Monday, December 1, 2008

I, I, I...

I am - a wife, a mother, a sister and friend.

I want - to finish knitting the sweater I started for Leah BEFORE we leave for UTah.

I hear - Mason laughing at Dragon Tales and smacking on Popcorn. (Yes, smacking--while snacking.)

I never - want to live without my husband.

I wonder - where we'll be in two years.

I always - wash behind the ears.

I usually - start new projects before finishing old ones. Not a good habit. One I am trying to keep my kids from developing.

I search - for the perfect recipe, for everything, and then I DON'T follow the recipe exactly. I find I ALWAYS change a recipe even the first time making it. :)

I am not - a challenger. I'd rather not have a confrontation, but sometimes...sometimes people make me! Especially a certain Disney Store in the Arundel Mills Mall.

I dance - but not as much as I should. I have a classic moment involving Leah. An old friend of ours told Leah that her mommy (me) is a wonderful dancer. Leah looked at this friend as if she were crazy and said, "My mommy can't dance!" Leah has since been shown a number of tapes exhibiting her mommy's said dancing talent.

I sing - my children Hymns at night-night especially on the nights that things are the craziest.

I wish - I could wiggle my nose and have my "list" completed.

I dislike - making phone calls to any one I am not related to, and sometimes even relatives, sorry guys.

I rarely - cry.

I cry - not often enough. At least that is what some family members have told me.

I am not always - patient

I lose - hair daily. Wads of it come out every time I brush or wash my hair.

I fear - for the safety and security of my family.

I'm confused - need I say more?

I need - to pack, pack, pack.

I should - be making dinner, helping Leah with homework and keeping better tabs on the activities of my children. hm...what is that sound? ah, well it can wait I'm nearly done.

I dream - of one day permanently living in a single-family home with a yard close to family.

I have - a wonderful family who love me, pray for me and offer any support they can give.

I love - my best friend (Kevin), my children, to talk on the phone to my mom, Sunsets on the beach, swinging in a hammock with a good book in good weather, and being able to live each and every day I have.

I tag - YOU! please???

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "Meeting the Challenges of Today", BYU Devotional, 10 Oct 1978

Prophetic Counsel...

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters -- in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kgs 18:21).

"President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.' (CR, Apr 1941) This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ…

"Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. M. J. Sobran observed, 'A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it' (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, p. 58). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people's opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened…

"Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even these, however, must leave a record so that the choices before the people are clear and let others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, that others will step forward, having been rallied to righteousness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds--a majority which was, till then, unconscious of itself.

"Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves 'summer is nigh' (Matt. 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "Meeting the Challenges of Today", BYU Devotional, 10 Oct 1978

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday

Sorry, no pictures to go with this post today. We are having computer issues right now. Major drama for a mama with over 20GB of photos that haven't yet been backed up. scary...

10 years ago, yes 10! Kevin was a Freshman at BYU finishing up his Fall semester and waiting for his mission call. (It took 5 weeks for that to show up, but that is another tale for another day.) I was in California attending High School and counting down the days to when Kevin would be home for Christmas Break. Kevin and I were inseparable for 3 years to have him gone for months on end was difficult, but we always said it was good training for his mission. ;)

While I was counting down the days, going to school, working as a Assistant Director in a performing group and preparing for our Christmas performance Kevin was up to something entirely different. In his free moments during the day he was writing me a song for Christmas. Lyrics, accompaniment the whole sh-BANG! I feel I must note that although Kevin had taken piano lessons from the age of 8, playing the piano was more a work of perseverance than a great accomplishment. (Does that make sense? He can read music and play, however, it is always after much practice.)

I wish I knew how, or had the capability, to save a tape track on the computer. So you, dear readers, could hear the tune that goes with these words. Alas, I am unable, therefore you must just read these words and think of a much younger Kevin sitting at a piano and performing this for me. At my request he sang this to me at our Wedding Reception, now THAT is love. :)

"I Can't Stop Loving You"
by Kevin Rowbury
November 1998

Today I thought of you,
Good times together spent.
Our life, our love, our laughter,
No matter where we went.

You are my love, my life,
And that I won't deny.
You are my other half you know,
And now I'll tell you why.

Hand-in-hand we walked,
Lovingly we talked.
Our best times were together,
I've oft'thought of forever.

You are my best-est friend,
Our friendship has no end.
Oh, everything is true,
I can't stop loving you!

Last night I had a dream.
It was about a kiss.
For her, the one I love,
The one I surely miss.

