Monday, December 29, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas....

This is all of us in our Christmas pajamas. We are all cozy and warm. Our Christmas Eve wasn't really this calm or without chaos but this is how I choose to remember it. And since it snowed all day Christmas Day, we just stayed in our jammies and played with our new toys. .

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Tale of Two Christmas Cards

Christmas Letter 2008:

Dear Family & Friends, 12/15/2008

Christmas cards mean a lot to our family. Each night in December when Ed or I check the mail, the kids huddle around to see which family’s yearly update and picture was delivered. Some of you have even developed somewhat of a reputation for being funny, clever and creative- which just adds more fun and anticipation to the activity.

Consequently, our own anxious behavior has caused me to be a bit obsessive when preparing our family’s Christmas Card. Every year the pressure of choosing just the right combination of pictures has me lying awake at night planning and rearranging. This year, the self-inflicted pressure has been even worse since I re-connected with my college newspaper friends.

So after hours on the computer, I created the Perfect Christmas Card. It was beautiful. The picture of Ed and I made us look like we were Parents of the Year. The boys looked like little GQ angels right out of a catalog. The girls’ picture was absolutely stunning. Everyone was so perfectly posed that we looked like the Perfect Family. I felt happy and proud that I had accomplished what I set out to do.

However, as I carried the file around on my flash drive, it seemed to haunt me. I never could make the time to get it printed.

And then I realized that the card that I had painstakingly created to be absolutely perfect was not a true reflection of our family at all. And that I had gotten lost. I realized that I spent so much time worrying about how the card looked that I didn’t remember to worry about the message it carried. Families aren’t perfect- least of all ours. Despite our many shortcomings and weaknesses, we love each other. We serve one another. We laugh and have fun together. We pray together and we pray for one another.

During this time of year when we celebrate our Savior’s birth- that’s what I want you to know about our family. I want LOVE to jump right off this Christmas Card and give you a big hug. If you’re struggling, I want our SMILES to buoy you up and encourage you to keep on going. If you are sick or otherwise afflicted, I want you to know that we will be here to HELP you.

So I headed back to the drawing board to create a new Christmas Card. This time I didn’t worry about the pictures being perfectly posed or perfectly groomed (obviously I didn’t worry too much about appearances since I’m not even wearing make-up in one of them). I used pictures from our October California vacation with the Grovers, instead of our posed family pictures (which I love but are better suited for our living room wall). I created the card with love and care to represent how we feel about each other. And most of all, to represent how we feel about you- our family and friends who have all shaped who we once were, who we are and who we will become.

We hope that this letter and “imperfect” card finds you enjoying this Christmas season. We know that our Savior lives and loves us. We hope that during these uncertain times that you too will feel comforted and uplifted by this knowledge.

The Huhtalas

First Draft, the "Perfect Card":

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Elf This!

The kids and I made an Elf Yourself video but I'm too cheap to pay for the download so go to these links to see the kids disco:

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Close Call

A storm rarely slows me down.

Most of the time, it never keeps me from doing what I had originally planned.

Today was not any different- although it could have changed my outlook forever.

Ed and I made plans with his parents about 2 weeks ago to attend "A Christmas Carol" playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem. We had given them a gift certificate last Christmas which we were sure they hadn't used yet so we invited them to go with us.

Today it snowed most of the day and we ended up with 8 or 9 inches of snow (just a rough guesstimate). We traveled to the show as planned, leaving more than an hour before the show started to give us plenty of time.

The roads were icy in parts and traffic was thick but we arrived in safety. The play was excellent and we had a great time.

On the way home, probably since it hadn't been snowing for awhile, the interstate was dry and we made our way without much adaptation in driving speeds, etc.

Between the University Ave. exit and the first Springville exit, the car directly in front of us braked and spun around. It crashed into the median directly in front of us and ricocheted off headed straight for us. It barely missed us. As Ed tried to slow down to offer assistance and I started to dial 911 for help, he looked in our rear view mirror where he saw cars skidding and trying to get control. 2 cars missed us by inches- one on the left and one on the right.

I think the driver of the car hitting the median was okay but I still called 911 to give them her location. I explained that we tried to stop to offer assistance but the black ice was so slick that we were unable to stop safely.

I'm so grateful that we were protected and spared from an accident. And it humbled me enough to learn that even though you are most careful, do everything right, educated about how to drive in rough weather, accidents will still happen. And while you can't rearrange your life (especially in Utah) around the snowfall- it is still wise to be prepared and cautious.

It also reminds me, even though I had no such feeling or prompting tonight, that we should listen and give validity to the promptings we have to reschedule or cancel certain events. And that we should remain close to the Spirit so that we may receive those promptings when they will keep us out of harms way.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Quote to Live By

This quote was on our Relief Society bulletin this week and I love it. I'm going to post it on my fridge to remind me everyday to simplify and only worry about the important things.

"Sisters, do not allow yourselves to be made to feel inadequate or frustrated because you cannot do everything others seem to be accomplishing. Rather, each should assess her own situation, her own energy , and her own talents, and then choose the best way to mold her family into a team, a unit that works together and supports each other. Only you and your Father in Heaven know your needs, strengths, and desires. Around this knowledge your personal course must be charted and your choices made."

- Marvin J. Ashton

Thursday, December 04, 2008

George Lucas- My Hero!

So he came through.

Rather, his secretary came through. Get real. That's who runs the show anyway.

So while George Lucas is cool and all, Anne Merrifield is the true hero in my book.

Anyway, Alex got his letter and a complimentary Star Wars magazine. Which I thought was just perfect!

And in case you're wondering, "Mr. Lucas has indicated that he will not make Episodes 7, 8, and 9 because he feels the story has a good ending when Darth Vader is redeemed in Episode 6."

Oh- and she signed it "May the Force be With You!" Alex thought that was way cool.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ta Da!

Thanks to Amberlyn, I have "one of those" trees.

When I say "one of those", I'm referring to the trees that don't look like they belong in a house full of 5 roudy children and 1 horse (I mean dog). You know, the ones that look like they should be on the cover of a Martha Stewart Magazine. Amberlyn calls them "Ta Da!" trees.

