Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The curse is broken, the Phillies have won and John is on his way to buy the family World Series Champions t-shirts. All is well in the world!

See you at the parade!!!

starving for a championship

Philadelphia sports fans just can't seem to win. Monday night was supposed to be THE day! We were one game away from a championship. ONE GAME! And we had our best pitcher, Cole Hamels on the mound. How could we lose? Is it possible the tiny statue on top of the Comcast building had finally appeased William Penn? Many people in the city thought so! In fact, they were so confident Foreman Mills was planning to be open all night so that fanatics could buy World Series Champions shirts that very night. And the #3 search on Google on Monday was Phillies Parade, followed closely at #5 by Phillies World Series Parade. Talk about counting your chickens! Don't we know better than that by now?

Well, somewhere in there, be it Billy Penn or the Sports Gods, we must have offended someone because Monday night was a disaster! Not only did it rain and rain and rain, but the wet was followed by some of the coldest October weather we have had in years and the game was postponed!! Finally able to resume the game tonight, the certainty of Monday has dwindled drastically. Cole Hamels will not be on the mound. In whom do we place our hard-earned trust while our favorite has to rest? Will our hitters remember their strokes from Sunday night or will the Rays continue to recover their swings?
The perfect ending of a 28 (I think) year drought, a victory in Philly by our #1 guy is no longer possible. Can the Phillies pull out a win in just a few short innings??? History says no but our hearts say...

Monday, October 27, 2008


One of my friends sent this news story to me. I must have missed all of the press about it because it was new to me (I sobbed all the way through it, of course). It is an incredible story about a couple that survived a plane crash in Arizona and how the woman's sisters helped out. Man it made me so homesick for my sisters! My favorite dream is one day all three of us will live near enough to each other that we can get together on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, since I am in Philly, Lisa in Kansas and Keri in Utah, chances are this is not going to happen anytime soon. Seeing my sisters is one of my most favorite things in the world!

Check out the story and send some love to your sisters!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Prestige

I watched a really twisted, fascinating movie this week called The Prestige. It is the story of two rival magicians, how they became rivals, how that rivalry ultimately destroys them and the lengths they go to to perform the best trick ever. The last five minutes completely turned my stomach but I can't stop thinking about it either, I so did not see THAT coming! It was recommended to John and I by our friends from church Travis and Jen Clark (Hi guys! We miss you!), so I was a little surprised by how brutal it was at points. However, four days after I saw it, I can't stop thinking about it. Not only was the story interesting but the acting was supurb! Michael Caine, Christian Bale (John is making me erase the yum part.) and Hugh Jackman (probably should erase the super YUM! too (although honestly, if I weren't married to John, Hugh Jackman would be a fabulous second choice)) are all amazing.
So if you are in the mood for a suspenseful, somewhat gory (a couple of drownings, mild gsw and some broken fingers) tale and you enjoy a good magic trick, this movie is for you!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I love fall!

I really love fall in Philadelphia! When I was a kid I always thought that the it was a myth that the leaves on trees actually changed into brilliant reds and oranges and gold. Here it is true!
I also love all of the fun things we get to do with the kids.

Linvalls Orchards Pumpkinland,

John's Ursinus College Homecoming (they had face painting this year!),

Halloween parties and trick-or-treating (here is a costume preview!) with the kids. We have our first party tonight at church. I signed up to take cupcakes--here is how they turned out. The boys think they are great!
This is a view from our back door taken last weekend! I know, gorgeous right?!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

bad hair...years

My sister sent me some more of our old family pictures. I am aghast at how awful my hair was - for most of my life. Ugh!! Have a good laugh!

no hair! Ackkkk!

Umm. Little House on the Prairie much?
What was I thinking? Perms should be banned!

I look like carrot top in this one. No, I didn't color or bleach my hair...I have no idea what is wrong.

Does anyone else have some goofy pictures like this? I can't be the only one...can I???