Sure it was just a dream.
But to me it was so real.
Your lips pressed close to mine,
Something I've longed to feel!

Hand-in-hand we walked,
Lovingly we talked.
Our best times were together,
I've oft'thought of forever.

You are my best-est friend,
Our friendship has no end.
A moment of pure bliss,
That dream about a kiss!

Oh, everything is true,
I can't stop loving you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to it

First things first. Kevin applied for a 6-month TDY to Ohio back at the beginning of September, and we've been planning on him going their come January since July. However, on Friday October 3rd, Kevin received an email at work asking for those interested in a 6-month TDY to UTAH to apply, by the end of business that day. Well of course he DID! And last Wednesday he heard back. WE ARE GOING TO UTAH!!! TO WORK!!! FOR 6 MONTHS!!! STARTING in JANUARY!!! We're pretty excited. The to-do list has extended and this week we MUST give our 60-day Notice to our Apartment complex. I just realized that MUST be done TODAY! That's our exciting news. Yea!

Leah and school. She is loving school. A couple of weeks back she started receiving homework packets. The packet contains all the assignments for the entire week. Each Monday she comes home with it and finishes it THAT day. She loves to learn and is seeming to do exceedingly well. According to her teacher they are not concerned with her ability to "keep up". Apparently she is always going the extra-mile on her assignments writing out words that describe the picture. For example, October 6th she had a field trip with her class to the Farm and Kevin went along as a chaperone. Before they left the children were coloring pages with apples on them and Leah had to write the word "apple" on her page. She wasn't asked to she just wants to know. It makes me so happy to see her desire to know everything. Although it can be a challenge for me to keep up with her bombardment of questions I hope she never stops asking.

Mason. He is finally potty-trained. HIP-HIP-HOORAY!!! With Mom and Heather in town I figured we had enough help to make sure that he got to a potty. We are still having accidents, sometimes at night and sometimes during the day, but there will be NO regression to diapers. Already him being potty-trained is saving us money, fewer diapers to go through and buy. Today Owen decided he wanted to use the potty and has refused diapers. He has had 2 accidents and no pee has made it into the potty, but I think he is realizing what it means to USE said potty. We'll keep at it. Mason is doing a preschool program called "Joyschool" with 4 other boys his age and he is loving it. We switch of teaching and hosting, and next week is my first time teaching. I should probably look over those lessons...

Owen. We celebrated his 2nd birthday last Monday, Columbus Day, with kids his age at a park. My Mom was here and Kevin didn't have to work that day (federal holiday). There was a good turn out of kids and it was a beautiful Indian Summer day, "sunny with a high of 75". Friday we celebrated again with Nicole and me taking the kids to a farm then, after Kevin was off work, out to dinner at Applebee's, using coupons at both places the kids had earned by finishing the Libraries summer reading program. This was all followed up on Sunday (his actual birthday) with a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

He is getting so big. He is eating and drinking constantly these days and has entered into 3T Clothing. Because he has his Daddy's short legs he wears 2T pants, but I suspect by next summer he'll start wearing 3s.

I have Leah's Halloween costume to finish up. She will be Jessie from Toy Story 2, we have a hat and wig, I am sewing up her cow print spats and adorning a white shirt with cuffs and a lapel. Mason and Owen's costumes were purchased entirely from the Disney Store, no sewing necessary. :) Nicole cut fleece for a new blanket for Owen which she would like my help with. :) I have started to knit a Wallaby sweater for Leah, it is a new endeavor and I am having a lot of fun. It will have a pocket and hood when I'm done, it is nearly ready to add the pocket to the front. :) With us moving in about 60 days I am going through closets, clothes, toys, boxes, EVERYTHING and trying to weed more things from our lives and simplify.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Four Today

  • Four Places that I go to over and over:
    Sam's Club, East Columbia Library, (this week) Scarlett's, Utah ;)
  • Four People who email me regularly:
    Elder Justin Karoly, Savage Mill Sister Group, my Ma, Josh
  • Four of My Favorite Places to Eat:
    Outback, Chipolte, P.F. Chang's, Olive Garden
  • Four Places I would rather be right now:
    A beach, in a dark quiet room, at my Ma's, on a plane to some where new

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


My father forwarded this thought to me that an old friend had sent him. It seems to hit the nail on the head.


The buzzword of this election is 'CHANGE.' Candidates toss it around without saying what they want to change to.

Years ago, there was an old tale in the Marine Corps about a Lieutenant who inspected his Marines and told the 'Gunny' that they smelled bad. The Lieutenant suggested that they change their underwear. The Gunny responded, "Aye,aye, sir, I'll see to it immediately."