I have been rebelling against the "Ta Da!" tree for quite some time. With 5 little ones, I thought, "What's the point?" And, why? since everyone else does it? Why should I try to keep up with the Joneses? (Let's face it, put my decorating skills against anyones and I pail in comparison....)

Well, 2 years ago, like 4 days before Christmas, our Charlie Brown tree (the opposite of Ta Da!) broke. One leg of the stand completely busted off and the tree fell down. Refusing to go buy a new tree and re-decorate it so close to Christmas, we duct taped it to the wall. Don't I wish I had a picture of that for my blog!

So last year, we bought a new 12-foot, pre-lit tree at Sams Club. Brigette accompanied me to Taipan Trading and assisted me in picking out some ornaments. She informed me (I had to put this advice to use on my pot shelves and fake walls that I displayed last month as well) that I shouldn't be all "matchy-matchy"- that I should change up my textures and colors. This is after I had filled my cart with mostly Americana-type ornaments. She recommended the red jewels and said I should buy a ton of them. Going against my better judgement, I listened to her. And WOW!- even last year, pre-Amberlyn- the tree looked pretty good!

Today, Amberlyn and I hit the 60% off sale at Shopko to add some more sparkle. It turned out fabulous! I'm glad Brigette and Amberlyn know what they are talking about.... I would have completely ruined this gorgeous tree. In fact, it would have looked better right out of the box with just the lights on it than with my choice of ornaments.

I'm so glad that there are people out there that can help me learn how to decorate! Thanks Brigette and Amberlyn for your wonderful work.

Without further ado, here is (drum roll please....) Amberlyn and the Amazing Christmas Tree!

(I should write a cartoon screen play for that title- the Charlie Brown Christmas, while a classic... needs some competition! Plus, I'm living proof that the Ta Da! trees are much more in fashion!)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hannah Banana- 11 years old!

Happy 11th Birthday Hannah!

Here are 11 reasons why Hannah is so fabulous:

1. She is beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.
2. She is very talented.
3. Hannah is thoughtful and serves others.
4. She loves the Gospel and is always striving to live it.
5. When she feels the Spirit, she acknowledges it and shares her thoughts.
6. Hannah is very helpful around the house.
7. She loves her brothers and sister.
8. She is funny-- everyone has a good time when they are around her.
9. Hannah puts others' feelings and well-being above her own.
10. She is a great student.
11. Hannah is a very hard worker.

Hannah is one of many joys in my life and while part of me wants to stop time and keep her from getting any older, I am enjoying watching her become a beautiful, smart, and accomplished young woman. I love you sweetie!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Bowl

If you're in the area and in the mood for a good 'ole fashioned Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl (football game), come to our family friendly version Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at Spanish Oaks!

We will play rain, snow or shine. I'm going to bring a batch of hot chocolate and maybe donuts if you're lucky!

And family friendly means it's not just the boys playing. It's moms, daughters, sons, grandma's, dad's- EVERYONE!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My New Favorite Store

So I'm still losing weight and finding it frustrating to buy new clothes to have them fit for a month or two- what's the point?

And thanks to Amberlyn, I am now under the impression that the only jeans I look good in or fit me are Gap ones. So since those are $50 or more per pair, I had to find a new way to find clothes that I love, look cute in, and feel cute in. As you know if you've every tried to lose weight that feeling is the most important feeling in the world to keeping the weight off. If I start to feel fat again, well, I'll just become that, right?


That's it! It's perfect. My friend told me she only buys her jeans at DI. So Amberlyn and I took a little trip yesterday up to the American Fork DI (cuz that's where the rich people are) and it was fabulous. I got 3 pairs of jeans (1 Gap, 1 Old Navy, 1 Levi's) for $6 each. I also bought a cute sweater for Sunday ($3) and a Gap jean skirt ($5) AND 1 Gap jean jacket (so cute!) for $8!

And the best news of all? The jeans were all a size 14, the skirt a 12, and the sweater and jacket a size Medium.


Oh... and I've now moved from the "obese" category to the "overweight" category on my Wii Fit.

I'll post a picture once I wear one of my new DI pieces of clothing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Huhtala vs. Spanish Oaks Elementary

As I began writing this post, I realized that I haven't shared my 2 previous, similar experiences on my blog and that I needed to catch everyone up before explaining why I feel like I'm fighting a war against my children's school.

First Experience- September
Alex came home and asked Ed what nude art was. He said his teacher showed a picture of nude art and explained some artists paint or sculpt people not wearing any clothes. Alex said he felt "yucky" about it. I e-mailed the teacher (after calming Ed down) and she e-mailed back an explanation. The nude art was on the same page as another picture of art that she wanted to show the kids. She had her hand covering the nude art and explained that artists believe the human body to be beautiful so much of their artwork is depicting the human form. She apologized for her lack in judgement and realized that even though she covered it up, she should not have introduced it in 2nd grade.

Second Experience- October
I was cooking dinner when Hannah, who was reading a book from the 5th grade reading list, asked me what an affair was. 5 minutes later she wanted to know what rape was. She was reading the biography of Rosa Parks for her October Reading Project. I sent the other kids out to play and talked to Hannah. She was a little disturbed by both definitions but we had a good, candid discussion. I e-mailed the teacher and cc'd the principal this time. My position was: 1)when the school sends home a 5th grade reading list, parents think that books on the list are age-appropriate especially if nothing on the list indicates otherwise, 2) Teachers shouldn't put books on a list if they personally haven't read them and, 3) a lot of kids would not ask their parents- they would ask friends or not ask at all. This is dangerous! I also explained that if there was an asterisk by the book or something to alert me to the fact that I might want to supervise the reading of this book that I would have read it first to determine if Hannah was allowed to read it. The teacher e-mailed me back and said that she had met with the entire 5th grade staff and that they were re-doing the list and taking off any book that had not been read by one or more of the teachers. She apologized and thanked me for bringing it to her attention. Hannah now has a new 5th Grade Reading List that contains only books that have been pre-screened.

