Monday, June 30, 2008


I got a text from my brother Brett today, at which I fell to the ground laughing. The message went like this: "I am playing golf right now with Bob and Thomas." What's so funny, right? Bob and Thomas were the names of Brett's imaginary friends when he was little. Thomas was a friend his own age, and Bob was Thomas' father (why one of his imaginary friends was a full-grown man, I don't know). Sometimes Bob and Thomas went along on family vacations, sometimes they stayed for dinner or sleepover. They had a place of their own, but preferred spending time at our house. I'm not even sure Bob had a job, must have been a stay-at-home dad or something. Sometimes when they went in the car with us, they needed their own seatbelts. Bob and Thomas were nice folks, didn't cause much trouble, rarely got blamed for "accidents", just liked to hang out and join in our adventures.

Brett has been in Northern California for the past five days helping Clark and my dad shoot wedding photos. Today my brothers decided to play a round of golf, and yep, the guys they were matched up with to make a foursome, were a father and son named Bob and Thomas! After all these years... I guess just one more adventure was in order.


About three years ago, Jeff's sister, husband, and girls were moving to Arizona from Midvale, Ut. Jeff's sis is a good gardener and had some strawberry starts she wanted to give out before they moved. We got some starts, and being the not-so-good gardener that I am, they sat in the box they came in for several weeks. When I finally remembered them, I thought for sure they would be dead and shriveled, but to my surprise, they were still clinging to life! I guess they had been getting watered with the sprinklers through the cardboard. I decided to reward them for their tenacity, so I planted them in my regular flower beds in the front yard, not really convinced they would even live. Had I known these little buggars would pull through and actually thrive, I would have chosen a better place for them :) They have been thriving... at least the foliage part of them have... taking more and more space in my front flower bed. This year, FINALLY, they have fruit! They are small berries, not the kind you'd get from Costco, but they are sooooo sweet and yummy.

So what's the moral of this story? If you really suck at gardening... try strawberries!

side note: I took the picture above with my new camera!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


So there are many things I could blog about tonight. A lot has happened over the past week. But, I'm going to talk about Lars. I thought about listing all the reasons why Lars affected me so profoundly, but I decided that a family blog wasn't the place to do that. I guess what I will say, is that, if you want to feel better about the world around you, and you need to feel like there is still a sense of community and understanding, and you need to know that there are still movies being made for reasons other than for big money... rent "Lars and the Real Girl."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Three exclamation points means I'M EXCITED!!! I got my first camera in 1988. I bought it from my brother when he needed some extra cash. It came with two different lenses, a really nice flash, and a bag to carry it all. I loved that camera and took it with me all the time. I still have the pictures I took with it in photo albums, and they look great after 20 years. But that camera bit the dust many years ago, and I moved on to other interests and hobbies. Lately I've been wanting to take that forgotten hobby back up, and I've been looking into a new, nice camera. Only problem is... they are soooooo expensive! Then the other day, I guess a piece of the sky must have fallen on my head, because I remembered that my very own brother is a professional photographer, and could probably help me find something! And as a matter of fact he did. Clark had a Canon 20D that he said they were not using much anymore, he would be willing to sell it to me, and at a really great price. He also included a nicer lens and some accessories.
He spent half hour or so giving me some instruction on how to use it, he was patient, but soon realized that he had opened a can of worms he didn't necessarily want to fish with. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm technologically impaired, and these new-fangled digital cameras are a little more techy than the ones from 20 years ago. He ended up writing some basic instructions down for me to get started with. His parting words went something like this: "Okay, now how do I say this, ummm... Kim, you are in no way qualified to be using this camera... so if you have trouble with it, I mean getting the results you want, don't blame the camera." Nice. Well, I guess that little pact we made in our tiny green house in Spokane, Washington, when we were 5 and 6 years old, to always tell each other everything, is still in effect!

side note: the guy in the pic of the camera is NOT Jeff, that guy is way too hairy. It's just a random image from google.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


...nothing's clear at all... And I'm counting the hours until this weekend is toast and it's time to start fresh with a new week!