The Gunny went into the tent and said, "The lieutenant thinks you guys smell bad, and wants you to change your underwear. Smith, you change with Jones, McCarthy, you change with Witkowskie, Brown, you change with Schultz . Get to it."

The moral: A candidate may promise change in Washington but don't count on things smelling any better.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Here We Go Again!

So we have now finished our move into our new apartment. We have had personal items in for 12 days, HOWEVER, I have come to depend upon and need the INTERNET for my sanity!!! Well, after 14 days of NO internet we are now back up and running. YEA!!! I have spent a good portion of the morning checking emails and reading through blogs, but I'm still behind. It's like the unpacking at my house....not anywhere close to being where it needs to be. O well.

My brother commanded me to post and since he is the Eldest I have obliged...this time. ;)

I do have quite a bit to blog about: my kids, my great husband, my fabulous sister, our new place, etc. But today will focus on me.

My health has been a bit under the weather for some time now. Starting with my uterine fibroid that starting getting worse last fall. Well, in the process of getting ready to have surgery on said fibroid I've had to have other tests done. Beginning with a Colonoscopy. Well 4 weeks ago I had the procedure done, they found a polyp, which they removed and sent off for a biopsy. This last Saturday I got the communication from my doctor telling me the results. It turns out that the polyp was "adenomatous and had the potential of turning into cancer." Yea, so that took my breath away and made me grateful to have had to have the Colonoscopy performed since because of my age it would have been YEARS until a doctor suggest having a "routine" Colonoscopy done. I'll have to have another Colonoscopy done in 1 year. Okay.

A week ago Sunday night I woke with a sharp pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen. I wasn't able to get an appointment with a doctor till Tuesday. She thought it might be a Gall Stone. I went in Wednesday morning for an ultrasound of my Gall Bladder. Friday I called my doctor's office and found out YES I have a Gall Stone and was given a number to call a surgeon. Apparently the only way to take care of a Gall Stone is to have your Gall Bladder removed. Yea, another procedure/surgery to add to this year. The downside to this is that now I have to wait 10 days before I can talk to the surgeon. Ahhh...

The upside to all of this is that I have now reached the individual copay for my insurance and now they should be footing more of the costs of all this. :)

Another health issue is that now I need to have what is called a "hysterosonogram", a specific sonogram to check the health of the inside lining of my uterus. (This is for the Gynecologist to know how best to take care of my fibroid, what kind of procedure can/should be done.) Well, I have to have the procedure within 7-10 days after the start of my period. However, right now knowing when it will start is a guessing game. Hooray! For the 2nd month in a row they did not have appointments available for when I needed it. :( Very frustrating because it puts me off another entire month until I know what EXACTLY will happen with my fibroid. Ooooooo...

One last thing is I have Migraines on a more regular basis. They have been debilitating. Last week was mostly spent lying on my bed. I've consulted with a number of friends I know who suffer from migraines and have learned that I need to find a Nuerologist who specializes in migraines. So another doctor needs to be called and consulted. yea...

Well, now I've aired my health woes to the world. So if you see me at times with a glazed look in my eyes just know that I'm just pushing through like everyone else. I know all will come together and I will be "whole" someday. ;)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What a BALL!

Saturday was full of fun, fibbing and fantastic surprises!

I returned home from Oklahoma to discover that our Stakes 'Rose Ball' had not yet happened. So I decided since it was our last weekend with a live-in babysitter (my sister Nicole was still here), at least for a couple of weeks, Kevin and I should go. It's the first time in a while that Kevin and I have had the opportunity to go out dancing. For those of you who don't know our history, Kevin was my very first 'slow dance' at my very first Church Youth Dance. He was also my dance partner for our Stakes Youth Dance Festival, when I was 14 and he was 16. From the Dance Festival experience he and I have a smattering of dance techniques that are now over 10 years behind us. But I get ahead of myself.

I informed Kevin that I really wanted to go and that I had set up a babysitter. He was up for it. FABULOUS news! I had a surprise a-brewin'!

Well, I decided that it was time for me to "Blow Away" my husband. We spend so much time in our daily mundane routine that I figured it was time to knock his socks off. With the help of my sister and two good friends (Mendy and Scarlett) I was able to do just that.

It all started on Thursday, May 1st, when my sister Nicole helped me to pick out the "perfect" dress. We spent 2 hours scouring the racks at Burlington Coat Factory and trying on dresses in various sizes, styles and colors. I fell in love with the dress when I put it on. (Pictures to see below, but wait.)