Hannah came home and asked to speak with me privately. We went into my room (bathroom actually because you know me, I have to multi-task) and she told me that they attended an assembly at school where the "safety instructor" talked to them about good touch and bad touch. The "safety instructor" went into great detail and talked about private parts- why girls have different private parts than boys and vice verse. She also showed a video of a girl who was being molested (I don't think they showed it) by her uncle. Her uncle was touching her private parts and he was making her touch his. The girl had "a secret" that she couldn't share with anyone. Hannah said the whole assembly made her uncomfortable. She said, "I only talk about this kind of stuff with you and Dad." Why are they making me learn about it in school and talk about it? She also told me that there was a 4th grade assembly that last year her teacher opted out of because he said "you should talk about this stuff at home not at school."

I called the office to set up an appointment with the Principal. She didn't call me back so while I was at the school today, I popped into the office. The Principal has had a death in the family so she won't be available for a week or so. That's totally fine. I left another message and told the Secretary to just have Mrs. Tingey call me when she was available and back into the full swing of things. I told the Secretary what my concern was. She told me I was the 3rd parent to complain today about the assembly and that they can't notify parents about those kinds of assemblies because what if the parent is the abuser? I wasn't going to get into it with her but this just got me going! Since when is it the school's job to raise our children? And we think it's going to get any better under Obama? AAAAAAHHHH! (sorry... that was low-blow political jab..... ignore it if you love him)

I believe in sex education in schools. I believe in assemblies that help educate children about dangerous relationships and strangers. I believe in children reading books about the 1960's , and the Holocaust, and all other historic events even if they are horrible. However, I believe that the schools should do all of this WITH the parent's permission, WITH their supervision, and WITH their support.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who's on the Lord Side?

I happened upon a blog while I was doing some research for my lesson. Here is the link if you're interested: At a quick glance, it appears to be a blog where several LDS women blog about church lesson helps, politics, and other items that affect LDS women.

On the right hand column of the page, there are post teasers that they call "chatter". One of them caught my eye. It said, "Prop 8 Fallout: where do we go from here?" I really enjoyed the post and could sympathize with the writer even though I didn't actively campaign for Prop 8. I am grateful to the church members in California for their hard work and service and I feel that Prop. 8 would not have passed without their efforts.

The comments on the post leave a lot to be desired. A lot of the comments are from "active LDS members" who opposed Prop. 8 and want to let the world know that not all Mormons want to take away other's civil rights. Some comments talk about how it's within their right to disagree with the Prophet and still get a Temple Recommend. The comments criticize the way the church is ran and how church resources (namely $$$) are distributed.

I wanted to post so badly my thoughts on this but I knew it wouldn't come out nice so I refrained. As I read down the comments, I did read a few opinions from those that held my same opinion. I do not think it's right to openly criticize the church and openly disagree with our Priesthood Leaders.

I have struggled with doctrine in the past. I have struggled with local ward leader's decisions. And I have even been guilty of gossiping about these struggles in an attempt to win other's favor and nods of agreement. Misery loves company.

I have learned that my behavior of gossiping about it and creating contention doesn't do anyone, least of all myself, any good. Now when I question something or have a hard time, I first go to Father in Heaven in prayer. Second to my husband and close friends who won't judge me for my opinions. It's during these conversations with Ed and my friends that my heart if softened, my mind is open, and my mouth is closed. I appreciate my friends who can help me find peace with doctrine and help teach me to not feed my rebellious soul.

I didn't feel that the people who wrote these posts were trying to find peace. I felt like they were spreading contention by trying to convince others that their opposition of Prop. 8 was justified. And as I read down the comments, I felt that this contention snowballed out of control. I feel sad for those who don't agree with Prop. 8 but hope that they can find the peace and freedom that comes with obedience.

As I talked about this with Ed- he read me a passage in the book, "50 Signs of the Times" by David J. Ridges. It is long but I wanted to share it:

The book is organized by stating the sign and the category of the sign (as in "Been Fulfilled, "Currently being fulfilled" and "Yet, Future")

Sign #29

"People will refuse to believe obvious truth and will instead adhere to fables and falsehood. Category: Being Fulfilled

This prophecy of conditions shortly preceding the Second Coming of Christ needs little explanation. When people get sufficiently wicked and selfish, they no longer think rationally.

Indeed, wickedness does not promote rational thought. In the face of social trends and political posturing which, to the the rational mind, will obviously lead to the destruction of society as we know it, with its built-in safeguards for human freedom and use of agency, such people stand aghast at truth and moral principles. They flush in anger at those who advocate the standards of the Bible and the gospel of Christ as the basis for the survival of society.

Paul, the Apostle, prophesied in Timothy: He said, 'For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.'

We often apply these verses to the gospel and the tendency of the spiritually blind and deaf to reject its teachings and blessings. This is certainly the case. However, no doubt these verses can be applied also to common sense and rational thought processes in all matters relating to the governing of nations and communities as well as to standards to which the media should be held accountable. The "teachers, having itching ears" and "fables" mentioned by Paul can certainly include the peers of those who would have us pass unrighteous or unwise laws, as well as the peers and fans of Hollywood and other media production centers who insist on the "anything goes" philosophy of entertainment."

I don't post this to be on a high horse or self-righteous. I post this
#1) to remind myself to stay committed to the Gospel of Christ and to not be deceived,

#2) the Second Coming is getting nearer every day and we are in the process of being separated- time to get off the fence, and

#3) to make a stand. Prop. 8 is not about civil rights. It is about the true definition of marriage. I believe that marriage should only exist between a man and a woman. I believe that by stating this that I'm following the Prophet and other leaders of the church, and more importantly, Jesus Christ.

I wonder that in the future, if the Church will make a stand that I struggle to support. I wonder if I have the strength to be obedient. I wonder that while I feel I'm on the Lord's side of the Prop. 8 issue, what will come along to make me tempted to stand on the other side?

AND.... most importantly, do I have the strength to deal with ALL OF THIS while at the same time leading, teaching, caring for, loving and nurturing my own little family?

George Lucas- you are the Man!

Dear Mr. Lucas,

Enclosed is a letter from my 7 year old son, Alex. He ordered “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” from his book order at school which he received today. As he sat down to start reading the book, he exclaimed, “I’m going to write a letter to Mr. George Lucas because I’m his biggest fan!”

He hand-wrote the letter (enclosed) and I re-typed it to make it easier for you. I had him add a paragraph to the typed version. I told him that he should ask you a question that you could answer if you wrote him back. I explained to him that you are very busy and he may not hear back from you.

