Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. T.

Dear Mr. T,
Happy Birthday my one true love,
I think you are perfect.
Even if you pointed out last night that my chicken was pink,
or when you pull more than your share of the sheets over on your side of the bed.
I think you are the handsomest man I have ever met,
Even when you tell me stories of your childhood when people said something mean
or when you get so embarrased when I tell you other people agree with me.
I think you are so smart,
Even when you have a bad day at work and you can't get the budget model to work right
or you ask me what the name of the actress is on TV (even though it is NOT her.)
I think you are so kind and gentle,
Even when you make that hmpf sound when you have to get back dressed and go back to the car
after you asked us 10 tens before you undressed if we got everything when we stay in hotels.
or when you got mad at Jack In the Box because they got everything in our order right except
your two tacos.
You are the perfect man for me
And I could not be happier that you were born on this day.
You make every day the best day ever,
Just by being you.
Love, The Momshell
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Satan is cookin' up trouble in the kitchen

I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming
(i.e. the last chapter of my road trip with phenomenal parade photos)
to bring you this important message.....

I am an average cook.
Not an amazing cook like my mother,
not a horrible cook like......
( I would say someone is a bad cook......)
I am an OK cook. medium.
good enough for you to enjoy a meal but nothing to alert the media.
Unless a missionary is invited into my home.
That is when all  H.... E....double hockey sticks breaks loose.
I have heard that missionaries should stay out of the water.
I don't know the actual doctrinal reasons behind it but I have been told it is because
Satan has power there.
I think that in his spare time and after he towels off he comes to my kitchen
but only when I prepare a meal for our missionaries.
I have overcooked, undercooked and plain badly cooked many a meal for them.
Things just don't work right when they are invited over.
In our church the members take turns feeding these fine young men
at least one meal a day.
I am on the calendar for the fifth Tuesday and the fifth Thursday in the month if they should happen to occur.
It was the last spot available.
Obviously word of my cooking has gotten around.
One time I even burned pasta.
Plain boiling spaghetti.
Two ingredients....noodles AND water!!!
Burnt and stuck to the bottom of my pan like super glue.
Cakes have been known to actually split down the middle like a mini Grand Canyon after an earthquake.
Brownies like hockey pucks.
One time I even served lemonade to a returning missionary who had brought his sister along with him to visit families in the ward.
They sipped very daintily and slowly on their beverage.
I think the words "strong but good" were even said.
After they left I tasted it and remained in a pucker for hours after.
I had added half the water that I was suppose to.
I may not be a gourmet chef but come on........
I am not stupid.
I can read directions.
But something happens when these sweet servants of the Restored Gospel walk through my door.
Tonight was no exception.
It started with the rolls that looked a little anemic in color.
They were cooked too much on top and yet retained a wet doughy like consistency on the bottom.
The tomatoes on the salad were hard as rocks.
The cucumber a little bitter
but the piece de resistance HAD to be the chicken.
It was a dish I have made a million times. It is fool proof. It has 5 layers....
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Slices of swiss cheese
A can of cream of chicken soup thinned with milk
A bag of Pepperidge Farm Herb stuffing
A stick of butter melted and drizzled on top.
Cook in a 375 degree oven for an hour and
unless you are eating at my house and your name has Elder at the front of it.
I pulled it out and the top layer of stuffing looked way too brown,
verging on burnt.
I was worried about the chicken and so I took a piece from the edge and cut into it.
It seemed perfect.
I scraped off the browner pieces of stuffing and brought it to the table.
All was well until in the middle of my interviewing our newest Elder who only came into the mission field two weeks ago, Mr T. turned to his companion and said,
"Is your chicken raw in the middle???
Because that looks pretty pink to me."
The rest of the evening is pretty much a blur from there.
I am going to go to bed and ponder whether or not I can or should retain my spot on the missionary calendar
with out at the very least an exorcism in my kitchen.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming......

P.S. In my defense my son was served pig snout stew in Guatemala. I would never undercook that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Grand Tour

Chapter Three; Destination Love
Reasons for my road trip...
Spend time with Precious and Mom and Dad,
escape the Houston heat and humidity,
take bazillions of photos
the most obvious of all....
visit my sweet Raar and her husband Ninja!
For the record that is Ninjas "fake smile". It's must not be easy when your mother in law takes a bazillion pictures. And also for the record Ninjas real smile is almost as contagiously charming as his laugh...well it's more of a sustained giggle that makes you want to find funny things on the internet and show him just so you can hear it again.
Anyway they had moved into a new apartment and I was anxious to see it.
There is something about needing to get a "visual" when it comes to your children.
When Raar calls me I want to be able to see her in my mind while I hear her voice.
Without having been there it's like my child is floating in space...
or worse....
I imagine MY first married apartment.
I wish I had a picture to show you but
like all nightmares it was never recorded for posterity.
I'm not even sure if it would have actually shown up on film it was so
dark and dingy.
After peaking at Soldier Summit and winding down the canyon road I was ready to give my first born a huge hug and see for myself her new pad.

 Don't you just love the moment of arrival when you haven't seen a loved one in awhile?
That beginning of the vacation butterfly feeling....
Knocking of the door waiting for the fun to begin.

Raar greeted me at the door almost ready but still fixing her hair for my arrival. Road Hog made himself at home right away.
Road Hog looked around while I waited on Raar to finish grooming.
He made new friends quickly while I took the grand tour.
It was so fun to walk through their home
while my daughter showed me each room...
pointing out the little loving touches that have made it into her own.