Earlier in the week I had approached two friends from my ward about doing my hair and makeup. And both graciously accepted. I am so lucky to have such good friends here who are also talented. Mendy and Scarlett you both did a fantastic job, thank you.
Scarlett's Make Over
I have never before had a true "up-do" and really liked the way my hair turned out. Doesn't it look amazing?
Mendy's Amazing Up-do
(side note: I was able to sleep with a shower cap over my hair and still have my up-do looking great for church the next day. That was awesome! Getting up for church and not having to do my hair! What a blessing. Also, I was super proud to do it and let every one know just how amazing Mendy is with a curling iron, bobby pins and hairspray. ;) )

So the fibbing. . .To get out of the house on a Saturday without Kevin becoming suspicious Nicole, Leah and I were out having a "Girl's Day Out." According to him that included a trip to the Mall, library and miscellaneous other errands. Well, we did do miscellaneous errands but we were mostly at Scarlett's getting made over. At one point he called, we were nearly finished and I had to just get some finishing touches on my make up and hair done. I had to assuage his fears that anything had happened to us and that "Yes" I would be able to be ready to go by the time we were meant to meet up with some friends for dinner before the dance. As I hung up we women were laughing out loud just anticipating the surprise he would get.

Half an hour later I hadn't yet left and again my phone rang, it was Kevin. I was in the middle of getting my dress on and putting on the final touches. I called him back as I was getting in the car and he was so anxious and scared that something was wrong. According to him we should have been home "20 minutes ago." Again I calmed him said we were on our way and asked him if he were ready. He came back with a quick, "No, I've been watching the boys." I said the boys would be fine, just get dressed so at least one of us was ready to go. He agreed and we hung up.

When I pulled up Mason heard the car and came out the front door. ("Mommy you're home! Hi Mommy! Leah! Leah home! Hi Leah! Hi 'Cole!" I was out of the car pulling out some things from the back when Kevin came out. I tell you he looked right past me! He didn't even realize it was me for 5 seconds! O that was fabulous! Leah was given the job of announcing the surprise to Daddy and though her thunder had been stolen by Mason coming out the front door she still ran to me and said, "Daddy, my I present my Be-u-ti-ful MOMMY!"

(side note: That suit Kevin has on is the one he wore on our wedding day, nearly 7 years ago. He stills looks pretty good in it don't you think? I do. ;) )

We had so much fun that night. Eating out with friends, visiting with old and new friends, dancing, twirling, sitting, talking, complimenting (Kevin kept telling me how beautiful I looked that night. Ah.) and of course...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Night Fun

I have many a post I would like to do, but I'll put that off just a little while longer. :)

Tonight Leah and Kevin had a date. ;) They went to a movie and then the house. Kevin sat down and watched "Enchanted" with Leah. Then when that was over their restaurant experience was waiting. In "Enchanted" Giselle and Robert eat at an Italian restaurant on her second night in the city. So what did Leah and her Daddy get? Chicken Parmesan!!! It was delightful. And how did they pay for their dinner? (This was last minute BRILLIANCE on my part.) They had to clean up the dishes. Oh, it was MARVELOUS! I have not had her be so willing to help for quite a while.

Beautiful. It was a good night.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dun, dun-dun, dun...DONE!

So a lot of my friends thought me crazy when I told them that Owen would be getting his first haircut while we were out in Utah. Yes, they were right. I waited till Mason was 2 1/2 years old and Owen is barely 16 months, but it HAD to be done.

He was really good during the haircut. He was perplexed by the hair falling down around him. He lost a good 3 inches from the top, and the "rat tail" at the back was a good 4 inches. He now looks like the "Big boy" that we knew was there. It is just amazing how each child's personality is unique and different.

Doesn't he look cute?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My New Look

I just spent the morning creating my blogs new Header, and I am very pleased. I think it came together well. I had to shrink it to size so for those of you who would like a closer look click on the image below...

I used an assortment of pictures from last March through this past January. I put it together in Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 and tried to showcase each of us equally. Well, there goes my Saturday morning. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quilting...A New Adventure!

I grew up being schooled in the ways of home-making by my Grandma Graham. One of the skills I worked on with her was Quilting. I would spend hours and hours working with her on one quilting project after another. But my grandmother's idea of quilting was finding a piece of fabric that could easily be followed to tie or quilt. The quilts were clean, fresh and beautiful but very uncomplicated. She knew how to piece-quilt but, as a mother of 8 home alone 5-out of-7 days in a week, simpler was better. Quilts were always made for birthdays, graduations, weddings and births of little ones.