Monday, October 20, 2008

Samuel flashback

The following took place October 5, 2005...

We had our first ER visit with Samuel (age 2). In the car on our way to park day Sam stuck a couple of raisins up his nose. At first I thought there was only one. So I pulled over and had him blow his nose. One raisin came out so I figured we were in the clear. (No pun intended!) We continued on to the park. However, a few minutes after we arrived I noticed that his eye was all teary and his right nostril was leaking raisin juice. So I called John and we went to his office- I figured we could have Daddy take the raisin out. John was all confidence until he used his otoscope to look up Samuel's nose. The raisin was lodged all the way up his nasal cavity blocking off where the eye drains out, which is why Samuel had a watery eye. John had no intention of trying to get that raisin out! Jesse, a PA who worked with John, jokingly called him a wimp and said that he would get the raisin out. However, after a turn with the otoscope, Jesse agreed with John. So next we called the pediatrician. They laughed when I called and told me that they had another kid in the office with something up his nose too! They said to take Samuel to the ER. So we loaded up in the van (John came with us to expedite the process) and headed for the hospital. Just as we were pulling in to the hospital, Samuel let out an enormous sneeze. Jokingly I asked him if he got the raisin out, but I didn't turn around to check. When we went to get Samuel out of the van, sure enough, there was the raisin the size of a grape on his lap! We went into the ER to borrow an otoscope to make sure he got all of them out. Thankfully, John sounded the all clear! (pun definitely intended) The rest of the day we couldn't stop laughing, especially because Sam kept saying, "No raisin in nose. No raisin in nose."
The moral of the story: Take care and watch out for those raisins!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

the William Penn curse

Last night the Phillies beat the LA Dodgers 5-1 to seal up their shot in the World Series. The last time the Phillies made it to the Series was 15 years ago, 1993, and they didn't win. I remember watching that World Series with my mom and brothers in Utah. John Krunk is especially memorable with his wad of chewing gum and too much facial hair. I thought the Phillies played well and was surprised they didn't win. Now that I am a Philadelphian, I understand why they lost. It all comes back to William Penn. (read more about it here)
Scoff if you must, but ever since 1987 when they built the first skyscraper that was taller than the hat of the William Penn statue on top of City Hall in Philadelphia, none of our major sports teams have won their ultimate competitions. That means no World Series, no Super Bowl, no Stanley Cup and no whatever it is basketball wins (can you tell that is not my sport?). When the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, some of the local athletic stores started selling William Penn Curse t-shirts. Philadelphians are nothing if not skeptical of our sports teams to begin with. With the curse overshadowing us the prospect of a victory looks doubtful, no matter how talented the team. When the latest skyscraper in the city was completed the owners placed a mini statue of William Penn on top, hoping to somehow counteract the curse. With William Penn's hat once again the tallest thing in the city, let's hope the Phillies have a chance!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

fun pics

It has been a while since I downloaded my pics from the digital camera. Here are a few of the fun things we have been doing lately.
We went to the local fire station with some friends from church. The fire fighters gave us a tour of the fire house, let the kids climb inside and on the truck and let them shoot a fire hose. They were a big hit!

John and I took the boys for another hike through Ridley Creek State Park. On the path we came across the shell of an old house...

as well as some old farming equipment. It was pretty cool.

Doesn't James look thrilled?!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

book review

I just read a very entertaining book. It is called My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins and Fenway Park. I breezed through it in about a day and enjoyed every minute of it! The book is about a group of ninth/tenth graders and is written in the form of English assignments, text messages, emails and notes during study hall. Through their various communications you follow their current predicaments and gain a deeper understanding of how their past has shaped them. It also contains a pluthra of theater references and baseball stories and for those of you -like me- who enjoy that sort of thing.
Just a warning for those of you who are of the main characters is flamboyantly gay. So if that bothers you, you might want to skip this one. I thought that particular character was the highlight of the book myself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