When I asked him if he would be okay if you never replied back, he bit his lip, sighed, and nodded- which is his way of trying to be brave.

Thanks in advance and thanks for making great movies that entertain my husband and 3 boys. This way I can get more than a moments peace- 2 hours at least!

Very Sincerely,

Amy Huhtala

Alex's letter to Mr. Lucas:

November 5, 2008

Dear George Lucas,

Me and my Dad are your biggest fans of your books and movies. The book I’m reading right now is “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. I’ve seen the cartoon and I’m reading the book so I can see if the book is the same as the movie.

I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies except for “Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith”. I haven’t seen this one because it’s rated PG-13 and my parents will not let me watch it. My Dad says you are going to make 3 more Star Wars movies and I was wondering if this was true. If it is, what will you call the movies?


Your biggest fan ever,

Alex Emil Huhtala

P.S. You rock! And I love your last name. I’m 7 and my Dad is 36.
And… You’re Awesome!

We just sent this envelope off late last week and Alex started asking yesterday if he could check the mail. He also asked me this morning at 7 a.m. I'm hoping that it doesn't take forever and they actually write him back- he is so excited. If I don't hear back in a few weeks, I'll have to take matters into my own hands!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Nice Lesson...

Okay so I know that the RS lessons are inspired and that there is a reason we need to learn about the things in the Joseph Smith manual. I also suspect that by tomorrow at 1:55 p.m. MST, I'll be looking back on a great lesson and regret this venting session.

However... Come On! Give us teachers a break! We're supposed to teach 45-50 minutes on a lesson composed solely of a few paragraphs of Church History and letters written by Joseph Smith to Emma and the kids? Hello!

So these are my ideas so far:

1. Copy and paste each letter from the lesson into an individual letter addressed to Emma and have participants pick a letter out of a basket to read and discuss.

2. Break into groups and have each group pretend they are leaders of 5000 women and have to write one letter to this group of women that will be read in smaller congregations. We'll make this a latter-day experience. For example, these women are living in uncertain times when men threaten to take away all that these women hold dear, including the sanctity of families. What do they tell them to uplift, encourage and give them strength?

Ya- that's all I got. I've been thinking about it for a few weeks. I know it's late notice but does anyone have any profound ideas? Before you do, glance at the lesson to see what I'm up against.

Come One, Come All- Thanksgiving Hodge Podge

So for the first time in 4 years, Ed has Thanksgiving off! He works New Year's Eve and New Year's Day but has Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day off. I'm so excited and really looking forward to it.


There is always a but, right?

I was assuming (since I never heard different) that Ed's Mom, Susan was doing her traditional Thanksgiving Day at Grandma's. Come to find out..... Ed and Susan are going to Brigette's (Ed's sister in WA). Which I think is great and I'm glad they are visiting her but leaves us without Thanksgiving plans. (BTW, she told my Ed a few weeks or months ago.)

So I've decided to put on Thanksgiving here and I'm looking for those who would like to join us. So if you know of anyone in the Utah County area whose family members are far away and they don't have anyone to celebrate Thanksgiving with, please let me know. I thought about inviting my ward friends but most families have other family members in Utah and I knew I'd have to get through 25 invites before finding someone who would like to come. That kind of rejection would kill me!

Out-of-staters: This goes for you too. If you know someone here in this area or a member of your own family who can't get home for T-Day, and think they would have fun at my Thanksgiving of Fun- please let me know.

I'm thinking we'll eat around 1 p.m. and then about 3 p.m. or 4 p.m., hit a movie. We're not that much into Football but we do have the one TV in the basement for sports fans.

And, we do have a guest room for any one needing a place to stay for the night or weekend.

So, come one, come 50, to the Huhtala Thanksgiving Feast of Fun!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Civic Duty

I am working the polls today.

I got to take an oath and everything.

I thought it would be an easy, quick way to make a $100. Turns out it's easy but long hours and the money isn't so quick. I'll be lucky if I get the check before Christmas.

But it's tax-free. Yippee!

And since my grandmother was a poll worker, I feel like I'm carrying on a family tradition in some sort of odd way.

I hope somebody acts crazy and I get to kick them out or something. It will shake things up a little. Hey, I did take an oath to defend the constitution and every citizens' right to vote freely and without fear. I take that oath seriously.

Did you know that you can't wear an Obama or McCain hat or shirt? You don't get kicked out or anything but you do have to take it off. Or, you know, turn it inside out if it's the only shirt you're wearing.

Anyway- happy voting. And if you come to vote at Larsen Elementary, bring your I.D. because I can't verify your identity even though I know you.

I took an oath!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ice Pie Comb?

Every day, Aidan asks for an "Ice Pie Comb". This is toddler speak for "Ice Cream Cone." I'm not sure what started this.....

This summer, we made a lot of homemade ice cream. And if we stopped for a treat it was usually an ice cream cone.

He started out attempting to eat the entire thing, patiently licking the dripping sides. Occasionally, the scoop would fall out but he wouldn't fret. He just continued by eating the cone.

On our Disneyland trip he asked more than once a day. Finally, on the way home, we stopped at a Dairy Queen. He took 2-3 mouth fulls of the ice cream and was done.

He still asks, everyday, for an "ice pie comb". After the Beaver Dairy Queen experience, I started replying, "maybe later" to which he said, "Otay."

Today, instead of an "otay", I got, "But why?"

Are you serious? Already with the "whys?"

On the way home from Hannah's dentist appointment, she asked to stop for ice cream. Aidan was thrilled. He got 3 licks off the baby cone before the "ice pie" fell on the van floor. While Hannah cleaned up his mess, he ate the crunchy, stale cone. Yum!

Hannah and I determined that as far as Aidan was concerned, it's all about the "comb" and not the "ice pie."

Oh dear.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Potty Training Update and Other Crappy Thoughts

So I've given up with the potty training- Aidan's not ready.

I felt like it was a little early but he's been peeing on the toilet for months that I thought this was my window.

It was a good introduction so we'll try again after Christmas.

The interesting thing is the reason it didn't quite work is so different than the other kids. He WANTS to do it, he CAN do it, he LIKES doing it but I can tell it's stressing him out. He's cranky and sad.