Nearly eleven years ago my Grandma Graham was working on the quilt for my cousin Kenny's wedding when she had a stroke. The stroke has left her with limited use of one-side of her body and she has had to give up many of her former activities. I know that she misses the opportunities she use to be able to take to serve others. So throughout the years I have tried, at every opportunity possible, to do what she might do and (in this case) make a Quilt.

Last year my cousin Rachael had her first baby and at her shower I had everyone help to tie a quilt. This year my older brother, Joshua, and his wife, Adele, are having their first baby, a boy! Once again I have decided that a quilt IS needed for the baby shower. But because I am soooo excited to be an aunt for the very first time I decided that I would learn how to do something new and piece-quilt. Well, I started with the idea of piece-quilting and instead learned how to strip-quilt and modified the "log cabin" design to come up with this:

It was loads of fun. Excepting the children climbing all over me while I was thus consumed. All is not yet finished, of course, I am the one making this after all. I plan on using a machine washable pen to draw in designs for people to quilt while at the baby shower next month. And then I am still planning on putting a fun pointy edge on it after it is quilted. This project has been fun and didn't take too long (Monday of last week to Tuesday of this week) and I can't wait for the fun to begin at the Baby Shower! ;)


10 Things I Love About My Family

10. All of my children still give me hugs and kisses upon request.

9. Leah will draw pictures for me on days when I've been having a hard time.

8. Mason is the first one to run to the door and give you a hug when you've just arrived home.

7. Owen snuggles into your shoulder and pats your back when he is ready to go to sleep.
(It just warms my heart to have him still be my little "baby".)

6. Kevin takes out the trash.

5. Leah tells me, "You're the prettiest mommy ever."

4. Mason will cuddle with me on the couch.

3. Owen's smile, that's all I have to say. :)

2. Kevin's easy interaction with our children. Those kids love him and so do I.

1. The knowledge that I have that we WILL be together FOREVER.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sabbath Day Moments

I had a Sister from my ward today ask me if I had journaled about an experience we had a couple weeks ago with Leah at Church. I had NO idea what she was referring to, she reminded me and that is what brings me here today.

Leah is our "fun, fun, fun" child. Games, activities, friends the more hype the better. This energy of hers has made her a bit of a phenomena to her parents. We love her, we just struggle daily to help her...make the decisions we want her to make. :) For instance, going to church.

Over the last couple of months, and especially since the start of the New Year and 9 am church, Leah has been struggling with the concept of attending church. Our preparation for Sunday usually begins on Thursday or Friday talking about our weekend and what we would do each day. Maybe talk about what she wants to wear to Church, who she would see at Church, we might even discuss breakfast options. :) I have borne testimony of why I go to Church and want to be there. I have sung with her her favorite Primary songs while getting ready for Church and still, still we have experiences like these...

Sunday, December 16th---Leah was dragging her feet all morning long. She didn't want what was made for breakfast. She wanted a snack at 12noon when we are suppose to be heading down the stairs to the car to make it to Church on time. When we got to Church we sat in the pew behind the before-mentioned Sister and her family.

As a rule I do not allow my children any "distractions" when the Sacrament of Bread and Water is being passed around the congregation. They are allowed to color in a coloring book until a member of the Ward Bishopric stands to begin the service. Then all coloring books are removed and Quiet Books with pictures of Christ, prophets, and other gospel principles are pulled out and available. Only the Quiet Books are allowed until the Aaronic Priesthood members (generally 12-18 year old young men) are dismissed to sit with the congregation. Leah knows this routine and it has served, at times, as an added incentive to prepare properly and arrive at church with time to settle in and acclimate (i.e. color).

On this day Leah was having (to quote her) "a rough day". So when the Sacrament was being passed and we were sitting sans coloring book it really wasn't too surprising to us to hear her say, "Church is boring. Why do we have to come? All we do is sit...and do nothing." Kevin and I just looked at each other shaking our heads and sadly smiling. We have worked so hard to instill in her a love of the gospel, and though she loves aspects of Church her "fun, fun, fun" mentality has a hard time wrapping her mind around "Church". I'm not too worried, she's 5, and I believe we are on the right path to helping her see Our Savior's love in all things.