Have you ever had a yard sale? There are at least two kinds of yard sale, I learned a few years ago, both kinds being equally painful in their own ways. We had a yard sale this weekend, not the kind when you wreck on your bike, the other kind. For those who are not, or never have been mountain bikers, or bikers or any kind... a yard sale happens when you endo (fly over the handlebars) or otherwise bite the dust, and all your gear goes flying every which way. No, we had the kind of yard sale where you set out all of you crap for other people to pay you for, and take away. In case you've never attempted a yard sale, I will let you in on this little tidbit: YARD SALES ARE A TON OF WORK!!! We've been kind of setting things aside and working on it for a few weeks. On Friday we spent the entire day and night dragging all the junk out to the garage (we have way too much junk) and marking it with price tags. The morning of a yard sale you have to get up before the sun to make sure you have everything set up early because sure as shootin', people will start to arrive 45 minutes before the event is scheduled to start. A couple of other things you can be sure of when holding a yard sale are; #1 There will always be the guy/gal who assumes you are a bigot like he/she is and let you know that you need to watch out for the (fill in ethnic choice here), and the (fill in social class here), because they'll steal from you when you're not looking. Steal from us? Seriously, this is our junk, half of it won't even sell, and when it doesn't we have to pack it up and take it to goodwill. But let's get back to the point... a thief is a thief, and he/she comes in all shapes, sizes, race, and social class (obviously a touchy topic with me, makes my blood boil). Ok, moving on to fact #2 you can count on at least one Chatty Cathy or Carl to show up. This person will probably spend more time than the rest of your patrons combined, looking at things and asking questions. He/She will then engage you in a long story about how they "once had a pellet gun just like this one here" and how they took that gun with them everywhere they went, even to church... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... (no disrespect to Cathy/Carl, I'm sure it was a fine story, I was just busy actually taking money from other patrons). Be patient with Cathy/Carl, because once the nostalgia kicks in, you've got that stupid pellet gun sold! Finally, fact #3, and this is more of a helpful tip than anything, put out everything! Each time we've had a yard sale, we've been amazed at what will actually sell. And also amazed that there is no way to predict what will be hot, and what will not. We have sold the weirdest and most unlikely items at our yard sales.

So, finally we have most of it cleaned up and things are well on their way to being back to normal. It's taken a toll on all of us, we are exhausted today to the point of seeing double. But we made bank, at over $1000 at this year's annual Bringhurst Blowout, so it's all worth it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


...I wonder if I could have? My memories of growing up as the oldest of seven are dominated by thoughts of babysitting mishaps, fighting brothers, and crowded bathrooms. With the exception of Clark, who is just a year my junior, my siblings are all a lot younger than I, which meant that I was more of a substitute parent (in other words enforcer) than a playmate or peer. During those years I really didn't get to know my younger siblings as people, they were just the little creeps I had to keep an eye on so that they didn't get into too much trouble when my parents were gone, or so that they didn't get into my stuff. I made them meals, cleaned up after them, fixed their hair, went to their recitals and sporting events, and even took them with me on dates! Once I left the house and started a life of my own, it was easier to start to appreciate them as individuals. It wasn't until I was looking back on things that I started to remember all the fun we had together as a big blended family, with all kinds of ethnicity and backgrounds. Yes, I still remember the struggles and the hardships, but I love to think of the funny things and the bonds we were developing to last a lifetime.

I'm especially grateful for my sister Kara. She is one of the sweetest people I know. I had two sisters while growing up, just a year apart in age. One was connected to me by blood, the other by heart. I still remember the night Kara came to our house, vividly in fact, and how frightened and sad she looked. She was 2 1/2 years old, she understood and spoke no English, and she had been given away by the only mother she had ever known, to come here to find a better life. The days and weeks that followed were so hard on her. She had terrible nightmares, bloody noses, she sneaked food and hid it around the house. She must have been so confused. We tried to love her with hugs and kisses that she refused. She was unable to bond to us or anyone for years, and never liked being coddled or hugged. In the beginning I couldn't see the wisdom in bringing home these extra siblings. They seemed very unhappy, and they made for a lot more work. Now, however, I see how rich and full their lives are. I see how they have grown and overcome their difficult beginnings, how they have become parents and companions. I am happy for them and for the opportunity my parents gave them to be a part of our family. When Jamie died, the blond haired, blue eyed sister who looked like me, a part of me went with her. It's different with sisters, the bond is just different. I don't know what I would do without Kara, without that sisterhood, it's never mattered that we don't look alike. I am proud of the person she has become, and of the great mom she is growing into. She has a giving heart, she's very obedient, she's a good example to me. Love ya sis!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Happy Father's Day to all the dads! I hope your day was filled with sloppy kisses, super hugs, power naps, and lots of yummy food... and whatever else you wished for.

At our house, we let Dad sleep in. Next we had breakfast that Jeff later admitted was just mediocre. Luckily it was Denny's who had to take the blame for that. Kaylee always comes through with a cute handmade card and poem, and this year she made Jeff a book entitled "Daddy and Me" that was sweet enough to make me tear up a little. In the afternoon what Jeff wanted most was to relax and watch the US Open, so that's what he did. Around 5 pm it was time to start visiting the grandpas. Both gatherings were scheduled for the same start time, so we had to split up, with Jeff going to his parents house and the kids and I going to my dad's. It's always been nice to get together at my dad's place with my siblings and their kids, but I just have to say, now that he's remarried, it's downright blissful! Diane is a fabulous cook and hostess!

Just look at all that yummy food!