Feathering her new little nest
with creative ideas and thrifty finds.
What a wonderful young woman she has become...
and it happened so quickly.
From dependent fussy newborn
beautiful, competent lady of the house.
From young child furnishing her barbie house
young woman furnishing a home for real,
From homesick college freshman
a happy and loving wife who loves her life.
I am so proud of you..
P.S. These are my two favorite things about your cute place.
The bathroom/laundry room. Love the concept. Since I make frequent trips there maybe I wouldn't forget to change my wash to the dryer hence eliminating the need for re-washing.
The second bedroom dubbed by Ninja and Raar as the "Stupid Room". I think that is because for right now it is a room that has not been formally created into an official room. Everyone needs a stupid room or two.
Raar and Ninja.....thanks for letting me come and giving me the grand tour. I loved it.

Next post and final chapter...
Chapter Four; The Parade
(admit're excited...everyone loves a parade....right Ninja?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Chapter Two;
This little piggy went to Utah,
This little piggy came home.
This little piggy had a lot of Sonic,
This little piggy was fun,
This little piggy never cried wee wee wee but kept a smile on it's face all the way home.

Thanks for the memories Road were the PERFECT traveling companion.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Eating an Elephant

Have you ever heard someone say,
when they are overwhelmed by a project...
"How do you eat an elephant?"
The answer being,
"one bite at a time"
Although the idea of eating elephant
with it's ashy wrinkly tough hide
never appealed to me....
I have decided it is the answer to my situation.

I have sat down on at least 5 different occasions to write about my
road trip to Utah with my family.
I had a great time...
I don't want to forget it and I will freely admit that
you were on my mind like mental hitchhikers.
I missed you while I was gone.
(No need to falsely reciprocate the feelings...)
The problem is that I have too  much to show and tell
and so with your patience and indulgence I will tell my story in 4 chapters....
Chapter One: Traveling the Winn Way.
I had only one request when I was invited on this road trip.
Well it was more like a demand.
Queen Beds.
I do not like sleeping with other people.
Even Mr. T and I have a strict understanding that when the snoozing begins we each have our own sides.
When the thought of sharing a room with my parents and a bed with my sister came to mind,
I remembered a trip to NYC with my sister and I in a double bed....
Never again!
So in an effort to please the travelers my father set out to find a suitable room at a reasonable stopping point.
Not too expensive..not too cheap ...senior discount....
and queen beds.
When he told us that the room that he booked and paid for (non-refundable) was in Lubbock...
Well Mr. T. burst in to guffaws.
If you get an early start (my dad ALWAYS gets an early start) then you reach Lubbock by about 2:00 in the afternoon.  
What would we do...the four of us in a hotel in Lubbock?
I pitched a plan.
Let's do this road trip the Winn Way.
Winn Way Rule #1: If there is anyone in the vehicle that expresses a real interest in stopping to look at stop. No complaining or grumbling from the other passengers.
I know that sounds like an open invitation for driving disaster but it has been one of the best parts of our adventures.
It all started on a grueling two day push from Houston to Salt Lake City.
We were at about the halfway point just outside Fort Sumner New Mexico when we saw a sign touting Billy the Kid's grave 10 miles ahead.
Mr. T. sighed and said, "When I was a kid I always begged my Dad to stop there, but he never did. We were always in a hurry to get to my grandparents in Utah" 

I imagined Mr. T. a young boy, dark hair and dark brown eyes, husky build, mind filled with stories and books that he had read about the Old West, wistfully looking out the car window as he passed by the street that lead to the grave of a wild west legend.
"We're stopping then", I declared.
And we did. 
 The kids who were ages 4, 7 and 9 were a little freaked out by the thought of visiting a grave but I think the gift shop attached to the museum helped out.
And Mr. T....
well he looked like a kid again himself.
And that is how the Winn Way rule #1 began.
And I have seen things that I might never have seen if the final destination had been our only goal.
Someday I am going to devote a post about those stops.
But back to my story....
I thought that I might have a hard time convincing my mom, dad and sister to do the Winn Way
being in a car full of Laucks,
but they were real troopers.
And so stop we did.
Multiple times.
Here a few pics to prove it.
Brenham Texas where the best ice cream in the whole world is made...seriously I know that from experience.
My mom outside the factory. She is the best picture poser in the whole world and stands where ever anyone with a camera tells heMr. Isn't she beautiful!
My dad  who loves old cars, hats, and anything free. Here he is standing by an old car wearing his free Blue Bell hat.
 I'm not kidding...this is the best ice cream!!!!
Three different Sonics in three different Texas towns.
The courthouse in Gatesville Texas. Teeny tiny town but huge courthouse and prison. This is where I met my road trip friend in chapter 2.
The beautiful Lubbock Temple at sunset.
It had a sun of my favorite motifs for a temple.
The mule in Muleshoe Texas! He is famous. He was in the inaugural parade for George Bush and was flown to Washington. You didn't think a star of his magnitude would walk did you? Look at Mom clinging for her life to follow the photographers orders. Isn't she a photographic peach?
The world's largest muleshoe...only Mom would get out of the car with me on this one. Okay so I guess they had their grumbling moments.
Where tradition began; Billy the Kid's grave. Don't worry Dad is not in any pain, he is just trying his best "Billy the Kid" impression.
 A brand new stop for me and a definite keeper. Only 9 miles off of the beaten track and just breathtaking. In the corner of Colorado outside of Cortez, I fell in love with it. I am bringing Mr. T and the kids as soon as I can. It is an Indian pueblo set on the edge of a canyon with beautiful views and air that smelled so fresh it was like God had just created it.
Overall an amazing journey with delightful companions, people I love who humored my Winn Way and gave me some memories to cherish.
I think I will make them all official honorary Winns.

Next post..... Chapter Two: Road Hog; A Pigtorial.