Lets fast forward to this past Sunday, February 3rd---We prepared Saturday night, bathing/showering, pulling out clothes for church, setting the alarm, and making sure there was something pre-made for breakfast. Sunday morning came and things went pretty well. We got to Church at 8:45am and I really needed to have been there at 8:30am to do all I needed to do, c'est la vie. Kevin took the kids into the Chapel and sat with them while I made a mad dash to draw a "Great and Spacious Building" and "Tree of Life" for Sharing Time and to pull out and review the attendance roles. Kevin was getting pretty nervous till I slid in during the Sacrament Hymn. Disaster 1 averted. But possible Disaster 2 still hung in the future.

The previous day I had been called and asked to give the Benediction. I accepted and remembered all morning long...until the closing hymn was being sung. I was gathering all coloring things and cleaning up so my kids could focus on being reverent for the closing prayer (i.e. Benediction). When the final note was sung it took me a moment and a half to realize I already should have been heading to the pulpit. I quickly stood and pushed out of my pew and to the pulpit nearly losing my footing. Owen screamed thinking I was leaving him and didn't stop till he realized I was before him and talking, by the time I had spoken 10 words he was calm.

After saying, "Amen," and starting to leave the "stand" Leah says, in her normal voice, "Good job Mommy. You did great!" Her normal voice is what most would consider their voice projecting. It made me smile. I think I caught a few others smiling as well. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Yummy, yummy Cinnamon Rolls....mmMMmm!

Reminiscent of a favorite stop at the mall...

Sweet Rolls

3 ½ -4 cups Flour
1 package active dry Yeast
1 cup Milk
¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup Margarine
½ teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs

In large mixer bowl combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast. In saucepan heat the milk, sugar, margarine, and salt just till the mixture is warm (115˚ to 120˚) and margarine is almost melted, stirring constantly. [If too hot cool down] Add to flour mixture in mixer bowl; add eggs.

Beat at low speed of electric mixer for ½ minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. Continue to knead and add enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that feels smooth and elastic. (8 to 10 minutes). Knead dough on hook for an additional 10 minutes. Shape into ball. Cover; set raise in a warm place till double (20-25 minutes).

Cinnamon Filling

1 cup Light Brown Sugar
5 Tablespoons Cinnamon

½ cup Margarine, melted

Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll part of the Dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Brush dough with the melted margarine; sprinkle sugar mixture on margarine. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting from long side; seal seam. Slice into rolls. (I find it easier to use Dental Floss, but I don't really have a great knife.) Place rolls, cut side down, on greased baking pan or cookie sheet. Let rise until doubled, about 35 minutes.

Bake 350˚ for 15 to 18 minutes. Top with Frosting when cooled.

1x makes 12 BIG rolls (that's what I like), or 18-24 smaller rolls (if you're lucky).


The crowning glory that truly sets this recipe apart from all others.

4 oz. Cream Cheese
½ cup Margarine
1 ¾ cups Powder Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Place cream cheese and margarine in a mixing bowl and let them sit for 30 minutes, (so they are not too cold). Mix for 6 minutes at low speed. [If you have a KitchenAid mixer use paddle beater and mix on #2 setting.]

Switch to the Whip beaters and whip the Cream Cheese mixture for another 10 minutes at medium speed [or #6 on the KitchenAid].

Add 1 cup of the powder sugar and whip for 1 minute. Then add the remaining ¾ cup of powder sugar and whip for another minute.

Add the Vanilla and whip for 1 more minute.

Once the Cinnamon Rolls have cooled...Top with Frosting. YUM!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Part 3...Surprise Reaction

***Length disclosure- This post seems really long but should be quick because the pictures are what make it so very long. Be forewarned, there are LOTS of pictures.***

Now we walk you through the arrival of the JKLM-n-O Rowbury family to the Karoly family in Tulsa, with pictures. (Because EVERYTHING is better with pictures!)


As we approached Tulsa we were in constant communication with Josh & Adele. The excitement was mounting, the anticipation was peaking, and we were all loving the adrenaline rush. :) We were giving last minute advice and instruction to each other, because the moment WE arrived at the family's door step we had to act as though they weren't coming.

Leah and Mason were asleep and Owen was quietly taking in the drive.

When we were 15 minutes from the house it began to snow, and the closer we got the heavier it fell. I was giving directions and snapping pictures as we went. (hehehe)

By this time we had woken Leah and told her we were close, very close, and she needed to get her socks and shoes on.