the nature of COLD

The temperature took a serious dive the beginning of this week which started John and I on our traditional fall discussion - turning on the heater. John is on the conservative side. He believes that unless the snot dripping out of our kids' noses is turning into icicles, the house is warm enough. I, on the other hand, believe that keeping the house colder than 70 degrees is torture far worse than anything they can come up with in Guantanemo Bay. Of course, I was born and raised in the desert so anything under 80 degrees is cold and anything below 60 is frigid.
The crux of the problem is that John doesn't understand that keeping the house at 68 degrees in the summer is different than keeping the house at 68 degrees in the winter. Why is that you may ask?

1) Insulation in these older houses is sub par.
2) When you walk inside the house dripping sweat a cool house is relaxing; when you come into the house after being so cold that you feel like your joints have frozen solid, 68 degrees is barely warm enough to melt the icicles in your hair.
Of course the debate isn't usually about keeping the house at 68 degrees, it is about when to turn the heat on for the first time. When we wake up in the morning and the house is below 60 degrees, I believe heat is a must. John takes a little more convincing. I can't figure out if this is because he is so financially conservative or if he is so used to the cold that it doesn't affect him the way it does the rest of humanity.

Does anyone have a similiar issue?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

props for Normal Mormon Husband

My sister-in-law, Rebecca, just sent me this link. I was laughing so hard John was worried maybe I really had lost it! Check this out. It is the best laugh I have had since the VP debate.

further proof that the church is true

In an article released on, President Monson announced that the temple in Philadelphia will be built in the city at the Broad Street and Spring Garden area. Check it out for yourself!
The church also owns some land in Valley Forge and many of the members in the area assumed if we ever got a temple it would be built there. Although it would be a picturesque spot, it would not be practical for many of the members - especially those who live in the city and depend on public transportation.
I wish you could all be here to feel the excitement. Anytime there is a gathering of members, the temple is the first topic of conversation. We are thrilled beyond words to finally receive this blessing we have been praying for for years!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


President Monson just announced we are getting a temple!!! Finally!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

book review

I just finished reading The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the return of the KGB: Death of a Dissident. It was a fascinating look at the political power struggles in Russia from the fall of the USSR through 2006. Basically the book reads like a thriller but it is true to the extent that personal experience and fact-based theories can be. I actually happen to think that the theories in the book are spot on, but you can make up your own mind about that.

The cool thing about the book is that it added a whole new dimension to my own personal experience. For example, I was living in Moscow in the fall of 1999 when the apartment bombings took place. Living in an apartment building myself, I was a little anxious but as they were occurring on the opposite side of the city, I felt a little reassured (ok, not really, but what could I do?). At the time, the bombings were blamed on Chechen terrorists. In this book, amidst the detailed power struggles for control of the Kremlin, Putin and the FSB (formerly known as the KGB) are blamed for framing the Chechens in order to restart the war in Chechnya. Could the president of the country really do such a thing? In Putin's case, I wouldn't put it past him. This book presented a lot of substantial theories which, if true, are terrifying in the extreme.

John actually came to visit me in Russia for a week while I was there. One day we were stopped in a subway station by secret police. They thought John looked Chechen. At the time I was a little nervous of the police (I had heard stories) and pulled out my papers and student ID to explain in my mangled Russian that we are Americans. However, after reading this book and really understanding for the first time what being Chechen in Moscow really means, the confrontation takes on a whole new, terrifying significance. If they had not believed me or I had not had my papers, they could have detained John or both of us and who knows what would have happened. A friend of mine had this happen to one of her travelling companions. He was detained and subsequently driven around for hours in a police cruiser with threats of being taken to the station. Luckily in that situation all they wanted was a bribe. The corruption there is unreal and getting worse, not better.

Anyway, read the book. It really opens your eyes to the mess that Russia is in and actually makes you grateful that even though our president is a moron at times, at least he is not Putin.