Grandpa eating the yummy food.

After a couple of hours it was time to get over to the other party. It's always so nice during the summer months to sit in Grandpa Ellis' beautiful backyard. We brought dessert, chocolate covered strawberries, so we were welcomed enthusiastically when we got there. We stayed until the sun went down, talking and having a good time.

The night ended with a big ol' cousin sleepover at grandma and grandpa's. Brave, brave grandma and grandpa!

When I was a teenager, I decided I wasn't going to ever get married. BUT... if I ever did get married, he would have to be pretty amazing, because inevitably marriage would lead to kids, and I wanted to be sure that I picked someone who would be a great dad to my kids. Also, I knew it needed to be someone tall, so my kids would have half a chance at getting some height! Obviously I did marry, and have kids, and I couldn't be happier with the daddy I chose for those kids. He's the greatest!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


All play and no work makes for a lot of crap that needs to get done! So we "done it" on Saturday... all day. And now it's all done. Okay, that's not true, I wish it was all done, but I have to be happy with some of it being done. I do know this much, I'm done in for a couple of days after working in our monster yard. Let me know what you think. It needs to look awesome so that when we list it for sale (that's right, we're selling the house) people will drive up and think, "Wow! This place looks pretty nice." I have to admit that aside from the crushing pain that follows a full day of yard work around here, I will really miss this beautiful yard and neighborhood. And the inside of the house will be exactly as I would have liked it to be for the six years we've lived here. I get to take all the memories though, and wherever we end up, will be the right place for us.

Front porch and half of the flower bed

Chard, pumpkin and the little waterfall in our garden.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


AT LAST! We got to take the boat out after weeks of cold weather! Last year we were wakeboarding in May, but this year the warmer days have been spotty at best, and the water temps at the lakes have been too cold to get in. Jeff decided we were going out on Friday, no matter what. The forecast called for temperatures in the 70s so we decided to give it a try. Not only did we pack towels and sunscreen, we made sure we had jackets and blankets, too. I decided before we left that this was not going to be my first ride of the year... I'm not good with the cold. But Brit has been waiting, not so patiently, to try out his new wakeboard so he was keeping his hopes up that the temps in Utah Lake would be warm enough to get in. Once on the water the thermometer read 63 degrees. We thought for sure Brit would chicken out! He didn't though, and was soon wiggling into his wetsuit for his first ride of the year, and first ride on his new board.
After one time up, he decided he was freezing his patooty off so he came back in the boat. My favorite part of boating is just being out there on the water. We took some time to drift and soak up the sun which was quite relaxing and therapeutic for me (while it lasted). I think it felt more like torture to my active, and easily bored husband because at precisely the moment I was drifting into a zen-like state, he felt it necessary to honk the horn! I guess that's why I felt it necessary to post this picture of him...
Our first boat outing of the season went pretty well. I may have accidentally scratched up the front of the boat by bringing it onto the trailer too fast... but I see no need to go into that "minor" little detail ;)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Once upon a time I had a son named Brit. He was a kind and caring boy from the very beginning, who loved animals, and was always committed to his own set of values and beliefs. Brit grew to be a kind and caring teen (no, I'm not kidding) who still loves animals and many other things as well. Being a teenager, Brit began to care about more than just Legos and remote control cars, he started to wonder how and why things are the way they are. When someone on t.v. spoke about social injustice, or war, or animal cruelty, Brit started to pay attention. He is, as I mentioned, a caring boy. A while back Brit decided he wanted to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. He felt it was his small way of helping his fellow living beings, and a way to be more healthy. One problem though... Brit doesn't like vegetables!

The road to vegetarianism has been a bit rocky for Brit. He's learning that in order to be healthy veg, he has to really think about balancing his meals, especially since he is still growing. He incorporates his meat substitutes, lots of fresh fruits, vitamins, and even dairy. But he keeps coming back to the fact that if he is going to reap the full benefits of his veggie lifestyle, he's got to add those veggies! He's not giving up though. And as I watched him choke down a salad with spinach in it at Sizzler tonight, I couldn't help but feel proud of him for sticking to his convictions. I also had to giggle a little at the situation. I think sometimes the greatest restrictions we have, are the ones we put upon ourselves.

Good work Brit! I'm proud of you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Whew! What a crazy week we've had! Devin and Addy had their new baby Jacoby on Tuesday, and it took us till Friday to finally see him. Of course my good intentions of getting some cute photos of him remained just that... good intentions. As soon as I get some pics, I will post them. You'll have to take my word that he is FREAKING adorable!!!