Looking back, it probably wasn't the best idea to get rid of the crib and diapers in the same week. I know, Duh! But he's so agreeable and gung ho about everything, I didn't think of it as being too hard on his little emotions.

Enough about that...

Another thought: one of my friends posted "blah, blah, blah" on her blog. That was the title and that was the body of the post- that's it. All of the comments, including mine were like, "Yep- got it, ditto, I feel the same, etc.

I thought it was just me coming off my vacation high. But others are feeling this way too. Usually I don't feel this way until after New Years so it's not a good sign that the "blahs" have already showed their ugly faces.

I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing: Prayer, scriptures, church calling, service, trying to be a patient, loving mother. I'm even having small periods of time where I feel motivated, purposeful and happy. But then the "blahs" come back.

Why? How can we help each other? What can we do?

Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Punk Rocker

Alex has wanted to be a Punk Rocker for Halloween for about 6 months. About a month ago, he became nervous concerning my ability to produce a "sweet" costume. I told him to have a little faith in his old, out-of-style, mother.

Tonight was our ward's Fall Social so he got to try out his Halloween Duds. He thought I was pretty cool putting together such a great costume. I lucked out at DI yesterday when I found the leather jacket and the boots!

The magnet earrings came to me when I was trying to fall asleep last night. He loved them! The costume judges at the party loved them too because Alex was one of the costume contest winners!

On Friday for Halloween, we're going to shave the sides of his head so he'll have a mohawk. He is so excited for the "real thing".

Friday, October 24, 2008

World's Hungriest Baby

During our outings, Amberlyn and I are always pulling interesting things out of Grace's mouth. (I'm sure Amberlyn does this all day long at home... but I always find it interesting.)

Today, our outing included a quick lunch combined with a Wal-Mart trip. Being the budget-conscience mothers that we are (just recently converted, but hey, we're trying), we used a coupon to get 2 entrees for the price of one. As Amberlyn got up to go pay for our food, she gathered my cash as well as hers.

She said, "Where's the coupon?"

I replied, "I don't know. Did you give it to me?"

She said, "I set it right there on the table close to your side."

We began to pick up plates, silverware, glasses, purses, etc., when Amberlyn pulled the chewed up coupon (pictured below) out of Grace's mouth. We couldn't stop laughing!

Luckily, I had also clipped the same coupon before leaving the house just in case.

It would have been a whole lot funnier to get a picture of Grace as she was gnawing on the coupon with paper pieces amongst the drool rolling down her chin. But, I had to settle for saving the baby-muched wad of paper in my wallet until I could get home to document the damage.

Now that I soon won't have to carry a diaper bag (see earlier potty training post), maybe I'll have room for my camera. Next time, I can catch the world's hungriest baby in action!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sixth Folder, Sixth Photo TAG

I'm so glad it wasn't a gay one of me! While I was waiting for it to load I was thinking, "Denise! Did you cheat? Watch me get a ugly picture and I'll have to post it!"

This one is of Ed during our Segway Test Drive experience. His experience was in no-way Extreme (see earlier post titled "Extreme Segway"). In fact, he didn't even try to hop off when I fell. When I asked him later about it he said, "Well, if you were going to fly off a cliff on a Segway and die, I knew I shouldn't follow. Someone around here has to act calm and responsible!"

Where's the fun in that, I ask?

So I tag Amberlyn, Amidey, Dawnyeil, Dawn, Dory, Emily, Hilary, Rindee, & Karin (everyone in my friend's section that hasn't previously been mentioned).

Instructions: Post the 6th picture in your 6th Pictures Folder on your computer. And no cheating!

A Picture Says 1000 Words

This is what Aidan thinks of potty training. "No Sweat Mom! I got it covered!"

Now if we could just get the "poo-poo training" underway... it would really help.

Any suggesetions? Never had a kid who got the #1 right and not the #2. Or if I did, I forgot.

Soccer Team Group Picture

We just got this in the mail and I wanted to post the team picture.

It will go up in Andrew's room and who knows where it will end up from there.
BTW... I'm not getting rid of my title as soon as I thought.... A.L & Alex are on the same basketball team and I'm going to give it a shot! No pun intended.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Disneyland Favorites

Our very last day we changed things up a bit since the little kids were having a hard time going from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Daniel and Ed left the hotel early with the "big" kids (Christopher, Kira, Hannah, Haylee, Alex & A.L.) arriving at Disneyland at 8 a.m. Robin and I came later with the "little" kids (Brionna, Michael, & Aidan). We met the other group at Tower of Terror at 10:15.

Around 4 p.m. we all headed back to the hotel for dinner. After dinner, the guys stayed back with the "little" kids as Robin and I headed back for a few jam-packed hours.

This schedule worked out great since with fewer people and fewer strollers, we could maneuver the crowds much easier. I couldn't figure out who was dragging who- if it was Robin and I or the kids. After Wednesday's break at the beach, both Robin and I were charged up and ready to go!

Space Mountain was in everyone's "Top 3 Rides" and we were lucky enough to be able to ride it twice in the last hour the park was open (the big kids rode it that morning as well). In fact in the last half hour, we came off Space Mountain, snuck in Star Tours and Astro Blasters, and managed to get back in line for Space Mountain.

One of our favorite things to do was to strike a pose as the rides' camera shot a picture. We raced to the end of the exit to see our photo creativity. You knew your pose was great when before you turned the corner, you could hear the kids laughing. The very last time we rode, I told the kids to pick a pose and we would all do the same thing. They had been bugging us the whole trip to buy a picture so I told them if it turned out, I would buy one. The pics at Astro Blasters were great because you could e-mail them to yourself for FREE!

On a side note about the pictures: we were beginning to think Haylee and Kira were ghosts or vampires or something because whenever they would ride together, the picture would come up blank! We got smart and changed up the seating charts for our Space Mountain pic.

I'm curious.... what is your Family's Favorite Ride at Disneyland or California Adventure?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Not bad for our First Family Vacation!

I had just a second to post (Ed ran to the store since we came home to find out that we have absolutely no toilet paper) and wanted to say how much FUN we had on our vacation! It was a blast!