We were also reminding her that Josh and Adele coming was a "surprise", a "secret." We were just not going to talk about them or what they were doing. We want them to be able to surprise Grandma. We asked her, "Can you keep the secret?"
"Yea, yea. Sure, sure. I can keep a secret."
We trusted her. What else could we do at this point? Besides we had a strategy, if Leah ever did start talking about Josh and Adele we would tell her that they couldn't come because Adele was pregnant and couldn't make the long drive. Sure, it confused and flustered her, but it threw nearly every one off the scent...Ok, it only seemed to work on my mom, but that was the best part...we'll get there, I promise.

***Special note--While we were still 20 minutes away I called my Mom to see "how things were goin' ", "what they were up to", "did they know what they were doing for dinner, 'cause I was trying to get that started for us." I'm sure you can see where that was all going. I had Kevin listening to a Bowl game on ESPN (we have SIRIUS--it is GREAT for us!) so they thought I was just sitting at home having a laid back Saturday. O the joy! :)***

The approach to the house was taken slowly and we went over who would help which child. And how we would ACTUALLY do this.

When I got up to the door, we checked the handle and it was unlocked!!! So I pushed it open, and with camera in one hand and Mason at the other, began calling out, "Hello! Hellllo! Helllloooo! MERRRRRY CHRRISSTMASSS! MERRY-MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!" Seriously it felt like an eternity before Kristen and my Mom appeared.

My Mom was positively the HAPPIEST-MOM-IN-THE-ENTIRE-WORLD at that particular moment. She of course went right into planning everything! Dinner, Beds, Sleeping arrangements, Breakfast, Christmas...O how she LOVES to be BUSY!!! hehehe...It's the truth. Just ask her. :) Remind anyone of somebody. ;)

My sisters, Nicole and Heather, and my Father, were all at work. Well, we decided that Leah, Mom, and I would pick up Nicole and Heather.

Ahhhh! I love my sisters! They never seem to let me down! Their reactions...Well, pictures speak a thousand words, right?


Isn't that a great face in picture #2? Look how wide her mouth is! :)

Well, a story...

Nicole was telling me about the gift she wanted to have made for Josh and Adele for Christmas. But all Leah heard was "Josh and Adele for Christmas."
She blurts out, "How did you know about Josh and Adele coming?"
Nicole's eyes got big, and I brushed it off with the story that they couldn't come because Adele was pregnant and yada-yada-yada...Well, Leah had a confused look and Nicole became suspicious, but Mom was completely immuned. I guess it shows just how much my mom trusts me. (Thanks mom, because truly I am the worst liar...ever.) I pulled Leah aside and tried again to tell her that it was a secret and we could NOT talk about it around Grandma or the Aunts. It didn't work.
After we got in the car and were on to out next destination (Sam's Club-for dinner and miscellaneous food items), Leah whispers, "Mom, I got to talk to you about something. It's about the secret."
Well in our car she is in the seat furthest away so EVERYONE can hear her. I tell her that we'll talk when we stop, but she was persistent. FINALLY, she stopped. (Thank you Leah.)


Heather was in the back room finishing up. She had us standing outside that door for 10 minutes waiting for her to FINALLY come out! Her reaction was by FAR the BEST, especially with the way it was caught on camera! Right after that last picture was taken her bottom lip ran into my camera lens. The lens was fine but her lip was cut and a little bruised. She said it was worth it. I was just AMAZED with the ferocity in which she hugged me, and she came to me first, NOT Leah. Usually when people are given the choice Leah wins out. That was nice for me. :)

I have no pictures of my Dad's reaction. I was in bed, snoozin'. He did call shortly after we got back to the house from picking every one up to just see how things were going at home. Heather asked, "Does Dad know?" with the phone in her hand and him on the other end. Sweet Heater! (And "no" I did NOT misspell her name, that's a term of endearment for her.) He was suspicious from then till he got home, but he thought it meant Josh and Adele were there NOT us. :) Our minivan let him know the truth when he pulled up.

I DO, however, have a picture of my hubby's reaction to BYU's miracle win.
He was so astonished! I don't recall ever previously seeing this look on his face. GO COUGARS!!!

Kevin stayed up waiting for them to come in. Besides myself he was the only one that KNEW they were coming. The others only guessed. Kevin, in good conscious, could not sleep knowing they were out in the snow, which was still falling. So, at 2:42 am CST, Josh and Adele came through the door. Mom was pulled out of bed and the surprise, for her, was COMPLETE.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Part 2...In the Car

I would like to say that we moved on shortly thereafter, but we did end up staying there an additional 45 minutes. It felt like we would never get anywhere, or at least that we were not getting where we wanted to be as quickly as we would have liked. Nearly every stop we made lasted at least 10 minutes and up to an hour when food and bathroom breaks for all were involved.