So not only did we celebrate a new baby this week, but also had a couple of birthday parties to attend. Our neice and cousin Beka turned 13 this week and we all had a great time celebrating with her at a local bowling alley on Friday night. The extended family took three lanes in all. Some highlights were the black lights which made our teeth, clothes and underwear glow in the dark! And the french fries were delicious and homemade! Yum. After bowling, a few of the late-nighters went to Sizzler for dinner. Once again I only got a couple of pics of the whole thing... yes, I'm still getting used to being the photographer in the family... that has always been Jeff's job.

On Saturday Kaylee had a birthday party for her friend Alyssa at Murray Park. They went swimming and reportedly had a great time.

Finally, Jeff finished up the rest of the master bathroom this weekend, and I got the master bedroom painted and decorated the way I wanted it. The only thing left to do is have the new carpet installed. I got some pretty cool stuff at a yard sale last weekend, held by Desert Point Builders, one of our clients. They were liquidating furniture and decor from some of their model homes at great prices! I would have gone crazy, except Jeff was with me :( so I had to control myself.

All in all a busy week with a lot to show for it, so I'm happy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


My brother Devin and his wife Addy delivered their second baby this morning around 10:15 a.m. I'm told he is a 6 lb. 5 oz., darling, little guy with a full head of black hair. I hope to get in to see them tomorrow and will take some pics to post later. When we talked on Monday, the name they had for a boy was Jacoby Shin Swensen, so I'll confirm that when I visit. They are such great parents and I'm happy that they had a trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy, happy delivery.

Congratulations guys!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


My sister Kara is the greatest when it comes to birthdays and parties. She always made a birthday special by decorating and making banners and cute signs for the person having a birthday. Nowadays, you can expect to get a really cute hand-made card from her on your birthday, and she never forgets! Now that we are older and all live in our own homes (well most of us), we've found that our lives are getting busier and busier and sadly, we just don't have time to do big birthday get-togethers like we used to. So leave it to Kara to come up with a really great idea for celebrating birthdays: she suggested going out to dinner twice a year- just us grown-up siblings and our spouses. Last night was our first bi-annual birthday dinner at TGI Friday's. Everyone was able to make it except Joe who couldn't get time off from work. We had a great time sitting around and talking, making jokes, and teasing each other. Of course we had to talk about all the good and even some of the bad stories about growing up in a large family with both biological and adopted siblings, and although we're not all related by blood, I think we all inherited the sarcastic gene somehow. Kara had taken the very unpleasant task of letting my mom know that this dinner was going to be for the kids only, but she took it pretty well.

It was a great time that I'm looking forward to again in another six months or so! But the fun had to end sooner rather than later because people needed to get back to work or to their own kids. Jeff commented on the way home that he had never been to something where it was just my siblings and that it was a nice time. For me, it was reminiscent of childhood Sundays when we weren't allowed to do much in the afternoons, so we'd sit around playing games or talking.

I've always been a big believer in living for the moment, that I should do what I want to do now, rather than waiting... cuz you just never know. Spending time with my Sibs is important and I'm glad we had our fun dinner last night. Thanks Kara!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Today is my 18th wedding anniversary and even though it's not generally seen as a "milestone" anniversary, to me, it feels like one. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't take to adulthood all that well, and it took me many years to finally settle into marriage and family. I think I just didn't take the time to figure out who I really was and what I wanted in life before I got married and then had kids. I had ideas, but you know how it is... once you are a wife and then a mother, your identity can really get lost in the shuffle (not a bad thing by any means). Once the kids started to get a little older and more independent, I finally had the time to really work out all the little kinks that needed working on, and over the past year or so I feel like I've finally come into my own. Better late than never, right? And I also think that there are not many men who would have hung in there with me like Jeff has done during all the stretching and growing pains. Anyway, today I feel pretty lucky and blessed to have made it to 18 years, and I'm grateful to Jeff for continuing to ride on this crazy train with me! I will admit though, that this new feeling of calm and purpose feels pretty nice, and I look forward to having more of this kind of living.

So... what did we do today? The day started out as normally as usual. Everyone up and fighting for the shower, then Jeff and Kaylee going for their weekly brunch together. They brought me a huge bouquet of flowers and even did the dirty work of cutting them and putting them in the vase (the worst part about getting flowers, dontcha thing?). But wait, it gets much better... Jeff scheduled 90 minutes massages for us which was like heaven for me! Then we grabbed an early dinner/late lunch at Market Street. I had the halibut oscar and was not disappointed. We asked to be seated outside on the patio so we had the whole thing to ourselves most of the time. The restaurant is located next to Little Cottonwood Creek so we were right on the water- BEAUTIFUL! After massages and delicious food we were both feeling sleepy so we came home for a catnap (wink). Once we arrived home we had a note from Kaylee on the door to let us know that her gift to us was a thorough cleaning of the house! What a sweet thing to do! Thanks Kays!

All in all a really nice, relaxing day, and the weather cooperated too! Thanks to my Sweetie, and my little ones too for all the gifts you share with me.