I'll write and post more pictures later after I've had time to unpack, do laundry, sleep, etc.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Disneyland Fun!

We are on our way to Disneyland this morning! We'll stop in Vegas overnight and then drive the rest of the way tomorrow. We're are so excited! This is the logo I designed for our T-shirts. We will all wear them on our first day at Disneyland- Monday! We can't wait!

It Took Me Long Enough!

We've lived in this house for 5 years and I just finally got done decorating above my cabinets. I didn't realize when we moved into this house how many shelves there were to decorate..... I'm sure I'll want to change it in another 5 years. Isn't that how it goes?

This is my seasonal shelf- it's the one you see as you're walking into the kitchen.
So I'll change this one each season or Holiday.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

South Dakota never had it so GOOD

Hannah's 5th Grade Class is focusing on learning all of the 50 States and being able to correctly identify them on a U.S. Map. As part of this State focus, they each were assigned a State.

Hannah's is South Dakota. They had several projects to choose from that they could do with their State and one of them was a 3D Map. Hannah chose to make Pumpkin Bars and decorate the top with the Capitol, landmarks, rivers, and other towns & cities. She had a lot of fun doing it and has learned an awful lot about South Dakota.

Who knew South Dakota could be so much fun?

Crazy Hair Day!

No explanation needed.....

Coach Amy + 10

This is my Fabulous 1st Grade Boys' Soccer Team! (Back row: Ammon, Carter, Trent, Jacob, Corbin, Andrew (Logan), Coach. Front row: Josh, Ethan, Hayden & Nathan)

The Rec Office called before Soccer started and said they had 2 teams from Spanish Oaks and no coaches. I honestly thought he was calling me to get names of people that could Coach. Turns out, he was asking if I would volunteer. I felt so inadequate- I really didn't know the rules or what to do- but I decided to give it a go.

It was so fun! Andrew (Logan) was so excited for me to Coach his team. We had a little bit of a rough start at practices when he would get mad and burst into tears. Of course, I couldn't ignore the other 9 boys and deal with him so I just had to let him throw his fit and ignore it. After practice, I explained to him why I couldn't drop everything and we talked about it. I think this experience helped him to deal with his coping issues. We still had a few tearful moments in a couple of games but I told him he had to sit out if he was going to cry. Aren't all parents who coach or teach harder on their own kids?

I told myself going into the season that I would remain neutral as far as the winning goes. But, most of my 10 boys were highly competitive and wanted to win. I think knowing that they cared about it and they weren't just doing this because their mom signed them up or because it's just what you do unleashed some sort of coaching monster in me because I became relentless and motivated to help them succeed. Succeeding in sports to me isn't all about winning- it's about doing your best. And if you do your best and play with your heart and still lose than it doesn't matter what the scoreboard says. We still had a few moments of distraction from praying mantises, the urge to wrestle your teammate, a big hole in the field filled with water, etc but overall we did great! We hardly ever got scored on.... mainly because as soon as the ball crossed the center line, I started yelling, "Defenders!" to wake them up. I never really noticed until the end but I was the only coach doing that.... oh well!

After the last game, they all Dog Piled Coach. During the first practice, they were all wrestling and dogpiling while I was talking. So I said, "This is soccer, not the WWF. We don't have time for dogpiles! Wait until our last game and you can dog pile all you want." Of course, their reply was, "Can we dog pile on you?"


Apparently one of my players never forgets anything so he brought it up before we started our last game. Thanks Nathan!

(Special note of caution: If you ever find yourself in this situation, place the whistle in your mouth before everyone starts jumping on you and let them know when you blow the whistle it means to hop off. This way, you can signal them when you're done. You might not realize that with 10 boys on top of you, you can't move at all. This especially helps if you're claustrophobic)

We finished out the season with a Team Party at my house. It was fun to get all the boys together and let them play without anyone yelling, "Defenders!" My kids planned some fun games for them in the backyard and the family room and we ate pizza for lunch. We also had an awards ceremony. I made these fun trophies for them out of candy. This one is Andrew's and he got the "Dauntless Defender" Award.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Anderson Family

Back Row: Aaron Dalley, Ryan Anderson, Tom Tasker, Aaron Anderson, Drew Teemant
Middle Row: Julie (Dalley's girlfriend), Noelle Anderson, Sarah Tasker, Me & Aidan
Bottom row: Mike & Kellie Teemant, Hannah, Logan, Haylee & Alex (Ed is the photograher)

We had a party for Ryan a couple of weeks ago at my house and I was relentlessly snapping pictures. Before everyone left, I was able to get them together for a group shot. It was fun to be able to have one last party.

It's hard to sum up how I feel about working for Anderson Covers in a short, blog entry. I do not regret my decision to leave once the business was sold. I do think it was the right time for me to leave. I do miss working with these wonderful people but change is a part of life- and you have to move on. I doubt that I will ever have another opportunity quite like this one- I think that is probably the thing that I will miss the most.

Anderson was like a family to me- the people there know my strengths and weaknesses and loved me anyway. They were there for me when I had ups and downs and I was there for them. And on the business side of things- what we built was incredible. The kind of growth that we sustained year after year was amazing. I am grateful to have been a part of it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

My Mosiac

This is a mosiac of me created by Fd's mosiac maker.

To make one:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.

b. Using only the first page, pick an image.

c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. Save your mosaic and then add it to your blog like a regular photo.

Here are the questions and my answers:

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Amy
2. What is your favorite food? Mexican food
3. What school did you go to? BYU
4. What is your favorite color? Green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? I'm embarassed to say, but it's Paul Walker 6. Favorite drink? Diet Cherry Coke
7. Dream vacation? Hawaii
8. Favorite dessert? Ice Cream
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Someone who motivates others to achieve what they really want in life
10. What do you love most in life? My family
11. One word to describe you. Optimistic
12. Your nickname. AIM

Extreme Segway

Ed and I took the kids up to the Kite Fest on Saturday. It's the first annual festival that celebrates our Spanish Fork wind power as well as "green" products. They had a Segway booth there with free test rides. I've always been fascinated by this product and was so excited to ride it.

