired of bein' sick-n-tired, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers once put it--seriously sick of my room and not being able to open the windows and get glorious fresh air. Why? Because, while it is deceptively sunny out there, and it is indeed mid-March, the low today was minus ten! MINUS TEN, people. Shiver in my bones just thinkin' about the weather. It's such a long time since my better days...

however... THIS gorgeous post just lit up my life in so many ways, not the least of which is to make me feel the warmth of the African sun AND the Holy Spirit all in one shot. Joh, I love you so very much.


PS: bruises are is good...

Monday, March 09, 2009

WARNING: Scary Thyroidectomy Images Comin' Right Up...

These look horrific...I am sorry, I didn't realize how gross they are, but this is how I'm lookin' today! Too bad it's not Halloween! (Lisa A., did yours look gnarley like this? I am told it's a little worse than usual becaus the thyroid was enlarged, but...ew!). I got adjusted at the chiro today--couldn't stand layin' in bed anymore, even though I am exhausted now from going out. It's freezing cold and super snowy, so I'm happy to sleep it off. My SIL, Amie, just came from Helena and brought me a basket of bath goodies and took all the little boys to swim at Chico (Heidi and Addie are at school). So I am hoping Jill can take a little nap now...poor thing! I'm gonna go join her. All is well...XOXO

Sunday, March 08, 2009

What was that?

I had my thyroid removed early Friday morning. I did pretty well in the hospital and came home yesterday, but I feel way worse than I thought I would at this point. Rich and Jill are taking good care of me, but I am sore and loopy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Here are some recent pictures...this one is actually Sunday night... Addie and I made Chocolate-Peanut butter Rice Krispy Treats for her class snack on Monday.
Monday afternoon, I got a package in the mail from Oregon. Jessica in NC ordered it for me off "from one thyroid-less girl to another"--it's a butterfly, shaped like a thyroid--get it?
Beautiful! Thanks, Jess!

Here I am wearing my necklace and driving my awesome minivan.
(My right eye still looks buggy, and it has been running non-stop today)

Looking to the right is way better than looking to the left because I have this weird, slow-healing owie on my nose. It errupted on 2/21, just after I started anti-biotics for sinus infection. It used to be red and bulbous, causing the kids to sing, "Mommy, the red-nosed reindeer." Now Rich just calls it "nose cancer."

James and I took a walk down by Heidi's school is the cool spring rain...

He wore the new "Lightnin' McQueen" shoes Daddy bought for him, and I wore my crocs, too--they are so great in the rain!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Skyping With Owen

My first of a zillion webchats with my nephew, Owen
(03.02.09 @ 10PM...Happy One Week Birfday, Wee Man!)

But Wait! There's MORE...

I have so much to say about this message! I wrote about this talk in my journal when it was given because one of the things I have learned in the past two years about nourishing my spirit and warding of negativity, depression, and anxiety is that I need to Create. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, THE Creator, and my soul can't be happy unless I let it express somethign that has never existed before. This message from President Uchtdorf means so much to me...GO MAKE SOMETHING!

A Belated Valentine

I just found this on you tube and I was so excited! It comes from a 2000 talk (I saw it live) that was sort of a "remix" of a talk from 1985. The original talk--"Some Things We Have Learned Together"--is one of my all-time favorite messages. I have memorized long sections of it and it's part of my regular mantra. Anyway, along with Elder Ashton's "Leave people better than you found them," and Camilla Kimball's "Never suppress a generous thought", I give you another of my favorite words-to-live-by, Jeffrey R. Holland's "How Do I Love Thee"...

Back in the Day: 03.02.91

From my journal:

32 days until I finish the Book of Mormon again. 32 days until S. boards the plane a returns from the heavenly land of missionary work into Real Life.

Will has a very cool girlfriend named C. I hope he knows how lucky he is.

I am waiting in the [HBL] library for Kevin--he's late and I am done with the research I came to do.

[later] Kevin showed up just before they started playing the closing time music at the library, but he did try to make up for it by bringing me some coffee nips. I still feel kinda yucky about everything, but I am still happy, just not at peace. Perhaps my subconscience is stirring up my soul to awake and arise.

Oh, and the war is over. Saddam Hussein left Kuwait, but he still sucks.


Dear Loved Ones,                      This week has been a lot of work. Kids have been home sick with colds, Heidi was home on grievi...