***I would like to note that Leah kept her Pull-Up dry all night long! A first for her during a long car ride. I think it was the 3 stops during the night for fuel and restroom breaks that helped her with that. YEA!! for LEAH!!! :)***

Kevin and I had an animated conversation discussing possibilities for the future. Where we could live? What we could do for additional income? How we could make things work better financially, now and in the future. It lasted for a good 2 hours, plus. However, by the time that had petered out we were a bit tired so we pulled off the freeway, got some fuel and napped in the corner of a Pilot and got some rest. After about 2 hours we were off once again.

By 10am we were in St. Louis and on our final stretch of highway, Interstate-44 would take us directly into Tulsa!

By this time every time when we stopped Leah was the one encouraging us to move on and quickly. She was tired of being in the car, but more importantly she COULD NOT wait to get to Grandma Annette's house. Two movies and a nap helped the time to pass quickly, for her at least. ;)

There was an important development that nearly ruined at least part of the surprise. Because of Josh and Adele's unforeseen stop in Wyoming they were NOT going to be Oklahoma at the same time as us. The problem comes from Leah knowing they were coming and expecting to see them when she got TO Grandmas. Well we did our best to explain to her that they would be late so we needed to NOT talk about Josh and Adele, we'll talk about how that went down later.

I really love how well our kids travel in the car. They are just GREAT!!! They don't get car sick and are very patient. They watch their movies, use their activity books and listen to books on tape/CD. They are ok with having only short breaks out of their seats and then sitting for hours.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Christmas Surprise!...Part 1

This blog is the first in a LONG line of blogs that must be posted and will be posted all in due time.

Friday, December 21st, Kevin took the day off work to take Mason to the Doctor. Well, yes he did take Mason to the Doctor and we DID have to get an antibiotic for strep throat; however, we were secretly grateful for Mason's need to see the Doctor. You see we had been planning on sneaking out of town that day of days and heading off to Oklahoma. Yes, we crazy people decided with my brother, Joshua, and his wife, Adele, to surprise our family for Christmas. He left from Utah and we left from Maryland that Friday with the plan of meeting in Oklahoma the next day and surprising our folks and sisters.

We had great weather, excepting the light rain that was coming down therefore made it impossible to set the cruise control. :( (I love driving with cruise control!) However, our weather challenges were nothing compared to Josh and Adele's. They got stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming at 5pm because I-80 had been closed from there to Laramie for the evening. They had to stay in a dirty old motel, but did get to see "Enchanted" at the local theater. :)

Our first 150 miles were our slowest (it took us 3.5 hours just to get that far! yuck!!). When we left town (with our car packed to the hilt) Leah was suspicious and asked us what we were doing, where were we going, were we going camping? what? We told her we were going to take a long drive and our destination was a surprise, and yes we would be camping, sort of. We stopped at a McDonalds hoping to find a Playplace for the kids to get some wiggles out. When we found that they didn't have one we sat in the van for a while discussing our drive. As Kevin and I were consulting our route Leah started to have a melt down in the back seat that went something like this:

"I miss my toys," sniff, sniff.
Kevin and I looked at each other.
"..they are going to be lonely without me..."
Again Kevin and I look at each other than back at Leah.
"I miss my bed, it's so soft and comfy. I want my bed. I want to go home," sniff, sniff, tear, tear.
In hushed voices, with Leah continuing her tearful entreaty, Kevin and I decide to let Leah in on the big secret and ask her if she wishes to continue.
"Leah, would you like to be part of a BIG secret?" Kevin asked calmly. Through tear-filled eyes Leah looked at her father and nodded slowly.
"Well, we are driving to Oklahoma to surprise Grandma Annette and Grandpa. Heather, Kristen and Nicole will be there. Doesn't that sound like fun?"
"Yeah, but I miss my bed..." a few tears dropped down her cheeks.
"But you haven't heard the biggest, best part. Would you like to know what that is?"
With big eyes still filled with tears she once again nodded slowly.
"Uncle Josh and Aunt Adele are going to Grandma's house too. We're all going to get there and surprise Grandma, Grandpa, Kristen, Heather and Nicole. What do you think?"
Really, before Kevin could even finish what he was saying Leah broke in with, "Josh and Adele!!! I love Josh and Adele! Let's go to Grandma's house!"
So sorry, Grandma, Grandpa and all you aunts, but Uncle Josh and Aunt Adele were the big deal maker for this 5 year old.