It was really fun- it's like a wii balance board with wheels and a handle bar. I'm sure after this experience, my wii fit age skyrocketed because 30 seconds after this picture was taken, I was on the ground! I'm not sure what happened but I got going pretty fast and panicked. When I noticed that I was heading over a small cliff, I pulled it hard to the left to avoid jumping off into space. As I did this, I twisted and flew off the Segway. I landed flat on the ground with my hand still attached to the machine. This made it run over me. It eventually came to a stop in some bushes about 5 feet away.

Of course, the employees were freaking out thinking I was really hurt. Ed couldn't come to me because he was on his Segway frozen with the thought that if he moved, the same thing would happen to him. I wasn't really hurt- and I hopped right back on! I told the employee that helped me, "See, look at my kids and and my husband. They aren't even alarmed. It's because I fall a lot." He said I just wanted to do "Extreme Segway" and to cut it out because I was scaring his customers away. LOL

Hannah almost got a video of it but she missed it. So for right now, you'll have to be content with my version of the mishap. Of course, it's funnier to hear the story told complete with hand movements and facial expressions. Oh well- someday I'll learn to be more cautious.

We had a great time at the festival. And since it was free, we didn't break our new budget. The kids wanted ice cream and you know at those things it's so expensive. So we hit the Little Acorn on the way home. This also was a good budget saver.

Here are some more pictures:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Prompting & Comforting Spirit

Tonight for FHE, the kids had their monthly PPI with Ed and he also gave them their annual Father Blessings that we traditionally do before school starts (a little late this year).

It was a great evening! The kids really look forward to their interview with their Dad. I'm so happy that they love this monthly occasion. I know they are still young and I'm sure their time will come (the rolling of the eyes and the big sighs) when they seem to hate it. But I know it will be one of those memories that comes up when we're all around the table for a family dinner in 20 years. And I love that the traditions that we have are consistent and stable.

For Christmas 2005, "Santa" left us a family journal. It's just the ordinary journal that you can find at the Distribution Center and is engraved with "The Huhtala Family". I put a copy of my Annual Christmas Letter in there along with the letters I write my kids every Christmas Eve. I also write down the main points of their New School Year Father's Blessings. Haylee was the last child to come in for her blessing. As we were waiting for her and I was reviewing her previous year's blessings, I had an impression come to me that she would be blessed to be protected and spared. This prompting didn't come as to much of a shock since I have had these types of promptings concerning Haylee every since she was born. As I have told a few of you, Haylee is the only one of my children that I cannot close my eyes and see her in adulthood. All of others, I have a feeling of what they will be, look like, accomplish, etc. I don't know why I am not able to see her, but I have always felt that Heavenly Father has been preparing me for something regarding Haylee's time on earth.

Tonight, in Haylee's blessing, Ed paused for a second. He then continued and said, "I bless you that the Spirit will guide and direct you and keep you from danger- that you will be safe." He was pretty choked up during this and the rest of her blessing. After Haylee left the room, I turned to Ed and knowing what I was going to ask, he shrugged. He did not know why he had said that but he felt the words come to his mind and then as he thought about what they meant, he could barely continue with the blessing. I reminded him of my previous feelings and my inability to see her as an adult. As we continued to talk and share our feelings, we both felt comforted by the Spirit and by our knowledge that Families are Forever.

I may not know for a very long time why Haylee was given that particular blessing tonight. And I may not know for a very long time why I'm unable to see her as an adult. But what I do know is that Heavenly Father loves me, my husband, and all of my children. His plan is greater than mine. I must continue to have faith in His plan and His Gospel. And I must be strong enough to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost- wherever they may lead.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Messy Marvin

So I decided to make cinnamon rolls for the sisters that I visit teach since I haven't visited for a couple of months. Plus I'm having a hard time getting ahold of one of them so I thought this way I'd have something to drop off with the message if I don't catch her.

I turn my back for just a second to put the rolls on the pan and I turn around to Aidan eating all of the flour off of the bar. I can't imagine dry, plain flour being even remotely appetizing so in this case, I think it's the potential for mess making that is the main attraction.
The terrible two's can be quite funny! Of course that depends on how many children you have at one time two and under. I remember the days when they weren't so much fun.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mind Over Matter & Balance

I realized something this morning that I love about going to work everyday. I didn't let my children's behavior affect my attitude. When you stay home, it is much more difficult to stay positive and be happy, no matter what situations you are dealing with.

I found myself getting irritated this morning with my children for lots of dumb little things. When I work, I don't get hung up on these dumb little things because I can see them for what they are. When I'm home and my entire day revolves around cleaning, laundry, cheerleading, cooking, to-do lists, errands and so forth - not to mention all the teaching, tutoring, reminding, helping, encouraging and counseling. I do all these things when I work as well but it's not all that I do. And because I'm trying to fit much more "doing" in a 16 hour day, I don't get caught up on everyone's moods. I'm focused, attentive and goal-oriented. All the other things slide right off me.

I guess this is one of the reasons why staying at home is more difficult for me than working. It's either 100 miles an hour (upward progress) or a dead stop (downward spiral).

I really need to figure out how to have some internal balance.

Monday, August 25, 2008

School Daze

5th Grade, 4th Grade, 2nd Grade, 1st Grade!

This summer went by so fast! It is already time for school to start- I can't believe it. Before school we went to breakfast. It was fun to sit and talk to the kids without the distractions of being at home. They each are so excited for the new school year.

Hannah is such a great student and so self-motivated. Her favorite subjects are writing and math. This year she has the opportunity to win the Golden Explorer Award. It is something they do in 5th Grade. There are about 30 things they must do- some of them are very challenging. Mrs. Davies said last year she only had 2 students win the award. At first, Hannah wasn't going to try it because she said it stressed her out. But after her 2nd day of school and listening to Mrs. Davies explain the specifics, she came home ready to go!

Haylee has Mr. Bradford this year. He is the famous 4th grade teacher at Spanish Oaks. He has a way of motivating the kids to learn and holding them accountable for their own work and behavior. Haylee is a great student. I was so impressed with her hard work last year. Her 3rd grade teacher told me she wanted to challenge Haylee and give her harder spelling words. My reaction was, "But she studies all week just to get the basic words down." She said that Haylee always scored 100% so she wanted to push her a little. Haylee did not back down from the challenge and kept scoring 100% even with the advanced words. I know this perseverance will pay off as she goes through school.

Alex is a natural. At everything. I never worry about him and academics at school. He is very smart. He loves to read and enjoys learning about things even at home in his free time. (For Christmas, we got him "The Dangerous Book for Boys". It is the best book ever! If you have boys, check it out!) He is motivated to do well and wants to please his teachers and his parents. His teacher Mrs. Sanders will spend some time on values and choices this year. This will be good for Alex. (I'm hoping the 2 instances of cheating last year were isolated incidents). Sports continues to be a main thread in Alex's life. He is in soccer right now and can't wait until next year when he can start playing football.

Andrew (some of you know him by Logan) is at school all day. Heaven help us! He is my only child that is not self-motivated to do well in school. In fact, he could care less about learning. He has done a good job of keeping his reading skills up this summer so I hope he will continue to improve. He has a very tender heart and I'm sure has already fallen in love with his teacher. He exercised his independence by choosing to be called "Andrew" this year. Even though he is totally a Logan and I would like to refuse to let him go by Andrew, I am proud that he cares enough about something to stick to it. I am desperately trying to call him Andrew at home so that he does not develop 2 personalities. Although if it means he is motivated and excels in school, a split personality may not be a bad thing.

Now we're down to one at home. I quit my job so me and 2 year old are spending our days together. I'm trying to enjoy it, especially since he will be a kindergartner in 2011. Sobering thought.

Aidan, Take 2

So I've decided that someone should just invent an item that you would normally wear everyday that will start videotaping as soon as your mind thinks, "I should get this on video!"

Aidan was cutting up paper and dropping it off the side of the bar exclaiming, "Whoo Hoo!". It was the cutest thing but by the time we got the camera out, we had to coach him to do what 1
minute ago was a spontaneous act.

We did manage to capture the gist of it and at the end you can see by the evidence of the crashed pieces of paper how much fun he was having!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Thoughts from My Soap Box...

Our Ward is having their first Relief Society overnighter in September and I'm so excited! Unfortunately a lot of my friends in the ward are not excited- and are not planning to go.

This is where those of you who are in my ward stop reading if you don't want to hear my opinion on this. (Of course now that I said that you must go on...) I'm dying to share my thoughts and my only other option was Testimony Meeting so feel relieved that I chose my blog instead....

So personally, I feel like this is the best type of activity our RS Pres. could ever plan. We have like what, 1/10th of all the primary kids in the world in our ward alone? Obviously that's exaggerated but for those of you who don't know, over 50% of our ward is under the age of 12. So my point (one of them) is that how many of us get to leave our husbands and kids EVER completely free of guilt and apology? Not many. This is why so many of us are early to Enrichment.

Fortunately for me, I have a husband who is constantly encouraging me to have my own free time and get out of the house with my friends. When the kids were little and I never left, he would have to call my friends and say, "Come get her- she needs to get out and won't go on her own. I'll even watch your kids!" (On these occasions, Ed would end up with anywhere from 3 to 7 additional children to entertain - all under the age of 5 or 6)

I know that this is a rare quality in a husband and believe me, I am sooo grateful. But for those sisters who don't get a lot a free time to be with other women- this is a FREE PASS. It's a church activity.... how can you feel guilty, apologetic and all of those other sorry words when you are taking time to fill your lamp?

One of the other reasons I am so excited to go is the chance to talk to, hang out, be silly, play games, laugh and cry with women in the ward who I don't get the opportunity to be around through normal church service. I have never been in a ward where I could literally sit down with any one of the 100+ sisters and have a meaningful conversation. Seriously- every woman in our ward is that amazing.

I've heard mentioned that some of the women are worried about cliques and groups. This type of activity breaks down those walls- it eliminates them. Take Girls Camp for example. Young Women are just an earlier version of ourselves, right? I was so proud to see our YW at Girls Camp unite and serve each other. This is why the Church has Girls Camp. Because when you are on a mountain or in a canyon, the Spirit is all around. That quiet beauty that constantly whispers, we are children of a Divine Being who loves us, inspires and motivates us to become one. It is easier to love each other and serve one another when we are removed from the daily chores of our lives. When we get a chance to be with other women minus the children, husbands, homes, cars, and other responsibilities, we are more open to becoming one. Gone are the comparisons, the inadequacies, the doubts. All that's left is our open hearts.... and bad camping hair!

I really feel strongly about this (can you tell?)! We need activities like this to catch our breaths. Fill up. Recharge. We need each other to do this.

And for that 1% that might read this and go, "No- I don't need it. I'm fine." Well, then don't do it for yourself. Do it for those of us that need you.

Phew! This soap box is sagging with my weight. (But not as much as it used to!)

Help! Project Illiterate....

Those of you who are crafty (Dawn, Denise, Amberlyn, Robin... you know who you are)

I happened onto someone's blog that I do not know. She posted a comment on one of my friends' blogs and since her name was Amy I wanted to see who she was. (To be honest, I really don't like it when my friends have other friends with the same name as me... I'm totally serious.... I know... issues!)

Anyway- read some of her posts... she sounds hilarious! I sooo want to be friends with her. (If she would change her name!) Sorry-got sidetracked..... she has a blogshop where she sells things. My problem is I can't figure out what she is selling- I mean what do you do with them? It's way cute stuff- I just don't know what it is.

So can you help me out? Go to Karin's blog and read Amy's comments on the State Fair post. She is the only other Amy that's not me.

So clue me in on the big secret. And get a Jacob/Edward bookmark while you're there. Also- check out her Twilight shirts - what a freak! (I mean that in a good way!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

That's enough about me...What do you think about me?

Denise posted this on her blog and I thought it would be fun...

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you know (knew) me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog.

WARNING: Do not leave this post without making a comment!

Cake Heaven!

On Saturday, Dawn and her kids came down for my birthday. She brought me this beautiful cake (the bow is the back so this is a side view) and some Simply Vera Wang flip flops from Kohls. I can't decide which is cuter, the cake or the shoes! The shoes would have to win only because I get to wear them over and over. AND you all know how much I love flip flops!

The cake isn't just good lookin'. It tasted amazing! See more of Dawn's cakes at

Thanks Dawn- you're my BFF!